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The True Heir of Salazar Slytherin

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Chapter 1: A Change of Fate

 

Salazar had lived for a long time now. It had been over a thousand years now since he founded Hogwarts together with Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. So much happened since that time. In his opinion, everything went downhill lately, especially since first Dippet and the later Dumbledore had gotten the position of headmaster of Hogwarts and he could do not protest their appointment. Not if he wanted to remain hidden that was. Then there was the latest insolence…Riddle, or ‘Lord Voldemort’, as he demanded his followers to call him as if it would give him a dark and mysterious aura. How pathetic.

“And to think he is considered my heir…” Salazar mused.

He was so absorbed in his thoughts, that he nearly missed the person entering the room and was almost stepped on as a result.

Salazar was in his Animagus form in order to observe the latest family that the idiot Dumbledore was currently tampering with. So, he was in this damned village named after the muggle loving fool of Godric Gryffindor, Godric's Hollow hiding as a small snake and watching the oh so exciting lives of James and Lily Potter. Sure, James was an Auror and both were in Dumbledore's little playgroup called ‘The Order of the Phoenix’ which was somewhat enthralling to watch, but since both went into hiding because of this prophecy…pure tension.

Oh, yes and Lily was pregnant. He hated pregnant women, all of them were ill-tempered merely because they were pregnant, give him Gryffindor and Dumbledore any day with their muggle-loving attitude.

Alright, so over the centuries he grew more moderate again with the Muggle-born and half-bloods, but that was as long as they had strong magic. He knew that they needed strong, new, magical blood since the two Dark Lords had killed many during the past two wars and all the inbreeding did a number on the magical population too, but that didn't mean he liked muggles in general. Up to now had a live and let live attitude towards them. That was the only reason he wasn't bothered by Lily that much since although she was a muggle-born she was a very powerful and intelligent witch.

'That was a bit too close for comfort,' he thought while slithering under the nearest cupboard to evade any further life-threatening situations where he might get trod on.

From underneath, the cupboard he watched as a man with long black hair and grey eyes wandered through the living room.

"Sirius Black, why he betrayed his family and decided to help Dumbledore I will never understand. The Black family was such an old and noble family, but now…more evidence that everything is going down the drain," he muttered.

Sirius who thought he heard something strange turned around with his wand in hand but Salazar had quickly hidden under the cupboard before he could be spotted.

"Now I'm starting to hear things. All this tension and paranoia will kill me one day. But with the Dark Lord around it's no wonder," a stressed-out Sirius hissed. "Now where did I put that damned thing, I know it must be around here somewhere. I put it on the table last night when I got home after all.”

Sirius was apparently searching for something, and Salazar who had an inkling about what he was searching for, slithered out from under the cupboard towards one of the armchairs while Sirius wasn't looking into his direction. There he saw it, the wand holster that Sirius had so carelessly thrown onto the table the day before and where James had later kicked it down until it had ended up sliding under the chair. Salazar carefully pushed the holster out from under the armchair paying attention not to be seen or heard by the other wizard.

At that exact moment, the door to the living room opened, and James walked in not seeing the snake who had quickly slithered back under the armchair.

"Sirius, what are you looking for?" James asked tiredly having dark circles under his eyes.

"My holster, I know I put it around here somewhere when I got back from work yesterday, but now I can't find it."

James scratched his head while taking a look around the room "Perhaps you should take the one lying in front of the armchair!"

"Oh, there it is. What is it doing down there?" after a short look at his watch he added, "Never mind that now, I'm already late for work."

"Be careful these are dark times, and you know how dangerous it is for Aurors these days. I don't want my child to lose his godfather" James worriedly told his friend.

"Yes, yes, you know I always act with the utmost caution," Sirius replied flippantly

"Yeah, sure thing" James replied sarcastically knowing that for Sirius caution sometimes meant acting ridiculously careless, and stupid. He could only hope that Sirius didn't get hurt, or worse killed while working for the ministry and Dumbledore.

Both men left the room, and Salazar came out from under the armchair where he had been hiding for the past few minutes. He shook his head; these dunderheads would never learn. But they were adults so they could fix their own mistakes, and if not then they would merely have to live with them. With that thought in mind, Salazar curled himself up in a corner next to the fireplace and went to sleep.

 


 

A few months had passed by, and it was now about three months since Harry James Potter had been born. This particular evening James and Sirius were out meeting with Dumbledore or as Salazar liked to call him in private "Dumb-as-a-door" and Lily had stayed with Harry at Godric's Hollow. At the moment, she was in the kitchen preparing dinner for the two men while Harry was in his cot sleeping.

Salazar slithered into Harry's room and up to the lightly snoring boy. He had watched over him ever since he was born. Now for the first time, he approached him directly instead of just observing from a distance. He raised himself up carefully and slithered into the crib attempting not to wake the little boy up. But from time to time life decided to be a bitch and this was just one of those times; So, his attempt was just that, an attempt. Harry woke up but luckily for Salazar instead of crying instantly he looked around with sleepy eyes until his sight fell on the little black snake next to him. He was more curious than scared, and so he reached out for the snake and grabbed it quite carefully. At first, Salazar was shocked and tried to wriggle out of Harry's hands just in case the little boy would decide to do something which could hurt him, albeit unintentionally, but after a few seconds he was surprised by how tenderly and carefully the boy handled him.

 “Strange. I hope he lets me go before Lily returns,” Salazar muttered to himself, but when his gaze fell on the boy's eyes, he got his second shock of the evening. In his eyes was something one could only regard as understanding, which was entirely not possible considering that Harry was just a three-month-old baby.

'Did he just understand me?' Salazar asked himself. 'But that cannot be, can it? Even if he understands what someone says it should be impossible to understand me since I'm currently a snake.'

Anyway, he decided to try something while not really expecting anything to happen at all.

 “Would you mind letting me down? It’s not very nice to be held like that,” he asked the boy.

What happened next left Salazar totally baffled, the boy slowly and cautiously put him down onto his chest. The only thing he could do at this moment was to directly stare at the boy who indicated that he not only understood what Salazar said and therefore displayed he was a parseltongue but also revealed that he realized what Salazar wanted from him.

"You truly are an amazing little fella. But how can you be a parseltongue when there are none known of in your bloodline? I think I have some research to do about your ancestry," Salazar murmured more to himself then to the boy. Harry, however, began to smile and Salazar got the notion that the boy knew something he didn't.

Suddenly he heard a noise outside the room, the creak of someone on the stairs. It seemed Lily had finished dinner and was now coming upstairs to check on her child.

“I have to go now, but I will come to see you as often as I can ok?”

The boy smiled again while Salazar slithered out of the crib and underneath the table next to it.

'I really must do some research about the young Potter heir now,' and with this thought in mind, he left the room and the house to start some long overdue research.

 


 

It had been about a year now since his last visit to Godric's Hollow. Since that one night when he had spoken with Harry, Salazar had researched the ancestry of the boy; the paternal side of James Potter and his family was relatively easy to investigate as he only had to go to Gringotts and ask the goblins there for the magical records of the family tree. It had been more challenging to research the maternal side of Lily Potter née Evans as they were mundane.

All the bureaucracy one had to get past to get information was hell and a half, especially putting into account that wizards and witches tended to leave the system at the age of eleven when they first began to attend a magic school. Thankfully Salazar had some experience with mundane businesses as he had invested in some of their companies to broaden his spectrum of expertise. He had also gained so much money over a long period of time through his strategic investments that he didn't know what else to do with it anymore.

However, despite his knowledge about the workflow in a mundane agency it still took him about a year to gather all the information he needed and what a shock that had been when he finally got the results. No wonder Harry was able to understand his parseltongue, Lily was one of his descendants. Nevertheless, that didn't explain the knowing gaze of the boy…or perhaps he had imagined things.

Now he was returning to the Potter cottage and the little boy that had intrigued him. It was Halloween now, and recently the weather had been freezing so he decided to walk until he reached the border of the cottage and then change to his Animagus form in some dark corner as he was cold-blooded while in that form.

He turned a corner and then he saw it, Fire. The whole cottage was burning. Salazar stood there utterly shocked for about half a minute before it wore off and he could move again. When he overcame his rigour he slowly moved forward while applying a warming charm and transforming into a snake to get closer without being noticed, cold weather be damned he needed information, and this was currently the best way to get it. While slithering up to the main gates he never once looked away from the horrid view the burning cottage provided him with when he saw him, Dumbledore had just exited the burning house holding something in his arms. It took a few seconds before Salazar recognised the bundle as Harry wrapped in several sheets.

'Thank Merlin the boy is alive, but what is Dumbledore doing with him? And where are his parents and Sirius?' he thought while watching Dumbledore walk up to a gigantic man on a bike still holding Harry.

Dumbledore spoke a few words to said man, then gave Harry to him before he stepped back and the man left with Harry in his arms.

"No, no, no… what is this idiot doing? Where is he bringing him? He has no right to do that! And where are his parents?" Salazar hissed angrily because there was no way for him to do anything about what had just happened.

 


 

It took another day for him to get the answers to his last question via the Daily Prophet. An extensive article claimed that Lily and James Potter got killed by the thrice-damned idiot who called himself Voldemort while Harry was the sole survivor of the attack. Sirius, who wasn't present at that time was being accused of being the one who had betrayed the Potters and after that had gone on to kill Peter Pettigrew and over a dozen muggle civilians by blowing up the entire street, they were on. The only thing left of Peter that could be found was a single finger. As a result, the Ministry found him guilty without even giving him a trial and sentenced him to Azkaban for the rest of his life.

Salazar incinerated the paper in anger because he knew that Sirius could never be the one betraying the Potters as Sirius wasn't the actual secret keeper.

"That bastard Pettigrew! I have to find Harry!" he growled.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Searching and Finding

 

It took him four and a half years of constant searching throughout the entire wizarding world to come to the only conclusion one could come to, Harry had vanished from the wizarding world…completely.

The only answer the goblins could give him was that Harry was definitely alive since the Potter vaults were still active but they were unaware of where he lived now.

The next step he decided to take was to poke around in the Ministry of Magic. Sure, as Salazar Slytherin he was considered dead, but he had connections under many other different names, so he pulled some strings to get the information he wanted. But the only intelligence he got from there regarding Harry Potter was that his godfather Sirius Black had been thrown into Azkaban without a hearing or a trial.

He frowned upon learning about that, again. How low did the ministry have to sink to not even give a fair trial – or any trial at all really –, to a man who not only never did anything to go against any of the laws written or broke any of them, but was also the heir and future head of a well-known and previously respected old pureblood family? But regretfully he couldn't do anything about it just yet. Besides that, the information he got was nothing specific. Only that Dumbledore "took care" of Harry. What he did, or where the boy was, nobody knew so this was yet another dead end.

After that, he tried another approach from a different angle. Perhaps the press had heard something since reporters were known for finding information other people desperately tried to hide from the public. So, he asked around at a few different newspapers to see if he could learn anything new. Merlin, he even asked the Quibbler whether they knew something about the whereabouts of Harry Potter, but also the newspaper full of the most unconventional conspiracy theories had no inkling on where the Boy-Who-Lived had disappeared to.

Therefore, Harry was most definitely not in magical England. Perhaps Dumbledore had sent Harry out of the country as a safety measure so Salazar asked around the other countries he knew had magical hotspots; he even asked around the colonies. Yes, for a supposedly dead man he was very well connected ever since he vanished over millennia ago because he knew one thing for sure: knowledge is power, and knowledge comes from either books or connections. So, he had cultivated himself a vast network not only in the wizarding world but also in the mundane one. But now his entire network in the wizarding world had reached its limits. Not one single person knew where the boy was. Oh, he heard rumours which he had followed but every single one was a dead end, and even Sirius couldn't help him since he was in Ministry custody as of the day after the incident, so he also had no idea where Harry was.

Now Salazar paced in the study of his townhouse a few blocks from Diagon Alley in the mundane part of London, growling after reading the latest letter he received half an hour ago while musing over the content of said letter.

 


 

Dear Jack,

 

It is nice to hear from you after such a long time. I hope you are well.

As to your request regarding young Mr Harry Potter I have to admit that I cannot be of any assistance in finding him.

You know very well that everybody who wants to immigrate or seeks refuge to any county of the Northern and Middle American continents need to register with our Department of Immigration and Integration. That also goes for political refugees as seems to be the case with Mr Potter. After some investigations within said department, I can confirm that Mr Potter has never moved to America officially.

I've also checked with the Department of International Travel on whether Mr Potter was registered as a visitor to one of our countries, but they also said that Mr Potter has never entered legally.

To check that he also didn't enter illegally I consulted our Department for Underage Magic as to whether there has been unregistered accidental magic within our boundaries as it often happens to children that age and can hardly be hidden. They told me that there was none related to unregistered children.

Therefore, I can only assume Mr Potter never entered our country except he was hidden so thoroughly since coming to our country illegally that neither of our departments could detect him. Which is very unlikely, considering the tremendous effort one would have to put into such an undertaking.

I'm sorry I couldn't be of any help with your search. Hopefully, you find young Mr Potter soon, especially if what you told me is correct. Oh, and please let me know when you found him. Also please feel free to write to me more regularly. I sorely miss our stimulating discussions since you left America.

 

Your old friend

Henrietta Coulson,

Head of the American Ministry of Magic and Magical Affairs

 


 

Henrietta was his last hope, but when she said there was no trace of Harry within the jurisdiction of her Ministry, then he believed her. Bringing into account that the American Ministry was one of the best structured, organised and most powerful institutions in the world… well, if they couldn't find Harry, then he doubted anyone could.

Jack Hardinger was the name under which he was known to the American community. Not an acceptable name for a wizard according to the purebloods within the English wizarding community but the Americans didn't have the stick up their ass attitude like the local ones.

He was well known in America, but all his connections and the favours he called in had brought him nothing. He was at the end of the line regarding what else he could do to find Harry.

"Damn it!" he shouted while grabbing something off his desk and throwing it against the opposite wall. Unfortunately, it was his inkpot that shattered upon impact, and the deep blue ink lay splattered all over the wall, the ceiling, and the floor now. A moment later a man entered the study dressed as what a mundane would refer to a butler's uniform.

"Sir, might I ask what the problem is?" the man asked while looking at the blue disaster. He hoped the house-elves would be able to clean up the mess properly.

"My search for Harry Potter. I've only reached dead ends. My last hope was the American Ministry, but they too have no clue as to where the boy is. James, I have no idea where else I should or even can look for him. It seems like he has simply ceased to exist," Salazar told the man who in fact was his butler, sort of, with a desperate voice.

James Finnigan had been his butler for over 15 years now and was also so much more than that to him. James had become his friend, and Salazar trusted him with everything, including his life. Salazar knew that it was really uncommon for a wizard to have a butler in these times since house-elves were so much more reliable and he also had two of them, but sometimes it was more convenient to have a human butler to manage things. Especially when one had to deal with the mundane world as well as the Magical. That's why he hired James.

James was the magical child of an old mundane family of butlers, but when he had finished his education at Hogwarts he wasn't able to find a proper job in the wizarding world since they hadn't any need for a butler; But he also didn't want to abandon his magic to only work in the Mundane world again. That was until he came across Salazar Slytherin who hired him on the spot and here he was today. The only downside was that he had to swear a magical oath to never betray his employer. That was okay with him though since he had no need to do so, even less when they became friends.

"Then perhaps you should try something else. Have you looked into the mundane part of the world?" James asked his employer and friend.

Salazar stood there shell-shocked with an incredulous look on his face.

"Wha…? How? Why…?" he didn't know what to say.

"-When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth! -" James quoted one of Salazar's favourite authors – Arthur Conan Doyle. "So, if he's nowhere to be found within the magical community and he definitely is not dead since the goblins would know that, then the only logical conclusion would be that he is in the mundane part of the world."

Salazar tumbled down into his chair.

"Why haven't I thought about that?"

"Because you sir, sometimes, despite being highly intelligent, miss the obvious which is only human," he answered with a smile. "Sir, I assume you thought that because Harry is a wizard, Dumbledore would put him with other wizards but you forgot that the man is highly manipulative. Though I think regarding fulfilling the prophecy this man has constructed around the boy he put the youngster with someone who either has no knowledge of magic or a grudge against anything magical. Only so that he can act as the great saviour towards the boy when he finally shows him the wonders of the magical world in order so that the boy becomes utterly dependent and loyal towards him."

Thinking about the reasoning of James, Salazar had to admit that he was right. That just sounded like something Dumbledore would do only to get the trust and dependency of Harry. The only question now was where Dumbledore would put the boy to achieve that since the mundane world was so much more extensive.

While thinking about this new possibility, Salazar took a guess about where the boy currently was.

"You don't think he'd put the boy THERE? Do you?" he asked horrified.

"I see you came to the same conclusion that I did. I'm terribly sorry Sir, but that is the only logical place for him to be put where Harry would not only be hated for his magic but also close enough to Dumbledore for the boy to be watched by him or one of his followers. It also would give him a good reason for putting the boy there" James replied thoughtfully.

Now Salazar was fuming. He knew very well that if Harry were with those people he not only would be hated for being a wizard, but even worse things could occur.

"If you are right may Merlin have mercy on Dumbledore, for I certainly will not!" he shouted while rushing out of the room.

"Trixy" he called out on his way to the front door.

A small house-elf appeared before him ducking her head because she could feel the rage radiating from her master.

"What can Trixy do for her master?" she asked obediently, knowing that her master would never hurt her even in his enraged state.

"I'll be leaving immediately so please bring me my coat," he commanded.

The house-elf promptly left and returned shortly after with the requested coat.

"Is there anything else Trixy can do for master?"

"No!" he bellowed, and so she left again with a little bow after Salazar took the coat.

"Sir, I know you are furious but you shouldn't take your anger out on the poor elf, and you also shouldn't try and approach the boy in your state in case you find him. Who knows what security measures Dumbledore has implemented to make sure no one takes the boy or so that the boy doesn't run away," James scolded him.

"I know," Salazar huffed. "But I have to make sure he is – hopefully – not there, but in either case, I'll return shortly after confirming it. If he is in fact there, I'll order one of the elves to watch him closely while I plan and arrange everything to take the boy from there. I'm not losing him again because of a mistake in my planning or because I rushed in there headlong like how Godric used to do."

Knowing the truth behind those words even in a rage like that, James went to the entrance door and opened it with a small bow towards Salazar.

"Do be careful, Sir," he said while Salazar passed by.

Salazar stepped out of the house, went to his car and drove off to what indeed had to be the most mundane town in England, Little Whinging.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Preparations

 

Two hours later Salazar arrived at Little Whinging. By then he was mostly cooled down enough to realise that he totally forgot to look up the address of those…individuals. He would never admit it, but he hadn’t been in such a rage for over a century. Typically he was a cold and calculated tactician but now he was blinded by rage, and that had him acting like…well like Gryffindor.

“Great” he scoffed. “The first time in millennia I really care for someone, and I make three grave mistakes in a row.”

First, he let Dumbledore vanish with the boy without having the option of following or even a way to trace him, second, it took him over four years to find Harry again only because he was too blind to see the obvious and now this. He sighed and thought for a minute. The information he needed was within his memories he knew it. When he had researched Harry's ancestors all those years ago, he had also come across the address of his aunt and uncle. All he had to do was to concentrate and remember the relevant information. So, he closed his eyes and searched through his memories for the information pertaining to their address.

"Number 4 Privet Drive. Got you!" he said pleased with himself a few seconds later.

After casting a point-me-charm with his wand, he drove off the parking lot he had been in the last few minutes.

It took him a few more minutes to reach his destination. He cancelled the Point-me-charm and cast a disillusionment charm so that the neighbours wouldn't be suspicious as to why he was observing the household of Number four. After he finished spelling everything, he made himself comfortable and waited, never losing sight of the house at any moment. It was 7 a.m. currently so this would be a long day.

 


 

It was a very dull duty to perform, but it had to be done. At precisely half-past eight two male persons left the house. One was about six years old with a satchel on his left shoulder and to be honest, he was fat. Not like those kids who hadn't lost their baby fat yet but more like one who didn't hear the word NO often enough when it came to chocolate or fast food. He resembled the man next to him so much that he looked like a younger version of the adult. The man wore a grey suit, a tie and held a briefcase in his right hand. Both went up to the car in the driveway, got in and drove away.

"Mr Dursley and his son I presume from the resemblance," he muttered to himself.

After about four hours, a horse-like woman left the house. Salazar frowned because he knew that person, Mrs Petunia Dursley née Evans, sister of Lily Potter née Evans and quite unfortunately…no, he didn't even want to think about that.

"It really is a shame I cannot outright kill this entire branch of the family…" he mused.

While he wasn't the type of person who killed innocents because he could, or because of some twisted reasoning about blood purity like Voldemort proclaimed or the so-called “Greater Good” Dumbledore constantly spouted on about, yet whom also had no problem with killing people when necessary and when they didn't fit in with his plans. However, Salazar needed an excellent reason to kill such as preventing damage that would apparently be done to other innocent people, or if the person was too dangerous to be kept alive, such as the case with Lord Voldemort for example. Nevertheless, he would only kill someone as a last resort.

After Petunia left, he had to wait yet another half an hour before she came back from picking up her son from school and shopping together with him. They entered the house together, and again nothing happened, well nothing that he could observe from his point of view.

It was sometime after 3 p.m. when he found who he came for. One of the fat boy's friends had come over to visit, what happened next had Salazar watching in horror at how those two boys had chased a third out of the house and no one had cared or even reprimanded them. It was almost as if this was a regular occurrence. Salazar recognised the third boy on the spot; it was Harry Potter, the boy he had been searching for over four years. From what he could see little Harry was in very bad shape. He was far too small for his age and far too thin as well, wearing old clothes which were worn out to the point of falling apart with multiple holes and which were much too big for the boy. Upon further observation, Salazar noticed that the boy was extremely filthy as if he hadn't appropriately bathed for weeks.

Salazar grew even more furious as he watched the two bigger boys chasing Harry through the garden and beat him up until he could only lie there with his knees pulled up to his chest after they caught him. After one last kick, the other two went in the house again laughing as if what they had done was some grand accomplishment worthy of praise.

He had to get Harry out of there and quickly, but he couldn't storm over there grab the boy and drive home. This had to be planned carefully.

"Trixy" he called out, and a few seconds later the small house-elf sat next to him eagerly awaiting orders.

"Could you please stay here and observe the boy, the small one with the messy black hair. Make sure you don't lose him; I don't want to have to search for him all over again. I need to plan my next move to safely get him out of there carefully. Oh, and please whatever you see happening to him under no circumstances are you to intervene unless his life is in grave danger. It will be hard from what I could observe so far, but we can't risk Dumbledore getting wind of what we are planning and then hiding the boy even better. I don't know what wards and spells Dumbledore might have put on the house, so that's another reason to be cautious while inside the house. Perhaps there are some to report even house-elves so look for such before you enter. In about five hours I'll send Blinky around to replace you so that you can watch Harry in five-hour shifts and still be well rested. Okay?" Salazar told the house-elf.

"Trixy will do everything in her might to help master in getting Harry back," she squealed with glee.

“Thank you.”

After the house-elf vanished with a small pop, Salazar cancelled the disillusionment charm, started his car, turned around and drove off back to London. He had a lot of planning to do.

 


 

Fortunately, the streets were empty, so one and a half hours later Salazar was back in his study a piece of parchment and a quill lying in front of him. James entered the room and placed a cup of tea next to it before sitting down opposite Salazar. Salazar had proceeded to tell James everything he observed at the house right after he came home.

"What do you plan to do now that you have found the boy, Sir?" James asked.

"First I need to know which wards and charms have been placed on the house just in case they report any wizards entering the house to Dumbledore, but I plan to have Blinky examine it when it is his turn to watch Harry," Salazar replied.

"But what about wards registering house-elves?"

"I told Trixy to look for such and since she didn't come back I assume there are none, or she could disable them without being noticed. The next thing will be to get Harry out of there. I will have to wait until he is alone before I can approach him; otherwise, his family might intervene. The greatest problem will be that there are most definitely tracking charms on him so that Dumbledore can monitor his every movement."

"Hmmm, this could get tricky assuming that you won't have the necessary time and privacy to remove those before someone in the neighbourhood gets suspicious and calls the police. We should also consider that there might be magic tracking spells on either the house or the boy himself so that Dumbledore gets alerted when someone tries to disable them..." James mused. "What about a suppression bracelet? It would take the boy only seconds to get it on, and it would suppress any magic on or coming from the boy until he is within the wards of this house."

"That was exactly my thought too, but it would have to be a potent one putting into account how powerful Dumbledore is. I'll also have to upgrade the wards of the house so that they hide the boy's magic and the spells on him efficiently before we can safely remove them. Therefore, I want you to contact Mr Reichard in Stuttgart – Germany as soon as possible. He is one of the best regarding counter curses/spells and warding against such things and should be able to craft a bracelet strong enough for our purpose."

Salazar picked up the quill and wrote a short letter to said Mr Reichard before folding and putting it into an envelope and giving it to James.

"This letter contains all the necessary information for Mr Reichard. It shouldn't be a problem to convince him to help us."

James took the letter and put it into the inner pocket of his jacket.

“Is there anything else, for now, sir?”

“No just deliver that letter as fast as you can. Considering the time it is now in Germany you should have no problem finding him in his shop.”

After nodding shortly, James immediately left the study to go to the living room to floo over to Germany. With great foresight, Salazar had connected his fireplace not only to the Floo Network of the country but also to the International Floo Network.

Salazar stood up and went over to the fireplace where a small fire was burning.

“Blinky” Salazar called out for the house-elf.

Only half a second later, the house-elf appeared in the study.

“What can Blinky do for you?” the elf asked.

"Trixy is at the moment at Privet Drive No. 4 in Little Whinging observing Harry Potter. I want you to go there and replace her in an hour. Like Trixy, you have to be really careful, and you don't intervene no matter what happens to Mr Potter except if his life is in grave danger. I also want you to collect evidence about what is happening in that house with Harry, anything and everything that will help me to get him out of there legally and away from Dumbledore's influence with the approval of the ministry should the necessity arise. You are also supposed to check the house for any and every ward placed on it but don't disable them as that may alert Dumbledore. I ask you to be extremely careful, as anything that gives away what we are planning to do to anyone could be disastrous."

“Blinky will do everything to satisfy his master,” Blinky squealed with a bow.

“I know. Thank you. Oh, and please tell Trixy that she is to come to me as soon as possible after returning to report what she witnessed. Now go and take your preparations.”

Salazar stood there staring into the fire while thinking about what he would have to do once Harry was in his care.

First, he would have to call for a healer for a full medical examination on Harry. For what he witnessed while observing the house and seeing Harry for the first time since he was a baby Harry was not in good shape. He was far too small and definitely not well-fed if he was that skinny at his age. That surely would have to change once he was here though. He had also been beaten by that fat pig. Those injuries would have to be treated too.

Second Salazar would have to invite Mr Reichard over to lift every curse and spell that might have been placed on the boy. That shouldn't be too hard to accomplish either since he explained the whole case within the letter he just wrote to him where he also stated, that it might be inevitable for him to come around so he could do his work correctly.

Finally, he would have to talk to Gringotts and the Ministry to legalise his care for Harry. He knew a sure way to accomplish that, but he needed evidence against Dumbledore's inability to care for the boy properly, which would be collected by Blinky before he could even attempt to do anything on that front.

So, for now, everything he could do was already in motion.

He didn't know for how long he was standing there staring into the fire and thinking about his next actions when he heard someone knocking at the door.

"Come in!" he called out.

James entered the study.

"Sir I'm back from Germany. Mr Reichard has confirmed that he will craft the requested bracelet, but he also stated that he would need either a few hairs or some blood from Mr Potter to achieve maximum protection. With that said, it would take two days for him to finish his work once he has either the hairs or blood. He also stated that it wouldn't be cheap," James reported.

"Hair or blood? Well, that is not uncommon, but it is a bit awkward to come by, especially the blood."

"He explained that while blood would be preferred, hair would also work well enough to shield the boy from even the strongest known tracking charms."

"Hmm… Alright, I will order Blinky to retrieve some hair during his shift. Blinky!"

"Yes, master? Blinky was just about to leave to Mr Potter," Blinky said after appearing with a small pop.

"And I didn't want to keep you from doing your duty, but I have another request for you. Please retrieve a few hairs from Mr Potter without getting noticed. Hopefully, you can do this upon your arrival there so that Trixy can bring them back with her but being unnoticed is the first priority, understood?" Salazar requested.

"Yes, Sir. Blinky will talk to Trixy to see what can be done."

With that, the house-elf disappeared.

"Mr Reichard also told me that he will come over tomorrow to upgrade our wards to protect Mr Potter."

"Very well, everything that needed to be set in motion has been, and if nothing goes horribly wrong, Harry will be with us before the end of the week. The only problem I can foresee at the moment is how to convince him to come with me" Salazar mused.

James chuckled. "You are a professional at sweet-talking, you should have no problem convincing him. I'd bet a thousand galleons that with enough time you could convince a fish not to swim in the water because it isn't meant for him."

"This is high praise coming from you, and I'd really like to try that with the fish if only to kill some time in the future," Salazar replied also chuckling.

With a low pop, Trixy appeared in the study.

"Trixy is back from her observation. Trixy has also managed with the help of Blinky to obtain some hair from young Mr Potter," the house-elf reported.

"Perfect. James, would you please?"

"As you wish, Sir."

With that, James took the hair of Mr Potter and went once again to floo to Germany.

"Anything other important to report Trixy?" Salazar asked.

"Well, Trixy could observe how Harry was beaten several times. Not only from the fat boy called Dudley but also from his aunt and uncle. Harry was supposed to do all the chores, and when he couldn't finish them in time, he got beaten. He also got beaten for not cooking properly and for not being fast enough bringing the beer to his uncle. Harry went to sleep shortly before Trixy came back to report, Sir," Trixy dutifully reported to her master.

"Shortly before you returned? It's well past 11 p.m. and a boy his age should be in bed before 9 p.m.," Salazar growled. "But that will change soon. Can you report anything about the wards around the house?"

"There are only some standard observation and tracking charms on the house which report whenever young Mr Potter leaves the house and when he returns. There are also some repelling wards Trixy didn't recognise but nothing else."

"Okay. You can now get back to your other duties. Replace Blinky in another five hours so that you and Blinky are still on a five-hour observation cycle."

"Yes Sir, Trixy will do as you wish." With another pop, the house-elf vanished just before James returned from delivering the hair.

"Sir, Mr Reichard is preparing everything now. He will arrive tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock, and the bracelet will be ready the day after tomorrow in the evening."

"Alright, I suggest we go to bed soon because tomorrow will be a long day. Upgrading the wards will be a hard and tiresome task."

"Very well then sir, I'll do some last preparations and then retire to my chambers," James replied before leaving the room.

Salazar, on the other hand, knew that he wouldn't sleep much that night. However, he left his study and went upstairs to the first floor where his private room was. He got changed but as predicted he wasn't able to sleep, so he went over to the bookshelf and took out one of his favourite Sherlock Holmes novels "A Study in Scarlet" and sat in one of the armchairs in front of the fireplace. After reading for a bit, he fell asleep there in front of the slowly dying fire with the book in his lap.

 


 

It was the next morning at 8 o'clock when James found him sleeping in the armchair. The book had fallen down, and Salazar sat there in a position, which didn't look very comfortable.

"Sir, you have to get up. It is 8 o'clock, your guest will arrive in an hour."

With a growl, Salazar woke up looking around. His neck was aching and he felt quite stiff.

"Oh, damned I fell asleep in the chair again," he moaned while getting up and going over to the bathroom.

James chuckled because this hasn't been the first time he found his master sleeping in said chair.

Salazar in the meantime reached the bathroom. After a short look into the mirror, he saw that he looked like he felt…horrible. He would have to take a shower first. So, he went to work, and after a shower and the usual business a man had to do in the morning he got dressed and went downstairs to the kitchen. There he was greeted by Blinky with a piping hot cup of coffee, some sausages and scrambled eggs for breakfast. After Salazar, had finished eating he went to his study to wait for his visitor.

Five minutes later a man entered the study. The man was about a head taller than Salazar was, slender and had short dark brown hair with the beginnings of a bald patch and grey eyes. He wore a black robe with green and blue ornaments at the sleeves and around the collar.

"Salazar, how long has it been since we last met? Has to have been about 10 years at least. I was quite pleased to hear from you, and I will gladly help you to get Mr Potter out of Dumbledore's reach," the man said while reaching out to shake Salazar's hand.

"Tom Reichard it's nice to see that you're doing well. I'm sorry that we couldn't meet earlier, but I have been busy with the Potters. First observing the family and later after their death searching for Harry," Salazar replied.

"So, it is true then what I heard?"                         

"Yes, it is. This is the main reason I have to get Harry out of there and away from Dumbledore. I'll never allow him to tamper with Harry's life again," he growled. "But we have a lot of work to do. As I told you in the letter, I need you to help me improve the wards of this house and add some new ones with the same specifics as the bracelet. I need to be sure that Dumbledore won't be able to find him here no matter what."

"That shouldn't be a problem since I took some of the hair your butler brought me with me so that I can make the wards specialised for Mr Potter. Mr Finnigan would you prepare some things for me please?" he asked the butler who had just entered with a tray which contained a teapot with earl grey tea, two teacups and saucers, along with cream and sugar.

“What do you need Mr Reichard?” James replied while placing the tea sets in front of Mr Reichard and Salazar before pouring some tea in.

“I brought a cauldron with me, please fill it with water and heat it up to exactly 90 degrees Celsius. I also need a separate room where I can work undisturbed,” he ordered.

"I will see that the house-elf prepares the cauldron. For the room, I suggest you use our ritual chamber which we have established in the cellar."

"A ritual chamber? That is even better. Please inform me when the preparations are complete."

With that James left the room to fulfil the orders given.

While waiting for James, Salazar and Reichard drank the served tea and made some small talk exchanging what had happened since the last time they met until they came to the recent events.

"So, what do you want to do once the boy is with you?" Reichard asked.

"Well, first I'll have him checked by a healer. Hopefully by Ms Pye from St. Mungo because from what I could observe he is not in good health. Malnourished, abused, frequently being beaten by his cousin and he has to do every single chore in that house. After that, I would ask you to look the boy over to lift any curse or spell that might have been placed on him. If you wish you can also be present when the healer examines him and work together with her."

"Sylvia Pye? I know her quite well since I work with her on a regular basis when she comes across unknown spells and curses so that shouldn't be a problem. I'd prefer to work together with her so that she can monitor the boy while I lift the spells and curses because depending on what curses are on him it can be difficult and not entirely risk-free to remove them so it would be good to have her around."

"You know her? That's even better. Alright, I'll contact you when it's time but first I will need the bracelet, and after that, I'll have to wait until the boy is alone long enough for me to approach him and take him with me."

At that exact moment, James entered the study.

"Sir, everything has been prepared, you may begin."

"Alright then, show me the way to the ritual chamber," Reichard replied.

So, the three led by James left the study and went to a locked and heavily warded door under the staircase to the first floor. Salazar opened the door with his magic before they went down into the cellar. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, they entered a huge round room with torches along the walls and a pit for the rituals in the centre.

"Nice ritual chamber, it's been a long time since I've seen one this large" Reichard mused.

"Well for some of the rituals I perform you need the space," Salazar replied

"I wonder why you haven't tried to find young Mr Potter via a ritual."

Salazar huffed: "I have, with the strongest detection ritual I know but it didn't work, and I have barely been able to avoid it falling back onto me. After that, I didn't try again because of the risk."

"Then there are powerful repelling wards at work when even you couldn't penetrate them but considering who your opponent is it should be no wonder. Okay so let's get to work."

So, both men went to work preparing the chamber while James went back to his other duties. It took the two men over six hours but in the end the existing security wards not only were much stronger than before but also were layered in a way that was last used over two thousand years ago, so it was improbable anyone else would know the pattern and therefore made the wards much harder to break.

They also added dampening wards, which would diminish any spell used within to nearly an untraceable whisper on the outside. Someone could now cast the most potent spells within the perimeter and nobody would be able to trace it from the outside when said person didn't know where to look and what to look for. Even then, they would have to look very hard to catch the faintest whisper.

On top of that, they added the anti-tracing wards specified to Harry and some general ones in case the tracking spells were on an item the boy might carry with him.

"Yes, the wards will now effectively suppress any magical signature from escaping towards the outside. I'm not sure whether I would detect anything through them either and that's even though I know the layout and how they work. But I warn you Do Not abuse this power or otherwise I will be obliged to come after you," Reichard warned his friend half joking half serious.

"Do I look like an idiot to you?" Salazar laughed. "No, I'm neither Dumbledore nor Riddle. This is only for protection purposes and perhaps to teach Harry something without the Ministry getting on my case for underage magic."

"Well you know the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but I believe you because I know how powerful you are and that you have never abused that power so far."

Salazar grinned while peeking onto his watch. It was 6 o’clock in the evening.

"Okay now that all the work is done what do you think of a good meal?" he suggested.

Hearing his stomach rumbling he laughed and replied: "Sounds good to me."

So, both men went upstairs. After Salazar sealed the door to the cellar again, they went to the dining room where a few minutes later James served them their meal. While eating dinner they both had a polite conversation and made a bit small talk again, it was around half past seven when Reichard stood up to leave back home to Germany.

"Your bracelet should be ready tomorrow around this time, so either you or Mr Finnigan may come to fetch it. The price will be 1200 Galleons, but that's only because you are a friend," Reichard told him with a smile.

"That will be no problem. I'll send James along with the money, and as for checking on Harry I'll contact you as soon as I got him out of there."

"Perfect, I'll be in my workshop for the next two weeks so it shouldn't be a problem to contact me, but I must be going now since I have to check on a potion for the bracelet. I’ll see you soon."

"Indeed, goodbye."

With that Reichard took some floo powder and went back to Germany. Salazar, on the other hand, turned around and went to his study. After arriving there, he went to a cabinet and took out a crystal bottle with amber coloured liquid in it. It was a 150 years old Irish whiskey he usually only drank when he celebrated something, but it has been a long day, and he needed a drink. With the glass in his hand, he went to the window behind his desk and looked out. It was a rainy day, a few people on the street below passed by in a hurry. He observed them for a time while indulging in his thoughts. Half the preparations were done, and now he only had to wait until the bracelet was finished. Then he could go and get Harry.

He stared out of the window for a few more minutes before he remembered that he should write a letter to Ms Pye in advance so that she could prepare herself and no more time would be lost. So, he turned around, sat at the desk, took out quill and parchment and began to write a letter to Sylvia Pye.

Sylvia was currently a healer at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries he trusted her enough to describe precisely what he needed her expertise for. He also added anything he knew about the state of health that Harry was in so that she would know a bit in advance. Besides that, he mentioned she would have to work with Tom Reichard in order to lift possible curses and spells on Harry, but if what Reichard told him was right then that shouldn't be a problem. It was even better that those two knew each other and had worked together before. This would ensure that they would work together smoothly and keeping in mind what the task would be this was a massive bonus.

After he finished, Salazar called for James who entered shortly after.

"Yes Sir, you called?"

"Would you please send an owl with this letter to Ms Pye? She is a healer at St. Mungo's and I'd like her to check on Harry when he is here."

"As you wish."

James took the letter and went to send the house owl. Salazar meanwhile went up to his bedroom to get some sleep. In the end, he again ended up in his armchair reading and later falling asleep right where he sat.

 


 

The next day Salazar woke up as stiff as the day before.

"Damned, I really shouldn't read in the evening…every time is the same result," he moaned.

James who just woke him up chuckled.

"Yes, yes, I know that you find that funny," he growled sleepily.

If anyone would see him right now and how cranky he could be in the morning they would either question their own sanity or that he was truly Salazar Slytherin. Thankfully though only very few people were aware about how he was behind closed doors so his reputation was in no danger. Hadn’t he such a massive hangover that time when James witnessed this for the first time he probably would laughed himself sick over the normally stoic man’s expression that day.

"It is good that you see the mistake you perform every time. Now try to change your behaviour to avoid making the same mistake again, Sir" James said with a grin before leaving the room.

After having a long bath, Salazar went into his study to fill out some paperwork. He had to oversee some businesses after all, and he couldn't neglect them merely because he was in the midst of preparations for getting Harry out.

All in all the day passed by without any significant difficulties. The only thing Salazar had to do was to go to Gringotts to retrieve the gold for Reichard. But that too went without complications, and so James travelled to Germany in the evening to pick up the bracelet.

Now Salazar sat at his desk the bracelet lying in front of him in a small wooden box with a velvet inlet. He could feel the magic radiating from it. It was a masterpiece and worth every galleon, he had to pay. He even admitted that it was cheap in relation to the work that had to have been put in such a masterpiece.

"Trixy!" he called out.

"Yes, master called for Trixy?" the elf replied.

"Please prepare the second bedroom opposite mine for Harry. I doubt it will take long to get him out of there."

"As master wishes." With that, the elf vanished.

The only thing he had to do now was watching Harry until he was alone long enough so he could get him out of there. Hopefully, that wouldn't take too long, but today he doubted he could do anything because it was already late. So, he went to bed, and this time he made sure that he didn't end up in his armchair again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Saving the Saviour

 

It was 6 a.m. when Salazar woke up. Today he would begin to observe Harry for an opportunity to get him out of that abusive household. So he had to get up early in order not to miss any opportunity, should it arise, to extract the boy. He hurried to take a bath and get dressed, after which he went downstairs to the kitchen to get a quick breakfast.

Entering the kitchen, he saw James and Blinky working eagerly. James preparing some tea and Blinky making the breakfast. Therefore Salazar decided to quietly sit down and wait for them to finish so he wouldn't get in their way. A few minutes later he was served his breakfast and James sat down opposite him with his own. It was quite informal, but they had performed this morning routine for years now, and it was easier to get information about the day's schedule that way.

"So, what do you plan to do now that everything is in place?" James asked.

"Once I'm finished eating, I plan to drive back to that house and observe it to find an opportunity to talk to Harry undisturbed, although I fear it may take a few days before such an opportunity could possibly occur. Meanwhile, I want you to go to the mundane shopping centre to get some clothes for the boy. You can look into my memories for his general size, and if they're a bit too large, it will be no problem because we can simply resize them later on."

James nodded and used some careful Legilimency while Salazar thought about the scene he witnessed when he found Harry. This way of sharing thoughts, memories, and images, was so much easier than using a Pensieve and didn't have the side effect that the retrieved memories seem to become dull after the process of extracting the memory was complete. They also didn't need any equipment for that, and when performed correctly nobody would get hurt.

"Alright, I've seen what I needed to in regards to his size, I'll go get some basic supplies for the boy like clothes and bath supplies later on today. We can buy everything else for him once he is here and has been checked over."

"Thank you. I…" Salazar started when a tawny owl swooped in through the window and landed right in front of him.

He removed the letter and gave the owl a treat out of a jar behind him. The owl hooted in acknowledgement and left immediately. Meanwhile, Salazar opened the letter and read through it.

"It's from Ms Pye. She says that she'd gladly help and that she could be here within an hour if needed. But she also stated that in two weeks she's leaving on a two-week long vacation to China, during which she does not wish to be disturbed at all except for grave emergencies.

“Hmmm…I don't think this will pose a problem. Hopefully, Harry is out of there long before she leaves, and while I do want her to do the complete health check for Harry, it also shouldn't be a problem to ask someone else should there be any problems later on…” Salazar mused.

"You also have some decent healing abilities, so we should be fine once the complete check-up is done," James said.

Salazar smiled at that. Yes, he had learned quite a few healing techniques over the years. At that time, he had learned them out of sheer boredom, but now those very same skills could come in handy. He didn't know anything that would have required him to swear a healer's oath, but he was a fully acknowledged Healer's Assistant. That meant he could heal nearly every injury inflicted through mundane methods, as well as those due to some minor curses or other minor magical influences, potions, creatures, etc.. He also had knowledge of standard healing potions and how to brew them.

Okay, he knew nearly every potion in the world since he was a potions master himself, and had been practising his art since he was old enough to brew. But some of the healing potions were restricted, so usually only certified brewers were supposed to know them, and Salazar had never troubled himself to get that certificate, so he didn't mention it.

For everything else, he would have to call for a real healer, but he didn't think that it would be necessary for this particular excursion considering that they shouldn't meet anything that was likely to inflict an amount of damage he couldn't heal.

When Salazar chanced a glance at the clock, he quickly got up in a hurry. From what the elves had told him, Harry had been awake since 7am, and it was now half past seven, and he had barely finished his morning meal, he still had to get the car started and drive there. He stood up and went to fetch the briefcase where he had put the bracelet for Harry and some rejuvenation potions. If he got hungry later on, he could always summon Trixy or Blinky for something to eat or drink, or just to bring him a snack. After getting everything he needed for now, he put on his coat and went to leave the house.

"Good luck, and do be careful, Sir," James said while holding the door open for him.

"Thank you, James, I do hope it doesn't take too long to get Harry away."

Once he put on a repelling charm to ward off the rain he went outside to his car and drove off headed towards what had to be the most boring and narrow-minded place on earth, Privet Drive; and even more importantly, Harry.

 


 

Two hours later, cursing the damned traffic, which was the only downside of using mundane methods, he was once again parked on the other side of the street with the disillusionment charm on himself, a good view of the house and had started the tiresome task of waiting for an opportunity to reach out to Harry. Blinky and Trixy would continue to observe Harry within the home while Salazar was watching the outside.

It took two days before Harry was alone, but the problem was that at this time one of the neighbours, one with too many cats who gave him the creeps, was in her front garden so approaching the house right now was out of the question because he could be seen and remembered. So, he practised patience and continued waiting for another opportunity to arise.

Unfortunately, the next three days yielded no other opportunity. It seemed to get even harder as a matter of fact. Ever since that day that a woman resembling the male part of the Dursley family with a vicious looking dog came to visit; and it seemed that she was going to be staying for a few days at least. But what at first appeared to be bad luck, later on, turned out to be a fortunate coincidence.

Salazar had waited until late in the evening like always. He usually waited until the elf who was on duty that evening reported to him that Harry had gone to sleep. Then he apparated back to his house to get sleep himself, leaving the car behind as a spot to which he could safely apparate to the next morning. It seemed that this evening would be not unlike the previous ones, but today it was different as something miraculous – for him to be able to get Harry away safely at least – happened.

He observed the house while sleepily waiting for the house-elf to report. It was now half past eleven, and the report usually came sometime around eleven, when suddenly the front door of Private Drive No. 4 opened, Harry was chased out of the house and up a tree by the vicious dog Salazar had observed earlier that day. Inside the doorway of the house, the 'family' stood laughing for a few moments at the poor boy's plight before returning inside, closing the door, and leaving Harry outside, stuck up in the tree, while the dog stood guard beneath it. Salazar smiled. While not absolutely perfect this was the opportunity he had been waiting for.

To make sure that everyone inside the house was fast asleep Salazar waited until 2 a.m. before he left the car while lifting the disillusionment charm. He quietly approached the front lawn, took out his wand, and silently shot a stunner at the dog, making sure he wouldn't wake for a few hours. Satisfied, he went to the tree Harry fell asleep in and just in case the boy would make too much noise when woken up he cast a silencing charm around them so that nobody would wake up.

"Harry!" he called out to wake the boy up.

The boy opened his eyes, waking from his light slumber looking confused.

At the foot of the tree stood a handsome man. From what he could see in the light of the street lamp Harry assumed that the man was around his mid-30s, possibly 38 maximum; he had long black hair bound together at the nape of his neck by a ribbon. The man was wearing an emerald green shirt, a black jacket, a pair of black trousers, and a pair of elegant shoes. He had high cheekbones, pale skin, and a pointed chin. One could assume he was some royal with the way he looked. But what left him the most astonished were the man's eyes. They also were an emerald green like his own, but the man's seemed to have some internal glow. It was all quite confusing to poor Harry.

"Who are you?" Harry asked before glancing over at the stunned dog. "And what did you do to Ripper?"

"My name is Salazar Slytherin, and if you are referring to the dog, he is only stunned, nothing serious."

"What a pity. My aunt Marge uses him to breed, and he's pretty vicious, too vicious if you ask me," Harry replied before he asked himself why he told that a total stranger but shrugged the thought away.

Salazar glanced over to the dog before a diabolic thought occurred to him.

"So, you say she uses him for breeding purposes?" he asked with a smile that would even send shivers down the devil's spine.

"Yes…" Harry answered warily, not knowing what to make of that question or the strange man.

Salazar waved his wand over the dog muttering a spell before his wand emitted a dim light. After that, he put away his wand again and turned around to face Harry who was now looking a mix of shocked, confused and anxious.

"What did you do; and how did you do it?" he asked alerted.

"As to the what, I sterilised the dog so that he cannot be used for breeding anymore. Your aunt will be in for a very nasty surprise," he replied with a chuckle. "Such a vicious dog shouldn't even be allowed to live anyway. To the how, well, that is something I would like to talk to you about. Although it would be nice if you could come down first so that we could talk like normal people."

"But what about Ripper? He'll wake up if I come down, and then he'll attack me," Harry now looked slightly panicked at that thought.

"Don't worry, I stunned him before I woke you up, and that won't wear off for the next four hours. Or do you really think he would have left me alone otherwise?" Salazar chuckled.

Eying the dog vigilantly Harry carefully climbed down the tree but didn't relax until he was on the lawn without the dog waking up.

"So, what do you want from me, and why did you help me, and how?"

Now that he could relax a bit Harry grew more and more curious especially since the man in front of him seemed familiar to him but he couldn't quite put his finger on why. Salazar turned around and sat down on the small brick wall that surrounded the lawn. Harry sat next to him closely observing the man.

"Hmmm well, I think I should start with the how. I know it might sound incredible to you, but I'm a wizard. You know, a person who can perform magic."

Salazar carefully watched Harry to see how he would react.

"Things such as magic don't exist!" Harry exclaimed with a determination in his voice that surprised Salazar.

"Are you sure about that?" he replied with a chuckle before he waved his hand and transformed a flowerpot behind the dog into a small pink plush pony and back. Harry's eyes grew wide upon witnessing that performance.

"Wha-…Bu-…How?! IT'S IMPOSSIBLE! Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia say magic doesn't exist. It has to be some kind of trick!" Harry shouted incredulous before starting to look around panicking because he was quite loud fearing that he would wake someone up.

"That wasn't a trick, and magic does exist, a good example is a silencing charm whose incantation is Silencio, that I put around us in case something like this happened," Salazar sighed while Harry visibly calmed down because every window in the neighbourhood had stayed dark.

"I think your aunt and uncle only hate everything magical because of your mother."

"Huh? My mother was a drunkard who died in a car crash, so what does this have to do with her?"

Now it was Salazar's turn to look confused before anger rose within him.

"Is that what they told you? Your mother was neither was a drunkard nor did she die in a car crash," he growled. "No, she was a witch while your dad was considered a wizard and so am I, and I'm also pretty sure that you're a wizard too."

"It can't be! I'm no wizard! You must be mistaken about my parents too," Harry shook his head in denial. It couldn't be true, could it?

Salazar smiled; "There is no mistake with that; you are a wizard, Harry. Have you ever done something that you simply couldn't explain using logic? Something that seemed strange to you, while you were angry or frightened? Your parents were also magically talented, and they were powerful magic users too. I'm sure about that because I knew them. Not personally, but I was around your house for quite a while before and after your birth."

Harry started to think about what he just heard. Yes, there had been situations in which he couldn't explain what had happened and he was beaten for it by his aunt or uncle every time it did happen.

Suddenly his face lit up in recognition. "I think I remember something…But…Wait…that can't be. That's impossible!" he exclaimed for the third time that evening now.

"What can't be and is impossible?" Salazar asked with a slight smirk and raised an eyebrow.

"The first thing that comes to mind when I think about my life before the Dursleys is…" he couldn't get himself to say it. It was so unlikely, wasn't it?

"What?"

"A small black snake that talked to me, but that can't be real, can it?" Harry looked confused.

Salazar looked at him for a moment before he started to laugh out loud.

"See?! Even you find it ridiculous." Harry huffed.

Salazar wiped a few stray tears from his eyes from laughing so hard. "No, it's far from ridiculous. In fact, it's true. The snake that you remember is my Animagus form," he said, and after seeing the question written all over Harry's face, he started to explain. "A trained witch or wizard is able to transform themselves into an animal. A person who can perform such a thing is called an Animagus. My Animagus form is a small black snake."

"Can you show me?"

"Sorry, but not right now. The risk of someone watching us is too high right now, maybe later."

Harry asked himself where the problem with that lay but let it slip when Salazar continued.

"But now I'm asking myself how you could even remember that because you were only three months old at that time, and secondly how did you even know it was me?" Salazar asked a bit confused.

Harry now looked sheepishly at his shoes.

"It is one of the very few things I remember from that time, the time before I was left here in this hell," he replied while glaring at the house. "Most memories are blurred, and the only thing I remember clearly is holding a small black snake and it asking me to be let down as it wasn't very comfortable with how I was holding it. As to how I connected the snake to you I don't know how to explain it properly. It's just that you have some kind of…. well for the lack of a better term…aura around you. In fact, quite a few people I met so far had such an aura but no two people have the same exact aura. You and this snake, on the other hand, you have the same aura, and it seems…. familiar to me."

The more Salazar heard, the more fascinated and astonished he became by Harry.

"That's really fascinating, and I'd like to hear more about this but…" Salazar took a glance at his pocket-watch. "Damned!"

They had been talking for over half an hour now, and the longer it took for Salazar to convince Harry to go with him the higher the risk of getting busted was.

"I'm sorry, but time is working against us in this case."

Upon hearing this Harry got worried and even nearly started to panic again. This was one of the most normal conversations – if not the most normal conversation, well what one could consider normal when magic was involved anyway – he had within a very long time, and he didn't want it to stop. He didn't want it to become morning when he would get shouted at again, be beaten to near unconsciousness and have to do all the chores in the house, but he didn't dare hope that anything would change.

To be precise, he gave up hope a long time ago because nobody had ever cared about him. Not the teachers, not childcare, hell even the police didn't care! And that was that they had been here several times after Harry had cried loud enough that the neighbours could hear him. But every time he was locked away unconscious in his small cupboard beneath the stairs, and every time the police came and went without a clue about what had happened. Afterwards, he was beaten like there was no tomorrow and after some time he had resigned himself to never escaping the hellhole that was Number 4 Privet Drive as no one cared whether he lived or died, except the Dursley's. They would be ecstatic that the Freak was dead and no longer a blight upon their perfectly normal lives; Hell, it seemed to him that they actually were trying to kill him. The one time he managed to escape he was brought back the next day. He never did find out how they had found him.

This time it was the same. Harry didn't dare to hope that this man, who could perform magic and had appeared to him like a miracle, would take him away from his abusive family. He didn't dare to hope that he would ever get out of there, so he didn't expect what happened next.

"There is a reason why I came to you Harry, I wanted to ask you whether you would like to come and live with me," Salazar told him.

Harry was completely flabbergasted. He opened and closed his mouth like a fish multiple times not knowing what to say. This couldn't be real, Harry thought. He was probably laying in his cupboard and dreaming of a handsome man coming up to him telling him that magic was real and then taking him with him. So, he hit himself in an attempt to wake up.

"What are you doing that for?" Salazar asked with a confused expression upon his face.

"I'm trying to wake up. This can't be real," Harry stated dryly.

"I can confirm that this is no dream, but we are running out of time. I'm sorry but the longer we take, the higher the chance we get caught, and I assume that you would like that as much as I would."

Harry sighed. His cheek still hurt where he hit himself, but it didn't wake him up as he suspected, so either this was a very vivid dream he couldn't wake up from, or it was as Salazar claimed, not a dream but in fact real.

"But how can I be sure that it wouldn't be worse if I were to go with you? I mean I barely know you after all."

Harry knew that it was highly improbable that it would be worse than living with the Dursleys. He also didn't want to ask this question because he feared that it would scare off the man, but he asked before he could even think about it.

Now it was Salazar's turn to sigh. He knew that was a hard question to answer, a question he feared to answer. How could one assure a young boy that it would be better to come with them? That one wasn't worse than the ones he knew? But then he got an idea. He took out his wand before he spoke.

"I swear on my magic and my life, that I will never hurt you physically on purpose."

With that, he and his wand emitted a slight golden shimmer before it faded away. He thought about adding mentally too but he refrained from it because he knew that having a disagreement about something also could hurt someone mentally so this would eventually backfire and that was not something he wanted.

"What was that?" Harry was impressed.

"That Harry, was a magical oath. It means that if I ever hurt you I either lose my ability to use magic or in the worst case, I'll die."

Harry could only sit there with an open mouth staring at Salazar. Deep inside he knew that what the man said was true, and when he really thought about it he had trusted him a long time before that, but the oath was the icing on the cake. So, the only thing he could do in response was to nod. Yes, he wanted to go with that stranger. That stranger that did more for him within an hour than anyone else ever had throughout his whole life. He could feel how the little spark of hope which he thought had become extinct a long time ago, blossomed into a small flame. The promise of a better home, and a life without getting hurt. He jumped up.

"I want to come with you, Mr Slytherin! I can do the chores, I'm able to cook, and I don't require much space, nor food, or anything else really, and I'm also quiet. It will be like I'm not there at all!" Harry listed. He wanted to show Salazar that he was worth being taken and that he wouldn't be a burden.

Salazar looked at him like he was an alien but then it began to dawn on him what Harry's exclamation was about.

"Harry, I don't want to take you with me because of that. You would never be a burden to me. Never. There is a completely different reason as to why I want you to live with me, but I think it's better to show you that than tell you about it because it's even harder to believe then the fact that magic exists," Salazar explained but he saw that Harry didn't believe him. Well, time would have to show him that Salazar would never expect him to do something like chores.

"But before we go I have a little present for you."

With that, he retrieved the little wooden box from the pocket of his jacket and handed it over to Harry. Harry opened it and looked with awe at the bracelet lying on green velvet made out of pure silver with small symbols all over it. He could feel the power radiating from it.

"This bracelet is enchanted to protect you from detection. Sadly, some individuals want you to stay with your aunt and uncle…badly…and they would do everything in their power to accomplish that. They can also trace you through magic, but as long as you wear this bracelet you are hidden from them, do you understand?"

This was the second critical point in his plan. If the boy refused to wear the bracelet, then he had a problem because then there was no way for him to take Harry undetected.

"It's beautiful. Are you sure I can keep it? It looks quite expensive," Harry carefully wandered his fingers over the small symbols. The thing about being traced through magic made sense to him because it would explain why he found himself back in the care of his relatives within one day after running away.

"I am sure. In fact, it was made only for you."

So, Harry put the bracelet on his left wrist. He was a bit disappointed upon seeing that it was too big for him, but Salazar simply smiled, took out his wand, and touched one of the symbols with the tip. The symbol lit up and the bracelet shrunk down to the right size. Harry smiled and started to caress it. He never got anything that was only meant for him, so he decided to never take it off again.

"It will grow with you so that it's always the right size to fit you," Salazar explained with a smile upon seeing how the boy looked at his present.

Suddenly the light in one of the windows on the first floor went on.

"We should hurry up before someone comes down. My car is on the other side of the street," and with that, they both left.

On the way to his car, Salazar lifted the silencing charm and cast a delayed stinging hex at the dog which would take effect once the stunner wore off. With a smile, he got into the car, waited until Harry also got in, and then drove off, hopefully never having to see Privet Drive ever again.

 


 

They drove for a while, Harry silently staring out of the window watching the landscape fly by, lost in thought while playing with his bracelet.

It wasn't until they had halfway to Salazar's house that he finally spoke up.

"Where are we driving to?" he asked curiously.

"London. I have a nice little house in the centre of London, which is where we'll be staying. I also have a mansion outside of London even a few in different countries, but for now we'll live in London," Salazar explained.

"Okay, I'm a bit confused at the moment though. You told me magic is real and all but you drive an ordinary car. Don't wizards and witches have fancy travelling methods like flying carpets or brooms?"

Salazar started to laugh. When he thought about it, the last two hours he spent with Harry he had laughed more than within the last century, genuinely laughed at least. Sure, when someone made a joke, he laughed because it was expected of him, but he didn't really feel it. Even his smiles rarely reached his eyes lately, but with Harry it was different. He didn't feel like the old man he was anymore, and life was fun again. He had to admit that he needed the boy as much as Harry needed him.

"Sure, we have flying brooms and carpets, though the latter are banned in England by law, and many other ways to travel too, but sometimes the mundane ways are much more convenient, especially if you travel around the mundane world. Like in this case, I had to observe you for a few days to find an opportunity to approach you. Yes, I could have just apparated straight into Privet Drive," upon seeing the slightly confused expression on Harry's face he decided to elaborate further. "Apparition is like some kind of teleportation only a bit more complex. But if I were to apparate then I would have to make sure that the area I wanted to apparate to is empty, or otherwise, I might get stuck within an object which would be inconvenient at best, and I also would have to make sure nobody sees me. Wizards and witches are prohibited from performing magic in front of mundane people and therefore revealing magic to them, unless it is absolutely necessary and can't be avoided like in dangerous situations, is forbidden.

"I would also have to set up a place from where I could observe the house while warding it against things like weather, being seen, and so on. But then there was the problem that there wasn't much space where I could have stayed without the risk that someone bumped into me while being invisible. You also have to take into account that the more wards you have to maintain, the more you get magically drained. But with the car, once I had parked on the opposite side of the street, I only had to put up a disillusionment charm to be invisible so that nobody grows suspicious about why I was observing the house, and that's it. Weather wouldn't concern me, and there would be no risk of someone bumping into me. Also, nobody pays attention to an ordinary empty car parked in the most mundane road of the world," Salazar explained.

Harry carefully listened to every word that Salazar had said while observing the landscape changing from fields and forests, to small villages. He was eager to learn anything and everything about magic and the magical world, but now his head was spinning. It was extraordinarily late or rather early since it was way past 4 a.m. now. He neither slept long nor very well the night before, and now he was tired. The constant driving didn't make it better. So, it was no wonder that a few minutes later he was fast asleep. Salazar smiled while driving back home, their home. From now on things could only get better.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: A New Home

 

It was twenty minutes later when Salazar finally drove up to his house in London. Salazar quickly parked the car, unbuckled his seatbelt, and got out of the car before going around to the passenger side to get Harry who was fast asleep. Salazar didn't want to wake him up, so he carefully unbuckled the child's seatbelt before he carefully picked him up, Harry protested slightly with incoherent mumbles at being moved before wrapping his arms around Salazar's neck and snuggling into the side of his neck. Salazar quietly locked the car making sure not to jostle Harry too much before entering the house with Harry in his arms. Once inside the entrance hall, James came towards them looking like he hadn't slept at all.

"Is everything alright, Sir?" James asked with a low voice.

"Yes," Salazar replied with a small smile while looking at Harry "He's only tired. He was chased out of the house by a vicious dog and up a tree where he was about to sleep before I came," Salazar explained with a frown while he carefully walked up the stairs in order not wake Harry.

Reaching the first floor, he went to the bedroom on the right, opposite of his own, opened the door, and carefully laid down the boy onto the bed. After that, he took out his wand, vanished the clothes the Harry wore (except the underwear), cleaned him up as good as possible, and then put some pyjamas on him. Pleased with the result and that Harry hadn't woken up in the process he pulled the blanket over him. Lastly, he cast a small charm on the bed that was supposed to alert him when the boy woke up so that he could look after him because Harry didn't know where he was and was therefore likely to be confused when he woke up.

With one last smile, he left Harry's new bedroom and silently closed the door behind him. Outside in the corridor, James was waiting for him.

"He sleeps. I suggest we let him sleep until he wakes up by himself but no longer than noon so that his sleep-wake cycle doesn't get messed. I also put up a monitoring charm that will alarm me when he wakes up."

"Very well. I assume you want to be the one to wake Harry then?"

"Yes it would be better since he knows me," with that, Salazar started to yawn widely. "I'll go to bed too. It has been a long day."

"Then I'll retreat too, Sir. Good night."

After another yawn, Salazar went into his own bedroom got changed and was fast asleep once his head hit the pillow.

 


 

Salazar felt like he had slept only for five minutes when he was awoken by a scream and the buzzing of the monitoring charm. With a quick glance at the clock on his bedside table, he saw that it was shortly after nine in the morning. He quickly got up and left his bedroom to go to Harry. Outside in the corridor, he met an alarmed James, He nodded to him before knocking on Harry's door and entering.

The bed was empty, so Salazar looked around the room before he finally spotted the boy cowering in a corner behind an armchair, knees pulled up to his chin and curled up in the blanket Salazar had put on him the night before. Salazar slowly went up to Harry and knelt down opposite him, but Harry only seemed to tense up even more at this action.

"Harry it's alright, everything's okay," he said in a calm voice. "Try to remember what happened last night."

Harry peered up at him cautiously doing as the man suggested when the memories finally hit him. He remembered talking to that man, Salazar, and that he had gone with him because he had promised him a better life. The memory visibly calmed him down before he started to panic again when he saw the sun shining through the curtains.

`What time is it? I have to hurry up and make breakfast and clean up the house, or he'll get mad…´ Harry thought before jumping up and running around the room like a headless chicken.

"Harry," Salazar called out him, but the boy didn't stop panicking. He sighed while getting up from his knees. This would prove tiresome, the Dursleys had really done a number on the boy.

"Harry!" he called out again this time a bit louder before he caught him by the shoulders.

"Please, you have to calm down. Everything's alright. I know you're scared because you woke up in a strange bed in an unfamiliar room, but panicking doesn't help you any," Salazar looked into the boy's eyes.

"But I have to make breakfast, and…."Harry started to ramble before he was interrupted by Salazar.

"No, you don't have to do anything like that anymore. I have servants to do those duties, and you are definitely not one of them. The only thing I would like you to do right now is to take a long hot bath to calm down, okay? Take your time I'll wait right here for you. When you're done I'll show you the house, and we'll get some breakfast," he said with a smile. "How does that sound to you, hmmm," Salazar asked still smiling at the boy

"Okay," Harry who had calmed down a bit by now but didn't really look convinced, nodded his head in acceptance of the terms before Salazar opened the door to the bathroom and let the Harry in to take a bath.

 “As I said I’ll wait in your bedroom. You don’t have to hurry, take all the time you need.”

Harry entered the bathroom with Salazar and took a look around. The room was huge, nothing in comparison to the room he woke up in, but huge nonetheless. The whole living room of Private Drive No. 4 would fit in here. On his right side was a large mirror covering the entire wall with a large placement area beneath it also going over the entire length of the wall. In the middle of the wall a sink was inserted and in one of the edges lay a stack of clean white towels in different sizes. On the other side of the room was the toilet behind the door and a bathtub next to it lowered into the floor and in a size Harry had never seen before. A bit larger and Harry could comfortably swim in it.

Salazar quietly and patiently explained how to turn the keys on the tub to Harry so he could adjust the water temperature on his own, before setting the water to a base temperature of warm for Harry.

"I get to take a Hot Shower?" Harry asked in wonder "I only ever got to take a cold one at the Dursley's as Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon didn't want me infecting them with my 'freakishness' and it was usually only three minutes. I couldn't even use shampoo or conditioner. Apparently it was too good for a freak like me. When I finished I had to scrub the entire bathroom. Even then a shower was only once every two weeks, I usually had to use the hose outside when I was working in the garden and make sure the Dursley's didn't see me using it when I was getting too dirty."

Salazar mentally growled at this and swore those monsters would pay. This was just another item to add to their list of crimes.

"Yes Harry, you get to take a hot shower, that's why I showed you how to work the keys, so you could make it as hot or as cold as you like. I expect you to wash yourself well and use shampoo and conditioner. As I said before, I'll wait for you to finish in your bedroom. You don't have to hurry, take all the time you need or want."

After Harry nodded again, Salazar left the bathroom and closed the door behind him.

 


 

Salazar sighed once again before he went to one of the armchairs and sat down.

"Nice to know that you only see me as a servant," James chuckled leaning against the doorframe.

"You know that this isn't true," he retorted. "Those monsters hardly ever let him shower, and when they did it had to be cold and three minutes or less and they made him scrub the ENTIRE bathroom afterwards," he growled out before massaging his temples with his fingertips.

Salazar had slept for only about four hours and the night before, and this was after a 23-hour day of observation, talking with Harry and later driving back to London, well to put it simply he wasn't in the mood for jokes at the moment. James saw that too.

"But it seems that the Dursleys really did a number on Harry if anything I just saw and heard from him was any indication."

"My thoughts exactly. Only time will show the boy that living with us will be nothing like being with…them. Hopefully, he'll learn this soon," he said as he unsuccessfully tried to stifle a yawn.

"I think I'd better get you a potion against fatigue before you collapse where you are," James said amused.

"Alright," he said with another yawn "And I really should get changed…" Salazar answered remembering that he was only wearing his pyjama pants, so he went to his bedroom to change just to return to Harry's room shortly after.

 


 

Harry took a closer look around the bathroom after Salazar had left and noticed that the wall behind the tub was covered with a picture of a beach with palms and clear blue water, but wait did that picture just move? Small waves rolled onto the beach, and the palms seemed to seesaw in the wind. He stopped staring at the picture and shook his head, not wanting to think about that at the moment. Salazar had said he should take a bath and he didn't want to disappoint him, so he undressed and got into the swimming pool sized tub.

Upon touching the water he started to relax, Salazar had set it for him at the perfect temperature. For a few minutes, he just sat there not wanting to think about anything. Not about the Dursleys and his life with them, not about what happened the night before and most definitely not about the possibility of all this being a dream he would wake from eventually, upon which he would be back in his small dark cupboard. No, he emptied his mind entirely and just floated on the water eyes closed.

He didn't know how long he was just floating there when someone knocked on the door. That startled him quite a bit, so he ended up flailing a bit and getting water in his lungs so he started to cough. Meanwhile, Salazar who had heard Harry coughing entered the bathroom.

"Is everything alright?" he asked worriedly.

"Yes, you just startled me," Harry replied before an anxious look appeared on his face. He didn't want to get out of the tub it felt so nice and warm, and it smelled of wood and forest. He wanted to stay there forever not facing the world ever again. The world, which took so much and never gave anything in return.

"Are you sure everything is ok?" seeing Harry drifting away from him to the other side of the tub didn't calm him down.

"I…I…" Harry didn't know what to say because he had never been allowed to speak up or express his feelings and when he did, he was beaten. But upon seeing the questioning look on Salazar's face, he gathered all his courage and spoke a single sentence.

"I don't want to get out of here…" the last word was just a whisper; Harry replied while ducking down into the tub, so only his eyes and nose were above the water

"Oh, is that what frightens you? That I would force you to get out?" Harry nodded, but Salazar smiled softly. "I told you to take your time, and while I'd prefer that you'd come out sometime soon, I would never force you to do something you don't want. The tub is enchanted so that the water won't cool down, so it's perfectly fine with me if you stay in there. The only downside would be that downstairs in the kitchen a nice warm breakfast is waiting for you, but you probably don't want to eat if you want to stay in here forever…" Salazar said the last line in a teasing tone while smirking at Harry.

Upon hearing that there was breakfast waiting for him Harry's stomach started to growl loudly which made him look down in shame, a bright blush on his cheeks, but Salazar only smiled. So, he picked up one of the large towels from the stack and placed it next to the tub.

"I'll go and get you some clothes so that you can get dressed."

With that, he left the bathroom, went to the chest of drawers in the room and took out a pair of boxers and socks. After that, he went to the wardrobe and took out a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a sweater. All brand-new things James bought a few days earlier. He brought all the clothing he had gathered for Harry into the bathroom and placed it on the toilet lid.

"I'll wait outside," he said throwing a smile to harry before exiting

 


 

Salazar sat in the armchair that gave him the best view for him to watch the bathroom door. Several minutes later Harry came out hair still dripping slightly wearing the clothes Salazar had brought him. The sweater and the t-shirt were the right sizes, along with the socks. However the jeans were a bit too large, but that was no problem. Salazar stood up and went over to Harry while taking out his wand. Harry eyed him warily while he taped the jeans with his wand, which caused them to instantly shrink to the right size.

"That's better, isn't it?" Harry nodded. "Good, next to your bed is a pair of slippers for you."

Harry hurried to get them and now stood next to Salazar eagerly waiting. They both left the room, and on the way to the kitchen, Salazar explained which room was which.

"Right opposite of your room is mine," he pointed on the door on the other side. "To the left and right of the stairs are two other smaller bedrooms which are currently unused. We are at the moment on the first floor. The second floor contains the library; well, in fact, the whole second floor is the library. If you like, we can go there later, and I'll show you everything." Salazar told him after seeing the gleam in Harry's eyes. "But I would ask you not to try to enter the separated part of the library. Besides it is nearly impossible to enter, it contains books which are dangerous."

"You mean they contain dangerous information?" Harry raised an eyebrow.

"No. I mean the books themselves are dangerous. Some are enchanted to attack anyone who doesn't know how to handle them, or others if read too long might drive the reader crazy. That's why they are in a secluded and heavily warded area so that no one can get to them. As to the dangerous information, I'm of the firm opinion that information and knowledge itself is neither dangerous nor dark or bad. It is what you do with it that makes it dark or light. This also includes power," he explained.

Harry warily eyed the stairs to the second floor, but Salazar smiled.

"As long as you don't try to get in there, which should be impossible for you anyway, you will be fine. Every other book in the library is harmless, only perhaps too advanced for you to read or written in a language you don't understand."

After giving the stairs to the second floor one last longing glance, Harry followed Salazar downstairs. Yes, he could see himself spending a long time in the library if he was allowed, but up until now, it didn't sound to him that he wouldn't be allowed to do so if he pleased. Only the secluded area seemed to be forbidden to him, but after hearing what kind of books were in there, he didn't know whether he even wanted to go near it.

Upon reaching the ground floor, Harry looked around. He stood in a nearly round room, the stairs in the middle, and opposite him was a hallway leading to a pair of richly ornated double doors with a semi-circular window above, so he assumed it was the entrance door. The walls were covered with dark red-brown wood panels in the lower half and a light beige silk-like wallpaper on the upper half, the same as it on the first floor. A few pictures hung on the wall with either moving people or landscapes with moving animals.

"To the right in the front of you is my study, while on the left is the drawing room. To your left in the back is the dining room but it's usually only used when I have guests. Otherwise, I normally eat in the kitchen which is also to the back left," Salazar continued his explanations while rounding the stairs and heading for the kitchen.

Harry looked around astonished when his view fell on the wood panel surrounding the backside of the stairs. He felt magic radiating from it. Well, the whole house radiated magic, but that was something else.

Salazar stopped when he noticed that Harry wasn't following him anymore and looked at the boy.

"Oh, I should have known. You can feel the magic radiating from that area, can't you?" Salazar asked slightly bemused after Harry nodded he continued. "This is the entrance to the cellar. It is the only other area in this house I ask you not to try and enter. It isn't that it's dangerous down there, but I've established a place for certain special magic down there, which can be easily disturbed. Someday I might show it to you, but for now, please refrain from trying to go down there."

Harry nodded again before he followed Salazar into the kitchen thinking about what he had learned so far. Special areas for certain magic, books attacking people, moving pictures…it was a lot and now his head had started buzzing again, but he let it go for now and sat at the large table in the kitchen opposite of Salazar when a small figure entered the room. It looked strange, perhaps about three feet high, a bald head, big pointy ears and huge round eyes, it's body was slim and quite skinny, it also wore some kind of green dress which went to its knees.

"This is Blinky, he's a house-elf. House-elves are magically bound to a person, family or magical building, and have to obey every order given to them by their respective owner," Salazar started to explain.

"So they're slaves?" Harry was shocked about that.

"Technically yes, and sadly most wizards treat them as such," Salazar said with a sad look on his face. "But there's a reason for the bond. Once they were a proud and independent magical race, but one day, it must have been about 700 years ago now, a disease spread within their community. Originally, they drew their power from the earth itself, and they needed it to live, but the disease blocked that way of drawing magic. In their desperation, they searched for other sources of magic, and they hadn't been successful until one elf accidentally bonded with a wizard. The other elves saw this as a method of survival, so they too started to bond with wizards and witches and their magical cores to draw on their magic to survive."

"So, you're telling me Blinky here is living because he's drawing on your magic? Isn't that weakening you?" Harry asked curiously.

"No, not really. A house-elf only draws a minimal amount to survive and for keeping up their magic. It's only a small piece compared to the amount an ordinary witch or wizard contains. It's quite likely for wealthy witches and wizards to obtain more than one elf."

"But hasn't the disease been healed? I mean it's been a very long time since the outbreak…"

"Sure, after about two hundred years the disease was extinct and had died out, but now there was another problem. The elves had grown so dependent on the magic from wizards that they didn't remember how to draw energy from the earth anymore, and so ever since then it's been like that, the elves bonded to a witch or wizard dependent on their magic to survive. The problem is that most wizards abuse their dependency towards them and treat them like slaves. I've never been fond of that so I've always treated my elves like I would want to be treated, and I would ask that you do the same, they are living sentient beings after all. But there is one rule about house-elves you always have to remember. Never, under any circumstances, give them clothes. The only way you set an elf free is to directly give them an article of clothing, which means they are no longer bonded to you. While you can't free the elf of another person that way, you should still remember it in case you have an elf of your own one day," Salazar explained.

"How come Blinky wears some kind of dress then?"

Salazar smiled about that. "Well, we found a nice workaround to that rule. I never gave him the dress directly, I only allow him to wear it. Technically, the dress is still in my possession, and Blinky and Trixy, my other house-elf, don't have to wear something crude like pillowcases or rags as many others have to without being freed."

Harry watched the elf bustle around the kitchen preparing breakfast while humming lowly. He – or is it a she? Harry didn't know – seemed to be happy, nothing like what he expected a slave to be, and definitely not how he felt when his relatives treated him like one. But it showed him that Salazar treated them well, even if everyone else didn't…and he didn't seem to think less of them only because they were his servants. At that moment it didn't look like anything special to Harry, but later on when he would think back to that point he would have to admit that this scene, Salazar's outright refusal to treat the elves like slaves, but as the living sentient beings they were, was the one point that convinced him to fully trust him.

Harry was torn from his thoughts when the elf placed a plate with food in front of him and one before Salazar. On his plate were three pieces of bacon, two small sausages, scrambled egg and two slices of buttered toast. He had never had such a rich breakfast before. With the Dursleys, he would be happy enough if he could get a dry slice of toast, and if he was fortunate a sausage. They didn't outright starve him, but they had always said that food was too good to waste on him and so he only got the bare minimum required for him to survive and function.

He took a bite out of the scrambled egg and was shocked, they were the best he had ever tried. Even he couldn't make them this delicious, and he had plenty of experience making them and other dishes because he had to cook thrice a day ever since he was old enough to hold a pan. He just had to get the recipe.

They both ate silently, Harry was halfway through his breakfast – and actually quite full already but the meal was just so good that he didn't want to stop eating now and waste the rest of this delicious food – when Salazar spoke up.

"There is something I'd like to discuss with you."

Harry, who finally couldn't eat another bite, pushed his plate to the side and nodded.

"Well it's actually two things, but they count as one, I know your relatives didn't treat you well and that you had to suffer from injuries and other things," he carefully started. "This is why I would like you to get checked out by a healer."

"A healer? You mean something like a doctor?" Harry asked, his head was cocked slightly to the side, and his emerald eyes were brimming with curiosity

"Hmm…yes kind of a doctor, but a magical one, and a bit more advanced. For example, they don't need huge machines to look inside you, and their healing methods are faster and mostly painless."

"Sounds good to me, and what was the second thing?" Harry replied while thinking about it.

"I mentioned this last night actually, remember that I told you that there might be spells on you to track you, correct?" Harry nodded. "The second thing I would like to ask from you is to not only get checked out by the healer but also by a good friend of mine to see whether you have any spells on you or not. While the tracking spells are suppressed by the bracelet I gave you there might be other spells which might harm you or do other things we don't know of yet," Salazar explained.

Harry's expression quickly became worried upon hearing that. Spells to track him wherever he was were bad enough as it was, but spells which could hurt him? No, he didn't like that one bit.

"Can you remove those spells?" he asked tentatively.

Salazar smiled. "I wouldn't dare attempt to remove them by myself because it isn't my field of expertise and something might go wrong, but the friend I mentioned is one of the best in removing spells and such. That is why I would like for him to check you over together with the healer.”

Harry sighed in relief. "As long as I get rid of that stuff I'll gladly meet your friend and the healer. When will the meeting be?"

"I'll send Trixy to ask them if it's possible for them to come in two hours so that you can rest a bit more."

"I'm more likely want to talk to you a bit because I have some questions…if that's okay with you…" he asked sheepishly.

"Alright, I only thought that since you hadn't slept very much last night, you would be more inclined to sleep a bit more. So, for the meeting: Trixy!" Salazar called out.

A second elf appeared in front of them smiling and eagerly awaiting orders.

"What can Trixy do for her master?"

"I'd like you to go to Ms Pye and Mr Reichard to set up a meeting in two hours to get Harry checked out thoroughly here at the house."

"As you wish, Sir." With a pop, the elf vanished.

"So, that's that. I have an idea, why don't we go and sit in the library to talk. It seemed to me that you eagerly wanted to see more of that part of the house, and I can show you a few things while we're at it."

He saw how Harry's eyes brightened up on that suggestion, yes, the library was a good idea he mused. So both Harry and Salazar got up and left the kitchen, but before going to the stairs, Salazar quickly went into his study to fetch a scroll. After that, they both went up to the second floor. When they reached it, Harry stopped and looked around with eyes and mouth both wide open, before rotating on the spot. Yes, Salazar had mentioned that the whole second floor was a library, but he only assumed it was a room with a few shelves and a small corner with chairs and a table to sit at but most definitely not this.

The part he could see was huge, and the whole house of the Dursleys would fit in here. It must cover the entire base area of the house, and he knew that this was a massive house from what he had seen so far. But the library didn't stop at that. No, at about four metres high was a balcony that was about five metres wide and went around the whole room. He could see that on one side of the balcony couches and armchairs were positioned around tables just the right height to work at. The other three sides of the balcony were full of shelves as it was on the lower floor he stood at the moment. Above that was the roof from which a vast crystal chandelier hung in the centre illuminating the entire room.

Harry mentally shook himself out of his shocked stupor and went to take a closer look around. Everywhere stood wooden shelves about three metres tall full with books on both sides. Big ones, small ones, leather, paperback, old ones, new ones, he didn't know where to look first. The local library of Little Whinging would be really envious if it could see this sight. He strolled around a bit further until he reached a cage-like construct in the back-left corner.

‘That would be the area Salazar warned me about,’ he mused before he jumped back because one of the books in there started to rattle.

"Wow, I've never seen an amount of books this huge and all in one place. Not even in the city library where I went once. How do you find the book you need?" he asked curiously.

Salazar who had followed him the entire time laughed before he went to the next shelf and pointed at a tag on the side which read Magical History and the number 38 A on the right, and B on the left.

"The entire library is sorted by topic and further broken down by alphabetical order in each topic. This shelf, for example, contains books about Magical History. The shelves themselves are also numbered because some topics need more than one shelf. Besides that, there are two books, one at each work area, for an index search. Come with me, I'll show you."

With that, Salazar went around some shelves to another area with couches, chairs and tables in front of a fireplace. On a wooden bookstand lay a small book with a leather cover, but which when Salazar opened it Harry saw, was empty.

"You just have to state the keyword you are searching for like a person, an event, or something the like, and the book lists every book in this library that mentions the keyword you asked for, where to find those books, and the page the keyword is found at. The more precise you ask, the more precise the results you'll get. For example Hogwarts," he said to the book. A second later, half of the book was filled with books that contained the key-word "Hogwarts" together with the category and shelf number they were found on as well as a series of numbers, which seemed to be the page numbers.

"See? Only asking for Hogwarts; which is a magical school, by the way, gives you hundreds of results because it's way too general. But look what happens now: Hogwarts and its headmasters of the last 100 years," he stated this time, and now there were only seven results together with the same listing as before.

"Oh, and in case you don't know where one of the shelves is there's a plan which hangs above the stands. I have books here in this library about the most magical topics you can come up with, as well as a lot of mundane books regarding science, history and general literature alike, and what you don't find here you might find in the libraries of one of my other houses. But you said you have questions so let's sit down and talk," he said while he went to one of the couches and sat down.

"Blinky!" the elf appeared. "Would you please bring us some tea?" the elf nodded and disappeared. "So then, ask you questions."

Harry followed him and sat on the chair opposite, thinking about what he had learned since he met Salazar. There were many questions he would like to ask, but he settled for the two most urgent ones for now.

"First I'd like to know more about my parents. You told me last night you knew them, and since I never really had the opportunity to get to know them…. The second thing I want to know for now is what you meant when you said that there was a different reason why you wanted to take me with you and that you would have to show me something because I wouldn't believe it otherwise."

"Hmmm, I think it best if I start at the beginning in this case and tell you everything that happened between the first time I caught attention of your parents and the day they died, which should answer both questions. But before I start, I have to tell you something. Everything that I will tell you now, and also in the future, is the truth. I will let you know now that the one thing which I absolutely hate, is lies. I might not tell you everything I know all the time but what I tell is always the truth. But I also should warn you because one can twist the words in ways so that what is told isn't exactly a lie but covers the truth in a way that you don't get it when you don't listen very closely."

Harry now looked worried. He knew that, hell he has used that trick himself once or twice before to cover up a mistake he made, or more likely him performing magic accidentally. Nevertheless, he didn't think he was up to it now, but Salazar smiled.

"You don't have to worry. For now, I'll just tell you the plain truth, but in the future, you'll have to learn to sort out the truth hidden behind too many words. I think you'll understand why that will be necessary when I have finished."

That calmed him down a bit.

"Okay, so, starting from the beginning…" Salazar mused while he thought about how and where to start.

"Well, it all started about a few months before you were born. I was stalking Albus Dumbledore because I had learned that he was up to something," Salazar began telling the tale before he got interrupted by Harry.

"Albus Dumbledore?" Harry asked.

"Ah yes, sorry, wait just a minute, I'll be right back." with that Salazar stood up and went to one of the shelves looking at it before taking out a large book out and flicking through it. Once he reached a particular page, he gave it to Harry. On the page was the picture of an old man with half-moon glasses on his nose, long white hair, and a long white beard. He looked like a kind grandfather to Harry with the way he smiled at him.

"This is Albus Dumbledore, at the moment he is the current headmaster of Hogwarts."

Harry took a look at the title of the book: “Hogwarts: A History.”

"As I said, Dumbledore was planning something, and I wanted to know what. You have to know it was dark times then. Tom Marvolo Riddle, also the so-called ‘Dark Lord’, or self-styled 'Lord Voldemort' had risen to power ten years earlier and now terrorised all of England. Nobody at that time dared to oppose him because he had many followers and everyone who didn't support him got murdered. Only Hogwarts was considered a safe place because Dumbledore was as powerful as Voldemort, and because of that, he never attempted to go there. But curiously enough Dumbledore also never tried to stop Voldemort like he did with another Dark Lord before him.

"Well that night ended up being special, Dumbledore was meeting with a woman called Sybill Trelawney. She called herself a seer, a person who can tell the future, but up until that night she was never any more accurate than you or I could be. But that night it was different. After drinking some tea with Dumbledore, she suddenly had a vision, a vision about a boy born at the end of July to a couple who had defied the Dark Lord three times before and who would defeat the Dark Lord."

Harry shuddered. "But I was born on the 31st of July."

Salazar sighed. "That is the sad truth as to why everything happened like it did. Let me continue, and you'll understand,"

"Dumbledore knew very well that your mother was pregnant at that time and that the estimated birthdate was around the end of July. It was fortunate for him because it fit perfectly into his plans. I later learned that he faked the whole prophecy for his so-called 'Greater Good' which is only a foul excuse for him to stay in the background and let someone else do his dirty work.

“After that he convinced your parents; who were devoted followers of him, to go into hiding. Before that they had worked as Aurors at the Ministry of Magic, these are a type of magical police who find and arrest people breaking the law. Your mother was a gorgeous woman, long red hair and bright green eyes…. I have an idea!"

He conjured up two pieces of paper, took out his wand, pointed at one of the papers, summoned up a picture of Lily in his mind, and then chanted a charm to invoke the image in his mind on the paper. Then he repeated it with the second piece of paper but with James' picture instead of Lily's. After that, he gave both pieces of paper to Harry.

Harry looked at the moving pictures before tears started to fill his eyes. This was the first time he got to see his parents.

"She was such a nice person, born to a mundane couple, she was the first witch within that family. Always friendly to everyone and helped where she could. She also was very hard to get angry, which was a good thing because at first, your dad was kind of a troublemaker. He was a pureblood wizard. At school, your father was in a group who called themselves 'The Marauders'. They always pranked people and were really quite troublesome, but after he married your mother, he settled down. He and his friend Sirius Black, who later also became your godfather, worked together as Aurors while your mother stopped working when she became pregnant and cared for the household instead. But before going into hiding, they had opposed Voldemort three times together.

“That is why Dumbledore centred his plans entirely on your parents and you.

“At first nothing seemed to happen, I observed your family for a few months before and after you were born. Well, that was until the day I got to meet you for the first time," Salazar took a short pause from his storytelling to drink some of the tea Blinky had brought some time ago before he continued talking.

"Yes, I remember the small black snake. You said it was your ani….something form…" Harry mused.

"Animagus form, yes."

"Can you show me, please? At Privet Drive you said you couldn't because someone could see it, but we're alone here," Harry put on some very effective puppy dog eyes causing Salazar to begin laughing before he shifted into his Animagus form.

"Wicked! Can I learn that too?" he asked with awe and curiosity.

Salazar shifted back. "Yes, sometime in the future you can learn that too, but I don't know what form you will have. You should know that everyone has a different kind. Your father, for example, was a stag, while Sirius was a big black hound resembling a grim; and before you ask a grim is a magical animal which many perceive to be an omen of death because most people who have seen one die. The Animagus form of your mother I actually don't know.

“But we've gotten a bit side-tracked. The day we met I learned that not only you are able to speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes, but something else made me suspicious. Your eyes, they were an even more vivid green than the ones of your mother, and on top of that, you gazed at me in a way that inclined you recognised me somehow without even knowing me. That was the day I decided that some research into your ancestry was long overdue, so I left you and your family in hopes that you would still be safe while I did the research. What I found out…well, see for yourself," Salazar said while he picked up the scroll he had brought with him and gave it to Harry.

Harry opened the tie and unfolded the parchment carefully. He was astonished, his whole ancestry from both his parents were on it, along with the birth and death date neatly written beneath everyone. Okay, not the entire lineage from his father's side because that seemed to include more than one entire family tree, but the part from his mother seemed complete, and it was here he stopped. He had to reread it several times. The whole part seemed to consist of only children who married into another family and then got only one child. This was the pattern except for the second to last row, where next to his mother stood his aunt. But what really shocked him was who stood on the very other end of that whole tree, and he now knew why Salazar wanted to show him this instead of only telling him because Harry was sure he wouldn't have believed him. Hell, he STILL couldn't believe it even now.

It read without any dates at all: Salazar Slytherin. Right next to it a name with the year 940 A.D.-1027 A.D. and a line from both of them going down to another name and the year 1009 A.D-1092 A.D.

Harry slumped backwards deeper into the chair, that couldn't be real, it was impossible. No one could be over a thousand years old. He was definitely dreaming, lying in his cupboard beneath the stairs back at Privet Drive. But then there was the bath, and all the food, which had all felt so real and made him want to believe that this wasn't a dream. His head was spinning, his thoughts continuously trying to decide what was real and what not. He had the feeling he had gone crazy.

Or that was a perfidious joke someone played on him. Yes, it had to be a prank; but then again who would come up with such a wide scale prank on him of all people, and what about those two moving pictures that were right now lying on the table before him. Nobody could fake such a thing, could they?

Salazar, on the other hand, saw the struggle within the boy and thought about another way to get him to believe that all this was real. He picked up the book he had used to show the boy an image of Dumbledore and once again flicked through it until he found the page he was looking for before he gave it to Harry who was still in shock.

"Harry, look at that page, it should give you some evidence that the scroll isn't a fake," he said softly.

Harry mechanically nodded and did as he was told to. On the page was a picture of an older Salazar Slytherin but it resembled him very well. Beneath it was a short text, which said that there was no known birth or death date of him. It also stated that he was a founder of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the 10th century.

"But that's impossible, you would be over thousand years old by now. Nobody gets that old, and you told me my maternal grandparents were mundane people, but you're most definitely a wizard!" Harry exclaimed his head spinning more and more.

Salazar chuckled.

"Oh I'm much, much, older than that, but that will remain my secret for some time I'm afraid. And to why I'm a wizard while your grandmother was not despite being my descendant, that is a sad story. My grandson Alaric swore a magical oath like the one I swore to you, but he broke it and therefore lost his magic and became a squib, a person born to magical parents while having no magic themselves. Over the centuries I thought that the magic of the line had worn off completely, but it seems it only was dormant until the aftereffect of the broken oath wore off. It started with your mother, which is primarily shown through her green eyes. No one else in that whole lineage had those green eyes after Alaric, and I think you are the first who would be able to access the complete power of your family line in a very long time.

“You are my 33rd generation great-grandson."

Harry didn't know what to say. He just sat there staring at the man in front of him.

"Shall I continue with what happened after I left or do you want to take a break?" Salazar asked

Harry thought about taking a small break to wrap his head around all the new and impossible information he had learned when suddenly an elf appeared and told them that the expected visitors had arrived. So taking a break and getting his thoughts in order would have to wait.

He had to think about all the information, and the medical examination seemed to be an excellent opportunity. So, they both got up and went downstairs not expecting what would be revealed soon.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: An Unexpected Result

 

Harry and Salazar were on the stairs going down to the ground floor when Harry asked a question out of curiosity.

"I just had a thought, if you're really over a thousand years old why don't you lift the spells on me? I mean, wouldn't it be better if you were to lift those spells off of me? You should have much more knowledge about it so why don't you do it?" Harry asked slightly curious and confused.

Upon hearing those questions, Salazar started to laugh.

"I'll answer those questions with another one. Who do you think is more qualified? A person who read a thousand books about a topic but performed the things described in it only a few times when he had to, or the person who only read a few books but performs those things hundreds of times in a single year, and even then, practices and hones their craft over decades?"

Harry thought about that. "When you put it that way I'd prefer the person who has practical experience over the one who only has knowledge from books."

"See? You just answered your own questions, that is exactly why I let my friend Mr Reichard do things like this. I might have a millennia's worth of knowledge on many subjects, but this is a field of magic I rarely use or even come in contact with. Even less so when it comes to a person instead of objects."

They reached the ground floor and went into the drawing room from wherein Harry could hear two voices, a female and a male. They entered the room, on the right stood a man who looked to be in his mid-50's, and on the left a woman who seemed to be a bit younger than the man but not by much.

"Hello, and thank you for coming. Harry this is Mr Reichard and Ms Pye. Mr Reichard, Ms Pye this is my relative that I was telling you about; Harry Potter," Salazar introduced everyone.

If not in detail they at least now knew Salazar and Harry were related.

"Hello Harry, nice to meet you," Ms Pye greeted the boy with a smile before Mr Reichard did the same.

"Nice to meet you too," Harry greeted in return a bit shyly.

"How about a nice cup of tea before you get to work?" Salazar asked

"You Brits and your tea," Reichard laughed.

"Well, it's better than that black water you call coffee!" Pye retorted. "But I wouldn't say no to a nice black tea," she said with a slight smile

Both men started to laugh, and Harry also snickered.

"Blinky! Would you please make some tea for us?" Salazar asked

"As master wishes," and with that Blinky disappeared as fast as he had appeared.

"So, I see your opinion towards elves hasn't changed," Sylvia stated.

"You know my reasoning, and I know for a fact that you don't think any different."

Sylvia grinned. "That's why I'm relieved to see that you haven't changed."

They all sat down and started to talk about several different things. Mostly about recent events but also about magic. Harry meanwhile sat with them listening carefully to their conversation while sipping his tea. He didn't understand much of was talked about, but it really seemed interesting, especially when the topic switched to potions. To Harry, it sounded like a different and more advanced version of cooking but with more powerful the results. He swore to himself he would look up how to make potions as soon as he had the time. For now, he just listened, absorbing any bit of information he could get.

"So, I suggest we start with the examination now that we talked some. I think it best that we do it in Harry's bedroom so that the boy can lay on his bed and relax. What do you think Reichard?" Sylvia asked.

"I agree. While this won't hurt it would be better if you relaxed a bit," Reichard told Harry who was a bit tense now.

Harry nodded, and they all went upstairs to his bedroom.

"Do I have to do anything?" Harry asked.

"No, just lay down on your bed and relax. Mr Reichard and I will do the rest," Ms Pye told him with a gentle smile.

"Okay," he replied and lay down

"I'll be over there in a chair so I can watch but I'm not in the way. Everything will be fine, you'll see," Salazar reassured him after Harry looked to him with a nervous expression upon his face.

"So then let's get started. I think you should start checking for spells and remove any you find before I check the boy's health so that I get the clearest results without anything interfering," Ms Pye said.

"Good idea. Harry, I would like for you to take off the bracelet, It would only affect my work," Reichard told him with a soft smile.

Upon hearing that he looked a bit anxious.

"You wouldn't take it away from me will you?" he asked while holding the bracelet tightly. It was the first thing that was really his, and he didn't want to part with it.

"No, of course not," Mr Reichard said sounding slightly shocked. "I made that bracelet especially for you upon Salazar's Request after all. You can put it on your bedside table and wear it once again when we are done with the examination, but for now it would only repel my attempts to get any spells off of you," he told him.

Harry reluctantly took the bracelet off and laid it carefully on his bedside table.

Once the bracelet was off and Harry had set it down, Reichard immediately took out his wand and started to chant. It only took a few seconds before Harry's body began to glow lowly and several symbols appeared in the air. Harry observed the whole process fascinated, those symbols that had appeared earlier now hovered above him. He couldn't make heads or tails out of them but for it seemed different for Mr Reichard and Ms Pye. They both looked closely at the strange glowing symbols.

"Boy you have a lot of spells and charms on you, and some strange ones too," Ms Pye stated.

Harry thought that if the count of those symbols above him gave any indication as to how many spells were on him, he had to agree. There were quite a lot of them.

"Hmm…some tracking spells but that was to be expected…" Reichard mused before starting to chant again.

He chanted for several minutes and from time to time one of the symbols hovering in the air vanished.

"Also some monitoring spells…but taking into account the fact that Dumbledore doesn't want him to get lost it also isn't that big surprise."

Once again, Reichard began chanting while several more symbols vanished. Over the half of them were now gone.

"Okay, this is weird. Why should anyone put a magic dampening spell on him?" Reichard asked while looking closer at one of the remaining symbols.

"Magic dampening spell? What is it supposed to do?" Salazar asked speaking up for the first time in the last twenty minutes.

"Well it cuts off some of Harry's magical capability as it seems so that he cannot access his full magical power, and boy is it strong, stronger than I've ever seen before. It's good we found it now because that would have influenced the development of his magical core and left him significantly weakened in the end, with a high probability of him becoming a squib in the worst case. Only an idiot would do such a thing!" Reichard now growled.

Harry looked really worried. Who would do such a thing to him and why? He didn't know much about that topic, one more he would have to do some research, but it sounded terrible.

"Can you do something about it?" he asked anxiously.

"Sure, it will take some time, but I will eventually remove it, and because we found it this early it shouldn't have any influence on your magical development," Sylvia explained to him.

Hearing that Harry relaxed a bit before Reichard went back to work.

This time it took him nearly an hour. He had to be very careful if he didn't want it to backfire or damage the magical core of the boy and cripple his magic irreparably, but he wasn't a master in his branch of magic for nothing. So, he worked slowly and steadily before he finally removed the last traces of the spell. What happened then surprised everyone in the room, when the magical core of Harry was finally set free a small shockwave escaped him, knocked over Ms Pye and Reichard who stood next to him, made Salazar duck into his chair, and shattered the windows. Harry started to panic when he saw that, anxious that he could have hurt them.

"Wow! Well, I certainly didn't expect that" Reichard stated while getting back onto his feet. "I don't remove dampening spells often, but even so this has never happened before."

"What exactly HAS happened?" Salazar asked while getting up and repairing the windows.

"Well, normally when you put such a spell on someone you only cut of a small part of the magical core from the person you put it on. It weakens them but is otherwise, if done correctly, harmless. But in Harry's case, I suspect it was much more, if not most of his magical core, leaving him just strong enough to count as a wizard of lower average power. But to get more accurate results, I would have to check him further. I really would like to know who did this and why, before I tell them what I think about them and their idiocy. It seems that said person either had no idea what he did, or he knew and ignored any common sense he might have had, or they've lost their sanity," Reichard growled. "Either way that was one of the most foolish things I've ever seen!"

"I think you should stop rambling in front of the boy. You're scaring him" Pye scolded him before smiling at Harry.

Harry smiled back at her thankfully. He calmed down after he saw that everyone was okay but tensed up again when he heard what Reichard said.

"You're right. I'm sorry, it wasn't my intention to scare you, but I have to check if everything is alright with your magic after that fierce reaction, ok?"

Harry nodded. Reichard chanted the charm he used to find out the spells on Harry a second time because the first had vanished while the incident occurred. Now there were only three more symbols where before there had been around ten. It seemed that setting Harry's core free also shattered several other charms and spells that had been placed upon the boy in the process. Reichard was slightly worried he hadn't been able to look closer at the spells before they had vanished and therefore had no idea what they had been meant to do. He would have to observe the boy over a period of time to see whether there were any long-term side effects.

"It looks like some of the spells shattered when the core was freed, I'd like you to check whether that had any physical impact on him Pye."

"I can't find any new injuries or other aftereffects at the moment. Anything else I'd like to check for when you're done" she said after casting a quick examination charm.

"Alright," Reichard said, and with that, he got back to work.

Upon taking a closer look at Harry's magical core to try and find any abnormalities he couldn't find anything out of the normal, so he went to work on the remaining three symbols. The first was a loyalty charm that he got rid of quickly. The second one was a defensive charm and the third some kind of memory block which he left for the moment.

"So now there are only two charms left at the moment. One is a defensive charm that protects him from low hexes and jinxes, but it seems that it is about to wear off and it wasn't powerful in the first place. I can remove it or leave it be, either way, it provides no danger to him and I'd say it will only last around another year maximum. The second one is a memory block. The thing with that is I don't know what memories are blocked with it. It could be anything from some information he heard accidentally, and the person didn't want him to remember up to what actually happened that day when he was 15 months old," Reichard explained. "That's why I don't know whether it's a good idea to remove it or not."

"Hmmm, it's not my memory that is blocked…" Salazar mused. "Harry, in the end, it's your decision whether you want to have the block removed or not."

Harry was uncertain. On the one hand knowing that there are memories you have no access to would be a bit unsettling but on the other hand who knows what memories they were. It could be as Reichard had said, the memories of what actually happened that day, and he didn't know whether he ever wanted to remember if that was the case.

"Would it hurt me if the block stays?" he therefore asked.

"No, and it can be removed by anyone capable whenever you want it to be removed," Reichard replied.

He thought about it a moment before he answered.

"I think the best thing would be to leave it for the moment. I'm not sure whether I could manage the memories should it be about…about that day…" his voice fading out at the end.

"Good. I'd say we take a break then before we get to the medical examination," Pye proposed.

Salazar glancing at the clock replied. "I'll let the elves know to prepare a meal. It's shortly before noon anyway."

After giving the elves appropriate orders, he leads the group downstairs and to the dining room where they all sat down. They talked about what had happened when the block on Harry's magic was removed before Sylvia noticed that Harry quietly sat there, lost in thought.

"Is everything alright Harry?" she asked concern showing on her face.

Harry meanwhile didn't react, continuing to muse over something.

"Harry?" she now asked a bit louder.

His head snapped up; ripped from his thoughts.

"Yes?" he asked.

"Is everything alright? You seemed to be lost in thought," she asked again.

"Yeah, it's only that I feel strange since the magical block got removed."

"Strange? Does it hurt you?" she asked now clearly on edge.

"No, no, nothing like that, this, it's more like…like I don't know how to describe it appropriately." Harry sighed but still tried to find the right words to describe the sensation. "It's more like where there was only a little stream before now there's a torrential river within me."

Everyone in the room eyed him warily. Pye cast an examination charm to see if anything was wrong or could hurt the boy but it came out negative.

"Hmmm, I will have to look deeper into it when I fully examine you. Right now though there's no danger coming from it, but you have to tell us immediately if anything changes, understood? Anything at all" she made that very clear before giving him a last worried glance and returning to the conversation Salazar and Reichard were having.

A few minutes later the food appeared on the table, and everyone began to eat. Only Harry poked at his food absently, barely eating anything, still thinking about the change, but not exclusively. He also thought about the memory block and what Salazar had told him this morning. At the moment he felt like everything was way over his head. It wasn't that he wanted to go back to the Dursleys, heaven forbid, but right now it was just too much in a too small amount of time. Hell, he left Privet drive just this morning around four o'clock. Yes, he had slept some in the car, but he had woken up around nine from a nightmare. So perhaps in total, he had slept about five and a half hours, and half of that time not even well. The bath had helped, but now he felt tired and exhausted. He really should have taken a nap instead of asking Salazar those questions; not that he regretted learning what he had, but grieving about lost chances didn't help, so he let those thoughts go.

After everyone had finished, bar Harry who had just pushed the plate away after taking a few bites, they went back to the bedroom. Harry once again lay on the bed.

Now it was Sylvia's turn to examine him, but Harry barely listened to what was said between Pye, Salazar, and Reichard. He had a hard time not falling asleep.

Pye started with a chant as Reichard had, but it was a different one. With that completed, she examined the body of the boy.

"Hmmm, ok, looks like he's had several broken bones. Luckily every single one has healed properly, even without medical care it seems. Several scars, most of them are on his back, weird. Harry my dear would you please turn around and lift your sweater so that I can take a closer look?" she asked him.

Harry sighed, he knew this would happen. He would have avoided it if he could, but there was no way, so he turned around and pulled up the sweater he wore when he heard Pye take a sharp breath.

"Merlin, I've never seen something like that before. Who did that to you?" she was angry, scratch that…beyond angry she was furious.

On Harry's back were several scars, all different lengths and angles. Some seemed to be several years old while some were quite fresh and had just started to heal.

Harry sighed again. "My uncle tended to hit me with his belt when I did something wrong, wasn't fast enough for them, or just because I was there," he said with a hushed voice.

Salazar sucked in a gasp.

"I knew that you were beaten, but that? I had no idea…" he growled.

Something would have to be done about them or better yet something had to happen to them, more so sooner than later if he had to say anything about that – and well, he did. To think they were related to him in any possible way…he wanted to vomit.

"Luckily I can do something about those scars," Pye said with a reassuring smile to Harry before she took a salve out of her briefcase, which lay next to the boy on the bed, which she then applied on the scars.

She waited a bit for the salve to get absorbed before she applied a spell on the scars too.

"Alright, in a few days they should be barely recognisable, and in a week they should have vanished completely. You can turn around again."

Harry did as he was asked, relieved that the scars would eventually heal. He hated being reminded of what his uncle did to him.

"So, onwards with the examination," she said while she continued. "Harry needs more calcium, and the blood iron level is also too low, as well as some other minerals… I'll give you a potion to get those back up later. Because of the insufficient supply of iron as well as those other minerals, you are also a bit small for your age, but that should sort out by itself when you take the potions, as well as your eyesight so that you won't need glasses anymore eventually."

She cast a few more spells, which all came without a significant result bar one.

"That's strange, Reichard what do you think of that?" she asked while exanimating the scar on Harry's forehead.

Reichard who had stood aside a bit to let Pye do her work stepped closer and looked at the spell results before he took a sharp breath.

"That can't be!" he exclaimed.

He took out his wand and cast a few more spells all with the same result. Harry who was now wide-awake looked alarmed.

"What's the problem?" Salazar demanded to know.

"Look for yourself," Reichard replied.

Salazar stepped next to him and also took a look at the spell's result before he looked alarmed.

"Impossible!"

"What is it?" now Pye also looked alarmed, less so because she knew what it was and more because she knew that when both men seemed that shocked something was terribly wrong.

"A Horcrux!" both exclaimed unison.

"A what?" now it was Harry who spoke up.

"A Horcrux. Horace Cruz invented about 1000 B.C. a ritual to split one's soul to gain immortality," Salazar started to explain.

"Wait I thought Herpo the Foul was the one who invented it," Reichard interrupted him.

"No, the original inventor was Cruz, but he hadn't been successful in creating one. Later Herpo found Cruz' notes, recreated the ritual and was the first to be successful. As I said before the ritual is used to split one's soul and place the second part in an object. When the user dies, he doesn't die completely as long as the remaining soul part ‘lives’ within the object because he can revive himself with that part when certain conditions are met. It is considered the darkest known ritual because one has to commit the most supreme act of evil – murder – to create one. The problem with this is that by creating a Horcrux, you dabble with the ‘Fundamental Laws of Magic’ mangling them in the process. So, the remaining soul part then becomes very unstable, and therefore one has to be careful to not shatter it entirely and die in an excruciating manner.

"The name in the meantime came from Horace Cruz himself which later got switched to Horace Crux and then mashed together into Horcrux which I think is adequate because it also means ‘The Soul Outside’."

Salazar told them everything he knew about that topic while the others looked at him in horror while listening with rapt attention. Reichard had heard about those things during his work and understood the general gist of the matter but even he was shocked how one was created and what it did to the user because he didn't know that part.

"So you want to tell me that in the scar of the boy is the soul piece from another person?" Pye asked incredulously.

"Not only that but regarding the size of the piece the person who created it did it before, and not only once but about five or six times," Salazar answered.

"WHAT?" three voices called out in unison while Pye flung herself into the next available chair, her legs unable to continue supporting her due to the shock.

"You mean one person not only committed murder several times, which is horrific in itself but also split his soul in the process six to seven times? How can said person even be alive; not to mention in a sane state?" Reichard tried to wrap his head around that but failed spectacularly.

Salazar just nodded. "I can only think of one individual who is not only insane enough to even try but also desperate enough in his search of immortality to do it; Tom Marvolo Riddle."

"Who?" Pye asked.

"Oh yes, you know him under his other name; Lord Voldemort."

Pye and Reichard flinched upon hearing that name.

"This is getting even better. So, you think You-know-who is immortal because he has created these Horcruxes?" Pye looked at him in disbelief.

"Not immortal. Nobody is truly immortal even with that many Horcruxes. Destroy those and the one who created them is as mortal as everyone else, until then…" he sighed.

"But the more imminent question right now is how do we get that thing out of me!" Harry exclaimed. All the discussions about how to create them and immortality were nice, but for now, he only wanted one thing; to get rid of that thing and quick.

"I have no idea, it's the first time I've heard about it, let alone see such a thing," Sylvia knew that this was out of her realm of possibilities. "But perhaps the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry knows what to do."

"Hmmm, I also don't know enough about this topic to know how to reverse it. I'd have a lot of reading to do…"Reichard mused.

"Well I know two possible options, but I'd recommend them only as a last resort…a very last resort."

"What would they be?" Reichard asked out of curiosity.

"A dementor or a demon," Salazar answered. "Both are able to extract souls and also should be able to get that soul piece out of him, but I don't know whether I'd risk the side effects of a dementor and the price you'd have to pay a demon…well, there is a reason why nobody gets anywhere near them. I mean I know one and I could ask him but he is a bit more than eccentric, and I don't know how he would react to this. I also don't want to do it when there is even the slightest chance to get rid of it another way."

"You know a demon…why am I not even the slightest bit surprised by that?" Reichard pouted while Sylvia looked at Salazar as if he was insane. Salazar in the meantime looked at Reichard quizzically.

"You, my friend, know everybody and their mother," Reichard laughed despite the grave situation.

"I think we got side-tracked again, HOW THE HELL DO WE GET THIS THING OUT OF ME?!" Harry furious by now shouted. He was tired, he now had a headache that was killing him, someone had mangled his magic and on top of that was the foul thing that resided in his scar. He was at the end of his tether.

"Harry please calm down. We're trying to find a solution that doesn't harm you, but it isn't easy since none of us has any experience with something like this" Salazar stepped next to Harry and lay an arm around the boy's shoulders to calm him down.

"NO!" the boy shouted while he pulled his knees to the chin wrapping his arms around them. Suddenly a bright flash and an extremely powerful wave of magic escaped him, knocking everyone out, including himself.

 


 

At the same time, somewhere in the middle of Scotland in Hogwarts Dumbledore paced through his office boiling with rage. Last night his golden poster boy had vanished completely. He wasn't anywhere near Privet Drive anymore, and every tracking spell he put on him had failed. Some of the instruments in his office, which also were to monitor the boy continued working indicating that he was still alive but that was everything he knew.

He was with Minerva for several hours to discuss what to do about it, but now when he returned to his office, he saw that the instruments that were working before had also ceased functioning now. That meant that someone had either removed the spells on the boy or he was dead. He hoped it was the former, because he didn't even want to think about the consequences of the latter.

Fawkes in the meantime, who was sitting on his perch, shook his head. Had Dumbledore been in his office at the time he would have seen that the instruments had stopped working one after another and not all at the same time, but he hadn't been, and so Fawkes saw no reason to give him any hint. He wasn't loyal to him after all. So, he stuck his head under his wing to get some sleep while praying that the boy was in a better place now. Hopefully with him.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Fighting Nightmares

 

It was late in the evening when Salazar began to stir once again. The first thing he asked himself was why he was laying on the floor; before the memories hit him like a ton of bricks. While they had been discussing how to get rid of the soul piece in Harry's scar, Harry began to panic. The final result had been a magical explosion of immense strength which had rendered them all unconscious.

Salazar sat up with a wince, his head was pounding. "Damn!" it seemed that he had hit his head when he had fallen.

He began looking around the room while rubbing the back of his head. Reichard lay directly next to him, not yet awake, while Pye was on the other side of the bed. But what worried him the most was when he caught sight of Harry.

Harry remained unconscious in his bed like the others but was sweating heavily and writhing and flailing like he was trapped in a nightmare, all the while clenching his forehead and moaning. From time to time, a small scream escaped him.

Now extremely worried Salazar stood up and went over to Pye to wake her up. It took him several tries before she finally regained consciousness.

"What in Merlin's name happened?" she asked while sitting up and groaning.

"The last thing I remember is that Harry begun to panic and a wave of extremely powerful magic escaped him knocking everyone in the room unconscious," Salazar replied.

Pye looking up saw the boy on the bed and quickly jumped to her feet to examine him only to stop short because her head was spinning. She took a potion against dizziness out of her briefcase and drank some of it before giving it to Salazar who also drank some.

"Wake Reichard up while I check on the boy," she said.

Salazar did as he was asked and went to Reichard to wake him up. Once again it took him several tries before the man finally woke up, once he did Salazar gave him the rest of the potion.

"Ungh…that was powerful magic," Reichard growled holding his head while getting to his feet. "How long were we unconscious?"

Salazar cast a quick wandless tempus charm only to see that they had been unconscious for more than five hours. Anything could have happened during that time; so either the wards had held, or Dumbledore hadn't been able to send any of his forces that quick. He hoped for the first but feared that it may be the later.

"Please care for Harry while I check in on the others and look at the wards afterwards. I don't want any nasty surprises like Dumbledore storming through the front door," he told the others while leaving the room.

"Alright." Pye resumed attending to Harry.

 


 

Salazar went downstairs and into the kitchen where he saw the two house-elves lying on the floor. He quickly woke them up before he went to the annexe to look for James, finding him unconscious in his private room slumped down at the desk where he had been sitting before being knocked out. After waking him up, he gave him and the elves a quick explanation about what had happened. James looked worried, but Salazar assured him that everything would be alright, hopefully... Seeing that everyone was okay, he went into the cellar to the ritual room to check the wards. Luckily, the wards were still intact. Some minor ones were drained of power, but they would recharge in short time, so he left them alone. Getting back to Harry who was still unconscious in his bedroom when he had left was his current priority.

He hoped Harry was okay, but that hope was shattered the moment he entered.

"We have a problem," Pye stated seriously.

Salazar looked at her quizzically while fear rose within him.

"Harry's in a state of a self-induced mindlock," she explained.

"Self-induced mindlock?" Salazar asked. He knew of the foreign-induced one, but this was the first time he heard of the self-induced one. Yes, even he as old as he was didn't know everything.

"Well there are two forms of mindlock, the foreign-induced one and the self-induced one," Pye began to explain "I assume you heard of the first one?" she asked, and Salazar nodded. "The second one while extremely rare is in most parts like the first one, only that no outside force pushed the mind into that state but the individual's own thoughts and emotions. I think that everything Harry learned today was a bit too much for him, and on top of that came the knowledge that some foul thing resided within his scar, and we didn't know how to remove it properly. All those information in such a short amount of time and the fact that we didn't know how to get that foul thing out of him was the final nail in the coffin that pushed him over the edge."

"Didn't? Past tense?" Salazar was confused.

"Yes, because that thing is gone. It was the first thing I checked to see exactly why Harry is currently in this state, but it's completely gone, as well as the entire scar. I don't know how or why exactly but I assume that Harry fried that thing with his burst of magic. But that's only a guess because I don't know enough about that thing."

Salazar sighed. "One problem solved, another one made."

"And the problem with the new one is that there is no known method to cure it. One either wakes up by themselves or stays in that state until one dies. I'm sorry," Pye looked sadly at Salazar, but he started to grin.

"Are you sure you haven't hit your head?" she asked confused. She just told him that there was nothing she could do for Harry and that it is very likely for him to stay that way until he dies and Salazar started to grin like mad.

"Oh I did hit my head when I fell unconscious, but that's not why I'm grinning. It's because you're wrong. There is a method to get him out of that state. Well I know it works with the foreign-induced mindlock, but you said they are mostly the same only the trigger is different, so it should work here too," he replied.

"I should check your head because it seems you've gone crazy. If there is a method to cure this, and this is a very big IF I surely would have heard about it," she growled.

"There are two reasons you haven't heard of it. The first is because I kind of invented it and never made it public, and second is because you have to meet several important conditions to pull that stunt off."

"And what conditions would those be?"

"You not only have to be a real master in Legilimency, but you also have to be highly telepathic, and you have to be able to survive whatever the other mind throws at you in defence, and I don't mean only mentally but also physically. Because; and this is the biggest problem with it, everything that hurts you within the mind of the other also hurts you physically. For example, if you break your leg while you are in the mind of the other, you break your leg in the real world also. Do you understand what I mean?" he explained.

"So, if you die in there you also die out here?" Pye asked horrified, and Salazar nodded.

"But telepathy?" now she really thought that Salazar was out of his mind, not only because of the injury thing he just explained but also because he said one needed to be a telepath to do this. The only beings who were known telepaths were phoenixes, but never in her entire life had she heard of a wizard or witch is one. Legilimens yes, sure, there were plenty of those, but not true telepaths.

-It's nothing, really- Salazar's voice echoed through her mind making her look at him in shock.

"Could someone please explain to me what the difference between Legilimency and telepathy is?" it seemed they had lost Reichard halfway through the discussion.

"A Legilimens can enter a mind, read thoughts, extract them, and even interpret them by going through the different layers of the mind. A very skilled one also can send pictures this way to the other person, visions and the like. A telepath, on the other hand, is far more than that. He can not only look into a mind or send visions, no, but he can also project himself directly into the mind of the opponent, speaking directly into it is the lowest form of telepathy. A telepath also has certain powers within a foreign mind to not only extract memories but also to interact with them. In a nutshell, a telepath is a far more powerful Legilimens who can not only observe," Salazar explained.

"And you are one?" Reichard asked shivers running down his spine upon the thought of what he would be able to do if he indeed was one.

"Yes, and you very well know that this fact doesn't change a thing," Salazar gave a slight glare to Reichard "I haven't ever abused my magical power before, why should this be any different?" he answered upon seeing Reichard's reaction.

Reichard nodded. Yes, he knew very well what Salazar was capable of ever since he had been rescued by him so long ago, and he also knew that Salazar wouldn't abuse his powers. Merlin, he didn't even need any of those powers to get someone to see the way he did, or to get away with things, so yes he believed him.

"So what do you need to help Harry?"

"The main thing I need is not to be interrupted in the process. I need to concentrate, and anything that would disrupt this concentration would put Harry and myself into grave danger and possibly outright kill us.

“Pye, you can stay here and monitor us in the process if you like but I have to warn you it might take a very long time, and with long, I mean even a week or longer, that depends on the defences Harry will put up against me. But as I said, you don't do anything under any given circumstance that might interrupt my concentration, even if I get hurt, and yes that is very likely to happen. If you have to give me some potions cast them directly into my stomach but don't try to give them to me to drink. I'd also advise you to give Harry some calming draught from time to time so that he keeps calm and doesn't struggle as that also might interrupt my concentration. Understood?"

Pye didn't know whether she liked the sound of all that, but there was no other way, and if she could assist him she would, so she nodded.

"I think I'll leave you alone then because that is something I have no knowledge of. So, I think I'll read up about Horcruxes. May I use your library?" Reichard asked.

"Sure. You can also ask Mr Finnigan to take you to the main library in my manor in Moscow, it's where most of the books about them are stored."

"Thank you, I'll start here, and then I'll see whether I need to go to Moscow or not."

"Alright. Blinky!"

The house-elf appeared, and Salazar gave him some instructions about what was going to happen and that he shouldn't be disturbed. He also told Blinky to let James and Trixy know as well. Blinky nodded in acceptance and vanished.

Before he went to work, he vanished into his own bedroom for a short amount of time only to appear again with a large dark wooden box in his hands.

"I don't know whether you have enough of every potion you might need, so I brought you this. This is my personal stock of potions," he explained while opening the box. "You'll find every possible healing potion in here is master quality and sorted in alphabetical order, so if you should need any feel free to use one of them."

Pye took out one of the normal healing potions unstopped it and sniffed it.

"That isn't just master quality, it's the strongest potion I've ever seen, perfectly brewed too. Who made it?" she asked curiously but Salazar just smirked.

"You made these? I think I just found a new personal brewer," she said astonished.

Now Salazar laughed. "It's nothing I do as a job, it's only a mere hobby now so that I don't get rusty."

"You're kidding, right? You'd be the best Potions Master out there with this quality, and incredibly rich too. Not to forget all the people you could help with this."

"I neither need the fame nor the money so why should stress myself? And there are more than enough good Potions Master out there to help the people."

Pye just shook her head and murmured something about wasted talent.

"Oh, and before I forget, once I have entered his mind I cannot leave until I've found him. There is no short way out, and I'm trapped in there. Well, to be honest, I could get out if I really needed to but that would outright kill him, and that's not something I want."

Salazar gave Pye one last look before he went to work. He sat himself leaning against the bed's headboard his legs to left and right of Harry whose head lay in Salazar's lap. He placed his hands on both sides of Harry's head before he began to concentrate, slowly tuning out all external stimulus. It took him a few minutes of concentration and meditation until he finally entered Harry's mind.

 


 

~~ooOoo~~

At first, everything was black but after some time it got brighter, and he saw where he was. Salazar stood in the middle of a road, a road he knew far too well.

It was Privet Drive, directly in front of house No.4 but it was a very twisted version of it. One could think he landed right in the middle of a horror movie when Salazar looked around. The sky was several shades of a sulfuric yellow up to a brimstone red with black clouds flying past. Thunderbolts twitched through them and from time to time one struck something in the distance. The street, on the other hand, lay deserted. It was as if nearly all colour had been drained from the whole place. But the most horrible view here was the house itself. It looked like a colossal prison towering over him. Every single window had massive bars on them, all with spikes pointing inwards so that no one even thought about breaking free.

The front garden, which he remembered has initially been neat flower beds with perfectly cut roses and the like now was now a horrific and twisted version of it. Everywhere climbing plants with massive thorns grew exuberantly. Some of them had strange and suspicious looking buds and huge yellow blossoms on them.

All around of that was an about 18 feet large fence with one and a half foot long spikes on the top.

Salazar just stood there stunned by the sight of the house. He knew that Harry had been treated horribly by his relatives and that therefore he hated No.4 Privet Drive but this image here overshadowed any doubt he might have had about it. He could only hope that over time Harry forgot about what happened in that house and learned that he would never have to go back. It also explained why Harry had reacted as he did and that in the future Salazar would have to be much more careful with how he behaved in front of the boy.

He stood there for some time musing about how he had utterly failed with his behaviour in front of the boy when he heard a deep growling coming from the other side of the fence. There on the other side stood a bulldog, but not an average sized one. It was more like six feet tall and had a massive body. The muzzle was twisted, the lips drew back and the fangs bared. It looked more like a hellhound than an ordinary dog.

"Just perfect," Salazar growled sarcastically.

He knew he couldn't do any magic here, well he could up to some point, but the problem was that he was in the mind of another person, a child nevertheless, so it would be a foolish idea to try something like magic. In the worst-case scenario, he would destroy Harry's mind with it, so no, magic was out of bounds; but luckily, Salazar wasn't wholly defenceless or out of ideas.

He stepped up to the fence never taking his eyes of the dog when he registered from the corner of the eye a movement among the plants. Yes, that could work.

Salazar nimbly climbed up the fence until he stood on the highest stable bar. Beneath him, the dog paced from one side to the other waiting for him to come down so that he could sink his teeth into his flesh. Salazar waited until the dog was just right beneath him when he jumped and landed on the back of the animal.

The dog leapt forward and whined in surprise when the plants came to life. A vine lashed out at Salazar while he tried to stay on the back of the dog because the beast started to struggle and run around since it couldn't reach him. But should Salazar fall off it, well, then he was in trouble.

So, he rode the dog like a horse while he tried to avoid the vines with the thorns. It took some time and two occasions where Salazar nearly fell off the back of the dog because it ran straight into the wall of the house to shake him off before it seemed that the plant had had enough and opened one of its buds revealing a violet bloom. Just the thing Salazar had been waiting for. He kicked the dog in the flank right in time so that it reared up and the spike the bloom shot at him hit the dog in his belly and it collapsed. Salazar in the meantime had jumped off it and dashed to the front door, which luckily wasn't locked, opened it, jumped in, and closed it again before the plant could shoot another spike at him.

It seemed that Harry had seen Jumanji once but thank Merlin Salazar had too and that it hadn't been too long ago. So he had recognised that nasty plant on sight and could use it to his advantage. He had a few bruises and scratches but nothing that wouldn't heal over time. Luckily entering the house brought him into another part of Harry's mind so that he was safe from the dangers outside.

After he forced his heartbeat back down to a reasonable rate, he started to look around the house.

The inside resembled the outside. All the colours were quite dim, and everything seemed to emit an unholy glow. Because Salazar had never seen the interior of the house, he had no idea what was different. He would have to be extremely careful because everything could be dangerous and he didn't want to get hurt, or even worse, hurt Harry because he was careless.

He ignored the stairs on his right and continued looking around but what truly caught his attention was the door to the cupboard beneath it. It was a massive wooden door with a small hole in the top, where heavy iron bars were inserted. From the outside, a wood panel could be shoved before it and on the side that opened several locks were placed. It looked much more like a prison door than a cupboard door.

Salazar carefully opened it and what he saw sent a shiver down his spine. It was like a tiny black hole, no light, nothing to make it even a little bit comfortable, and the whole place was plastered with tiny needles like the needle board of a fakir. The entire room was some kind of twisted iron maiden.

He quickly shut the door not wanting to see that anymore. Slowly but surely he asked himself what had really had happened within that house. Yes, he knew that those were the twisted memories in the head of a child, but it takes quite a lot so that they are in a state that resembles more a horror movie of the worst kind than normal memories. It only cemented his decision; those relatives of Harry had to pay, and he knew just the right price. In the end, they would beg for death, but death would be a mercy to them, and mercy is the one and the only thing they did not deserve.

Salazar went onwards until he reached the kitchen. When he thought that the sight of the cupboard beneath the stairs would be the worst thing he would get to see in Harrys mind his opinion just flew out of the window upon seeing what was going on.

On the left side of the room at a table sat three people. They looked like the Dursleys but somehow not.

The person that appeared to be Petunia resembled more some kind of a harpy than a woman. She had an abnormally long neck, the face was some twisted kind of mutation between horse, human, and bird, while her body was tall and slender. Her voice shrieked in a high-pitched manner.

The male adult, on the other hand, resembled some kind of indefinable wobbling mass of pudding. His neck was next to non-existent, and he was so obese that it was a wonder that the chair could carry his weight. He laughed and with every laugh, his whole body wobbled.

The youngest looked like some sort of twisted, hellish obese pig, which on the contrary was quite strong. Like his father, he had nearly no neck, his face some mix between pig and human, and his fat body had no shape anymore. Not as obese as his father was, but he wasn't far away from it. He even ate like a pig. In front of him stood a bowl with something in it that Salazar didn't want to think about any further. The boy had his head in there gorging the food. Salazar wanted to vomit upon seeing this, it was atrocious.

Every single one of them had fiery crimson red eyes and insane looks on their faces.

In the kitchen itself at the hearth stood Harry, well what you could assume was a hearth. It was more like an open fireplace with a massive fire in it, flames licking up and trying to reach for Harry. On a grid stood a pot with some indefinable mass boiling in it and splashes hitting the boy.

The most horrific view was the boy himself. He was only skin and bones wearing some crude clothes that even the worst treated house-elves would outright refuse to wear. His face was hollow and the eyes looking with an empty gaze at the pot. The hands were full of bruises and blisters from the boiling mass in the pot and the fire licking at them. At his left ankle was a massive iron ring with a likewise massive iron chain attached to it, leading somewhere Salazar couldn't see.

The Dursley versions at the table sat there laughing like mad while the youngest threw his food at Harry, which made him laugh even more. The "parents" in the meantime gave harsh comments about how good the boy had it and that no one would have taken him if they hadn't and that he should be grateful that they took filth like him in. They even said much worse things to Harry but Salazar tuned them out or otherwise, he would have forgotten the danger and would do something massively stupid.

Salazar could only hope that this was an image of Harry and not the boy himself. He didn't want to think about the consequences if it really was him, but he had to try.

"Harry" he called out for the boy, but it seemed he didn't hear him. So he stepped up to him softly touching his shoulder while calling him again with a soft tone. Harry now tilted around very fast, giving him a horrified look.

‘Damned!’ Salazar thought. It was the boy, but before he could do anything, Harry kicked him quite hard for his appearance, which made him stumble towards the open fire. He caught himself shortly before he fell head first into it, but he burned his hands in the process.

He just started to swear about it when suddenly the whole world around him began to twist, and Salazar just thought he would vomit when everything came to a halt and settled down again.

He took a look around and saw that the whole scenery has changed. He now was in the middle of Godric's Hollow or in this case, it should be more likely called Godric's Horror or Godric's Hell. The sky this time were more the shades of orange and crimson red, it looked like it was burning and boiling. The same view gave the village itself. Everywhere licked flames at the buildings, trees and what else was there. It was nearly unbearable hot, and smoke hung in the air, so breathing was pure agony.

It seemed that the boy drew that image from the memories of the night his parents died.

Salazar just looked around for the Potter Cottage in this village when he saw a shadow flying by. First, he couldn't determine what it was when suddenly a massive pitch black dragon with fiery red eyes landed in front of him.

Okay, now he really had a problem because that thing was nearly twenty feet tall and minimum thrice the length. It just uprooted a tree with his tail with ease when Salazar decided that running and hiding was an excellent idea just in time because the dragon was more inclined to roast him until he was a briquette if the temperature of the fireball he fired at him gave any indication.

Salazar made it just in time around the corner of one of the burning houses to avoid getting roasted, but just a second later the dragon just hit the building with his tail until only ruins remained. The problem was that there were not many hiding options in a burning village.

He ran towards the next house when he stumbled because he felt his concentration slipping, he could regain it just in time to dodge the next fireball, but again it slipped. Salazar could only pray that Pye didn't do anything to him because otherwise, he was toast sooner than later.

By a hairbreadth, the fireball passed him and engraved a metre in front of him. The heat wave emitted by it was unbearable and the light blinding. Barely able to see because of the heat, the fire and the smoke Salazar stumbled forwards in a direction he could hope to avoid the next blast. Behind him, the dragon roared.

‘This is it, I'll die’ he thought.

He had only two options left either he struggled against the inevitable and died eventually in the end, or he used magic and most possibly fried Harrys mind completely. Would it be his choice he would choose the third option where both of them survived unharmed, but for now that option was out of reach, as it seemed.

He struggled forward half blinded away from the dragon when suddenly he hit water, cold one as it was. Either he was extremely lucky, or a part of Harry recognised him and knew he was in grave danger. Since finding cold water in hell was very unlikely, he guessed for the second. Not thinking for long or questioning his luck he ran into the water and submerged. He stayed underwater as long as he could to cool down. After the immense heat in the village, the cold water was like heaven to him.

It took him some time before he got back to the surface. He used the opportunity to regain full concentration before it slipped utterly. Now able to see properly again he looked around. The dragon paced around the village obviously searching for him. For now, it looked like that while he was in the water the dragon couldn't find him for whatever reason. He didn't want to question it, he was only happy it was that way.

Further looking around showed him that the pool was right next to the cottage he was looking for. Now he only had to wait for an adequate opportunity, and he would be there, but first, he stayed in the water for some more minutes glad for the break.

Finally, the dragon vanished behind one of the larger houses and out of sight when Salazar, who in preparation swam near to the shore, got out of the water and quickly ran towards the house. Behind him, the dragon roared again on spotting him, but he was too far away to reach him before he entered the house.

After the deafening sound of the roaring and crackling fire outside not to mention the rampaging dragon, the sudden silence was a blessing. Salazar took a quick look around the ground floor only to find it entirely empty not even furniture was in here. Just the green glow that appeared to be emitted by the walls, floor and ceiling was to be found.

Having no other option left he went up the stairs to the first floor where he remembered was Harry's room. That was where he finally found him cowering in the edge crying.

He stepped up to him and was just about to kneel down when he heard a noise behind him. He turned around and faced him. Tom Marvolo Riddle aka Lord Voldemort in his entire glory pointing a wand at him stood there. First fear showed on Salazar's face because he was just two words away from death and he very well knew that this was likely to happen even considering that he was only in Harry's mind. But quickly fury and hatred took over.

Fury because he failed Harry so many times now.

Fury because he couldn't prevent what happened that Halloween night.

Fury because he didn't find Harry earlier.

Fury because he had been blind and hadn't seen what Harry went through.

And fury because he had behaved like Dumbledore. He hadn't thought about Harry's feelings and about what he had been through lately, but instead pushed him as he thought was right, even if it was for Harry's welfare.

All that fury boiled within him and only served to fuel his hatred.

Hatred against the man before him for killing Harry's parents.

Hatred against Dumbledore for putting Harry with his ‘relatives’.

Hatred against the Dursleys for abusing, hitting, and starving Harry.

And a part of the hatred was directed against himself for his constant failure.

Usually Salazar was a very calm and logical thinking person who wasn't easily angered, but now all these emotions he had suppressed the last four and a half years broke out of him. The fear for Harry, his worry because he couldn't find him, the feeling of having failed him again and again. Every single one now broke out when Salazar clenched his hand into a fist and hit Voldemort with all the power he had.

Voldemort stumbled backwards, but Salazar was merciless. He set after him and hit him a second and a third time. In the end, he beat the living daylight out of him until he laid there not ever moving again. Salazar panted heavily, but he was satisfied.

After he calmed down, he again turned to Harry who hadn't moved at all and was only sobbing heavily, knelt down next to him and gently touched his shoulder.

~~ooOoo~~

"Harry, it's me, Salazar," he said with a soft voice, but Harry only sat there sobbing.

Not knowing what to do in this situation, he did just what he thought would be right. He sat right next to him laid an arm around him and pulled him to his chest while soothingly rubbing his back. Salazar didn't know for how long they both sat there this way, and to be honest, he didn't care. He had finally found the boy, and he decided that he wouldn't make the same mistake again. He would give the boy all the time he needed. Never again would he push the boy as far as he did this day.

They just sat there, Harry leaning against Salazar and sobbing into his chest while Salazar swept his hand over the boys back. After a few minutes, Salazar even started to sing to Harry a soothing and soft melody that was from a long time ago. His voice was clear and very melodic as he sang.

It seemed like an eternity, but in the end, Harry's sobs and all the nightmares around them started to fade away until there was nothing left except endless empty space.

"I'm scared," Harry finally said with a small hitch to his voice.

"I know; I know, and I'm sorry. I should have thought about how all this would be for you, being ripped out of the environment you know, thrown into a completely new and different world, not to mention the fear you must have had when you heard what was within your scar. I shouldn't have pushed you to do the check-ups the same day I took you from…there but I was so worried about you and your health that I was blinded as to how you felt," Salazar sighed.

"And I'm sorry about everything that happened. I…" Harry started, but Salazar interrupted him.

"Don't, please don't. None of this was your fault. You are just a five-year-old boy who turns six in two months. You didn't know any better, but I should have. So please stop blaming yourself because I most definitely am not."

"But I nearly killed you," Harry tried to withdraw himself from Salazar, but Salazar didn't let him. Instead, he smiled softly at him.

"Never ever think that. I knew of the risks and consequences of coming here, I knew that this could most likely be a journey without return, but I ignored it. I ignored every common sense and any thought about the dangers that I would have to face only to get you back. You saw my name in the history book stating that I am a thousand years old but, to tell the truth, that was just a third of my entire life. I'm over three thousand years old Harry.

“I lived from day to day killing time as I saw fit but I wasn't truly happy because I had nothing to live for, no purpose in my life. The entire last day showed me that my entire life was hollow. Until I met you.

“In the last twenty-four hours, I have genuinely laughed more often than in the entire time before. I think you saved me as much as I saved you, and I'd gladly give my life to see you safe. I'd gladly go through hell to get you out again," Salazar admitted, feeling that it was the truth.

"I'm afraid, afraid that whoever put me with them…the Dursleys will find me and put me back there again," Harry curled himself up in Salazar's arms.

This felt so right. Harry always wanted someone who cared for him, who loved him, but he had been told that he was unworthy filth that no one could ever possibly love or want.

Salazar thought about that. He had a solution to this problem, one he would sooner or later propose to Harry but was now the right time? He didn't want to make the same mistakes again ignoring and not thinking about Harry's feelings and wanting too much in a too short amount of time. But when he sat there with Harry in his arms, he knew that this was how it was meant to be and that he didn't have to fear anything about that. It seemed he wasn't the only one to think that way because Harry now was completely relaxed seemingly trusting him to protect him from everything that might come.

"Dumbledore was the one to put you there…but I swear to you that he never ever again gets a hold on you. I fully plan to destroy his nice little world stone for stone for what he put you through, and don't fear the Dursleys; I'll take care of them very soon too. But besides that, I want to talk to you about something else."

Harry sat up and looked at him in anticipation of what he would say, but the otherwise sly and cunning Slytherin was now at a loss for words, not knowing how to express himself.

"Before I tell you I would like to ask you not to think that I want to do that out of any other reason than to want to have you with me. Under any other circumstances, I would do exactly the same thing, alright?" Salazar asked looking Harry straight into the eyes.

Harry nodded while looking at him warily, not knowing what all this was about.

"I'd like to adopt you legally as my son," Salazar said closely watching Harry's reaction.

Now it was Harry's part to sit there at a loss for words. He just sat there staring at Salazar torn between disbelief and crying in joy.

"I like to have you around and would gladly care for you. I mean really care for you, like you deserve, and not what these idiots think means caring for a child. That also would mean that no one would ever be able to take you away from me, so you'd never again have to fear that you'd end up with the Dursleys. Not even Dumbledore could do that."

Harry opened and closed his mouth like a fish out of water, not knowing what to say. This would be the opportunity he had always dreamed of. A family of his own, a father who loved him, and a childhood like every other normal child had. Okay, a childhood like a magical child would have, but he doubted that it would be that much different.

In the end, he just shook his head at his thoughts, launched himself towards Salazar and jumped in his arms crying in joy.

"I'd really love that," he said through his tears.

"Then let's get out of here and start our new life together, okay?"

Harry just nodded happily that his nightmares had finally come to an end.

 


 

A few minutes later Harry woke up while Salazar came out of his meditation.

Salazar looked stressed but happy while Harry looked like he had woken up from a long nightmare, but also delighted.

"Wow, you two nearly gave me a heart attack," Pye deadpanned.

"How long has it taken?" Salazar asked while placing his arms around Harry to hold him close.

"One and a half days, and at one point it looked like you would die…" Pye explained.

"Well I did nearly die, but that's nothing you should be concerned about right now, especially in front of Harry. I will gladly tell you everything that happened but right now I'm completely exhausted, and I doubt that Harry is in any better shape."

"You're right, you both should get some sleep. For now, I'll give you both some potions, Salazar, these are for your bruises and burns," she said handing him two tins. "And Harry this one is to stabilise your magic," she gave him one vial and then gave him another different one. "And this one is a nutrient potion. Both of you also get a dreamless sleep potion so that you can sleep for about twelve hours uninterrupted by nightmares or anything else."

"Please stay with me!" Harry exclaimed speaking up for the first time since they had returned, clinging to Salazar, as he feared he would leave him. The nightmare hadn't worn off entirely yet.

"Alright, I'll stay with you if that's what you really want," Salazar smiled.

Both took the potions Sylvia had given them, and Salazar lay down right next to Harry, putting an arm around him. A mere minute later both were fast asleep, not caring that they hadn't changed their clothes or that it was the middle of the day. They were both just glad that this nightmare had finally come to an end and that the future was endlessly better.

Pye shook her head transfiguring the clothes on both of them into nightwear before silently leaving the bedroom. If what she saw through her monitoring charms on both of them was any indication they had both gone through hell and back, so they would need their time to rest, but she hoped that now everything was okay, because she doubted that both of them would survive another incident like this.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

 

They both slept until the next morning occasionally visited by James and Ms Pye from time to time to see whether they were alright.

At around nine o'clock in the morning, Harry was the first to wake up from the long and dreamless sleep. He was a bit irritated about the situation at first, but when he remembered the last day, he curled himself even more into Salazar's arms hoping that this moment would never end.

Nevertheless, even the good moments end sometime, and so did this. About half an hour later Salazar also woke up, moving as little as possible in order not to wake Harry up only to see that he already was awake.

"Good morning Harry, How did you sleep?" Salazar asked him gently.

"I haven't slept this well in my entire life, I don't want to get up…" he whispered snuggling further into Salazar's side and hiding his face so that Salazar won't see him blushing.

"Hmmm, that's a shame because I think a nice breakfast is waiting for us downstairs," Salazar said with a glance at the clock on the bedside table.

Harry growled frustrated. On the one hand, he did not want to leave the bed, but on the other, he was quite hungry. In the end, the hunger won, and he crawled out of bed.

"I suggest we both take a quick bath and then go downstairs together, okay?" Salazar asked getting up from the bed himself and got a nod in return with a slightly frightened look.

"I'll be in my own bath on the other side of the corridor, so if something is wrong you just have to call," he explained upon seeing the fear in the boy's face. It seemed that it would take some time for Harry to let him out of sight without fearing that he left him.

Harry nodded once more, and Salazar gave him a quick side hug before going to his own bathroom. He hurried and only took a quick shower dressing in long emerald green and black robes before he went into Harry's room again only to find him coming out from his bathroom clean and dressed. He also had put his bracelet back on. Harry showed great relief to see Salazar again, and both of them went down to the kitchen to get breakfast.

In the kitchen, they saw Sylvia Pye sitting at the table having breakfast; it seemed that she stayed overnight in case they needed her again. Salazar greeted her and sat opposite her while Harry went and bowed to her.

"Ms Pye, I wanted to thank you for treating me and apologise in case I hurt you when…when the incident happened," his voice trembled and was only a mere whisper by the end of his statement.

Sylvia looked at him for his apology before she smiled.

"First, you can call me Sylvia, and second there is no need for you to apologise. I had not realised how exhausted and terrified you were at that time. If there's someone who should apologise it's me because I should have known better; I was so shocked that I didn't realise that though, and for that I'm sorry," she told him softly which made him blush slightly. "Now sit down and have some breakfast, you haven't eaten anything for over two days now."

Salazar smiled and nodded at him before he sat down. Shortly after, one of the elves brought them both breakfast. Harry once again shoved the plate away after he was half the way through it with a sad smile.

"You don't have to be sad. It is okay if you can't eat all of it," Pye said to him.

"But it's so good…and I don't want to stop… but…" Harry sighed.

"It's alright. You're not used to eating much, but over time that will change, you'll see. Nevertheless, I'd like to ask you to do something. I brought you some potions which will help you to become a healthy boy. One that will help your bones grow properly and one as a dietary supplement to get your blood parameters to a healthy level. I want you to drink them every morning and evening for the next week, one each of the red potion and the silver-white potion, okay?" Pye explained.

Harry looked at the two vials she had put in front of him suspiciously before he nodded and drank them both.

"Good boy, Mr Finnigan has the others and he will give them to you when you need to take them."

"Mr Finnigan?" Harry asked curiously.

"Oh yes, you haven't met James yet. He's the butler of the house. James!" Salazar called out.

A minute later James came through the door that leads to the annexe.

"Good Morning; You called Sir?" he greeted everyone.

"Yes, Harry hasn't met you yet, so I thought it was time to introduce you two. Harry this is James Finnigan, as I said he's my butler. Whenever you have a problem or a question, and I am not at hand, you can go to him. I fully trust him and so can you," Salazar said.

Harry shyly looked at the man, not knowing what to do.

"Hello, I'm Harry," he finally said while he put forth his hand.

James took his hand and shook it while kneeling in front of him so that he was on eye level with Harry.

"Hello Harry, I'm James. As Mr Slytherin just said, you can come to me whenever something is troubling you. Even if you only need some company, okay?"

Harry nodded while blushing slightly. After that James stood up again to get back to work and Harry turned back towards Salazar, simply staying silent for a while and looking like he wanted to ask something but didn't quite know how.

"Is there something you want to ask me?" Salazar smiled softly at him, but Harry kept his silence. "You know if you don't ask we can't help you."

"But what if I fear the answer to my question?"

Salazar sighed. "You have to think about it this way; What do you fear more? The answer to your question or what might happen if you do not ask at all. You can always keep the question to yourself if you so desire, but in the end, you might ask yourself what might have happened if you had asked and whether that might have been better."

Harry thought about that for a few minutes before he came to a decision.

"I…I wanted to ask whether you were serious yesterday when…when…" his voice trembled and failed entirely by the end.

"Harry, you should know that I never lie, and I'm always serious when I promise something; especially when it is something that important," he explained in a soft voice. Upon hearing that, Harry's face lit up and shone like the sun itself.

Harry feared that Salazar had only said that to him to get him out of his nightmare but had not really meant it. Sylvia, on the other hand, was confused and gave Salazar a puzzled look.

"I told Harry yesterday while we were in the you-know-what that I'd like to adopt him legally so that no one has the power to take him away," he explained to her upon which her jaw practically fell onto the floor.

"You're really serious about that? How are you going to achieve that? I mean, the moment you tell the Department of Child Care about it Dumbledore will know, and Merlin knows what he will do then. Not to mention that it will expose you."

"Do I look like someone that goes through the front entrance of the Ministry exclaiming that I want to adopt Harry Potter? No. No, I will do that through the goblins. Much easier, less paperwork for me and as binding as if I through the Ministry itself thanks to a small long forgotten but never cancelled law from around 1243 A.D.," he said with a grin.

"The goblins? I never heard that something like that was possible."

"As I said, a long-forgotten law only accessible to certain persons."

"Um…sorry, but what's a goblin?" Harry asked curiously.

"Goblins are a race. They are small humanoid people, and if you do not know any better, they look quite grumpy. In the past, wizarding kind persecuted them, but today they are a part of the magical society. They manage and store the riches and properties of most wizards and witches. You will see them when we go to Gringotts later, which is the bank they own. But first I have to write two letters, and I'd like to talk to you for a moment Pye."

Pye nodded and they both stood up to leave, but Harry looked anxious at the perspective of letting Salazar out of sight.

"Hey, we'll only be going over there and have a quick talk," Salazar pointed to the opposite side of the room "You'll be able to see us the entire time," Salazar said upon seeing Harry's fear.

Harry nodded hesitantly. The two went to the opposite side of the room, Harry never taking his eyes off them. Salazar quickly threw up some privacy wards because what they had to discuss would only worry and scare Harry.

"I fear that this will take some time to wear off," Pye stated.

"You are right, but with what he's been through it's no wonder."

"Up to now I haven't asked, but what have you seen while you were in his mind?"

"I assume you can perform Legilimency?"

Pye nodded and used it on Salazar when he motioned her to go on. When he sensed her in his mind, he showed her a rough recap of what he had been through and seen in Harry's mind. Luckily, she was standing with her back to Harry because she would have scared him with the look on her face otherwise.

"Wha- are you serious? Is this real?" she was utterly shocked.

Salazar nodded.

"Yes, and this was only the summarised version," he told her.

She had to lean against the sideboard behind her. Otherwise, she wasn't sure whether her legs could continue holding her up anymore.

"What kind of people treat a child like that? I mean, I know about the nightmares of a child because of my work, but this…this is beyond anything I've ever seen and know."

"Only the worst kind and I can assure you that they will pay very soon. But that wasn't what I originally wanted to discuss with you, Pye."

"Please call me Sylvia."

Salazar nodded to her. "Then call me Salazar. I wanted to ask a favour from you, well four to be precise.

“First, I would like to ask you whether you could come by regularly to check up on Harry. It seems that he trusts you and I think checking him on a regular basis would be good for him. Especially, since we do not know the aftereffects of removing the spells and the Horcrux. Not to mention this."

"That goes without saying, particularly after what I just saw. I will come over at least thrice a week to check Harry, either in the morning before I leave to work or in the evening when I am through with my work at St. Mungo's. I hope he fully recovers someday," she replied.

"Okay good. Second, I want to write an anonymous letter to the Daily Prophet telling them about Harry's disappearance and that they should have a look at Privet Drive No. 4, to get to Dumbledore. The world shall know what he has done to Harry. I'd like to ask you whether you could then give them a statement that you were able to medically check Harry and what state you found him in without telling where he is now," he continued.

Sylvia nodded.

"The third thing will take place in a week or two, which depends on how quick the Ministry is. I want to get Sirius Black out of Azkaban."

Upon hearing that, Sylvia took a sharp breath. "He's a traitor and a murderer. Why do you want him out?"

"Because he is neither. He is Harry's magical godfather, and you know what that means. He also didn't kill anybody; it was Peter Pettigrew who committed all those crimes."

"If you are right and he, in fact, is Harry's magical godfather then he truly is innocent. But how do you plan to get him out?"

Salazar grinned. "By poking around the Ministry, asking the right questions…you'll see soon enough. However, what I would like to ask from you is that once he is out of Azkaban I recommend, he is placed in St. Mungo's for a mental check-up, and I would like for him to be under your care rather than under anyone else's. Is that something you could arrange?"

"Perhaps. But what's in that deal for me?" she asked with a devious smile an idea coming to her. "I mean that is quite a lot that you're asking from me."

Salazar sighed and thought about it for a second when an idea struck him.

"What if I become your personal potion brewer when you accept?" he asked, remembering her complaining about him wasting his talents.

"Hmm, that sounds quite promising. But first your last request," she smiled again. This had been just the thing she wanted.

"Well, the last thing I'd like to ask from you is to swear a magical oath to never reveal anything regarding Harry or me without my approval. It is not that I do not trust you, it's for your protection. Every scrap of information regarding us is put under a Fidelius Charm with me as the Secret-Keeper, but that would simply be another method of protection from prying eyes and ears."

Sylvia nodded. "You are quite right. A Fidelius Charm is quite powerful but better be safe than sorry. Especially if you want to make me a Secret-Keeper to give information to the Prophet and the Ministry," she thought about it for some time before she continued. "Okay I accept all your requests including the oath in exchange for you becoming my personal brewer, and I'll help you with your task to get Dumbledore off his throne."

A golden light started to emit from both of them and twisted with the respective other as the magical contract formed itself. Salazar, on the other hand, looked at Sylvia quite surprised because of her formulation of the agreement.

"You know that you didn't have to formulate it that generally? I only asked you to do certain things."

"I know but to be honest I'm fed up with Dumbledore and his hypocrisy. You are the only one I trust to knock him down, and I'm also doing this for Harry," she explained with a smile.

Salazar did not know what to say. He was astonished at the woman in front of him and the trust she had in him.

After that, Sylvia swore the oath of never revealing anything regarding Salazar and Harry without Salazar's explicit consent and Salazar in return made her Secret-Keeper.

Now that they were finished with the discussion, Salazar cancelled the silencing charm, and they both went over to Harry who in the meantime had become quite worried because the whole conversation took over half an hour.

"Are you alright?" Salazar asked, and Harry nodded showing relief. "I'd say I quickly write the two letters and after that you, James and I go to Diagon Alley and Gringotts to get the adoption done, okay?"

Harry smiled broadly, and he jumped up and down in excitement.

"Okay, I'll leave you three to it then and get to work. I don't think that my boss will accept me taking another free day," Sylvia laughed.

"Alright, we will see you soon I assume?"

"Yes, I'll stop by in two days to check in on Harry," she waved at them and turned to go through the doorway to use the Floo in the drawing room when she suddenly was tackled from behind with a hug from Harry.

"Thank you again," he said to her back.

At first, she was surprised, but then she smiled and hugged him back.

"I'll see you in two days and don't forget your potions."

Harry nodded vigorously before he let her go. She smiled at him and, with a last wave towards him, she went to work.

"So, to the study then, I assume you want to come with me, Harry?"

Harry sheepishly looked down at the floor but nodded.

"There is nothing to be embarrassed about. You can always stay with me if you'd like, as long as I don't have to do something vital out of the house alone. But that won't happen anytime soon."

After a quick talk with James where Salazar told him to get ready for a trip to Diagon Alley, the two of them went to the study where Salazar quickly wrote the two letters. One anonymous to the Daily Prophet, and one under a false identity to Amelia Bones the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Before he put them both into the inner pocket of his robe, he placed anti-tracking charms on them so that no one could track them back to him. He also cast a little glamour on Harry and on himself before they left the study.

"Why did you do that?" Harry asked curiously.

"I haven't told you yet but you are quite famous in the magical world, and I am as well, the glamour is so that no one recognises you before I have adopted you. This lets you look a bit different you see?" he explained while conjuring up a small mirror for Harry.

"Ah, so now nobody knows who I am and will leave me in peace," Harry stated in understanding. Salazar nodded in reply to show that his reasoning was correct. "But why am I famous? I'm no one special, and I didn't do anything special."

"I think I'll tell you some other day because for today we have more important things to do and I don't want to overload you with information again. There will be enough of that later at Gringotts and since you don't need to be overloaded today that is also why I will not tell you just yet."

Harry cocked his head thinking about it but finally nodded.

 


 

Twenty minutes later, they both left the house together with James and went to the Leaky Cauldron via floo. Harry was held tightly in Salazar's arms because this was his first time travelling that way before James stepped out of the fireplace behind them.

Salazar smiled thinly and nodded to Tom the innkeeper after he let Harry down.

"Good morning Sal. This early? And since when do ya have a child?" he asked curiously.

Salazar was a regular customer in the Leaky Cauldron, so he knew Tom pretty well. Tom knew the short form of his name but was otherwise unaware as to who he was since he always wore the glamour he currently had on when going to Diagon Alley.

"He is a relative of mine. His parents died, and now it falls to me to care for him. He came to me a few days ago, and now we're making a trip to Diagon Alley to sort some things out. Hadrian would you come over here please?" he called out to Harry who stood with James while making a gesture that he meant him.

Harry looked at him quizzically but did as his father asked of him.

"Yes? What is it?"

"Hadrian this is Tom, he is the barkeeper and owner of this bar. Tom this is Hadrian" he introduced them.

Harry did not know what to think of the change in name but decided that Salazar had his reasons and thus played along for now.

"Hello, nice to meet you," he greeted Tom with a small slightly shy smile.

"Nice to meet ya too Hadrian," Tom replied with a broad grin

Salazar exchanged a few more words with Tom before the three of them went through the back door into a small courtyard with a tall brick wall around it.

"Hadrian?" Harry asked curiously now that they were alone.

"Oh yes, I'm sorry I forgot to warn you about that. As I said, you are quite famous, and before people jump to conclusions, I changed your name slightly so that they do not recognise it. I hope you do not mind. I should also tell you that I go by the short form Sal so please don't call me by my full name or my last name, alright?" he explained. "The only ones who know the truth besides James, Sylvia and Reichard are the goblins."

Harry nodded and stored that information for later. He did not want to disappoint Salazar, and if he thought it was necessary to change his name, then he would not say a thing against it.

"But how do we get to this Diagon Alley? We're in a small courtyard…."

Salazar smiled, took out his wand, and turned to the brick wall. After he had tapped the bricks in the correct order, the wall started to shift and opened up to form an archway behind which a long street lay…Diagon Alley.

Harry stood there gobsmacked with an astonished look on his face. All the magic was so fascinating to him and he was eager to learn how everything worked, but for now, they had other more important things to do. They stepped through the archway that closed behind them. All that remained of it was the brick wall once again.

While walking through Diagon Alley Harry did not know where to look first. There was a shop, which sold cauldrons of various sizes and materials. In front of it, two men were discussing the pros and cons of copper and silver ones. Right next to it was something that looked like an old apothecary with the shelves full of strange and mysterious things in jars, bottles, and bowls. On the opposite side of the street was a shop that sold owls in every shape and size he knew, and even more that he didn't.

Harry slowed down a little while he looked around in awe. The others when they noticed that he was not following them anymore waited.

"Harry, we can look around as much as you like later, for now, though I'm sorry we have more important things to do," Salazar said with a soft voice.

Harry looked a bit sad, but he knew Salazar was right they could look around later as long as they liked, but as long the issue with the adoption wasn't completed there was always the risk of someone recognising him; and in the worst case reporting it to Dumbledore. He did not know the man personally but from what he heard from Salazar this would be extremely bad and would most likely end up with him being forced back to his other relatives again and that was not something he wanted, even if it meant he had to suppress his curiosity for now. Hell, he would swear that he would never ever come back again to Diagon Alley and all its wonders if that would ensure that he would never have to go back to Privet Drive again.

Therefore, he sped up once again catching back up with Salazar and James before they continued on until they came up to a huge white building with massive golden letters proclaiming it to be "Gringotts". It was larger than every other building in this street.

Next to the massive bronze doors stood a small humanoid person in a scarlet red and golden uniform. It was about as tall as Harry was, had a dark and smart face and quite long fingers.

"So…this is a goblin?" Harry asked while he smiled at it.

"Yes, they are extremely clever," Salazar explained while he bowed to the goblin which the goblin returned with something that looked like a sneer to Harry.

"As I told you earlier, to those who don't know better they look quite grumpy but this is how they smile, and as long as you don't try to steal from them they are nice and friendly to you," he continued his explanation while pointing at the words engraved on the silver door they were facing.

Harry read the words that warned everybody never to try stealing something from Gringotts as you may find more than you were looking for carefully. They went past that door and shortly after entering they stopped, and Salazar cancelled the glamour on them.

"The goblins don't like it when you come in with a glamour or any kind of illusion on you because that shows them you have something to hide and most likely aren't up to anything good. Normally they don't say something when you don't cancel it, but politeness demands it that you do it anyways."

Harry nodded. He took the time to look around. They stood in a large hall with long counters on the left and the right side. Behind most of them sat a Goblin. Some were counting gold, inspecting gems or writing furiously on some papers or into books. Some other goblins were showing people around and leading them through hallways going from either side of the room, which probably leads to offices and the like.

After cancelling the glamour charms, Salazar went up to a counter behind which a goblin was weighing some gold. He greeted the goblin in a language Harry did not understand, but the goblin looked up in surprise. Salazar then bowed, and the goblin returned the gesture with what Harry now knew was a smile.

"I'd like to talk to the account manager of the Slytherin line, and the one in charge of the Potter accounts together, and we would like a heritage test. Could you please supply us with everything necessary my friend?" he politely asked.

"That would be Ragnok for the Slytherin and Griphook for the Potter accounts. I will lead you to Ragnok's office before getting Griphook and the requested test. If you would follow me please," the goblin replied.

The goblin went to the left corridor and led them around several corners, Harry tried to keep track, but after some time he could no longer keep it up anymore and knew that without a guide he would be lost entirely. After about two minutes' walk, they stopped in front of a door with a golden plate that read Ragnok. The goblin that led them knocked and after a short "enter" from the other side, he opened the door.

"Sir, Mr Slytherin requested to speak to you and Griphook together. I'll go and get Griphook and the also requested heritage test," the goblin supplied the other goblin, Ragnok, with the necessary information.

Ragnok looked up to Salazar and smiled.

"Welcome honorary clan leader Slytherin. It has been some time since our last meeting; I hope everything is to your satisfaction and that there is no problem?" Ragnok asked with a bow that Salazar returned.

"No, no problem clan member Ragnok, only some administrative deeds I don't want to deal with at the Ministry because it would catch the attention of certain people, mainly Dumbledore, which I want to avoid before the deeds are done. They also concern Harry Potter, hence why I want Griphook to attend this meeting."

"Ah so this is young Mr Potter, I thought as much. Please sit down while we wait. Can I offer you something to drink?"

Salazar and Harry sat down in the chairs in front of the enormous desk behind which Ragnok sat. James in the meantime stood next to the door in case Salazar needed him.

"That would be appreciated," Salazar kindly replied.

He knew that goblins rarely if at all offered a drink to a wizard and it would be a great atrocity to decline such an offer. Ragnok went to a small cupboard and took out a flask with golden liquor in it and three glasses.

"Elven nectar, 20 years old gathered under a full moon."

A very rare and expensive liquor, a bottle of it was worth a thousand galleons at least, especially one of that age. It had only very little alcohol in it, so it was, in small amounts, also okay for children to consume. Ragnok poured in some of it into each glass and gave one each to Salazar and Harry the third he took for himself.

"To the cooperation of the past and the future. May luck and fortune shine on us," Ragnok said heaving the glass with the old goblin toast.

"May luck and fortune shine on us," Salazar repeated, and they both drank.

Harry in the meantime eyed the liquor suspiciously before taking a sip. When it touched his tongue, his eyes went wide. The drink was soft and sweet and the most delicious thing he ever tasted.

Just at that moment, the door of the office opened. The goblin from the counter entered with another goblin following him. He eyed the scene and raised an eyebrow but did not say a thing when he placed a piece of parchment in front of Ragnok on the desk.

"The inheritance test and Griphook, the account manager of the Potter line," he explained.

"Good, good. Then might you explain what you are here for honorary clan leader Slytherin?" Ragnok asked after the other goblin had left.

"Sure, but first I'd like Harry here to take the inheritance test so that everything is in order," he replied.

Ragnok nodded and picked up the parchment the other goblin had placed in front of him as well as a small knife from one of the drawers of his desk.

"Mr Potter, please prick your finger with the knife and place one drop of your blood onto this parchment," he explained.

Harry looked warily at Salazar.

"There is nothing to fear. The wound will heal right after the blood falls on the parchment and the knife is enchanted so that it won't even hurt, I promise," Salazar smiled, and Harry did as he was asked.

The drop of blood hit the parchment and soaked in. It took some time before text began to appear on it.

 


 

Harry James Potter

 

Father: James Potter

Mother: Lily Potter née Evans

 

Lord of Potter

Heir to Slytherin line

Heir to Black line

 

Godparents: Sirius Black, Frank, and Alice Longbottom

Magical Guardian: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

 


 

Harry looked at the parchment in awe.

"Who are Sirius Black and the Longbottom's?" he asked curiously.

"Hmmm? I thought I told you about Black but after the hectic and chaotic past few days, you probably forgot. He is your godfather but is at the moment unfortunately falsely imprisoned, a thing I am going to change soon. The Longbottom's are an old and noble wizarding family, why do you ask about them?"

"Because this document says that they are my godparents," Harry replied while showing the parchment to Salazar.

"Oh, that's the first time I hear of that. Your parents must have changed it after I went to start my research on them. Hmmm, Alice and Frank…they are regrettably in St. Mungo's at the moment because some crazy maniac called Bellatrix Lestrange tortured them about four years ago. Something I'll have to think about," he mused to himself.

"As interesting as this might be, I assume we have more important business at hand?" Ragnok interrupted.

"Yes, yes, sorry, I didn't want to waste your time. The reason I am here is that I want to legally adopt Harry James Potter."

Upon hearing that the eyes of both goblins grew wide.

"You want to adopt the boy? Now I understand why you came to us and did not go to the ministry. This would set off nearly every alarm in England especially Dumbledore's. I assume you want to invoke the old laws that allow a goblin clan leader to adopt someone as their son and heir in case they have no own?" Ragnok now asked with a wide grin.

"Correct."

In 1243 the goblin nation passed a law that stated that a clan leader could, in case he had no child of his own for whatever reason, or that his child had died before him and therefore had no heir directly related to him as a child, adopt someone who would then become his legal child. The person selected could be either a goblin or a human. The law had been passed because one of the clan leaders could not get children on his own and through the then new law, he could legally get an heir without his line becoming extinct. Later on, when the goblin nation integrated into magical Britannia, they passed this law through the Wizengamot, so it became a legal method of adoption. At that time, the Wizengamot shrugged it off as some goblin quirk not thinking that they might invoke it anyway because there were only a few clan leaders in the goblin nation and those outright refused to mingle with the wizards or so they thought. However, just now that law aided Salazar in his request because within the goblin nation and under goblin law, he was a clan leader, even if only an honorary one. Therefore, he could adopt Harry in this way without having to inform the Ministry beforehand. Even better, neither the Ministry nor Dumbledore could do a thing against it once he went through with it since it was binding with the wizards too. It would also automatically set him as Harry's Magical Guardian, so overall the method of his choice was the best possible one.

One might now state that Harry is already Salazar's heir but he is not his son, and that is what counts in the eyes of the law. The reason for that was because they also designed this law so that a clan leader can prohibit another relative who is not their child getting their hands on their status as clan leader without their approval. So, overall, the clan leader can choose whom he wants to have as an heir as long as he meets the requirements.

Now Ragnok grinned even broader and Griphook seemed very interested in this too.

"May I also assume you wish to adopt him through a ritual?" Ragnok further inquired.

Salazar nodded. "Yes, since a ritual adoption is far more powerful than simply doing a regular adoption."

Ragnok nodded one before pressing a button on his desk. Seconds later another goblin appeared in the doorway.

"Yes sir?" he asked.

"Please prepare one of the ritual chambers for an adoption," Ragnok stated.

The other goblin looked at him with wide eyes but nodded. "As you wish Sir."

"What is the difference between an adoption through a ritual and a…normal one?" Harry who had been silent the entire time was now curious.

"Well, the main difference is that with a normal magical adoption I'd legally become your father, and you'd become my son, but that's where it ends. While with adoption through a certain ritual, you would not only become my son and heir, but you would be able to access the inherited family magic properly and fully. I do not know how far this will reach with me because I have some…unique magical traits, but it will definitely bypass the aftereffects of the mistake my grandson made that rendered him a squib. So, in a nutshell, it will make you even stronger than you already are," he explained.

Harry thought about that. The magical world was fascinating but also very complex. There was so much to learn, and he once again felt his head buzzing because of all the information he had gained today. Salazar had warned him about it, and he was now glad that Salazar had insisted in not telling him even more.

"You shouldn't think about it too much for now. You will understand it in time," Salazar was concerned that it was once again was too much information for Harry and he did not want to repeat his mistake.

A few minutes later, the goblin returned stating that the ritual chamber was ready and that they could begin. Therefore, everyone followed him and entered the chamber. The room was like the one in Salazar's house but even more extensive, another difference was that in the middle of this one stood a colossal marble altar.

"You'll have to lie on the altar Harry, I promise this won't hurt," Salazar told him.

"Before we forget, this would be the time to change your name if you wish to," Griphook added.

Harry thought about it while Salazar raised him onto the altar. While Harry was a nice name and all it belonged to his past. A past he wanted to forget as fast as he could and start anew together with Salazar so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.

"What about Hadrian the name you gave me this morning?" he asked Salazar curiously.

"This is purely your choice and not something I can help you with," Salazar said with a smile.

Harry once again thought about it. "Yes, Hadrian would be nice," he said.

"So then your name would be Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin" Ragnok stated. "I'm sorry we can't erase your old name completely as was given to you by your birth parents and is, therefore, a memento to them. Nevertheless, you would be able to go by only Hadrian Slytherin and be perfectly fine. You can also arrange it so that no one shall call you Harry Potter ever again since it is your choice on how you want to be called."

Harry nodded. That would do, and the goblin was right his parents had named him Harry James Potter, and it would be treason against their memory and sacrifice to completely erase the name.

He lay down, and Salazar began the blood adoption ritual. He continued chanting for about fifteen minutes when he spoke the final words.

"I hereby adopt you, Hadrian James Potter Slytherin as my son and heir. May you inherit the magic and the status that comes with it and honour it until you die. So mote it be!"

A silvery-green glow began to emit from both Harry and Salazar before twisting and twining with each other before vanishing.

"It is done," Ragnok stated.

"So, no one will ever be able to take me away again?" Harry, now Hadrian asked.

"Not without my consent which I would never give," Salazar smiled, another step done. Dumbledore will be in for a very nasty surprise.

Hadrian launched himself from the altar into Salazar's arms and gave him a firm hug. He was ecstatic. No more Dursleys and now he had a new life that no one could take from him.

Now that the ritual had been completed they all went back to Ragnok's office where they once again sat down.

"So now that the adoption ritual is done is there anything else we can help you with?" Ragnok asked.

"Yes, It's about Hadrian's vaults. I'm not interested in what's in there, I'm more concerned that a particular individual, Dumbledore, may have taken things such as family heirlooms or gold out of there without Hadrian's knowledge or approval," he used Harry's new name from the beginning like it had always been his name.

"If you are right it would be an atrocity. I'll instantly check this," Griphook exclaimed furiously.

The goblins took the security of the vaults and their respective content very, very seriously, and every accusation that someone took something out of there without permission would ultimately end in huge investigations. Even a Magical Guardian could not take items or gold from the vault of their charges without their approval, or worse, without their knowledge. They only had the allowance of taking out the amount of gold needed for the expenses of the child to give them an average life, but even that the goblins regulated heavily.

Griphook called for the documents related to the Potter accounts and went through them. It took some time, but finally, he finished them and looked at the two wizards in shock.

"Mr Potter-Slytherin are you sure you never gave permission to Mr Dumbledore to remove things or gold from your vaults?" Griphook asked.

"Sir, you can call me Hadrian and no I did not, until to today I didn't even know I had any vaults at Gringotts," he replied shyly.

Now Griphook grew even more furious. "These documents state that every month three hundred British Pounds worth of galleons were removed from your trust vault and transferred to an account that belongs to one Vernon Dursley."

"This would be to cover the expenses for the Dursley's while he lived with them but that can be cancelled now since he now is my son," Salazar explained with a frown.

"Okay that would be explained, but on top of this one, Albus Dumbledore removed several books from the trust vault and the Potter family vault. Some of those he returned but most of them, especially all regarding his ancestry and family business have not yet been returned. Dumbledore removed them shortly after the proclamation of him becoming Magical Guardian to Hadrian went through. Also, several other items have been removed, I have a full list here," Griphook told them.

Hadrian looked at him in shock while Salazar took the list and looked through it. He knew that Dumbledore was not a nice person. However, that he would steal things that rightfully belonged to his son was a new low even for him.

Salazar frowned once again. The items that the man removed were nothing special, some trinkets; jewellery and the like, but those were Hadrian's never the less. Dumbledore had no right to take them.

"Is there any way to get them back?" Hadrian asked cautiously.

"Since they originally belong to you, you have every right to claim them back," Griphook addressed Hadrian. "If you would be so kind as to allow me to handle this, I'll see that those books and items return to where they belong. Dumbledore would be wise to return them because otherwise he would be marked as a thief with his vaults becoming yours and merging with all your vaults as punishment, therefore eliminating anything belonging to the House of Dumbledore within this establishment."

Hadrian thought about it. "As long as you can get back my property I don't care. But is there a way to keep him from entering the vaults again?"

"Well, it seems that he has the key to your vaults because otherwise, he wouldn't have been able to enter them in the first place. We can replace it, or if you want it to transfer the content of the vaults to high-security vaults which don't require a key anymore, you would be the only one able to access them. You can later add additional persons with access, but they would have to sign a contract and can only retrieve the objects or amount of gold you allow them to." Griphook explained.

Now Hadrian looked confused because he honestly had no idea what to do.

"I think you should take the offer. This way without your permission nothing can be removed from your vaults and the high-security vaults are much harder to break into than the regular ones," Salazar, who saw the confusion on Hadrian's face, said. He knew that the goblins usually did not make such an offer without the respective person having to pay a substantial fee for it but thanks to the situation and Hadrian now being his legal child, this was something entirely different.

"Hmmm…okay if you think it's the best option I'll do it, but is there a possibility to withdraw money without coming here every time? It's not that I need it now, but it might be a good thing in the future."

"Of course there is. There is something a muggle would call a credit card. You activate it with a drop of your blood, and you are the only one able to use it. It is directly linked to your vaults, and you would have to state from which vault you want to draw the gold from, but since you are not seventeen yet, you can only access the gold in your trust vault which at the moment counts 489.291 galleons, 32.531 sickles, and 14.023 knuts."

"Wow, that sounds like a lot," Hadrian was astonished.

"For a trust vault, this is a lot, considering that the entire education at Hogwarts, one of the most expensive schools in the world, only costs around 30.000 Galleons. How is it that it's that much?" Salazar was astonished at the amount also.

"Well, Hadrian's birth parents have left the managing of the Potter accounts, including Hadrian's trust vault, entirely to us goblins with the only statement being that we should increase the amount of gold in the best way possible. Originally there were only 60.000 Galleons in the trust vault, but with some clever investments we were able to raise the amount to said sum within the seven years it has now been open," Griphook explained.

Hadrian sat back. He had money, and no small amount either. "Huh," was the only not so eloquent thing he could say about this.

"I don't think we should change anything regarding the management of the Potter accounts. As long as the value does not decrease, everything should be fine. I also doubt that he needs a Gringotts Card now because I will pay for any expenses, and I do not need to touch his trust vault for it. His parents have set it up for him, and I think we should leave it for after Hogwarts," Salazar stated upon which the goblins nodded.

He looked at Hadrian and saw that he looked a bit exhausted. Salazar caste a quick wandless Tempus charm only to see that they had been there for about three hours now, so it was no wonder.

"Hmmm…it's gotten quite late. Hadrian, what do you think? Would you like to go with James and get yourself an ice cream while I quickly discuss some more boring stuff with the goblins?" he asked him.

Hadrian looked at him. On the one hand, he was anxious to leave Salazar's side, but on the other, the sound of delicious ice cream was quite tempting…especially since just at that moment his stomach began to growl.

"An Ice cream sounds nice but please don't take too long…" he looked sheepishly at the floor.

Salazar smiled. "I won't. It is only a few things regarding business, quite boring as I said."

Hadrian nodded before he stood up and went to James. Ragnok called for another goblin who then lead them both to the front entrance of Gringotts.

 


 

"So now that Hadrian is away, on to serious business." Salazar began. "The other reason why I came here today is that I wanted to warn you. As an honorary member of your society, I take account for what is likely to happen within the next few years, possibly decades. I plan to not only dethrone Dumbledore for his atrocities against the goblin nation and the wizarding world but also to change the behaviour and views of the British magical society. Fools the lot of them," Salazar scowled before continuing. "Long enough have fools led Britain. I fully plan to fight for goblin rights once again and not only theirs but also every Magical Being who have been suppressed for long enough now. Getting Hadrian out from Dumbledore's influence was the first step, but more will soon follow, beginning with Sirius Black being released from Azkaban."

Both goblins now had broad grins on their faces. Oh yes, this was long overdue. The wizards had grown much too confident and looked down on everything that was not fully human. Therefore, if Salazar planned to do something against this, he would have the full support of the goblin nation. They knew that they could trust him. He had fought for them in several goblin wars and rebellions and had been the one forcing the Wizengamot to acknowledge the goblin nation and their rights, hence why they made Salazar Slytherin a member of the goblin nation and later a clan leader despite him not being a goblin.

"We will have to report this to our king, but I think I can assure you in his name the support of the goblin nation for your task. Just tell us what you plan and we will aid you in every way we can," Ragnok exclaimed.

"Thank you. For now, I only plan on getting Black out of prison and training Hadrian properly so that he can stand up to Dumbledore's manipulations."

"How do you wish to achieve this?"

"Did you know that Sirius Black is Hadrian's magical godfather?"

Both Goblins looked at him in surprise. "Wait, you mean…?"

Salazar nodded.

"Very well, this is extremely troublesome news, quite serious too considering he was never questioned under Veritaserum or had a trial, the Ministry will have a hard time explaining why they imprisoned him in the first place."

"You see. I also wanted to give you something."

Salazar took out a glass vial and his wand. He pointed his wand to his temple and then carefully extracted a memory and placed it in the vial.

"These are memories from an incident three days ago. Hadrian had gone into a state of mind lock after an outburst of his magic, and to get him out of it, I entered his mind. These are the memories of what I saw there. They are images of events that happened before I took him with me. To say they are disturbing is quite an understatement, even putting into account that they are a twisted version of reality. I want you to take them as a precaution and in case that Dumbledore tries to pull some stunt because of the adoption. He was the one who put him with his aunt and uncle in the first place. I hardly doubt that it states within the last will of the Potters that Hadrian should be placed there, but I can't prove it because the will has been sealed," Salazar detailed.

"You mean that there is the possibility that Dumbledore acted against the explicit last will of Hadrian's parents which in the end led to those events?" Griphook asked horrified.

"As I said, I can't prove it."

"We will look into it. Should it be proven true Dumbledore will be in for even more trouble."

"Please be careful. Dumbledore is not an opponent to take lightly, you have to look into it without stirring him up too much. Otherwise, we will get into trouble and that isn't something I want right now."

The goblins nodded. Yes, with Dumbledore you couldn't be careful enough.

"There is one other thing…I plan to reveal the fact that Harry went missing from under Dumbledore's protection via the Daily Prophet. They most likely will turn up here and ask questions. I would ask that you not to tell them who adopted him or where he is now, but you can tell them that he is alive and adopted. That should send Dumbledore running around like a chicken without its head searching for him…" Salazar chuckled.

"We will make sure that beside that information nothing else leaks out," Griphook said. "Is there anything else we can do?"

"That was all for now. I should get back to Hadrian, he barely lets me out of his sight at the moment and when he does only for very short periods of time then. His aunt and uncle really did a number on him in the four and a half years they had to care for him." With that Salazar stood up and began walking out the door with Ragnok following.

"Very well then, we hope to see you again soon honorary clan leader Slytherin, and may luck and fortune shine on you," Ragnok said to him when they arrived at the front entrance of Gringotts.

"May luck and fortune shine on you also," Salazar answered and bowed to him in farewell before he left Gringotts after reapplying his glamour.

He had not cast it again on Hadrian because now even if someone recognised him – which without his scar that had disappeared after his magical outburst would be quite unlikely because no one knew what he looked like now – nobody could take him away from him. Then there also was James who would protect Hadrian from everyone who would try to harm him. James was a excellent duellist and one would be surprised how many spells he knew that others would consider dark. Therefore, Hadrian was safe even without the glamour. He, on the other hand, did not want to be recognised. However unlikely that may be but one never knew when a Hogwarts student, especially one from Slytherin, would pass by, and those knew what he looked like thanks to a painting in their dorm.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: Diagonally Through Diagon Alley

 

He stepped out into the sun, it was a beautiful warm summer day, and it had gotten even better now that Hadrian was officially his son. Salazar looked around for James and his son, spotting them at “Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour” across the street. Hadrian looked much better, a bit anxious because he wasn’t with him but better now that he ate something. He walked up to them. Hadrian seemed to be relieved to finally be with him again.

“And did you have a nice ice-cream?” he asked while sitting down on the empty chair next to Hadrian.

“Yes, James got me a ‘Hogwarts Special’, it really looked like a small castle with little chocolate bats flying around it. It was so cool,” Hadrian rambled excitedly.

“It’s good to see you’re well, I feared it might be too much for you again.”

“Some time ago in the office of this goblin my head started buzzing again because it was a bit much but now everything is fine again,” he said while slightly blushing.

The waitress came to their table, and Salazar ordered an iced coffee.

“Hadrian I want you to tell me when things get too much for you.  I don’t want a repeat of this…incident. Okay?” he told him the worry was clearly showing on his face.

Hadrian nodded. “I’ll tell you when it happens again, but now I'm really okay.”

He was concerned that Salazar would want to go back home but he wanted to explore this street and its shops a bit more, and the buzzing in his head had vanished completely while he ate his ice-cream.

“So what do you think about a nice stroll through Diagon Alley after I finished my coffee?” he asked sipping said drink he just received.

Hadrian's face brightened up upon hearing that, he wanted to see so much, especially the bookstore and the apothecary. He loved cooking despite his aunt regularly beating him for it because it wasn’t as she wanted it and from what he had heard the last days brewing wasn’t that different. So he wished to see if he could get a potions book for beginners and perhaps the ingredients for some of the potions to try.

“I’d like to go to the bookshop I saw on the way to Gringotts and after that perhaps a small visit in that apothecary, please?” he asked nearly pleadingly.

“Of course, why not? Though I doubt you will find a book there that we don’t have at home,” Salazar laughed. “I only have to visit ‘Eeylops Owl Emporium’ before we return back home but the rest is up to you.”

They fell into a comfortable silence, and Hadrian observed the people passing them while Salazar drank his coffee. There were so many different people here. Some were dressed as any mundane person was while others wore long simple robes, some with a few ornaments some without, like Salazar, and a few of the people looked like they just escaped a loony bin. They wore such bright colours and crazy mixes of those it was a real eyesore. He watched them as they talked to each other, looked at shop windows or bargained with a street peddler over the price of an object.

It was very fascinating to observe for Hadrian, but finally, Salazar finished his coffee and paid for everything, so they got up. They first went to the book shop “Flourish and Blotts” because it was right next to the café.

Hadrian strolled around the shop looking at the books there, sometimes opening one and looking inside at the index but they all didn’t interest him that much. Only when he reached the section with the potions books, he stopped. Salazar who followed him now stood right next to him while James stayed outside the shop so that he wasn’t in the way and also could have a look out for people they definitely didn’t want to meet.

Hadrian looked through the books not knowing which would suit him because there was none that was called “for beginners” or something else that would indicate that it contained the easier to brew potions. So he just stood there looking confused.

“I see you are interested in potions. For beginners, I would recommend those two: One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi and Magical Drafts and Potions. These are the ones the first year in Hogwarts has to read, and they are quite good beginner books, but we have both at home,” Salazar supplied the information when he saw that Hadrian was stuck.

“But I’d like to have my own copies of those so that I can read them and mark important things without having yours blemished, if this is okay with you,” Hadrian told him.

“Well if you want them I have no problem with buying them for you, and it isn’t that I can't afford a second copy of them,” Salazar smiled while picking up one of each book. “Is there anything else you want to look for here?”

“Do they have cookbooks?” he asked curiously.

“Cookbooks? Wow, you really found the only category of books I don’t have at home. What do you want those for?”

“Well I love cooking even with how my aunt has treated me, and I’d like to get to know some wizarding recipes, so I wonder whether they have some books on that topic,” he said sheepishly.

“Hmmm I don’t know where they have them, but we can always ask.”

So they both went to a man who was sorting some new books on the shelves and asked him about cookbooks. He showed them where they stored them, and after a few more questions from Hadrian which of them featured dishes not known to the mundane world and what he would recommend, they had three additional books besides the two potion books. They walked to the counter, and Salazar quickly paid for them. He cast a feather-light charm on the bag they got before they left the store to meet with James.

“So I see you got quite a few books. Don’t we have enough at home?” he asked with a smile.

“Hadrian wanted to get his own copies of the first year potion books that are used at Hogwarts. He also wanted to get some cookbooks and those we definitely don’t have at home,” Salazar clarified.

“Cookbooks…right those we don’t have because neither the elves nor I need those. So I assume you like cooking?”

Hadrian nodded with a slight blush.

“You know you can always attend us with cooking if you like, not that you have to if you don’t want to” he hastily added upon seeing Salazar's gaze.

Salazar didn’t want Hadrian to think that he needed to cook, if he wanted to, he had no problem with it, but he would never force him.

“From time to time, I’d like to join you. I love cooking but my aunt always forced me to cook unhealthy and disgusting things, and I never had the opportunity to cook things I like to.”

“If you tell us what you want to cook and what you need for it in advance, we should be able to get everything needed so that you can cook whatever you like,” James mused.

They talked a bit further about it and about recipes Hadrian would like to try out when they passed a shop where bags and trunks were sold.

“What do you think, wouldn’t it be a good idea to buy you a bag, so you can put your stuff in when you leave home for some occasions?” Salazar interrupted the discussion about food and the various dishes.

Hadrian looked at him cocking his head.

“But I don’t have any stuff I could put in there,” he answered curiously, but Salazar just smiled and pointed to the other side of the street at a magical toy shop he evidently wanted to go into after.

Hadrian's face brightened up, and so they went buying a bag. In the end, he got one in several shades of black and green he could wear across his back which was enchanted with a feather-light charm, a bottomless charm and several security charms that would only allow him to access it. It also had three different compartments to sort things into. The first things that went into it were the books they previously bought.

After that, they went into the toy shop. This was the first time Salazar saw Hadrian acting like a real child. Previously he always seemed to be more mature than a child his age should be. But now, when he saw the childish excitement with which Hadrian went through the toys looking at every one of them, he was relieved. Hadrian walked around in awe, from time to time giving off an “oh” or “wow” in delight while showing things to Salazar. When they finally were through the shop, Salazar bought him a wizard chess set made of jade and marble, a magical card game that started to insult the player when the cards were held for too long and a few other things. Not enough that one might think Hadrian was a spoiled brat but more than enough to let him bounce like a bouncing ball because he never got toys before.

When they went back out James couldn’t help it but chuckle upon Hadrian's behaviour, and also Salazar smiled like there was no tomorrow.

“How do you feel Hadrian?” Salazar asked him a bit later after Hadrian finally stopped bouncing around.

“I feel very good, a bit excited but good,” he replied after a short time thinking about it.

“So then the apothecary. I recall you wanted to go there.”

Initially he wanted to suggest going to Madam Malkin’s first to get him some more clothes, but then he decided against it. He could always call for a private tailor any day, so there was no need to put Hadrian through the stress of getting clothes made for him now.

Hadrian sped forward towards the apothecary when Salazar turned to James.

“Would you please go to the sweet’s shop and buy some for Hadrian? We’ll meet at either the apothecary or the cauldron shop,” he asked, and James nodded before turning around and going where he was asked to.

Salazar walked up to Hadrian who had stopped in front of the broom shop which was right next to the apothecary. In the window, several of the latest racing brooms were displayed.

“A broom…I'm sorry, but that’s nothing I’ll buy you right now. They are pretty expensive, and we have enough good brooms you can try to fly at home,” he told Hadrian.

“I know I just wanted to have a look while you were talking to James. We have brooms at home I can fly with? I’d like to try that someday,” Hadrian mused. There were so many things he wanted to do and try out, flying on a broom was one of them, but for now, it could wait.

Salazar nodded. “While you won’t be able to fly where we are living at the moment, at the mansion outside of London on the other hand…sure. There is also enough space for you to fly properly.”

With a last look at the brooms in the window, they went on and into the apothecary. Hadrian just wanted to take out his new potion book to see what he would need when Salazar put a hand on his arm to stop him. He knew Hadrian would want to have his own brewing equipment and ingredients, so he didn’t even suggest to use his own stock.

“I know what you’ll need,” he went to the man behind the counter.

“We’ll need a good amount of the basic ingredients and some of the following: …” with that he gave him a list of some of the more expensive ingredients he knew were mostly harmless but quite useful for Hadrian. After he was through with Hadrian's supplies, he also ordered some for his own stock, which he knew he would need once he started to brew for Sylvia. That everything was only the best quality went without saying.

After they were finished and packed everything into Hadrian's bag, they went to the cauldron shop next door and got the necessary brewing equipment including a silver cauldron. Pewter was nice and all but in Salazar's opinion as a Potions Master, silver even if much more expensive was far better, the potions more stable and the cauldron easier to clean. There were also only very few potions you couldn’t brew in it, the Wolfsbane potion the prime example because the silver would contaminate it and poison the werewolf who drinks it. But that was a potion far above Hadrian's level for now.

“So, I think we have everything you would need for now,” Salazar mused while exiting the shop and walking up to James who stood on the other side of the street.

He cast a quick tempus charm and saw that it nearly was half-past five.

“Hmm I just need to go to the owl shop but what do you think of going to the Leaky Cauldron afterwards to have a nice meal?”

Hadrian thought about it for a second before he answered. “Yes, that sounds nice. I'm quite hungry.”

So they went to the owl shop, Hadrian walked through it while Salazar talked to the owner.

“I need two normal owls,” he explained before he continued with a whisper. “If possible I would need them without the standard tracking charm to send some letters without the receiver being able to trace them back to me.”

“I have some of those here, but they cost extra. Twenty-five Galleons each. Thirty and you get them with even charms against tracing through outside means,” the man replied with an equal whisper.

Salazar nodded. “I’d take those for thirty galleons.”

The shop owner went into the back of the shop. Salazar in the meantime looked after Hadrian who now stood in front of a large snowy owl. The owl cocked her head and hooted softly at Hadrian who put a finger through the cage bars and started to stroke the owl. This was when the owner came back with the two owls for Salazar.

“If I were you I wouldn’t do…” he stopped when he saw the owl leaning against Hadrian's hand, again hooting softly while nibbling at the finger that stroked her.

“Wow, I never saw her doing this. Normally she bites and scratches everyone who is stupid enough to put a finger in and screeches at everyone passing by when she’s not sleeping,” he explained.

The owl in the meantime looked at the owner like she was scolding him for the treatment he gave her. Salazar looked in the eyes of the bird an knew instantly that this was in no way an ordinary snowy owl, but that wasn’t something he would tell the shop owner.

“If you want this owl I can grant you a discount. Normally they cost fifteen galleons, but I’d be glad to have her out of my hands so you can have her for ten.”

Hadrian looked pleadingly at Salazar, and even the owl looked at him as she wanted to say “Don’t you dare to say no”. Salazar started to laugh upon this sight before he opened the cage. The owl hooted approvingly before hopping out and comfortably settling herself on Hadrian's left shoulder.

“Really mysterious,” the owner mused.

With that settled they returned to the counter. Salazar paid for the three owls and also bought an owl post and owl treats for Hadrian's new owl. He also wanted to buy a cage for her, but the owl hooted at him reproachfully and pecked him on the head, so he gave her only a glance and left it be. There was definitely something about this owl, and he was determined to find out what it was later.

After paying for everything, he shrunk the things for Hadrian and helped him put them in his bag before they left the shop, Salazar with an owl on each of his shoulders. He hadn’t bought a cage for them either because he wanted to outright send them and when they returned to the house, they would live in the Owlery of the house, so there was no need for cages.

So he now directed Hadrian and James to a small side alley where he stopped. He gave one of the owls to James who held her in front of him. Salazar took out his wand and checked the owl upon tracking charms and the like and was happy to not find a single one. She even had the promised charms on her against tracking through outside means. He took out one of the letters he had written this morning and tied it to the leg of the owl before he sent her on the way. This one was addressed to the Daily Prophet. He repeated the entire thing with the second owl before he tied the letter addressed to the head of the DMLE to her leg and sent her on the way as well. This owl also got the order to wait for a reply.

Pleased with himself he went out of the side alley back into Diagon Alley again followed by the others. He cast a quick tempus only to see that it now was ten past six and he frowned. He wasn’t concerned that the letters wouldn’t reach their destination this evening, the Daily Prophet just started to work on the issue of tomorrow, and the Ministry didn’t close until eight p.m.. The heads of the divisions often worked even longer. But it had been a long day and he was concerned that Hadrian would be exhausted. He looked at him but only saw that he was eagerly awaiting what they would do next.

“So now that everything is done and bought how does dinner in the Leaky Cauldron sound?” he asked.

The others nodded in approval, so they all set into motion to get something to eat.

“Say Hadrian isn’t the owl on your shoulder a bit too heavy for you?” he was a bit confused because of the size of the owl, but Hadrian moved as if she wasn’t even there.

“Hmmm no, now that you ask it is like she isn’t even there…curious,” Hadrian answered with a smile after shortly thinking about it and the owl hooted before nibbling at Hadrian's ear. “But I don’t mind if she wants to sit there. She doesn’t bother me.”

Salazar shrugged. “I will have to ward your bedroom window so that you can leave it open for her.”

The owl hooted approvingly and again he wondered about the intelligence and behaviour of the animal.

They entered the Leaky Cauldron through the back door and sat down in a secluded niche when Tom arrived to take their orders. He gave the owl, which settled on the back of the empty chair a quizzical look but left it be. Salazar ordered a Butterbeer and a meal for each of them. Tom went after nodding to him.

When they were alone again, James and Salazar started to talk about the events of the day while Hadrian took out one of his new toys they had bought. It was a black snake which was enchanted so that when you taped it on the head it starts to move and behave like a real one and with another tap, it curled itself up again and froze. Salazar had laughed when Hadrian showed it to him and couldn’t hold himself back buying it for him. It reminded him of his Animagus form and the day they had met for the first time. Hadrian played with it until the meal arrived.

They ate silently until Salazar spoke up.

“How do you plan to name your owl?” he asked.

Hadrian looked at the snowy owl and cocked his head thinking about it when an idea came to him.

“I think Hedwig would be a nice name for her,” he said on which the owl, which had put her head under one of her wings and slept, woke up and hooted questioningly at him as if she had woken up upon hearing her name.

“Would you like to be called Hedwig?” he asked the owl.

The owl in return hooted approvingly, so it was set, her name was Hedwig. Hadrian smiled while Hedwig again went to sleep.

The three ate their meal, Hadrian again stopped after being halfway through it before they returned to their conversation. Hadrian told them that he wanted to try brewing soon.

“Hadrian I would ask you not to brew a potion without James or me being with you. Potions can be quite dangerous to brew even the simple ones, and I don’t want you to get hurt because something goes wrong,” Salazar told him.

“Sure, I would have to carefully read my books first anyway so it will take some time before I can start with it but I’ll tell you when I'm through with them so that we can start.”

Salazar nodded in relief. He knew very well what potions could be like and he wasn’t even sure whether it was a good idea that Hadrian already started the complex art of potion brewing since he wasn’t even six years old yet. On the other hand, Hadrian had been so excited about it that Salazar didn’t want to hurt the boy by saying no to him. It also seemed to be a thing he was really interested in, and as long as it kept him from remembering his old life, Salazar would have to accept it. As long as one of them was with him, he should be okay.

They talked for some time more when suddenly Hadrian started to yawn. It had been a very long day, and now he was exhausted. So Salazar paid for the meals and the drinks before they took the floo back to the manor, Hedwig again sitting on Hadrian's shoulder.

Salazar took out the potions equipment and the ingredients from Hadrian's bag and brought it to the portions lab next to his study telling the boy that it would wait there for him when he was ready for it. After that, he brought the boy to his room and remained until he had changed. In the meantime, Salazar set up the owl post next to the window on which the owl instantly landed and made herself comfortable. He also enchanted the window so that no one could break in through it while it was open and so that the warmth would stay inside and no cold air could come in. When he was ready, he took Hadrian to bed.

He waited until he fell asleep which was quite quick because of his exhaustion. With one last glance at the boy and the owl, confirming that nothing was wrong, he left the room and went to his study where he sat down and worked through some business papers that started to pile up on his desk because he didn’t have the time to work through them lately.

 


 

Amelia Bones sat in her office at the DMLE when suddenly a brown owl swooped in, landed on her desk and reached out with his right leg at which a letter was fixed with a leather string. She removed the message and expected the owl to leave, but it just sat there apparently waiting for a reply. So she opened the letter well knowing that it was harmless because otherwise, the owl wouldn’t have been able to enter the Ministry. The Ministry had some special wards that prevented any owl with a harmful post to be repelled.

She read the letter and had to lean back in her chair. She had to read the letter two more times before she could process what it stated.

It seemed to be from a German freelancing journalist who wanted to write an article about Sirius Black and his crimes. But as he wrote in the letter, he had found some inconsistencies in the case during his research and he wanted to speak to her about it since she was the Head of the DMLE. This was a huge case. He, therefore, asked for an appointment within the next week knowing that this week was a too short notice for her to also take a look into the case of Sirius Black. She should send him a letter via the owl that still sat on her desk, including date and time she would have time for him. He was eagerly awaiting her answer.

She sat there thinking about it. Inconsistencies in the Black case? This was grave. She would have to take a look into the matter herself before she met with the man and she could only hope that everything was in order. Otherwise, she had a huge problem and not just her. Picking up quill and parchment she wrote a reply saying that Wednesday at ten o’clock in the morning was okay with her and that she looked forward to meeting him as well as getting to know what he had found.

After sending the reply via the owl, she leaned back again before she took out a single malt whiskey from a drawer of her desk and called for her assistance to bring her the files of the Black case. This would be a long weekend.

 


 

In the meantime, another owl reached Barnabas Cuffe the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Prophet. He was cautious with the owl and cast several revealing charms on it before even attempting anything because he never could be sure whether a letter could harm him or not since not everyone was pleased with the news they printed. But the charm told him that the owl and the message was harmless, so he removed and opened it.

He also had to read his letter several times before he had digested the information contained within it. First, he thought it was a joke and so he cast additional spells on letter and owl who stayed because Cuffe closed the window after letting her in only to find that neither was traceable back to its owner and also hadn’t been tampered with. The information in it also was concrete, too specific for it just being a joke. Nobody would go through such means only to muck him about this.

He called for one of his best reporters Andy Smudgley and showed him the anonymous letter. The man slumped down his seat and looked at Cuffe.

“Is this real?” he asked.

“The sender of this letter has taken a lot of precautions so that he won’t be revealed and the information is also precise. Therefore I highly doubt that it is a fake. I want you to investigate this case and be quick. If this isn’t a hoax I want it published within tomorrow’s issue,” Cuffe ordered the man.

Smudgley nodded and rushed out of the chief’s office, much work laying ahead of him. Cuffe grinned broadly. If this was real, it would be news that would shock the entire wizarding community especially those mentioned in the letter.

 


 

It was the end of an eventful day, but Salazar was pleased with it. Harry or now Hadrian was legally his son and they had a beautiful day in Diagon Alley. His son had gotten a few new things and had been a joyful child.

He also had set off an avalanche on the magical world, and everyone would have to think whether he wanted to be in blast range or not when it came down. Well, some people wouldn’t be able to avoid it, and those will definitely see and feel the first signs of it very soon.

He just had received the owl from Ms Bones that gave him the requested appointment. Another step is done.

Yes, this definitely had been a perfect day Salazar mused.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: A Bomb About to go off

 

The next morning Hadrian woke up very early, sometime around half past six. With the Dursley’s Petunia would have woken him by now. He wasn’t there anymore, but it seemed that he wouldn’t get rid of the old habit any time soon. So he stood up and took a long bath before peeping into Salazar's bedroom only to find him sleeping.

He sighed, he couldn’t expect his new father to be up this early. Father…that sounded so good to him. Now he had a family that cared for him and yesterday they had such a nice time in Diagon Alley. To him, it all was a miracle he had stopped hoping for a long time ago, but it seemed fate or luck decided to give him something back for all the crap he had been put through.

Silently closing the door of Salazar's bedroom, he thought that he could read some, so he went back into his own room. Hedwig looked up sleepily hooting questioningly, it seemed that she wasn’t fond of waking early either.

“You can go back to sleep, I just looked for father,” he told her while stroking her.

She hooted softly before going back to sleep again.

Hadrian meanwhile went to the shelf in which his father had put the books and took the one about herbs and fungi out. With the book, some paper and a pen, he made himself comfortable on the windowsill with a pillow in his back. Sitting there, he started to read. He decided to start with the book of the plants because those were the ingredients used for the potions and it would be better to know their properties first before getting to know how to use them.

While reading, he completely lost track of time. It was well after nine o'clock when someone knocked on his door.

“Yes?” he called out while marking the page he was at and putting the book down.

It was Salazar who entered the room. When he saw Hadrian sitting on the sill reading, he walked up to him.

“Good morning, I see you have been awake for quite a while. How is the book? Is it interesting?” he greeted him.

“Yes, I woke up half past six…it seems that it isn’t easy to get rid of old habits and yes the book is quite interesting. So many plants one can use and everyone is different,” he explained excitedly.

“It’s nice to see that you enjoy it. What do you think, want some breakfast?”

Hadrian nodded, and Salazar turned around when Hadrian spoke up again.

“Dad…thank you.”

Salazar stopped in the midst of his next step and turned around in surprise. Hadrian upon realising what he had just said got a bright red face and looked down sheepishly. It had come to him so naturally, and it was like it was meant to be that way that he hadn’t thought about it any further before he spoke it out loud. Salazar who saw the shame in his son’s face walked up to him and pulled him into a strong hug.

“There is nothing to be ashamed of. I was just surprised that you called me dad that early, I hadn’t expected it yet.”

“So you are not mad at me?” Hadrian asked cautiously.

Salazar laughed while he hunkered down in front of Hadrian so that he was at eye level with him.

“Why should I be mad at you? For you rightfully calling me dad? I'm your father after all now so you can call me dad whenever you want,” he explained with a smile. “I would never be mad with you no matter what and I definitely never ever will beat you. Only idiots beat children. That doesn’t mean I won’t punish you some other way should you ever decide to go against one of my orders, understood?” he said with half a stern look and half a smile on his face.

Hadrian nodded with tears in his eyes. It were tears of joy, and he launched himself at his father and tackled him with a huge hug, knocking him over so that they both landed on the floor laughing.

“Thank you, dad, thank you so much for everything, and I promise I will never disappoint you” he exclaimed.

Salazar felt pride rising in his chest while holding his son. He had forgotten how it was to have a child around him and to be a father. It had been about a millennia ago when he had the only child he ever had and said child had been ripped from him far too early in his opinion. Sure he had been 83 years old by then, but it had hurt Salazar deeply losing him. Perhaps he could do something to prevent losing Hadrian too because he doubted that he could bear the loss of another child, even if he died of old age, without snapping but for now that was a futile thought.

Hedwig who woke up over the ruckus they both created hooted questioningly, ripping Salazar effectively from his dark thoughts.

“So breakfast?” he asked, and Hadrian got up.

He also stood up and they went to leave the room. Shortly before they reached the door, Hedwig sailed down from her post and landed on Hadrian's shoulder. Hadrian smiled while Salazar shook his head with a smile. It seemed the bird would follow Hadrian wherever he went.

They both went into the kitchen to get breakfast. Hadrian found next to his plate also the potions he had to take. Yesterday evening he took them before going to bed, James made sure of it. They ate their breakfast when suddenly an owl flew in and landed in front of Salazar with a newspaper bound to his leg. Salazar untied it and put one Knut into the small bag attached to the other leg of the owl and gave her a treat before the bird left again.

He unrolled the newspaper, and a big grin appeared on his face. It was the main article on the front page that let him grin.

 


 

Harry Potter went missing

 

It seems that a few days ago the unthinkable has happened. Harry James Potter or most commonly known as the Boy-who-lived went missing without a trace. Yesterday evening the Prophet received an anonymous letter that stated that the boy, who had lived with his aunt and uncle after the horrible murder of his parents by You-know-who, went missing not even a week ago. First, we thought it a hoax, but after an in-depth investigation, we can confirm it. Harry Potter is no longer with his relatives.

His maternal aunt and uncle are known muggle, and one has to ask themselves whether they were that well suited to care for and protect the Boy-who-lived. It has been Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, and a known friend of the Potter family who decided to place the boy with his relatives. Nevertheless, are muggles really the best option to defend him against possible threats from hiding Death Eaters who might seek revenge for his victory over their Dark Lord?

“I only did what I thought would be the best for the boy to have a normal childhood away from all the glory and fame that comes with being the Boy-who-lived. Therefore I placed him outside the wizarding world to have a normal childhood,” was Dumbledores only statement on this matter.

In order to look into the ‘normal’ childhood, this devoted journalist went into the muggle world to interview Harry Potter’s relatives and perhaps find out what exactly happened that day when he vanished. What he found out left him totally baffled.

“That filthy scum? I don’t know where he vanished to and for all I care he can go to hell like the rest of you freaks. I don’t want anything to do with vermin from your kind!” was all the author could get before he got the front door slammed into the face by the aunt of Harry Potter.

Seeing that Harry Potter’s relatives weren’t even the slightest little bit worried, on the contrary seeming to be happy that their cousin was gone the question arises why Dumbledore had put him there in the first place when he really only wanted the best for the boy. It seems unlikely that he did not know how the Dursleys would react to the idea of raising Harry Potter since Dumbledore has been a very good friend of the Potters. It seems very unlikely that it has been the wish of the Potters for their son to be placed there.

One thing is for sure, a witch or wizard has taken Harry Potter. Researches with the goblins brought to light that Harry Potter was very well alive, but they could not state where he was or what has happened. The only things they could say was that Mr Potter personally visited them shortly after vanishing from his relatives. He also wished that all information about him was sealed away unless he wants them to be made public and the only information excluded from the sealing was that Dumbledore is no longer his magical guardian. According to the goblins, a competent and caring person has legally adopted him. They also told us that right now, several investigations have started against numerous members of the wizarding world but for now, they could not give us any details.

We also have been able to contact Sylvia Pye head of the Department for Spell Damage of St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries who was called by the one person who adopted the boy to examine the Boy-who-lived.

“The boy was in very bad shape when I was able to examine him. It seems that his relatives have not cared for him at all. I was totally shocked when I saw him the first time, but I can assure you that he, Harry Potter, now is in competent hands and will recover in a short time. Unfortunately, there is nothing more I can tell you because of the patients privacy, and I also cannot tell you where and with whom he is now.”

This statement from a well-known and highly capable healer even strengthens the accusations against Albus Dumbledore for making the wrong decision.

So what has really happened at the house of his relatives? Where has the boy vanished to? Moreover, why did Albus Dumbledore not react earlier? At the moment we don’t know the answers to these questions, but the Daily Prophet is determined to find out everything about it.

 

-Andy Smudgley-

 

For more about Harry Potter and his victory over You-know-who see page 2

For more about Albus Dumbledore and his involvements in politics see page 9

For more about adopting a magical child see page 9

For more about Healer Sylvia Pye see page 10

 


 

Salazar grinned broadly. Oh yes, that was a very acidic drops Dumbledore had to swallow.

“Why do you grin like you won the lottery?” Hadrian asked curiously.

“Because something equally good has happened. I poked a sleeping bear with a stick, and he won’t be able to find out that I have been the one doing it. Look for yourself,” with that he pushed the newsletter over to his son.

Hadrian eagerly read the article about himself before he cocked his head.

“Boy-who-lived?”

Salazar sighed remembering that there still were a lot of things he hadn’t told him yet.

“That belongs to the part I haven’t told you thus far. You remember me telling you about the prophecy Dumbledore forged?” Hadrian nodded. “Well, it happened that a part of the prophecy leaked out to Voldemort that time. The tricky thing about predictions is that as long as no one acts upon them, they have no power but apparently, Voldemort did, and so it got the power.

“It was on Halloween the year after I left for my research where everything changed. Peter Pettigrew betrayed your parents and told Voldemort where to find them. Voldemort, who knew that the prophecy fitted you, acted and went to the house of our parents. He killed them both before he attempted to kill you too, but from whatever reason, he failed and his spell rebounded upon himself and he died, or at least it seemed that way. The thing is the spell he used to try to kill you, Avada Kedavra, can't be blocked or diverted through magical means and the target will die instantly when hit by it no matter what. There are only two possibilities to avoid being hit. One is to get out of the line of the spell fast enough or two you put a solid object between you and the spell. You are the only known person who got hit by it directly and survived. Nobody, even me, knows how or why but this is the reason you are famous and why everyone calls you the Boy-who-lived.”

Hadrian leaned back in his chair.

“So you want to tell me that my parents died because that Dumbledore was too lazy, or whatever else, to do the job of defeating Voldemort himself and therefore created a prophecy that not only got my parents killed but also nearly me? Not only that, I'm famous for that?” he didn’t know what to think about it.

“In a nutshell…yes. I'm sorry Hadrian, I never thought he would go this far. This is the reason why I now do everything so that Dumbledore gets what he deserves but this can't be done overnight. He is very well connected in the wizarding world and powerful too. So I have to take one little step after the other and have to be really careful otherwise it might backfire and give him hold over you once more, and that is nothing I would ever allow for a second time. But I promise you he will fall in the end even if it takes centuries,” he told his son, who knew he was right.

“I hope he dies for everything he did,” Hadrian growled, but his father just laughed.

“There are fates far worse than death. No, death would be a mercy to him, and I don’t plan on showing him mercy.”

Hadrian nodded. His father was right death would be mercy he didn’t deserve.

“Out of curiosity, where have you been that evening?”

Salazar sighed. “It was that evening I returned to Godric’s Hollow after just having finished my research. But when I arrived at the Potter Cottage, it was burning completely, and I saw Dumbledore giving you to some giant on a motorcycle. Thinking about it now I should have killed him then and there, but at that time I couldn’t risk it.”

He looked down at the table. Yes, he could have acted right then, but it would have been futile. Dumbledore was an excellent dueller and even if he could have managed to kill him, well as he said death was a mercy Dumbledore shouldn’t expect.

Hadrian stood up and went around the table to hug him. He burrowed his face in Salazar's shoulder when he replied.

“I know you did everything you could and I'm glad you didn’t kill him then because I doubt I’d be here with you now had you done it and now stop thinking about it. We are here together, and we have any time we need to get to Dumbledore. There’s no point in grieving about lost chances.”

Salazar smiled, Hadrian was right, there was no point to mourn over spilt milk, and he also knew that even if he could, he’d never have outright killed Dumbledore because it wasn’t his style. He preferred fare more subtle means of bringing someone down.

“You are definitely right. So what do you want to do today?”

He thought about it. “Hmmm, what about you tell me some more about the wizarding world?”

“Sounds good to me.”

So both sat in the library, and Salazar told him more about the world of magic.

 


 

In Hogwarts Dumbledore was like a bomb about to go off. Anger was filling him while he paced in his office. Luckily it was summer holidays, and the school was empty except the few teachers who weren’t on vacation.

Dumbledore read the article in the Daily Prophet, and he was furious. Yes, he knew that Harry Potter went missing and he also knew how he was treated by his relatives. There was no way he wouldn’t have known because he had a spy within the street Harry had lived in but he hadn’t acted upon it. He even needed it that way so that he could “rescue” Harry when the time came for him to attend Hogwarts. But now someone tampered with his carefully laid-out plans.

The problem was he didn’t know who it was. He also had no idea how the press got wind of it. He instantly tried to get a hold on Smudgley, but it seemed that he wasn’t available due to the fallout of the article. Everyone and their mother now wanted to know more details.

They even had dared to quote him. This only showed him that they overheard a conversation he had with McGonagall yesterday evening before the article was printed. That was another mystery he would have to solve quickly since he knew for a fact that his office was bug-proof and the wards also hadn’t registered anyone entering the grounds. So he had no idea how they got the quote.

He had contacted his spy in Privet Drive Arabella Figg shortly after the instruments stopped working, but the woman hadn’t been able to tell him how or even when exactly Harry had vanished, leave alone who took him. While his visit with her Dumbledore also checked the wards on Privet Drive No. 4 but hadn’t been able to find anything out of order.

Even his attempt to talk to Ms Pye were fruitless since St. Mungo’s refused to let anyone in who hadn’t some severe injury, disease, or who accompanied someone stationed there. First, he tried to get in under the excuse to visit the Longbottom’s, but he only was told that the Janus Thickey ward was closed for visitors at the moment. After that, he tried to sneak in under a disguise but was caught by the security and was thrown out again.

A bit later he went to Gringotts to talk to the goblins, but that was as futile as everything else he tried until then. They didn’t tell him more than what was already written in the Daily Prophet. To make matters worse, they accused him of thievery shouldn’t he return everything he took from the Potter vaults within the last four and a half years since Harry became Lord Potter. He was given an ultimatum of one week to do so or otherwise, they would take action which would result in Dumbledore losing everything within his vaults to Harry Potter. Before he hesitantly followed the orders he demanded to know whose orders these were but they only told him that everything had its accuracy and that should he ever again attempt to access one of the Potter vaults he would be charged for more than simple thievery.

Luckily for Dumbledore, the invisibility cloak from Harry's father had never been in the vaults, so the goblins had no idea it existed or was rightfully Harry's. He would need it for now, and it would have come as a massive blow to him being forced to give it back.

At last, he went to the Department of Magical Child Care at the Ministry to get to know more about the adoption, but they also told him that they had as much knowledge as he himself. It seemed that yesterday in the records of Harry Potter a filled form appeared that legally covered the adoption. The adopting parent was claimed to be someone called John Smith, but there were so many people with that name in Britain, not to mention outside hence why they couldn’t find out who it really was. Now the entire Ministry was running around like headless chicken trying to find out what and how it had happened.

With an angry swish of his wand, he threw one of the instruments that initially was designed to observe Harry at the wall next to the door where it shattered and hundreds of pieces scattered all over the floor. Fawkes who sat on his post behind Dumbledores desk thrilled accusingly about the ruckus. Just at the same time McGonagall and Snape entered the office before quickly hiding behind the door to avoid getting hit by the blast.

“What's the matter Albus?” she asked after finally entering.

She has been visiting some relatives and obviously hadn’t read the Daily Prophet yet while Snape never bothered to read it.

“What the matter is, Minerva? THIS!” he growled.

McGonagall took the newspaper Dumbledore held out to her and carefully read the article while Snape read it from over her shoulder. At the end she was shocked. Snape only sneered.

“How did they find out and how did they know who to interview? Albus this is no coincidence” she said.

“I know” he had calmed down a bit. “But I can't think of anyone who would pull such a stunt.”

“Hmmm, Sirius is in prison…what about Remus?” Snape spoke up.

Dumbledore laughed bitterly.

“Remus? No definitely not. He has neither the slyness nor the connections. I even doubt he knows where Harry lived the last years.”

“What about some Death Eater?” McGonagall asked.

“Possible but implausible. A Death Eater would have killed or hidden him. It is to be doubted that he would let a healer examine him and even less inform the press about it. To be honest, I have no idea who has him, but I'm determined to find out. I have to.”

McGonagall sighed. “I told you, haven’t I? I told you what a spectacularly bad idea it was to place the boy with his relatives, that they would maltreat him and wouldn’t be able to protect him. But you, you only said it was for his best and that he should be rised far away from his fame and the magical world but what now? I hope you find him again not for your sake but for Harry's,” she growled before she turned around and left the office leaving Dumbledore and Snape behind.

“What do you think Severus? Could it be some Death Eaters who have Harry?”

“I doubt it. As you have put it so aptly, they would have killed or hidden him, not hinting the Prophet at it. To me, this looks more like someone holds a resentment against you and with this taunts you,” Snape replied pointing at the newspaper.

“The question is who. I checked every one of my enemies or who holds a deep grudge against me. They also wouldn’t have known where to find the boy.”

“Perhaps sheer luck? I mean the boy wasn’t imperceptible and he got recognised from time to time. Maybe the person who has him stumbled across him in the street and saw it as a probate method to get to you?”

Dumbledore sighed. “I don’t know, and for now there are too many questions and not enough answers. There also is nothing at the moment I can do about it except searching for him and damage control with the Prophet. I hope he is alright.”

Snape sneered. “Since when do you care about the boy? You hadn’t cared when you got to know that he was abused but now you hope he is alright? Your hypocrisy is even worse than the one of the Dark Lord,” with this he turned around and walked out of the office his robes billowing behind him. He knew that Dumbledore will get back on him for that later, but at the moment he didn’t care.

On his post, Fawkes thrilled lowly. He knew very well who had Harry, Salazar Slytherin…the entire scheme wore his signature, and he was glad for the boy. Dumbledore was such an idiot putting the boy with his relatives. There was no possible way for Dumbledore to find him until he allowed it, but it was fun to see him running in circles.

 


 

Salazar grinned. It was afternoon, and he sat in his study, behind him on the windowsill with his book sat Hadrian reading. Hedwig sat on the back of one of the chairs in front of the desk obviously sleeping.

A few minutes earlier he received a letter from Gringotts. They told him that Dumbledore gave back everything he took and that the goblins placed the things where they belonged.

The other thing was that they got several requests from the Ministry regarding the adoption. Oh yes, the goblins did a great job. They filled out the Ministry papers under one of his aliases, the most common one he had and now the Ministry was determined to find out who said John Smith was. Too bad that there were far too many people with that name in Britain leave alone America. Too bad that the American Ministry holds quite a grudge against the English one so getting any information from them would take the English Ministry weeks if not month.

‘Let them run around headless for some time, in the end, they won’t be any wiser,’ he thought happily before returning to his paperwork.

He worked for a few hours when suddenly there was a knock on the door.

“Yes?” he called out, and Hadrian looked up from his book.

The door opened and Sylvia came in. Hadrian jumped up, ran over to her and hugged her as a greeting.

“Hey Harry, I see you look much better. How do you feel?” she asked.

“It’s Hadrian now, I chose that name when dad adopted me, and I feel great. Yesterday after dad adopted me we went through Diagon Alley. He bought me so many books and toys,” he excitedly babbled.

“Oh what books did he buy you?” she wondered because she well knew about the size of Salazar's library.

Hadrian turned around, picked up the book he had been reading and showed it to her.

“This one plus another potions book and several cookbooks.”

Sylvia looked at the book, it was One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi.  She flicked through it and was astonished what the boy marked in it. It seemed that he knew very well which information was relevant, useful and which not.

“So you are interested in potions? But can you really remember everything you read so far? I mean it is quite a lot,” she was curious about it.

Hadrian cocked his head musing about it before he nodded.

“Yes, pretty much all of it.”

“Hmmm, then let’s have a try. What is Alihotsy and what do you use it for?” she asked with a smile.

“Alihotsy, also known as the Hyena Tree is a magical tree whose leaves can induce hysteria and uncontrollable laughter. There is an antidote to it, a treacle produced by the Glumbumble which induces melancholy in those who consume it. Finely chopped the leaves find use in the laughing potion,” he replied after thinking shortly about it.

Sylvia and Salazar looked at him with wide eyes. Salazar saw that his son has read nearly half the book by now, but he never expected him to remember everything almost word for word.

“I'm curious, you seem to have an excellent memory, might I ask something else?”

Hadrian nodded.

“What is Gillyweed, what is it used for, where can you find it and who revealed its properties?” she asked while getting a questioning look from Salazar.

“Gillyweed is a plant resembling slimy grey-green algae. If swallowed by a person said person grows gills and also webs between his fingers and toes. Therefore he is able to breathe beneath the water and move at an higher speed. There is a discussion about the duration of said effect in salt and fresh water, but normally it lasts for about an hour. The plant itself is native in the Mediterranean Sea but can be cultivated nearly everywhere under the right conditions. Elladora Ketteridge has first discovered the properties of Gillyweed in the 17th century, but it was credited to Beaumont Marjoribanks about a century later,” he lectured.

“Wow, I know people with an excellent memory, but that is beyond everything I've ever seen,” Sylvia had to sit down.

Salazar thought a bit about it before he explained. “I think I know what it is. The mundane know some things about it. They call it an eidetic memory. People who have one only need to hear or read something which depends on whether they have an auditory or visual eidetic memory and they are able to recite it word for word. They also never forget what they once read or heard.”

“It that something bad?” Hadrian feared that he did something wrong.

Salazar laughed. “No, no, quite the opposite in fact. You will have an easy time to learn theoretical knowledge from books. With the practical aspect, we will have to see, but you will be able to remember things you read quite easily. I don’t doubt that many people will be envious about that.”

“Cool then I have to read a lot in the future,” he said with a grin relieved that nothing was wrong with him…again.

“Just keep sure that you don’t rush yourself” Salazar laughed.

Hadrian nodded. “Besides that why did you come? I don’t think you only wanted to test my knowledge about herbs and fungi or did you come for another health check?” he cocked his head questioningly.

“You're right I originally came to talk to your daddy,” she grinned upon seeing Salazar blush slightly.

“Okay, then I return reading,” with that he picked up his book and sat again on the windowsill continuing where he had left.

Sylvia shook her head. “I have never seen a child his age so eager to read leave alone learn things.”

“I have to admit that I sometimes wonder myself how mature he is. I mean he also behaves like a child from time to time especially when we visited the toy shop yesterday but most of the time…” he sighed while looking at his son who sat there humming lowly while marking another passage.

“I hope that this will change a bit should I be able to convince Black to not follow Dumbledore anymore.”

“Hmmm Black, when do you think he will get out?”

“I have an appointment with Ms Bones at Wednesday next week, and I hope that they will set him free no later than Friday.”

“Okay, then I’ll prepare everything. More chaos to look forward to, nice…” she said sarcastically.

Salazar looked at her quizzically.

“Do you have an idea what a hell this day was? Everyone and their mother wanted to talk to me about what was written in that article. I'm glad St. Mungo’s has such good security otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to work properly today. They also were instructed to not let Dumbledore in under any circumstances except when he was injured or something the like, but luckily he didn’t use such means. I was told that he attempted to get in twice,” she huffed. “And I doubt that it will get any better once Black gets out and stationed with me.”

“I'm truly sorry that all this causes so much inconvenience for you and I'm surely grateful that you do this for me. I hope that it won’t take too long for them to realise that there is nothing you can tell them.”

“I hope that too, but until then you could let me sleep in your house,” she said with a devious smile.

“Sure but why?” he asked, it wasn’t that he didn’t have space, but he wondered where it suddenly came from.

“Do you really think that they would only besiege my job? My house isn’t hidden under a Fidelius charm, and I fear that up to now everyone knows where I live and tries to get a hold on me there,” she said incredulously.

Salazar flinched. “I haven’t thought about that, I'm sorry. You surely can sleep here as long as you want or need to. I’ll see that I register you with the wards so that you can apparate in and out and don’t have to use the floo every time.”

“Thank you and no problem. Would it have been a problem I wouldn’t have agreed to help you in the first place.”

Salazar called for a house-elf and told him to prepare one of the unused bedrooms.

“Say what is the matter with that owl?” she changed the topic, eying the bird that sat on the chair next to her.

“Oh, that is Hedwig. She belongs to Hadrian, and it seems that she won’t let him out of sight for now. I don’t know why but she followed him the entire day,” he explained, also glancing at the bird.

“But there is something I’d like to ask you,” he started a bit later. “What do you know about the Longbottoms, especially Alice and Frank?”

“The Longbottoms you say? There is not much I know about them. Frank and Alice were tortured by the Lestranges and Barty Crouch Jr. only a short time after Hadrian's parents were killed. They are now placed permanently at St. Mungo's in the Janus Thickey Wards with a foreign induced mind lock. A day before Hadrian was born they both got a son too, Neville Longbottom. He now lives with his Grandmother Augusta Longbottom. To their loyalty, I can only tell you that Frank and Alice were very firm with the Aurors and Dumbledore while Augusta always remained neutral.”

She thought a bit more about it before she finally shook her head.

“This is everything I know about them. Why do you ask?”

“It seems to be the case that Alice and Frank are Hadrian's godparents to next to Sirius Black,” he replied.

“What?” she looked to the boy who doesn’t seem to be bothered with their conversation but just read his book. “The boy really had bad luck up to now. His parents dead and all his godparents incapacitated. I wonder whether this is a coincidence or some of Dumbledore’s scheme.”

“I doubt that the old goat just forgot that Black is Hadrian's magical bound godfather except it was for his convenience. The same goes for the fact that the man never got a hearing or a trial,” Salazar growled.

“You're right this is very suspicious but do you think that he revealed the location of the Longbottoms to the Death Eaters only because they didn’t fit into his scheme?”

“Maybe what happened to the Longbottoms was just a convenient incident without any further ado from his side, but I doubt he would have left them alone should it have been any other way.”

Sylvia mused about what she just heard. “Do you think you might be able to repeat what you did to get Hadrian out of his mind lock just with them? Maybe they would be able to help us with Dumbledore. It also would be good for Hadrian.”

“I would have to take a look at them to answer you that. If it is as I think a state of utter shock I should be able to do something about it but is it something like it was with Hadrian…I'm sorry, but I'm not inclined to risk my own life for them” he replied.

Sylvia sighed. “I thought so, but perhaps at least you could check them.”

“What about Monday? I could come by and have a look if that’s okay with you.”

She nodded.

They talked some more until dinner and after that until late into the night. Hadrian went to bed around nine after giving both of them a hug and bidding them a good night. He was closely followed by his owl.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11: One Inconsiderate Comment

 

The next days were quite uneventful. Hadrian finished his herb book and started with the potions book. Salazar in the meantime took the time to attend to the business he supported in both the mundane and the magical world. He also found out what the matter with Hadrian's owl was but was quickly sworn to silence when the bird furiously started to peck him.

In the meanwhile, Sylvia who settled in one of the empty bedrooms tried to avoid reporters, the Ministry and everyone else who wanted to question her about Hadrian alike. It made working pretty stressful, but somehow she managed it.

Now it was Monday, and Salazar was about to go to St. Mungo's to take a look at the Longbottoms.

“Can I come with you please?” Hadrian asked pleadingly.

“Why? It will be quite boring for you.”

“I’d like to see a magical hospital and well…” he knew this might take longer and he wasn’t comfortable being left behind for so long even with James as company.

Salazar looked at him and thought about it for a moment. On the one hand, it was quite risky now that everyone and their mother was looking for him but on the other, he couldn’t lock up his son all the time. Not to mention that the security at St. Mungo's was the third best after Hogwarts and the Ministry. Besides that, no one knew how he looked like and even the strong resemblance with his birthfather had lessened since the adoption.

Hadrian's hair no longer was a chaotic bird nest but laid neatly on his head much to the joy of the boy because he always hated his messy hair. Also, his facial structure changed slightly, he now looked a bit nobler but since he was just a child one had to look very carefully to see the change. Would he have been older the difference would be more visible.

All this was the side effect of the magical adoption. Such an adoption also changed the features of a person, so that said person resembled more the adopting parent and therefore strengthened the bond between child and parent without erasing the resemblance to the birth parents completely. It was as if the adopted person now had three birth parents instead of two.

“Okay, you can come with me, but I have work to do so please don’t disturb me, understood?”

“Sure, I’ll read my book further if it gets too boring,” Hadrian happily exclaimed before running off to his room to get his bag and book.

Half an hour later they both stood together with Sylvia at the beds of Alice and Frank Longbottom. Hadrian made himself comfortable on a windowsill from where he could observe his father but wasn’t in the way.

Salazar went up to Alice, sat on the edge of her bed and hold his left hand over her forehead. He concentrated for some time using Legilimens to look into her mind. Sometime later he retreated from her mind and went back to Sylvia, who stood next to Miriam Strout. The woman was the healer in charge of the Janus Thickey Ward where long-term patients were stationed. They told her that Salazar was an expert from another country Sylvia had been able to find.

“So what do you think?” Sylvia asked.

“As I thought it is a state of utter shock,” he replied and started to explain it further upon seeing the questioning look on the other healers face.

“Normally when someone is in the state of a mind lock said person is somehow trapped in a nightmare. But in this case, it is different. Thanks to the Cruciatus Curse the minds of those both are so thoroughly shocked that they withdrew completely. You know when you are scared and panicked so that your mind goes completely blank and you don’t know what to do anymore?” both women nodded. “Well this is an extreme version of it where the mind stays that way without any chance to recover itself, but I think I can do something about it.”

“And what exactly?” Strout asked.

“This is where it gets tricky. To get them out of it, I have to replace the fear of the Cruciatus Curse and the pain inflicted by it with something stronger and more imminent.”

“How would you achieve that? The Cruciatus Curse is one of the strongest known curses,” Sylvia was curious.

“Their son. I will show them a scenario that shows their son in deadly danger, hoping that their parental instinct to protect their child will kick in, ripping them out of their mind lock along the way.”

“That will help?”

“Hopefully, it won’t be pleasant for them and should it fail I have no other idea how to wake them. But for it to work, I need their son here. How fast could you reach him and get him here?”

“Reaching them shouldn’t be the problem but for them to come here? Maybe an hour? But why do you need him?” Sylvia questioned.

“Because I have no idea how he looks like,” Salazar stated as if that was obvious and Strout went off to contact the Longbottoms.

“You know that the news of them waking up will mean even more work for the Hospital security?” Sylvia chuckled.

“Oh, they have to work for their money for a change? How bad…” Salazar grinned, his voice dripping with sarcasm while walking to Hadrian.

“Hey there. I hope it isn’t too boring for you.”

Hadrian laughed. “No, no, I have my book, and it is really fascinating to learn how all those ingredients mix with each other and in the end create a potion.”

“Hmmm perhaps depending on when we get back home you could start brewing your first potion this afternoon but only under my supervision,” Salazar suggested.

Hadrian smiled like Christmas had come early, and Salazar started to laugh over the eagerness of his son.

“I wonder what you have with windowsills. Every time you read you sit on one, isn’t it uncomfortable?”

His son shook his head. “No, I find it quite comfortable and this way I'm not in the way of anyone.”

They talked a bit more about the potions Hadrian wanted to try to brew until about 45 minutes later Neville Longbottom arrived with his grandmother Augusta.

“What was this about a possibility to heal Frank and Alice?” she demanded to know.

She was a stern old woman wearing a long coat, some fancy hat and in her hand, she had a big red purse. Right next to her was a boy around six years old and a bit round in the face, seemingly Neville Longbottom. He stood shyly behind his grandmother.

Sylvia went up to them.

“Hello, I’m Sylvia Pye head for the Department for Spell Damage here at St. Mungo's and yes it is correct. It seems that there is a possibility to wake them both up. This is Sal, and he is an expert in the subject of mind locks I have been able to find just recently,” she introduced her to Salazar.

Ms Longbottom critically eyed the man in front of her not really believing what she just heard.

“So you claim that you can help them? Where have you studied healing and how comes it that you seem to be the only one to be able to do it?” she was very cautious and wouldn’t let just anybody try to heal her child and daughter-in-law.

“I have to admit that I'm not a healer under oath and I'm sorry should have any confusion arisen, but I'm a master in the mind arts which is useful to get someone out of the state of the mind lock. Ms Pye can assure you that I successfully healed someone in such a state quite recently. To why I'm the only one able to do it, well the process requires skills only very few people possess” he explained.

“This is right, Sal had been able to get someone out of such a state just a few days ago hence why I actually got to know about his abilities. I can tell you he is more than capable of doing this,” Sylvia supplied.

Neville who found that entire conversation quite boring started to trail off until he found Hadrian reading on the windowsill. He went up to him in the hope of making a new friend.

“Hello there, I'm Neville Longbottom” Neville greeted him holding out his hand.

Hadrian looked up from his potions book before he marked the page he was at and shook the other boy’s hand.

“Hi, my name is Hadrian Slytherin.”

Neville stopped in his movement and looked at him with huge eyes. Augusta Longbottom who seemed to have heard especially the last part took a sharp turn on the spot and looked at him too.

“Is something the matter?” Hadrian asked with a curious look at his father.

“S-Slytherin?” Neville stuttered, and Hadrian nodded.

While Sylvia gave him a strange look, Salazar could only think of one word.

‘Damned!’

He had forgotten entirely to warn his son. Yes, he told him that he shouldn’t address him with his full first name or his last name in public, but he never said to him that he had to be careful to whom he introduced himself as Slytherin to. Now he could only hope that this didn’t ruin everything.

“What in Merlin’s name is going on here and who are you really?” Augusta exclaimed, having tensed up.

Salazar sighed. There were three ways out of this situation, he could outright lie, but that surely would bite him in his backside later. The second option was to twist the truth but in this case, this also would back to bite him in the future, especially since he fully planned to tell them the truth so he settled with the third option, saying the truth now. It wasn’t what he originally intended but there was no way around it anymore.

So he asked Miriam Strout to leave them alone for some time because he didn’t want her to hear what he had to say. She gave him a curious look but left them alone. When she was gone, Salazar quickly threw up several silencing charms and anti-spying wards. Hadrian in the meantime walked up to him because he was worried that he did something wrong, but Salazar gave him a reassuring smile and laid his arm around him before he started to explain.

“Before I tell you everything there are two other things. First, in case that you plan to tell anyone about what I'm going to tell you now, you'll find out that every information is secured with a Fidelius Charm” Ms Longbottom nodded, and Salazar took out his wand.

The old woman looked at him warily, but Salazar just continued.

“Second…I swear on my magic and my life that everything I tell you now is true as far as I'm aware,” he swore a magical oath to show the woman that this wasn’t a hoax which confused her even more. Who would swear an oath if he would only introduce himself? After that, he removed the glamour he always wore while not at home which got him a curious look from Ms Longbottom.

“So with that settled…my full name is Salazar Slytherin. Through time I have been known under several other names but this is the one I have been born with, and before you ask, yes I'm the actual Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts,” he stated.

Augusta Longbottom looked at him total flabbergasted. Neville would never have thought to ever see his grandmother in such a state. Hadn’t it been for the oath he swore just a minute ago she would have assumed he was a loony but with that…she didn’t know what to think.

“But…but this is impossible,” she had to sit down.

“No, not impossible, nonetheless highly unlikely I know. I'm truly sorry I didn’t want you to learn it this way. On the other hand, I would have told you eventually.”

Ms Longbottom nodded. “And this is your son?”

“Yes and no. He is my adopted son, originally he was my grandson in 33rd generation.”

Hadrian looked at his father questioningly to ask for approval. Salazar, who knew what he wanted, nodded.

“Hello, I'm Hadrian Slytherin or in full name Hadrian Harry James Potter-Slytherin,” he introduced himself properly to the old woman.

Ms Longbottom was glad that she already sat because she wasn’t sure her legs would have carried her anymore. Not only had she just learned that the infamous Salazar Slytherin was very well alive and standing in front of her but was also directly related to the Boy-who-lived, not to mention that he somehow has managed to legally adopt said boy. The only things she couldn’t wrap her head around was, on the one hand why he had hinted the Prophet at it because it made no sense to her, and why he offered his help with her son and his wife.

“Two questions are bothering me. First why the article in the Prophet and second what does a dark pureblood fanatic want from my son and daughter-in-law?” she narrowed her eyes at him.

Salazar flinched at the second comment.

“One might think that the biased lies from Godric would be lost in time but they got even worse and that bastard Voldemort hasn’t made it any better” he growled.

Upon seeing several quizzical looks, he sighed before he started to explain things.

“I never ever had something against the mundane born or half-bloods as long as they had the necessary power and discipline to learn the art of magic. My problem at that time laid entirely on their mundane relatives. You have to know that when we founded Hogwarts, it was an entirely different time than today. It was at that time when it all started with the persecution of witches and wizards. Before magical and mundane people lived peacefully together, but now the mundanes only had to be suspicious about someone, and soon they raided the home of the person, armed with pitchforks and torches, no questioning whether said person was magical or not. The security measures at that time also weren’t as good as they are today.

“I was only worried about the security of our students, and therefore I told the other founders that we should be careful who to tell about Hogwarts and where to find it. Helga and Rowena thought it wouldn’t hurt to be careful but Godric was a diehard idealist who only saw the good in the people, so we got into quite a dispute over that matter. In the end, he even went so far to tell the whole world that I would hate anyone and everyone who wasn’t a pure-blood,” Salazar sighed again. “At that time I didn’t do much against it because I hoped that when I leave it be, the quarrel would settle, but it even grew worse. When it went out of hands, I left Hogwarts, but I fear the damage was done by then.”

He rubbed his eyes, and he now looked like the old man he was. This had brought back bad memories about his first son. It had been about a century later, but he had been the victim of one of those raids. They surprised him in the night when he slept. When Salazar learned about it, he had been in the region where Poland is located today while his son had stayed in England. He had truly been tempted to do what he had been accused of by Godric and eradicate the entire village his son had lived in. Because of this event, he really started to hate everything mundane especially when the persecution reached its peak level in the 16th and 17th century. Until now his hatred vanished nearly wholly though, but from time to time, like when he saw people like the Dursleys it tended to come back in some lower form.

“Later then Voldemort claimed to be my heir which is complete nonsense by the way and started to persecute everyone who was mundane or related to mundanes and well…you know how my reputation is now.

“To the point about being dark, I can only say that this depends on the point of view. You should know that magic in itself is neither light nor dark. It is what you do with it that makes it fit into these categories. A healing spell depending on how you use it can next to healing a person also hurt one but is it, therefore, a dark spell?”

Reluctantly Neville’s grandmother nodded. He had a valid point there and also with his explanation about what happened at Hogwarts after it was founded. She knew very well from history lessons and books that this was the time when witches and wizards started to go into hiding because of the persecution and she also had to admit that this sounded much more believable than this pure-blood fanatic stuff.

That didn’t mean that she suddenly trusted him, she only started to see things from a different point of view which was why she always had been known as a neutral person during the war. She never focused on only one side of the coin but also put the other into consideration.

“I think I understand what you mean and I believe you, which doesn’t mean I trust you. But you didn’t tell me what you want from my family.”

“They are Hadrian's godparents beside Sirius Black,” Salazar stated as if that would explain everything.

“I beg your pardon?” this day indeed held a lot of surprises for her.

“It’s something I also got to know just recently when I adopted Hadrian, but the inheritance test at Gringotts clearly listed them as his godparents. I thought you knew about that,” he was a bit confused.

“Well I haven’t seen them in between the murder of the Potters and their own incapacitation since there was only a few days difference, perhaps it was something that was changed shortly before the Potters death.”

“I think it is futile to discuss this any further since the only ones who have the answers lie over there unconscious. So do you give me the allowance to treat them?”

“First I’d like to know the exact procedure and why you need to see my grandson for it,” she really was a cautious person.

While Hadrian who stayed by the side of his father the entire time went back to his book to read Salazar explained the procedure another time.

“I needed to see your grandson to create a realistic image for his parents. If you allow, I would also like to use some light Legilimens on him to get to see a normal day of his life. The more realistic the image I am able to project the higher the chance of success. I promise I neither hurt your grandson nor his parents. For them, it only will be quite unpleasant as you can imagine but I fear there is no other method.”

Ms Longbottom took several minutes to think about everything she just heard. On the one hand, she was very concerned that the man would use Legilimens upon Neville but on the other, she knew that there really was no other known way to help her son and his wife. Perhaps someone found some method in a very distant future, but that was highly unlikely. This man, on the other hand, offered a solution now, not a perfect one but a solution never the less.

“Granny? If that man can help mum and dad, he can do this thing he talked about to me. He said it won’t hurt so it shouldn’t be a problem, right?” he asked nearly pleadingly because he was desperate to get his parents back and the entire explanation gave him some hope.

“If it helps you with your decision, I as a healer under oath can tell you with a clear conscious that I trust this man. When he says he won’t hurt anyone then he doesn’t, not to mention that he is still under his oath towards you,” Pye interjected getting her a thankful smile from Salazar.

Augusta reluctantly nodded again. Over all the things she just learned she totally forgot the oath Slytherin had sworn at the beginning.

“Okay, I allow you to treat my son and his wife. I also allow you to use Legilimens on my grandson but should you hurt one of them in any way, pray that the oath kills you because otherwise, I will make sure of it,” she warned him.

Salazar nodded before he cancelled the charms and wards he had cast before calling Strout back in.

“So everything is said?” she asked after arriving.

“Yes, he has my allowance to try to break the mind lock and also to use some minor Legilimens upon my grandson.”

Strout looked questioningly at Salazar but said nothing.

“So then let’s begin. Neville…I want you to recall one of your days at home, the best would be a scene where you play, understood?” Neville nodded before he closed his eyes to think about said scene.

“Perhaps you feel a light touch in your mind when I enter but don’t fear it doesn’t hurt.”

With that, he entered the mind of the boy and saw a scene where he sat at the floor playing with some toys while his grandmother sat in an armchair together with another man discussing something. He ignored the two and solemnly concentrated on the boy so that he would remember every detail. When he was done, he immediately left Neville's mind.

“I'm done, Neville. Thank you very much, this will really help me a lot and it didn’t even hurt did it?” Neville shook his head. “Why don’t you go over to Hadrian and talk a bit to him while I try to wake your parents okay? I will need some time for it, and it will be pretty boring for you to watch.”

Neville nodded being glad that he could be of help before he went over to Hadrian. Salazar happily noted that they started to talk when he turned around to the others.

“And now to the hard part. I’ll start with Alice, you can monitor her during the process, I don’t mind, but please do not interrupt me,” he told Strout, Sylvia knew how that worked.

After he took a deep breath, he went to Alice bed and sat on the edge. He placed a hand on either side of her head before he closed his eyes and started to concentrate.

 


 

~~ooOoo~~

A few minutes later he stood in endless nothingness. The only thing he felt was the nearly overwhelming panic and shock. He would have to work quickly if he didn’t want to be rendered unconscious by it, he was strong-willed and it would take some time but even he wasn’t immune to it.

So he went to work creating a nearly identical copy of what he saw in Neville's mind. When he was finished the small Neville sat in front of him playing with a little train. He left his grandmother out of this since she wasn’t a vital part and it would cost him even more concentration to have her behaving correctly too.

Now that he was done with that part he would need a threat. He would have preferred to use Voldemort for this, but since he had no fitting image of him in his mind, he would have to work with the second best, some faceless Death Eaters, which should be sufficient enough. So he started to create a believable scenario.

A group of five Death Eaters wearing the long black Death Eater regalia and silvery-white bone masks to hide their face blew up the front door of the mansion they were in and came straight into the room. They laughed and joked what a pathetic defence was on the house and how easy it was to break in.

When they saw Neville sitting on the floor, they stopped in their track and pointed their wands at him. Neville who was scared by this sight screamed ran away and hid behind one of the chairs in the room. The five Death Eaters started to laugh again.

“Hey boy, you don’t have to be frightened we only want to play with you,” one said in a singsong voice before starting to laugh maniacally.

The boy in the meantime started to shiver and frantically looked around for a place to hide. He ran into the next room when a few curses flew after him only missing him by a hairbreadth. The Death Eaters cackled.

“Come out, come out wherever you hide,” they teased while following him.

They played a bit more hide and seek, but when they finally found him, he was hiding in a dark corner.

“Nah, Nah, Nah. Don’t you think that it’s a bit dark in there?”

Neville tried to dart through them but was only rewarded with even more mad laugher while they pushed him back into the corner again pointing their wands at him.

“You are a naughty little boy, we should punish you for this what do you think?”

“Yeah, yeah, punish him!”

Salazar who remained in the first room probed the feelings the mind of Alice radiated but unfortunately they hadn’t changed so he would have to take the scenario a step further.

“Crucio,” echoed through the rooms followed by screams of agony and more hooting.

Neville screamed and screamed in agony while held under the Cruciatus.

Salazar cringed in horror. He knew that this wasn’t real, he knew that this was the only way which had the slightest chance to wake them up but never the less it hurt him badly. There was no way he would allow such a thing to happen in reality and he tried to turn off the screams, but that was wasted since he had to maintain the illusion. He could only hope that Alice would show some reaction soon before he had to stop because he couldn’t bear it anymore.

The screaming stopped for a moment when Salazar interrupted them for a short time so that he could recover. Half a minute later the screams returned, but then suddenly there was a shift in the surrounding feelings.

Bit by bit panic and shock weren’t the predominant emotions anymore but slowly and steadily hatred and fear mingled into it. Salazar let out a sigh of relief, it was working. He waited until said new emotions were strong enough before he made his final move.

The Death Eaters cackled when they stopped the torturing curse.

“You know what? Avada Kedavra!” one of them screamed and everything went black.

~~ooOoo~~

 


 

“NNNOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Alice’s scream echoed through the hospital wing when she finally woke and sat up so suddenly that Salazar became unbalanced and nearly fell off the bed hadn’t he be able to catch himself. She panted heavily and sweated like she had woken up from a terrible nightmare which wasn’t that far from the truth.

 


 

Neville walked over to Hadrian after Salazar told him to before he started his attempt to wake his mother. Hadrian had gone back to his book but now looked up at him.

“Hey, I'm sorry about earlier I didn’t want to hurt you…”Neville sheepishly looked at the floor.

“Never mind. Dad told me that he was quite famous, which is why I shouldn’t use his last name but I didn’t think about it any further. Is his reputation really that bad?” he asked curiously.

“I fear so.”

Hadrian sighed. “But he is so nice I can't imagine him doing anything bad. You know my relatives I lived with before…they were bad, the worst kind…but he took me from there, cared for me…he even risked his life for me…” his voice was only a mere whisper at the end and he blushed.

Neville looked at him. He wanted to ask about what had happened, but he felt that it was a bad idea. So he smiled reassuringly before he answered.

“I saw how he treated you and now I also find it hard to believe what others say about him, I think that what he said is true and that these are only rumours which got out of hand.”

Hadrian nodded. “But let’s talk about something more pleasant okay? I’d like to ask some things if you don’t mind.”

Cocking his head in curiosity, Neville nodded.

“What is it like to live in a magical household? You know my other relatives were mundane so I have no idea and do you know a lot of magic?”

Neville blushed before looking down at the floor again suddenly finding the spacing between the tiles fascinating and Hadrian feared he said something wrong.

“Did I say something wrong?” he asked.

“No, no, it’s just…granny and my uncle both think I'm a squib.”

“Why would they think that?” Hadrian was confused.

“Well, I never displayed any accidental magic. Normally children with magic perform from time to time magic accidentally when they are excited or something the like but I never did…”

“You mean something like this?” with that he held out his left hand the palm pointing towards the ceiling and concentrated a bit. A few seconds later a ball of light in the size of an orange appeared floating over his hand. Neville looked at him with huge eyes.

“H-how did you do that?” he stuttered.

“To be honest I don’t know how I did it in the first place, but since I know how it works I can do it on will…” he cocked his head. “Is it that unusual?”

“Unusual? Normally wizards aren’t able to do such a thing without many years of practice and most even not then,” he exclaimed.

“Well, I don’t find it that hard. Why don’t you try it too? It really isn’t that difficult if you know what to do and I can tell you.”

“I told you I'm a squib so I can't perform magic not to mention such an advanced one,” Neville was quite embarrassed.

“Ah, rubbish. I can feel the magic radiating from you, and it is really powerful even more powerful than your grandmothers or any others I met so far except my dad if that’s any measure. Just try it. I mean the worst that can happen is that nothing happens at all.”

Neville rose an eyebrow and looked at him as he was crazy, but in the end, he nodded. He could give it a try. It was like Hadrian said the worst that could happen was that nothing happened at all.

“So take a seat and make it yourself comfy,” Hadrian said and continued after Neville sat comfortably opposite of him on the windowsill.

“Now close your eyes. It is dark, and you need a light to see something, but there is no lamp or another light source around you just darkness. So you have to create your own source of light. Concentrate and imagine a small ball of light appearing in front of you. Think about how it forms a ball and how desperate you need that light to see. It appears right before you, and it grows brighter every second until it reaches a brightness you are comfortable with,” he slowly explained.

Hadrian continued that way for a few more minutes before suddenly a small light started to flicker in front of him. First, it was only little and faded quickly, but after some more minutes of concentration it grew and got steadier. When it settled at a decent size and shone steadily, Hadrian continued.

“Okay now slowly open your eyes and don’t forget to concentrate how desperate you need the ball of light.”

Neville did as he was told and carefully opened his eyes but he was so astonished seeing a small ball of light hovering between him and Hadrian that it instantly went out again.

“D-did I really do this?” he asked shakily, and Hadrian nodded.

“I told you it isn’t that hard, didn’t I? You only have to practise a bit further to get it faster and more stable, but for a first try I think that was very good.”

Neville's face shone like every holiday fell on the same day and on top of that he won the lottery on that day. He was so eager to try it again. After about forty-five minutes he was able to produce the light without even closing his eyes and only half a minute of heavy concentration, he was a bit exhausted but happy that he wasn’t a squib.

“Granny, granny you have to see what Hadrian just showed me!” he excitedly shouted while running up to her.

“Hush you, Mr Slytherin has to concentrate,” Neville blushed and looked down ashamed that he had forgotten that.

“I'm sorry but Hadrian showed me something really awesome, and I wanted to show you.”

Augusta sighed. “As long as you are quiet you can show me,” she said with a stern look.

Neville nodded excitedly and started to concentrate again. About a minute later another light hovered in front of him, and his grandmother looked at him with huge eyes.

That was when the scream echoed through the room.

 


 

Strout instantly looked after Alice while Sylvia cared for Salazar who also panted quite heavily. She sat him into one of the chairs at the wall before giving him a pepper-up potion.

“You look like you ran a marathon. Are you all right?” she asked him.

“Yes, I didn’t think that it would affect me so much to have to see this as well, but I'm all right I only need a short break to recover before I can go on with Frank.”

“Are you sure that it wouldn’t be better to do that on another day?”

“No, I want that done as fast as possible.”

In the meantime, Strout had finished her examination of Alice and told Augusta that nothing was wrong despite minor exhaustion which could be cured by a good sleep. Neville along the way went up to his mother looking at her with wide eyes.

“M-mom?” he asked cautiously.

“Neville…I'm glad you are okay,” she said hoarsely. It seemed that Strout also had taken her time to explain her several things.

“Mom!” Neville shouted and launched himself at her tears running down his cheeks. The light he had conjured up followed every movement as it seemed that his subconscious kept it up.

Salazar who saw that looked at it quizzically before looking at his son rising an eyebrow. Hadrian blushed and mouthed a “later” at him.

He took half an hour to recover the magic replenishing potion helping that process a lot before he started the same process with Frank.

Neville excitedly chattered with his mother, the light had gone out half a minute after he had hugged her before Strout told him that his mother needed to rest and that he should let her sleep. So Neville went back to Hadrian followed by his grandmother.

“So you taught my grandson how to conjure up a ball of light?” she asked him curiously.

Hadrian nodded. “Yes ma’am, since I didn’t find it too hard to do I suggested he should try it and after some time he was able to do it himself.”

“You know we thought for most of the time he would be a squib and I'm grateful you proved that assumption wrong. Though I'm quite astonished about you both being able to perform such advanced magic.”

“As I already told Neville it is rubbish that he might be a squib since I can feel the quite powerful magic radiating from him,” Hadrian scowled.

Augusta now was very interested in the boy in front of her.

“So you can feel the magic of persons? What do you feel from me?”

“Not only persons but also objects and with you, well as far as I can tell you are also quite powerful but not as much as Neville or my father and how powerful you are in comparison to an average wizard I don’t know since I don’t know many…” he sheepishly looked at the floor.

She now looked at her grandson who also blushed in embarrassment.

“But why if you are as powerful as Hadrian claims haven’t you shown any sign of magic before?”

“I-I don’t know,” it was clearly visible that Neville was very uncomfortable with this conversation.

“Perhaps I'm able to explain that,” Sylvia interjected. “I'm sorry, but I overheard your conversation.”

“And what might be the reason?” Augusta wanted to know.

“It seems that your grandson is quite shy and emotionally calm. Children his age normally perform accidental magic when they are heavily excited, angered or frightened so every time they feel strong emotions. But with your grandson, it seems to be that he never reached the point where his magic reacted. The same goes with you Hadrian, from what I have been able to observe the last days you are also relatively calm and the only time your magic reacted was when your fear reached a critical point…. That also might be part of the explanation why you can perform wandless magic that early because one needs not only a strong will but also calm and controlled emotions to perform it,” she explained.

Suddenly they all heard a scream and gurgling sounds.

 


 

Salazar now tried for almost an hour to get Frank to wake up, but he proved to be a harder nut to crack than his wife. This time it was easier for Salazar himself since he knew what to expect and therefore he was mentally prepared. That brought him to an idea. Salazar added Alice to the projected image. Perhaps if not only his son was in danger but his wife too he would finally react.

It took him another quarter hour, and he was shortly before giving up hope that he felt the needed reaction. He sat the final blow, but he hadn’t anticipated what happened next. After Frank woke up, his Auror training kicked in and he instantly started to strangle Salazar who hadn’t even the slightest chance to evade since he was quite exhausted from the procedure.

Sylvia came running. Together with Strout they pointed their wands at Frank ready to stun him, but Salazar managed to raise a hand and slightly shook his head to stop them. It would be a terrible idea to stun Frank now because that might render Salazar's entire work void.

Hadrian, on the other hand, feared for the life of his new found father, so he made a decision. As the only magic he knew how to perform not only correctly but also quite quickly was his ball of light he conjured one up and sent it straight to the face of Frank effectively blinding him. The man not able to stand the light had to let Salazar go to cover his eyes with his hands.

Salazar fell onto the floor coughing with Sylvia by his side in an instant. She led him to a bed opposite of the Longbottom’s and ordered him some rest.

In the meantime, Strout tried to calm down Frank, but the man was in such a rage that this was a futile attempt. Therefore she bound him to the bed with ropes she conjured up and forced him to drink some calming drought. It took several minutes that he calmed down enough so that she could explain everything to him. Fifteen minutes and several explanations later he was calm enough to get to see his wife and son.

Hadrian meanwhile was sitting with his father who laid on the bed the eyes closed.

“Thank you, son,” he suddenly said still a bit hoarse. “That was a really good and quick reaction from you. I owe you.”

Hadrian blushed. “Since I only know how to produce light I did the first thing that came to my mind. My only thought at that moment was that he had to let you go…and you don’t owe me anything, you did so much for me already it was the least I could do.”

Salazar opened his eyes and smiled at him.

“I think there got a little bit of Gryffindor lost in you,” he teased him and started to laugh upon Hadrian's curious look.

In the end, Salazar had to stay overnight because of his physical and magical exhaustion. The Longbottoms would have to at least stay until the end of the week to make sure that there were no aftereffects of the procedure but other than that they were in a surprisingly good condition. Hadrian stayed with his father while Neville and his grandmother returned back to their home but not before he promised Hadrian to visit him soon shouldn’t they meet the next day.

All in all, another exceptionally good day ended.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12: Not so Accidental Magic

 

The next morning Hadrian was awake far before anyone else. He was first a bit confused about where he was, but then he remembered the last day. So he stood up and silently went around the screen to look for his father. Salazar laid in his bed and snored slightly which let Hadrian chuckle lowly.

He looked at the clock at the wall and frowned. It was half past six in the morning no wonder that not even the Mediwitch could be seen anywhere. Knowing that trying to get back to sleep would be a futile attempt he went to his bed, picked up his book, sat down at the windowsill and continued reading where he left the day before using the moonlight as a light source.

It was around eight when the Mediwitch showed up. Hadrian smiled at her and wanted to resume reading, but the Mediwitch went up to him.

“Good morning, since when are you awake?” she asked him.

“I woke up at around half past six,” he made a grimace. “And since I couldn’t sleep anymore I read some.”

The witch looked at him in thoughts.

“When I made my round this night I happened to see you sleeping agitatedly. Did you have a nightmare?”

Now Hadrian flinched before looking down.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he mumbled.

Yes, he had nightmares ever since Salazar got him out of Privet Drive. They mostly were about him having to return there or that he never got out of there. From time to time he also dreamt about the worst things that had happened there.

“Okay, but you should consider talking to someone about it, that might help you.”

Hadrian nodded before returning to his book to avoid any further conversation about that topic. He didn’t want to think about his nightmares and even less talk about them hoping that they stopped on their own.

About an hour later Salazar woke up too. The Mediwitch had been ordered to let him sleep because he had been very exhausted the evening before. Salazar came around the screen and looked amusedly at his son.

“Why do I even wonder seeing you reading?” he grinned.

“Morning dad,” Hadrian jumped up and hugged him.

“Good morning, how did you sleep?” his son sighed. “Nightmares again?”

Salazar stroked Hadrian's head. He knew about the nightmares because one night he was wakened up when his son started to scream. After a while, he was able to put him back at ease without waking him up, but he was worried nevertheless.

“I assume that this is normal with all you’ve been through but promise me that you tell me shouldn’t they get better in a week okay?”

Hadrian nodded slightly before he nuzzled his father even more.

The Mediwitch brought them both breakfast, and they were just finishing when Sylvia walked up to them.

“Good morning you two. How have you slept?”

“Like a stone, the last days have been pretty exhausting,” Salazar replied while Hadrian sheepishly looked at the floor.

Sylvia looked at him worriedly before she gave Salazar a questioning look. He frowned and nodded slightly which let her sigh, but she didn’t say anything.

She cast some diagnostic spells on Salazar and noted the results on a clipboard.

“Okay you are released Sal, but I advise that you don’t do much magic in the next few days so that your magical core can regenerate completely. You can take the floo in my office. I assume we see each other this evening?”

“Of course, but before I leave, I’d like to have a word with Mr and Ms Longbottom to see how they are.”

The three went over to the Longbottoms who seem to have just finished their own breakfast. Sylvia ran several spells on them too before noting the results. With a nod towards Salazar and Hadrian she left.

“Good morning. I came over to apologise for what I put you through yesterday, I know how…unpleasant it-” Salazar started but was interrupted when Alice held up her hand in a decisive manner.

“No, you don’t have to apologise for anything. It is first and foremost us who have to thank you. Without you, we would be vegetables until some day when we would have died. Now we are able to see our son grow and not only him but our godson too,” she told him with a knowing smile.

Salazar, on the contrary, looked quite shocked. Nobody should have been able to tell her so how did she know?

Alice started to laugh a bright laugher that stood in complete contrast to what they had been through. It seemed that at least Alice got through it mostly mentally unharmed much to Salazar's delight.

“Did you really think I wouldn’t recognise my godson? Even if he is much older than the last time I saw him, and the resemblance with his birthfather has lessened, I assume because of an adoption through you, it is not enough to deceive me.”

Salazar nodded in relieve while Hadrian blushed. Alice was a sharp-minded woman, no wonder she worked as an Auror.

“We owe you our life, and I promise you we won’t tell anyone about it.”

He frowned because a life debt was a very serious thing in the wizarding world. Should he want it, he could practically enslave them, but that was nothing he would ever do especially not to them. He hadn’t healed them so that they owed him their lives, he had done it for his son and to enable him a childhood with everyone he would have had in his life hadn’t his parents died. To give him back parts of what Dumbledore took from him.

But then he couldn’t just reject the life debt either because that would be an even bigger insult, so he just groaned. He would have to find a way around it.

“Let’s talk about that some other day. For now, I'm just glad that you are both well. There are also so many more things I have to tell you and Augusta Longbottom…but first you have to get cleared because I fear otherwise Ms Pye will bite my head off,” he chuckled while Alice nodded approvingly.

“I’ll leave now, see you soon…hopefully,” with that, he turned around and wanted to leave.

“Wait! You never told us your name,” Frank spoke up for the first time.

“Salazar Slytherin,” he replied and finally left together with his son the two gobsmacked Longbottom’s behind not noticing a small beetle that flew out through the open window.

 


 

On the way to Sylvia's office, Salazar spoke up.

“Such a nice day, what do you think of a nice ice-cream in Diagon Alley? I also wanted to talk to you about a few things.”

Hadrian blushed, knowing what his father aimed at, and he wasn’t very eager to have this conversation, but in the end, he nodded. There was no point in delaying the inevitable and despite that he looked forward to another day with his father.

“Can I have another ‘Hogwarts Special’, yes?” he asked with a gleam in his eyes, slightly bouncing.

“Sure, why not? I’ll leave a short message for James so that he knows where to find us, and then we go.”

Salazar smiled when Hadrian shot off towards the office. It has been only about a week now that he took Hadrian away from his other relatives and he could clearly see the change. Unquestionably most of the time the boy acted much too mature for his age, and he had an inkling about why, not that he would ask the boy directly, but it was situations like these that assured him that he did the right thing.

Sylvia wasn’t in her office, and so they used her floo to return to the mansion. Salazar quickly talked to James while his son waited in the drawing room for him to return. A few minutes later they both took the floo to get to the Leaky Cauldron and went out to Diagon Alley. It was another lovely warm, and sunny day, therefore, they sat outside the ice-café where they ordered their ice-cream and something to drink.

Salazar cast some privacy charms not taking any chances of being overheard and then looked at his son expectantly. Hadrian shifted uncomfortably in his chair stirring the chocolate drink he just received.

After a few minutes of awkward silence, Salazar finally sighed.

“I'm not mad with you or something like that I just want to know how you conjured up that light. You should get to know that this is quite a remarkable achievement for someone of your age,” he explained carefully.

“Neville's granny said something like that too. I don’t know how I did it in the first place. It was three days ago in the middle of the night when I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep so I wanted to read some, but it was so dark. Then…then, I-I don’t know how to describe it,” his voice started to tremble while fear rose within him.

His father reached over the table and grabbed his hand squeezing it slightly.

“There is nothing you have to fear, everything is okay,” he smiled reassuringly.

Hadrian took a breath to calm down again and thought about how to describe it.

“You remember what I told you during the meal after Mr Reichard was finished examining me?”

Salazar nodded. “You said something about where before was a small stream now is a broad river if I recollect it correctly.”

“Right. Well, that night in the dark it was a bit strange. While I sat there said river started to act differently than normal and I decided to poke it a bit out of curiosity. I don’t know why it happened, but suddenly a small light appeared in front of me, I-I was so shocked and started to panic…it went out immediately again,” his voice faded out at the end.

“Let me guess, your uncle bet you because you did some magic accidentally.” Hadrian nodded slightly.

He had to close his eyes to calm down before he did something incredibly stupid…like going on a killing spree within a particular house.

“I know you'd never do this…but the memories…” he vigorously shook his head to get the thought out of it before he continued. “After I eased the panic, I tried to get back the light but this time on purpose. It took me some time, but in the end, it worked and after some practice…well since then I use it to read in the evening.”

Salazar leaned back and thought about what he just heard while his son looked at him in anticipation.

“To me, it sounds that the first time you conjured it up was semi-accidental. Your wish for light and triggering your magic combining on its own and coming up with a solution, the rest then was as you said just practise. But what I find more fascinating is that you have been able to get Neville to do it too.”

Hadrian sheepishly looked at his ice the waitress just brought, and he blushed.

“I-I just told him how I did it and it worked…was that wrong?”

It was about a minute of awful silence for Hadrian where he feared that he indeed did something wrong before his father finally answered.

“No, it surely wasn’t wrong to do it, but I want you in the future to think closely about whom and how you help someone because you might end up with the other one indebted to you without wanting it.”

“Like you?”

Salazar just nodded.

They both sat there, silently eating their ice.

Hadrian thought about what his father said about someone being indebted to him and what he heard in the conversation this morning. It sounded like a very serious thing, the debt the Longbottoms held towards his father, and it was apparent that his father wasn’t comfortable with it.

But what was with himself? Would he want that Neville owes him for that? He didn’t know much about such debts, and he decided to read more about it. But for now, he thought that no, he wouldn’t want it. What he really wanted was a friend. That was the reason he helped Neville because to him he was a nice boy and he liked him. Hearing how the other boy had been treated for NOT showing magic…it let him think of his own treatment if only for the opposite reason, and so he wanted to help.

He mused a bit more about it but came to the conclusion that for now, he wasn’t able to do anything about it and so would leave it be.

It was shortly after noon when they returned back home.

 


 

They both sat in the study in their usual fashion when James entered a newspaper in hand.

“Sir, this one arrived a few minutes ago, and I assume you would be very interested in the front page article,” he laid the newspaper onto the desk in front of Salazar.

“Thank you.”

Salazar picked up the newspaper and carefully read the article James hinted at. He was halfway through when he flinched.

“Something wrong?” his son asked.

“Read for yourself” he handed over the paper and observed his son’s reaction.

 


 

Longbottoms’ awakening

 

Yesterday something one only could refer to as a miracle occurred. The Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom, who were tortured to insanity by several Death Eaters shortly after the defeat of You-know-who and were long-term patients in St. Mungo's ever since, have awaken. An inside source told us that Sylvia Pye head of the Department for Spell Damage, to which also belongs the Janus Thickey Wards where the Longbottoms laid until now, had been able to find a specialist from another country who was capable of healing them. Up to now, it is unknown, who said specialist is or where he comes from but one thing is for sure he was successful where many others failed.

What is far more interesting is that said specialist was accompanied by a young boy around the age of six with black hair and emerald green eyes. This devoted journalist was unable to uncover the name of said boy, but one could not oversee a disturbing resemblance to one James Potter. Is this just a coincidence? Alternatively, is this boy perhaps the lost Harry Potter, the Boy-who-lived? Then the question is what business did he have at St. Mungo's and who was the man he came with?

The next thought-provoking thing happened this morning. A witness overheard a part of the conversation between the unknown man and the Longbottoms.

“The Longbottoms admitted that they were the Godparents of the boy,” the witness reported.

Is this a hint that the boy really is Harry Potter, since it is known that the Longbottoms were good friends with the Potters, or is this only another coincident? Moreover, had the man perhaps an ulterior motive to helping them other than that he could?

For now, we cannot give you the answers to these questions, but one thing is for sure, strange things are happening, and we at the Daily Prophet are determined to find out.

 

-Rita Skeeter-

 

For more about the vanishing of Harry Potter see page 2

For more about the Longbottoms and their stationing at St. Mungo's see page 10

 


 

“How?” that was the only thing, Hadrian could think about the entire thing.

“That is a pretty good question I don’t know the answer to. We can be glad that every other information is protected because I don’t doubt that she otherwise would have printed everything else too,” he made a face that clearly stated how displeased he was with this article.

Hadrian looked back at the article and thought about it. The only persons who were there the other day had been Sylvia, the Longbottoms and they themselves. No, wait there was also the other healer, Strout.

“What about Ms Strout? She was the only other person who knew I was there,” he asked curiously.

“Yes you're really sharp minded, but she wasn’t present when I talked to the Longbottoms this morning so she couldn’t have leaked out that part.”

He mused further about that topic but couldn’t come to a conclusion. There was this feeling that something important was staring right at him but he wasn’t able to tell what it was.

It was an hour later when suddenly a humming went through the room indicating that a floo call was pending in the drawing room. Salazar looked up shortly but left it to James to answer it. A few minutes later, there was a knocking on the door.

“Come in!” he called.

The door opened, and behind James, Augusta Longbottom, and her grandson entered the study.

“Sir, Ms Longbottom wishes to speak to you,” he stated.

Salazar placed the document he was reading aside and pointed at the chairs on the other side of his desk. “Good afternoon, please take a seat. May I offer you something to drink? A tea or a coffee?”

“A good afternoon to you too. Tea wouldn’t go amiss, thank you,” the stern woman answered while sitting down.

“Hadrian would you please leave us for some time so that I can talk to Ms Longbottom? Perhaps you can take Neville with you to the drawing room or your own room. I'm sure James can bring you a bottle of pumpkin juice,” he looked at Augusta questioningly who nodded towards Neville thankful to have the opportunity to talk to Salazar alone.

His son nodded and went over to Neville. Upon passing, he nodded and said “Ma’am” in a greeting towards Augusta.

“We will be in my room,” he told his father before the two boys left the room together with James.

“I have to admit that your son is very well mannered for his age.”

“That is true, but sometimes I wish it were for different reasons,” upon seeing the questioning look he explained some things. “His aunt and uncle mistreated him and I fear he behaves like he does because of it. But I doubt you came to talk about him. How can I help you?”

“Yes, you're right. I came here because I wanted to formally thank you for what you did not only for my son and daughter-in-law but also for my grandson. Our ent…” she started, but Salazar held up a hand to stop her.

“I'm sorry to interrupt you but I have an inkling about what you're going to say, and I would ask you to hear me out first, please. Should you insist on continuing what you wanted to say I won’t stop you again,” he looked at Augusta, upon which she nodded. “I had a similar conversation with Mr and Ms Longbottom this morning when they told me that they owe me their lives and I can assure you that this is not the reason I did what I did. The thing is I would never call them upon it and neither would I call your family upon it. What I would wish though and which is also the real reason I helped them is that they help me caring for Hadrian, and perhaps Neville becoming his friend. But this is entirely their own decision to make and I would never demand such a thing.”

Augusta lent back in her chair in absolute surprise. Yes, she started to doubt everything she thought she knew about the man in front of her but now he gave her a new reason to question that knowledge even further. Other pureblood families would kill to get on the good side of a powerful and influential family like the Longbottoms not to mention holding a life or family debt over them, but now he told her that he didn’t even want it in the first place.

“I see you're asking yourself why I act like I do. You should know that I don’t need such means as calling upon a debt to get people to see my way or to help me. The problem with this is that calling in debts or favours might be the easy way to accomplish things, but in the worst case, you force someone to do something he absolutely hates or what goes against his principles. It is far more effective to convince someone to do it out of one’s own free will as it hasn’t the side effect that said person hates you in the end given the case you do it properly. I also have to admit that even if it is the long way to go it’s more satisfying succeeding in it than taking the shortcut,” Salazar chuckled. “It might be my age that I prefer the subtle art of convincing someone, but for me, it is the only right way,” and perhaps the fact that he had a nearly infinite amount of time to get what he wanted but that he would never say aloud.

Augusta nodded in approval. “I understand your argumentation and I approve most of it, but this isn’t a matter of what you or I want but a question of honour. The Noble and Most Ancient House of Longbottom can't leave such a deed unanswered otherwise I would dishonour our ancestors and our name,” she took a deep breath. “Therefore I hereby place the loyalty of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Longbottom towards the Noble and Most Ancient House of Slytherin and offer a family debt to said house for saving the life of two honourable members of the House of Longbottom. May the debt persist until it is fully repaid or a thousand years have passed.”

“I hereby accept the debt offered by the Noble and Most Ancient House of Longbottom.”

“You really are an honourable man Mr Slytherin and should you ever need help don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Please call me Salazar if only in private, no need to be so formal.”

“My pleasure Salazar then call me please Augusta.”

 


 

“Come on, my room is on the first floor,” Hadrian said while walking towards the stairs.

“I’ll send an elf to you with the juice and some snacks,” James told him.

“Cool, thanks!” he replied.

Neville looked at him strangely for the slightly different behaviour but said nothing. They both went upstairs and to Hadrian's room. Hadrian sat in one of the armchairs his legs folded under him while gesturing Neville to sit down as well.

“I wanted to thank you again for…for yesterday” Neville shyly started.

“Hey, no problem and please don’t think you owe me anything for it.”

His eyebrows rose. “Why not?”

Hadrian sighed and looked down.

“You remember that I told you my relatives I lived with were bad?” Neville nodded. “Well, every time I performed accidental magic…it grew even worse…and…and when I heard how your relatives thought of you…the memories came back…I had to do something…” his voice trembling.

Hedwig who seemed to sense the uprising feelings in Hadrian flew down from her post, landed on the armrest and hooted softly to calm him down. Hadrian started to stroke her head, and a smile stole itself on his face.

“I'm sorry I brought that up…” Neville said ashamed, but Hadrian just chuckled lowly.

“It isn’t your fault that my relatives were prejudiced idiots but let’s not talk about it. What did your uncle say when he got to know that you're not a squib?” he tried to change the topic.

“Oh…” Neville now grinned broadly. “He was so happy he burst with pride, you should have seen him. As a present, he wants to go with me to Diagon Alley and buy me a toad.”

“A toad? Really?” his disbelieve clearly showing on his face. “I mean I got to know about the magical world just recently so who am I to judge, but I don’t think a toad would suit you.”

Neville's face brightened up again after he looked slightly depressed by the thought of getting a toad.

“You think so too? I’d like to have a cat…but I don’t think my uncle would buy me one,” he let his head hang again.

“Perhaps you should just ask him and when he declines you can always threaten him to go back being a squib,” Hadrian replied grinning slyly upon which Neville started to laugh.

“You're mean,” he chuckled.

“If it helps,” he deadpanned with a shrug before breaking out in laughter too.

They talked more about several topics like magic, Quidditch and the mundane world until late afternoon, enjoying the pumpkin juice and the snacks one of the elves brought.

“I'm curious why do you always say mundane and not muggle like everyone else?” Neville asked.

“Hmmm…never thought about it. I think it’s because my father also refers to them as mundane and I picked up that habit,” he shrugged.

It was half-past five when James came in and told them that Ms Longbottom wanted to leave so Hadrian and Neville went downstairs together.

 


 

“Thank you for coming,” Salazar said while shaking Augusta’s hand.

At that moment Neville and his son entered the room chatting excitedly with each other.

“I have an appointment tomorrow so I'm not at home but perhaps your grandson wants to come around and meet with my son again?” he suggested upon seeing how well the two got along.

Augusta nodded. “I see what you mean. Tomorrow morning we wanted to visit his parents, and his uncle wanted to visit Diagon Alley with him, but in the afternoon he has time, sounds three p.m. good?”

“Hadrian, what do you think, would you want to meet Neville tomorrow afternoon at three?”

His son looked questioningly at Neville who just shrugged before he nodded.

“Sure, why not.”

With that settled they all bid their farewell and the Longbottoms flooed back home.

“And don’t forget to ask your uncle…” Hadrian called out to Neville before he vanished in the green flames.

His father raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“Ah, nothing important just a conversation we had.”

They both spent the rest of the day talking and playing some games before later in the evening they both went to bed.

 


 

The next morning Salazar woke up early in the morning but it was alright with him because today at ten he had his appointment with Ms Bones. So he got up and took a long shower. When he was finished, he only put on some trousers before going over to Hadrian's room. It was no surprise to him that he found his son reading.

“Good morning. I have to talk to you.”

“Morning dad” Hadrian looked questioningly at the bare chest of his father but only nodded.

Salazar smiled. “I have a meeting today at ten. Unfortunately, you cannot come with me this time but I think James will gladly spend the morning with you, and in the afternoon Neville will come around. Is this okay for you?”

Hadrian had some concerns about it, his fear being left back or having to go back not completely worn off, but he also knew that when his father said he would come back, then he would. This was when a grin appeared on his face.

“Perhaps I can talk him into some clothes shopping or a sightseeing tour through London, never been here before,” he said with a gleam in his eyes.

“Why not, I’ll talk to him. Come, give me a hug,” Hadrian jumped straight from where he sat into his father’s arms. “I know I didn’t tell you yet, but I love you.”

His son suddenly went completely silent while burrowing his head in his shoulder hugging him even harder. Salazar feared that he said the wrong thing when he heard him sobbing lowly, but those concerns went out of the window when his son lent back and smiled at him.

“I love you too, dad!” he kissed him on the cheek.

Salazar swept away the tears that ran down Hadrian’s face with a smile.

“Can anyone separate us ever again?”

“NO!” Hadrian shouted cheerfully before squeezing his father a last time. Salazar laughed before putting him down.

“So, but now I have to prepare myself,” he gave his son a kiss on the forehead and ruffled his hair.

After going back into his own room, he started to get prepared. For this meeting, he didn’t rely on magic to disguise himself. He knew very well that in some parts of the ministry charms and wards were embedded in the corridors which cancelled every magical disguising method like glamours or the Polyjuice Potion. But fortunately for him, the magical world was so confident in their practices and their superiority that they never thought about mundane ways of disguising like wigs or coloured contact lenses. Salazar, on the other hand, didn’t think himself superior and used any means necessary. So with a few trained movements, he wasn’t a man with long black hair and emerald green eyes anymore but a blond short haired one with blue eyes. On top of that, a simple brown robe and nobody would be the wiser.

With a short look on the clock, it was nine o’clock now, he went downstairs and into the kitchen from where he heard voices coming. Upon entering, he saw his son sitting at the table eating breakfast while James and the elves buzzed around the kitchen. Hadrian gave him a wary look.

“Dad?” he carefully asked.

Salazar's eyes went wide before he chuckled.

“When even my own son has problems recognising me, it seems I did a good job. James, I’ll leave now because I have to make a detour to mask my travelling route. Hadrian said he’d like to go shopping for some more clothes and/or have a nice tour through London. I think you'll come up with something, but you have to be back at three in the afternoon when Neville comes around.”

“Very well, Sir, I know quite a few nice places we can visit together. I assume you don’t return before noon?”

“Doubtable, I don’t know how long it will take, but I don’t think that the problem will be solved that quickly. Hopefully, I'm back for dinner though. Now, I have to leave. Have a nice day, will you?” he gave his son a last kiss on the forehead and a hug before leaving first to his study picking up his briefcase and then to the drawing room.

“You should eat up your breakfast and get ready so that we can go, okay?”

“’kay!” he replied with a full mouth.

James looked at him in a scolding manner.

“One doesn’t talk with a full mouth!” he said with a very stern voice.

Hadrian winced heavily and looked sheepishly to the floor before swallowing the bite. “I’m sorry it will never happen again,” he whispered, but James sighed.

“Hey, hey, there is no need to be afraid of anything,” he took a few steps towards Hadrian who eyed him warily before he knelt down in front of the boy. “I have to apologise that I was so unfriendly to you, but you should know that I will correct you in the future should you do something wrong or don’t behave like a good boy should. That doesn’t mean I would ever beat you or something the like and your father would be more than displeased if I did” he chuckled lowly. “Are we on good terms again?”

Hadrian gave him a last worried glance before he finally nodded.

“Good, I remember you wanted to see London so eat up and get ready I will wait here.”

Now the smile returned onto Hadrian's face, and he hurried up to finish his breakfast. An hour later they both left the house and went on a trip through London.

 


 

Salazar took the floo to Germany to Reichard’s workshop, he had asked him for permission beforehand. After that, he apparated to the German International Floo-Network Department. From there he flooed to the English counterpart and onwards to the Ministry. The whole charade was necessary in case that the Ministry would try to track his movements and this way it seemed like he really came from Germany.

When he arrived, he looked around like he was a bit lost until his view fell on a security desk. He went over to it.

“Hello, perhaps you help me? I journalist from Germany and I having appointment with…ah…Miss Bones at ten. You know where I find her?” he asked faking a broad German accent.

“Sure, Ms Bones you said? She sits with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement on level two but before you can go down there you have to register yourself and your wand with me please,” the man explained.

“Ah yes, yes I heard such thing,” he opened his briefcase, took out his wand, well a spare wand he usually never used except for such means, and handed it over to the man.

“Good, what is your name?”

“Herbert Stein, I being journalist from very small local newspaper in small village called Fischbach,” he told the officer, pretending not to know how much information the man needed.

“Alright here is your wand and your identity badge. You have to wear it all the time during your visit here. To get to Ms Bones you have to take one of the elevators over there to the second level. There her office is the first door on the left.”

Salazar nodded and went over to the elevators, it took some time until one arrived. A lot of people came out together with quite a few animated aeroplanes which flew over the heads of the people. He waited until everyone got out before he entered along with the other waiting people and a new batch of aeroplanes.

Luckily he only had to go one level down and so a few seconds later he exited the lift again. Walking up to the door on the left he saw the golden plate hanging right next to it stating “Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement: Amelia Bones”. He knocked.

“Yes?” it echoed from inside, and Salazar entered the room. He found himself in a small antechamber where a young woman sat behind a large desk and a second door on the opposite side of the room.

“Hello. I being Herbert Stein and I having appointment with Miss Bones at ten,” he introduced himself.

“Ah yes Mr Stein, I’ll inform Ms Bones that you arrived if you would wait for a moment please.”

The secretary stood up and went into Ms Bone’s office returning shortly after.

“Ms Bones will welcome you in five minutes. You can wait over there until then,” she said while pointing to the chairs at the wall.

Salazar sat down and took out a sheet of paper he prepared for today, it was the heritage test from his son. This was one of the many proofs that Sirius Black was innocent. He had even more evidence in his briefcase like newspaper articles, official reports and several research results all proving the solitary fact. The only thing now was to convince the ministry to act accordingly.

A few minutes later a stern looking woman exited her office and came straight to him.

“Good morning Mr Stein, please follow me into my office” she led him in. “Please take a seat.”

“Good morning Miss Bones, I hope you have nice day.”

Bones chuckled. “It’s Ms Bones, not Miss.”

“Ah, I so sorry my English not very good.”

“It’s okay, no harm done. Should you have questions because you don’t understand something feel free to ask. So to the reason for our meeting today. You wrote me last week that you found several inconsistencies in the Black case.

“I have been able to look into the case for myself over the weekend, and I have to admit that a few things are strange, in especially the fact that he neither got a questioning under Veritaserum nor a trial in front of the Wizengamot. The problem is that at that time we were swamped cleaning up the mess the Dark Lord left behind and so some people got sentenced without a trial, given the case that the evidence was strong enough. I had the opportunity to look into the evidence collected, and at the moment I don’t see how a trial would change anything, but perhaps you can enlighten me.”

Salazar grinned inwardly, oh yes that would prove to be so much fun.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13: A Very Black Wednesday - Or How to Rip an Airtight Case Apart

 

“[…] I had the opportunity to look into the evidence collected, and at the moment I don’t see how a trial would change anything, but perhaps you can enlighten me.”

Salazar grinned inwardly, oh yes that would prove to be so much fun.

 

“You perhaps right a trial wouldn’t change anything at the moment, but there are several questions I would like to have answered for my article. I quite thorough with my investigations you know? Would it also be okay to use a dictation quill to record the conversation? You see it writes exactly what we say,” Salazar told her while he took out one, activated it and it wrote down what he just said.

“Sure,” Bones was a bit confused but nodded.

It wasn’t untypical for a journalist to use one because they then could fully concentrate on the questions they wanted to ask without having to make sure that they got everything. So usually Bones just accepted them as long as it wasn’t a quick quote quill, which tends to write what they “think” was meant and not the truth.

However, from the letter, it looked like there was more to the Black case than she seemed to be able to see. Though now the man said that it might be not the case, so she was a bit confused and disappointed.

“First I like to know which spell Black used to blow up the street and killed Pettigrew.”

Now Bones was even more confused and a bit surprised because that was a question she hadn’t anticipated.

“Well, from what the scene looked like when the Aurors arrived it must have been a pretty powerful Bombarda Maxima though I don’t know why that would be of any relevance,” she finally answered.

“Are you sure? Anyone check the wand for it?”

“The wand? No that was destroyed instantly by one of the Aurors at arrival on the crime scene as a security measurement when it was clear that it was Black who did it,” the confusion in her rose even more. What hinted the man in front of her at?

“Ah what a pity! Now there is no way being sure,” Salazar shook his head in disappointment.

“As I said from what the scene looked like it could hardly be anything else than Bombarda Maxima. What is the point in all of this anyway?”

“Yes, yes, point in this. You know there is special research facility in Germany one who not only invents new spells and magical items for everyday use but also researches existing spells the muggle way. Like for example how hot burns Incendio spell or how much weight one lifts with Wingardium Leviosa at the maximum capacity the way muggles research the world. Quite interesting results they get and useful too.”

Originally this facility was founded by Gellert Grindelwald during his reign to research new ways of magic for his purpose but when he fell and was imprisoned Salazar bought it and took over out of boredom, curiosity and because he didn’t know what to do with his money otherwise. He later added next to the research division for new spells and magical objects another division for looking into magic the mundane way when James suggested that this might get fascinating results. This part was mostly lead and maintained by half-bloods and muggle born. It was surprising how many of them wanted to research the how and why behind the magic. Next to the thirst for knowledge, it was the ever advancing muggle technology that inspired to do this, and it pays, not only for this case.

For example, at the moment they were researching for some kind of holding stack for floo travel so that one could first check who wants to get through and in the end let him in without giving the password away should it be secured by one. It also is supposed to help when several people want to get to the same location, but only one chimney is available there. At the moment one of the two attempts would be thrown back to its initial point while the other one gets through hence why the ministry had to maintain over a dozen chimneys to cover all the travel. All of this was inspired by how muggles managed phone calls.

“I cannot see what that has to do anything with the Black case.”

“Let me explain. This facility they found out that the hottest magical fire, Fiendfyre, burns at an average of about 1200°C and a maximum of about 1500°C while a normal Incendio burns at about 400°C. You can see here at this paper,” he took out one of the many papers he had in his briefcase and gave it to Bones.

“Thing is, muggles found out that to completely turn a human body to ashes it takes a fire of over 1300°C and about one and a half hour. To instantly incinerate one without any leftovers you need a far higher temperature, I not know exactly but I’d guess minimum 10th the time than that. You can see here,” he gave her another piece of paper. “But even then there be several leftovers like teeth or ash. Yes, yes, I know you now say: But we are talking about magic. Sure, magic might be able to do that even quicker at a lower degree but the end result would always be same as you can see here. You know even magic follows rules to some point. Very thorough research I might say.”

“Mr Stein I am not able to see how that has anything to do with the Black case.” She now grew angry because to her that all seemed to be wasting her time. “I can only repeat what I said earlier, what killed Pettigrew was an explosion, not a fire.”

“Sure, sure, but that is even more strange. You know when something explodes pieces of the exploding object are flying literally everywhere,” he emphasised that statement with another piece of paper with research results concerning explosion patterns showing in a magical animated picture of an exploding object.

“Problem with explosion is, it’s a short but extreme heat up to 2500°C, but even that wouldn’t destroy bodies entirely leaving behind only one piece. You find heavy burns and bits and pieces everywhere, but you'd find them even when the explosion occurred directly next to human body. How did the muggles hit by the blast look like and how long did Aurors take to get there?”

Bones carefully read the papers presented to her and was shortly before calling it a day because she thought it a waste of her time when she heard the last question. She suddenly had a very strong suspicion, so she sat up and shuffled through the file of the Black case looking for something. It took her some time, but finally, she pulled out the picture of a finger lying on the street and the ones of the other victims of the blast. She looked at it intensely, this case just got a lot more interesting.

The muggles had all several degrees of burns and the closer to the explosion the more extensive the injuries they had were. The one who was the closest even missed a limb that was torn of and laid a few meters further.

That concurred with the research results Stein presented to her but what let her wish for a glass of whiskey was the picture of the finger, the only remaining thing of Peter Pettigrew. It was, regardless of being at the centre of the explosion, entirely unharmed in spite of a few minor scratches and the apparent wound. When she thought about it, the wound was much too neat, and even for being the result of an explosion compared to the injury of the closest muggle, it was more like said finger was cut off. Besides that? Nothing, not even a hair of Pettigrew.

If she could trust the research results Stein presented to her there had to be bits and pieces of the man all over the place, and the finger should be heavily singed and maimed. Yes, Black could have banished those other pieces, but according to the incident report that was attached to the file the Aurors needed less than two minutes to arrive at the crime scene. That was far too less time to erase all the evidence and then there would be the question of why Black hadn’t also banished the finger since it would be another evidence. It also wasn’t the case that the finger was hidden somewhere but lying in plain sight.

On the other hand, Black could have used some mysterious unknown dark spell. But then again it was highly unlikely if not impossible that a spell destroyed an entire body and left one single unharmed finger that looked like it was cut off. The only spell she knew of that could eviscerate a body in an instant was the Disintegration Curse, but that disintegrated the entire body not only parts of it, and even then there would be remains. It also wouldn’t fit the injuries the muggle showed. Sure there always was the possibility that Black first attacked and killed Pettigrew with the strange spell before he blew up the street with which he then killed the muggles, but that also was entirely contrary to the evidence.

First, the position of the dead muggles indicated that they were hit by surprise but would have Black used two spells it would be different. That’s because after the first spell they would have either faced him in shock because they couldn’t believe what they just saw or they would start to run and therefore turn their back to him when the explosion spell hit them. But some of the muggles were caught in the side or were found in other positions which indicates the surprise of the blast.

The second thing is that the eyewitnesses all stated the same. One explosion occurred and nothing else. Black would have to erase the memories of every single person, but the question again would be why and mainly when.

The third problem is the finger again. Even if it were spared by the first spell the explosion never the less would have hit and therefore damage it.

Another idea struck her. What if Pettigrew shielded himself from Black’s attack while cutting off his own finger to fake his death and go into hiding? Wait, why hadn’t he then come out of hiding once Black was sent to Azkaban? It also would imply that he knew beforehand of the attack so that he could prepare himself because there was only a minimal timeframe of not even seconds during the explosion to pull that off and if you didn’t know of the attack you would never be able to react fast enough. No that didn’t add up either.

All in all, she could come up with only one explanation that not only fit the evidence but was easy to accomplish. Pettigrew blew up the street while shielding himself before leaving behind a finger and vanish. With this, he could be sure what and when it would happen so he could prepare himself accordingly before disappearing. The only two questions with that were first how he disappeared but was quickly answered with either portkey, apparition or being a small unregistered Animagus. The second is why he would do it. She felt that she was missing an essential piece of the puzzle to solve it.

It was now about half an hour that she sat there musing about what she heard and learned. The entire time Stein was silent only sipping his tea some elf brought earlier.

“The longer I think about it all, the more I'm convinced that not Black but Pettigrew blew up the street while shielding himself before cutting off his own finger to fake his own death and then vanish,” she broke the silence. “It is the only thing that makes sense in any way or shape and fits all the evidence. The only question I have is why he would do that? I mean as far as I know, he did nothing against the law.”

Salazar grinned inwardly, his plan played out just as he wished. “I don’t know exactly why he did, but I assume it’s connected to the betrayal towards the Potters,” he mused.

“But had he really faked his death because Black betrayed the Potters then why didn’t he come out of hiding after Black was sent to Azkaban? He can't honestly think that Black would break out and come after him. Azkaban is the securest prison in the world after all.”

“That being possible would your assumption be correct that Black really betrayed them,” Salazar now had a smile on his face that clearly told he knew something Bones did not.

Bones meanwhile narrowed her eyes while glaring at the man in front of her. “What are you hiding?”

“Not hiding, no, just knowing something. You know I happen to know person who adopted Harry Potter, and he gave me that,” he took the inheritance test out of his briefcase and held it out for Bones.

She, on the other hand, didn’t even register the piece of parchment but looked at him like he just told her Voldemort was still alive, well and would soon open a muggle orphanage.

“You…WHAT?” she shouted so loud that her secretary came running in concern.

“Is everything alright?” said secretary asked.

Bones looked at her like she suddenly decided to grow a second head before she put her mind together again and nodded to her. “Everything is fine I was just surprised.” With that she dismissed her secretary.

“Please tell me that you didn’t just say that you know where Harry Potter is…” she demanded to know.

“Yes, yes, I know but please don’t ask where cause I can't tell as well who has him,” he replied. “Now to the document.”

Bones took the parchment with hesitation, she wouldn’t let it rest that this man knew where Potter was, not when the entire Ministry was running around in circles to find him. She read it carefully before she rose an eyebrow on the Heir to Slytherin line part but what really shocked her was the second last line. There under the listing of godparents stood Sirius Black.

“I hope for your own sake that this isn’t a fake.”

“No, no, it’s au-authentic you can ask goblins. I was assured they can confirm it.”

The day they had been at Gringotts Salazar made sure that the goblins would confirm the authenticity if needed.

“Please wait a minute I have to confirm this. Not that I don’t trust you, but this is standard procedure after all,” she went to the door and shortly left the office to tell her secretary she should send one of the Gringotts goblins, who worked at the Ministry for such occasions, to her.

They had to wait a few minutes before a goblin in black robes entered.

“You requested my expertise,” the goblin asked.

“Yes I need you to confirm the authenticity of this document, please,” she handed over the parchment.

The goblin looked at it before his eyes went wide. He sneered and looked at Salazar who gave him a small smile and nod in return.

“This is a valid document made by Gringotts in concern of a heritage test. All information displayed is genuine. Is there something else I can do Ms Bones?” he politely asked while handing back the parchment.

“Thank you that was all for now unless you have other official documents to share Mr Stein?” she looked at him in anticipation.

“No, no, that the only one.”

“Very well, I’ll return to my duties then. Have a nice day,” the goblin left the office not without another smile and nod towards Salazar.

Bones leaned back in her chair. The surprises this day held seemed to never end. “So Black really is Harry's magical godfather which changes everything. The whole case is therefore null and void.”

Hook, line and sinker, he loved that game. “Yes, did Black really betray the Potters he be dead the same time as them. He not dead so he didn’t betray them.”

Becoming a magical godparent was like taking an unbreakable vow to never hurt or betray the child and its family. So in case that Black betrayed the Potters, he would be dead the moment he passed the information.

“But who then betrayed the Potters?” her head now was spinning.

“Don’t know but can imagine Pettigrew. Would fit the entire rest. He first betrays Potters and hopes Black dies with them or at least gets arrested, then runs away but Black knows and finds him. Then he desperate cause he fears revenge blows up street and goes hiding. Makes sense or not?”

She thought about it for some time before she nodded.

“You're right that makes sense but wasn’t Black the secret keeper? How was Pettigrew then able to betray them? Not to mention why did Black laugh hysterically when he was found, claiming he was the one killing the Potters?” some things still didn’t add up.

“Hmmm, think you should ask Black about that. He’ll have answers, but perhaps he feels guilty because he not at home that time to save them or at least help? To the secret keeper…maybe, they changed?”

Bones slid down in her chair. Not only was Black innocent but he also had been falsely imprisoned for over four years now without any questioning or trial. He was the Lord of Black since the death of his father, and when she thought about it now, it was an atrocity that he never got a hearing or trial to begin with not to mention his false imprisonment.

“We have to inform the minister about this. She has to know that Black is innocent. I’ll call for her,” with that she stood up again and went out to her secretary to give her the necessary instructions.

When she was back sitting in her chair, she looked at Stein more closely, obviously musing about something.

“Something wrong Ms Bones?” he cocked his head questioningly.

“No, nothing wrong but I somehow have the distinct feeling that you knew all this from the outset and now I ask myself why all this talk when you could have just told me.”

“I wanted you to come to a conclusion yourself. Did I just tell you how would you have reacted?”

She thought about what she knew before the meeting and what would have happened when the man told her straightforward that Black was innocent. At least she would have outright denied that fact because every evidence pointed towards him, or so she thought. In the worst case, she would have called him mad before throwing him out, but she doubted that she would have listened long enough for him to explain his reasoning, not to mention believing him. She had to admit that letting her come to her own conclusions was by far the better way to approach such a topic.

“I would have probably outright denied that you could be right possibly throwing you out without even listening to you because I was so convinced of Blacks guilt…”

“See? Better what I did, isn’t it?” he smiled at her.

It took a few more minutes before a middle age woman entered the office looking at both of them with a questioning gaze. Bones gestured her to sit down and offered her some tea.

“Good Day, my name is Millicent Bagnold, I'm the Minister of Magic,” she introduced herself to Salazar.

“Good Day, I Herbert Stein a German, journalist nice to meet you.”

“So Ms Bones might you want to explain what this is about? I was in the middle of the revision of the yearly budget for the Department of Magical Games and Sports. You know we hold the European Gobstone Tournament next year,” she was less than amused that she had to leave her work.

Bones narrowed her eyes. “We have a problem. Black is innocent, and I have proof,” she just stated.

“Ah and what proof might that be?” she clearly disbelieved her.

Bones sat up and explained her everything she got to know this day telling her how Black could never have betrayed the Potters and that he didn’t blow up the street. She helped her explanations with the evidence Stein gave her and even showed the heritage test.

“You see it is absolutely impossible that Black did what he is accused of,” with that Bones ended her speech.

“May that be as it is Black stays where he is but what I find much more interesting is that you know where the Potter boy is,” she addressed the man next to her.

Bones wanted to intervene but quickly was silenced with a stern glare of the other woman.

Salazar pinched the bridge of his nose. Here we are. The one thing he couldn’t really do anything against, human ignorance. This statement made it clear to him that Bagnold didn’t care what happened to Black, she only cared about either her bribes or her post as Minister, and she would deny anything that could endanger it.

“I told Ms. Bones that I not able to tell you more about it than that he is well and safe. I sorry.”

“Bah, I believe that when you either swore an oath or have been questioned under Veritaserum,” she gave him a meaningful look.

“I not going to swear oath you cannot force me!” Salazar was peeved, this was going in a direction he didn’t like the slightest little bit.

“Ms Bones do you have Veritaserum at hand?”

Bones gave him a questioning look, and he slightly nodded unseen by the Minister.

The thing was that an oath has to be formulated very accurately or otherwise he has to give information he didn’t want to or suffer the consequences. Veritaserum, on the other hand, could be bypassed when you knew how.

“Of course, wait a moment please,” she started to rumour in one of her drawers before she pulled out a vial with a transparent liquid in it.

She gave three drops to Salazar and his gaze clouded.

“So now, where is Harry Potter?” Bagnold asked.

“On this planet” Salazar answered without hesitation.

Bagnold felt the urge to facepalm. “Where is he exactly?”

“On this planet” he repeated.

She frowned, that would prove harder than she anticipated.

“Okay in which city is he?”

“London.”

“Where in London?”

“I don’t know,” which was, in fact, true since he didn’t know where he was at the moment.

Bagnold thought about that but assumed that this would lead nowhere. “Okay other question, who adopted Harry Potter?”

“John Smith,” he instantly replied.

“Where lives John Smith?”

“On this planet.”

Bagnold growled, that man was driving her crazy with his general answers, but on the other hand, she was to bear the blame when she asked such broad questions.

“Does he live in London?”

“Yes.”

“What is the exact address of John Smith?”

With that question, Salazar started to list off the addresses of every single John Smith he knew, not only the ones in London but on the whole planet which were surprisingly many. He was at about the tenth or fifteenth John Smith when Bagnold finally had enough.

“Stop, stop, stop!” she sighed, she had to be more careful with her questions. “What is the address of the John Smith who adopted Harry Potter?”

“He has none,” how should he, he didn’t really exist, and he didn’t own any house or apartment under that name.

“Why doesn’t he have an address?” she slowly grew furious.

“Because he neither owns a house nor rent a flat.”

“But where does he live?”

“Nowhere.”

Bagnold was shortly before snapping because she ran around in circles with this man. Up to now, she didn’t get one single useful information, and she knew her time was running out because Veritaserum only lasted for ten to fifteen minutes and one couldn’t apply more within the next two days. Otherwise one would risk permanent brain damage.

“Is he homeless?”

“No.”

“Then where in Merlin's name does he exactly live within London?”

“Nowhere.”

Her head started to change colour to an intense red. Bones on the other hand really had great trouble to suppress a laugher.

“Okay, okay, back to the start. Where does the John Smith who adopted Harry Potter live?” she knew that this question again was to universally formulated but she had to try again because he obviously didn’t live in London as she assumed.

“Nowhere.”

For about half a minute she looked at him like he went crazy. She assumed that he again would answer with “on this planet”, but nowhere? How could someone live nowhere? Then an idea struck her. What if that person was just fictional or an alias so that it only existed on paper but not as a person? She would have to confirm that.

“Does that John Smith who adopted Harry Potter even exist?”

“Yes,” he answered. She received a predatory smile that sent shivers down her spine.

Damned, the Veritaserum just stopped working. She was furious and confused to no end. How could a person exist but live nowhere? She was entirely oblivious to the fact that she again formulated the question in the wrong way.

“For Merlin's sake tell me with whom and where Potter is and tell me now, or I swear you I will send you to Azkaban for withholding information.”

Salazar's eyebrows rose. “Thank you for the offer of free vacation to that nice island, but unfortunately I have to decline. You know you have nothing to hold me, I right Ms Bones?” he answered his voice dripping with sarcasm.

She nodded with a smile. “That’s right you have no valid reason to imprison him and withholding information is not a valid reason.”

“Oh yes? I don’t care! He has vital information about the whereabouts of one of our citizens, Harry Potter. The Boy-who-lived to be precisely. He can't be allowed to leave. The entire Ministry is in an uproar since the boy vanished to Merlin knows where,” she raged.

Salazar sighed, this woman was ticking him off. Not only was she an advocate of the “see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing” philosophy but also seemed to ignore any common sense when desperate.

“Ms Bagnold, not only do we have a man who is innocent sitting in jail which you seem to conveniently ignore but now you want to throw another innocent into the same place?” it seemed that Bones wasn’t happy with that either.

“Ms Bones you forget who you work for. It only takes one owl and I have you replaced with someone more competent. Don’t forget that!” the entire conversation grew out of hand quite quickly.

Bones just wanted to reply to that when she saw Stein shaking his head. This entire mess wasn’t worth for her losing her job over it. There were far better methods to deal with it. So she just shut her mouth.

“Sure, sure, but may I add that there is another problem you then have?” he intervened.

“And what problem might that be Mr Stein?”

“You know, I took some…security measurements…before I came here. Thing is when I don’t come back at a certain point of time the article about the Black case, and his innocents will be published. Copy’s sent to every larger newspaper in the world. Think they would be much interested in it and I also think that they happily dive into every other case the last century or so to see whether there more mistakes made.”

He didn’t think he would have to pull that card, but it appeared that otherwise, Bagnold would personally escort him to Azkaban not that they could contain him there. But it would be inconvenient nonetheless.

Bagnold went white as a sheet before she got a red head. “Do you actually try to intimidate and blackmail me with your empty threats? You are a journalist of some unknown gutter paper, and you think that works with me?”

The predatory smile on Salazar's face returned. “First I neither wanted to intimidate nor blackmail you I just stated fact. Second, you greatly underestimating me, so you really want to try your luck?”

She looked at him clearly estimating what to do. Yes, he was some unknown journalist, but she could feel the power radiating from him now and should he be right, the article would be printed and she would be ruined before the weekend. So better play safe than sorry. She was a survivor and knew when a retreat was the better option.

“Okay, you can leave, but you have to promise me to never ever print that article,” she said with a cold voice.

“Alright, works fine with me,” he gave her now a much nicer smile, but she just glared at him.

“Just pray that we never meet again because then I will get my answers.”

Salazar chuckled. “I promise you we never again meet.”

“If that was everything I’ll leave to my office Ms Bones.”

“Sure, have fun with your revision,” she snapped back.

Bagnold gave Salazar a last glare that would have killed him if that was possible before she left the office. Bones took a deep breath of relief that the Minister wasn’t there anymore.

“Do you really want to retreat now after all the work you put into this?” she gestured to the file of the Black case and the evidence he gave her.

“You think I at my wit's end and I retreat, no offence to you, only because of one corrupt an ignorant politician? I have several aces up my sleeve she knows not of, that will get me to my goal without even publishing the article.”

Salazar chuckled lowly and Bones had the distinct feeling that it was a particularly bad idea to piss that man off.

“But before I proceed I have one question to you. Where lies your loyalty?”

Bones’ eyes went wide. “I beg your pardon?”

He sighed. “Are you loyal to said politician or do you serve law and justice?”

Now she grew angry, how dared he to question her loyalty.

“I swore to protect people and aid justice wherever I can and not to serve bribes and power Mr Stein. So don’t question my loyalty,” she growled.

“Good and I’m sorry should I have insulted you but I had to make sure,” he answered with his faked German accent wholly gone.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14: The Trial

 

“Good and I’m sorry should I have insulted you but I had to make sure,” he answered, his faked German accent wholly gone.

 

Bones looked at him strangely, not knowing what to think of all this.

“Who are you really?” she asked out of curiosity. “I get it that you are not German, to begin with.”

“Someone who has a genuine interest in getting Black a trial and out of prison, but I'm sorry I can't tell you more at the moment…not here anyway, not where the walls have eyes and ears. So do you want to help me with this and eventually getting back at the Minister for violating several laws?”

“Are you sure that you can get her sacked properly? I don’t want it to backfire. Getting an innocent out of jail is one thing but offending the most powerful person in England…I don’t know.”

Salazar mused about that a few seconds.

“One question, who gave the initial order to imprison Black without a trial?” he finally asked.

“That was Ms Bagnold on Mr Crouch’s demand,” she answered after flipping through the case file pulling out the imprisonment paper.

The grin that now showed up on Salazar’s face told her that the Minister offended the wrong person. “Then she will be not only politically but also personally ruined before this day ends.”

Bones furrowed her brows. “I can only hope that you are correct. What do we have to do?”

“First we will need to make a small detour to my townhouse because I need to get changed. After that, a visit to Azkaban is in order, to give Black the proper questioning under Veritaserum. The last step will be a special speed trial at the Wizengamot,” he cast a quick Tempus to check the time, it was shortly after noon. “If we are quick enough Black will be a free man this evening.”

She nodded. “I will send a message to Azkaban so that they will expect us. What about the members of the Wizengamot? Shall we inform them in advance?”

Salazar shook his head. “No, the less time they have to prepare themselves the better for us. Otherwise, certain persons might come up with a strategy against us, so better catching them off guard.”

Bones stood up and left the office for a few minutes to instruct her secretary to send out the message to Azkaban that they will arrive soon. She also gave him instructions to prepare a few things for the trial like making copies of the research results for the members of the Wizengamot without alerting anyone of the impending trial.

When she was ready, she and Salazar left the office and went to the apparition point. Salazar then apparated them both straight to his townhouse.

 


 

Bagnold reached her office, but instead of returning to the revision she had to do she started pacing her office, the Black case running through her mind. She was very well aware of the fact that the man never got a hearing or a trial because at that time the evidence seemed to be airtight and besides that several people had a genuine interest in getting that man out of the way. But now some unknown journalist came into her Ministry, threw around with evidence about the man’s innocence and even had the nerve to blackmail her. This was bad. She had to do something, or otherwise, she would be thrown out of her job before the weekend. So she sat down and wrote several letters.

When she finished, she called out for her secretary.

“Ms Bagnold, what can I do for you?” the secretary, who just entered, asked.

“I need you to send those letters out as fast as possible. You will also bring me everything you are able to find on Herbert Stein, a German journalist and please hurry up with it. I fear he means a lot of trouble.”

The secretary nodded before leaving the office to fulfil his duty.

 


 

They arrived in the entrance hall of his townhouse and Salazar motioned Bones to follow him to the study. There he took off his wig and contact lenses which he deposited in their case. He shook his hair before binding it together with a braid. Bones followed that with much interest.

“So who are you? I assume you can tell me now that we are no longer in the Ministry.”

“You are right, but I’d prefer to keep my real name to myself for the moment. Not that I don’t trust you but let’s just say it comes with some major prejudice I want to avoid for now. But if you need to know a name for reference, Jack Hardinger,” he replied.

She looked at him questioningly. Which name was so heavily prejudiced, that he didn’t want to tell her? She thought that through a bit more when recognition hit her with the name he gave her.

“Wait you mean Jack Hardinger who worked for the American Ministry about a decade ago as a hit wizard, known for treating humans and creatures equally but chasing criminals mercilessly?” her eyes went wide.

She knew of Jack Hardinger through her work. Some colleagues who had been on vacation in America told her about him and how he helped everyone in need but at the same time anyone who didn’t follow the law was hunted and brought before the court. He held one of the highest scores of lawful arrests in America.

“I don’t care whether someone is a wizard, werewolf or vampire as long as they stay on the right side of the law and don’t hurt people. I hope you don’t have a problem with it.”

“No, no, but you seem a bit…young for being who you claim.”

Upon that Salazar started to laugh. “I can assure you that I'm older than I look.”

That was when suddenly a black cat rushed into the room through the open door and hid behind his desk. Shortly afterwards Hadrian came rushing in utterly oblivious to the two adults in the room. He chased after the cat, who now bolted from under the desk to the opposite side and under the sofa in front of the fireplace. Salazar coughed slightly to get his son’s attention which made Hadrian cringe.

He rose an eyebrow. “What do you think are you doing?”

“D-dad, I'm sorry I didn’t see you…I wanted to catch Midnight,,” he looked sheepishly at the floor looking like he was caught with the hand in the cookie jar.

“That much is obvious. You should know that chasing a cat never works” he crouched down and held out a hand towards the cat. “Cats are intelligent and self-reliant creatures. You can't force them to do what you want. See? Treat them as the intelligent creature they are, and you get results,” the cat came out of her hiding and slowly approached Salazar eying him critically. “But the better question is since when do you have a cat?”

“Oh this isn’t mine, it’s Neville's. His uncle bought her for him because he finally displayed magic. He brought her with him and we let her out in my room. But then James opened the door and she ran out…we tried to catch her since.”

“Well, you can let her roam the house but make sure she doesn’t get out into the street. There isn’t much traffic out there, but it is enough that she might get run over by a car after all.”

His son gave him a short hug before running out of the room. The cat first looked cautiously after him but then seemed to decide that the chasing was over and quickly followed him.

Bones looked after the boy in confusion before realisation hit her.

“That was Harry Potter wasn’t it?” she gave Salazar a piercing look.

Salazar sighed. “Yes he is, and yes I am the one who adopted him but how did you know?”

“I worked together with his father for years so what do you think?” she asked in disbelieve. “The only thing that confuses me is that he has no scar on his forehead. I've been told he has one in the shape of a lightning bolt.”

He flinched. “That’s because it vanished after he had a massive breakout of accidental magic. I can tell you more about it some other time, but today I doubt we have the time.”

Just then James entered.

“Sal…oh hello ma’am, I didn’t know we have a visitor. I'm sorry, can I offer you something to drink?” he gave Salazar a scolding look for not informing him.

“Thank you for the offer, but we have to leave in a few minutes so there will be no time for it,” Bones answered.

James looked at Salazar who nodded before leaving again.

“Sal?” she gave him another questioning glance.

“Short form of my real name…I’d like to get changed for our visit at Azkaban and the trial after. Would you mind waiting here? It will take only a few minutes.”

Bones nodded, and Salazar left the room. She went over to the bookshelves, but she didn’t really look at the books.

It was the man who just left the room she was thinking about. She had the distinct feeling that she had all the needed parts of the puzzle the man was and that she would only have to arrange them correctly to come to the truth. So she started to sort the facts she knew in her head. The thing that bothered her the most was the name his butler let slip just a few minutes ago. The look said man gave him afterwards told her plainly that he didn’t want her to know it, not yet anyway.

So, Sal, he said it was the short form of his real name but for what could it be the short form? The first name that came to her mind was Sally, but he wasn’t a woman, so that was out. It could be some strange foreign name, but she had the feeling she knew him from somewhere and that he wasn’t from a different country.

She knew that thinking too hard about something wouldn’t help so she let her mind wander when something she read that morning came to her mind. The inheritance test from Harry Potter said something about him being the heir of Salazar Slytherin.  Wait, Sal…Salazar the one could be the short form of the other but that was impossible wasn’t it? The man who left the study…how old could he be? Not older than thirty or thirty-five but Salazar Slytherin lived over thousand years ago. Yes wizards could get old, the oldest had been over three hundred years old if one didn’t count Nicolas Flamel who had the Philosopher’s Stone. But over thousand years? Could he have gotten his hands on another Stone? Then why did no one hear about it?

On the other hand, the day taught her to not jump into conclusion without proof. So what proof did she have? She knew that usually Potter could never be the heir of Slytherin. The Potter line was in no way connected to the Slytherin line, and his mother was a muggle born and therefore also couldn’t be related to Salazar Slytherin. So the only way for him becoming the heir would be adoption, but the Slytherin line was assumed extinct with the death of You-know-who.

That was when she remembered something else. While she visited Hogwarts, she came across a painting of Salazar Slytherin in the dungeons of the castle. Sure the man on it was much older, somewhere around eighty years old, grey hair, wrinkled skin and a bald head but his aura and whole demeanour…she was sure this man and the one she met today was one and the same, but she had no concrete proof. It was really frustrating.

“What are you thinking about?” she was lost so deep in her thoughts that she hadn’t heard Salazar returning and now she flinched.

“Oh, I'm sorry I haven’t heard you. To be honest, I was thinking about you,” she replied after she took a deep breath to calm herself back down.

She noticed that his previously black hair was now a dark brown shade and he seemed to look a bit older which only confirmed her the similarity between him and the painting at Hogwarts.

Salazar smiled. “And did you come to any conclusion?”

She narrowed her eyes because she felt like she was back at school and was about to write an exam. “Yes I did, but unfortunately I have no evidence…only clues.”

“Would you mind to share your thoughts with me even without having evidence?” he asked her in genuine interest.

She looked into his eyes and sighed before she finally started to talk.

“I think that you are Salazar Slytherin. First, it is what you just said a few minutes ago about Sal being the short form of your actual name, and it would fit. It also would fit your fear of prejudice against you.

“The second thing is that I remember a painting in the dungeons of Hogwarts that shows you, or more an older version of you but it definitely looks like you, and it radiates the same power and demeanour as you do. Last, there is the thing with Harry Potter being the Heir of Slytherin. As far as I’m aware he is in no way directly connected to the Slytherin line and the only explanation for this could be adoption through a member of said line. You are definitely not You-know-who and there is no other known descendant. There is only one thing I don’t really get…how comes it that you lived for over a thousand years now?”

Salazar stood there arms crossed behind his back listening carefully. Now a smile formed on his face.

“I have to admit that you are brilliant and pretty good in deductions. Not everyone would have been able to come to a conclusion with just that few hints which make me wonder even more why you thought Black guilty even after looking into his case,” she blushed upon that. “I assume that it is just one of those cases where one gets the answer to a question and just believes that it is the right one without considering other options hence why I never went into a case with a suspect in mind right from the start. You tend to blend out any other possibility and only work to get proof for your suspicion.

“To the result of your deduction…well, I'm really Salazar Slytherin, but in one thing you were wrong. Harry Potter is directly related to me. In fact, he is my great grandson in 33rd generation,” he went over to the bookshelf where he stored the scroll which contained Harry’s ancestry and gave it to Bones.

While she read it, her eyes went wide.

“I hope that this won’t overshadow our cooperation to get Black out of jail and to be honest, we should hurry up because of the appointment we have with him,” he said after looking at the clock on the mantelpiece.

Bones thought about that. Would the information that he was Salazar Slytherin have an impact on her ability to judge? No, definitely not. As she told him, she served justice and not a person or his reputation and to be honest, he was nowhere close to the man she would have imagined he would be.

“I don’t care much about who you are. All that counts to me is what you do and how you act. You came into my office and proved the innocence of a man you don’t even know and should only half the reputation you gained as Jack Hardinger being true you're a better man than Dumbledore could ever hope to be. That is all that matters to me,” she replied. “The only thing I wonder at the moment is your change of hair colour and age.”

“Just a hair colouring and slight ageing potion. An interesting fact about the wards against disguises at the Ministry is that they cancel any illusion charms or Polyjuice Potion. But in courtesy to the women working there, it doesn’t act upon beauty potions to which those potions count. So as long as you don’t change your real features, you don’t have a problem.”

“But why did you then use a wig this morning?”

“Oh, that was because of the hair length. I didn’t want to cut my hair and go through the trouble of growing them again later, so this was less trouble.”

She started to snicker, it seemed that Salazar was vain. “I understand but now let’s go.”

Salazar nodded before they together left the study and went to floo to a little house at the coast of England from where the boats left to Azkaban.

It took them about fifteen minutes of a hard boat ride before they reached the island the prison was placed upon. For nearly a minute until they reached it they started to feel the presence of the Dementors, and it grew worse the closer they got. The boat reached a small wooden boathouse where the guard who awaited them, tied it up and they climbed out. It was the guard who then escorted them both to the main entrance of the fortress. He knocked, another guard opened and let them in.

“Welcome at Azkaban. Ms Bones I got your message. You want to see Mr Black? And who are you?” he directed the last question at Salazar.

“My name is Jack Hardinger,” Bones gave him a curious look but didn’t ask. “I am here as the advocate of Mr Black.”

“Okay then please follow me, we have a visitor room where you can meet with Mr Black.”

They both followed the man to a side room. Salazar eyed the Patroni who patrolled the room critically, they were quite good but should the Dementors decide to attack them all together, they would have a problem. Hopefully, it would never come to that. When they reached the visitor room, the guard motioned them to sit down and wait while he would get Mr Black.

“You could have warned me that you would go by the name of Hardinger beforehand,” Bones lent over to Salazar and whispered to him to not alarm the guard who was standing next to the door that led to the rest of the prison.

“I'm sorry, but I thought that was clear when I told you that name at my house,” he replied with an equally low voice.

She only shook her head but said nothing more on that matter. It took about three minutes until the door next to the guard opened and two other guards escorted a third shackled man in and sat him on the other side of the table they were sitting at.

The man who was just brought in looked terrible. Four and a half year in Azkaban clearly took their toll. He was underfed, dirty and his face haggard and haunted. His eyes stared into the off.

“Hello Mr Black I'm Amelia Bones Head of the DMLE, and we are here to get you out of Azkaban,” Bones introduced herself, but Sirius didn’t give any reaction or sign that he was even aware of the two persons in front of him.

Salazar frowned and gave him a small mental nudge. Suddenly his eyes focused on them.

“Oh sorry, I didn’t pay much attention to my surrounding for some time.”

It was one of his safety measurement against the Dementors to retreat into his own thought and let only his guilt float to the surface. This way these nasty creatures couldn’t feed on him properly, and he wasn’t fully aware of their presence.

Bones rose an eyebrow but didn’t comment on that.

“As I said I'm Ms Bones Head of the DMLE and I'm here to get you out because new evidence reached me that proves your innocence.”

Sirius cocked his head in mild interest no wanting to get his hope up that he got out of here.

“New evidence? What took you so long to find them?” he snarled.

“I'm sorry it wasn’t even me who found them but a German journalist who approached me because of the inconsistencies in your case.”

“No offence, I think we can discuss those details once he is cleared of the charges, but for now I have the feeling that we should hurry up because I fear otherwise certain individuals who want him in here will get to know about all of this and might intervene,” Salazar interrupted them.

“What do you mean by that and who are you anyway?” Sirius narrowed his eyes.

“My name is Jack Hardinger, and I'm here to work as your advocate. For what I meant is that it is no coincident that you ended up in Azkaban without a trial. To me, it seems that someone wanted you incapacitated and therefore unable to take up your duties as the godfather of Harry Potter and before you ask, yes I know about it.”

“Hardinger…Hardinger, wait aren’t you an American Auror? I heard about you,” his eyes went wide, but before he could go on Salazar motioned him that this would also have to wait. ”But who would want to keep me from my duty as the godfather of Harry. No one knows about it beside his parents who are dead, the Longbottoms who are in St. Mungo’s, Remus Lupin and Dumbledore. Not even Pettigrew knew about it, and I doubt either Remus or Dumbledore would do that.”

“I'm afraid that you are wrong in one point. Albus Dumbledore was the one who placed Harry Potter with his aunt and uncle.”

His eyes went even wider than when Salazar introduced himself before his face went red in anger.

“You are lying. Why would Dumbledore do such a thing? He knew what Lily wanted for Harry and what her last will was and that was definitely not him being placed with those…individuals,” he barked out.

Salazar sighed. That could take time they hadn’t, but none the less he took out the article about Harry’s vanishing and gave it to the man. Sirius eyed him critically before he started to read it. He first went pale as a sheet before again he changed to red.

“That can’t be real, this must be a hoax” he shook his head.

“Mr Black I know that you are loyal to Dumbledore, but I can assure you this is real. If you promise to keep quiet I show you something through Legilimens. I assure you I'm neither going to hurt you nor will I look into your mind.”

Again Sirius narrowed his eyes but finally nodded. He wasn’t in the position to prevent it anyway. So Salazar looked him into the eyes while showing him how he found Harry and what the results of the medical examination were, not the thing about Hadrian being a Horcrux though. Sirius took a sharp breath.

“If you want to you can talk to Ms Pye once we got you out of here but for now you have to trust us with this.”

“Where is my godson now? It is not that I believe or trust you about Dumbledore, but I need to know whether my godson is still there or not.”

“He is in safety and out of Dumbledores reach, Ms Bones can confirm this.” Said woman nodded.

Sirius sighed in relief and leaned back, at least he was safe now.

“Ok, so what do we have to do to get me out of here?”

As he had said, he wouldn’t trust him, but beggars can’t be choosers, and at the moment that man was his only option to get out and to his godson.

“First I need to question you under Veritaserum, it makes things easier. After that, we will call a special meeting of the Wizengamot to give you the trial you deserve. At that, Mr Hardinger will be your advocate and therefore represent you while I as the head of the DMLE will lead it. As Mr Hardinger said some people don’t want you out of here, but we are quite sure we can convince those who are neutral in your favour.”

“At the moment there are fifty-three seats at the Wizengamot. About eleven are empty right now because they belong to families who are thought extinct but never the less have a position out of tradition, or because they are incapacitated at the moment. But I plan on reactivating the seat the Potters have by placing a substitute there. Up to the day Harry vanished, this substitute was Dumbledore but since I don’t trust him to vote in our favour and since he no longer has the right to be his substitute I’ll place one there I trust and who has the right to vote for him.

That makes forty-three members who are empowered to vote which means we need twenty-two votes in our favour. I know of at least thirteen who will vote in our favour, but the problem will be to convince nine other.”

“And who will be those thirteen?” Sirius wondered.

“Well as I said the Potters, then the Longbottoms, Malfoys, Mr Bones, as well as several other families who are not in favour of Ms Bagnold as the Minister because she is known to be firmly in Dumbledore’s pocket.”

“I don’t think that the Malfoys will vote in my favour…they hate me.”

“Oh, they will. They might hate you but you are the Lord of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black and your title is more valuable to them than their hate, especially if they think it gets them into your good graces.”

Sirius hummed upon that. He didn’t want to admit it, but the man was right. For a long time he despised his connection to the House of Black, but now it would be very appreciated. Many thought that because he ran away he had no idea how all the intrigues worked, but they were wrong. He only didn’t want to be part of it as long as it wasn’t necessary.

“You're right, most of the darker families will. I hope you know how to sway around the other needed nine votes because I don’t really know who at the moment is sitting in the Wizengamot next to the obvious ones and where their loyalties lie.”

“Don’t worry about it. I know how to convince them and now let’s go on with the Veritaserum. Time is running, and I’d like to be through with this today. The less time the others have to prepare themselves the easier it is for us.” Salazar motioned Bones to continue.

Bones picked up her bag, took out a vial with crystal clear liquid in it and also parchment and a, from the Ministry approved, dictation quill to get a transcript from the questioning. When she was ready, she went over to Sirius and gave him three drops of the liquid.

“Okay, let’s get started. As a test: My name is Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement,” she looked at the parchment and nodded in approval.

“What is your name?”

“Sirius Black,” he answered in a monotone voice.

“Have you been the secret keeper of the Potter family?”

“No that was Peter Pettigrew. James and I decided that I would be the too obvious choice as the secret keeper and so we switched it to him. We thought that Remus was the one who wasn’t to be trusted and that Pettigrew was loyal to us. No one else was informed about it besides Dumbledore.”

“So you didn’t give away the place the Potter family hid to the Dark Lord?” she wanted to make clear.

“No, I wouldn’t have been able to do so.”

“Okay, did you blow up the street and killed twelve muggles with it?”

“No, I admit that I was blinded with rage when I learned that Pettigrew betrayed us and I chased after him but when I finally found him he started to panic. He then blew up the street, cut off one of his fingers and transformed into his Animagus form, he is an unregistered rat Animagus. After that, he went into hiding. I have no idea where he is now.”

Bones nodded, that was precisely the same as what Salazar told her earlier.

“Then why did you laugh maniacally and shouted that you killed the Potters when the Aurors arrived?” that wasn’t vital information for the case, but she was curious about that.

Sirius sighed before he replied. “I was the one who suggested to make Pettigrew the secret keeper in the first place. After all that happened that day…” his last words were mere whispers.

She looked at the transcript, knowing fully well what he meant. It had been a break down after all the stress and the death of his best friends.

“Good, I’ll give you the antidote and then we will transfer you to a prison cell in the Ministry where you will be given the opportunity to have a shower and receive some clothes for wearing in front of the Wizengamot.”

She put away the parchment and quill and was about to take out the antidote when Sirius waved her off.

“No need for the antidote, the effect of the Veritaserum should wear off soon on itself.”

She shrugged and put the phial back into her bag. Salazar, on the other hand, observed Sirius closely. Through the entire questioning the man underwent quite the change. While he at first was a broken man there now sat a man who dared to hope again. His face cleared up and the eyes showed a fire that had been buried for a long time.

“Before we leave there is one last thing. I know it will be hard for you but should you agree, it would make things much easier. The thing is I plan on suggesting to the Wizengamot that in case they vote in your favour you will be placed in St. Mungo’s for some time to check your health because of the time you were here at Azkaban. This will also include that you won’t be able to see Harry until the healer gives his approval.”

Sirius thought that through. Yes, he desperately wanted to see his godson and make sure he is okay, but he knew to stay over four years at Azkaban left his traces on him. Whether he wanted it or not assuring the court that he would stay away from their beloved saviour until he was confirmed to be no danger to him should calm them down and turn them in his favour, so he nodded even if sadly.

“I arranged that you will be under the care of the same healer who treated Harry recently. This should speed things up a bit, but it might never the less take a few days before you are allowed to meet him.” On that Sirius perked up a bit.

Bones waved the guard that stood at the door the entire time and told him about the procedure. She would escort Black together with him to the Ministry where he would receive the trial. The guard nodded before giving further instructions to the other guards. After that, the four of them took the boat to the coast from where they apparated back to the Ministry.

On the way to the Ministry holding cells, Salazar spoke up.

“I will stay with Black until the trial takes place because I fear that either the Minister or others who don’t want him free might try something. So send out the signal for it as quick as possible.”

She eyed him critically but nodded before casting a quick Tempus Charm, it was shortly after five in the afternoon.

“How are you contacting the substitute for Mr Potter then?”

“Oh don’t worry he will be there. I left him a message before we left for Azkaban,” he just replied.

James knew what he would have to do, they talked about the possibility beforehand so that he was able to get in quickly without any further ado. When he receives the message for the meeting, he will sit in for the Potters. Salazar even wrote him a confirmation signed with John Smith so that everything was legal.

Now the three escorted Sirius to the Ministry holding cells which were right next to the courtrooms in the lowest level of the Ministry. They went there with a special elevator installed for especially such means so that they hadn’t to use the official ones. It took them about ten minutes before Sirius was in a cell there and Bones went to her office to call out for the Wizengamot members. In the meantime, Sirius got the opportunity to have a shower and one of the Aurors brought him a plain black robe to wear. Salazar stayed with him the entire time in a respectful distance. About half an hour later Sirius sat in his cell while Salazar lent against the wall opposite of the cell arms crossed before his chest.

“I still can’t believe that Dumbledore is supposed to be the one who wants me in Azkaban,” he murmured.

Salazar groaned. “I suggest that you observe him closely during the trial. He is quite proficient with hiding his emotions, but I don’t doubt that you’ll be able to look through it.”

“If what you said is true he was able to fool me for fifteen years now…” he shook his head.

“Only because you never doubted him, but now you know that he might not be the man you think he is. As I said just observe him during the trial and it will be obvious.”

This was when the door to the corridor opened and Bones entered.

“Everyone arrived. The trial will start in five minutes,” she declared.

“Good.”

“I have to sit in, you'll be escorted in by two Aurors then.”

Salazar and Sirius nodded, Sirius suddenly got quite nervous.

“Calm down, everything will work out in our favour.”

“You know I lost hope of ever getting out of Azkaban over three years ago but now…” he rubbed his face before he stood up and paced in front of the cell door while waiting for the Aurors to arrive.

It took a few more minutes before the two guards arrived to escort him to court. Sirius took a quick look in the direction of Dumbledore before he had to sit down in the chair in the centre and was bound to it with magical chains that not only suppressed his magic but also were unbreakable. Salazar stopped right next to him while the guards took place next to the door after finishing. Dumbledore’s mien darkened, but he quickly regained his indifferent composure. Sirius saw that and rose an eyebrow.

“Might anyone please explain what this is all about?” the voice of Bagnold echoed through the courtroom.

Bones stood up and picked up a piece of parchment before speaking.

“Dear members of the Wizengamot, I apologise for the sudden calling of a trial, but some disturbing information reached my office which made an instant acting necessary. You all know what Lord Sirius Black, Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black is accused of. Treason against the Potter family and murder of Peter Pettigrew as well as twelve muggles in coincidence with a breaking of the International Statute of Secrecy. Unfortunately, evidence reached me that he, in fact, is innocent.”

Upon that revelation, a gasp went through the rows of the courtroom followed by excited whispering. Dumbledores face again darkened this time even more visibly while the Minister threw the two men in the centre a gaze of pure hatred.

“His advocate Mr Hardinger will explain it to you,” she continued after the ruckus died down.

“Thank you, Madame Bones. Dear Ladies and Gentleman, my name is Jack Hardinger former Auror under the American Ministry, and I'm here to prove Mr Black's innocence to you.”

He just wanted to start his speech when suddenly Dumbledore stood up.

“So Mr Hardinger, you are not a Ministry approved counsellor?” he asked.

Salazar turned to him and narrowed his eyes. “I didn’t know that this would be necessary,” he just replied.

“Any counsellor who defends an accused person in front of the Wizengamot has to be Ministry approved,” Dumbledore replied with a smirk.

Now Salazar started to grin. “Article 128, section 5, subsection c of the Wizengamot Court Rules instated in 1585: any person accused of a crime and tried in front of the Wizengamot can state any person he sees fit as his/her counsellor. There is no word in it about said counsellor having to be ministry approved since the Ministry didn’t exist at that time.”

“Article 54, section 1 of the English Wizarding Law instated 1828: Any counsellor acting in official business within England has to be approved by the Ministry,” Dumbledore countered.

Salazar rose an eyebrow. Did that man really want to play the game “who knows the law”? Fine with him.

“Oh, now it gets interesting. Article 4 of the English Wizarding Law instated 1707 when the Ministry was founded: In case a new law contradicts an already existing law without disabling the older law first the new-found law is rendered null and void while the old law remains active. It’s on the first page of said law book so look it up if you don’t believe me,” he added after seeing the incredulous look on the man’s face.

Bones waved one of the court assistants to bring her a copy of said books, and a few minutes later she nodded.

“He is right, not only about the Court Rules but also about the newer law being rendered inactive,” she finally told the court with a smirk.

It seemed that Dumbledore had a hard time to reign in his anger. He somehow tried to get rid of Salazar to either defend Sirius himself, therefore, gaining a debt from him when he got him out, or he wanted to sabotage him so that he had to stay in Azkaban. Either way, he didn’t put into mind that this Mr Hardinger might know the law better than he himself did, so he tried something.

Salazar felt someone probing his mind and quickly got to know that it was Dumbledore. His first thought was blocking him out when he had a better idea. He let him roam his mind freely leading him to the impression that he had no Occlumency shields, but in the meanwhile, he only showed him what he wanted the man to see. This was in especially scenes with Harry which gave no indications about where the boy is. His final image was that of how Harry called him “dad” for the first time teasing him even more. When he was done he blocked out the man before looking him straight into the eyes with a smile all the while discussing several more laws with the man who tried to get him sacked.

That was when it was the last straw for Bagnold.

“Mr Black was thrown into Azkaban because he is guilty and this is nothing you can change. He even admitted that he killed the Potters right at the crime scene.”

Salazar looked at her in curiosity. “But do you have any hard evidence for his guilt?” he asked in return.

“The crime scene was evidence enough and as I said he even admitted his guilt and confessed right then and there,” her anger showing clearly on her face.

“So you admit that you threw a man not to mention the head of an Ancient and Most Noble House into Azkaban without any concrete proof of his guilt except the rambling of a man who just lost his best friends and got to know the betrayal of another good friend and that you would do it again now?”

He never would have thought that it was this easy to get Sirius out.

“Do I have to repeat myself? The crime scene was evidence enough and yes I would do it again,” she nearly shouted which let Dumbledore pinch the bridge of his nose and Salazar started to laugh.

“I have to thank you, Minister Bagnold, because you just made my life a lot easier and rendered this whole trial null and void. You know there is a beautiful little law to prohibit persecution of single persons active since 1503. Article 13 Section 1 of the Wizengamot Court Rules: A person can only be sentenced to prison when his guilt is proved. In case said person is sentenced to jail without concrete proof deliberately or a person tries to do so against given evidence of innocence the whole matter is nullified, and the person cannot be brought to court for the same accusations again.

“The thing is I couldn’t push this law until now because I never had any official proof that you did it deliberately but your testimony right now changed that.”

Bagnold’s face went even redder after that. “I never said that I threw him into jail deliberately.”

“No? I know for a fact that you know since this morning with concrete proof that Mr Black is innocent, Ms Bones can confirm it. But you just said that you would throw him into Azkaban again. If you insist, I can repeat what you got to know for the court.

“Sirius Black is the magically bound godfather of Harry James Potter, and I have an official Gringotts document confirming this. Besides that, he wasn’t even the secret keeper. So there is no possible way he could have betrayed the Potters because he would be long dead.

“It also was physically impossible for him to blow up the street, kill Peter Pettigrew and twelve muggles with the evidence left at the crime scene as they were. I don’t want to bore the court with details now but anyone who wants to know them can ask the court assistants, they have copies of the research results which prove it. On top of that, Mr Black confirmed during questioning under Veritaserum this fact and told us that it was Peter Pettigrew who committed all those crimes before hiding in his Animagus form, a rat,” he now smiled broadly.

After that statement, the whole Wizengamot was so silent that you could hear a needle fall before everyone started to talk to each other. Bagnold was white as a sheet when she called the court to order.

“Ms Bones is that correct?”

Said woman started to leaf through the particular book before she nodded.

“Yes, he again is perfectly right, you just nullified this trial, and Sirius Black is a free man,” she couldn’t hide a smile upon that.

“There is something else,” he interrupted them.

“What more is there?” Bagnold knew she was politically dead, but now there was supposed to be even more? Salazar’s predatory smile didn’t infuse any confidence that he would let her off the hook that easily.

“Article 327, Section 5, Subsection b of the English Wizarding Law instated 1842: The Head of an established House can only be imprisoned for one week without a trial.

“Subsection c of the same Section: Should the Head of an established House being held longer than the given week without a trial a compensation of one hundred Galleons per week has to be paid by the person who imprisoned him/her without trial.

“Since he was imprisoned for about four and a half years without a trial this would make around 23500 Galleons of compensation to be paid by Minister Bagnold since it was her order to imprison him without trial,” everyone could hear the rustling of paper before Bones confirmed the said.

Sirius looked at Salazar wide-eyed. Not only had the man proven his innocence and gotten him out of jail without even the need of a vote but now he would also be compensated for being imprisoned falsely. This was more than he ever hoped for.

Bagnold, on the other hand, gulped visibly getting a bit green around the nose. She was ruined not only politically but also personally. Her income up to date was 325 Galleons per month, and she owned a vault with about fifteen thousand Galleons. Since she couldn’t hope to be employed after that catastrophe…

Bones saw that she was unable to continue leading the court and therefore took over.

“Since that entire case has been nullified Mr Black is cleared of any accusations against his person and is to be released immediately. He will be compensated for his false imprisonment with 23.300 Galleons to be paid by Ms Bagnold. Any objections?” she looked around the court, but no one rose his voice and only Dumbledore looked as if he swallowed an especially sour drop.

She waved the two guards to release the man. “Are there any more matters to be addressed Mr Black, Mr Hardinger?”

Both men shook their head.

“Good, this trial is hereby closed. Good evening.”

She slammed down the gavel in front of her. In an instant the chains binding Sirius released him.

The entire Wizengamot instantly went into a state of chaos. People stood up, went to others and started conversations about what just happened. The only one who left immediately was Albus Dumbledore. He turned around and went straight out of the courtroom without even looking at Sirius. Bagnold, on the other hand, seemed to pray that the ground would open up and swallow her.

Sirius stood up stretching his legs before turning around to Salazar.

“I really have to thank you. You not only managed to get me out of jail, you even got the Minister to pay me compensation for my time at Azkaban, and I don’t even know you,” he stated suppressing tears.

“First I didn’t do this for either you or me but for Harry. He deserves a life with a family who loves and cares for him. I assume you did as I suggested and observed Dumbledore during the trial?”

Sirius nodded while his face darkened.

“When I now think about it, I don’t know how that man was able to fool me for this long time” he sighed. “But that lies in the past now. The only thing I want now is to see my godson.”

“That’s the second thing. You shouldn’t thank me yet…” Sirius rose an eyebrow. “For once I would ask you to stay at St. Mungo for at least one night. It is not because I want to stop you from meeting your godson or because I think you are dangerous but you stayed at Azkaban for over four years. That took its toll, if not mentally then definitely physically. A night of good sleep and a medical check would do you good.”

Sirius nodded. He didn’t want to admit it but he was exhausted and who knows what the malnutrition over the years did to him not to mention the missing hygiene and the constant exposure to the Dementors.

“Good and the other thing…well, there are a few things you need to know before meeting Harry if only so that you don’t hurt him with an inconsiderate comment and there are also a few things about myself that might let you see me in a light you might not like.”

This was the last thing which could go wrong now, that Sirius wasn’t able to look past the name and was so blinded with prejudice that they couldn’t work out an arrangement. Salazar didn’t want to think about what that would do to his son.

“I hardly doubt that there is anything that could change my view of you that drastically. You saved my life for Merlin’s sake,” he shook his head with a grin before a yawn took over. “But you are right a bed at St. Mungo’s sounds like an excellent idea right now.”

Right at that time Bones approached them.

“You know that you just made my life a lot harder?” she accused Salazar, but the smile on her face told everyone, that she was only half serious.

“I know, and I'm sorry. I would have warned you but after Ms Bagnold offered me the entire case on a silver platter…I never thought she would be that…stupid,” he shrugged.

“Well, I now have to check every case upon airtight proof. I just hope that there are not more procedural errors in other cases especially those of the really dangerous persons,” she sighed.

“Should you have problems with any of them I would gladly help solving them. You know that I have my resources and as long as it helps to keep those peoples in, I will help to the best of my abilities.”

“Thank you, I think I’ll come back to that offer,” with that she wished them goodbye and went back to work.

 


 

Sirius and Salazar were on their way to the elevators when they were approached by a man with long blond hair.

“Hello Mr Hardinger, Lord Black, I wanted to compliment you to the possibly most interesting acquittal in recent history. I wonder how it comes that an American hit wizard is so firm in British Wizarding Law. You managed to find laws even I didn’t know about.”

“And you are?” Salazar rose an eyebrow. He knew very well who that man is, but he didn’t like his arrogance.

“Oh I'm sorry, my name is Lucius Malfoy, Head of the House of Malfoy,” the man replied while holding out his hand which Salazar shook.

“Nice to meet you Mr Malfoy but we have to leave. Mr Black has an appointment and we are already late. Have a nice evening,” he nodded coolly. Luckily he was there as Mr Hardinger and therefore hadn’t to pretend to like that man.

They just arrived at the elevators when the door of one opened and a man came out. He was one of the court assistants.

“Sir, if I were you I won’t go through the entrance hall of the Ministry. It seems that somehow the media got wind of the trial and now the entire floor is flooded with journalists who want to get an official statement,” the assistant told them.

“Damned, I hoped they would take a bit longer. Is there another possibility to get out of here without having to pass them?” Sirius looked quite pale now and he started to sway a bit, so he wanted to get him out and to St. Mungo as fast as possible.

“Sure, down here in the guard office of the cell block is a secured floo connection you could use. If you would follow me please.”

Luckily right then James managed to fight his way through to them.

“Ah, Sir, I'm glad I found you. Congratulations on this marvellous victory.”

Salazar motioned the assistant to wait for a minute. ”James you arrive just at the right time. Mr Black this is James Finnigan my butler and the person I instated as Harry's substitute. James, this is Sirius Black,” he introduced the men.

They both shook hands. “Nice to meet you Mr Finnigan but I would like to get out of here. I'm getting a bit dizzy.”

“James would you please escort Mr Black to St. Mungo? Unfortunately, I have to take care of a pack of journalists waiting in the main hall of the Ministry before they think about printing false news. This assistant will lead you to a chimney from where you can floo there.”

Sirius looked at him questioningly but wasn’t able to ask because he suddenly swayed so much that he nearly fell down. It was only Salazar's and James’ quick reaction that they were able to catch him.

“Please hurry up he needs rest,” James nodded and was about to follow the assistant while supporting Sirius so that he won’t fall again when suddenly four men stood in front of them.

“Mr Finnigan, Mr Hardinger, you are under arrest immediately,” was the only thing they said.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15: Of Ministries and Idiots

 

“Mr Finnigan, Mr Hardinger, you are under arrest immediately” was the only thing they said.

 

Salazar eyed the person in front of him critically. It was a young man about six feet and two inches high with dark skin and a bald head wearing a light blue robe and a hat in the same colour.

“On what base and whose order?” Salazar demanded to know.

“You are accused of impersonating someone else, abduction of Harry James Potter also known as the Boy-who-lived and the practice of the Dark Arts. Now please hand over your wand and follow me.”

“Interesting but I have a few more questions though. First, who am I accused of impersonating, second have you any proof for your accusations and third who ordered this?”

Salazar's patience was running out and fast. It has been a long day, he was tired and definitely not in the mood to play any games with this idiot who just made the same mistakes as the Minister at the trial.

“It is Jack Hardinger you are impersonating. We got the tip that you are in fact not him,” the man was obviously dancing around the other two questions.

“Ah, is he?” came a female voice from behind the four Aurors.

Salazar's eyes went wide when he heard it. He knew very well who this was since he worked for said person for over a decade before returning to England, but he was at a loss about what said person was doing here.

His suspicion was confirmed when the dark-skinned Auror turned around and cleared the view upon a 4’9” tall, middle-aged woman with an amused twinkling in the eyes.

“And who are you?” the Auror growled at the woman.

Salazar chuckled while he thought: ‘Your worst nightmare if you're not very careful.’

“Oh me? I'm no one important, just the Head of the American Ministry of Magic Henrietta Coulson the American pendant to your Minister,” she replied with a waving of her hand.

The Auror gulped, he heard about the American Minister and what he heard was terrifying. This woman was a legend. That was when Bones appeared to see what this crowd that formed around them meant.

“Auror Shacklebolt what is this about?” she demanded to know.

“We have the order to arrest Mr Finnigan and Mr Hardinger,” the addressed Auror answered more than a bit intimidated by the two women.

“Interesting, especially since I have no knowledge of such an order. So who ordered this?” Bones was pretty upset about that someone thought he could order Aurors around without informing her.

“Minister Bagnold, ma’am,” came the sheepish reply.

“Ah the soon to be Ex-Minister. She has no right to give you orders, and she knows it as well as you should. As much as I would like to leave you in the mercy of Mr Hardinger who would when I interpret the gaze, he gives you the right way, tears you apart without even blinking, but I can’t afford to lose four of my most promising Aurors at the moment. The Department is understaffed since the war, and I need every man and woman so do yourself and me a favour and rethink your loyalty,” she growled.

It seemed that the man wanted to say something but being confronted with the daring glare of not only Bones but also Salazar and Henrietta Coulson he quickly changed his mind and waved his co-workers to leave. Bones looked after them shaking her head before turning around and looking at the small woman.

“Henrietta Coulson, how long since we last met? How’s the ICW?” she greeted her with a smile.

“Too long my dear, too long. I see you have a firm hand on your staff,” Bones growled upon that.

“Ladies, I have to thank you for solving this situation, but please apologise me. I have to take care of a horde of journalists before they think about printing lies. James, take care of Sirius please,” Salazar interrupted them with a small bow before he lost even more time while he waved James to go and take Sirius, who looked like he would collapse any second, to St. Mungos. James nodded and finally went together with the assistant to floo there.

Salazar was about to enter the waiting elevator when his former employer spoke up.

“I come with you. Ms Bones, I'm in England for the rest of the week, so I think we will have some time to get exchanged within the next days.”

Bones nodded, and the two entered the elevator alone, the crowd in the hallway staring at them.

 


 

 

It took several seconds before Salazar finally spoke up while watching the floor numbers passing by.

“Henrietta, it’s so nice to meet you after such a long time but what are you doing here? Don’t take it the wrong way I'm glad you helped me with those…idiots but I never thought you would come to England.”

Henrietta chuckled lowly. “Did you really think I would want to miss you tearing Dumbledore apart in front of his followers? He has been a nuisance ever since he became Supreme Mugwump in the ICW and I'm glad I could see him getting brought down a peg or two.”

“Why am I not the slightest little bit surprised? I guess that’s where you also met Ms Bones?”

“Perceptive as always. Yes, I met her in the aftermath of the war. We worked together to get order and stability reinstated. She was also the one who informed me of the trial today.”

A loud ringing told them that they arrived at their destination. The doors slid open, and they left the elevator. When they turned around the corner, Salazar growled. The entire hall was filled with journalists while Aurors stood guard and on a podium was Dumbledore in his whole glory giving a speech. Henrietta again chuckled lowly.

“So this was what the farce with the Aurors was, a distraction to buy him time so that he can spread his version of the truth. Pathetic, should he think that this would work,” he growled.

“…so Mr Black was released because of a procedural error” Dumbledore explained to the journalists when Salazar coughed audibly for everyone.

Dumbledore's head snapped upwards, and he directly faced Salazar. His face darkened for a split second before he regained his grandfatherly mask again.

“I don’t know what Professor Dumbledore told you while I was occupied, but I should warn you. Should anyone think about printing any lie or slandering information about Mr Black, myself or the case, I would find myself obligated to take action upon it. If you have any doubt about my ability to do so you might ask Ms Bagnold your soon to be Ex-Minister in what position she found herself in quite recently,” he looked around the hall and at the gathered people with a daring glare.

Quite a few exchanged worried looks. Henrietta who stayed around the corner and out of Dumbledore's sight just smiled. Yes, in her opinion it was a good idea to take a vacation to England.

“Why would you think I told them lies?” Dumbledore asked with an amused twinkling in his eyes.

“So you want to tell me that you told them the entire truth about the case, Sirius Black and what happened in the courtroom? The unfiltered truth and not only the version that suits you best?” Salazar shot back.

“That is coming from someone who isn’t even the person he pretends to be,” Dumbledore said in a manner like one would scold a child with.

Salazar rose an eyebrow and crossed his arms before his chest. “You would know that why exactly?”

Now Dumbledore smiled. “Because you admitted it.”

“It seems that you have me at a loss now. When did I admit that I'm not Jack Hardinger?” he asked curiously.

“Right in the courtroom. You told the entire Wizengamot about a conversation and its content only three people knew about, and you also presented the Wizengamot a Document that previously was in the hands of one of these people. So how do you explain that when you are not said third person?”

Salazar pinched his nose while the gathered journalists followed the entire conversation with glee heads turning back and forth like at a tennis match.

“Did it never occur to you that I got that document from Ms Bones and that she told me about the conversation? Or that I might know the third person?” sometimes he could only wonder about the ignorance and stupidity of the people. “And even if I am the third person and that’s a very big if, what does it prove?”

“It proves that you know where Harry Potter is hidden!” now everybody looked at Salazar.

Ah, so that’s the way the wind blows. Salazar blamed his exhaustion for not seeing it earlier. It was just a week that he got Harry out of Privet Drive and a lot happened in that week. Too much for his liking and it tore at him. Yes, he was old and had a powerful magical core but first upgrading the wards and later getting three people out of a mindlock state was nothing to laugh about. Even he had his limits and since he had no time to rest and regenerate properly he was slowly reaching them.

“Albus to-many-names-and-titles-for-your-own-good Dumbledore, if you want to know where Harry Potter is at the moment just ask. Not that you would get an answer from me because I DON’T know where he is and now stop bothering me with it because I have a press conference to give.”

Dumbledore, on the other hand, didn’t think about stopping. So with a grandfatherly smile, he continued. “I know that you know where he is. How else would you get his heritage test?”

Salazar pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. It wouldn’t do any good to hex that man into the next week in front of the entire press of England and wherever else they might have come from.

Suddenly Henrietta came around the corner and stood right next to Salazar.

“Albus, this is getting ridiculous, would he know anything about the whereabouts of Harry Potter he would tell you, don’t you think?”

“Not when he is the one who has him, my old friend,” Dumbledore replied with a slight bow towards her.

“How would he have done that? Jack Hardinger isn’t even a citizen of England. Your ministry would never have consented with the adoption, and our Ministry definitely didn’t help him.”

“But is he really Jack Hardinger and not some imposter?” Dumbledore rose his eyebrow.

Henrietta now grew slightly angry. “Do you impute to me that I don’t know the man I worked with for over ten years or that my Ministry doesn’t do thorough background checks on its employees? Should you have forgotten, our Ministry has stringent rules about it hence why we are one of the top magical organisations regarding effectivity and integrity. Something one couldn’t say about your little Ministry that isn’t even able to give a man a proper trial not to mention to keep track of one six-year-old boy. Now cut it or do you want to continue this discussion in front of the ICW?”

Dumbledore growled lowly while considering his next step. “You should be grateful but this nice little conversation took longer than I anticipated and I have business to attend at Hogwarts. So I'm sorry, but we have to continue it at a later point, have a nice day.”

With that said, Dumbledore stepped from the podium he stood on and left the Ministry through the next fireplace. Once he vanished in the green flames, everyone in the room started to talk excitedly. It seemed that this would be another big headline following to Black's innocence. Salazar sighed, he couldn’t do much about it, but it didn’t really matter, so he left it be. He stepped onto the podium Dumbledore just left to ensure that the journalists at least printed the truth.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I don’t know what exactly Mr Dumbledore told you so to ensure you that you all know the truth I will tell you what happened during the trial and I swear to you that the information I give to you is, as far as I'm aware, true. As I told you earlier, I don’t want to see any lies printed in tomorrow’s issue. When I'm finished feel free to ask any question you like,” why telling a lie when the ugly truth is far worse and more damaging than any lie he could come up with.

So he told them everything that happened beginning with his visit to Azkaban and ending with Black’s acquittal. He even went so far as to present the journalists copies of the research results he gave the Wizengamot earlier.

When he finally finished quite a few journalists tried to ask questions.

“Okay, okay, please only one question at a time,” Salazar said after calling them to order before pointing at one reporter.

“Mr Hardinger, so it isn’t true that you and the person informing Ms Bones and Ms Bagnold are one and the same?”

Salazar chuckled. “But we are one and the same person. I disguised myself as a reporter so that Mr Dumbledore wouldn’t be informed of my plans beforehand. As I told you it seemed that he had a genuine interest that Mr Black stayed in Azkaban. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have tried to get me sacked during the trial. Where Mr Dumbledore was wrong is that I'm originally Mr Stein and pretend to be Mr Hardinger. Mr Stein was my undercover identity and as far as I'm aware it is no crime to lie about one’s identity as long as you don’t claim to be a certain existing person who you're definitely not.”

He pointed at another journalist. “So you know who has adopted Harry Potter and where he is right now?”

“Harry Potter was adopted by John Smith, and yes I know said person, because he was not only the person who hired me to get Mr Black out of Azkaban but also gave me the heritage test. To your question where he is, as I told Mr Dumbledore I have no idea where he is at the moment. Unfortunately, this is everything I can tell you on that matter because Mr Smith secured every other information regarding that topic with a Fidelius Charm.”

Rumouring went through the rows of journalists.

“So Mr Black wasn’t released only because of a procedural error, but he truly is innocent?” another one asked.

“Sirius Black is the magically bound godfather of Harry James Potter. There is no possible way for him betraying the Potters and still being alive. It was Peter Pettigrew who did this because he was their secret keeper.”

“But Peter Pettigrew is dead.”

“No, he is not. A fact confirmed by Mr Black under Veritaserum is that Pettigrew is an unregistered Animagus, a rat to be precise. When Mr Black found him and confronted him with his actions Pettigrew panicked. He was the one blowing up the street while cutting off one of his fingers and hiding in his rat form. Evidence of this can be found in the file I copied for you. So should you ever come across a rat that misses a toe immediately inform Ms Bones or any other Auror. Pettigrew is extremely dangerous, and I would ask you to pass this information so that everyone is warned.”

Another rumouring went through the reporters. This was when one spoke up and asked a question that no one anticipated.

“Was…was Harry Potter really abused by his relatives?” it was like a switch was turned because now everyone went silent and looked at the man.

Salazar looked down not knowing what to answer upon that.

“I’d like to refuse to answer this question,” he finally said, but his whole demeanour told the journalists everything they needed to know. He took a deep breath before continuing.

“If there are no more questions…” the whole hall stayed silent. “Then I will leave now. Good evening.”

Salazar stepped off the podium and walked over to Henrietta.

“Nice play, I doubt Dumbledore will like the result even one bit.”

“That’s what I intended. Where do you stay here in London? Hopefully not in that run-down tavern called Leaky Cauldron…”

“Merlin beware, no I have standards higher than that. I don’t understand why all the English think that it is the go-to location. No, I stay at the Wizards and Dragons in the city.”

The Wizards and Dragons was a magical upper-class hotel. Not quite cheap but far better than that rat nest that was the entrance to Diagon Alley, at least when it came to lodging.

“Nice location and good cuisine too. What do you think I pay for a late dinner, and we talk a bit?” he asked her.

Henrietta eyed him critically. “I have a better idea. You go home, have a night of good sleep and invite me tomorrow evening. You look exhausted, and you could bring your son around tomorrow,” she replied.

“Yes you're right; it has been a long day. Does 6 p.m. sound good for you?” he answered after trying to stifle a yawn.

She nodded. “We can meet at the bar there.”

Salazar signed her that he understood before wishing her farewell. After that, he went to the apparition point. It was well after ten and looking for Sirius at St. Mungo's would be futile, so he apparated directly to his townhouse where he slumped into an armchair in his study. A few minutes later James came in with a calming herbal tea.

“Is Hadrian asleep?” he asked while sipping the tea.

“Yes, Sir, he was at the Longbottom manor while I had to attend the Wizengamot meeting and when I picked him up, he was quite tired and fell asleep nearly instantly. Don’t worry the nanny that took care of him and Neville has no idea who he is, and Ms Longbottom has sworn her to secrecy. It seems he had a nice afternoon,” James explained.

“Good. Merlin knows that he needs it with what he has been through.”

Salazar emptied his cup before he stood up.

“I'm going to bed. Until tomorrow,” he said with another yawn.

“Good night, Sir.”

After peeking into his son’s room to confirm that he was sleeping Salazar went into his own bedroom and barely managed to get changed before he collapsed on his bed and slept in an instant.

 


 

 

Dumbledore was back at his office in Hogwarts. He was furious. How did an American hit wizard know the law better than he did?

He sighed. When he made his plans, he thought he put every possibility into account. From how Harry would be treated by his relatives to the risk of one of the Death Eaters finding him. He had set so many tracking and tracing spells on him that no one should have been able to get rid of them without him noticing. Not to mention that they were so strong that no average person should be able to disable them in the first place. The only person that could be able to get rid of them that quick would be Voldemort, but he was if not dead then weakened enough that even he shouldn’t be able to do it. There was no one else in this world powerful enough, was there?

But Harry disappeared none the less, and he was nowhere to be found. He couldn’t get any hold upon those people that knew something either.

On top of that, this damned American managed to get the Minister sacked for deliberately breaking several laws. He doubted that Bagnold would survive the vote of no confidence that surely was to come. The problem was that Dumbledore didn’t have any candidate he could present to the Wizengamot at the moment and who had even the slightest chance to win. At least he had been able to prohibit being the second big headline in tomorrow’s issue of the Prophet.

But wait perhaps he had an option. It was desperate he knew it, and it depended on several factors, but when he played his cards right, he would have a loyal follower officiating as Minister.

Yes, he had a plan, and if everything went accordingly, he would be back in the game. But he would have to get rid of Jack Hardinger first before he could inflict even more damage to his plans, that was for sure.

 


 

 

In the morning Salazar woke up quite late. It was evident that he needed the sleep and since he had no appointments that morning, James didn’t wake him. With a look on the clock, it turned out that it was well past ten in the morning, so Salazar stood up and got ready.

Afterwards, he went down to the kitchen in the hope to get a late breakfast. There he found James buzzing around while Hadrian sat at the table reading…what else, but it seemed that he was through with his potions book because Salazar could identify the book as Hogwarts a History.

“If you go on like that I have to expand my library soon,” he joked while giving his son a hug.

“Morning dad,” he returned the hug. “Well I'm through with the potions book, so I thought I read a bit about what you did in the past. But I hope I can try brewing some potions soon…” he looked at his father with an accusing look.

“I'm sorry, but I had so much to do…I promise that we start as soon as possible,” he didn’t want to disappoint Hadrian especially since he was so eager to finally get started.

“I know dad, and I also know that you're doing most of it for me so don’t worry. I highly doubt that I run out of interesting stuff to read any time soon,” he replied with a smile that earned him another hug.

“What do you think, want to meet your godfather today?”

“Are you sure?” Hadrian asked suddenly filled with concern.

He didn’t know the man that was his godfather and he feared that he would try to take him away from his dad. Okay, truth be told he knew his dad also only for a week now, but with him it was different. It was like he knew him for his entire life and Salazar showed him for so many times now that he wouldn’t hurt him so that it didn’t really matter to him. He was the father he never dared to hope to have.

“Hadrian, even if he is your godfather, he can’t do anything you don’t want, and from what I saw until now I doubt that he would hurt you deliberately. But I have to warn you, while at Hogwarts he was in the House of Gryffindor and against anything Slytherin. While I hope that he might overcome his prejudice it might take its time so don’t be too disappointed should he have problems with that I adopted you, okay?”

Hadrian nodded. Neville had been quite a source of information regarding the house rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin, so it wasn’t surprising that when his godfather was in Gryffindor, he might be prejudiced against his father. Though it might be funny to see his reaction. That was when four owls swept in through the owl window and landed on the table. Three it seemed carried newspapers while the fourth had a letter tied to its leg. James took care of the owls with the papers while Salazar untied the letter. He opened it and started to read it.

 


 

 

Dear Mr Hardinger,

 

I wanted to inform you that thanks to your actions at the trial there will be an extraordinary Extended Wizengamot meeting on Friday at 11 a.m. to charge a vote of no confidence against the acting Minister. When successful a new Minister will be elected right afterwards. I hope that you could attend as a counsellor to the DMLE because I fear that either Mr Dumbledore or Mr Malfoy might try to take advantage of this situation.

Hopefully, I hear from you soon.

 

Yours sincerely

Amelia Bones,

Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement
of the British Ministry of Magic

 


 

 

“Damned” this was a small detail he, unfortunately, didn’t think about until now. Another sign for his lack of time to rest and regenerate properly.

“Is something wrong, Sir?”

Salazar held out the letter which James picked up and read. James looked at Salazar questioningly.

“For Merlin’s sake don’t tell me that you forgot that this would come…”

“I had a lot of other things on my mind lately, but it shouldn’t matter anyway. If necessary, I can later replace anyone who might become Minister now. Anyway, I’ll have to meet with Ms Bones this afternoon, and it should be a benefit if Ms Longbottom attends too. Perhaps we can find a solution,” he picked up quill and parchment and wrote letters to both women which he then gave to James so that he could send them.

“Oh, and Hadrian this evening we’re going to eat out of the house and meet Henrietta Coulson if that’s okay with you. She is a nice woman though sometimes a bit intimidating, I worked for her for some time.”

Hadrian thought about it for a moment not entirely sure whether this was a good idea or not. But when his father said that is was okay he believed him, so he nodded.

“We’re going to meet her at six in the evening, so I would ask you to be ready and down in the study a quarter earlier. Oh, I forgot you'll need something to wear…” but before he could continue James interrupted him.

“What would you do without me, Sir…?” he chuckled. “Yesterday on our trip through London we also went to buy some clothes, mundane and robes alike. I’ll help him select his attire for dinner.”

“Thank you, I’d possibly lose my head somewhere…” he retorted while picking up the newspapers.

It was an issue of each the Daily Prophet, the New York Magical and a special edition of the Quibbler. He had a subscription to each of them. The Daily Prophet for the daily English news, the NY Magical for American press and The Quibbler because he liked how they get down on people without them noticing.

Yes, many thought The Quibbler was only conspiracy theory and rubbish about non-existent creatures, but they were wrong. When you read between the lines, you’d find out that the articles were well researched and more accurate than what the Prophet printed, and most of the creatures were not so non-existent than most people thought. Besides that, it was always fun to read because of the non-serious articles in-between.

But for now, he concentrated on the article in the Prophet because he feared that they were the one printing any lie. Hadrian in the meanwhile fetched the Quibbler.

 


 

 

Sirius Black – Mass murderer or in fact innocent?

 

You all know Sirius Black as a traitor and a mass murderer. However, is he really?

Four and a half years ago, the Aurors found Black standing in front of a smouldering crater after You-know-who killed the Potters and laughed maniacally while telling everyone that he was guilty of their deaths. At that time, the Aurors who investigated the case found him guilty of betraying the Potters before killing his old friend Peter Pettigrew and twelve muggles. The Minister Ms Bagnold convicted him with a life-long sentence to Azkaban without even giving him a trial.

Nevertheless, yesterday the unthinkable happened. Black finally got his trial in front of the Wizengamot, and they found him not guilty. Yes, my dear readers, you read right, Sirius Black is innocent. The American hit wizard Jack Hardinger who also pressed the trial presented airtight proof of Blacks guiltlessness.

So was it up to now unknown that Sirius Black is Harry Potter’s magically bound godfather. Therefore, it was impossible for him to betray the Potters and still be alive. For those of you who do not know what a magically bound godparent means being, a person takes an oath on his life that in case of the parents’ death he has to do his best to care for the child and never betray it or its family.

Mr Hardinger also gave us proof that it was impossible for Mr Black to blow up the street and kill Pettigrew with the evidence left behind as they were. If you want to have a look at the full report, copies can be viewed at the Prophet as well as the Ministry. A summary of it can be found on page 09.

Though now arises the question who really is guilty of those incredible deeds. In a questioning under Veritaserum Black told Amelia Bones everything. It was Peter Pettigrew. I know how most of you now rumble that Pettigrew is dead, but he is not. As Black confirmed yesterday, Pettigrew, who was the secret keeper of the Potters instead of him, betrayed them. When Black confronted him, he blew up the street while cutting off one of his fingers before going into hiding as a rat. Yes, dear readers, Peter Pettigrew is an unregistered Animagus.

Therefore, should any of you ever come across a rat that misses a toe do not try to engage and capture it but immediately call in the Aurors. Pettigrew is considered extremely dangerous.

However, one interesting fact was left unmentioned up to now. The release of Black was not because of a verdict of not guilty but because of a procedural error committed by our dear Minister. So managed Mr Hardinger to get an official statement from Ms Bagnold in front of the entire Wizengamot that she would throw Black back into Azkaban despite given proof of innocence. A law from 1503 states that should someone sentence a person to prison despite given evidence of innocence it renders any trial null and void and there is no way to try the accused person for the same accusations again. Therefore, Ms Bagnold’s statement made Black a free man.

Nevertheless, this is not the end of Ms Bagnold’s problems. It turned out that the imprisonment of the Head of a House cannot be longer than a week without a trial. Sirius Black, however, became Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black after the death of his father Orion Black in 1979. Therefore, he is entitled to receive a compensation of one hundred Galleons per week of imprisonment without a trial after the first. Since his imprisonment lasted four and a half years that makes compensation of about 23.300 Galleons to be paid by Ms Bagnold because she was the one to refuse him a trial.

It seems to me that we soon will have a new Minister but who that will be is only speculation. However, it appears that Cornelius Fudge is a good candidate for this job. We will report, should new information come up.

 

-Andy Smudgley-

 

For more about Sirius Black see page 2

For more about the trial see page 3

For more about Jack Hardinger see page 8

For more about Minister Bagnold see page 9

 


 

 

Salazar smiled contently while he shuffled through the newspaper to take a look at the article about him. He quickly read it, it was mainly whom he worked for and what his achievements were but nothing unusual. The article beneath it, on the other hand, was a different thing. He wondered though why it wasn’t on the front page.

 


 

 

Dumbledore offends American Ministry

 

Yesterday Albus Dumbledore, Order of Merlin first class and Supreme Mugwump at the ICW made a huge faux pas. He offended not only a former member of the American Ministry of Magic and Magical Affairs but the entire Ministry as such.

After the confrontation with the American hit wizard Jack Hardinger, he accused him of being an imposter despite having no evidence for such an accusation. His entire reasoning consisted of the thesis that Mr Hardinger and a journalist who met Ms Bones earlier that day are the same.

While Mr Hardinger confirmed that this, in fact, was true, he told the attendant journalists that pretending to be a journalist was only so that no rumours would spread since the person who adopted Harry Potter, John Smith, hired him to get Sirius Black out of jail. He admitted that it might not have been the best way to do it, but he assured us that he is Jack Hardinger.

Ms Henrietta Coulson Head of the American Ministry also accredited that. Even then, Dumbledore did not admit his fault though. On the contrary, he accused Ms Coulson to not know her employees and of not doing proper background checks. He even went one step ahead and said that Jack Hardinger is the one who adopted Harry Potter despite that being impossible since he is not a British citizen.

Nevertheless, when Ms Coulson told him that they could continue this discussion in front of the ICW Dumbledore took the option to leave without any further comment.

One has to ask whether this will have any influence on the British-American relationship and what the ICW will think about such behaviour.

 

-Andy Smudgley-

 


 

 

It seemed that Dumbledore used his influence to, if not prevent that article completely, at least get it somewhere where no one would notice it.

“Interesting…” he muttered before speaking aloud. “What about the Quibbler, something of interest in there?”

Hadrian giggled lowly. “Seems that Ms Bagnold suffers a severe Wrackspurt infestation though I wonder, did she get them from Dumby or was it the other way around?”

Salazar looked at him in curiosity before he started to laugh. “Dumby?”

“Well, his name is much too long, I mean who names his child Albus Percival Wulfric Brian? Sorry but I stick with Dumby…much more fitting,” he answered with a snickering.

His father shook his head while leafing through the NY-Magical. Their article was mostly a puff piece about him and how he managed to get the British Minister sacked and that it is a shame that he no longer worked for their own Ministry. All in all, he was quite content with the outcome of all this.

“Oh Hadrian, I want to leave in about half an hour to St. Mungo's make sure you're ready by then.”

Without any forewarning, his son jumped up as if he was hit by a stinging hex, dropped the newspaper he was reading and bolted out of the room.

“You know I really have problems understanding him sometimes. Most of the time he behaves and talks like an adult and on other occasions like now he behaves more like the six-year-old child he is” Salazar sighed. “I hope that with time it will get better…”

“I have trust in your abilities to guide him, Sir. Don’t forget that it was only about a week ago that you brought him here, he is not used to behaving like a child because he was never allowed to.”

“You're right, and with Neville as his friend, it hopefully doesn’t take too long. But now I have to get prepared myself.” With that, he stood up and also left the kitchen.

About thirty minutes later he and his son left to St. Mungos.

 


 

 

They arrived at Sylvia’s office through the floo network. Salazar cleaned them both up with a flick of his wand when he turned to Hadrian.

“I would ask you to stay here. I have to talk to your godfather first and explain to him several things, okay?”

His son nodded.

So Salazar turned to the door and went to where he knew Sirius was placed. When he reached the man, he saw that he sat on his bed drinking a cup of coffee.

“Good morning Mr Black. Did you have a good night?” he greeted him.

“Oh, mornin’ Mr Hardinger and yes never had such a good night for a long time. Where’s my pup? Is he okay?” he looked much better compared to the day before. It seemed that the night of good sleep did wonders on the man. His face wasn’t as hollow anymore, and the eyes sparkled with life.

Salazar took a look around before he threw up silencing and privacy charms so that no one could overhear their conversation.

“If you're referring to Harry yes he is well. I brought him with me, but for now, he is waiting in Ms Pye’s office so that we can discuss a few things beforehand.”

Sirius nodded slowly. “You said something like that yesterday…but I haven’t found out what might be so bad that it would let me see you in another light.”

Salazar sighed. “One thing first,” he took out his wand. “I swear that everything I tell you in this conversation will be true as far as I'm aware.”

Sirius cocked his head while the oath settled.

“Okay, so that’s that. To begin with, my name originally wasn’t Jack Hardinger,” he took a deep breath to prepare himself for what is to come while Sirius rose an eyebrow. “My birth name is Salazar Slytherin.”

Salazar was prepared for many things to happen. From disbelieve over denial to outright getting shouted at from Sirius, but what happened next he would never have thought of. Sirius looked at him dumbstruck with wide eyes and open mouth when suddenly someone on the other side of the room divider started to howl with laughter. Both Salazar and Sirius looked at each other blinking in confusion before Salazar went around to see what the matter was.

There on the window sill, he saw him. His son gasping for air, having a hard time to not fall over because he was laughing so hard.

“Hadrian?” Salazar was torn between confusion and disappointment that he apparently ignored his order.

“S-sorry…dad…” he said between fits of laughter. “But I…couldn’t let…the opportunity pass…to see his…reaction…not after what you told…me this morning.”

During that, he stood up shakily and went around the room divider to show himself properly still giggling.

“I have to admit it was totally worth any punishment,” finally he calmed down enough to speak coherent sentences again.

With a smile, he turned around to Sirius.

“Good morning, Sir. My name is Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin. Nice to meet you,” he introduced himself while holding out his hand.

Sirius mechanically shook it looking confused before he glared at Salazar with a gaze that clearly asked: “what in Merlin’s name did you do to him?”. Salazar could only shrug helplessly and gestured that he also had merely an inkling about what happened.

Sirius growled slightly when he turned back to Hadrian.

“Really? Sir? You sound more like one of those bigoted purebloods than a six years old boy. What happened to you?” he cocked his head in curiosity but what was said about curiosity killed the cat or in this case the mood.

Hadrian flinched, and when he saw what glares Sirius shot his father, he ran up to him and hold on to him like he was never letting him go again. After a sigh, Salazar knelt down in front of him and pulled him into a hug because he started to cry. He picked him up and sat down on a chair with his son placed on his lap, Hadrian’s face burrowed in his shoulder. Sirius watched the entire thing closely.

“Oh Hadrian, what did those…individuals do to you,” he murmured to himself while rubbing the back of his son soothingly.

Sirius now sat on the edge of his bed. “Harry, what happened?” he asked with a soft voice completely ignoring the glares Salazar shot him for digging deeper.

Hadrian sobbed again. He didn’t want to think about what happened even less talking about it. Ever since Salazar took him away from…there he had nightmares waking up in the middle of the night not being able to get back to sleep. He tried to hide it, tried not to show how he really felt because he feared that his father would be angry or would not like him anymore and send him back. Yes, he knew what his father told him, but fears knew no reason.

On the other hand, what did the Mediwitch say a few days ago? Talking about it might help. But he didn’t want to, they would hate him.

“I don’t want to talk about it…you will hate me,” he merely whispered his last thought.

“Harry, pup, I would never hate you no matter what. I promised James and Lily to always care for you,” he sighed. “The only thing I regret is that I couldn’t keep my promise, but one thing is for sure, I could never ever hate you.”

“Me neither,” Salazar now continued. “I spent four and a half years of searching for you. Nothing of what happened during that time was your fault and the only persons I would hate for it are these…persons, never you” the last part he spoke through gritted teeth.

With a last sniffing, Hadrian pulled himself from his father’s shoulder looking at him with watery eyes before turning around to look at Sirius. Both men smiled at him affectionately, so he sighed. He swallowed one last time before he started to talk.

“It all started when Dumbledore dumped me at that hell with…with the Dursleys,” Sirius' face darkened visibly. “I don’t remember much from the beginning only that I was locked up in the cupboard most of the time. As far as I can remember not much happened until sometime after my third birthday. That was when everything got worse,” he sighed again.

“First it was only doing some gardening or cleaning the floor. Every time I wasn’t fast enough or did something wrong, I was beaten or got nothing to eat that day, but most of the time both. They even told their own son to beat me up. But that wasn’t the worse. When I was about three and a half, they started to teach Dudley how to read and write, but he hated it. He insisted that if he had to endure that ‘torture’, I also should have to. Aunt and uncle always did what he wanted, and so even if not really wanting it themselves they taught me how to read and write too. I’ve always been a quick learner, so it was no wonder that I learned it in quite a short amount of time. So when I was four I could write and read quite fluently but that only made my aunt and especially my cousin furious because I was better than him,” he sniffed while leaning his head against Salazar.

Salazar and Sirius exchanged gazes not knowing what to think about it when Hadrian continued.

“Uncle Vernon, on the other hand, took advantage out of that saying that my freakishness finally was useful for something. Not that I now also had to do all the cooking and all the other chores no, every evening after they finished their meal he dragged me into a spare room and dumped me with books I had to read. First, it was dictionaries and books about grammar and such, later books about how to write professional letters or how to make presentations.

“It was around Christmas that he started what he really wanted to do. Every evening he dictated me letters, documents…well, everything he needed to be written down. Did I make any mistakes I was beaten again, and I never got to sleep before eleven despite having to get back up every morning at seven. He quickly found out about my ability to memorise everything I read word for word. So about a year later he only dumped me with orders about what I would have to write and left to watch telly or whatever he did. Weren’t the letter good or formal enough…

“Unfortunately one evening around February this year I collapsed because I was so exhausted. You know besides my own school work I also had to do Dudley’s, had to do all the chores, cooking, gardening and in the evening uncle Vernon’s work. He beat me worse than ever that evening. It turned out that I broke several bones because of that, but they didn’t care. I got roughly patched up and had to work the next day again.

“Well that’s how it was until Salazar came one evening about a week ago and took me with him…” he again buried his head in Salazar’s shoulder to cry again.

The matron has been right talking about it helped, and he felt better, but it hurt nevertheless.

They all sat there for quite a while silently, only Hadrian’s sniffing was heard from time to time. Salazar swept over his back soothingly and after some time he drifted into a slumber, all the stress and fears falling off from him. For once he really looked like the nearly six years old boy he was. Salazar carefully cast a silencing charm over him so that he wouldn’t be woken by their conversation. But he didn’t risk to lay him onto one of the free beds, fearing that this would wake him up again. Sirius understood that and kept his quite until then.

“Is he serious? I mean that can’t be true can it?” he asked confused and a bit more than angry about what his godson just described.

Salazar looked at the floor sadness showing on his face. “I fear that he was actually sugar-coating the truth, perhaps without knowing it. It seems that he thinks that I don’t know about it, but ever since I took him with me he didn’t sleep through one night properly. He always wakes up at some point due to a nightmare and can’t get to sleep again…and then there is something else. I don’t know whether I should show it to you now, but on the other hand, I don’t want to withhold information regarding Hadrian from you.”

“Mr Slytherin…Salazar, it seems that I owe you more than I was aware until now and I know that James, where ever he is right now is laughing his ass off about that I'm indebted to not only a Slytherin but in fact THE Slytherin…” he took a deep breath. “You not only got me out of Azkaban you also did what I wasn’t able to do namely getting Harry out of the hell Dumbledore dumped him in despite not having to. Nevertheless, he is my godson, and I demand to know what happened.”

Salazar contemplated what to do next. Sirius was right he was Hadrian's godfather, and he had a right to know.

“At one point you're wrong. I had to get Harry out, he is family after all,” upon seeing Sirius disbelieving gaze he chuckled. “Harry is my great grandson in 33rd generation.”

Sirius took a sharp breath before narrowing his eyes.

“This is impossible. The Potter line never got near the Slytherin line, and Lily was a muggle-born.”

“You would consider Lily Potter muggle-born, but in truth, she was a half-blood of a squib and a mundane. Said squib was also the child of a squib and a mundane. This goes on until my grandson Alaric. He made a mistake and broke an oath so that he was rendered a squib. For about nine hundred years I thought now that the Slytherin line was lost until I found Harry.”

Sirius hummed upon that. It sounded ridiculous but it was not impossible, and the explanation was logical considering that he had the same green eyes as Harry and his mother…it made sense.

“But what about You-know-who? It is broadly known that he was your heir,” Sirius was a bit confused, even more, when Salazar suddenly started to laugh.

“Merlin’s beard, that stupid, hypocritical idiot? No, he is the son of a squib from the Gaunt line and a mundane. While it is true that the Gaunts boasted themselves being related to me, it is not true.”

“How comes it then that he was a known Parselmouth? I thought that this is a Slytherin family trait.”

“Well while speaking Parseltongue definitely is one of the Slytherin traits which Harry inherited, by the way, there is one other line that inherits this special trait, the line of Herpo the Foul. Voldemort is related to him not to me. Okay, there might be the possibility that I'm related to Herpo through one of my ancestors, but I highly doubt it except you go back pretty far and I doubt even more that it would be enough to be considered related to Voldemort in any way or shape.”

Sirius thought that through. It was true Herpo the Foul was another well-known Parselmouth since he was the first known person who successfully breads a basilisk. That was when his brain registered one of the information he just got.

“Wait did you just say that You-know-who was the half-blood of a squib and a muggle? The very same person who propagandised blood purity and slaughtered endless half-bloods and muggle born not to mention muggles in general?” he looked at Salazar wide-eyed.

“Yes, as I said he was a hypocrite. But I think you didn’t want to talk about him but about Harry.” Sirius nodded. “Well, you have to know that nothing of this was intended. A week ago the day after I got him out of Privet Drive I got him checked by Mr Reichard. He is a specialist for spells and curses, and I asked him whether he would lift any tracking or other spells on Harry. Ms Pye was responsible for his health check because he was in pretty bad shape at that time.

“First thing is that Mr Reichard found a magic dampening spell on him that cut of quite a large piece of his magical core. It could be lifted so no worry there. The more disturbing thing was what happened later during his medical examination,” Salazar hold Hadrian a bit tighter when he remembered that day.

“It turned out that Voldemort’s attempt to kill Harry had a side effect. I don’t want to tell you details about that at the moment not here at the hospital anyway.” Sirius nodded again. “Upon hearing about that Harry started to panic and had a massive break out of accidental magic before falling into a state of mindlock.”

“Mindlock?” Sirius never heard about such a thing.

“It is when someone retreated within his own mind to protect his mind from damage and said person then is unable to come out by himself again. Reasons for a mindlock can, for example, be intense torture over some time without a break or like in Harry’s case panic induced. I assume that at that point it was too much for him and so he retreated into his mind to protect it from overloading.”

“But you got him out?”

“Yes, I had to enter his mind in a special fashion for that, but finally I was able to get him back out of it. It was what I saw there that…to say it was disturbing would be a huge understatement,” he shivered, thinking about it still was not easy.

“Can you show me like you did in Azkaban?” he needed to know.

 “You're sure about that? It really is not easy to take.”

Sirius gave him a gaze that clearly stated that he wasn’t joking and after sighing Salazar showed him what he saw in the mind of his son. It was a summary of it and not like he had shown Sylvia a light version but the full brunt of it. When he finished, Sirius was pale as the sheets on his bed before turning red in anger.

“When I'm through with him Dumbledore will beg me to kill him,” he growled while Salazar chuckled lowly.

“What do you think I'm planning to do? It is a long-term plan because I want to do it properly and thoroughly, but when I'm finished, he will get to know that there are far worse fates than death.”

Suddenly Sirius had a maniac glee in his eyes, his Black heritage clearly showing through. “Need help?”

“I hoped you would ask. You know I always wondered why you turned your back on your family and followed Dumbledore,” it was a thing Salazar never understood.

“That had two reasons actually. First I disagreed with that blood purity shit like marrying your own relative my family proclaimed and second I didn’t want to have anything to do with You-know-who, so I took the only other option available at that time and followed Dumbledore. Now it seems that it was a choice between two different evils. Besides that…it takes a real Slytherin for a snake to hide in the lion’s den,” he grinned.

“You're right marrying anyone blood related to you is a terrible idea…” he was just about to ramble about the aftereffects of inbreeding when suddenly Sylvia came running.

“Salazar, we have a problem. I told the security at the entrance to warn me when certain people enter the building…Dumbledore is on his way here, and I fear they can’t stop him,” she told them.

Salazar's face visibly darkened. “Damned, I have to get Hadrian out of here. Sylvia, can you delay him long enough?”

She nodded. “That should be no problem since he wants to get a hold on me ever since the article about Hadrian,” she quickly left to catch the man early.

“Sirius do you think you can handle Dumbledore on your own? I can’t let him find Harry.”

“Sure, I'm a Black after all and now go before Dumbledore sees you or worse…Harry.”

He nodded before he left with Hadrian who still was asleep in his arms and went in the direction of Sylvia's office.

He nearly reached it when he heard them. Dumbledore and Sylvia stood in the corridor right before her office discussing something.

“Mr Dumbledore, as I told you my healer oath forbids me to tell you anything regarding any patient I treated and you are not directly related to or have any other form of guardianship over Harry Potter. You're not his legal guardian anymore, so you have no right to know the information you demand.”

“Ms Pye, if I were you I would give me the information. Otherwise, I can make your life hell if that’s what you wish.”

“Are you trying to blackmail me? What do you want to do? Get me sacked for doing my job? Trying to ruin me for not following you blindly like all the other sheep? You should be glad that I let you visit Mr Black because he wants to see you too but don’t think that I won’t do anything necessary to protect my patients,” there was a reason you should never get on the wrong side of the healer that one day might decide over your life or death.

During the entire discussion, Salazar quickly hid in the next room he could find. Unfortunately, it was the cupboard where they stored their cleaning equipment, so it was quite narrow.

“This isn’t over yet,” Dumbledore growled while passing the cupboard Salazar was hiding in.

“I happen to know a very proficient lawyer and as I heard you already met Mr Hardinger so try…” the last part Salazar couldn’t hear anymore because they were too far away now.

He waited for another minute or two before he carefully opened the door and looked outside. Dumbledore and Sylvia were nowhere seen, so he quickly left, went to the office and flood back home.

“That was narrow,” he growled.

James who just entered the drawing room looked at him confused.

“I nearly ran straight into Dumbledore. He came to visit Sirius and I had to hide in a broom cupboard to evade him…” James chuckled and first Salazar threw him a glare, but in the end, he had to laugh too. “If it ever comes out that Salazar Slytherin hid from Dumbledore in a cupboard…”

“Well luckily only we two know about it so there should be no threat to your reputation” James replied.

“You think so?” came it suddenly from Salazar's neck with a giggle.

“Oh, you're awake.”

Hadrian nodded. “Have been since Sylvia came running telling that Dumbledore was on his way, but I didn’t want to distract you, so I pretended to be asleep.”

That made Salazar smile while he put Hadrian down. “Come on, let’s go into the study and no word to anyone about that little excursion into the cupboard,” it wasn’t that he cared what others thought about him, but that was something not everyone needed to know.

“Hmm under one condition…I get an ice-cream” he answered with a broad grin.

Salazar looked at him in disbelieve. “Are you trying to blackmail me?”

“No, surely not. Let’s call it a good investment into your and my future,” the grin grew even broader.

“Why do I suddenly feel pity for your teachers when you finally go to Hogwarts?”

“Don’t know and as long as you don’t include Dumby…” Hadrian piped before bolting into the study and hopping onto the window sill where he made himself comfortable with his book.

Salazar laughed while shaking his head before giving James the sign to bring him the ice-cream.

 


 

 

“Sirius, my old friend” Dumbledore greeted him.

“Dumbledore, what a…pleasure to meet you,” he retorted coolly.

“Nah, Nah, Sirius there is no reason to be hostile,” Dumbledore scolded him with his grandfatherly smile as if he was a naughty child.

“Yeah because you gave me no reason to be hostile. Dumping Harry with the Dursleys? Really? You knew about the relationship between Lily and Petunia or the lack thereof. And what about Lily’s and James’ last will? They clearly stated that Harry should never be brought there.”

Dumbledore sighed. “I did what I thought was the best for the boy. You know what fame can do to an adult not to mention a small boy. I thought he was safe there,” Sirius had to suppress a scowl upon that blatant lie.

“Safe…sure…if he would have been safe there you wouldn’t have lost him. Merlin knows where the boy is right now and what he has to endure only because of your arrogance. Did you ever check on him once in a while or did you just drop him off and left?”

“One of the members of the Order lived in the neighbourhood to watch out for him…” he sighed. “Sirius, I'm truly sorry. I made a mistake, and I can understand your feelings, but I promise you that I will do everything to find him. Can you trust me once more and help me rescuing Harry from wherever he is now? I doubt you would find him on your own and I could use your help,” he said his face showing remorse.

Sirius looked at him before his features softened. “You're right, we should work together to find and get him back…and I just have an idea where to start.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 16: Political Chess

 

“[…] Can you trust me once more and help me rescuing Harry from wherever he is now? […]”

“You're right, we should work together to find and get him back…and I just have an idea where to start.”

 

‘Well trust you my ass you old coot,’ Sirius grinned inwardly before speaking aloud.

“You know that the one who ‘adopted’ Harry was the one who hired Hardinger to get me out?”

Dumbledore nodded. “Yes, he admitted that but wouldn’t tell me anything more, claiming that it was protected with a Fidelius Charm.”

Sirius furrowed his brows. “You don’t sound like you believe him…”

“That’s right. During the trial I was able to take a look into his mind and what I found there startled me. It showed him together with Harry and…I'm sorry, I don’t know what he did to him, but Harry called him dad.”

That was no news to Sirius since Harry called Salazar dad in front of him too and to what he did to him, he gave him everything Dumbledore denied him on purpose. But that was nothing he would tell him, so he showed concern.

“What? Do you think he keeps him under the Imperius Curse and lets Harry call him ‘dad’ as a crude joke?”

“It could be possible, but I can’t say with certainty. He could also have brainwashed him or something along the line. I would have to see the boy to be able to tell. You said you might know where Harry is?”

“Yes and what you just told me would fit. Should Hardinger really be the one who has Harry, I fear he brought him to America to get him out of reach while hiding behind their Ministry. What I don’t understand though is why he got me out of Azkaban. He should have known that I would try to find and get Harry back,” he put on a thoughtful gaze.

It seemed that the longer he played that game of deception the more natural it got to him. He hadn’t played it since school, but it was like riding a broom, you would get rusty but you never really forgot how to do it.

“Perhaps he hopes that he can brainwash you too so that you would help him. I, on the other hand, don’t understand why he informs the press about all of that. Why doesn’t he keep silent about it, hides and would never be seen again? Informing the press about it is a huge risk.”

“Don’t know about his motives concerning the press, but should he really want me to help him couldn’t we use this to our advantage? I mean I could let him show me where Harry is and then report to you,” Sirius proposed adding ‘as if’ in his mind.

“It is unlikely that he is so stupid not to instate several security measurements.  He is arrogant enough to brag in the press about his involvement. On the other hand, you at least would be able to observe his and Harry’s movements and could tell me what he plans so that I can counter his plans. But you would have to be very careful that he doesn’t get you with the Imperius Curse or that you get brainwashed by him too.”

Now Sirius looked hurt. “I was an Auror for several years, and I know what I do, thank you very much.”

“I trust you,” he replied with a grandfatherly smile. “There is something else I have to discuss with you. You heard that there will be a vote of no confidence against Minister Bagnold tomorrow?”

Sirius flinched. “That was to be expected with how he wiped the floor with her…why do you bring this up?”

“Well, the problem is that I don’t have anyone capable of filling that post available at the moment…except one,” Sirius rose an eyebrow. “You.”

This was the second time today that he looked like he was slapped with a fish repeatedly and he didn’t even need to fake his surprise. He didn’t doubt one second that his godson, would he be here right now, he would lie on the floor laughing about it again.

“You…WHAT? You are crazy no one would elect me,” was Dumbledore really that desperate?

“With my back up there should be enough votes for you. More than for anyone else I could propose.”

“But I have no idea what it needs to be the Minister not to mention that I had still been in Azkaban not even a day ago. Everyone thought me a criminal of the worst kind, and I doubt that it changed, even with today’s article. Not so quickly…” he said with a sad face.

“Please let that be my problem. I will manage that,” Dumbledore answered with his grandfatherly smile.

Sirius sighed. “’kay when you're sure I’ll do it…though I doubt that it’ll work.”

“Trust me it will. Should there be nothing more I would leave now and prepare everything,” Sirius nodded. “Please be careful when you meet with Hardinger. I don’t want to lose you as well.”

“I will…I will,” he waved Dumbledore as a farewell.

Dumbledore went around the room divider, but on his way, he secretly drew his wand and silently cast a tracking and an eavesdropping charm on Sirius. He doubted that it would work, but he had to try.

Sirius, on the other hand, could barely hold back the laughter that threatened to overwhelm him. He needed to talk to Salazar and quickly to inform him about this meeting. So he waited a few minutes before he deliberately dropped his glass which shattered into thousand pieces upon the impact on the floor. It took only a few seconds until Sylvia came running to see what happened.

“Mr Black, what happened? Is everything okay?” she asked with concern in her voice.

“Sorry, the glass slipped from my fingers,” he said while grinning leeringly.

Sylvia eyed him while banishing the shards. “Why do I have the impression that this is only half true?”

“Perhaps I wanted to see the beautiful healer that cares for me again?”

“You should know that this isn’t working with me. Is there something else I can do for you?”

Sirius pouted upon hearing that but nodded. “Yeah, actually it would be nice if you could bring me a quill and some parchment. I want to write to an old friend of mine.”

Sylvia nodded and left before she shortly after returned with the requested items. She was about to go again when Sirius grabbed her wrist and indicated her that she should wait. He quickly tore off a part of the parchment and pinned down a quick note he gave to her. She read it before she nodded and left.

Sirius leaned back on his bed and started to set up the letter. It wasn’t a lie. Now that he was free he wanted to contact his old friend Remus.

 


 

 

It was shortly before two in the afternoon, and Salazar sat in his study when someone knocked at the door.

“In!” he called out.

The door opened. James entered followed by Ms Bones and Ms Longbottom.

“Sir, your visitors arrived,” he said with a small bow. “I’ll leave and prepare some tea.”

“Ah Ms Bones, Ms Longbottom welcome,” he greeted the two woman. “I'm glad you could make it.”

“Mr Slytherin,” Bones shook his hand. “I assume you wanted to see us because of the letter I wrote you this morning?”

Augusta repeated the greeting.

“Yes, it’s because of the impending election of a new Minister I'm afraid. The thing is I have no idea who Dumbledore will nominate, and I doubt that Cornelius Fudge will do any good should he get elected. I will be blunt, I wanted to ask whether one of you could run for this office.”

Both women looked at him before they looked at each other. Finally, Bones spoke up.

“I for my part am definitely not interested. Thanks to your actions I have to revise every case of the last ten years upon irregularities. I don’t want to leave this mess now and let someone else mangle with it. Who knows who of those damned Death Eaters will get out of Azkaban then,” she replied. “And to be honest, I'm happy with my job.”

“Yes I thought as much, and I have to agree that it is better not to let anyone else get his fingers on this. Ms Longbottom, what do you say?”

Said woman leaned back with a thoughtful face.

“I have to admit that I never thought about taking the Minster job and I don’t know whether many would like that. As you know, I'm well known for favouring nobody, not even you, and that I'm incorruptible.”

“Ms Longbottom, I wouldn’t expect anything less, and I think you would be a better choice than anyone Dumbledore could come up with or Merlin beware Fudge.”

James entered the study and brought the tea. He poured in a cup for everyone and just wanted to leave when Salazar stopped him.

“James please stay. This will be interesting for you too,” the man nodded and stood next to the desk. “So Ms Longbottom what do you say?”

Said woman sighed. “Since there is no one else capable of doing this job I’ll do it. Though I'm not confident that I get elected in the first place,” she replied, but Bones chuckled.

“I think that at the moment everything is possible even that tomorrow You-know-who shows up and claims the Minister post for himself,” she joked.

“Highly improbable but unfortunately not impossible,” Salazar mused.

Bones’ head snapped towards him. “What did you just say?”

Salazar looked at her confused when he caught what he just said. Then he flinched.

“I said that it’s not impossible that he might turn up only highly improbable,” he repeated seeing the piercing look Bones shot him he clarified that point. “Do you know what a Horcrux is?”

Her eyes went wide in shock, yes in her function as head of the DMLE she knew about them. “You don’t think…”

“No, I don’t think…I know because I found one through sheer luck and from the size of it he has at least five more…”

“So he is alive,” she leaned back in her chair.

“Well, that depends on how you define being alive. He is more of a shade right now.”

Augusta looked confused from Salazar to Bones. “Might someone please explain what you're talking about?”

Salazar looked at her. “Voldemort created six to seven Horcrux. In a nutshell, he split his soul several times and hid the parts in objects to survive everything thrown at him…even the killing curse. But that is nothing we should worry about at the moment. We have more urgent problems to solve.”

“First you tell us that You-know-who is still alive and now we shouldn’t worry about it?” Bones shrieked.

“Ms Bones, Voldemort is hiding somewhere nothing more than a shade, powerless and without anybody knowing about it. Dumbledore, on the other hand, will definitely be at the meeting tomorrow and depending who he nominates for the Minister post you might have an even more significant problem with revising the cases than you already have. Not to mention that he then probably will start a manhunt upon me, you, the American Ministry and everyone else he thinks might have an inkling about Harry Potter’s whereabouts.

“So yes I'm telling you to not worry about Voldemort because he isn’t a threat at the moment to anything or anyone. Not to mention that right at the moment someone I trust is researching this topic” he took a deep breath while rubbing his eyes. “I'm sorry I didn’t want to snap at you. It’s just that the last week was very exhausting and I found no time to rest. The thing is that we have no idea what object he chose for his Horcrux and starting to search for them blindly will achieve nothing but wasted time. I don’t say that you shouldn’t have an open eye for strange dark artefacts that might be a Horcrux, but it shouldn’t distract us now.”

Bones sighed, she didn’t like being snapped at, but she could see his remorse, so she left it be. “I think you're right a blind search would do no good, but never the less I’ll instruct my Department to keep an eye open. Back to our recent problem, how do you plan on nominating Ms Longbottom?”

“Mr Finnigan here will sit in as a substitute for the Potters. He will also be the one to nominate her,” he answered.

“Do you think that this is wise? I mean some might fight his claim of being Harry’s substitute. That they didn’t question it yesterday. Might be because of the suddenness of the trial and him sitting in but tomorrow? I highly doubt that they would put up with it that easily,” Bones claimed.

“Even if they tried there is nothing they can do. He has a paper signed by John Smith that gives him any needed rights. Should they try something nevertheless…let’s see how good they know their own laws.”

Just at that time, a buzzing went through the room that announced an impending floo call.

“Sir, I’ll see who this is,” James said with a bow before leaving.

The two women, on the other hand, were confused.

“What was that if I might ask?” Augusta asked.

“A ward set up to inform me of incoming floo calls.”

“I never heard of such a thing,” Bones added.

“My research facility invented it a few months ago, and it is in a test phase, but up to now, it is working perfectly fine. Perhaps it will be announced in another half a year. When it is finalised it also will be able to place a floo travel on hold so that one can check who wants to get through first and doesn’t have to give away the password.”

“You're messing with the floo network without informing the ministry?” Bones scolded him.

Salazar started to laugh. “I wouldn’t dare to do such a thing. The alarm is the only thing installed, and that doesn’t interact with the network directly. Everything else is tested in a closed off network so no need to worry.”

James entered the Study. “Sir, Ms Pye contacted us to inform you that Mr Black wants to meet you as soon as possible. She said that Mr Dumbledore seems to plan something but couldn’t give any more details.”

Salazar nodded. “Thank you. Ms Bones, Ms Longbottom, is there something else we need to discuss right now?”

Augusta shook her head.

Bones also shook her head before replying. “No, I don’t think so. Though I would ask you to come to my office tomorrow at ten so that we can prepare for the meeting.”

“Of course, I’ll be there. James, you know what to do tomorrow. Oh Ms Longbottom, before you leave, I wanted to ask you whether it would be okay with you that Hadrian visits Neville tomorrow morning again so that he isn’t alone while James and I are at the meeting.”

“This shouldn’t be a problem. Neville's nanny will take care of them,” the woman replied.

“Thank you.”

With that, they stood up, and Salazar lead them to the drawing room from where they flooed to their respective destinations.

 


 

 

Salazar walked down the corridor of St. Mungos straight to the bed Sirius laid in musing about why the man wanted to speak with him. Sylvia only told him that it was urgent. He rounded the room divider and found Sirius writing a letter.

“Ah Mr Hardinger, what gives me the honour of your visit?”

Salazar rose an eyebrow but Sirius motioned him to play along, so he did. During that Sirius took one of the parchments and wrote down a note before giving it to him.

I think Dumbledore put tracking and eavesdropping charms on me. Don’t know why he thought I wouldn’t notice but since I have no wand at the moment…

“Mr Black I wanted to discuss a few more things with you,” Salazar picked up the quill.

Did you tell him anything about Harry?

“Since you are now acquitted all your rights and privileges have been restored. That means, among other things, that you are again allowed to carry a wand,” he picked up the line.

He admitted that he took a look in your mind at the trial. Now he assumes that you either have Harry under the Imperius or otherwise brainwashed. I also hinted that I might know where Harry is and pointe towards America since you're American…kinda. He also thinks you want to brainwash me to help you and that you're John Smith.

“I also took the liberty to inform Gringotts of your acquittal so that your access to your vaults is fully restored.”

America? I have an idea. Want to trick D.?

Sirius nodded and so he took a look around to make sure that no one was near when he found a strange beetle sitting on the other side of the room divider. He definitely felt the magic radiating it which indicated that it was not an ordinary beetle but an Animagus. This was even better since it couldn’t have seen what they were doing but was in hearing range. So he picked up the parchment they used and put in his pocket before continuing.

“Now to something else. My client, Mr Smith, asked me to deliver this message. Harry is with him at the moment, and he wanted to know whether you might be willing to help him raising Harry.”

Sirius smiled knowing where that lead, but he took his time to answer as if he was unsure.

“Well, I don’t really know this man and where is he even living?” he finally replied.

“Getting to know him might take its time, but I think it would be worth it. He is living in a penthouse apartment in Manhattan – New York where he is at the moment. But he mentioned something about going on a vacation on Monday and that he would be glad to know whether you would attend or not. He would pay for all expenses. This would be the perfect opportunity for you to get to know him.”

Sirius hummed about that. “I think you're right, but I don’t know whether I will be out by then…”

“It shouldn’t be a problem to arrange something. You only…wait something’s strange here,” Salazar pulled his wand and cast a quick revelation spell on Sirius.

“There is an eavesdropping spell on you…Dumbledore,” he growled. “Damned…I have to inform my client.”

He quickly cancelled the spells on Sirius before rushing towards Sylvia's office leaving a confused Sirius behind.

 


 

 

Dumbledore leaned back in his chair thinking about the conversation he just witnessed through the eavesdropping spell. So Sirius was right with his assumption that Harry was in America, but it seemed that Hardinger and that ominous John Smith really were two different persons.

Thanks to this little trick he now knew where Harry was, and he could get him. An apartment in New York but he would have to be quick because if what Hardinger said was right he would leave on Monday for a vacation. Even quicker since Hardinger just informed his client about the eavesdropping.

He opened a drawer, took out parchment and quill and quickly wrote a letter to the American liaison man at the Ministry to get to know the exact location of the flat Harry was held at. Taking a brief pause, he smiled.

This was the first lead on Harry’s whereabouts, and he was confident that he soon would be in his care again.

When he was finished, he also wrote several letters to different Order members to inform them about the development.

 


 

 

Salazar stood in Sylvia's office waiting for a few minutes before glancing around the corner in Sirius direction. He cast a quick revelation charm to see whether the Animagus was still there. When it came out negative, he walked back to Sirius who now was utterly confused. He threw up a few privacy charms and one that informed him should anything magical enter its vicinity.

“What was that about? I mean the conversation I understand, but that was only an eavesdropping spell so why that act?”

Salazar chuckled. “When I looked around I found a small bug sitting on the other side of that screen there. It obviously was an Animagus and if I'm not mistaken a journalist, so that’s why.”

“You couldn’t know whether she observed us so the play. Clever.”

“I do my best.”

“But what if she saw the parchment we used?”

“Possible but since her Animagus form is a bug that won’t be a problem. She would have to sit right on the parchment to be able to read what is written on it,” he chuckled. Yes being a bug Animagus had its perks but also its downsides like terrible eyesight.

 Sirius grinned. “But there is something else I have to tell you about.”

“Is there more than that you sent Dumbledore on a wild goose chase through America?”

“Yes, he came to me with a proposal…” now Salazar rose an eyebrow. “He wants to nominate me for the Minister post when the vote of no confidence is brought through.”

Now it was upon Salazar to look dumbstruck.

“He WHAT?” he said before laughing like mad. “I hoped he would be desperate and caught off guard by this but that I would never have dreamt of.”

“Yeah I also told him that it was stupid and no one would vote in my favour, but he didn’t listen and simply stated that he ‘would take care of it’” he stated imitating Dumbledore.

“I think you're quite mistaken with this,” Salazar replied still snickering. “The House of Black is very old and well known. You're the latest Head of said house, but the problem is that most of the time since you became Lord Black you were imprisoned and therefore weren’t able to form any connections or alliances with the other Houses. Sure you're known as a follower of Dumbledore, but I think quite a few will want to connect with the House of Black and the monetary and political power it holds. That will especially be darker families.

“Also others, who were strict opponents of Ms Bagnold, might vote for you merely to insult her even more.

“Then there is the faction that follows Dumbledore. When he tells them to vote for you they will, no questions asked.

“I for my part plan to nominate Augusta Longbottom. She is well known in the neutral faction, but the problem also is that she is known to take no side. So it will be hard to sway any of Dumbledore's followers or from the darker families in her favour.

“The third competitor will be Cornelius Fudge supported by Lucius Malfoy, but he is known to be a brainless idiot who even needs assistance for binding his own shoes. I think that his nomination is also born out of desperation.

“You see this entire thing is like a game of chess. It isn’t the person elected that is most capable and would suit it best, but the one most parties think it would benefit them personally the most.”

Sirius shook his head in disbelieve. “Me…Minister…just a few days ago I could be happy to ever get out of that damned prison. Now you tell me that there is quite the possibility for me becoming Minister?” he grumbled a bit more when something crossed his mind. “But what about my health? I mean I feel quite good, but I doubt that Ms Pye would approve of me becoming Minister.”

“He is right,” Salazar, who mused over something looked at Sylvia, who had come over and now stood right next to him. “I just checked his last results. I have to admit that he is in quite a good condition putting into mind for how long he stayed at Azkaban. You will be exhausted quite quickly for a few weeks, and you'll have to take nutrition potions regularly for a week, but despite that you're okay.  But I would ask you to stay another night here to be sure.

“To your conversation…Mr Black, you won’t be able to do any work for the next two weeks, or better you won’t be allowed to. You have to rest and regenerate and working at the Ministry wouldn’t help you with that. I even would recommend a longer period but two weeks is the minimum.”

“And that’s exactly what Dumbledore wants,” Salazar added which earned him confused looks. “I wondered from the beginning why Dumbledore insisted on nominating you despite your health status, but now I know. A law says that should a Minister being unable to perform his duty because of health problems he can nominate a substitute who will act in his name and with his authorisation for the time it takes to recover. I think he wants to use your situation to become Minister even if only as a substitute.”

“But why doesn’t he nominate himself? I know that he got offered the post in the past,” Sylvia replied.

“For once his reputation received quite a dent recently because of the vanishing of Harry so it wouldn’t be sure that any other than his followers would vote for him and the second thing is that he hasn’t the time to be a full-time Minister. At the moment are holidays at Hogwarts but from September on he has to fulfil his duties as headmaster again. On top of that comes his duties as Supreme Mugwump in the ICW and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot therefor he is quite occupied. To him, those posts are more important than becoming Minister.

“I mean he has power and influence over the offsprings of some of the oldest and most powerful families in Britain. His position in the ICW gives him more than enough power in the matters of other countries, and with his position in the Wizengamot he can decide who gets punished and how hard not to mention new laws that need to be instated,” Salazar explained. “And don’t forget that Ms Bagnold was in his pocket. So he practically has influence over every critical point in this country.”

Sylvia went white while listening to Salazar's explanation. Up to now, she didn’t think about it, but now she wondered how one person could gain so much power and thinking about what he could do with so much power…she wanted to vomit.

“That is far worse than what You-know-who ever could have done. He could overtake entire Britain within a week, and no one would be able to do anything against it.

“You're right he could, but I doubt he would without an excellent reason. He is more the player in the background. The one who pulls strings but doesn’t do the work himself.” Salazar shook his head.

“But why did he then gain so much power when he doesn’t want to use it?” Sirius was also a bit lost.

Salazar sighed. “He uses his power don’t be mistaken with that, but he doesn’t want to get his own hands dirty or, if a plan fails, that it falls back onto him. The best example for that is the prophecy he forged to get rid of Voldemort.”

“Prophecy?” both asked simultaneously.

“Ah yes, you don’t know about it yet. A few months before Harry was born Dumbledore forged a prophecy using a woman called Trelawney. It says that a child is born to those who defied Voldemort three times at the eve of July and that said child will vanquish the Dark Lord after he marked him as his equal.”

Now it was upon Sirius to go pale. “Harry…”

“Another reason why I wanted him out of Dumbledore's clutches. But he isn’t the only one that would fit into the prophecy. Neville Longbottom also fits in. He is born one day before Harry, and his parents also defied Voldemort three times. I'm glad that he and Harry seem to become friends, not that it was planned though.”

“I like Dumbledore less and less the more I hear about him,” Sylvia growled.

“Did you think I tease him because I don’t like his nose? No, I let him do as he pleases for far too long now and pulling Harry into his games was the last straw. He will learn that he is not almighty,” he took a quick glance at the clock, it was shortly after five in the afternoon. “I'm sorry, but I have to leave now because I have an appointment at six. You said Sirius can leave tomorrow?”

Sylvia nodded. “When his tests tomorrow morning are without pathological findings he can leave, but he should rest more never the less.”

Salazar saw Sirius flinching. “What’s the matter?”

“Ah nothing special,” he replied, but Salazar gave him a look that told him that he wanted to know. “Well it’s only that I don’t fancy returning to the house we have here in London. But I also don’t want to move into one of the mansions in the countryside so I can be closer to Harry,” he shrugged helplessly.

Salazar thought about it for a few seconds when an idea struck him. “Why don’t you live at my house until you're comfortable going back to your own house? I have more than enough space, and you couldn’t get any closer to Harry.”

Sirius' eyes went wide, his jaw nearly hitting the floor. It seemed that the surprises wouldn’t cease these days.

“I…I can’t take that offer. You already did enough for me, more than I will ever be able to pay you back for.”

Salazar pinched the bridge of his nose. “Should you now start something about debts I really will have to reconsider whether getting you out was a good idea,” he muttered under his breath which earned him a strange look from Sirius. “I didn’t do that for me or so that you would owe me, I did it for Harry. Though I should inform you that he decided to change his name when I adopted him. His name is now Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin, and he wants to be referred to as Hadrian, not Harry anymore.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, for once it seems that he did it as some kind of new start, you know to make a cut from what happened. The second reason might be that he doesn’t want to be seen as the boy who did something he hadn’t any influence over and is famous for it, but as the boy he really is. I'm not entirely sure, and I would ask you not to question him about it, at least not now. But I really have to go now. Please think about my offer until tomorrow. I’ll come back at about nine in the morning so that we can talk some further shouldn’t Dumbledore be here,” he was about to go when he remembered something. “Oh, and I will attend the Wizengamot meeting tomorrow as Jack Hardinger as a counsellor to Ms Bones.”

He bid his farewell before he left to Sylvia's office and flooed back home.

 


 

 

When Salazar reached home, he had to hurry up because it was already half past five and he wanted to meet with his son in fifteen minutes. So he quickly went into his room took a short shower and got dressed. He chose a formal black robe with emerald green borders and silver trimming. It was just the right amount that he looked good but not overdressed. Contend with himself he left his room and went downstairs where his son was already waiting. He looked at him with wide eyes.

“I look silly I know…” Hadrian murmured while blushing furiously.

“Quite the opposite. You look astonishing,” his father replied.

It seemed that the potions he had to take over the week were good for the boy. He now wasn’t too small and slender for his age but just the right height and had a good figure. Added to that he now wore a robe much like Salazar's only that the colours were swapped around. Salazar didn’t doubt one second that he would grow into a handsome man admired by every woman. But it seemed that something bothered him.

“What’s the matter, Hadrian? You know you can tell me everything” he asked while hunkering down in front of him.

“I-I just don’t know what to do. My uncle…he always hid me in the cupboard when he had visitors. I…” he didn’t know how to express himself, but that wasn’t necessary because his father could clearly see where the problem laid.

“Hey Hadrian, don’t worry everything will be fine. Just be yourself okay?” Hadrian nodded slowly. “Good and should be something…anything at all, don’t hesitate to tell me.”

He gave Hadrian a hug before he stood up and they both flooed to the Wizards and Dragons. They were a bit early, but that suited Salazar just fine because he hated being late.

Hadrian looked around in awe. The Leaky Cauldron was nothing compared to this. They stood in a large entrance hall with a marble floor, a few sitting arrangements on both sides and a large reception desk at the end of it. Two large crystal chandeliers and quite a few smaller crystal lamps spent light. Would this be mundane Hadrian doubted that the Dursleys would ever be able to afford to stay even one night.

Salazar waited a few metres further when he registered that he wasn’t following. It took a few minutes, but finally, Hadrian closed up.

“This is awesome. It must take a fortune to rent a room here,” he stated.

“While it isn’t that cheap it is affordable for someone with a good steady income. You should know that a magical hotel isn’t as expensive like an equal mundane one. One reason for that is that for magical people it is far easier to craft certain things. Take this cupboard over there for example” he pointed at a richly ornamented wooden cupboard behind the reception desk.

“For a mundane skilled person, it would take days if not weeks of hard work to craft such delicate handiwork. A wizard on the other hand while having to be skilled as well only needs a few flicks with his wand and he gets the same result. You see what I mean?” Hadrian nodded. “What makes such a piece expensive in our world are additional charms and spells like a locking charm for example.”

“But what if a wizard crafts such a cupboard without any charms and spells on it and sells it in the mundane world? He could make much more money in the same amount of time.”

He had to write quite a few assignments about work efficiency and how to maximise the profit for his uncle. It wasn’t that he understood everything about it, but he understood enough to know that the less you had to work for the same amount of money the better and the more profit you made.

His father looked at him surprised. “You're right, but most wizards don’t bother to look past the magical world. Their fault for not looking beyond the end of their nose. I for my part use this little advantage in some of my business though I try to keep it to a minimum because otherwise, I could ruin the economy of both the mundane and magical world. But now come on I don’t want to be late despite being early.”

Hadrian gave the cupboard one last glance before trailing behind his father. They passed the reception desk and went through a door on the right entering a nice little bar. The furniture was made out of dark red wood and in the background played some music. Hadrian wasn’t firm with music, and so he had no idea what was played.

Salazar looked around when he saw the little woman sitting in a separate area. He walked up to her, Hadrian closely following him.

“Ah Jack Hardinger or should I better say Salazar Slytherin?” She greeted him upon which Hadrian looked confused.

His father who saw that chuckled lowly. “I never outright told her who I am, but I never doubted that she knew nevertheless. To be honest, I would have been disappointed hadn’t she known,” he explained before shaking Henrietta’s hand. “Henrietta nice to meet you.”

“And that must be your great grandson Harry Potter. Nice to finally meet you.”

“Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin, ma’am, but I prefer Hadrian nice to meet you too,” he replied while shaking her hand to.

“And so well-mannered, that’s a rare quality these days.” Hadrian blushed upon that. “Come on sit down. What do you want to drink boy?”

“A water,” he answered sheepishly.

Henrietta rose an eyebrow while Salazar leaned down and whispered something in his ear. His son looked at him questioningly but nodded.

“Okay I take a Fey Nectar,” he didn’t know what that was, but when his father suggested it, he would try it.

Henrietta snickered lowly while gesturing the waiter and giving up the order.

“You should be careful. When you go on like that he will be spoiled rotten in no time.”

“Rest assured that I will see to it that this won’t happen, but for now I think he needs to be spoiled a bit,” Salazar replied with a smile.

The waiter returned with the drinks, a deep red wine for Salazar and Henrietta and the nectar for Hadrian. Hadrian eyed his drink critically because it had a strange green colour, but he tried it nevertheless. What he tasted surprised him. It was somehow like the Elven Nectar he drank at Gringotts yet wholly different. But not bad at all.

Salazar and Henrietta talked a bit while Hadrian only listened, but after a while, he overcame his shyness and also started to ask a few questions on his own. After the dinner he even took part in the conversation.

That was when Salazar changed the topic to something more urgent.

“Before I forget it, Henrietta, I should warn you. Dumbledore might start poking around in America.”

“Why is that?”

“Sirius told him that John Smith, the name under which I adopted Hadrian, might live in America and when I got to know that Dumbledore put an eavesdropping charm on him in case I would tell him something…”

“You decided to take the same line and send him on a wild goose chase through America,” Henrietta finished the sentence.

Salazar nodded. “I said that John Smith lives in an apartment in Manhattan. But there is something more…” Henrietta rose an eyebrow. “At that time a journalist disguised as an Animagus was present too.”

“Great,” she replied sarcastically. “As if our Ministry hasn’t enough to do we now have to keep every British idiot who wants to meet Harry Potter out. At least you have the decency to forewarn me. I’ll send a message later this evening.”

Suddenly Salazar tensed up before quickly drawing his wand and casting a glamour charm around him and Hadrian. Henrietta and his son looked strangely at him.

“What was that for?” she asked before turning around to see what startled Salazar.

What she saw let her pale slightly before anger took over. Hadrian, on the other hand, went pale and started to shiver, but his father put a hand on his shoulder to calm him down.

“Keep calm, I won’t allow him to do anything to you,” Salazar whispered, and Hadrian nodded mechanically.

In the door stood Albus Dumbledore looking around. When his gaze fell upon the group, he came over with wide, determined strides. Hadrian thought that at the moment he had nothing in common with the grandfatherly man he saw in the book. His face was darkened, and he could feel the anger radiating from him even if it only was a small amount.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 17: I Believe he can Fly

 

[…]In the door stood Albus Dumbledore looking around. When his gaze fell upon the group, he came over with wide determined strides. Hadrian thought that at the moment he had nothing in common with the grandfatherly man he saw in the book. His face was darkened, and he could feel the anger radiating from him even if it only was a small amount.

 

“Ah Ms Coulson, the American liaison man told me I could find you here. Mr Hardinger,” he greeted them when his view fell on Hadrian who leaned against his father.

Dumbledore narrowed his eyes surely contemplating something when his face brightened up his grandfatherly composure returning. “And who might you be, my son?”

Hadrian just wanted to snap back that he was not ‘his son’ when Salazar spoke up.

“He is my son…” he snarled when he was interrupted.

“Hadrian Hardinger, Sir, and I would ask you to not refer to me with ‘my son’ because I'm most definitely not,” he replied coolly.

“My, my, why so hostile? I only asked you for your name. I wonder how old you are,” Dumbledore put on his best smile, but Hadrian flinched because his aura spoke an entirely different volume.

“I can feel the anger radiating you, and it frightens me,” he nearly whispered while pressing himself even more against his father who now draped an arm around him. “And I'm six if you have to know.”

Dumbledore looked at him curiously before he strengthened his Occlumency barriers so that his anger didn’t leak out anymore before he continued.

“Ah six, what a nice age. So you're American? I have to admit that I never found the time to visit it but I heard it is a nice country and lead by one of the best Ministries. Your father worked there if I remember correctly. Wasn’t it the Department for Magical Human-Creature Registration?”

Salazar held his breath. This was a tricky question, and he didn’t doubt that Dumbledore planned it that way, but his son handled it without any problem.

“I don’t know…I know, he was a Hit Wizard, but he never told me any details, so I don’t know whether he worked at that Department too.”

Dumbledore hummed while nodding. “Sure, it was over a decade ago after all that he resigned. Though another thing, you don’t happen to know a boy about your age with the name Harry Potter? Your father told me he knows him.”

Hadrian's face brightened up upon hearing that. “Oh, so you know Harry too?” Dumbledore nodded. “Why didn’t you say so earlier?”

Salazar had to suppress the urge to look at his son in disbelieve. He could only hope that he knew what he did and wouldn’t give anything away.

“Yes, I met Harry a few days ago. He came by with a strange looking man…I don’t know he gives me the creeps, Jim…James…no…John, yes that was the name. John Smith,” he shuddered. “Really strange man but Harry was nice. We played and chatted a lot,” he added before turning on a sad face. “Unfortunately he had to leave though he didn’t seem to be very happy about it.”

“Did he mention where he would live?”

 “I think he mentioned something about New York, but I don’t know whether he lives there or not,” Hadrian answered with a thoughtful face. “Do you think you can find him? He really seemed uncomfortable having to live in America.”

“I will do my best I promise you that, and I really have to thank you. You gave me vital information to find him,” Dumbledore told him with a grandfatherly smile before turning around. “Henrietta the reason I came here is that I wanted to ask you whether you could give me access to the register of American Wizards so that I can find out where this Mr Smith lives,” he looked at her expectantly.

“Albus, you know that this isn’t that easy especially with such sensible information. You have to go through the official channels. Even I can’t help you with that. I also would ask you to not bother me with that now because this is my well-deserved vacation. Contact me on Monday at ten o’clock. Then I’ll be back in my office, and I will see what I can do for you.”

His face darkened, his anger starting to leak out again which startled Hadrian.

“Henrietta, you just heard the boy. It is urgent, and I have no time to lose. Harry might be in grave danger while you hide behind your bureaucracy.”

Henrietta just wanted to retort something when Salazar spoke up. “Mr Dumbledore, you come in here, disturb our conversation, question Hadrian, demand help from Henrietta, who is on her vacation, and on top of that you frighten my son. Enough is enough. You heard her. She is back at her office on Monday and shouldn’t you want to wait that long take the official way. Now leave before I inform Ms Bones about this,” he growled.

Dumbledore's head snapped towards him. “Hardinger, I'll be glad when you're back in America. You did more damage in one week than others do in their entire life. But I know that you know where John Smith lives. I give you now the opportunity to do us both a favour and tell me where he is,” he growled his rage now clearly showing.

Hadrian whimpered before he hit Dumbledore with a wave of magic and catapulted him through a window out and into the lobby where he came with screeching sound to a halt. He just wanted to draw his wand when suddenly with two cracks Bones and another Auror appeared right next to him. Salazar and Henrietta in the meantime looked incredulous at Hadrian.

“What happened here?” Bones demanded to know.

The waiter that served them that evening went over and talked to her for a few minutes seemingly explaining what happened. When he finished Bones gestured the other Auror to stay with Dumbledore while she went over to Salazar, Henrietta and Hadrian.

“The waiter just told me that Dumbledore came in here and started to harass you. Is that correct?”

“Yes, he came here, questioned my son before he demanded Ms Coulson to help him finding Harry Potter and when he started to scare my son he took the short way out of the room through the window.”

Henrietta nodded to signal that she seconded that story.

Bones turned to Hadrian. “So you were the one to throw him through the window?” she asked him in a soft voice, but he started to cry.

“I-I didn’t want to…but…he frightened me so much…and then he started to shout,” he told her between his sobbing. “And…and then…I only know that I felt something and he flew through the window. Am I in trouble now?”

She knelt down in front of him and smiled. “Don’t worry, you're not in trouble. You know every magical child from time to time performs magic accidentally when frightened or has otherwise strong emotions. No need to be frightened of it.”

“But…but I hurt someone,” he now looked her straight into the eyes tears running down his cheek.

“Hey, he will be ok. I think the worst thing you did was putting a dent into his overly big ego, but he will survive it, no doubt,” she smiled at him again before she returned back to Dumbledore.

“Albus Dumbledore, I warn you this one time. Should I get any more complaints about you harassing people or frightening children you get to know what it means to mess with the DMLE. Did I make myself clear?”

Dumbledore just wanted to say something but Bones interrupted him.

“I don’t care about your reasoning. You scared a child, and you can be happy that nothing more severe happened. Now get lost, or I have to arrest you for the night for civil disorder,” she gave him a glare that told him how serious she was. She had been on her way out of the office and back home when the call came, so she was not very happy.

Dumbledore growled before he flooed back to Hogwarts. Bones also bid her farewell before she and the other Auror apparated back to the ministry.

The waiter approached them with a round of drinks after he finished repairing the broken glass.

“I have to apologise for the inconvenience, and I hope that this incident didn’t dampen your stay at our house. As compensation, please accept this round of drinks on the house.”

“Were you the one who called for the Aurors?”

“Yes, Sir, I took the liberty when it looked like the situation might grow out of hands.”

“Thank you very much, I don’t know what might have happened didn’t they arrive at the time they did,” Salazar sighed. He would give the waiter a hefty tip for his quick thinking.

“Is there anything else I can do for you at the moment?”

“No thanks,” the waiter left.

Now that finally peace was reinstated and they were alone again Hadrian stopped sobbing and cleaned his face with a napkin.

“What if the accidental magic wasn’t that accidental?” he deadpanned.

Salazar who was just about to take a sip from his wine nearly choked and coughed heavily.

“What?” he looked at his son as if he saw him for the first time.

“Well it seems that a less bright and more solid version of my light ball can throw someone through a window when said person is hit hard enough,” he snickered. “Okay, I have to admit that I didn’t intend to hit him that hard, only enough to knock him of the feet…”

Salazar blinked a few times before he started to laugh. “So this entire behaviour was played?”

Hadrian nodded. “Most of it. He really frightened me though…”

“You know you nearly gave me a heart attack when you started to talk about Harry.”

“I just thought that it was good to fool him and you mentioned that Mr Black told him something about America, so I just used that. Was that wrong?” Harry asked worriedly.

“Wrong? My dear that was brilliant. I mean it seems that you were even able to fool your father with your act and that really means something. Though you piqued my interest. You said that you hit him willingly with your magic?” Hadrian nodded. “How?”

“Well when dad got me, he let Mr Reichard check me upon spells, and he found a spell that did something with my magic…”

“A magic dampening spell,” Salazar supplied.

“Are you serious? Who on earth and in his right mind puts such a spell on a child?”

“Dumbledore and it seemed that not only a small part was cut off but far over the half,” he growled.

Henrietta just wanted to start saying some very vile things about the man when an idea occurred to her.

“He wants to get information from my ministry?” she said with a ferocious grin. “He will get to know just how long bureaucracy can take.”

Hadrian felt a shiver going down his spine. Now he understood what his father meant when he said that woman could be intimidating. He would have to remember to never get on her bad side.

“But you didn’t answer my question yet,” she now was again as friendly as before.

“Ah yes. When that spell was removed…I don’t know how to describe it but I could feel the power within me. A few days later then I experimented a bit and sometime later I managed to conjure up a small light. I practised it and now it takes nearly no effort for me,” he slightly narrowed his eyes and not a second later a small light in the size of a firefly hovered in front of Henrietta. “And when Dumby started to shout earlier I just wanted to make the ball not a light but something solid enough to knock him over.”

He started to concentrate again and tried to knock over the pepper mill, but nothing happened. Hadrian cocked his head in curiosity.

“Strange it doesn’t work anymore.”

“I think that is because you are exhausted and calmed down now. There is a reason why children have accidental magic when they have strong feelings. Magic reacts to those feelings. An adult has control over the magic so that it doesn’t react violently but children normally don’t have such a control. I'm astonished about your amount of control especially since you have no wand. Normally a wizard needs years of training to achieve what you did and most even then would never manage to do magic wandlessly,” Henrietta told him.

They talked a bit further about what happened, and it was about half-past eight when Hadrian suddenly started to yawn.

“I think it is time to go home,” Salazar said with a smile.

“But I don’t want to…this is so interesting,” he moaned.

“Hadrian, I can see that you're tired and you also should get used to a more regular sleeping rhythm,” his father scolded him. “Don’t try those puppy dog eyes that won’t work.”

Hadrian huffed but nodded in the end while Henrietta chuckled lowly.

“Perhaps if you're a good boy we can meet again. Your father could take you on vacation to America. Then I show you a few things,” Henrietta suggested.

Hadrian's face brightened up upon that and he expectantly looked at Salazar.

“Was that the not very subtle try to tell me that I should come over for a visit sometime soon?” he snickered.

“As I told you in my letter, I miss our conversations and we meet far too infrequently.”

Salazar laughed. “I see if I can arrange something in the near future.”

His son started to yawn again, so he paid for the meal and the drinks and gave the waiter two Galleons as a tip for his aid with Dumbledore before they bid their farewell and got back home. Salazar's observation proved right because Hadrian was asleep the moment he laid in his bed.

Salazar used the time until he went to bed himself to manage some of his business. After giving a few instructions to James for the next morning he then also went to sleep.

 


 

 

The next day at eight o’clock when Salazar entered the kitchen, he saw that his son was already there, but he somehow looked frustrated.

“Good morning,” he greeted him.

“Morning,” Hadrian growled while staring at his glass.

“What’s wrong?” Salazar picked up a cup of tea and the newspaper and sat opposite at the table.

“I try to repeat what I did yesterday, but it is not working,” he threw up his hand in desperation.

Salazar smiled. “Perhaps you're doing it the wrong way. Magic is all about imagination and visualization. You have to picture exactly what you want to do. With your problem, for example, you have to envision how you gather your magic and hit the object with it. Do you understand what I mean?”

Hadrian hummed lowly before staring at the glass again. It took some time, but suddenly a silver ball of the size of an orange appeared in front of him before it fell on the table with a loud thud.

Salazar's eyes went wide. “Whoa,” he dropped his paper and jumped up to round the table because Hadrian suddenly began to sway before falling unconscious.

He would have fallen onto the floor hadn’t Salazar caught him in time. After carefully picking him up he laid him onto the floor and knelt next to him before casting an examination charm. Right at that time, Sylvia entered the kitchen.

When she saw Hadrian lying on the floor, she instantly came running.

“What’s wrong? What happened?” she asked casting a few diagnostic charms on her own.

Salazar pointed at the silver ball. “He tried to repeat something he did yesterday, but it was not working. When I told him how to do it properly, he conjured up the silver ball. I think he just drained his magic too quickly, so he fell unconscious.”

“How could you do that? You know how draining conjuring up solid material can be especially without a wand not to mention when you're not used to it,” she scolded him.

“To my defence, I didn’t think that he would or even could conjure up a ball of solid metal. Yesterday he pushed Dumbledore through a window with a wave of magic…on purpose…well, at least partly and he wanted to repeat it. I thought he would use an energetic wave again not something solid,” he looked at his son in worry. “Will he be okay?”

“Yes, he should wake up in a few minutes. As you said, he just drained too much of his magic in a too short amount of time,” with a flick of her wand she conjured up a pillow and draped it under his head. “Did I understand you right? He threw Dumbledore through a window?”

Salazar snickered. “Dumbledore suddenly showed up yesterday evening at our meeting with Ms Coulson. He frightened Hadrian with the anger that radiated from him, and when he started to shout at me, he took a flight through a window.”

Sylvia used a little Legilimency to watch that scene before she started to laugh. “Hadrian really is remarkable, but you should train him properly and soon. Merlin knows what might happen if he continues to experiment with his magic unguided. You can be glad that up to now nothing more serious happened.”

Salazar thought about it, she was right. “Well today I have to attend a Wizengamot meeting where a new Minister will be elected, but that should be the last appointment for hopefully a long time. So I should be able to train him beginning next week. He also was eager to start brewing, but I think we can work something out.”

“Wait what date do we have today?” Sylvia looked at him remembering something.

“June, 27th why?” he asked curiously.

“Oh damned. Thanks to all the chaos and stress I totally forgot my vacation next week. But I can’t leave now…” She growled.

“Yes, you mentioned that. I'm truly sorry I didn’t mean to ruin your holidays but might I ask why you can’t leave? Hadrian is well, and you said that Sirius can leave St Mungo's today so where is the problem?” he now remembered that she mentioned the holidays and was curious.

“Sure Sirius is well enough to leave but he is far from being fully recovered, and I’d like to watch him for some more time. Then there are also the Longbottoms, who also will be released today but need more constant surveillance,” she sighed her vacation will have to wait.

Salazar made a thoughtful face. “Might I ask whether you already booked something?”

She rose an eyebrow. “No, why do you ask?”

“I might have a solution that not only would solve your problem but also should benefit all of us…under one condition.”

“And what condition would that be?” she now looked interested.

“What would you say if we accompany you on your vacation?” Sylvia looked at him in a mix of disbelieve and curiosity so he started to explain what he meant. “I mean I would have to ask Sirius and the Longbottoms about it first, but I think they could use a vacation to. You know I have a huge mansion in China that easily could host us all and you wouldn’t have to pay a rent. Besides that, you could do whatever you like and at the same time see them regularly to check on their wellbeing. That way you could enjoy your well-deserved vacation without having to worry that any of them would suffer under it.”

“I-I…” she didn’t know what to say upon that. On the one hand, it was better than no vacation at all but on the other…was it really a holiday then? But maybe she could also enjoy their vacation together with them. When she was honest she had to admit that yes she needed the time away from her job but visiting a foreign country alone was despite being interesting quite lonely too.

“Can I think about that offer for a bit?”

“No problem but please don’t take too much time. I would have to prepare quite a few things in case you agree,” he replied.

Just at that moment, Hadrian started to move.

“Ouch. What was that?” he asked while trying to sit up.

“Hey, hey. Don’t try to sit up yet. You drained much of your magic in a short amount of time,” Sylvia explained.

“I'm sorry that is my fault. I didn’t think you would try to conjure up a solid object,” his father said with a concerned face. “How do you feel?”

“A bit dizzy but other than that…” he paused for a bit. “Quite well.”

“Do you think you can sit up now?” Sylvia helped him, and a minute later he sat back at the table with a cup of tea in front of him.

“What happened? I remember that I tried to knock over the glass when that silver sphere appeared. After that…nothing,” now that he felt well again he was curious.

“As I said that was my fault because I should have told you beforehand. The thing is that every time you perform magic it drains you and the more advanced the magic the more draining it is. I think you experienced that before when you first conjured up the light sphere on will.” Hadrian nodded. “But there is a difference between conjuring up something insubstantial like the light and a solid object especially if you do it without a wand and training. While the light is quite easy to maintain since you only need the power that is needed for it to shine a solid object is a complete other story.

“There are three ways to conjure up a solid object, and everyone is more draining and complex as the previous one. The first way is to kind of teleport the object from A to B. It is far more complicated than that, but I doubt you would understand that now so the basic is that the object vanishes from one location and appears somewhere else. Most people are able to do that with a wand and minimal effort when they are used to it.

“The second method is a form of transfiguration. You draw in particles of the surrounding area and change them into the material and shape you want. Much more draining but quite useful if you don’t know from where to summon the object.

“The third one is the most advanced one I know of. In that case you create the object purely through the usage of magical energy and willpower. You have to understand that conjuring up an object is always an equivalent exchange. You ‘pay’ with one thing to get the thing you want meaning that you can’t create something out of nothing even if it looks that way. With the first method it’s the same object only in another place, with the second the same amount of particles and with the third…well a huge amount of energy,” he explained.

“Conjuring up something with only the use of energy? I never heard of such a thing,” Sylvia said incredulously.

“Because up to now there were only two people who were able to do that. Merlin and I though I don’t use that method if not necessary and since I'm not used to it…I might not end like Hadrian unconscious but significantly weakened.”

“The next thing is that you tell me you're Merlin himself…” Sylvia shook his head, but Salazar started to laugh.

“No, definitely not but I trained him personally. He was in my house after all.”

“Wait…Merlin was in Slytherin?”

“Yes but most tend to forget that small part when they talk about him,” he huffed before he took a look at the clock on the wall, it was shortly before nine. “Oh damned, time is running. I wanted to talk to Sirius before the Wizengamot meeting. Hadrian I would ask you to not experiment any further with your magic as long as I'm not present. It can be very dangerous, and I don’t want you to get hurt, alright?”

Hadrian nodded. “Yes, I think you're right. But what about the light?”

“You can use that since it doesn’t seem to trouble you but nothing else until I allow it. Now come on. I have to bring you to the Longbottoms.”

Before they left the kitchen, Sylvia asked one last question. “What method did Hadrian use?”

Salazar looked at her before he answered. “From what I could see and feel…the third.”

They left behind a dumbstruck Sylvia. Luckily Hadrian was already dressed and only had to fetch his bag. Five minutes later he and his father flooed over to the Longbottom manor where Neville was already waiting with his granny.

“Good morning Augusta and thank you that Hadrian can stay with your grandson again” Salazar greeted her.

“As I told you yesterday, it is no problem. I'm glad my grandson gets along so well with Hadrian. He normally doesn’t play with other children because he is quite shy,” Neville who heard that blushed furiously.

He looked at his granny for approval, and she nodded. Hadrian gave his father a hug and then the two boys left the room.

“I assume we will see each other at the meeting later?” Augusta asked.

Salazar nodded. “Yes, but I have to talk to Mr Black and Ms Bones beforehand so I have to leave now.”

They bid their farewell before he flooed over to St. Mungos. Unfortunately, Dumbledore was there at the moment, so he wasn’t able to talk to Sirius. Therefore he just left Sylvia a short note and flooed over to the Ministry after taking the necessary potions for his disguise.

He went straight to Bones office despite not being expected before ten. But fortunately, she was already there and glad that he was early.

“Did you have a look at today’s issue of the Prophet?” Bones asked.

“Unfortunately I got interrupted before I had the chance to read it. Why do you ask?”

“Look for yourself,” she handed him the newspaper that laid on her desk.

Salazar looked on the front page before a grin appeared on his face, and he began to read.

 


 

 

Harry Potter hiding in America

 

The Prophet yesterday received a hint about the whereabouts of Harry Potter. So reported a witness that she was able to listen to a conversation between two people I, unfortunately, cannot name here. In this conversation, they mentioned that John Smith who adopted Harry Potter lives in an apartment in New York. One of said persons validated this piece of information when he found an eavesdropping charm on the other person and instantly rushed out to inform Mr Smith. Though it is unclear who placed the magic and for what purpose.

One thing is clear. Harry Potter is not in the country anymore. However, what does that mean for the Boy-who-lived? Is he safe and well? We do not know at the moment, but we at the Prophet are determined to find out even if it means a trip to America.

 

-Rita Skeeter-

 

For more about the abduction of Harry Potter see page 2

 


 

 

“That actually explains a lot” Salazar mused looking at the author of the article.

Bones looked at him in curiosity. “It seems that you have me at a loss.”

“Do you remember the article about the waking up of the Longbottoms?” Bones nodded. “There was also a passage about how a witness observed that the Longbottoms referred to Hadrian, who was present at that time, as their godson. That time I wondered who said witness could be because the only persons who were there were Hadrian, the Longbottoms, Sylvia Pye and I. But this article answered that question.” Bones now looked confused. “Yesterday before I had that conversation with Sirius I took a look around and found a beetle Animagus on one of the room dividers.”

It took Bones a few seconds before realisation hit her.

“You want to say that Skeeter is that bug Animagus? I didn’t know that she was one,” she replied. “But on the other hand, I doubt that she would have registered. That way she can eavesdrop on everyone she likes without being noticed.”

“Do you have to report her?”

“Why do you ask?”

“This information might be useful…she might be useful.”

“Well I have to report her, but you know how it is with all this bureaucracy. Everything takes its time and from time to time documents and the like get lost…” she smiled, but Salazar rose an eyebrow questioningly. “The Animagus Registration Law is nice but do you really think that people follow it? I mean we have eight registered Animagi at the moment of how many thousand witches and wizards?” she laughed. “I’m not delusional enough to think that it works and as long as people aren’t caught doing something illegal I could care less. Though it is a nice law to add some more years in Azkaban if necessary should they be caught.”

“Try to imagine Lucius Malfoy marching into the Ministry announcing that he is an Animagus,” Salazar snickered.

“I could imagine him as an albino ferret.”

“Or a white crow.”

They both snickered before Bones gave Salazar a calculating look. “Hmmm, you I’d say are a snake, black with emerald green eyes.”

“Another proof of your analytic skills. You're right my form is an extinct version of the black mamba about 4’11” long. But I doubt that it was that hard to guess,” he laughed.

“What do you think is Dumbledore's form?”

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he were some kind of spider if not actually an Acromantula. His whole working manner…spinning his webs and sitting in the centre waiting patiently for his victim to get caught,” he shuddered. “Or a goat…that depends whether his physical or mental aspects are more dominant,” they both started to laugh.

After that, they talked about what to expect at the meeting and what they could do against any attempt Dumbledore might start to get him out of the meeting when Bones had an idea.

“What would happen if you’d work for the DMLE officially as a legal advisor and advocate?” she asked.

Salazar looked at her confused and intrigued.

“I mean you wanted to help me revise the cases anyway so what if you were under contract? Dumbledore then would have no hold upon you since you would be a Ministry worker and therefore he couldn’t throw you out of Wizengamot meetings either.”

He thought about that. “I think that might work but under the condition that I can refuse to plead someone’s case because I don’t want to end up helping someone getting free who is dangerous.”

“You would always represent the Ministry so that shouldn’t be a problem,” she complied with his request.

After taking a second thought about it, he shrugged. “Why not. It isn’t that I don’t have the time and this way I can have an eye on Mr Dumbledore. Though I have to inform you that I might not be in the country for the next two weeks because of a vacation, but I will supply you with a method to contact me in case there is a problem.”

She nodded. It shouldn’t prove to be a problem because she would need time to look through the files of the other convicted and filter out those who could be problematic. So she went to her secretary and ordered him to bring her a contract. A few minutes later and Salazar or in this case Jack Hardinger was a proud new staff member of the DMLE.

Bones took a look on the clock and frowned.

“We should go to the plenary hall. The meeting will begin in fifteen minutes,” she said.

Salazar nodded, and they went out of the office and up to level one of the Ministry.

While certain courts were held in front of the ‘whole’ Wizengamot, it was in truth only a small part consisting of the oldest and most powerful families. But in case a new Minister was elected, a huge law had to be passed or to share and discuss important information said Wizengamot was extended so that the Head of every established family line attended. To become an established Family line the line has to at least consist of three generations of witches and wizards. Therefore at the moment, about five hundred families were allowed to vote. Before the war, it had been more but thanks to Voldemort’s actions several lines were extinct.

The entire thing would take place in the plenary hall on the first level right next to the office of the Minister, and that’s where Salazar and Bones headed now. When they arrived, they saw that a lot of people already were present and chatted excitedly. They ignored them and entered the vast round room.

On the sides were in steps rows of seats for the members while straight on was a massive chair behind a desk. This was the place the Minister would sit at. Bones walked up to the left side of said seat where she would sit while Salazar would sit a row beneath her.

It was arranged that the different Departments were seated on the left and right side of the Minister in their own compartments. The more essential Departments for the particular meeting sat in the front while the less important ones sat in the upper ranks. Within the sections for the distinct Departments, the Head sat at the top while beneath them sat the employees who had to attend, to show the ranking.

The seating of the family Heads was arranged similarly. The older and more powerful a family was, the further it sat in the front while the youngest took the last rows.

Slightly on the right in front of the seating rows were two separate desks. One for the Chief Warlock who would preside over the meeting and a smaller one for the court scriber.

The centre of the room was free for people to pledge their case, present new laws or otherwise hold speeches.

Salazar and Bones took their seats in the front left compartment shortly after Dumbledore showed up and threw them a glare.

“It seems that Dumbledore will question your seating here,” Bones commented with a snicker.

“Let him try. We have the law on our side, and he should know it.”

A few minutes later the ranks started to fill. Salazar could see Augusta enter as well as Sirius shortly after her. The latter seemed to feel a bit uncomfortable with what was to come while Augusta only showed a regal face.

“Are you sure that it will work out with Mr Finnigan as Harry’s substitute?” Bones asked when said man entered and sat right next to Augusta.

“Again, we have the law on our side, and James knows what to do,” Salazar replied.

“I wonder who Dumbledore will nominate…” she mused, but Salazar only grinned. “You know who it is, don’t you?”

“Yes I know it, but I can’t tell you in advance, or my source of information might get busted.”

Now that everyone took his place the Minister entered through a side door and also took her place. Dumbledore stood up.

“Welcome ladies and gentleman to this extraordinary extended Wizengamot meeting. As many of you know, certain recent events made this advanced meeting necessary. Though before we come to the main reason for this meeting, does anyone want to submit a supernumerary application?” he introduced.

After Dumbledore finished, Minister Bagnold stood up. She looked tired and had dark rings beneath her eyes, but Salazar felt no remorse for her. It had been her own fault and hers alone.

“I hereby step down from my post as Minister of Magic,” she said with a hollow voice.

She knew what was to come and she didn’t want to see the proof of her downfall at the vote of no confidence. For that, she had too much pride left and perhaps she could salvage at least a small part of her reputation when she showed that she stepped down voluntarily and didn’t struggle against the inevitable.

With one last bow, she stepped down from her post and went out through the main entrance. She didn’t stop by her former office since she already packed everything when it became clear that she wouldn’t survive this politically. So she left the Ministry through the floo straight to the Leaky Cauldron to drown her despair in Firewhiskey.

 


 

 

In the plenary hall in the meantime rose a murmuring through the ranks about what they just witnessed. It took Dumbledore a few seconds before he pulled himself together and called everyone to order.

“Are there any other supernumerary applications?” he again asked, but everyone stayed silent. “I have one question though. Mr Hardinger, why are you here? You have no right to attend a Wizengamot meeting as an American citizen.”

Salazar who anticipated that smiled at the old man. “Sir, I have to inform you that since this very morning I am a Ministry worker in the DMLE and as such I have every right to attend this meeting should Ms Bones wish it.”

A gasping went through the room. Dumbledore looked like someone told him that every production of lemon sherbets was stopped instantly and wouldn’t resume any time soon.

“That is impossible. You can’t become a Ministry worker without being a British citizen. Moreover, it is impossible to do a proper background check this quickly.”

“First I can assure you that Ms Coulson supplied me with every needed information even before Mr Black’s trial and second why would he have to be a British citizen?” now Bones spoke up.

It seemed that Dumbledore not only didn’t want to repeat the disaster at the press conference but also was at a loss how to answer that question and so he took the way around it.

“May that be as it is we have more important things at hand. Since there weren’t any more applications, I’ll go on with the protocol.”

With that, he continued to announce the several Heads of the Departments as well as any other relevant person attending. When he finished, he went over to the real part of the meeting.

“We originally came here together today to charge a vote of no confidence against our former Minister Ms Bagnold but since she already resigned we will skip that part and continue straight with the nomination of the candidates for the Minister post. Are there any nominations?” he asked.

Lucius Malfoy stood up. “In the name of the Noble House of Malfoy I, Lucius Malfoy, nominate Cornelius Fudge for the post of Minister of Magic,” he said with a loud and clear voice before he sat down again. Dumbledore nodded.

After that, it was James who stood up which earned him a rumouring because everyone asked himself why an unknown person sat in the front row.

“I, James Finnigan, as a substitute of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter nominate Augusta Longbottom for the mantle Minister of Magic,” he announced which earned him even more rumouring.

Bones was right. Many people questioned the correctness of this.

“Quiet please,” Dumbledore called out. “Mr Finnigan, you claim to be the substitute for the Potter family but who tells us that this is correct?”

“I have here a document signed by Mr Smith that gives me the allowance to sit in for Mr Potter in any Wizengamot meeting as well as the right to vote in his name as long as Mr Potter isn’t emancipated,” a bailiff appeared and brought said document over to Dumbledore.

He examined it. “And who tells us that you didn’t forge this?”

“I do!” Bones interrupted. “I was able to confirm his claim right after Mr Black’s trial because I was suspicious too, but I was able to smooth them out.”

It was right, after the trial she asked Salazar to show her said document only so that she could eliminate any fault from her side and be able to reject such accusations.

“So you were able to talk to Mr Smith?” Dumbledore insisted.

“No, unfortunately not but I could confirm that this document is valid and hasn’t been tampered with. It even contains a free given drop of Mr Potter’s blood to confirm its authenticity.”

That was a small detail Salazar had added to make the whole thing foolproof. Dumbledore growled, but there was nothing he could do so he gave back the document. It looked like he tried to lie a low profile since the happenings the last days.

“It seems that everything is in order,” he said, but a slight growling wasn’t to be overheard. “Continuing with the nomination for the office of Minister I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore,” he continued before starting to list every single title he possessed. “…nominate Sirius Black, Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.”

After that announcement, a silence befell the entire room. No one said anything and only stared at Dumbledore except Sirius himself who looked like he wanted to be somewhere else preferably far, far away from here.

“Now I know why you didn’t say anything” Bones whispered into Salazar's ear.

“Does anyone else want to announce someone?” Dumbledore continued but only received silence as an answer. “Very well. Does any of the nominated persons want to decline their nomination?” again silence. “Good. Should no one have any objections then I would ask the nominees to hold their speeches beginning with Mr. Fudge. Would you please?”

With that, every nominee held a five minutes long speech about what their respective assets were and why they should be elected for the Minister's office. Sirius was last, and Salazar had to admit that Dumbledore was very good with words and how to sway opinions in his favour. He doubted that this was Sirius own speech since he wouldn’t have had the time nor the necessary background information to prepare this.

When Sirius finished Dumbledore stood up again. “You all now have five more minutes to contemplate the just heard before you will vote.”

After these five minutes of rumouring and discussions, everybody voted. When the last one finished, the results were shown in the centre hovering in the air. The count was displayed beneath the respective name. It seemed that Fudge only received three votes which wasn’t very surprising to Salazar. The other two competitors, on the other hand, were something entirely different.

“With four votes difference and therefore having the needed fifty per cent majority the new Minister of Magic is…” Dumbledore called out.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 18: Ringing Hell’s Bells

 

“With four votes difference and therefore having the needed fifty per cent majority the new Minister of Magic is…” Dumbledore called out.

 

“…Augusta Longbottom” he continued after a short pause.

Everyone could clearly see that Sirius was relieved and Salazar was inclined to agree. While Sirius with the right guiding and time could become a great Minister, he was much too unstable at the moment. Dumbledore, on the other hand, seemed to be completely unhappy with the result. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on who you ask, he couldn’t do anything against it.

“Are there any objections?” Dumbledore waited a few seconds. “Good. Then Ms Longbottom, please come to the centre and swear the oath.”

She went into the middle, and after that, it took a few minutes in which Augusta gave her oath and was properly introduced as the Minister of Magic. Salazar mused over the “in all conscience” part of the oath.

How could someone send an innocent man in good conscious to Azkaban without the oath backfiring spectacularly? But then again with the right wording and the right circumstances, you could bypass every oath and since it had been Dumbledore who initiated this entire thing he didn’t doubt that this was what happened.

When the entire ceremony was over Augusta sat down on the chair meant for the Minister.

Salazar leaned back and faced Bones. “I think we should also give a small report on the Potter case as long as everyone is present thus showing that we work on it as hard as we can.”

Augusta who heard that because she sat right next to them nodded in approval.

“With that done are there any more things to discuss today? Or information to share?” Dumbledore continued with the protocol.

Augusta rose. “I’d like to ask the DMLE to give a report about the progress in the Potter case. This should be of interest for all of us.”

A murmuring rose within the ranks which showed everything from pleasant surprise to approval. It seemed that only a very few anticipated that such a delicate topic would be brought before them even less from the new Minister herself. To those who voted for her, it showed that their choice was the right one. Even to those who didn’t vote for her, it was a sign of strength. Quite a few hoped that with Ms Longbottom as Minister a few things would change.

Bones nodded before she rose. “Our department is working with full commitment to solving this case. In the course of it, we got to know that Harry Potter apparently resides in New York – America at the moment. We are in contact with the American Ministry to find out where exactly and hopefully to get a better grasp on John Smith, the person who adopted Mr Potter according to the papers. We’re waiting for what information they are ready to share with us, but I think it will be everything we asked for since Ms Coulson, Head of the American Ministry, didn’t indicate anything contrary to that assumption. We will receive that information this afternoon the latest.”

Salazar had a hard time not to laugh because of the sight Dumbledore gave right at that moment. Sure, the man hid his emotions very well, and anyone who didn’t know where to look wouldn’t be able to see it, but for Salazar, he was like an open book. Henrietta informed him this morning that Dumbledore tried to get information this night but ran against a wall of diplomacy and bureaucracy. He seemed to be pretty angry about how he was treated and to add insult to injury, getting to know now that the DMLE just asked politely and got every information they wanted didn’t make it any better.

“On top of that, we are investigating how Mr Smith was actually able to adopt Mr Potter without raising any suspicions or alarms. But I would ask you not to come to our office and ask for detailed information about this case or to start a search on your own. This would only encumber us in our effort to find Mr Potter as quickly as possible. Should any important information reach us, we surely will inform you through the newspapers. Thank you!” she sat down again.

“Very well. Thank you for your report,” Augusta said.

Dumbledore nodded sourly. “Are there any other important reports or things that need the attention of everyone?” he looked around, but everyone stayed silent. “Then I hereby close this meeting of the Wizengamot. Have a nice day.”

He slammed down his gavel and instantly a rumouring arose. People started to talk to each other while some others stood up and went over to Augusta to congratulate her for winning the election. Bones was the first though.

“Congratulations to this marvellous victory. I never would have expected it being so close,” she said while shaking the other woman’s hand.

“I look forward to working with you and as I can see you were able to acquire a competent co-worker for your Department,” she replied with a smile towards Salazar.

“Jack Hardinger, ma’am. It’s a pleasure to work for your Ministry, but please apologise me for a moment. It seems that my client is in dire need of assistance,” he said with a gaze on Sirius who got berated by Dumbledore just at that moment and looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but not there.

“Certainly, I don’t want to keep you from your work,” Augusta nodded.

Salazar took Augusta’s hand and placed a light kiss on her knuckles like a real gentleman before nodding and leaving them behind. He went over to Sirius and Dumbledore.

“Good day gentlemen. May I help you?” he asked politely.

Dumbledore who was just in the middle of telling Sirius what he could have done better turned around and gave Salazar one of his sweetest grandfatherly smiles.

“I fear that this is none of your business. There are quite a few things I have to discuss with Mr Black in private. So would you please leave us alone for a moment?”

“As you seem to have forgotten, I am Mr Black’s solicitor, and as such it is my duty to aid him whenever the need arises. So as long as he doesn’t send me away, I have every right to be here.” Now it was upon Salazar to smile sweetly. “As it seems you are making my client feeling uncomfortable and I would ask you to stop that. Otherwise, I would find myself in the situation to take action against you.”

“Sirius, you can’t really consider what this man is saying? I only wanted the best for you.”

Sirius grabbed Dumbledore at the arm and turned him around a bit. He threw a last glance over his shoulder before he leaned forwards.

“Did you forget why I'm doing all of this?” he whispered so that only Dumbledore could hear him.

“I hope you know what you're doing. This entire game is far more complex than I anticipated,” Sirius had to suppress the urge to look at Dumbledore in disbelieve. Did the man actually admit that he made a mistake? “I tried to get information from the American Ministry but they hide behind their bureaucracy. Now I got to know that the DMLE got every needed information within hours…the very same Department he suddenly works for. To be honest, I don’t know what to think about it.”

“Albus, I might have despised my family ever since but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an idea about how this political dance works,” he growled. “Give me some credit.”

“Just promise me to be careful.”

He gave him a glare that clearly stated that this was out of the question, but he nevertheless answered. “Sure…I know what I'm doing but are you? Perhaps you should be less hostile to him. He could be of use to our mission. As far as I know, he is well connected within the American Ministry and excellent friends with their Head Ms Coulson.”

Dumbledore thought about it for a few seconds before he nodded and turned back around to Salazar who leaned the entire time against the railing that went along in front of the first row.

“Mr Hardinger, as it seems we will see each other more often in the future. Therefore please accept my sincerest apology,” Dumbledore said with a bright smile while holding out his hand. “I hope that we can let the past rest and look into a bright future.”

Salazar eyed him critically because of the sudden turn in his demeanour before he reluctantly shook the old man’s hand.

“It shan’t be said that I’m unreasonable. But I have to ask you to never again scare my son like you did yesterday.”

Dumbledore sighed as sadness flickered over his face. “I neither meant to disturb you yesterday nor to scare your son. As a father you should know that there is no greater fear than to lose a child, might it be your own or the one you swore to protect. I appeal to you as a father, please help me bringing Harry back to his family that loves and the friends who miss him.”

Salazar didn’t know what was worse at the moment. That Dumbledore obviously thought him an idiot or the hypocritical and blatant lies he just told. Protecting Harry? Loving family? If Dumbledore's methods were the new standards in that matter…

He tapped his lips with his fingers while apparently thinking about something before slowly shaking his head. “I know what you mean. Should I ever lose Hadrian, I would go through every hell to get him back. But I'm sorry, there is no way I can help you without breaking the professional discretion towards Mr Smith or running against the Fidelius charm he cast around the truth.”

Dumbledore nodded with a grave expression on his face. He had feared that he would get this reply. “Could you perhaps at least talk to Ms Coulson? It would help me a great deal when the American Ministry stops blocking my attempts on gaining information.”

“Of course, I can talk to her when I'm back home this evening, but I can’t promise you anything. She is a very proud woman and your behaviour yesterday…” he sighed.

“For Harry’s sake, I hope that you are successful. I have to go now. Much work to do…”

Salazar smiled while he shook Dumbledore's hand again. “And good luck with your search.”

“I will find him, rest assured about that.”

With that Dumbledore turned around and went over to Augusta. He formally congratulated her and wished her all the best for her job before he left the hall. Sirius followed that with much interest.

“What was that? Trying to become drinking buddies with Dumbledore?”

It is right that he said to Dumbledore he should be less hostile, but he hadn’t in mind that they should get along that well, or at least in the public’s eyes. The truth was another story.

Salazar laughed. “If it aids my purpose. You know there is an old saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

“Close enough to stab them without them noticing?”

He let out a laugher. “Stabbing is far too flamboyant. I prefer a good slow poison that is untraceable but deadly and without a cure. That way they get to know that they are doomed to die only shortly before they are dead and it is hard to pinpoint the culprit since it could have been anyone you met.”

“Here shows the real snake.”

Luckily Dumbledore was already gone, or otherwise, he would be set on edge by the devious smile on Salazar's face. They were far from alone though and everyone who saw him shivered. No one wanted to question who got on the wrong side of that man or how, but the person would regret it that, of they were sure. The two walked over to where Bones and Augusta were still standing. Bones was answering several questions about the Potter case, and Augusta received more congratulations for her election.

“Ah Mr Hardinger, Lord Black,” Lucius Malfoy, who just finished trying to get on Augusta’s good side, greeted them with a bowing of his head. “So you now work for the DMLE? I don’t doubt that your knowledge and expertise will be an enrichment for the Department.”

With the affability Malfoy showed, Salazar had to wonder whether the man knew that Jack Hardinger was an acknowledged half-blood. Or perhaps blood purity didn’t matter anymore when one could get the other into jail through laws no one knew about anymore.

“Mr Malfoy, what a pleasure to meet you again. As it seems you weren’t the only one left astonished about my knowledge. Though I hope you stay clean so that I don’t have to use my knowledge against you,” he replied with a smile.

“Oh, I have no intention to break the law, and only a fool would go against you. How you ripped the case apart and even managed to show Dumbledore his limits was truly inspiring,” the man said before turning to Sirius. “Lord Black, I have to say that you look much better since the last time we met. Next week on Thursday I'm holding a dinner at my manor outside of London. It would be my pleasure to greet you both as my guests.”

“Lord Malfoy, I'm truly sorry, but I have to decline. From Monday on I will be on vacation for a fortnight and therefore not in the country. Yet I’d gladly attend to a meeting with you once I returned,” Sirius replied very well knowing that he couldn’t outright decline because Malfoy was one of the most influential wizards in Britain.

“I also have to decline, Mr Malfoy. There is a lot of work to do, and I also won’t be in the country at that time either.”

“What a shame but there is nothing we can do, is there? Well, I have to leave now. I hope we stay in touch. A good day, gentlemen,” Malfoy said with a small bow towards them before he left.

By now everyone else left to, and only Augusta, Bones and the two men were in the hall. James already went after congratulating Augusta. Salazar cast a quick tempus and saw that it was now well past two p.m.

“It got quite late. What do you think about a nice afternoon tea at my townhouse? I assume that you have several questions and I’d like to be done with that sooner rather than later. Ms Longbottom, perhaps you could also inform your son and his wife so that they can come too. Your grandson is of course also invited,” Salazar proposed.

“I would only have to inform my secretary, but then I'm free,” Bones responded while Sirius only nodded his approval.

“You're right there are a few questions left open, and I’d gladly come over to your house. On the other hand, we also could meet at the Longbottom manor. Thus we wouldn’t have to bother Alice and Frank with a floo travel. Considering that they were released just today it might be the better choice,” Augusta mused.

“I have no objections if this is okay with you. I would have to inform Ms Pye though so that she can attend to.”

“Good that is settled then. You can use the floo at our manor to inform her. Ms Bones, you can follow once you arranged everything with your office.”

Bones nodded, and they all left the meeting hall. Augusta, Salazar and Sirius took the floo from the Minister’s office while Bones went to her own office.

 


 

 

It was three in the afternoon now, and they all sat at the Longbottom manor with tea and some snacks. Sylvia came over together with Alice and Frank an hour earlier. Initially she was there to set up some sleeping wards for them, but when Augusta, Salazar, Sirius and later Bones came from the Wizengamot meeting, she was invited to stay. Shortly before they sat down, she informed Salazar about her decision regarding the vacation.

Now they sat in the conservatory drinking tea the house-elves supplied while Hadrian and Neville played at another table in the corner.

“I know that you all have a different amount of knowledge about me and why I do all this,” Salazar started after a few minutes of silence. “The best thing I think will be that I tell you everything from the beginning and in its entirety. Afterwards, you can ask questions, but I have to warn you I might not answer them all.”

They all nodded, and Salazar took a deep breath. It was a long time since so many people got to know so much about him. In fact, it hadn’t occurred since he founded Hogwarts together with the others. But he knew that he would have to tell them especially if he wanted them to be a part of Hadrian's life. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust them, far from it because otherwise, he wouldn’t even contemplate telling them, but he hadn’t remained hidden for so long by blurting out his secrets left and right, so it was understandably hard for him.

After taking a last deep breath, he started to tell them everything from the point when and why he began to observe Dumbledore over the prophecy to what happened to Hadrian while he was with the Dursleys and the results of his examinations. He left nothing out because he didn’t want anything to stand between Hadrian and the family Dumbledore denied him for so long.

“So you want to tell me that Dumbledore left Har-Hadrian in that hellhole on purpose and that if it hadn’t hit him, it would have most likely been Neville?” Frank asked when Salazar finished about forty minutes later.

To say that the Longbottoms looked sick to their stomach would be an understatement. Frank was slightly green around the nose, and Alice looked at her son paler than a sheet. Sylvia observed that with worry for their health.

“Unfortunately…yes. Dumbledore is a master manipulator, and I don’t doubt that he would have found a way to manipulate Neville should have the necessity arisen. I have to admit that I'm glad that he gets along with Hadrian so well and hopefully that helps to prevent Dumbledore from trying to do anything to him.”

Neville who saw the worry and fear in the eyes of his mother came over.

“Mum, is everything alright?” he asked.

“Sure my darling. It is only something Mr Slytherin just told us,” Alice replied with a smile.

Salazar groaned. “Please just call me Salazar at least while we are in private.”

Alice grinned obviously having recovered from what she just learned. “I have a question though, Sirius. Why in Merlin’s name did you go after Pettigrew instead of taking care of Hadrian? You could have taken him, gone to the Ministry and cleared up any wrong assumptions before taking up your duty as godfather,” she spat out the name with so much venom in her voice that Frank looked at her in shock.

The boy in question who also came over and now sat in his father’s lap perked up upon that question. It was something he wondered about too. Sirius, on the other hand, looked like he had been beaten.

“I know, and with what I know now it was a bloody stupid thing to do,” he growled. “Truth is that at first, I didn’t even think about that rat. I was the first who arrived at the cottage and was just about to leave it with Harry…Hadrian when suddenly Dumbledore appeared. He told me that I should go after that traitor as quickly as possible before he has the opportunity to hide and avoid punishment for what he had done. Moreover, he noted that as an Auror it was my duty to capture him. What I didn’t put into account was that everyone thought I was the secret-keeper. I don’t know whether Dumbledore knew what would happen or if he just hoped that I would duel that traitor so that it would look like I wanted to kill him, or actually kill him…Dumbledore promised me to take care of Hadrian until I’d return. I trusted him…”

He ran a hand through his hair looking much older. It was evident that he blamed himself for believing Dumbledore.

“Sirius, there is nothing you should blame yourself for. As I said, Dumbledore is a master in manipulating people. He might have found another way to keep you from your godson even if you hadn’t gone after Pettigrew. I think that he would have found a more…irrevocable solution in the worst case,” Salazar put forth.

Sirius paled while looking up when he heard that. “You don’t think…” his voice failing in the end.

“That he would have seen you dead? When it would have benefited him more than you being alive…I fear that Dumbledore is as much a hypocrite as that idiot Voldemort.”

“Well, better over four years in Azkaban than dead I assume,” he winced.

“Apropos prison…what do you intend to do about the Dursleys?” Sylvia inquired.

“I'm sorry, but I won’t tell you that.” Bones rose an eyebrow. “Plausible deniability. But rest assured that I will do something about them.”

“Don’t tell me you…” her eyes went wide and even his son looked at him in apprehension.

Salazar laughed about that. “I may be many things but a cold-blooded murder I'm not. No, I won’t even harm them physically,” he said with a vicious grin that sent shivers down her spine.

“Why am I not reassured even the slightest little bit?” Bones muttered. “Okay, okay, I don’t want to know. As you said plausible deniability.”

They talked for another hour about various things, and it was half-past five when Bones left. She had to care for her niece after all, and she also wanted to stop by her office again to check whether the American Ministry sent the information over. Not that she needed them but better be prepared for Dumbledore nosing around.

“There is one other thing I would like to discuss with you. I didn’t bring this up earlier out of respect and tact towards Ms Bones,” Salazar said after a while.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to include her with this but more that he wanted to spare her the embarrassment of the proposal and having to decline because of the extra work he had bestowed on her.

“I would like to invite you all to a two-week-long vacation to my mansion in China beginning on Monday. It seems that we are all in dire need of one and I think it also would be a good opportunity for you to fully recover as well as spending some time with your godsons,” the last part was directed at Sirius and Neville's parents.

The elder Longbottoms looked at him lost for words before they looked at each other not knowing what to think about it. Neville, on the other hand, gleamed with excitement.

“Oh mum, dad, can we go? Yes?” he squealed bouncing like a rubber ball. His granny rarely took him on vacation.

Alice and Frank looked at each other again before breaking out in laughter.

“It seems that we are overruled,” Alice deadpanned before she smiled. “We also thought about going on a vacation, and this seems to be the perfect opportunity to not only spend time with our son but also get to know Hadrian better. So we gladly accept your offer.”

Salazar slightly bowed his head in gratitude.

“I’d have to go shopping tomorrow but other than that there is nothing against a nice holiday and having some fun,” Sirius grinned.

“New wardrobe and wand I’d guess?” Alice asked curiously. Sirius didn’t look very happy about it but nodded. “Want to come with us? We need a new wardrobe too.”

Sirius seemed to be relieved, so he nodded. He hated buying new clothes because of how annoying this entire thing was but having someone to talk to made it more bearable.

Hadrian looked at them. “Are you going to Diagon Alley?”

“Yes, why do you ask?” Sirius cocked his head.

“Dad, can we go with them?” anticipation clearly showing on his face.

Salazar looked at him in surprise. The last two weeks changed him quite a lot. He was much more extrovert now especially since he met Neville. But it seemed that he still didn’t want to be too far from his father as long as it wasn’t absolutely necessary and in case he wasn’t able to be around him he was always with James. The only exception was when he had to stay with Neville throughout the two Wizengamot meetings, and Salazar got to know that he was agitated during that time looking onto the clock every five minutes.

“Let me guess, you want to go to F&B and get more potions books?” he started to chuckle when his son turned a bright red. “Why not. There is no reason we couldn’t go, but I will have to ask James to come as well.”

Hadrian smiled broadly while hugging his father. “Thank you.”

“James?” Frank asked curiously.

“Yes, my butler. With Dumbledore running around searching for Hadrian I take no chances. James is an excellent dueller and also the only one next to me who could get my son to a place safe enough should something happen,” Salazar explained.

Would it be only him and his son he wouldn’t need James to convoy them because should someone try something he would instantly apparate away with Hadrian. But with the others there as well he couldn’t and wouldn’t leave them behind and on their own especially since they just left the hospital. They just weren’t in shape to defend themselves properly yet. So with James accompanying them one of them could get Hadrian to safety while the other stayed to protect the others. As he said, he would take no chances. Besides that, it always was a good thing to have an additional pair of eyes looking out for possible dangers.

“Though Sirius I’d advise you to not get your wand from Ollivander’s. It’s not that he is a bad wandmaker but thanks to the laws here he can only use three different cores. He also only has prefab wands. I suggest you go to Gregorovitch in Germany. His are custom made and therefore much more suitable,” he continued.

“International floo travel…what a fun,” Sirius snorted.

He absolutely despised the international floo travel centre. They were full, loud and it took you ages to get where you wanted.

“You can leave from my house. It is connected to the international floo network so you can go straight to his shop from there.”

An interesting fact is that only the sending chimney had to be connected to the international network. The receiving chimney just needed a connection to the local one. As long as that has somehow a link to the international one you could receive floo transfers or calls even from other countries. You only couldn’t access the global network directly from there.

Salazar had no concrete explanation for why it worked that way, but he assumed that it did because the chimneys at the international network stations were connected to both networks and that way could instantly redirect the travel.

Why not everyone had access to the international network is easily explained though. For once you could get lost much too quickly with how many chimneys there would be. Second, it would most likely collapse the entire thing with how high the magical expenditure would be because the further away from the target chimney the more magic it required and drained out of the system. So outside the international floo travel centres, only a few selected chimneys were connected to both networks like one in the Ministry. Every other had a block on them for outgoing travel.

“And how am I supposed to get back? Walking?” he retorted.

Neville chuckled hearing that.

“Portkey…I have a permanent one at home for such occasions. It will bring you straight back to my townhouse.” That was how James had gotten back from his travels to Germany.

“Okay, okay, I’ll go tomorrow right after we’re finished in Diagon Alley,” Sirius huffed. He wasn’t very fond of Portkeys, especially international ones, but for getting a custom made wand he would put up with it.

“Why not right after breakfast?” Salazar inquired, but Sirius just shrugged. He would have to see whether he had the time or not. “Well, it seems that we got quite distracted from the original topic. Sylvia already told me that she would attend.”

Upon seeing the questioning looks, Sylvia started to explain. “What Salazar refused to say is that I want to check on your health regularly just in case. Originally I planned to go on holiday alone but when I told him that I would have to cancel it because of it he came up with the idea of inviting everyone, and I have to admit that I'm glad he did.”

“I'm sorry, it wasn’t our intention to ruin your holidays,” Frank said taken aback.

“Don’t worry. Perhaps it is even better that way. At least it won’t be as boring being with someone you know than going alone.”

Augusta had to decline though. Not only would her duty as Minister prevent her attending but she also was glad to have some time for herself. She would never say it aloud but caring for her grandson had been quite exhausting especially when you had to take care that one of your relatives didn’t kill the boy in an attempt to elicit some magic out of him. Up to now, she hadn’t the time or chance, but her brother Algie would get to hear an earful for what he put Neville through.

They talked a bit further and tried to get to know more about where the vacation exactly would go to, but Salazar didn’t say anything about it. He only stated that they would have to see.

It was nearly nine o’clock when Hadrian first stifled a yawn. He not only was exhausted from playing with Neville the whole day but also got used to going to bed earlier. Waking up at seven in the morning didn’t change though.

So they bid their farewell and went up to the floo while arranging the trip to Diagon Alley for ten in the morning. That was when Sirius remembered his little housing dilemma. He sighed, stood up and went up to Salazar with a quick pace to intercept him before he left.

“Does your offer still stand?” he asked in a low voice.

Salazar looked at him in confusion until it dawned him what the man in front of him referred to.

“Of course it still stands. I assume you want to take it?” he replied.

“I don’t want to cause you inconveniences…” Sirius muttered. “You did so much for me already.”

“Why would it be a problem? I have the room, and I wouldn’t have suggested it would it cause trouble,” Salazar smiled. “Just follow me through the floo. It’s Phoenix Street No. 6 and the password to the floo is ‘Black Mamba’.”

Sirius nodded. “’kay and…thank you…for everything.”

“You're welcome.”

With that Salazar stepped into the floo with his son’s hand firmly gripped. A few seconds later Sirius followed through.

“Hadrian, why don’t you go and make yourself ready for bed?”

“’kay” he mumbled before walking up to the door.

“Hadrian,” his father scolded. “Full words and clear speech. I don’t want you to mumble.”

The boy froze in his track in an instant when he heard that. He very slowly turned around and looked like a deer caught in the headlight. Salazar made a step towards in an attempt to calm him down, but Hadrian drew back until he bumped into the wall next to the door. Fear and panic clearly written over his face. Sirius looked like he wanted to run over to his godson and assure him that everything was alright, but Salazar gave him a look that told the man that this would be a spectacularly bad idea. When he knew that Sirius wouldn’t try anything he knelt down where he stood and looked at his son.

“Hadrian, come here please,” he said with a soft and soothing voice to calm him down.

Slowly Hadrian walked up to his father fearing that he would get hit any second. He finally stood in front of Salazar and looked at him in anticipation. Salazar slowly rose a hand and carefully put a strand of his son’s hair behind his ear. Hadrian flinched and closed his eyes, but he didn’t move one inch away from his father. Salazar knew that what he just did was very risky and could make everything infinitely worse, but he needed his son to see that he would never hurt him. Luckily his gesture had the desired effect. Hadrian opened his eyes and looked at him in confusion and relieve seeing that his father smiled at him.

“I know that you fear I would hurt you. Unfortunately, this fear won’t disappear overnight I'm aware of that, but that won’t stop me to scold you when you do something wrong,” Hadrian nodded looking at the floor. “Do you remember what I said to you the night I got you?”

His son thought about it shortly before he answered. “You said that when you hurt me, you lose your magic.”

“That is right” Salazar replied not noticing the dumbstruck expression on Sirius' face. “Keep that always in mind, okay?”

A smile crept on Hadrian's face, and he nodded before hugging his father.

“Good boy, and now go ready yourself.”

Hadrian was so over the moon because of the praise that he knocked over his father when he bumped into him for another hug. After that, he jumped up and ran out of the room and up the stairs.

Salazar shook his head while he got up and straightened his robe.

“You swore an oath on your magic to never hurt him?” Sirius asked in awe.

“Not only my magic,” Salazar answered dryly.

Sirius' eyes went comically wide upon that.

“Don’t you fear that this might backfire one day?”

“I swore to never hurt him physically on purpose. You should know that magic can differentiate between intended and unintended harm.”

“But what would be if you hurt him in a training duel for example?”

“As long as my intention wasn’t to deliberately hurt him I would be okay. It is as I said magic can distinguish that. Now come on, I show you your room.”

Salazar went out of the room and up the stairs. He gave Sirius the room on the left side of the stairs.

“Hadrian's room is over there on the right, and opposite of it is mine. The kitchen is in the back left on the ground floor. Should you need anything call for Trixy or Blinky, they will help you,” he explained.

“Thank you. I think I will go to bed too. The meeting and everything else exhausted me. See you tomorrow. ‘Night”

“Good night,” Salazar replied before going over to his son’s bedroom to get him to bed.

Sirius went into his room and got changed before lying on the bed. It seemed that Salazar had ordered the elves to get him some nightwear.

Despite being exhausted sleep didn’t claim him. So he laid there looking at the ceiling and thinking about everything that happened lately. While he had been in Azkaban, he often thought about how it would be seeing and living with his godson. He imagined him to be like his father James, but now he had to admit that they couldn’t be more different. Sure, he only saw him two times now, but he could clearly see the difference. Harry – or Hadrian was it now…he should really get used to it – was so mature for his age. What worried Sirius though was the reaction Hadrian showed when he got scolded by Salazar. But considering what the boy went through before he got here…Sirius sighed running a hand over his face. This was far from how he expected it to be when he finally met him.

He could only pray that he didn’t do anything stupid and ruin his only chance. Azkaban indeed had changed him so much was clear, let him become more mature. Hopefully, it was enough to be a good godfather to Hadrian. He didn’t want to lose him again because he was sure that he wouldn’t get a third chance. With that thought, he finally fell asleep.

 


 

 

Salazar in the meantime sat in his study and floo called Henrietta. He asked her to throw Dumbledore at least a bone or two so that he would be satisfied, perhaps even point him to the flat he owned in NY without him getting to know who really owns it. While it would be amusing to see what Dumbledore would do should he not get the information he wants he didn’t want the man to make a song and dance about it. The man was annoying enough as he was, thank you very much.

 


 

 

It was the next morning when Salazar entered the kitchen. Hadrian sat at the table, but he only shoved the food from one side to the other.

“Good morning. Is something wrong, Hadrian?” Salazar asked while pouring himself a cup of coffee but his son didn’t react. He just sat there lost in thought.

“Hadrian?” Salazar tried again and this time even touched him at the shoulder.

That finally ripped him from his thoughts.

“Oh, good morning dad,” he said with a low voice.

“What is wrong? I thought that the nightmares stopped.”

Since the day where they visited Sirius in the hospital, and Hadrian talked about what happened his nightmares, fortunately, hadn’t come back. It seemed that talking about it really helped.

“You're right. I hadn’t any nightmare. But I dreamt of my uncle anyway. It is how he looked at me in the dream…I don’t know it frightens me…” he replied while shoving his plate away.

“How did he look at you?”

“I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s scary. It is so different than when he was angry.”

Salazar hummed lowly. “Might you want to show me?” Hadrian looked at him confused, so Salazar knelt before him and explained. “When you look straight into my eyes and think about what frightens you I will be able to see it too. It won’t hurt I promise.”

Hadrian reluctantly nodded before he did as his father asked him to do. Salazar used a light Legilimens and instantly saw what his son meant. But that was not all. Other than his son he saw and recognised quite a few more details. Little movements, the stance and above all the gaze the obese man threw the boy.

Salazar knew for a fact that this was no dream but a memory that seemingly came to the surface this night. He knew it because other than memories, dreams were like a foggy scene, blurry and not quite there. Memories, on the other hand, were clear as day even if the person didn’t remember them. It also seemed to be quite a recent one from how old Hadrian looked in the memory, perhaps a few days before he got him.

That knowledge was what put the final nail into the coffins of the Dursleys. The entire scene screamed one thing: Child rape. Luckily it looked like his son wasn’t old enough yet for that man to try anything but he didn’t doubt for one second that it would have taken long should Hadrian have stayed there.

Salazar had a hard time to reign in his anger to not scare his son even more. He thought that he had seen the worst of those individuals, but that beats everything. This night he would make them pay for everything they did to his son.

“Dad? Is everything alright?” Hadrian was worried because his father hadn’t reacted for a few minutes now.

Just at that time, Sirius entered the kitchen. He looked a bit confused at the sight that greeted him.

“Is everything alright?” he asked which startled Salazar.

“What? Oh yes, I was only lost in thought. I’m sorry should I have worried you,” he said to his son with a smile giving him a kiss on the forehead. “To your dream…don’t worry about it. Even if it means more, always remember that he can’t get you. You are safe here, okay? I won’t let anyone harm you.”

Hadrian's face lit up, and he smiled before hugging his father.

“Good boy. Why don’t you go and get ready for our trip to Diagon Alley?”

The boy nodded and bolted through the door and ran to his room. Salazar on the other hand quickly erected a silencing charm and a few wards that would prevent his magic to be felt outside this room before he let his anger take over. With a flick of his hand, the plate his son had pushed aside flew through the room and shattered at the wall. The two house-elves who were buzzing around looked at him in shock before vanishing with a small pop. They knew better than to stay around when their master was in such a mood. It very rarely happened that he lost his composure in such a manner, but when it happened they quickly got out of his way.

“Salazar, what’s wrong?” Sirius who got himself a coffee and now sat at the table asked warily.

“What is wrong? I tell you what is wrong or better I show you,” Salazar looked straight into Sirius' eyes and sent him the image he received from his son just minutes ago.

Sirius winced slightly because he wasn’t very sensitive with it but when he saw the scene his eyes darkened. He wasn’t stupid, and he knew in an instant what enraged Salazar. The lust that was written all over the fat man’s face and his entire behaviour…one would have to blind to not see it.

“They will die…slowly…painfully,” Sirius growled.

A cold laugh escaped Salazar. “Oh Sirius, for what I have in mind for them is far worse than death. When I'm through with them, they will beg me to kill them but I won’t. Death is the one thing they will never receive.”

“Let me take part in it. I want to be there when they pay,” Sirius said with a cold hard gaze.

Salazar looked at him surprised thinking about what to do. “Are you sure? Once you walk down that path, there is no turning back. It will change you forever. You won’t be light anymore.”

Sirius snorted in amusement. “I was never light. Gray at best and I don’t care. They hurt my godson, and they will feel my wrath. With or without you.”

“Good. I’d say you go to bed early then. I’ll get you once I got them out of their home and to a place we would be undisturbed” Salazar replied with a wicked smile.

A nod was all he got as an answer because right at that moment Hadrian re-entered the kitchen obviously ready to go. Salazar cast a quick tempus only to see that they would have to be over with the Longbottoms in ten minutes. He and Sirius hurried to be ready and just in time they together with James left the house.

 


 

 

They spent the entire morning together in Diagon Alley. Their first stop was Twilfitt and Tatting’s a clothing shop that sells high-quality clothes. Madame Malkin’s wasn’t a bad shop, but she doesn’t offer the high-end drapery like T&T did. Sirius and the Longbottoms got complete new wardrobes while Hadrian got a dragon hide coat and some dragon hide boots. James only got him some regular mundane shoes, but for their trip to China, those would be better. Even Neville who also accompanied them got some new clothes for their holiday.

Since they had to wait two hours for the clothes to be crafted, they decided to eat an ice-cream at Fortescue’s. After they finished it, Hadrian, Neville and James went to F&B to get some books while Sirius and the Longbottoms went to Gringotts. Salazar didn’t need to go with them because he knew that they would be safe there. The goblins would defend them should it be required. He told the goblins that they were in the know and asked for preferential treatment for them. They wouldn’t get the same treatment as he did but things would, at last, get done quicker for them and a few things wouldn’t cost anymore.

Knowing that no one would be in danger, Salazar went hurriedly over to the Apothecary. He needed a few more potion ingredients because some went low after he brewed the potions for Sylvia.

A few minutes later Sirius, Salazar and the Longbottoms met again in front of Gringotts. They just waited for James and the children when they saw a familiar face approaching them. Dumbledore.

It seemed that they wouldn’t get rid of that fool no matter what. Luckily Salazar decided to go out under the glamour as Jack Hardinger. At first, it confused the Longbottoms but after a quick explanation they approved of it, and now it seems that it was the right decision.

“Good day Sirius, Mr Hardinger, you have my gratitude for talking to Ms Coulson. I finally got some information regarding the whereabouts of Mr Potter,” he said with his usual twinkle in the eyes and the grandfatherly smile before continuing without letting them say anything. “Oh, Alice and Frank Longbottom, nice to see you out and about. I heard that you woke up. How are you and how is your son?”

“Dumbledore. What a surprise meeting you here. Yes, we were released just yesterday, and we’re on a shopping trip at the moment. Our son should be around here somewhere,” Alice replied with a friendly smile.

“Sure, sure, perhaps we can meet for a cup of tea next week? There are quite a few things I’d like to talk about with you.”

“I’m sorry, but we’re out of the country then,” Frank simply stated.

Right at that moment Hadrian, Neville and James exited the bookshop and came over. James upon seeing Dumbledore cast a quick glamour on Hadrian not putting his wand back after that holding it in a way that it wasn’t seen but so that he could act quickly if needed.

Hadrian looked at Dumbledore warily while walking up to his father and grabbing his hand tightly. Neville also looked not very happy. Hadrian told him what the man did to him resulting in a deep dislike of Dumbledore.

“Dad, what is Dumby doing here? I don’t like him…he is scary,” he asked innocently.

Dumbledore made a choking sound when he heard how the boy called him.

“My boy, it isn’t very nice to mangle someone’s name without his approval,” Dumbledore scolded him.

Hadrian gave him a look that said he didn’t care before he squinted and suddenly Dumbledore's hair and beard were bright neon pink. Sirius snorted when he saw it, and even Salazar smiled while Hadrian and Neville giggled.

“And here I thought that the flying lesson he gave you was indication enough to not scare him again. I also asked you to not do it again, but it seems I fall on deaf ears with it,” Salazar growled.

Dumbledore who needed to dissolve the tension and that quickly crouched down and gave him the best smile he could muster.

“Hadrian, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to scare you. Can you forgive me, my boy?” he said.

Hadrian didn’t know what to do. On the one hand, he didn’t want to antagonise the man any further, but on the other, he knew very well that Dumbledore was the reason for him being left with the Dursleys. Other than that, he hated how he talked to him. He was not his boy.

Salazar who felt the struggle in his son reassuringly smiled at him. Whatever Hadrian would do he would support him.

That was when an idea occurred to him. He poked Dumbledore on the chest just hard enough to destabilise him. Considering that the man was balancing on his toes, it wasn’t that hard. With a thud, the old man fell flat on his butt. Quite a few people who walked by and saw that looked at him in shock and disbelieve while others smirked. It wasn’t every day that a man like Dumbledore was brought down by a small boy.

“What did you do that for?” Dumbledore asked affected while getting up and straightening his robe.

“For calling me ‘my boy’, I don’t like that Dumby,” Hadrian pouted.

Knowing that when he continued the way he did the embarrassment would be even greater, he retreated for now.

“Very well. I leave. Alice, Frank, Sirius, Mr Hardinger…Hadrian,” the twinkling dimmed when he nodded towards Hadrian. “Have a nice day.”

Without any further comment, Dumbledore stalked towards the Leaky Cauldron still having his hair pink.

“Hadrian, that was simply hilarious,” Sirius beamed proudly of what his godson did. No matter how mature he had become, his Marauder streak would never vanish completely.

“I have to admit that this was the most interesting way to deal with this situation. Well done, son. Perhaps now he respects your wishes.”

Hadrian’s face was split into two with how he smiled. He never got compliments when he was with the Dursleys, but with his dad it was different. Now he was always complimented when he did something good even when it was only small things. He loved it, and he swore to himself to never disappoint his father.

About a minute later, the entire group set into motion. They picked up their clothes, and after lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, they all went back home. The Longbottoms said they would stay in contact regarding the holiday. Sirius travelled onwards to Germany to get his wand and so Salazar and Hadrian were alone.

“What do you think? Do you want to try brewing a potion?”

Hadrian who anticipated this for a while now nodded eagerly.

Salazar smiled upon the eagerness of his son. “Okay then get your book and come to my study.”

Not two minutes later Hadrian was back, and they both went into the potions lab that was right next to the study.

In the middle of the room were two tables that faced each other. One was lower than the other so that Hadrian could stand at it comfortably. On each table was a circle of rune-stones with a Bunsen burner in the middle as well as a book stand to the side.

Along the walls were several other tables with devices you would find more likely in a chemistry lab. There was also a large shelf with books in it.

Next to it were cupboards with jars, bottles, and several other containers in it. Each container has a label on it which stated what was in it. They were sorted in alphabetical order. In one corner stood two chairs at a small table.

“So first things first,” Salazar started while going over to the sink to fetch his son’s cauldron.

He placed it over the burner on the lower table.

“Do you see those stones?” Hadrian nodded. “Potions can become quite dangerous when you do something wrong. Those stones will prevent you from getting hurt. So don’t worry if something goes wrong.”

It was something Salazar came up with when one of his potions went wrong and blew up. The rune stones prevent anything from getting out of them. Even the fumes couldn’t get out which was a nice side effect because otherwise your hair would become quite greasy and you would have to bath after finishing the potion. They were also firmly attached to the table so that they couldn’t be moved accidentally and the circle be broken.

Salazar went over to one of the cupboards. “This cupboard is yours. All your ingredients and equipment is in here. I’d like to ask you to not touch the other ingredient cupboards because there are dangerous and poisonous things in there.”

Hadrian again nodded.

“There is one rule though you are not to break under any given circumstance. Never ever use magic with potion ingredients around you except you know for sure that it doesn’t react to them. Only a very few spells don’t react violently when coming into touch with ingredients or potions, do you understand that?”

His son looked a bit scared, but that was a point Salazar had to make clear.

“No magic next to ingredients,” he replied.

“Good. Then I would say you try to brew the cure for boils. It is the first potion in the book and the easiest to brew. Do you want me to help you or want to try alone?”

After thinking about it for a few seconds he replied. “I would like to try doing it alone.”

“Okay. I will be at my own table. Should you have any question, don’t hesitate to ask. There is nothing wrong in asking for help,” Salazar smiled at him while ruffling his hair which earned him an indignant look.

Hadrian rummaged in his bag and pulled out his potions book and placed it on the book stand opened on the appropriate page. He looked up which ingredients he would need as well as which paraphernalia. Picking up everything he needed he put it on the table.

Salazar observed that with interest before getting a cauldron himself and preparing for brewing himself. He would brew one of the simpler potions Sylvia requested so that he could watch his son comfortably without running the risk of ruining his own potion.

Just when he wanted to start preparing one of the ingredients, he saw that his son looked a bit lost. Hadrian looked back and forth between his cauldron and the sink obviously contemplating how to fill it with water.

“Dad? Could you please help me filling my cauldron with water?” he finally asked.

“Oh yes, sure. I totally forgot about it,” Salazar replied.

With a quick Aguamenti Charm, he filled his son’s cauldron with water. Hadrian looked at it in confusion and awe.

Salazar smiled before he started to explain. “This was the Aguamenti Charm. It conjures up water and is one of those spells you can use here.”

“Nice, thank you,” he filed this knowledge for later use.

Salazar went back to his own work while Hadrian checked the book for what he had to do. He mused about how to continue. Should he prepare the ingredients beforehand or better when they are due to be added? Still thinking about what to do he observed his father who now chopped up his second ingredient. Deciding that if his father prepared everything beforehand, he should do it too. So he went to work and arranged everything according to the book storing it in small bowls for the later use. His father who saw that smiled.

When he finished the preparations, he turned on the burner. It took quite a few minutes until the water reached the right temperature. Hadrian scowled. He should have lit the stove right at the beginning then he wouldn’t have to wait.

Once the water was at the right temperature, he started to add the ingredients. He was just at the stage to heat up the potion for ten seconds when he reached a problem.

“Uhm dad, it says here that I should wave my wand. I have none…” he asked a bit confused.

“Ah, this is to imbue the potion with your magic. You have to do it to activate the magical properties of the ingredients,” Salazar explained.

He just wanted to pick up his wand to help his son with that stage of the potion when he saw his son raised his hand pointing it at the potion. Wanting to see what this was about he waited when suddenly the potion changed colour as described in the book. Hadrian nodded pleased with the result. Now the potion would have to simmer for about 35 minutes.

“That was very well done,” he smiled while stirring his own potion.

Hadrian who had to wait before he could continue sat down at the table and started to read one of the books he got that day. About twenty minutes later the door to the lab opened, and Sirius came in obviously successful in getting his wand.

“Hey. James told me I would find you here. What are you doing?” he said while looking into Hadrian's cauldron.

“Dad lets me brew my first potion. I have to wait at the moment,” Hadrian looked up from his book.

“Cure for Boils as I see. I'm absolutely crap at potions,” Sirius chuckled. “I blew up my cauldron more often than not. Only became an Auror because of my duelling skills.”

“Perhaps then you should stay away from the cauldron and sit down before something happens,” Salazar deadpanned.

Sirius huffed but did as he was told. “Your father, James, also couldn’t brew worth a damn. Lily, your mother, always teased him that he would even manage to burn water,” he told Hadrian. “She was pretty good at it though but considering whose descendant she was…”

He still had problems wrapping his head around the fact that Lily Potter was the direct descendant of the man in front of him. So much happened the last few days, his entire world had been brought upside down. Friends he trusted were suddenly the bad guys, and people he thought he wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole helped him…saved him. It was still a mystery to him how Dumbledore could have deceived him like he did. He sighed, there was no point in musing about the past.

Sirius told his godson a bit more about his birth parents until the potion was due for the next brewing stage. While Sirius opened the newspaper he brought with him, Hadrian went over to his potion. He continued the brewing, and about five minutes later he finished.

The potion emitted a pink smoke and even the colour was correct, but it looked like Hadrian wasn’t entirely satisfied with the result.

“For your first potion this is an outstanding result,” his father praised him after looking at it. “Not many get it that good in their first attempt.”

“I don’t know…I have the feeling it could be better,” Hadrian mused while placing a sample in a small vial. It wasn’t that he wanted to use it but a sample for reference.

“Hadrian, potions always could be better, stronger or be brewed faster. There is no ‘perfect’ result with brewing. You have to decide on what you want to focus. Otherwise you will be disappointed,” his father lectured him.

“That wasn’t what I meant,” he shook his head. “It is more that I have the feeling that the recipe in itself is…” he threw up his hands in frustration. How does one explain that he could feel the reaction of the potion to the certain ingredients and that it was mediocre at best? “Can I try again?” he finally asked.

“Sure, I need another hour at least so that should be no problem,” with a flick of his wand he banished the rest of his son’s potion and cleaned the cauldron before filling it with new water.

“Thanks,” Hadrian said while walking over to the cupboard and fetching new ingredients. He also took out a few additional ones that weren’t in the original recipe.

“You're welcome.”

He put on the burner before starting to prepare the ingredients. His father observed his son curious about what he was doing. Next, to the parts he used the first time Hadrian also took out dried nettles, ginger root and…chamomile? The first two Salazar knew could be used for that potion but what would his son want with the chamomile? He decided to let him do what he wants. It wasn’t that he was in any danger, so he allowed him to experiment.

About forty minutes later he finished his second attempt on the Boil-Cure. This time he was more satisfied with the result.

“I have to admit that this one is better than your first one. Why did you add chamomile?” he asked in curiosity.

“The herb book said it is good against inflammation and considering what the potion is for…” he shrugged. “I also felt that it would be a good addition.”

Salazar was absolutely baffled. Not only that his son was really good at brewing potions putting into account that he wasn’t even six years old, he also was able to put the knowledge he gained from the books he read to use and improve the potion. He had the potential to become one of the greatest Potions Masters of all times. Even better than he was.

“I only have to find a better method for extracting the oil,” he muttered again taking a sample of the potion and labelling it.

Upon hearing that Salazar went over to the bookshelf and picked up a chemistry book that mainly dealt with distillation and how to extract substances from different plants. It wasn’t that easy to read, but Hadrian could always ask him for an explanation.

“Perhaps you should read that then. Should you have problems understanding it don’t hesitate to ask me.”

Hadrian gleamed at his father. “Thank you.”

“No problem. Come on now clean your tools and put them where they belong,” he said while starting to clean up the cauldron before putting it on the drying rack.

His son did as he was asked before taking out a notebook and pen to write down about the potions he brewed. He wanted to keep track upon how he prepared the ingredients and what he changed. It might prove useful later on.

In the meantime, Salazar finished his own potion and now left it to cool down. Later that evening he would bottle it up and send over to St. Mungos.

 


 

 

It was late in the night, two in the morning to be precise. Everyone else was long since sleeping, but Salazar was wide awake. He stood in his bedroom wearing a simple plain black robe and black gloves. Concentrating for a bit a white bone mask, like the one the Death Eaters wore, fell into his right hand. A predatory grin appeared on his face. Oh yes with one thing those idiots were right. Being recognised while doing something highly criminal was a bad idea. He put on the mask and the black hood of the robe before he vanished. It was time to give the Dursleys the treatment they deserved.

He reappeared inside of Privet Drive No. 4 right behind the front door. Cloaking his magic beforehand ensured that the wards didn’t trigger, not yet anyway. After giving the cupboard under the stairs a glare, he turned right and went up the stairs silently. Reaching the first floor, he found himself in a small corridor with four doors. One would lead into a bathroom while one should be the main bedroom and another the bedroom of their child.

Salazar silently crept up to the first door and leaned against it to listen. He heard snoring from the other side. So he carefully and quietly opened the door to find out that this indeed was the master bedroom. With soft steps, he walked up to the foot of the bed. Grabbing both adults at an ankle, black flames engulfed the three, and they vanished into thin air before the Dursleys could even wake up properly.

It took only a few seconds before Salazar reappeared in the corridor. The next door he tried led into an empty bedroom and the third into the bathroom. So with a determined pace, he approached the last door, opened it and walked in. With a swift move, he held upon the obese child, and again he vanished together with him in black flames.

 


 

 

Would have anyone been awake at that unholy time in the night he could have seen a black hooded figure appear in front of Priv. Drive No. 4. But luckily everyone was sleeping. Salazar's green eyes seemed to glow in the dark of the street. Now that the Dursleys were successfully brought to where they deserved to be the first fun part of this night could begin, better to be described as giving Dumbledore a massive headache.

Salazar took down the cloaking of his magic while taking out his wand. It was a spare wand he got so many years ago that no one would be able to tell who the owner was. With a few flicks, he tore the wards on the house apart before blasting the front door into smithereens.

That alone should set off every possible alarm. Not only Dumbledore’s but also the ones in the Ministry since this was a mundane neighbourhood. Knowing that he wouldn’t have much time before either the Aurors or Dumbledore would show up, Salazar quickly went into the house. He placed a few curses over the place to make it look like there had been a fight and chasing through the house. When he was finished he put the mask he wore on the floor before breaking it deliberately. After that, he also broke his wand and dropped it. There was no point in keeping it.

Outside the house, several cracks were heard, and with a quick glance out of the window, he saw that the Aurors arrived. All in all eight persons showed up from which four went through the front entrance while the other four surrounded the house. Every one of them had the wand drawn. They just entered the house when Salazar disappeared in black flames for the last time from this place.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 19: Heaven and Hell

 

Outside the house several cracks were heard, and with a quick glance out of the window, he saw that the Aurors arrived. […] They just entered the house when Salazar disappeared in black flames for the last time from this place.

 

He reappeared in his own townhouse in front of Sirius room. After knocking sharply, he went in without waiting for a reply. Sirius just stirred in his bed and looked at him in confusion not really awake yet.

“Black, do you still want to accompany me with the Dursleys?” Salazar asked.

Sirius was wide awake within a split second and got out of bed. He went over to his clothes he threw over a chair earlier this night and got dressed before picking up his wand and holster and stripping it to his forearm.

“I'm ready to go,” he said about five minutes later with a glee in his eyes.

“First you have to drink this,” Salazar hold out a phial with amber liquid in it while drinking one of his own.

“What is it?”

“Let’s just say that you will need it where we’re going and that Sylvia would kill me should I take you there without it,” Salazar deadpanned.

Since he saw him drinking it to without any side-effects, Sirius shrugged and downed his potion too. Nodding Salazar grabbed the other man’s arm before both vanished in black flames.

“What was that?” Sirius asked confused. “This was no form of travel I know of.”

“Because no one else knows about it, not to mention can perform it. It’s quite useful though to get around any anti-apparition or portkey wards like they are erected here,” Salazar smiled. “Do you really think that you know everything that is to know about me?”

Sirius blushed before taking a look around. They were in a cold, damp corridor with dark stonewalls. On one side were several cells with bars separating the inside from them, they were deserted though. In the distant Sirius could feel a presence far too familiar to him for his liking though it was dulled and not really bothering him. To him, it was like there was a shield around his mind that prevented their effect from taking hold, probably because of the potion. He knew they were there, but their powers had no effect upon him not like in the four years he had to stay here.

“Azkaban,” he whispered. It wasn’t a question but a statement.

“You're right. We are in a long abandoned and forgotten part of Azkaban deep beneath the normal prison. This part is so heavily warded and so well hidden that even death can’t reach this place,” Salazar explained with a devilish smile.

“That is impossible,” Sirius retorted with determination.

“You will find it is not. Ekrizdis, the builder of this place, was a very powerful sorcerer and Necromant. He warded this place with so much rune-wards and other things you better not think about, that death literally can’t reach down here. One even can’t fall unconscious here. I found this place when I explored Azkaban after the unplottable charms came down with the death of Ekrizdis.”

“Have you ever used this place before?” Sirius didn’t want to think about what was possible when the victim can’t die, not to mention having to live through torture without the mercy of falling unconscious.

“Only once. With the man that killed my own son…my first one, you know what I mean. I kept him here for several decades before finally letting him go,” Sirius looked at him questioningly. “My son died in a raid on his house in 1092. This entire thing was planned and lead by one man who accused him of being evil because he hadn’t saved his wife from dying during childbirth. There was nothing my son could have done to save her but the man blamed him nevertheless. Well, he paid dearly for this.”

“But wait, hadn’t Azkaban been built in the 15th century?” this didn’t add up.

“I don’t know where this mistake comes from, but Ekrizdis lived in the 5th century, not the 15th. Though the entire fortress was hidden under a concealment charm until it faded away in the 15th century so perhaps that is the reason or someone simply made out of the five a fifteen. But since I knew about it beforehand, I could access it. Though I never really bothered except those two times.”

“Well, where is our nightly entertainment then?” the gleam returned to Sirius' eyes.

It was evident that the man inherited at least some of the so-called ‘Black madness’ that engulfed so many of the family into the abyss.

“Follow me.”

They both went down the corridor until they reached the last cell. Inside were both of the elder Dursleys cowering against each other and shivering slightly.

“YOU!” Vernon started to shout. “Who are you? Where are we? Where is our son Dudley?” he demanded to know while he stood up and clasped the bars with his hands.

“Son?” Sirius was a bit confused.

“Yes they have a walrus of a son called Dudley who is about the same age as Hadrian,” Salazar explained.

“Where is he?” slowly dread rose within Sirius. He had no problem with making adults who knew what they did pay, but a six years old boy? No way.

“Oh, he is well and safe and about to receive some re-education. You know those two there are probably the worst parents on this planet. One child spoiled beyond everything not even knowing his borders and what the word ‘no’ means. The other neglected, abused and hell knows what else.”

Sirius looked at him contemplating whether he is truthful or not. Seeing that Salazar expanded his explanation.

“For your peace of mind I tell you what I did,” he said before starting to tell what exactly he did.

 


 

 

~Flashback~

 

Salazar appeared with Dudley Dursley in a side alley of a massive complex of buildings. The sun was standing high and shining outside of the aisle but they stood in the dark. Just at that moment the boy woke up entirely and started to fight him. Luckily Salazar threw up a silencing charm on their arrival so that no one could hear them.

“Boy, if I were you I’d stop throwing a fit in an instant,” Salazar hissed.

“Who are you? Where are my parents? What do you want?” Dudley totally ignoring the threat the man posed and keeping on rambling nearly whining while trying to hit and kick Salazar, not that he was successful. “Bring me back…NOW!”

Salazar laughed. “Bringing you back you insolent spoiled little brat? You hurt Harry…beat him on to the brink of unconsciousness. No, I won’t bring you back.”

Dudley’s eyes went wide when he heard that. He even stopped with his movements.

“You're one of those freaks? Get away from me. I don’t want anything to do with you,” he screamed, panic clearly tainting his voice now that he finally recognised Salazar as a wizard.

Looking around for a way to escape he knew it would be in vain. He had heard about magic when he one day mentioned it because of some film on television. What his parents told him bestowed nightmares upon him for several nights. Therefore it was no wonder he wanted to get away from the man who abducted him in the middle of the night.

Salazar took a step close to him now towering over him, letting his magic flair around him. He knew that mundane people didn’t feel it the way like magicals did, but it was threatening none the less.

“You should be grateful that I don’t raise my wand against children or you would receive the same treatment your parents are about to get. But don’t think I let you get away though. You have to decide here and now. Either you behave yourself, or I’ll kill your parents, your friends and everyone else you hold dear. It’s your choice,” Salazar growled lowly.

He wouldn’t kill anyone, especially not children, but that wasn’t something the boy needed to know.

Dudley made a move towards Salazar as if he wanted to attack him again in despair, but with a swift flick of his wrist the man had his wand in his hand and pointed it threateningly at him. Deciding that he was at a considerable disadvantage Dudley froze and stayed still. It seems that his parents at least taught him one thing: Fear of magic.

Salazar though transfigured the boy’s nightclothes with a flick of his wand into some mundane street clothes. He cast a glamour upon himself so that he resembled the boy in front of him only older and also in mundane clothes.

“Follow me. One move into the wrong direction or one sound and…” Dudley nodded fearfully. “Good.”

Salazar cancelled the silencing charm and walked out of the ally and towards the main entrance of the building. Once inside he went to the reception. Dudley only one step behind him.

“Good mornin’, Sir. How may I be of assistance?” the receptionist greeted him.

“Good morning, my name is John Smith. I fear that I need your help. My son Howard…he is becoming more and more a troublemaker. You know it first started quite harmless, orders he disobeyed or work he didn’t do but now…I'm at the end of my tether,” he shrugged helplessly.

Dudley stared at him as if he was mad. “My name’s not Howard, and I'm not your son. Where are we? What is this? Where are my parents? LET ME GO!” he screeched in panic before bolting for the door.

He didn’t get far though since the door was guarded by two security men who promptly stopped the boy and guided him back. Such escape tries were seen often in this institution hence the security measurements.

“You see? He even denies me…I don’t know what I can do anymore,” Salazar sighed.

“That’s what we’re here for, Mr Smith. If you would please follow me, I’ll guide you to the director. He will talk with you about what our school has to offer and possible placement of your son here.”

Salazar followed the woman down a corridor and shot Dudley a glare that promised nothing good should he try anything else. So the boy ambled after them. Dudley had to sit in an antechamber while Salazar talked to the director. After about five minutes he thought he might finally be able to get away only to find the door locked. In a rage fit, he started laying waste to the furniture in the room. It was something he shouldn’t have done because when a few minutes later Salazar and the director came out of the office, he knew he was in trouble. Both adults were giving him glares that promised nothing good.

“So you're one of the tough cases. But don’t worry we will teach you to behave. Mr Smith, you can trust us that your boy will become a muster child and don’t worry because of the damage. One of our rules here is that not the parents pay for the damage, but the children themselves whether might it be through repairing what they destroyed or hard labour if it is beyond repair. This is so that they learn that what they did was bad and not to rely on their parents to answer for their misbehaviour,” the director said towards Salazar. “And you my boy will now clean up this mess before you get your room assigned. Don’t laze around because this will only make matters worse.”

Dudley looked like he wanted to argue but quickly duck his head when he saw not only the gaze the director threw him but also Salazar's which promised pain and death if he didn’t behave. Therefore he started to clean up the mess he made promising to himself that he would leave as soon as possible. That this would be futile, he didn’t know.

So his first day but definitely not his last day at the Blackwater Ridge Institute for Difficult Children began.

“Thank you, director. Please keep me updated about your progress. Have a nice day,” with these words he left the office and Dudley behind. He could only hope that with time and the right education the boy would change. It wasn’t his fault that his parents were such idiots. Salazar would even go so far and help him get the schooling he wanted, but that would have to be seen.

The entire thing took forty-five minutes before Salazar could go back to business at Priv. Drive No. 4.

 

~Flashback end~

 


 

 

Sirius laughed his ass off when he heard that.

“This is truly the best punishment you could give such a child,” he said after calming down.

“He is six years old. Hopefully, they can help him become a well behaved young man instead of a spoiled idiot that is used to getting every one of his whims fulfilled.”

“But are you really sure with this non-dying part?” Sirius couldn’t believe it.

“Yes, I am but for your sake…Avada Kedavra,” he pointed his wand at Petunia who cried out and grabbed her chest like having a heart attack when the green light hit her. She wasn’t dead though.

“Wicked.”

In the meantime, Vernon became even redder in his face and shouted while Petunia joined screeching like a harpy after recovering from the curse which was surprisingly quick.

“Let us out you maniac and give us our son back,” she screamed in a high pitched voice. “When the police get wind of this…”

“I shall let you out?” Salazar mocked. “Why in the name of Merlin should I do this? You beat Harry, starved him, and I don’t want to know what else you did to him. So tell me on what basis shall I let you out?”

“You're one of those freaks,” Vernon roared. “Let us out in an instant. You surely also have laws that prohibit the abduction and torture of others.”

“Oh, we have and should the Aurors ever get to know of this I'm sure they would try to imprison me in Azkaban if not getting me kissed in an instant. But here’s some news for you: they will never find out. And now shut up! Sanguinem Ferventis,” Salazar hissed.

The curse hit Vernon, and the man instantly started to scream. It was a pain on par with any Cruciatus curse that rushed through his body because this curse let his blood boil.

“What are you doing? Leave him alone you monster,” Petunia screeched over her husband’s screams.

This was when Sirius had enough. “I always hated you wholeheartedly so this will be a pleasure for me. Confringo.”

The Blasting Curse hit her right shoulder but thanks to the low power with what Sirius cast the curse no real damage was inflicted. Instead, it hurt like hell.

Both men continued cursing the two monsters for several hours venting their anger and hatred. The most fun they had was with the Imperius curse. Letting those two do what they wouldn’t do in a thousand years was very satisfying. They only stopped when Salazar pointed out that it was well after six in the morning and they would have to return soon.

“Erase the evidence from your wand, Sirius. In the meantime, I have to have a conversation with the Dementors.”

“Do I want to know?”

“Surely not,” Salazar laughed.

He then walked down the corridor and some stairs up to the real prison. He entered it through a hidden door no one else knew about and approached the first dementor he saw.

Flaring his magic towards the creature to show him who he was and that the creature better not tried anything he spoke in a demanding tone. “I want to speak to your leader.”

The Dementor flew away quickly, and it took only a few minutes before he returned with another one. This one was different from the normal Dementors that guarded Azkaban. Not only was he much larger but he also wore a black metal crown with large spikes.

“King,” Salazar spoke up while bowing slightly to show his respect. “I wanted to inform you that I have some new residents in the high warded area of Azkaban. Feel free to have your fun with them while I'm not here but please don’t kiss them. I want them to suffer not braindead.”

“What a pleasure to see you again, Serpent King. We appreciate the distraction you offer to us. I will personally see to it that your wish will be respected,” the Dementor King answered, his raspy voice deep and distorted.

Dementors loved having prisoners in the warded part because they could do so much more with them than with the regular ones. Humans could take only so much before they collapsed, but the wards prevented that. Unfortunately, they didn’t have many prisoners down there. The last one also was provided by Salazar, but that was centuries ago. It was also doubtful that they would kiss them since torturing braindead people with their powers was kind of pointless.

“Thank you,” Salazar bowed again before leaving back to Sirius.

When he reached Sirius who just finished casting some simple spells to erase the evidence from his wand they both vanished in black flames. Salazar having erased any evidence from his wand on his way to and from the Dementors.

 


 

 

About half an hour and a good shower later both men sat in the kitchen with hot coffee before each of them.

“That was really liberating. Thank you for letting me participate,” Sirius said while sipping his coffee.

“You're right. Casting whatever spell you want without fearing punishment is really liberating. I hope that with Augusta as Minister that we can get rid of several repressing laws. Especially those who confine the usage of magic the light side considers ‘dark’, or better Dumbledore considers dark. Not to mention those stupid laws to suppress the creatures,” he spat the name with so much venom.

“I hope you're right and that this will get through,” Sirius mused. He had to think of Remus. The letter he sent while being confined to bed at St. Mungo's hasn’t been answered yet. He could only pray that his Werewolf friend was alright. There was so much he had to tell him and apologize for.

Right at that moment, Sylvia entered together with Hadrian.

“Good morning. What have you been doing all night? You look like you haven’t slept at all,” she scolded the two men, ever the healer.

“Well I for my part haven’t slept that’s true. We let off some steam,” Salazar replied.

She cast some diagnostic charms over them only to sigh.

“Salazar no offence but you really should take a break. Your core is nearly depleted, and you definitely need some nights of good sleep. I’d advise you to refrain from doing much magic during our holiday,” she said with a stern look which let Hadrian snicker.

“Yes, mum!” Salazar retorted and gave his son a look that said he didn’t find this the slightest little bit funny.

He had done this for him after all. But Hadrian was utterly unimpressed by the gaze and snickered, even more, finding it hilarious that his father, older than anyone would deem possible, was scolded by someone like a naughty child.

“Oh, you…laughing about me…just wait for my revenge,” he growled playfully before starting to tickle his son until he couldn’t breathe any more. “I hope that teaches you not to laugh about me,” Salazar laughed himself.

Sirius, still on a high from earlier, decided to intervene and flicked with his wand. Salazar’s hair suddenly sported the Gryffindor house colours. “You let my godson laugh as much as he likes,” he deadpanned.

“Don’t you dare,” with a flick of his wrist Salazar had his own wand in hand and waved it towards Sirius who now fittingly had emerald green hair with silver streaks. He completely ignored what Sylvia just said a minute ago.

Said healer pinched the bridge of her nose and shook her head exasperatedly…men, she would never understand them. But Salazar was old enough to take care of himself, and if he ended up with a crippled magical core it was not her fault, she warned him. That thought let her snicker, Merlin if not him who is old enough to care for themselves?

“Is that all you're capable of, old man?” Sirius taunted his playful Marauder personality flashing through.

With that, any restrictions fell and both started to jinx the respective other. Hadrian sat there looking at them both in astonishment and amusement. It didn’t take long before he began to snicker and later broke out into a full laughter. Several jinxes hit their target since they rarely bothered to throw up shields and now both adults looked more like strange crossbreed animals than human. Sirius was covered in green feathers while having cat ears and tail combined with the nose of a mouse. But Salazar wasn’t any better. He had fur in the colours of Gryffindor, the ears of an elephant and a pig snout. On top of that, they both weren’t able to speak properly anymore. Sirius only spoke in riddles while Salazar sang operas so off key that it wasn’t funny anymore.

When Hadrian fell from his chair laughing so hard that he could barely breathe both stopped their attacks. They looked at Hadrian before looking at each other. Upon seeing how they looked, they started to laugh too.

“I have to admit that I haven’t had so much fun for quite some time now,” Salazar finally said after cancelling the spells on him and Sirius. Wordless magic be thanked because otherwise, it would be doubtable that they would have succeeded.

“I second that. Never thought that I would get into a jinxing session with the proud and stiff Salazar Slytherin,” Sirius laughed.

“You will find out that some if not most of the stories about me are very farfetched.”

“True. So what are your plans for today?”

“Well, I have some business to attend to and perhaps some brewing in the afternoon,” here he threw his son a questioning glance upon which the boy nodded. “Thankfully the elves will take care about packing for our holiday. That reminds me…Hadrian should there be anything you like to take with you just place it on the desk in your room and they will pack it for you. Same for you two” he added with a look at Sirius and Sylvia.

They all nodded in understanding. Sylvia already instructed her own elf to bring over her trunk completely packed with everything she would need. She had tried to return to her house a few days ago, but it still was under siege by reporters and people trying to talk to her. Should she have any hope that this would soon stop, that went out through the window the moment she read the newspaper that was just delivered.

 


 

 

Harry Potter’s relatives gone missing – Death Eaters active again?

 

This night something strange happened. Some might say something terrible. Others that it was justice. But I think that most of you will agree with me that it is a mixture of both. You all remember when about a fortnight earlier Harry Potter went missing and it came to light that his relatives the Dursleys weren’t as caring as they should have been, confirmed by the Healer Sylvia Pye. This night though said relatives of the Boy-who-lived went missing.

It was about half past two in the morning when suddenly the alarms in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement went off because of excessive use of magic in a muggle neighbourhood, to be precisely the house where Harry Potter’s relatives live. When they arrived at the crime scene two minutes later, the dust had already settled. An Auror squad entered the building where the alarm came from only to find it deserted. Further investigations revealed that the traces of magic they found hinted to a fight and manhunt through the house. They also said that the remnants of a Death Eater’s mask were found at the crime scene.

“The Dursleys were surprised in their sleep, but from the look of it they put up some heavy fighting even when it was in vain in the end. As it seems they were victims to some unknown wizards or witches, probably Death Eaters, who chased them through the entire house. In the end, they took them to some unknown location. Yes, it is unlikely that they are dead since we found no trace of magic that would be able to kill them. I can assure you that we will do everything in our power to find the culprit,” Amelia Bones said in a press conference.

The question now arises what the Death Eaters would want from Harry Potter’s relatives. Did they hope that those abusive and uncaring individuals knew something about the whereabouts of the Boy-who-lived when they did not even care that he was missing? On the other hand, was it an act of revenge? Then why would the followers of the man said boy defeated at the tender age of one revenge him? Perhaps the mask was only a distraction, and someone entirely different was behind this?

We do not know yet, but we at the Daily Prophet are determined to find out. Until then we can only hope that the Aurors take care that the Death Eaters do not target some innocent civilian.

 

-Andy Smudgley-

 

For more about Harry Potter’s relatives see page 2

For more about the Death Eaters see page 2

For more about Amelia Bones see page 9

 


 

 

“Oh great. That only reminds them about me,” Sylvia complained though she snickered at the fact that Bones only did everything in her might for the culprit to be found but not the Dursleys. It seems that nobody really cared about them.

Salazar who read his own edition nodded in agreement. Yes, they both had their own version since they both had an abo for the Prophet and it was always delivered to the person, not their home, as long as they were somewhere on the British island.

After breakfast, Sirius took it upon himself to teach Hadrian Wizarding Chess in the library. Sylvia went to attend to a few final preparations for the holidays while Salazar retreated to his study to look over his business so that they were in order.

About eleven o’clock then Reichard dropped in. He informed Salazar that he finished his research about Horcruxes. Unfortunately, he found no way to locate them, but he was sure how to destroy them without the main soul piece being aware of it. Salazar advised him to meet with Bones to see what can be done about localising those blasted things.

In the afternoon then Salazar and Hadrian did some more brewing. Hadrian insisted on going over his improved version of the boils cure again, he wasn’t content with it yet. Though he ended with blowing up his cauldron spectacularly. Thanks to the rune stones nothing happened to him. Salazar chuckled lowly which earned him a glare from his son and Sirius who again sat at the table observing them, not that he had much else to do.

“This can happen when experimenting, Hadrian. Do you think I never blew up my cauldron while trying to figuring out a new potion or improving an existing one? I don’t know how many cauldrons found an untimely end because of it and it is nothing to fret over or to be ashamed of. With time you will know better which ingredients don’t mix well and what to avoid,” he lectured while preparing another cauldron for his son.

Luckily his next attempt didn’t end in a molten cauldron, so Hadrian's mood was restored.

 


 

 

In the evening before Salazar brought his son to bed, he took a look over what he had packed in his trunk. When he saw it, he started to laugh. Hadrian packed every single book he owned.

“I doubt that you will have any time to read. These are holidays, not study sessions.”

Hadrian looked down blushing slightly. “I thought it would be better having them with me and not needing them than needing and not having them,” he muttered lowly somewhat embarrassed.

Salazar looked at his son with pride while walking over to the bed and sitting down. “Come here for a moment please,” Hadrian walked over and sat right next to him. “Originally I wanted to wait with this until we are back from our holiday, but it seems that it is better to tell you now. I have only two rules that I want you to follow.

“The first one is that you attend your lessons. Once we are back, I will set up a schedule for you. Some lessons will be with me, some with James and I’ll have to see whether the others will be included or not,” upon seeing the worried look on his sons face he elaborated that point further. “Don’t worry your lessons will be only in the morning so that you have enough free time. However, I think that you very well know that there are things you have to learn.”

“Will Neville have the lessons together with me?” Hadrian asked eagerly.

“Good question. I’ll have to talk to his parents what they think about it, but in general, nothing is standing in its way.

“Now to the second and far more important rule. From time to time I will tell you what to do. Most parents would expect that you comply and do what they want. I am different from that. Quite the contrary I even dare you to go against my orders,” a gleam entered Hadrian's eyes. “Before you get too ecstatic about it I should explain what I mean by it.

“What I want you to do is to think about what might happen when you don’t follow my order and whether that might be better or easier than following them. You should always keep in mind that not following orders has consequences which can be severe.

“For example, I tell you not to go into a forest. You have to think about why I told you not to go. It could be dangerous, or you could get lost. But on the other hand, you might find things you wouldn’t otherwise like new ingredients for potions or animals you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Now you have to contemplate whether the risk of going outweighs staying safe and then decide what to do. Do you understand what I mean?”

Hadrian cocked his head and thought about what his dad told him. “I think I do. So what you tell me would be more like advice what to do and should I decide to go against them I would have to bear the consequences. Like when I get caught with the hand in the cookie jar despite being told not to touch it I would have to endure the punishment,” he looked at Salazar to see whether he was right.

“Correct, but here we get to the second part of the rule. Argue. If you get caught with something you shouldn’t do, try to argue your way out of the punishment. Like earlier. I told you that you wouldn’t need your books during our holiday, but you gave an excellent argument to take them anyway. Or better you try and convince the person that the rule he or she erects doesn’t count for you or that he or she wouldn’t punish you despite you breaking said rule. For example, someone erects a curfew after which you shouldn’t leave your room anymore, but you do it anyway and get caught. Normally you would be punished but what if the person who caught you likes you so much that she looks the other way and lets you get away with it?”

“That would be convenient, but the situation wouldn’t arise if I don’t get caught in the first place,” Hadrian smiled.

“True, but you should always consider the worst possible outcome and be prepared. Like you argued with your books, better being prepared and not needing it than having to improvise later on.”

“What about bribing or blackmailing someone?” something his uncle was very fond of especially when it came to Dudley's temper tantrums.

“Well while both work as well you have to be careful with that. Bribing can be traced back so you should do it in ways that are not traceable. Blackmailing in the meantime can be very tricky. It only works as long as the person you blackmail fears the consequences of the information getting out. Once he overcomes that fear, he is in the position to blackmail you with the fact that you blackmailed him in the first place. So you always have to be careful that you don’t become the victim in the end. The problem also is that both methods are frowned upon and illegal.”

Hadrian nodded in understanding. “But why do you want me to go against orders and rules? I mean everyone else…”

“I don’t do this so that you disrespect rules or such but so that you learn something that can’t be taught. The slyness to talk oneself out of trouble, to bend the rules to ones benefit…that can’t be taught in lessons that comes through experience in life and own failures in doing so. With Dumbledore and Voldemort out and about…” he heavily sighed rubbing his face. “I’m sorry, I know that all you want is a normal life with friends and playing around. I don’t want to deny you a normal childhood hence why I worked so hard the last weeks to enable you at least most of it. But I fear that there are some things you have to learn and the art of manipulation and sweet-talk is one of them. You can’t get the better of them by playing by the rules.”

His son looked at him before he leaned against him and embraced him in a hug. “Dad, I understand, and I will do as you ask and learn as much as I can. You already did so much for me…it is the least I can do.”

Salazar was stunned by Hadrian's words. A warmth spread through him, and he realised that he would move heaven and earth to ensure that his son was prepared and safe from Dumbledore's manipulations all while giving him the childhood he deserves.

“I love you. But now you should go to bed you have to get up early tomorrow.”

Though this was wishful thinking. His son was far too excited to sleep properly.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 20: Heaven on Earth

 

Though this was wishful thinking. His son was far too excited to sleep properly.

 

The next morning Salazar, Sirius and Sylvia sat in the kitchen drinking some coffee and waiting for the Longbottoms to floo over so that they could take the portkey to China. However, none of them knew where exactly they would go and Salazar kept quiet about it. They sat there in silence drinking coffee and reading the newspapers which didn’t have anything interesting in them when the door opened, and a tired looking Hadrian entered.

“Mornin’,” he mumbled stifling a yawn.

“Good morning, I see there was someone too excited to sleep,” his dad greeted him giving him a hug. Hadrian blushed slightly.

“Uhuh.”

Salazar could see that his son was nearly falling asleep. Smiling he stood up walked over to the fridge which in fact was a simple cupboard with strong cooling charms, took out the orange juice, poured some into a glass and added half a vial of a potion.

“Here drink this it will wake you up,” he held out the glass to his son who picked it up and drank it. In an instant he was awake.

“Wow, what was that?” Hadrian asked astonished about how much better he felt.

“I added a potion against fatigue. Normally I wouldn’t give it to you but we have to take a portkey to China, and I don’t want to lose you somewhere over Russia because you were too tired to hold the grip on it. Now eat some before we depart,” he pointed at the breakfast standing beside him.

Hadrian did as he was asked and dug in.

About half an hour later suddenly someone burst through the kitchen door with a loud bang startling everyone. Looking up Hadrian saw that Neville and his parents, who strode in behind the boy with more decorum, arrived.

“Neville,” he exclaimed running over. “How are you? I'm so excited since this is my first holiday…” he started to rattle on seemingly without taking a breath. They both walked over to the other side of the room excitedly talking about what they thought where they would go and what they would do.

The adults in the room shook their head over the antics of the children. How much a few days could change a child or in this case two children. No one could deny the fact that the two were good for each other. Neville helped Hadrian to get over his past and enjoy life again while Hadrian got Neville to overcome his shyness.

“Good morning everyone” Alice greeted them with a warm smile. “We’re ready when you are. Our luggage is in the drawing room, and everything else is taken care of.”

“Good. The elves will take the luggage and will teleport with it to our destination while we will take a portkey. Hadrian, Neville if you have to take care of anything now is the last opportunity before we leave.”

Both boys quickly left the room, Hadrian checking his room for things left behind and Neville to go to the toilet before ten minutes later everyone met in the drawing room. Salazar had done a last tour through the house to see if everything was alright and all the windows closed not that it would make any difference it was just for appearance sake. The house would shut down itself once they all left since no one would be there for the next fortnight. James already went after preparing the breakfast to see together with the local elves that the mansion in China was ready for them.

“Okay all hold tightly onto the portkey,” he said while holding out a silver chain for everyone to grab. “The travel will take about two minutes so don’t let go before I say so,” this was more a bit of advice for the children.

“Activate!”

With that, they all were whisked away feeling a tug behind their navel. As Salazar said about two minutes later, they stood in front of a large building on a hill overseeing a village of maybe three or four hundred inhabitants. All in all, it was a sight to behold.

The building they stood in front of was in traditional Chinese style with curved roofs, red pillars and white walls interrupted by red wooden planks. It looked more like a Chinese palace or temple than a mansion. Towards the village led broad stone stairs lined with little stone lanterns and in midway on a landing was a huge metal bowel where a fire merrily burned.

The village was built in the same architectural style as the mansion with a small stream going right through it. A market place was located right next to it with the biggest tree in the middle Hadrian had ever seen, spending shadow. They could see people bustling through the streets, some of them obviously magical since they levitated goods and crates while others tried to sell their wares in shops. At the right edge of the village, a few fields and greenhouses were located where many different crops were growing while on the right side a vast forest spread along the mountain chain. Looking from one side to the other you could see that the village was located in a valley surrounded by high mountains covered in snow only the valley being free of it.

They all looked around the valley taking the sight before them in, when suddenly Alice took a sharp breath. “Is…is that…?”

“A dragon? Yes,” Salazar answered looking in the same direction as her.

On one of the spacious grasslands around the village lay a giant charcoal coloured creature. One might say it had the stature of a Pegasus only that it was a dragon. It had four legs, and the wings came from the shoulder blades and weren’t like it was with the dragons they knew combined with the forelegs.

“The one you see over there is Xuan. He is one of the oldest and wisest dragons alive with over 1300 years, and he belongs to the very rare celestial breed which you can see at the ruff and the whiskers he has. Don’t worry every creature you'll find here is very well behaved and as long as you treat them with the respect they deserve, you'll have no problem. They belong to this community as well as every magical and non-magical person human or non-human you find here. Welcome to Shangri-La the sanctuary for everyone who seeks peace and a friendly community without prejudice about who or what you or your ancestors are,” he introduced them.

“Wait, Shangri-La? I heard about it…it’s a myth,” Sylvia looked at him in disbelieve.

“You're right. For most people it is a myth since they wouldn’t be able to come here. The entire valley is heavily warded and on top of that comes sacrificial protection that prevents everyone who has ulterior motives from even seeing this valley. Besides that it is unplottable, so no one knows where exactly it is located,” Salazar explained. “Most newcomers here are either brought here by one of the people living here which is very rare or through sheer happenstance which is even rarer. The last person stumbling upon this place was a mundane woman who crash-landed with her aeroplane in 1937. Her name was Amelia Earhart,” he snickered remembering the young woman.

The whole world still wondered where she disappeared to assuming that she vanished over the Pacific Ocean. After crash-landing here, she decided that she wanted to stay because it turned out that she was the destined mate of a vampire. If nothing changed, they should still live in the village somewhere.

“Sacrificial protection?” Frank inquire watching as Neville and Hadrian, who found the entire conversation boring, trailed of exploring their surroundings.

Salazar sighed. “Yes. It was about seven hundred years ago that a fight erupted between those who were of the firm opinion that they should take advantage of what this valley has to offer and those who said that they should only take as much as they needed. It was a tough time, and it nearly ended in a small war when one of the dragons living here was deadly injured because he wanted to prevent the fight. With his last breath, he banned everyone from these lands who only wanted to take profit out of it and erected the strongest protection ward I've ever seen. It lets everyone who tries to find it with ulterior motives see only a snowy plane. In remembrance, the remaining inhabitants built the statue you can see over there.”

They all looked astonished down to the valley. It seemed that this was as the stories told some kind of paradise and they all had to admit that there was no better place to go for holidays.

“I think we should get settled and walk down to the village afterwards.”

“Sounds good,” Sirius said turning around when Hadrian and Neville came running.

“Look what we found,” Hadrian exclaimed excitedly followed by a fox-like creature though this one had three tails instead of one.

“A kitsune? Five minutes alone and you two already made a new friend?” he joked not even the slightest surprised to see a kitsune here but all the more that it came so close to humans not to mention letting them pet it like his son just did. They usually were quite shy, and it was a rare occurrence to get to see or touch one.

“Can we keep it, please?” Hadrian asked pleadingly.

“Hadrian the creatures that live here are not something you own or can keep. They all have their own free will and if it wants to leave you have to let it go, understood?” his son nodded. “Good, however, should it want to stay with you I have no objections. I also ask of you two to treat every living being here with the same respect you want to be treated with, okay?” the two children nodded, so Salazar turned around and walked towards the mansion after smiling fondly at them.

Together they all entered the building Hadrian followed by the kitsune he found earlier. When they stepped through the entrance door, the others all stopped in their track taking a look around the impressive entrance hall. Though calling it such would be wrong. They stood in a very short corridor that led to an open area. In the middle was a huge water biotope all together with a one feet high waterfall and several fishes swimming in the pond. Around that went a colonnade from which went on the right and left each another corridor as well as stairs to the first floor. Right on the other side of the atrium, they could see a large and open living room.

“The elves should already have sorted the bedrooms. Trixy, Blinky!” he called out and instantly the two elves appeared.

“What can we do for master?” they asked unison.

“I assume the bedrooms have been assigned?” he asked them.

“Yes, sir. On the right Mr Black and Ms Pye and on the left Master Salazar, Master Hadrian and Mr and Mrs Longbottom. Though wants Mr Neville an own room or share with Master Hadrian?” Blinky pointed out the room distribution.

Neville and Hadrian looked at each other for a few seconds before both shrugged. “Can we share a room please?” Hadrian finally asked.

“Sure, I see no problem with that. How about you?” he addressed the older Longbottoms who merely indicated that they also had no objections.

“Good, then Ms Pye, Mr Black follows me please,” Blinky said. “I show your rooms.”

“The rest follow me please,” Trixy added.

They all followed the elves to their rooms. Once Neville and Hadrian reached their room between the ones of their respective parents, Neville quickly ran over to his pile of luggage letting out his cat who sat on top of it in her transport box not really happy to be confined in it. Once the box was opened, she jumped out and stretched herself. When her view fell upon the kitsune that just rounded Hadrian and entered the room, she slowly and carefully strode over. After some sniffing each other Midnight poked the kitsune with a paw which was answered by being thrown over. Now both were rolling over the floor playing with each other.

Hadrian who observed this snickered before taking a look around. They were in a large room painted in beige colours with deep red accents. The furniture was a dark red-brown. On the right were large doors leading out on a small balcony from where you could oversee the valley while in the back right stood a few armchairs around a table. To his left were two large beds as well as the door to the bathroom and one to a dressing room.

“Which bed do you want?” Hadrian asked Neville.

“If you don’t mind the one next to the bathroom door,” Neville replied sheepishly.

Hadrian shrugged not even batting an eye that Neville had to get up at night. “I don’t care. However, I hope that I don’t have any nightmares…don't want to wake you up.”

“Even if you do don’t worry about it. At least I can help you then,” the other boy smiled upon which Hadrian blushed. He told Neville that he had nightmares from time to time and the other boy had been worried about it.

“Thank you,” he muttered.

With the bedding situation settled they both started unpacking their things. About half an hour later they were finished and walked to the living area followed by Midnight and the kitsune who seemed to have found a liking in Hadrian. Arriving in the living room, they saw that Sylvia, Alice and Frank were already there the only ones missing being Sirius and Salazar.

“Neville, I see you got changed,” his mother said.

The boy in question nodded. “It is quite warm here…”

“You're right, I wonder why. When you look at the surrounding mountains…it should be much colder,” Frank spoke up.

“This is a question even I can’t answer,” replied Salazar who entered at that moment. “Perhaps it is all the magic in the air that keeps this place warmer than its surroundings despite being over 6500 feet above sea level, I don’t know. What I know though is that this place has a constant clime all year and that even before I found and made it a safe haven for everyone who needs one.”

“It is fascinating what magic is able to do,” Sylvia mused.

Finally, Sirius arrived. “So, what do we do?” he asked eagerly.

“I thought about a walk through the village so that you get to know everything. That reminds me,” he walked over to a cupboard and picked up a wooden box. Opening it, he took out a few chains with a talisman attached to each. “Since I doubt that any of you is able to speak Chinese you should wear those. They have a translation charm embedded which lets you understand the people here and lets them understand you,” he gave everyone one of the talismans.

Hadrian looked a bit disappointed at the talisman. “That makes learning other languages unnecessary,” he liked learning new things though mostly so that no one could fool him.

“One might think so but no. The problem is that excessive use can result in massive headaches. For a holiday however it is perfectly fine to use them,” Salazar explained. “And with excessive use, I mean using them every day over several months,” he added after seeing the worried look on Sylvia's face but knowing that she was a healer he wasn’t surprised about it.

Now that all questions were answered for now they all stood up and just wanted to set out for the village when Hadrian felt something poking his lower leg. Looking down he saw the kitsune looking at him expectantly. He knelt down before it.

“Is something wrong?”

“Meow,” the kitsune cocked its head as if he was asking something.

Hadrian thought a bit about what the kitsune might want from him when an idea occurred to him. “Do you want to stay here?”

“Meow,” it made a movement that only could be a curt nod.

Hadrian smiled. “Sure, why not but why do you ask me? My father said that you have your own free will and that you can choose yourself what you want.”

The kitsune licked his hand once before brushing his head against it. After that, it ambled back to where Hadrian's and Neville's room were.

“Huh,” was all Hadrian could say looking questioningly at his father.

“This is truly a strange behaviour for a kitsune. It is as if…no that can’t be,” Salazar mused looking after it.

“What can’t be? It isn’t a danger for my godson is it?” Sirius asked concern and fear in his voice.

“What?” he asked confused ripped out of his thoughts when he caught up with what Sirius wanted. “No, no, kitsune are peaceful as long as you treat them with respect. Though they can be very vindictive should you anger them. Most of the time, however, they are playful and tend to trick you with their illusions for fun. It is really rare that they harm someone,” he explained. “Oh, and the more tails a kitsune has, the more powerful it is, they can have up to nine or at least it is the highest number ever seen. This one seems to be pretty young. Now let’s go, or we’ll still be here this evening.”

They all finally set into motion and walked down to the village. Astonished they didn’t know where to look first. It wasn’t the people who were bustling around no that was much like at home. What surprised them though was the number of different races that inhabited the streets. Dwarfs, goblins, dryads even centaurs all living side by side doing their designated work. And between all that walked dragons the size of dogs up to horse size ones carrying things as well as other creatures.

“Wow, I never saw so many different species living peacefully together,” Sylvia exclaimed.

“That is what this entire valley is for. No one has prejudice, no one is superior, and everyone works for the wellbeing of everyone. Each of them here has a job that fits their abilities and contributes their part to the community as a whole. As you can see even the older people who can’t do hard or long work anymore help and if it’s only with looking after the children,” Salazar just explained when a man in his middle ages walked up to them and bowed curtly before him.

“My Lord, why didn’t you inform me that you would come?” he asked taken aback of this.

Salazar also bowed curtly afore answering in perfect Chinese not needing the translation amulet. “And deny me the pleasure of surprising you?” he smiled which was answered with laughter. “No, the thing is that we decided only three days ago to go on a vacation. There was simply no time to inform you I'm afraid.”

“No problem I only came over to inform you that we celebrate the summer solstice this evening and that you and your guests are welcomed to attend it,” he joyfully exclaimed.

“Well, I can’t speak for my guests, but my son and I will gladly come. As it seems my guests will also attend,” he added after seeing the positive reactions.

“Very well, I have to go now…much to prepare,” with that he walked down the street.

“Who was that?” Sirius asked curiously.

“This was Shiyan. He is the planner of this village may it be for a new building to be constructed or feasts like the summer solstice celebration and before you ask he is a mundane.”

They went on when Hadrian saw a vendor stall laden with many different sorts of fruits. He walked over and took a closer look.

“Hello ma’am, what do the apples cost?” he asked a bit shyly because he didn’t know the proper behaviour around this village.

The woman sitting behind the stall snickered. “My boy, you're not from here are you?” Hadrian shook his head upon which she smiled fondly at him. “In this village, you don’t have to pay for anything, and we don’t even have money here. Go on take an apple.”

“Can I have a second one for my friend too?” he sheepishly asked which was answered by a gesture to proceed. “Thank you very much,” with that he quickly ran over to Neville giving him one of the apples.

“Dad, why doesn’t food cost anything here?” he asked afterwards used to the ways in England where you had to pay for everything.

“You don’t have to pay for anything here,” he replied unknowingly with the same words as the woman at the vendor stall. “This is how it works here. You do your share for the community and have access to everything you need or like.”

“It works? I somehow can’t believe that no one wants more than the others,” Sylvia scoffed.

“That is because everyone here knows that if they get greedy, they will have to leave. Either because the council decides it or in hard cases, the wards take care of it. Luckily both are very rare the second even more than the first.”

“But what about your house? Don’t they get envious that it is so much larger than the ones of everyone else?”

“Hardly since they were the ones to build it. Well, it was built about five generations back actually. At first, I was against it content with the house I had within the village, but they said that it was to honour me and what I did for them by providing them with a place to live in peace. What should I do? At least I could convince them to use the library and upper rooms for teaching purpose since I'm rarely here and therefore the mansion wouldn’t be used,” he explained everything patiently.

“How many people live here at the moment?” Frank grew curious.

Salazar hummed upon that. “I don’t know the exact number, but at the moment the entire population of this valley should be around 3500 give or take.”

Everyone stopped in their movement and looked at him in disbelieve.

He started to laugh. “This village is only a part of it. There is an entire colony of freshwater merpeople in the lake on the south end of the valley as well as a colony of centaurs in the forests. Then there are also the dwarfs and goblins who have their own towns underground in the mountains. Not to mention all the other intelligent creatures like dragons, kitsune and whatever else.”

Satisfied for now they continued to walk through the village talking about this and that looking at what the vendors had to offer. It was nearly lunchtime when Sirius saw that Hadrian was missing.

“Where is Hadrian?” he asked concern tainting his voice.

“Good question. He probably found something interesting and ambled away from us,” Salazar replied not really concerned that his son could get lost or hurt.

“Neville's missing too,” now Alice piped in worriedly after taking a look around.

“Don’t worry they will show up again. The worst thing that can happen here is that they found something interesting and forget the time over it,” Salazar replied.

“Your own son is missing, and you're not even the slightest little bit concerned?” Alice now slightly angered about Salazar's carelessness. “He is not even six years old.”

“Alice, please calm down. I know you don’t know this place here but I do. You can trust me when I say that this is possibly the safest place in the world. As long as they don’t do anything incredibly stupid, which I highly doubt since they are both pretty level-headed boys, they will be fine,” Salazar replied in a soothing tone.

Nonetheless, he took out his wand and cast a point-me charm to find them. A few streets away they finally found the two boys helping an older woman carrying her bags full of food by levitating them.

“Neville,” Alice exclaimed relieved running over and hugging him. This however disturbed his concentration and hadn’t Hadrian act quickly the bag would have fallen to the floor. Levitating both bags though was a bit too much, and so both slowly sank to the ground. “You can’t just run away without saying something. I was worried.”

Hadrian seeing this let his head hang feeling extremely guilty and walked over to his father. “I'm so sorry, we bumped into her and helped her collecting what fell out of her bags. After that, she wanted to leave, but it looked like she had trouble carrying so much, so we volunteered to help her carry it back to her home,” he nearly burst into tears.

The woman looked as if she wanted to say something to defend the boy’s actions, but Salazar shook her head. She had no idea what Hadrian went through, so it was better for him to handle it personally. He knew very well that Hadrian was send shopping for his relatives regularly despite his age, so it was no wonder to him that his son just went helping that woman without telling him.

Crouching before him Salazar took his son's hands and looked him straight into the face. “You did nothing wrong with helping the lady, Hadrian, quite on the contrary it was the right thing to do. What you should have done however is telling us. You see while I know this place well enough that I don’t get worried, the others don’t. Okay?” Hadrian nodded still looking a bit down. “Come here,” Salazar embraced him in a hug. “I'm proud of you I hope you know that,” now Hadrian beamed at him the last minutes forgotten.

He gave his father another hug. “Thank you, dad.” with that he let go and turned around to the others. “I'm sorry that we made you worry. Next time we will tell you.”

“You know Hadrian your father has every right to be proud of you with how well behaved you are. The same goes for you Neville,” the woman addressed the two boys. “My name is Ling by the way, and I have to apologise. I should have thought about letting you know where the boys were. It would be an honour to invite you all for lunch as a sort of reparation.”

They all looked at each other before Alice spoke up. “We would gladly accept if it isn’t too much a hassle for you and my name is Alice.”

After that everyone introduced himself.

“Nice to meet you all. It is no problem. I often have people around, so I'm pretty used to it,” she smiled.

Everyone set into motion Sylvia, with a flick of her wand, levitating the bags.

“May I help you with the preparations?” Hadrian who jogged up to Ling asked. He wanted to get to know how the food here differed from home and learn to cook it.

Ling threw a quick glance at Salazar who nodded. “Sure, why not.”

A few minutes later they reached Ling’s house. It was small but cosy with a small garden in the back, well small for their standard who were used to large townhouses or mansions but for Shangri-La it was standard, and they had to admit that it was enough to live comfortably without missing anything. Everyone quickly helped to put the food away before they sat in the garden with something to drink while Ling, Neville and Hadrian prepared lunch. Okay, Hadrian and Ling did the cooking while Neville asked Ling about certain herbs and how to grow them. Hadrian, on the other hand, was more interested in whether they might also be usable in potions.

Outside they were talking about Hadrian.

“Salazar, I don’t know how you can let your son run around unsupervised not to mention cook. He is not even six for Merlin’s sake,” Alice exclaimed exasperatedly.

Salazar sighed. “Alice, I know what your point is, and normally I would agree with you but not if it concerns Hadrian. You only know half of what he has been through. Being send out alone to buy things was a normal occurrence for him as well as having to cook daily thrice. You can’t expect him to change overnight and I’d prefer him to wander around alone here where I know that no harm can come to him. At home where he, in the best case, runs into someone concerned and in the worst case either a former Death Eater or Dumbledore, it is an entirely different story.”

“As much as I hate to admit it he is right. Hadrian isn’t used to people caring or worrying for him. His worst fear is that he disappoints his father and gets sent back to his other relatives. Have you seen how he reacted when you ran up to your son in concern? He instantly started to apologise in hope to sooth Salazar's anger fearing that he did something incredibly wrong.

“Do you know what happened the last time he got slightly scolded for something as minor as mumbling? He froze and expected to get beaten. I think the best thing you can do for him is not to display your worry that openly. It’s not that I tell you not to worry but not to show it around Hadrian as much.”

Sirius had seen first-hand what could happen if you made one wrong move with Hadrian and he had to admit that Salazar knew what he did as hard as this was and when it meant to give Hadrian some leeway from time to time so mote it be.

“Yes, Hadrian has a long way to go before those fears disappear or at least are on a level he can live with without being restricted by them,” Sylvia added.

With that, the conversation shifted to more pleasant topics like what they saw on their walk through the village. About half an hour later, Neville, Hadrian and Ling came out Ling carrying a large wok containing stir-fried vegetables with chicken. Talking about Shangri-La and how life here was they enjoyed lunch.

“Hadrian, you're really good in the kitchen I would never have used lemongrass in it, but I have to admit that it tastes delicious,” Ling said after a while.

Hadrian blushed upon the praise. “Thank you,” was all he replied.

Once everything was eaten up, he spoke up again this time with more confidence.

“May I explore the village a bit further, dad?” he asked not wanting to repeat his mistake of not informing them.

“As long as you behave yourself and be polite to the people I have nothing against it. Have fun but please be back at the mansion at six to get ready for the feast in the evening,” his father replied.

“Thank you, dad. Neville, do you want to come with me?”

Neville, however, looked at his hands and shook his head the situation from earlier still getting to him.

Frank sighed seeing it. “Go on Neville, have some fun together with Hadrian but be back in time,” he said despite earning a glare from his wife which he ignored.

“Really? Thank you, dad.” Neville eagerly jumped up, hugged his parents before both boys went to the door when Hadrian remembered something.

“Thank you, Ling, for your hospitality,” Hadrian bowed curtly, Neville quickly copying it.

“It was a pleasure, and I hope I see you again,” she waved them goodbye.

A bit later Alice and Frank also said goodbye as well as Sirius. The three of them weren’t back to full health yet, and they wanted to rest some at the manor.

“I will leave now too. Miss Ling, it was a pleasure, and the meal was delicious. Perhaps we see each other at the festival this evening again?” Sylvia said.

“Hopefully yes. I’ll be there.”

“Salazar, I saw something akin to an apothecary earlier, but I don’t remember the way,” she addressed the man.

“I’ll show you there on my way to Shiyan I want to ask whether I can help some. Is it still run by Feyla?” Ling nodded. “You'll like her she is one of the local healers though she can be a bit special sometimes. Miss Ling, thank you very much for the invitation and the delicious food,” he bowed curtly which Ling returned.

Ling showed them to the door and once they left Salazar showed Sylvia where to find the apothecary. When they entered, she stopped in her track and blinked several times. The shop was run by a dryad.

“I take a leave now, you're okay?” Salazar asked.

“Definitely, just remember what I told you about not using too much magic,” she smiled.

“I know…I know. See you later,” with that he left to see whether he could help some with the festival preparations.

 


 

 

In the meantime, on the other side of the world, a certain headmaster paced through his office. Severus and Minerva sitting in front of his desk observing him carefully. They just returned from America in hope to intercept this ominous John Smith and find out something about the whereabouts of one Harry James Potter. Severus, however, wasn’t that overly concerned about the boy if not for the oath Dumbledore made him swear.

At least not enough to take it on with the American ministry because that was what would have happened. Dumbledore found out the address of John Smith and send them both there, but instead of Mr Smith, they ran straight into Henrietta Coulson and four of the Americans best Hit-Wizards. Sure, Severus was one of the best duellists in the world even if he didn’t show it that openly but even he wasn’t stupid enough to try something with them around. Henrietta then asked them politely to leave before they would take actions against them for illegally entering the States as well as unlawfully entering the house of one of their citizens. She also gave them a message for Dumbledore that should he ever again put his crooked nose into something not his concern, he would have to bear the consequences. After that, she left with the comment that they wouldn’t have found Mr Smith here anyway since he is in Africa at the moment.

“You're sure that she said Africa?” Dumbledore inquired.

“Do you deem me deaf? Yes, she said Africa!” Severus snarled.

Dumbledore sighed not even reacting to the way Severus spoke to him. “This makes things infinitely more complicated,” he finally said.

The problem was that Africa didn’t have a Ministry like America or England. They only had more or less small communities mostly around tourist hot-spots. Finding someone there…let’s just say there was a higher possibility for a snowball to survive in hell.

“Thank you. This was all for now. I have to think things over,” Dumbledore dismissed them.

Fawkes let out a few trills before flashing away. He needed to get away from that old fool even if only for a few hours.

 


 

 

It was shortly before six when Hadrian and Neville entered the mansion. Sylvia who just came from the library on the first floor looked at them before shaking her head with a smile.

“What have you done that you look like that?” she inquired. Both boys looked like they robbed through the dirt. With a flick of her wand, they at least looked like boys again.

“Thank you, ma’am,” said Neville. “We found a few greenhouses where a dryad worked, and we were allowed to help her. It was so cool, she taught us so much about plants and how to grow them…” he rambled.

“Please don’t call me ma’am my name is Sylvia and as long as you had your fun everything is alright” she snickered.

“Well, I'm not that into gardening I was more interested in the plants themselves and how to use them” Hadrian confessed.

“Oh yes, I don’t know how you did it, but you ruined more plants than actually repotted them. Aylef, the dryad at some point only let him carry the earth and water for us,” Neville shook his head.

Hadrian sighed. “I don’t know either. With…with…them I always had to do the gardening. Perhaps without the pressure…” he let his shoulders hang tears welling up, but he stopped them from falling. He wouldn’t let his relatives ruin his holidays.

“Hadrian, I'm sorry I didn’t mean to…” Neville said sheepishly.

Hadrian shook his head adamantly to banish the thoughts. “It’s okay. They are my past, and I don’t let them dictate my future.”

“This is very mature of you, but take care that you don’t keep everything bottled up it won’t do you any good. If you want to talk about something…anything at all we are all there for you” Sylvia told him half tempted to give him a hug but the state he was in stopped her. She didn’t want to get dirty after all. “Now I think you should get a shower, in about half an hour we want to leave.”

Both boys nodded and bolted towards their room. Upon entering Hadrian who went first stopped Neville.

“What’s wrong?”

Hadrian just pointe towards his bed. On it were Midnight and the kitsune curled up around each other and sleeping. Neville seeing that smiled before walking into the room.

“You want to go in first?” he asked from over his bed.

“Nah, you look worse,” Hadrian replied.

Neville looked at himself before looking back at Hadrian and started to laugh. They both still looked horrible despite Sylvia's effort to clean them even a little bit. Getting rid of the dirty clothes they put them into the laundry basket for the elves to wash them.

“Hey, we also could have a bath together the bathtub is huge,” Neville exclaimed from the bathroom.

Hadrian came into the room to take a look at the bathtub and started to snicker. “You call this huge? Mine at home is even larger although not much. If you don’t mind, we can take a bath together.”

“I asked you so why would I mind?” Neville laughed while walking over to the tub to let water in when he stopped and looked confused. “Uhm, how are we supposed to get water in it?”

“Oh wait, I know how this works we have the same system at home,” he walked over and showed Neville some runes edged into the edge of the tub. “Look, here you can adjust which temperature the water shall have, and with this, you let water in,” he touched the rune in demonstration. “And the last one is to empty the thing afterwards.”

“Wicked,” Neville was astonished because they only had the regular mountings at home.

They both quickly got into the now full tub to get clean but promptly emerged in a water fight. Completely forgetting the time and their surroundings they didn’t notice that Salazar entered at some point. Only when he made a coughing noise, they became aware of him.

“I'm only here to inform you that we leave in ten minutes. It would be better to be ready by then,” he said with a smirk before leaving.

Both boys quickly washed before leaving and getting dressed. They both wore something elegant without being overdressed. Neville though had some problems with the buttons of his shirt.

“Come here I help you,” Hadrian said.

Neville quickly walked over and let Hadrian help him. “I'm sorry I haven’t got the hang of it yet, but you seem to know a lot about such things.”

Hadrian snickered when Neville's head went red upon catching up with what he just said. It was as he said earlier he didn’t want the memories to get the better of him.

“Don’t worry and yes I do because no one ever helped me. Here you go,” he just finished the last button. “It helps at the beginning to just look for the last button and the last hole, from there you work yourself upwards one by one. With this, you don’t come out askew.”

After finishing their dressing, they went to the entrance hall where everyone was already waiting.

“I see that this time the Kitsune wants to come with you,” Sirius grinned.

“Meow!” the kitsune gave him a glare as if to say that he couldn’t stop him.

“Be careful Sirius kitsune are known for being pranksters,” Salazar said, and just at that moment, a beautiful woman appeared behind Sirius.

“Hey sweety,” she said while laying an arm around the man’s shoulders.

Sirius whose Auror training jumped into action let him in his surprise draw his wand, turning around and in an instant shooting a stunner at her only to see that it was just an illusion. Everyone else laughed about this.

“Oh, ha…ha…very funny,” he tried to look grumpy but failed spectacularly by grinning himself.

“Let’s go.”

With that Salazar lead them to the grassland where they earlier saw the dragon sleeping. Now however there stood large colourful tents as well as hundreds of small red paper lanterns floating in the air giving light. In the middle was a large area left free with a stage next to it. On the stage played a band consisting of dryads and dwarfs playing instruments while what seemed to be a Veela sang along to it. However, she suppressed her allure so that no one would get drawn to her. Everywhere were people either dancing, talking or eating from the large buffets placed in several of the tents.  For the children, there was a playing area where they not only play games but also were entertained by a few wizards and witches with fireworks, games and the like.

Neville and Hadrian ran over to that area not even bothering to inform their parent. Alice looked after them shaking her head, but she didn’t say anything. It seemed that her husband talked to her which relaxed her a bit and didn’t instantly start to worry about her son and godson. Walking over to one of the areas where seats and tables were placed they enjoyed the celebrations themselves. They got to know many new people and even emerged themselves in a dance or two. Without noticing it the evening went by, and it was near eleven o’clock.

When Sirius noticed that, he wondered where the boys were and whether it wasn’t time for them to go to bed. Salazar and Alice agreeing with that searched them and quickly found them fast asleep with the giant dragon Xuan who had his wing spread over them to shield them from the other people and the noise.

“Xuan, how long has it been?” Salazar bowed before the dragon.

“Salazar Slytherin. To see you on this feast…it has been far too long that we last met. I hope you find the time to have a proper talk with me,” Xuan replied in a slow pace his voice deep and rumbling. “I assume you came for your fledgeling,” he lifted his wing to reveal the sleeping children leaning against each other and against the dragon the kitsune sleeping in Hadrian's lap. “It is nice to see that you found someone as smart as yourself and I don’t doubt that he will follow your way to greatness.”

“He is special and when I think back…how much changed already since he is with me,” Salazar sighed when a sad expression entered his face. “If only he hadn’t to endure what he had.”

Xuan suddenly started to laugh a deep rumbling laugh which woke the children up. “As long as you trust your heart and him he will stand by your side and might even be able to surprise you,” he replied chuckling ominously as if he knew something but Salazar knew better then to ask.

“Come on you two,” Alice finally spoke up.

Until now she only stood behind Salazar a bit scared of the size of the dragon. Its head was as large as she was tall, so it wasn’t that surprising. Seeing now that his son and godson nearly fell asleep again she acted. “We should go back to the mansion. Mr Xuan, it was nice to meet you, but we have to go,” she said with a smile.

“Good night you two and sleep well.”

“Good night,” Hadrian and Neville echoed before they were lead away by Alice and back to the mansion the kitsune trotting behind them.

“Salazar,…take good care of him,” Xuan added once they were out of hearing range.

“I will, Xuan, I will. Is it bad that I love him more than my first son?”

Xuen chuckled lowly hearing that. “That I highly doubt. It might seem that way because your first fledgeling is dead for such a long time now, but as long as you keep him in good memory there is nothing wrong. He was your first, and you loved him as you love Hadrian now. Don’t worry everything will turn out as it is supposed to be.”

“I can only hope that you're right,” he took a look on his watch and saw that it was even later than anticipated. “I'm truly sorry, Xuan, but I have to leave you now. In the next days, I surely will find the time to talk with you properly.”

“You better do,” Xuan smiled. “Go your guests shouldn’t be left alone for too long.”

Salazar bowed before Xuan then turned around and left the dragon alone to search for the others. He finally found them in one of the tents animatedly talking with a few dwarfs about the use of different metals in magical talismans. Salazar joined them, and they continued their talk until late after midnight. A beautiful and surprising day went to an end.

 


 

 

Unbeknown to them in the headmaster’s office of Hogwarts the day wasn’t as pleasant. Dumbledore was at the end with his knowledge. His search for Harry Potter either reached dead ends, or his efforts were sabotaged by bureaucracy. Nearly three weeks have passed now, and he wasn’t any closer to finding the boy than at the beginning. Sure he knew that Potter was adopted by a man called John Smith but about that man he knew next to nothing, only an address in the States and there he ran against Ms Coulson. It was infuriating.

Now they were supposed to be somewhere in Africa, and he couldn’t even reach Sirius to ask him where exactly they were since he was supposed to be with them. Unfortunately, every owl he tried to send just flew a few circles before returning to him as if they couldn’t determine the location Sirius was at. He could only hope that he was alive, not because he cared overly much about the man himself but because he was his only connection to Potter.

Not only that he had worries about Potter, no now Fawkes also disappeared and didn’t show up all day. It was as if the entire universe was against him. Deciding that he was too tired to get anything done because he had been awake all night he went to bed early. Perhaps tomorrow the world would be more cooperative.

 


 

 

In China, the next days practically flew by. They all relaxed sometimes helping with small things in the village but mostly enjoying their holidays and making new friends. The lunches they had at Ling’s house because the woman insisted on it. Hadrian liked her a lot, and he learned much about the Asian cuisine thanks to her.

Sylvia seemed to have found a friend in the dryad running the apothecary. They often talked about different healing techniques and how they differed for different species.

Most of the day Neville and Hadrian were found with Aylef helping him with the greenhouses and fields where he grew a lot of different plants that found use in healing, potions as well as spices for food and several other areas.

Though ever since the first day Hadrian was only allowed to help to carry things when it came to magical plants. They didn’t know why but as soon as he treated a plant with magical properties he ruined them except when it came to collecting parts of it for later use which was no problem. Normal plants on the other hand also were no problem. Hadrian nonetheless wasn’t overly sad about that fact. He was content learning about the magical properties of the plants and whether they were usable in potions much to Neville's amusement.

Neville, however, showed a great talent when it came to plants. It was as if he only needed to look at them and instantly knew what they needed. That was what brought Salazar to the idea he then proposed on Saturday afternoon.

“I wanted to ask you about something” he addressed Alice and Frank. “There is a ritual I wanted to perform with Hadrian, and I wanted to ask you for allowance to do it with Neville too.”

“A ritual?” Alice asked sceptically.

“Well, it is called the ‘Ritual of Insight’, but it is mostly meditation. We used it when we founded Hogwarts to determine in which house a student would go since we hadn’t the sorting hat yet. It shows in which subjects a person would excel and which he would be less suitable for,” he explained.

“How does this ritual work?” Sirius inquired carefully. He wouldn’t allow his godson to participate in a ritual if it was dangerous.

“It is quite simple. The person you want to know the inclination from meditates in a ritual circle to find and connect with his or her magical core. Once the person did so the ritual master speaks a small incantation to conjure a parchment with the reading of the core. Imagine it like a medical reading where you also get the results on parchment only that with this ritual you get the magical inclination.”

“And it isn’t dangerous?” Frank now spoke up.

Salazar shook his head. “We wouldn’t have performed it with thousands of students if this was the case.”

“What do you think?” Frank asked his wife.

Alice, however, was still unsure. Salazar seeing that elaborated this offer further. “It is only an offer so that you could see how to support your son best since you could focus on the things he would be good in and not try to teach him something he wouldn’t be able to do anyway. I'm going to do this with Hadrian, and it would be only a little more work to do it with Neville too, but in the end, it is your son and your decision.”

“And you can guarantee us that Neville won’t be hurt?” Alice questioned.

“I can ensure you that it never hurt anyone I performed it with. If you feel better, I can allow Sylvia to watch it the entire time though I have to ask you to stay out of the room during it. It is just that too many people, especially family, around can disturb the meditation and lead to incorrect results.”

“Okay, you can do it as long as Sylvia is with you and should anything happen to Neville, I’ll hold you responsible is that clear?” Alice exclaimed.

Salazar inclined his head in understanding. “I will do the ritual tomorrow morning after breakfast.”

As he said the next morning he, Sylvia and the two boys retreated to the study. Salazar prepared the ritual circle before breakfast so that it was ready now. It consisted of an eight-pointed star within a circle with four candles in turn with four runestones lying on the points. Inside the points were also runes painted. The centre was free.

“Good, who of you two wants to begin? The other one would have to stay silent for that time or leave the room because we don’t need any distraction,” Salazar asked the boys while Sylvia sat down in one of the chairs.

Neville and Hadrian looked at each other. Hadrian shrugged, and so Neville went to the centre of the circle while Hadrian walked over to Sylvia with a book which he instantly started to read.

“Okay Neville, this may take some time and perhaps more than one try so don’t worry if it doesn’t work instantly. I want you to sit or lay down in the middle of the star as comfortable as you can,” Neville nodded and lay down in the centre trying not to touch anything. “Perfect. Now I want you to meditate and find your magical core. Don’t worry I will guide you. Are you ready?” Neville nodded again and so Salazar began to instruct him how to meditate correctly and find his core.

Sylvia observed it all with interest. In England, rituals were forbidden because they were deemed dark, but from what he could see there was nothing dark about this ritual. Everything had to go on with the consent of the person this ritual was performed with. This let her think about what else might be banned only because certain persons thought it dark but which might save lives or at least would make the daily life more comfortable.

It took Neville three tries, but he finally managed to find his magical core and bring it to the forefront so that Salazar could perform a proper reading. Once he had the results, he continued. “Okay, I now want you to wake up again. I’ll count down from ten, and then you wake up,” he did as said, using a technique often used with hypnosis. A few seconds later Neville was fully awake again. “Very well done Neville,” the boy beamed upon that praise. “I want to do the ritual with Hadrian now before we discuss the results. You can stay here or go back to your parents.”

“I’ll stay here,” with that he sat down where Hadrian who already made himself comfortable in the ritual circle sat a minute ago.

Salazar repeated the entire procedure and again three tries later he also had his readings. He woke him up the same way he did with Neville. A few minutes later they sat together with the others in the living room the kitsune again sitting in Hadrian's lap being content with getting patted.

“Ah, you're back. May I see the result?” Alice asked instantly calming down now that she knew that her son was alright.

“Please help yourself,” Salazar answered snickering handing over the parchment with Neville's results.

Alice took a look at the parchment before looking at Salazar in disbelieve.

“I take it that you neither speak nor read Old Norse,” he smiled.

Sylvia who took a look at the parchment frowned in confusion. “I had ancient runes at Hogwarts, but this looks like mumbo-jumbo to me it makes no sense at all.”

“Please, what they call the study of the ancient runes is a rape of the actual language,” Salazar replied in distaste.

“Perhaps you should just tell us what the results are,” Frank handed back the parchment.

“Very well,” he pulled out two other parchments upon which the translation stood. “I just showed you the other since that was the parchment the ritual produced because the colours are important, but the translation doesn’t show them properly.”

They picked up the translated version and read it.

 


 

 

Neville Longbottom

 

Earth Magic – plants (white)

Transfiguration (light red)

Healing Magic (middle orange)

Curse Breaking (light yellow-orange)

Offensive/Defensive Magic (dark yellow)

Runic and Ritual Magic (light yellow-green)

Spellcasting (deep blue-green)

Warding (middle blue)

Potions (deep blue-violet)

 

Special traits: Animagus

 

 


 

 

Hadrian Slytherin

 

Potions (white)

Offensive/Defensive Magic (light red)

Spellcasting (light red-orange)

Warding (middle orange)

Blood Magic (dark yellow)

Runic and Ritual Magic (light yellow-green)

Divination (middle green)

Transfiguration (middle blue-green)

Earth Magic – plants (deep blue)

 

Special traits: Animagus, Necromancy, Alpha Male

 


 

 

“And what does all that mean?” Frank asked.

“The list is sorted from most to least inclined. The colours tell you two things. For ones the colour itself says how much inclined he is towards the certain subject using a colour wheel beginning with red and ending with violet, red being the highest and violet the lowest rating. Then there is the partition into shades from dark to light. The darker a colour, the more he has to work for it to get it done while the lighter it is, the more natural it comes to him,” Salazar explicated.

“But what is the difference between a light blue and a deep red then? Wouldn’t both mean that he would have to work hard for the subject?” Sirius inquired.

“No, I'm sorry perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough. With a deep red in Spellcasting, for example, it would mean that someone would have to train hard and needs many tries before he would cast a spell properly but once he did it would be extremely powerful. A light blue, on the other hand, would mean that he probably could cast the spell first try but it would be quite weak. The original results are a bit more detailed since there are more shades and colours than I used in the translated version those are only to simplify things,” Salazar elaborated his first explanation.

“Then what does white mean?”

“Black which I didn’t use in the translation means that someone has no inclination towards the subject at all. For example, Neville would never have even the slightest premonition while Hadrian would fail in healing someone properly. He would more likely make things worse. So if you ever have a scratch do it the mundane way, put a patch on it and go to Neville,” he smiled at his son. “Though I left the black ones out because otherwise, the list would be endless. Now we come to white…white means the complete opposite, that they have a special connection towards that subject. It’s hard to explain…it is like magic itself is aiding and guiding them.”

“So this is it what I feel when I brew…I wondered what it was.” Sirius and the Longbottoms looked at him strangely. “It was like I could feel that the reaction between the ingredients wasn’t good, that it could be better. However, why did I then blow up my cauldron? Shouldn’t I have felt that this would happen?” he asked confused.

Salazar smiled. “You're not even six years old, and this was your…third try in brewing a potion? Potions are a very tricky and unforgiving subject. One wrong move, one grain too much and it blows up. Believe me even the most seasoned brewer and even you in fifty or sixty years will blow up a cauldron from time to time and I'm talking out of experience.”

Hadrian thought about it for a moment before he nodded. His father was right from what he read so far this was something even magic couldn’t help him with it was merely one’s own fault when doing something that didn’t sit well with the potion.

“Back to the results, I have to admit that they are astonishing, to say the least. Hadrian and Neville are magically complementary.”

“Magically complementary?” this was the first time Neville spoke up.

“Yes, that means that you and Hadrian complement one another. For example, while Hadrian is a magical prodigy in Potions, you are one in what today is called Herbology, but actually, it’s a bit more; however this is not what I want to get at. You see with this you can provide Hadrian with the ingredients he needs to for example provide you with potions you need for your plants. In short, he is good in those subjects you're not and the other way around.”

“Are you also a potions prodigy?” Sylvia was curious, with how good Salazar’s potions were she wouldn’t be surprised.

“One might think so but no,” Salazar replied with a smile. “It only came second for me with a very light red. However, you're right that I'm also magical exceptionally gifted but with warding.”

“Warding?” Sirius exclaimed surprised.

“Who do you think did the warding of Hogwarts? There is a reason why it is called the safest place on the British Isles next to Gringotts with which I also helped by the way,” Salazar snickered.

Sirius slumped back in his chair. This he definitely hadn’t expected. The two safest places in Britain and both warded by the same man.

“That put aside, back to the results and what the different subjects entail. The Earth Magic – Plants well, to be honest I'm the wrong person to explain this. As Helga once put it, it is the art of communicating with the flora of this planet and tending to its needs, but perhaps you should talk to Aylef for this he will be better suited to explain it.

“Offensive/Defensive Magic is quite self-explanatory. It is everything you use in battle for attacks and shielding, prodigies in this field are called battle-mages. Runic and Ritual Magic however go hand in hand because for rituals you use runic magic, but you also can use runic magic independently.

Spellcasting is probably what I should explain further. This contains nearly everything from charms to spells for your daily life, probably everything you can’t categorise otherwise. However not only that but what also falls in this category is spell-invention,” Salazar thought for a moment but came to the conclusion that he covered everything.

“What about subjects like Arithmancy or Astronomy?” Alice asked.

“The test only shows those subjects that include the use of magic. Those two, however, are purely theoretical and therefore don’t show up.”

“Uhm, what are those traits on Hadrian's results?” Sirius curiously inquired.

“Animagus, Necromancy and Alpha Male. Well, the first one simply states that he has the predisposition to become an Animagus. Necromancy…I know you think now about resurrecting dead or such things but not in this case because then it wouldn’t be a trait but appear in the list above. No, in this case, it can mean a lot. Actually, it can be anything from simply being able to see the impending death of someone, to being able to communicate with the dead,” Salazar helplessly shrugged. “I can’t tell you where it comes from or what it means only time can answer you that. What I can say however is that it is nothing dangerous,” he added upon seeing his son’s worried look.

“To the Alpha Male trait…to be honest, it is the best translation I could come up with. It means that magical creatures will feel attracted to Hadrian, he is some kind of natural leader to them.”

“So if we aren’t careful we’ll have a zoo at home sooner or later?” Sirius rose an eyebrow.

Salazar laughed upon that. “No, no, how to describe it? I think an example would do. Imagine that Hadrian meets a normally extremely dangerous creature. Where you would expect it to attack Hadrian probably manages to subdue it even going so far that the creature would protect him instead. I hope this makes it clearer because I don’t know how else to describe this trait.”

Sirius nodded thinking that he understood what Salazar meant.

“Any other questions?” Salazar asked but everyone stayed silent. “Good, since it is shortly after noon I’d say we go having lunch,” he said after a short look on the clock.

With everyone agreeing they walked down to the village and over to Ling’s house. The woman simply loved it to cook for them.

 


 

 

Time went on, and after relaxing most of the first week, they decided to visit some tourist sites on their second week in China. So they went to the Chinese wall as well as Hangzhou and Beijing. At the moment they were at the magical district of Hong Kong.

To say that it was different from what they were used to from England would be a colossal understatement. They were on a long and broad street lined with shops on both sides while in the middle were even more vendor stalls. Over that, ropes stretched with red paper-lanterns hanging from them spending light at night. Then it also was very loud not only because every vendor tried to sell his or her goods but also because it was full. Should someone decide to invite the entire magical population of England here without the local ones in this place, they doubted it would be even half as full as it was now and it was the middle of the week.

Salazar, Sirius, Sylvia and Hadrian walked down the street looking at vendors and shops here and there and even bought a few things that caught their attention. The Longbottoms decided to go on their own having some time together as a family.

Salazar was taking a look at potion ingredients he would hardly come by at home when Hadrian plucked at his sleeve to get his attention.

“Is there a problem, Hadrian?” he asked his son who looked sheepishly into another direction.

“Uhm dad…I…there…” he looked down not knowing how to word what he wanted fearing that his father would outright deny his request or worse get angry.

Salazar sighed. “Son, what is it that you fear?”

“That you get angry with me,” he replied after a minute of silence with a thin voice.

“Look at me,” his son did as asked. “There is only one thing on this planet that would possibly make me angry, and this is nothing you should worry about because it is nothing you could influence in any way, okay?” Hadrian nodded new found resolve radiating from him. “Good and now tell me what it is that you want.”

“When I walked with Sirius along the shops we found an apothecary that has rare and very good ingredients, but I don’t have enough money…” he finally told him. Sure his father gave him some pocket money for their trip here, but it wasn’t anywhere enough for what he wanted.

Salazar blinked a few times in surprise. This was why his son was frightened? Over whether he got the ingredients he wanted or not? He answered with a smile.

“Sure, why not, but I come with you because I want to see what they have in stock too. Next time don’t hesitate to ask me. As long as it is something for your studies, may it be a book or supplies, I’ll gladly buy it for you.”

The three of them walked to the apothecary leaving Sylvia behind who looked through some amulets. Salazar had to admit that his son was right and the ingredients sold here were far better than those sold at the stall. The booth outside probably sold the normal stuff while the real things were sold in the shop away from the average people. He got his son quite an amount of ingredients and another stack for himself. Even a few books were added to the purchases. Though Hadrian would have to learn Chinese to be able to read them properly.

A few hours later they were back at the mansion laden with things they bought. Unfortunately, they couldn’t shrink the potions ingredients because the magic would render them useless and they also couldn’t be delivered via owl post since the owls wouldn’t find them in Shangri-La.

They sat in the living room enjoying a tea and some pastries when the Longbottoms arrived about an hour later even more laden than they had been carrying what looked like an entire greenhouse worth of plants. In several wooden boxes were dozens of different plants as well as one with even more seeds.

“It seems I'm not the only one who can’t say no when it comes to the children,” Salazar joked when he helped them storing the plants in the back garden for now.

“Don’t ask…hadn’t we said no at some point I don’t doubt that he would have wanted to buy up the entire shop. I get from your statement that you also ended with a few galleons less?” Frank replied.

“I don’t doubt that the apothecary made the deal of his life today,” Salazar grinned.

“Well, two potion brewer on a shopping spree…I wouldn’t be surprised if you left even one ingredient back,” Frank laughed.

The rest of the day they sat together talked and played a few games in the evening having much fun.

 


 

 

The last few days went by and the, for everyone far too short holidays, went to an end. They all found a way to stay in contact with their new found friends. Salazar would craft a two-way portkey box in which he then would send the letters to Shiyan. The man then would distribute them and later send the box back to Salazar with the replies. It was a roundabout way to solve this problem, but there just was no other solution. They couldn’t send owls all the way to China and back. The poor animals would die of exhaustion.

Everyone they knew said goodbye to them even giving them some presents. Neville received quite a number of seeds from Aylef to grow at home. Hadrian received potion ingredients and spices from Ling and Aylef. Though the later warned him to stay away from Neville's plants half-jokingly half-seriously. The Longbottoms received a protection talisman each from the dwarfs they met the first evening and who they talked a lot with ever since. Sylvia who became a good friend with Feyla the apothecary received a few medical potions to see whether they might help some of the patients in the long-term wards at St. Mungos. Sirius received a small parcel, but none of them could say what it contained. The woman giving it to him, however, looked like she would break out in tears soon. Sirius whispered something in her ear and gave her a parcel himself which then let her smile and nod. Whatever it was she was happy now.

Salazar, on the other hand, received nothing because he was adamantly refusing any gift. In England, it was different there he would do nothing without being heftily repaid by those idiots there who didn’t deserve anything else, but not here. He created this place to provide security and peace to those creatures and people who otherwise might be persecuted and slaughtered. No, he wouldn’t accept anything from them. The happy and content faces of the people living here were enough for him, showing that he did the right thing.

A few minutes and several goodbyes’s later the seven of them went back to cold and dull England via portkey. What surprised them however was that the second they left a certain kitsune attached itself to Hadrian and left together with them.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 21: It’s Good to be Back Home Again

 

A few minutes and several goodbyes later the seven of them went back to cold and dull England via portkey. What surprised them however was that the second they left a certain kitsune attached itself to Hadrian and left together with them.

 

“Uhm, dad…” Hadrian drawled out. “I think we have a blind passenger,” he said eyeing the kitsune warily who strode through the drawing room they landed in as if it owned the place.

Salazar chuckled lowly. “I wondered whether this would happen or not,” he knelt down and motioned the kitsune to come over to him. The kitsune, however, took a defensive stance his tails in the air and ready to strike if necessary. “Don’t worry I'm not going to do anything to you,” this seemed to relax the kitsune a bit which strode over and sat down in front of him. “I have nothing against you staying here, but you should get to know one thing…should you hurt Hadrian in any way you'll get to know how protective I can get, understood?”

The kitsune butted his head against Salazar's hand before replying telepathically. -I would never hurt him he is…special.-

-Yes, he is- Salazar responded on the same way chuckling.

That let the kitsune jump in surprise and shock. –You're telepathic, but you're human…how’s that possible?– The kitsune rounded him before recognition hit it and its eyes widened. –You're the Serpent King. It’s an honour to meet you,– it added in awe.

-Please, …my name is Salazar, what is yours by the way?– he asked.

-Shiyo, Sir.-

-Nice to meet you, Shiyo. Please take good care of my son, will you?-

Shiyo licked over his hand before replying. –I will defend him with all I have if necessary.-

Salazar smiled at Shiyo before standing up again and addressing the others who looked at him strangely or in case of his son apprehensively. “He’ll stay, and his name is Shiyo. Be nice to him,” he told his son.

Hadrian replied with a hug. “Thank you for letting him stay.”

“Zoo is all I have to say to this,” Sirius laughed. “If you excuse me, but intercontinental portkey travel doesn’t overly agree with me. I’ll take a rest, see you three soon?” he asked the Longbottoms.

“Definitely, though we’ll go back home now too. I doubt that Midnight is very fond of being confined to her transport box,” Alice replied.

With that, they all said goodbye the Longbottoms and Sylvia returning to their own homes. Salazar went to his study to check the letters he received the last fortnight while Hadrian went to his room Shiyo trailing behind him.

Upon entering, he saw Hedwig sitting on her post already waiting for him. The owl had opted to stay behind in England for once because she absolutely refused to be put into a cage for as short as it may be however she also could hardly fly the entire way to China and back which would in total take over a week. Therefore she stayed in England being fed by one of the elves from the manor outside of London which came by regularly to also supply the other owls residing in the townhouses Owlery.

“Hedwig,” Hadrian exclaimed running over to her. “I missed you.”

The owl hooted affectionately being stroked but instantly got wary when she saw the kitsune. She swooped down to the floor and eyed it critically.

“Ah, yes Hedwig this is Shiyo. I met him in China, and he wanted to come back with me. Shiyo, this is Hedwig she is my owl. Please be nice with each other,” Hadrian introduced them.

Hedwig hooted cautiously while the kitsune sat in front of her. They seemingly hold the same staring contest as Salazar had earlier with the kitsune. At one point Hedwig hooted as if to say “I tolerate your presence but don’t expect me to become friends with you,” before flying back to her post and starting to clean her feathers. Shiyo meowed like he thought that Hedwig was an arrogant dame before jumping on the bed and curling up in a spot of sunlight.

Hadrian shook his head upon that but wasn’t overly concerned. As long as they got along, he didn’t care whether they became friends or not.

 


 

 

Sylvia, however, was back not even five minutes later.

“This is getting ridiculous. Do those stupid reporters have nothing better to do than laying siege on my house?” she growled entering the study where Salazar was.

Unbeknown to her two days earlier Dumbledore inserted an article in the Daily Prophet desperately trying to get new information about Harry’s whereabouts. This however put Sylvia on the most wanted list…again. Sure, most of the people didn’t want to sit outside her house all day, so they placed charms that alerted them when someone not an elf entered the house. However, it was grating on her nerves that the second she came in dozens of people wanted to talk to her making a ruckus in the course of it that her neighbours already sent complaints to the DMLE.

“Do you want to know the reason?” Salazar, who just shuffled through the post of the last two weeks including every issue of the Prophet, asked holding out the problem with the article. He only knew because said issue laid on the top and the headline was so eye-catching.

Sylvia took it and read the article. “Dumbledore is getting desperate. Listen: Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts and former guardian of Harry James Potter calls out a reward of five thousand Galleons for every hint given about the location of Mr Potter that leads him being brought back to the tender care of the Ministry,” she quoted. “Five thousand Galleons is quite an amount of money no wonder that everyone wants to talk to me again,” she sighed. It seems that she would never get her peace from those idiots.

“I have to apologise because I underestimated the resilience of the people. It didn’t occur to me that they would be this adamant about talking to you,” he looked apologetically before chuckling lowly. “However I just had a brilliant idea of how to strip Dumbledore of five thousand Galleons.”

“You don’t truly consider giving Hadrian into the custody of the Ministry?” she asked in disbelieve. “The only thing you would achieve with that is that Dumbledore gets a hold over him again.”

Salazar laughed now. “No. however what do you think would happen if the head of the DMLE, the head of the Department for Magical Child Care and the Minister herself give an official statement that John Smith and Harry Potter met with them and they decided that it would be best for Harry to stay with his momentary guardian?”

Sylvia cocked her head contemplating Salazar's idea. “With Augusta and Ms Bones it might work, but I doubt that the Head of Magical Child Care would play along. She doesn’t know you.”

“What if she really gets to know Mr Smith and me?” suddenly Hadrian asked from the door having entered without them noticing. “When I tell her that I like living with you and don’t want to be placed anywhere else telling her also how you saved me from my…relatives it should help.”

Salazar furrowed his brows. “While that would help it would be troublesome to meet with them. The problem is that you hardly can go through the atrium of the Ministry without at least one person reporting to Dumbledore that he saw you. He will be there with light speed and trying to get a hold over you.”

“What about this magic that lets me look different? At least until we are in a room with them” his son suggested.

“A glamour. You're right that should work or we floo directly to Augusta’s office,” he had to admit that his son’s idea had merit the longer he thought about it. “Let me think this through and talk to Augusta and Ms Bones, okay? I’ll let you know what we will do,” he replied.

“Cool, can I brew some?” Hadrian inquired.

His father started to laugh. “We are back for not even an hour, and you already want to brew? Come on,” he said shaking his head and picking up the letters before going through to the potions lab followed by his son and Sylvia. He wouldn’t brew himself but continue to sort through his post while having an eye on his son. Sylvia, on the other hand, grabbed the pile of newspapers to see whether something else interesting happened. Shiyo who also followed them into the lab curled himself up under the table and slept some.

They worked in silence when Sylvia spoke up.

“This is interesting,” she suddenly exclaimed before starting to read out an article she found.

 


 

 

Peter Pettigrew arrested

 

Yesterday evening the Aurors finally arrested one of the most dangerous criminals. Peter Pettigrew, traitor and mass murder found to be hiding within a pureblood family, the Weasleys. Percy Weasley (9) found out that his pet rat was, in fact, a wanted criminal.

In an interview with the Daily Prophet, he proudly told that at first when the article about Sirius Black’s innocence came out a week ago, he did not think much of it. However, when he found his pet rat snivelling around the newspapers, he grew suspicious. He showed a considerable amount of tactical thinking when waiting until night, and the rat was asleep before calling in his father to stun it and after that the Aurors.

“I read that the man was dangerous and I feared that he might do something to mum and dad, so I waited until he fell asleep,” Percy said with a worried glance at his father.

Amelia Bones personally together with no less than five of the best Aurors went to investigate this case. It turned out that the rat really was the criminal Peter Pettigrew who they arrested immediately and without a fuss thanks to the stunner, Mr Weasley Sr. applied. In an expedited proceeding, the Wizengamot then sentenced him to lifetime imprisonment in Azkaban.

Ms Bones emphasised in an interview the commendable and admirable course of action Percy Weasley took. She said that for his age Mr Weasley showed skills many adults lacked and that she would gladly support him should he decide to become an Auror later in his life.

I think I speak for most people when I say that tonight we will sleep far better with one less criminal running around and that we need more boys and girls like Percy Weasley.

 

-Andy Smudgley-

 

For more about Peter Pettigrew and his crimes see page 2

For more about the Weasleys see page 8

For more about Amelia Bones see page 9

 


 

 

“Good, one less thing to worry about. This Percy Weasley seems to be an intelligent boy. Not everyone this age would have been able to suspect only from a few hints that the rat might be a criminal not to mention act as he did,” Salazar replied while reading a statement from one of his business.

“You're right, but children see things in another way than adults,” Sylvia mused.

“True.” Salazar nodded, and with that, they sank into silence again.

 


 

 

The next days went by without anything interesting happening. Sylvia made a final check on Sirius and the Longbottoms to make sure that they were fully recovered and that their healing process went on properly. True to his word Salazar prepared a schedule for his son. For now, it were mostly easy things like penmanship and writing with a quill, mathematics, English, social skills as well as Old Norse and its runes most of which he would have together with Neville. Other than that they started to train his and Neville’s magic.

Salazar was adamant about the language since the wand movements were based on the runes and rune-based magic could come in handy because only very few could cancel or counter it. Potions he didn’t make a lesson because they brewed regularly and Salazar would make sure that his son knew everything about it then if he didn’t already read about it himself. Neville though came by from time to time to learn it too.

However, his son was unwavering when it came to his decision to learn Chinese. He said that he would even sacrifice an afternoon than not learning it. In the end, Salazar gave in and added it to the schedule.

Salazar also talked to Augusta and Amelia about his idea to get back at Dumbledore by striping him of the five thousand Galleons. They were instantly in with it because the man was grating on their nerves with his constant questions and requests so everything to bring him down a peg or two was very welcome. Amelia also complained that ever since the article the claims of “Potter sightings” went through the roof and it was her duty to follow up all of them.

In the end, they set up a meeting in Augusta’s office with the Head of Magical Child Care to which Salazar and Hadrian flooed directly to. Salazar wore a glamour to represent John Smith while Hadrian was his own.

To say the woman from Child Care was hooked with Hadrian would be an understatement. She fell headlong with the sweet and well-behaved child he was. Hadrian nevertheless true to his idea told his heartbreaking story about how his new father John saved him from his abusive relatives, healed him and even took him on holiday…his first ever. He even clutched to Salazar as if he never wanted to let go again. In the end, the woman cried her eyes out over the story and gave a statement that Harry couldn’t have found a better father than John Smith and that no one should dare parting them.

Salazar didn’t doubt that she would have done everything for his son should he have asked. Dumbledore, however, was furious that he had to give the reward to the very man he wanted to get rid of. Amelia Bones, on the other hand, made it clear to him that Mr Smith fulfilled the criteria by bringing Harry to the Ministry only to get the custody back. Salazar then donated those Galleons to the Department of Magical Child Care under the condition that it would be used to give magical orphans a home to live in which only cemented the woman’s opinion of John Smith.

What amused them nonetheless was the article published a day later. It went together with an oversized photo of how “John Smith” escorted an overly happy Harry Potter out of the Ministry on the front page. Salazar had staged it the way that right when they left the Ministry through the front door so to speak a reporter of the Daily Prophet was in the entrance hall. Then out of sheer luck said reporter overheard how he called him Harry or so said woman might think. One photo session and a flash mob later they apparated back to the townhouse. Hadrian found all that very interesting and amusing, filing it under how to manipulate the media in your favour for later use.

 


 

 

John Smith – Ministry approved guardian of Harry Potter

 

The news around Harry Potter do not seem to stop. You remember the announcement from Albus Dumbledore that everyone giving a hint about the whereabouts of Harry Potter that would lead to said boy being brought back under the care of the Ministry would be rewarded five thousand Galleons. So was it that this devoted journalist met said boy yesterday personally in the entrance hall of the Ministry of Magic nonetheless. His guardian John Smith accompanied him. Both were coming from a meeting with Augusta Longbottom – Minister of Magic, Amelia Bones – Head of the DMLE and Reese Cunningham – Head of the Department for Magical Child Care.

All three gave an official statement that day that John Smith voluntarily came to them to dissipate any concerns whether he is an appropriate guardian for the Boy-who-lived or not.

Ms Cunningham also said, “Harry Potter is very content with his momentary guardian, and it would be a monumental mistake to part those two.” She also reported that Harry Potter told her everything about his life with his relatives, what she heard left her beyond shocked and saddened. So it seems that the relatives under which Harry Potter spent four and a half year did not only not care for him adequately but also abused him severely.

“From what the boy told me he was treated worse than the lowest house elf,” Ms Cunningham told in an interview tears welling in her eyes over the injustice that happened to Harry Potter.

The question now is, was that everything or has there perhaps happened more the boy did not want to talk about yet? I for my part think that the Dursleys who vanished about three weeks ago got what they deserved.

One thing is for sure, however. Harry Potter loves his new guardian and seemingly, there is no love lost between the boy and Dumbledore. “I don’t know about Dumbly…he never once looked for me,” he told this devoted journalist with tears in his eyes before starting to smile a bright smile. “But daddy…daddy is so cool he even took me on holiday. I love him!” the last part was said with so much fondness that it warmed the heart of everyone around them before John Smith embraced him in a tender hug and apparated them both away.

Another proof for the man’s caring nature is that Ms Cunningham reported that Mr Smith donated the reward of five thousand Galleons to her Department to open the first magical orphanage in Britain. Ms Cunningham told in the interview that Mr Smith stated that he was well off to care for the Boy-who-lived properly but that not every child had the fortune to find caring parents after being orphaned during either the last war or other circumstances.

I think that we can all agree that John Smith is the guardian and father Harry Potter deserves and that Ms Cunningham is right with her assessment that it would be a colossal mistake to part those two.

 

-Rita Skeeter-

 

For more about Potter’s adoption see page 2

For more about Reese Cunningham see page 9

For more about the plans for a magical orphanage see page 10

 


 

 

After that life at the townhouse found some kind of a routine. In the morning Hadrian had his lessons mostly together with Neville while in the afternoon he either brew, played with Neville or went on short trips.

Salazar in the meantime when he wasn’t busy with teaching his son those lessons James didn’t teach, which were Chinese, Old Norse and magic, he either managed his business or helped Amelia with revising the cases from those convicted to Azkaban without a trial.

Amelia had sorted the cases while Salazar was on vacation and now they looked into them together. To say that the results were disconcerting would be putting it mildly. Up to now, they found already two cases which were wobbly at best, and they were into it only for a few days now.

Dumbledore, however, had a hard time to salvage what remained from his once impeccable reputation. Now he was under close scrutiny by everyone and only was able to keep his positions thanks to his connections. It seems that the man decided to lay a low profile for now so that not another blow would come his way.

The routine in the Slytherin household only was interrupted when Sirius about two weeks after they returned decided that it was time to pay the Black townhouse a visit. He didn’t want to rely on Salazar's hospitality forever after all. So Sirius, Salazar, and Hadrian went over only to find a house layered in dust.

Initially, Sirius didn’t want to take Hadrian with them because there were quite a few dangerous objects in the house, but Hadrian promised not to touch anything. He argued that this would be an exciting field trip and that he could learn a lot from it. In the end, they agreed as long as he would stay near them and didn’t touch anything without their consent.

Now they stood in the dark and dusty entrance hall of the townhouse. They sat into motion to walk into the sitting room when suddenly a woman shouted from the entrance hall. Hadrian who was still in the hallway because he would only enter a room when his father said it was safe, turned around and found the picture of an older looking stern woman.

“Good afternoon, ma’am” he greeted her bowing his head curtly.

This however stunned the woman in the picture and let her instantly stop shouting profanities. “Hello, young man. Finally, someone with manners graces this house again. May I inquire your name?” she said.

“Hadrian Slytherin, ma'am, and yours?” he replied.

“A Slytherin. I'm mostly delighted to make your acquaintance. My name is Walburga Black mother of Sirius Black this good-for-nothing of a son,” she shouted the last part which let Hadrian put his fingers in his ears.

“Ma'am, would you please stop shouting? It is giving me a headache.”

“Oh, I'm sorry Mr Slytherin, but he always enrages me ever since he turned his back on his family only to become a blood-traitor,” she sighed.

“She has a point there, Sirius. I also never understood why you turned your back on your family only to pretend to be light,” Salazar suddenly added from inside the sitting room. “It definitely wasn’t because your family is dark that’s for sure.”

Sirius sighed. “I didn’t leave because my family was dark. I left because of their preaching about blood purity. ‘Toujours Pur’ is the family motto but all this inbreeding to keep the blood pure is a load of bullshit,” he growled.

“Sirius Orion Black, mind your language, and we have to keep our blood pure. Otherwise, we’ll lose our strength and after that even our magic,” Walburga argued.

“Ah yes? If this is true, then answer me one question. Why was every single one of the most powerful wizards and witches of the last centuries either a half-blood or someone with parents not related to each other?” Salazar questioned finally coming out of the sitting room and back into the atrium.

This silenced Walburga at first until she snapped back. “You have no evidence for this theory.”

“I’ll give you a few examples. Albus Dumbledore, Merlin Emrys, Morgan le Fay, Hadrian Potter-Slytherin,” upon that the woman’s head snapped to Hadrian. “Tom Marvolo Riddle. Every single one a half-blood and one of the most powerful wizards and witches of their time.”

“Who is Tom Marvolo Riddle?” Walburga now looked a bit confused since she never heard of him.

“I think you know him under a different name, Lord Voldemort” Salazar grinned upon the shocked face of one Walburga Black.

“This is…” for the first time in her life she didn’t know what to say.

“What? Outrageous? A scandal? Never the less it is the cold hard truth. The very man you declared your leader is exactly what you detest, a half-blood. However, if you thought that shocking you didn’t know the best…”

“What could possibly be worse than this lying hypocritical bastard?” Ms Black fumed.

“You're right he is the bastard son of a squib of the Gaunt line and a mundane and in no way related to the Slytherin line by the way.” She now looked like she would faint, her luck that she was only a painting. “But that was not what I wanted to say…”

Walburga took a deep breath before she interrupted Salazar for the second time now. “So you want to tell me that the Dark Lord not only is the bastards son of a squib not to mention that he in no way is the heir of Slytherin and to top it off this isn’t even the worst?” She didn’t know what to think anymore. This man in front of her brought her entire view of the world upside down in mere minutes, and he was hinting that it would only become worse? Who was he anyway?

“Yes, the worst in this entire we keep our blood pure thing is that you are responsible for the existence of the so-called Muggle-born. Okay, not you in particular but people like you who cast family members out because they show no magic,” Salazar growled.

“How is that?”

“Those muggle-born as you define them, a magical child born from two mundane people, doesn’t exist. They are direct descendants of those very squibs your ancestors cast out. Because you cast them out and no other magical person cares for them either they have to live in the mundane world. There they marry and have children. The magic might not reappear in the first generation, but somewhere down the line it will resurface when all the damage your inbreeding inflicted is diluted enough,” Salazar explained heatedly.

“You have no proof for this,” Walburga now shouted.

“Are you sure? I did voluntary ancestry tests with nearly every muggle-born I employ which are quite a lot. Most of them are the descendant of a squib from a well-known pureblood family with a few exceptions who are descendants of other less known lines. However not even a single one is not the descendant of a magical line,” he explained.

“How did you come to this? I mean you don’t research something like this out of the blue,” Sirius who listened interestedly piped in.

“My son. When I got to know that he is related to the Slytherin line through his mother who was a known muggle-born, I grew curious. I have to admit that up to then I never would have assumed that they were descendants of squibs thinking that the already weak magic in them would be even weaker in a child between them and a mundane person until it vanishes completely,” he shrugged helplessly. “I was obviously wrong. Though of what I'm sure is that squibs are mostly the result of the inbreeding. In countries like China or America for example, where blood purity isn’t even a concept, are much fewer squibs then here in England hence why they are thriving while here they can be thankful to at least have one child that hopefully is not a squib. Did you really think families like the Malfoys only have one child because they actively decided on it?” Salazar shook his head while going back into the sitting room.

“Who is he?” Walburga asked curiously.

“The momentary Lord Slytherin,” Sirius simply stated before following him.

Since Walburga had a lot to think about and therefore was silenced, they continued to walk through the house. Once they reached the library, Hadrian stopped following them more content with staying there reading. Sirius at first didn’t agree because he knew that his family had books about pretty dark magic, but Salazar simply stated that he didn’t distinguish between light and dark magic because it only mattered how you use the magic and so as long as the books weren’t cursed his son could read them all he liked. He, however, made it very adamant that should he feel magic coming from a book he would have to call him and not touch it. So now Hadrian sat there reading a book about potions – what else – while the others continued to look through the house.

It was about two hours later that Sirius suddenly called for Salazar having found something.

“Look what I found. I don’t know what it is even doing here or how it got in the drawing room,” he held up a golden locket with an emerald S on the front attached to a large gold chain.

“My locket. I got it from my son, but it got stolen a long time ago,” he went over to pick it up only to let it fall to the floor as if he burned himself. “This…this…” he didn’t know what to say because there was simply no word fitting enough for what he was thinking right now. “Should I ever get my fingers on him….”

Sirius shivered. Someone managed to royally screw up with Salazar and while he didn’t really want to know who he had to ask anyway. “What’s wrong? Who do you mean?”

“Riddle…he violated MY property by making this,” he pointed at the locket. “One of his Horcruxes” he growled while taking out his wand. “Avada…” he didn’t get further because Sirius interrupted him by grabbing his wand arm.

“Salazar, I know how you feel but stop and start thinking. Okay, I can’t even start to fathom how you're feeling but killing that thing would be a monumentally mistake at least at the moment,” Sirius gulped when the other man’s gaze fell upon him, but he didn’t waver in his decision. “We don’t know enough about these things. What if the main piece feels it when we destroy one of the other pieces and he starts to create even more? Moreover, we may be able to use this one to locate the others,” he let out a sigh of relieve when Salazar finally took his arm down. “And here I thought only Gryffindor’s act hot-headedly,” Sirius snickered.

Now also Salazar had to smile. “You'll find that everyone has the qualities of all the houses within him. Loyalty and protectiveness to those you love, hard-working to achieve what you want, a healthy tendency to learn new things and a certain amount of sneakiness and wish to survive. It is only what is more prominent that defines your belonging to the different houses. However, it wasn’t what we looked for when founding Hogwarts.”

Sirius looked a bit confused.

“We sorted the students due to their magical abilities and not their personality. I told you that we used the Ritual of Insight to determine what a student is more inclined to? Students with tendencies to potions, alchemy, and rituals were sorted into my house while those who were more towards earth magic, creature care and magical building techniques went to Helga. The ones with abilities in spell work, transfiguration and enchantments became Rowena’s students and last the ones more inclined towards offensive/defensive magic as well as other battle magic went to Godric. Other than that Rowena also took the seers, Helga the healer and I those who were warding naturals but all those were very rare. Sure they also learned the other branches of magic, but we did this mainly so that those with the same talents were together and not only could learn from us but also from each other. This way we also could watch them more closely.”

“This actually makes more sense than sorting them depending on their character. I mean children are in development and what today might be someone fiercely loyal is tomorrow a bookworm due to circumstances,” Sirius mused upon which Salazar nodded.

After that, they continued their sorting through the house. Once they were finished Salazar called a few of his elves over to help clean up the house. For the poor Black elf Kreacher it was too much to do it all alone. A week and some cleaning and renovations later then moved Sirius into Grimmauld Place. It also seemed that Walburga who first screamed bloody murder now had a different view after a few more long talks with Salazar. She now tolerated Sirius what also resulted in an improvement in Kreacher’s behaviour which didn’t mutter profanities under his breath anymore. All in all a situation that made Sirius more comfortable living in the house.

The pendant however they brought to Amelia. She instantly redirected it to the Unspeakables who were glad to have one of Voldemort's soul pieces to play with. They managed to transfer the part into another object so that Salazar could get back his pendant. At the moment they were trying to find out whether it would be usable to trace the others.

Without anyone noticing weeks went by and Hadrian's and Neville's birthdays approached quickly. They decided to have a small birthday party on the 30th for both together with family and good friends and on the 31st they then would all together go out visiting the mundane zoo. Hadrian wore a glamor to the party since some attended that weren’t in the know like Susan Bones who came along with her aunt, Amelia. This, however, didn’t dampen his mood in the slightest.

What left everyone baffled on the other hand was what happened on the morning of the 31st, Hadrian's birthday.

Salazar entered the kitchen to get some coffee when he saw that everywhere piled presents and some owls were still there with more gifts tied to them. James was busy untying an enormous gift from an owl.

“What in Merlin’s name is going on here?” he asked confused.

“Good morning, Sir. It seems that quite a lot of people sent birthday presents for Hadrian,” James, who just finished untying the present, replied while the owl swooped out through the owl-window.

“A few okay, but so much? I think we have to test them upon spells and charms that are out of place before Hadrian gets harmed,” Salazar mused when he remembered something and snickered. It didn’t take long before he was laughing like there was no tomorrow.

Just at that moment his son entered the kitchen confused on the one hand by the piles of presents and on the other by his father laughing like a loon. Even James looked strangely at the other man.

“Dad? Is everything alright?” he hesitantly asked.

Salazar needed a few more moments to calm down again, and while whipping a tear from his eyes, he replied.

“Yes, everything it all right. I just remembered something,” upon seeing the confused looks he explained. “We have a ward, the so-called Tracking Redirection Ward. It is meant for the case that someone tries to track someone through an owl. The ward now redirects the tracking charm to a place I can dictate. So, for example, someone sends an owl here, Phoenix St. 6, but the ward now would redirect the charm so that it won’t give away our address anymore but for example Diagon Alley 7.”

“I understand that but what is so funny about it?” Hadrian still didn’t think it so funny that he would laugh like a lunatic.

“Sure that in itself isn’t so funny. Why I laughed is because out of a bout of anger I set the ward to Downing Street No. 10,” Salazar snickered.

A few weeks before, shortly after the holidays, he tried to get the authorisation to open a new mundane factory that would have secured many jobs, but that was declined by the respective department because of some bureaucratic nonsense. When he then got to know that the Prime Minister had a hand in this because of some personal interests…well, this was the result.

“You didn’t really do that, did you? Who am I talking to…surely you did” James replied indignantly.

“Wait a moment…Downing Street, I know that. Isn’t that the address where the mundane Prime Minister has his office?” Hadrian who now understood why his father laughed mused.

“That’s it. I don’t doubt that quite a few of the owls were tracked to find out where you live. So it is very likely that the Prime Minister soon has a lot of visitors.”

 


 

 

In the meantime at Downing Street No. 10

“I wonder what it is today. I don’t know how many of these strange looking people who seem to come from a medieval carnival already came here asking for some Harry Potter,” one of the secretaries complained. “Who is this Harry Potter anyway?”

“Who knows but he seems to be very popular if the number of people asking for him is anything to go by” another secretary shook his head.

To their ignorance, right at that moment, the Prime Minister had a heated discussion with the Minister of Magic about just that topic.

 


 

 

“But what are all those parcels and presents?” Hadrian asked confused. “They can’t be all for me…”

“You remember I told you that you're famous?” Salazar asked upon which his son nodded. “Well, many people are grateful for what you did even if you might not remember it and so they send you presents. Some even feel sorry for what happened before you came to me,” he carefully added not wanting to ruin his son’s mood.

“So you mean they…care?” Hadrian felt warm inside. For so long he had been alone, but now all those people he didn’t even knew cared and sent him presents. “But I never received presents before. Why now?” he frowned.

“I think you know why…” his father replied. He didn’t tell his son that some only sent presents to find him and do Merlin knows what.

“Dumbledore…can I open them?” he asked eagerly jumping up and down in anticipation.

Salazar shortly thought about it before coming to a decision.

“You can open them but,” he added sternly making sure that his son got the message. “Before you open a present I want you to check it whether it radiates magic, understood?” his son nodded eagerly. “Should you find magic on it I would like you to give it to me so that I can make sure that it doesn’t harm you.”

He had already explained to him some time ago that he should always be careful with things that had magic on them and with which he didn’t know whether it could be harmful or not. The problem was that it quite often happened that people tried to target the heir of a family or other influential people through the post. With Hadrian, he was mostly concerned about former Death Eaters who wanted retribution for defeating their Lord. Sure, he had wards that prevented the really dangerous things from even getting into the house, but sometimes just a small compulsion charm woven into the parchment was enough to get someone to do something suicidal or such and better being precautious than having a disaster in the end.

So together Salazar, James, and Hadrian worked themselves through the massive amount of presents. Hadrian did as he was told and every time he found one that radiated magic he gave it to his father to check it further. However most of the time it was only the usual magic that was inherent to the object and belonged there. Though this exercise was also a good practice for Hadrian and in the end, he could distinguish between some of the different spells an object could have and thus even could guess what a gift contained from time to time.

Other than the normal spells they found some compulsion or loyalty charms but nothing serious. Salazar quickly cancelled those before giving the presents to his son. They even found one gift – chocolate – that was laced with a love potion which went straight into the bin. Why someone would try to get a six years old ingest a love potion was everyone’s guess.

One present however alarmed Salazar. It was over and over laced with compulsion, loyalty and even a very well hidden strange version of the Imperious Curse that triggered only under certain circumstances, though which that was they couldn’t determine. Since that present also didn’t have a tag Salazar put it somewhere safe. He would give it to Amelia the next day so that the DMLE could investigate it.

Once every present was unpacked James banished the paper and helped Hadrian packing everything away. Salazar snickered. They definitely wouldn’t have to buy any sweets in the foreseeable future. Most of the gifts contained either sweets, books, vouchers for certain shops or money. The sweets went into a cupboard in the kitchen while the books were sorted into the bookshelf in Hadrian's room with those that he got twice sorted into a box to either store or donate them later depending on their value. For the money, Salazar used an ornate box Hadrian also got. Besides all that he got several board games, two toy brooms, and several other toys.

However, the most intricate gift was a statue. An onyx and a jade snake coiled around a pillar. On said pillar, a white marble owl sat with spread wings making it look much like the caduceus the staff carried by Hermes in mundane mythology. In reality, though it was a Symbol for health and healing which nowadays only the Americans use it that way anymore. At its base lay an onyx dog and what seemed to be a transformed Werewolf made out of red-brown marble. In front of that were a beige alabaster kitsune and an onyx cat curled around a black panther. Behind all that stood a large brown marble stag with a white marble dove sitting on one of the antlers ends. The entire thing was highly detailed and ornamented with gold and gems like the emeralds for the black snake’s eyes.

All in all, it was a masterpiece and a sight to behold with its four feet height.

“It is beautiful,” Hadrian said in awe not able to look away from it. He traced it carefully with his fingers when he came to a rune embedded in the socket. “What is this?” he asked his father pointing at the rune.

Salazar looked at it tracing it with his index finger when he started to smile. Carefully pushing some magic into it the entire statue suddenly came to life. The stag shook his head which let the dove fly off its place and chirp indignantly. The dog yawned before placing its head on its paws and sleep while the snakes started to converse excitedly. On its base, the kitsune began to poke the cat playfully upon which the panther rolled its eyes before observing the going-on critically growling lowly when it grew too exuberant. The werewolf watched it more amusedly, and the owl hooted softly watching over everything.

Now Salazar was baffled. This thing was not only priceless; it was one of a kind that no gold on this planet could pay for. Curiously he picked the tag up that went with the parcel and snickered.

Just at that moment Sylvia came in and looked strangely at the statue. “Wow, who sends such a present?” she asked watching as Hadrian talked with the snakes.

“It is from the goblins” he replied when he heard his son laughing over something.

“The black snake is much like you, dad” he snickered.

That let his father sit up and look at the statue. He scanned it carefully with his magic only to laugh. “It seems that they used the magical imprints they store to give the animals the personality of those people and creatures they represent.”

“They represent people? But who? I mean the black snake, as well as the owl and the kitsune, are obvious but the rest…” Hadrian cocked his head confused.

“The Stag is your father. With the dove, I have to guess, but I think it is your mother while the black dog is your godfather Sirius. As you said, the black snake is obviously me. However, who the green snake, the cat, the panther, and the werewolf are I have no idea” he stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Perhaps the werewolf is Remus Lupin. He was a good friend of your parents and Sirius, but that’s also only a guess.”

“Remus? What is with him?” an overly hyper Sirius asked who entered the kitchen.

“My son received a statue from the goblins with the Animagus forms of people close to him as well as Shiyo and Hedwig. I was wondering who the werewolf might be” Salazar replied.

“Statue?” Sirius asked confused before he rounded them and saw what they were talking about. He stared at that thing with wide eyes. “Even James and Lily….”

“You said the goblins used the magical imprint but how do they get it?” Sylvia was a bit confused and concerned about it.

“The very first time you enter Gringotts and want to do business with the goblins you're required to do a blood test you remember?” Sylvia nodded. “Right at that time they take an imprint of your magical aura and personality and store it. This works as a base so that they can confirm that you're you and act on your own free will and not for example under the Imperius Curse. Normally those imprints are stored in the possibly safest place on this planet to which only very few goblins have access to. However one can request that an imprint is used to for example create a magical painting of a deceased one even after the death of said person, but the fee for this is exceptionally high to prevent abuse.”

“I didn’t know about that. Why don’t they inform the people about it? I mean what if someone doesn’t want this?” she exclaimed.

Salazar only started to laugh about that. “Oh, they inform you about it, but most wizards never read what they sign thoroughly. The very document you sign and which they use to store the imprint tells you clearly what they do. It is not their fault if no one reads it.”

Upon that, Sylvia blushed heavily. “So that’s how they knew….”

“Knew what?” Salazar asked curiously.

“Well…the green garden snake is my Animagus form” she now blushed even more.

“That solves that riddle but who the cat and the panther are we still don’t know,” Salazar said looking back at the statue.

“Perhaps Alice and Frank?” Hadrian piped in. “Hmm, but then where is Neville?”

Hearing that the kitsune suddenly vanished behind the pillar to shoo out two squirrels out of their hiding place. Both cheeped at the kitsune which let Hadrian snicker.

“I think we just found Alice and Frank” his father added. “Maybe Neville is either the cat or the panther, but I tend more towards the cat.”

When he heard his son’s stomach rumble, he started to laugh. Because of all that chaos with the presents they totally forgot about breakfast. Luckily for them, James wasn’t as forgetful and already prepared it. So a minute later they sat together each with his breakfast in front of them though Hadrian was more enamoured with the statue so that his father had to remember him a few times to eat his breakfast.

Half an hour later the Longbottoms arrived, and they all together went to the zoo. Sylvia extra took a day off to go with them after Hadrian asked her to do so. It had surprised her, but she didn’t want to deny the boy his wish especially on his birthday. Hadrian and Neville both loved it, and even the adults had their fun. All in all both children thought this their best birthday they had so far.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 22: Time Flies By

 

The next few days Hadrian used every afternoon to write replies to everyone who sent him a present and added a letter or a tag at least with their name on it. It took him three days to write them all, but in the end, he managed it even adding a heartfelt apology that had they sent him presents before he never received them and that he didn’t reply because of this, not because he was ungrateful. His father was surprised about how adamant his son was and wondered whether he did it on purpose, but probably it was merely the gratefulness of a child who never got to know kindness until lately.

About the entire thing also the press got wind proclaiming in an extensive article how very grateful Harry was that so many people cared about him. It also blew the whole thing out of proportion that someone obviously intercepted Harry’s post previously and that whoever did it better should give him back what was his. Dumbledore was quick to ensure that he never intercepted any letter to Harry though Salazar didn’t believe one word. However, he had no proof against the man hence why his hands were bound.

When Hadrian read the article, he snickered and told them that one of the presents had been from Rita Skeeter. Sirius only shook his head hearing that. The boy indeed was related to Salazar with how natural it came to him manipulating everyone around him, probably without noticing it himself.

To the goblins, he went personally to thank them. They were delighted that their gift was so well received and told him that should he ever need help, he shouldn’t hesitate to ask.

Weeks went by. Slowly autumn crept up colouring the world in its golden and red colours. It also grew colder with every day passing.

Sylvia didn’t attempt to move back into her own house, and after some time she merely forgot about it with how natural life at Slytherin household went on. Since Salazar also didn’t say anything about it, it was shoved into the back of her mind. When she remembered though and mentioned it one morning in the middle of October, Hadrian suddenly went all tense and didn’t want her to leave. He told her as much asking her to stay even going so far as to cling to her so that she wouldn’t leave. Over the last few months, he grew quite attached to Sylvia, and she became some kind of mother to him. Sure, he knew that she wasn’t his real mother, but that didn’t matter to him.

When Sylvia looked at Salazar, the man only shrugged indicating that he didn’t mind her living in his house. To Hadrian's delight, she agreed to stay if he wished so, nonetheless when she and Salazar were alone later that day Sylvia told him that she would gladly pay him for letting her stay, but he only smiled and said that her help with his son was more than enough payback. She wasn’t entirely content with it but didn’t push it any further because she knew that it would be in vain. Though she also didn’t sell her house not knowing if she would return some day and her elf would care for it.

Salazar also started to teach Neville and his son how to harness their magical abilities though he quickly got to know that with using his wand every day he was out of training when it came to wandless magic as he was teaching the children. It was the same as it was with physical exercises, as long as you continue your practice the needed muscles stay strong and you have no problem with using them. But as soon as you stop training for a more extensive period these muscles deteriorate resulting in you becoming exhausted quicker when using them.

It was the same with Salazar’s magic, not using it for a long time properly now resulted in him in being weaker and having less stamina. Therefore, he was quite happy with training Hadrian and Neville because this would give him the training needed to become strong again. He also swore to himself to never again slack like this after the first lesson because he got to know just how much out of training he was utterly exhausted in the evening.

All Hallows’ Eve then Salazar, Sirius, Sylvia, James and Hadrian visited a street carnival on a plaza near Knockturn Alley. At first, Sylvia had been reluctant to go knowing the reputation Knockturn alley, and its surrounding had, but Salazar only laughed. He had to admit that the “shadow side” of the magical neighbourhood had its dark and dingy places but all in all it was not any different to other parts like Diagon Alley.

The only real difference was that there the so-called creatures also were present but the last time something more serious happened at the All Hallows’ Eve carnival, or any other festival as it was, was about twenty years ago when two drunken men got into a fight that escalated. Even some members of the well-known families went there to celebrate without having to follow the traditional etiquette since everyone wore masks to stay anonymous.

In the end, Sylvia agreed to go with them.

True to Salazar's word they all wore masks. He wore a very intricate one of a black bird, but they couldn’t say what kind of bird and he wouldn’t tell. The only thing he said was that he went there every year wearing it. Hadrian wore a mask of a kitsune, but he said he wanted to look there what costumes were sold when his father told him about it. Sirius went with a black dog mask and Sylvia since not having one decided to wear a simple black one like James that covered the area around her eyes, and she charmed her usually light brown hair black too.

They all stayed for a few hours now when Salazar suddenly spotted three people without masks. He knew they were Aurors obviously searching for something or someone. Snickering because he had an inkling as to why they were here he quickly cast his glamour and took down his mask before approaching them as Jack Hardinger asking what they wanted.

The leader told him that they were ordered here because of a “Potter sighting” stating that the boy was running around alone. Salazar laughed upon that, informing them that this was Bones’ way of telling them to have some fun.

It became some kind of reward to those who did an exceptional job sending them on those “Potter sighting” cases that were either like that one situated at a festival or otherwise public location where they then could have some free time paid by the Ministry.

It seemed that quite a few people were trying to disgrace him by reporting incidences of where John Smith was neglecting his duties and Harry running around alone or doing inappropriate things. Why those three didn’t know about it yet eluded him though. Once he made sure that they didn’t make a fool of themselves, he went back to the others.

It was a few hours later about ten in the evening when they finally returned back home.

With the days getting shorter and the weather worse life went onwards. Harry continued his learning and reading. He absorbed every piece of information like a sponge never fully saturated. Salazar had to admit that his son might very well end up in Ravenclaw with his learning habits, but he didn’t really care as long as he didn’t get sorted into Gryffindor he thought amusedly. How would that look? Heir of Slytherin sorted into Gryffindor…he could see the headline, at least it would be fun to see what the magical world would make out of that, but no Hadrian up to now didn’t show any of the Gryffindorish stupidity.

That, however, he would have to revise during the full moon at the beginning of December.

Sirius grew more and more worried with every day passing. He already sent two more letters to his old friend but up to now didn’t receive any answer or other sign of his friend’s wellbeing. That was also the reason why he was surprised when at the end of November Remus Lupin suddenly stood on his doorstep. Sirius fell around his friend’s neck holding him tightly. What he instantly knew was that the man was far too thin and looked bad. It was as if he hadn’t slept well for quite some time.

“Remus…how good to see you. Why didn’t you answer my letters? I was so worried,” he blurted out once he let go of the other man.

“I'm sorry, so, so sorry. When you got arrested…I believed them…” Remus replied ashamed of himself.

Sirius looked at his friend surprised before shaking his head. “Forget about it, actually James and I thought you were the traitor,” he admitted in a low voice. “But come in then we can talk properly. Tea? Or coffee?”

“Tea please.”

With that, the two men sat down and talked the entire afternoon and until late in the night. They talked about everything that happened five years ago and since then. In the end, they came to the agreement that they perhaps might not be able to forget what happened but at least to forgive. Both had made their share of mistakes, after all, the biggest of them trusting Dumbledore. What shocked Remus pretty much, on the other hand, was that the Salazar Slytherin adopted his cub not knowing what to think of it.

The next day Sirius called said man over to introduce him to Remus. This though became instantly more interesting when Salazar asked him a particular question.

“May I see your Wolfsbane potion?” he asked the other man without preamble.

Remus, however, looked at him dumbstruck. “How…?”

“Point one, I did my homework since I wouldn’t let just anyone enter my son’s life after all. Point two, I was the best hit wizard at the American Ministry for a few decades, and you don’t become that if you can’t identify a werewolf on sight. You need to know what you're up against. However I don’t care whether you're a werewolf or not as long as you don’t hurt anyone,” he said the last part with a shrug.

Remus blinked a few times in surprise. He was so used to people giving him a wide berth when they got to know he was a werewolf, but this man acted like it was nothing to worry about as if it was something entirely reasonable and to Salazar it actually was.

When he didn’t reply after a few moments, Sirius nudged him to move on. “You can trust him. When he says he doesn’t care then he doesn’t. Now go on fetch the potion,” he told his old friend. Sirius knew that Remus didn’t know Salazar as he got to know him.

The werewolf nodded still surprised that the man didn’t even bat an eye on what he was before leaving the room to do as he was asked.

“Those laws to control and suppress the creatures really do more harm than not,” Sirius growled once Remus left the room.

“I know, and I already talked with Augusta about it, but unfortunately changes can’t be made overnight. It takes long planning and a lot of convincing to change anything. Then there is Dumbledore. He is one of the major players behind the Creature Laws and still has a lot of influence within the light and neutral Wizengamot members,” Salazar sighed.

“Unfortunately,” Sirius replied when Remus re-entered the room a vial in his hand, which he handed over to Salazar.

Salazar took and uncorked it before sniffing at the potion. He furrowed his brows, dipped his finger into the potion and tasted it afore grimacing. “Destroy this, it is poisoning you. I don’t know who made it but said person either has no idea what he is doing or worse is doing it on purpose. This potion has been stirred with a silver rod instead of a copper or glass one. Therefore small silver particles are imbued in the potion effectively poisoning the werewolf who drinks this,” he explained handing back over the again corked vial. “I will supply you with a properly brewed potion.”

Remus stared at the vial in his hand not knowing what to think anymore. He didn’t doubt that the man knew what he was talking about since he also had the feeling something was wrong, but up to now, Remus couldn’t tell what, he just wasn’t good enough in potions to distinguish the slight difference.

“I can’t take this offer,” he finally said, his pride demanding of him not to take the offer.

Salazar sighed. “I fear that this is not negotiable if you want to see Hadrian. I'm not going to risk his health because of something as minor as a not properly brewed potion, I'm sorry.”

Remus looked at him for a few moments before finally nodding.

Salazar then went to fetch his son to introduce him to Remus. While Hadrian at first was a bit apprehensive about the new and to him unknown person, Remus was over the moon to finally get to see his cub again. They sat down together and talked all afternoon getting to know each other. After some time Hadrian was relaxed and had to admit that he quite liked his “Uncle Remy”.

 


 

 

It was three weeks later when Salazar suddenly rushed out of the fireplace of Grimmauld Place 12 late in the night worry clearly written all over his face. Sirius just came into the sitting room having felt the wards announcing a visitor.

“Salazar, what’s wrong?” Sirius enquired tensely because of Salazar's troubled state.

“Is Hadrian here?” was the only thing Salazar said.

“Not that I know of” he replied but checked the wards nonetheless.

The problem was that Hadrian had Black blood running through him thanks to his paternal grandmother Dorea Potter née Black hence why the wards didn’t see him as a visitor but a family member and therefore didn’t announce him. Once Sirius was through with scanning the wards, he was pale as a sheet before turning on his heels and running down the corridor to the door that led to the cellar. Salazar was right behind him; his worry morphed into fear. He knew from a conversation with Remus that the man used the basement to hide during full moons and today was the night of a full moon.

So both men rushed down the stairs to the cellar praying that nothing had happened though when both reached the room, they both stopped in shock.

In the middle of the room stood a huge cage in which Remus locked himself away until the night was over. However, there wasn’t only the werewolf in the cage, but together with him Hadrian both curled around each other and sleeping contently right next to them Shiyo also sleeping. Salazar wondered how his son even got in there since he could see the quite impressive protection wards. Sirius just wanted to rush forwards to get his godson out of there when he was stopped by Salazar.

“If I were you I wouldn’t try to get him out. Look how Remus is curled around him, he is protecting him. Anyone trying to get his cub out of there now would get ripped apart no matter whether you are friends or not,” he explained calmly now that he knew his son wasn’t in any danger.

“But…but what if he hurts him?” Sirius questioned in fear.

“He won’t. For a werewolf there is nothing more important than the health of their cubs, they would even give their life to save them. Combined with Hadrian's Alpha Male trait…I wouldn’t envy anyone stupid enough to go near them,” he now chuckled before turning around and leaving the cellar. “Let them sleep.”

Sirius even if grudgingly followed him. “How can you be so calm when your son is sleeping right next to a werewolf on a full moon?” he asked on their way to the kitchen where they both grabbed a drink and sat down.

“Because I know everything there is to know about werewolves, how they think and react to certain situations. While I have to admit that it was incredibly stupid of my son to go in there in the first place since he couldn’t know how Remus would react to him he now is perfectly safe. Though I somehow doubt that Shiyo would have let him go in there had Remus posed any threat.”

“It seems that Hadrian has some Gryffindor traits after all” Sirius chuckled.

Salazar grumbled upon that. “Though I think that Remus should meet someone. Don’t you want to meet your girlfriend again?” that earned him a surprised look from Sirius, he chuckled. “Did you think I wouldn’t notice?  Your farewell to her at the end of the holidays spoke volumes.”

Sirius tried to hide his blushing by drinking some but failed miserably. “You're right, but only in the new year, I want to celebrate Christmas with everyone,” he answered back.

 


 

 

The next day nonetheless Hadrian got an earful from Remus about what happened last night.

“What in the name of sanity did you think coming into the cage on a full moon? Merlin knows what could have happened to you. I never thought that you would be so…reckless,” the werewolf rambled on throwing his arms into the air in desperation.

Hadrian observed him in apprehension, he didn’t think that his father would allow Remus to beat him, but the fear still was there. “I could feel how lonely you were and I could also feel that you wouldn’t harm me,” he replied defiantly.

Remus shook his head exasperatedly. “And you?” he now addressed Salazar. “How could you leave him in there? I thought you cared for him.”

Salazar started to cough because he choked on his coffee in surprise. “Did you really just suggest that I tried to separate a werewolf form its cub on a full moon?” he finally asked.

That made Remus backpedal and think over what he just said. He had been on a rant and didn’t really think over what he said, but when he became aware of it he looked at the table blushing. “No…”

“Thought as much,” Salazar snickered before addressing his son. “However Remus was right, it was incredibly reckless from you to go into the cage on your own. You should at least have asked me beforehand so as a punishment no potions brewing for one week.”

Now Hadrian looked anxiously at his father, this punishment was far worse than he thought it would be. Not being able to meet with Neville or something the like he could cope with but no potions brewing was bad, really bad in his eyes. “But…”

“Nothing but. I told you that your actions have consequences and that you should think about them,” he looked at him sternly. Hadrian pouted and sulked for the rest of the day, but Salazar couldn’t help it, his son had to learn that acting reckless wasn’t something he would support.

Salazar, on the other hand, told Remus what he already spoke about with Sirius. He wanted the man to meet one of the werewolves living in Shangri-La. Remus obviously needed to learn a few things about being a werewolf and Chang the alpha he wanted him to meet would be the right person to teach him. For ones, it looked like Remus was fighting his wolf and that was never good as well as locking oneself away. Sirius and Remus came to the agreement that they would go right in the new year before the first full moon.

 


 

 

The next months and years flew by.

Remus and Sirius travelled to Shangri-La staying there several months. Sirius was happy to see the woman, Ley, he met during his first visit, and they even deepened their relationship. Remus, on the other hand, lived with the local werewolf pack and learned quite a lot about what it meant to be a proper werewolf. It took him some time, but in the end, he accepted that lycanthrope wasn’t a curse but something he could live with without any trouble. Having recognised his wolf then also showed during the full moon. Not only was the transformation nearly painless even without the potion but he also looked like a proper wolf now and not like a human/wolf crossbreed.

The two men returned in the middle of April, Sirius together with Ley. Sirius had been quite torn, for ones he wanted to be with his godson but also didn’t want to leave Ley behind again. That was until Ley suggested to come with him, they now lived contently in Sirius’ townhouse. Hadrian had a fit of giggling when learning that his godfather had a girlfriend.

With Salazar’s help, the DMLE managed to get a few criminals pinned down, which they were after for years now. They also finished their work on the trials that occurred at the end and right after the war. It was disconcerting what went on at that time. Five of the cases they went through were innocent but thrown into prison because someone profited from it. Those were release instantly and compensated.

Then there were three more, who were not innocent but got a sentence far higher than deserved by law. These also were released as long as they served the standard time for their crime.

The only upside was that they also found cases where people didn’t get a sentence for every crime they committed which also was corrected quickly. In the end, everyone got the punishment they deserved, and everything was in order again.

Though Salazar found so much fun in working together with the DMLE that he continued working for the Ministry even after his contract would have expired. That way he could not only make sure that no one was thrown into Azkaban because of personal interests but also had a close eye on what was going on without it being obvious. Amelia, on the other hand, was quite glad that he wanted to stay since he proved to be quite an asset for her department.

Salazar similarly held many conversations with Augusta exchanging ideas of how to change specific laws and to convince the other members of the Wizengamot to pass those changes. After a lot of time and even more meetings, they at least were able to cancel the bill that prevented the “creatures” from getting proper jobs or places to live at. It was Salazar's idea to raise a fund out of which the Ministry would not only finance warded areas where werewolves could roam on full moons but also other unavoidable necessities for certain creatures. Combined with a speech about casting them out being more dangerous than integrating them into the society that the bill was cancelled. Dumbledore even if not showing it was furious about it. This also resulted in Remus getting a proper job as the manager of the Potter estates. That way the werewolf wouldn’t see it as charity but also had his own piece of land to roam in after Salazar warded one of the estates in exchange for lifting some workload off him.

The Longbottom and Slytherin families grew closer. Hadrian and Neville became brothers in all but blood over time. It was only when they had different lessons or slept that they parted from each other but other than that, they were always together.

To support their son in his talents, the Longbottoms got a huge greenhouse built at their countryside estate. It was quickly filled with various plants of different rarity. Hadrian often visited Neville there helping him carrying things, though he wasn’t allowed to touch the plants. To Hadrian's amusement, his father wasn’t even allowed anywhere near the greenhouse. Neville was of the firm opinion that Salazar had the gaze of a Basilisk in regards to plants; he could obviously kill even the sturdiest plant with only looking at it. Not much later they got to know that Helga used to tease him that what nowadays is called Herbology didn’t even show up in the man’s results of the Ritual of Insight. However, Neville quickly assured him that he would gladly supply him as well as Hadrian with fresh potion ingredients if needed.

Neville soon also got drawing lessons when his mother saw him scribbling away on a piece of parchment and she became aware that he was quite good at it. Hadrian on the other hand when encouraged by Neville to try it to quickly got to know that he had no talent in drawing whatsoever. He, on the other hand, showed an ability in playing instruments, but he decided to stick with the violin. He only needed to play a new piece once to know the notes by heart and a few lessons and hours of practice to perform it flawlessly. What made Salazar laugh though was that when his son came back from a mundane rock concert he went to with Sirius, he decided to play this music instead of all those classical music he played until then. Salazar had to admit that things like AC/DC played on violin didn’t sound that bad, it gave the music a nice touch.

Another thing that highly amused Sirius was that when they went on a trip to America when Hadrian was nearly eight, he was able to gain another familiar. This time it was a recently hatched snake, a black coloured Eastern Brown Snake. Sylvia was pretty shocked about this since the Eastern Brown Snake, or also known as Common Brown Snake, is the second most venomous land snake known (that is if you don’t count the Basilisk since it is thought extinct) especially if bonded to a magical person. The bonding not only would result in the snake to grow larger than usual but also the venom becomes more potent. She was quick to gather a few vials of the snake’s venom to stock up on antivenin in case the snake bites someone even if only out of a defensive reflex.

This entire thing also revealed another feature of the goblins gift. The day they returned from their trip Hadrian found a new addition to the statue, next to the already existing snakes was a second black one coiled up laying at the foot of the column though he could clearly distinguish it from the one that symbolled his father since it had amber coloured eyes like his snake Meiren.

Continuing their lessons in magic both children soon also got lessons in duelling. While Neville was more on the defensive, blocking and redirecting spells Hadrian went more towards attacking. This again showed how well they complemented each other. True, both were powerful on their own, but together they were a force not be trifled with especially once they were adequately trained. For now, though they only started learning the basics, how to block certain spells as well as a stunner and a few minor hexes. Hadrian though quickly adapted a quite unique duelling style. During their magic lessons, they were likewise taught a few useful household charms like vanishing something but Hadrian started to use those spells also during his duels and Salazar had to admit that this style had potential.

One memorable duelling lesson Salazar suddenly stood there wholly naked because his son found it a good idea to vanish his clothes. Sirius who observed the lesson howled with laughter and only stopped when Salazar started to curse him having to protect himself. Soon it became a full wizarding duel, which Hadrian and Neville closely observed.

“Never ever do this again,” Salazar grumbled at his son once finished with duelling Sirius, shaking the other man’s hand as the proper etiquette demanded.

“Why?” Hadrian asked innocently. “No one said I couldn’t do this and it quite effectively distracted you from your original goal,” he smirked. “Not to mention that it resulted in an interesting duel to watch between you and my godfather from which we could learn a lot.”

Salazar grudgingly had to admit that his son was right. “In a battle, I would agree that it is a very effective way of distracting an opponent, but in a proper duel, you shouldn’t use such means. The etiquette should be conserved, and therefore no spells used that embarrasses your opponent in such a way.”

Hadrian nodded consensually, his father also taught him about the etiquette and rules in official duels and actions like vanishing someone’s clothes was highly frowned upon.

 


 

 

With time going on Hadrian also became more and more proficient with brewing resulting in a fascinating discussion with his father shortly before his 9th birthday. Thanks to the countless very well documented experiments he conducted, he improved just another potion in a significant and until then unknown way, his fourth now, when his father came up with it.

“Have you ever thought of patenting your improved potions?” he asked his son.

Hadrian, on the other hand, blinked owlishly not knowing what his father meant. “Patenting them?” he heard the term before and had a rudimentary idea of what it entailed, but this knowledge was shaky at best.

Salazar chuckled. It was true that his son knew a lot but as it seemed not everything. “That way you would either gain a lot of money selling the right to brew the potion to other Potions Masters or people and hospitals would pay you for brewing it for them,” he explained.

“Huh, I doubt anyone would believe that the work of a nine years old would be worth anything” he sighed.

“Who said anything about you having to tell them that you're only nine?”

Hadrian thought about it. He already learned a lot about how things worked and thanks to his uncle, he also knew some about companies. This thought had merit, founding a company under which name he then could both patent his recipes and also might be able to sell some of his potions. At the moment he didn’t do much with them except taking a sample and then often vanishing the rest since he had no use for it. This way, on the other hand, the good and working potions wouldn’t be wasted and could be put to use. The longer he thought about it, the better he found the idea. However, it would also be complicated for him as a not even nine-year-old child to open up a company, not to mention managing it.

Perhaps he could get a bargain with the goblins. They were always open to the prospect of gaining more money. Hadrian got to know them quite well by now and even learned a bit of their language recently, Gobbledegook being his fourth after Old Norse, Chinese and German which he now spoke nearly fluently except German that he also just picked up.

Ever since he received his present on his 6th birthday Hadrian had a good relationship with the goblins. Not that it was a bad one before, but it became even better going so far as that the goblins lend him some of their books about potions and other subjects he wanted to study.

So deciding that this would be a reasonable course of action, he sat in Griphook’s office the next day alone. His father outright declined to come with him stating that this was his own business.

Salazar didn’t do this because he didn’t support his son, but because Hadrian needed to learn how things worked on his own and should he go with him, he was quite sure that Griphook would go out of his way as not to anger him. This was also what he told his son, though he doubted that the goblins would try to rip him off so this would be a good lesson without having to fear that it ends badly.

Yes, Salazar made everything he could a lesson for his son, may it be something as simple as buying a few ingredients for potions up to big things like incorporating his own business. Sure, he always would make sure that he didn’t come to harm but other than that his son was on his own and Hadrian didn’t mind, he even loved the challenge of trying to get the best deal possible. He didn’t stop short of using his age to charm a cashier to give him a discount.

So after about two hours of bargaining with Griphook Hadrian was the proud new owner of his own business “H.S. Solutions”. He opted to use his initials so that the company could be connected to him without outright telling everyone who the owner is.

Griphook would manage the business, looking out for potential customers for both the potions as well as the recipes. He would also see that Hadrian would get the best deal since it was in his own interests to do so because he would get a certain percentage as payment. Hadrian, however, would always have the last say. He also got a seal he could use to send crates with potions to Gringotts to sell them. He would only have to add a separate vial for them to test the potion on functionality and quality because otherwise, they would refuse to sell any of it. Gringotts had an outstanding reputation that everything they sold met a quite high standard and they didn’t want to lose that because they sold some substandard potion or the like.

After that, life went on until three months later Hadrian sat again in Griphook’s office this time together with Neville. Hadrian told Neville about his little business which went surprisingly well and already accumulated quite an amount of money, though most of it went into more potion ingredients and equipment. Neville seeing that thought about selling some of his plants he grew with grand success in his greenhouses (he got two more over time because the first one became too small and it also was too challenging to maintain the different climates for certain plants within one greenhouse). Some of those were quite rare, and he didn’t doubt that sold as either ingredients or cuttings would be profitable.

Talking to Griphook, they came to the conclusion that founding another company would be too expensive, so Hadrian proposed to use his company. In the end, Neville got half the shares of H.S Solutions. They also set it up the way that the company owned two vaults instead of one as it was at the moment. To one vault would go the income from the potions and recipes which stood under Hadrian's control and the second vault would hold the income from what Neville would sell being under his control. That way they could distinguish which money belonged to whom without having to found a new business. Hadrian also wanted to rename it into “H.S. & N.L. Solutions” but Neville declined, he was content with how it was.

 


 

 

It was about half a year after their 10th birthday when Hadrian and Neville suddenly stood in Salazar's study door with quite a stack of parchment in hand and an uncertain look on their face. Especially that made Salazar curious about what they wanted since both usually confidently said what they wanted and didn’t squirm around as they did at the moment.

“Uhm, dad? Can we talk to you for a moment, please?” Hadrian finally spoke up.

“You know that I always have time for you so what is it?” the last time his son acted that way he went against one of his ‘orders’ and it didn’t end well, so he now was understandably worried.

“There is something we worked on for quite some time now, and we would ask you to have a look into it,” he walked over to his father and gave him the pack he had in his hand.

Salazar looked at his son a bit confused. This was everything? That he took a look into quite an amount of text as it seemed and for that, they acted like they were expecting his ire or something the like? He turned towards his desk while Hadrian and Neville sat down on the other side observing him apprehensively.

Starting to read the first pages he quickly realised what was lying before him. This was not a simple essay but a potions book apparently written by his son and Neville but it didn’t end at that. Skimming through it, he saw that the first chapters were mostly about brewing equipment, techniques of preparing the ingredients and the differences in the brewing processes. After that followed about ten different potion recipes combined with a detailed description of every component and plant. Accompanied was that by well-done pictures and even a few tips on how to grow individual plants. He could clearly see which part was contributed by Hadrian and which by Neville. On top of that, it seemed to be written in a way that wasn’t childish like you would expect from ten-year-old children but also not the complicated way an adult would write. He would have to read the entire thing, but he didn’t doubt that this could become the new beginner’s potions book should they decide to get it printed.

“I…I actually don’t know what to say,” he saw out of the corner of his eye that Neville looked worriedly at Hadrian. So that was why they acted so out of their character. They were worried that he would dismiss it as a child’s work and won’t take it seriously. “At the moment I can’t tell you much for that I would have to read it thoroughly and completely, but from what I saw in this short amount of time it is very well thought through. May I ask what prompted this?”

The two children looked at each other again some of their tenseness falling of them before Hadrian started to speak.

“It actually began a few years ago when I started to rewrite the recipes for Neville.”

Neville blushed upon that. Salazar knew that tidbit, and he already told them both that it was nothing to be ashamed of or worry about because everyone had his own way of understanding and learning things and while one was good with his way, it might be entirely improper for another person.

“I thought that if Neville had problems with the instructions in the current books he might not be the only one, especially children. Then about half a year ago I complained to him that in the normal books you have either the recipe of a potion or the magical properties of the ingredients. He jokingly said that I perhaps should write my own book then and well…” he shrugged helplessly.

“That at least explains why you hid all afternoon in your room for the last months,” his father chuckled.

No one had been able to get them out, and it went even so far that they charmed the door with prank spells Sirius taught them so that they would be left alone. He already thought about dragging them out but up to now didn’t want to resort to such means.

“I promise to you both that I will read this and once I'm through with it I’ll tell you what I think, okay? But please don’t expect me to be done tomorrow, this might take a few days.”

Both beamed at him.

“Thank you!”

Hadrian jumped up and went around the table to hug his father. Neville, on the other hand, seemed to be a bit uncertain of what to do so Salazar motioned him to come over and hugged him too.

“I'm proud of you two. I hope you know that,” he told them.

 


 

 

It took him a few days, but finally, Salazar was through the entire manuscript. He had to admit that it was even better than he first thought. The whole thing was very detailed without getting lost in unnecessary information, leading a novice in the art of brewing through every step on the way from proper preparation to the brewing itself. Also, the information given about the ingredients and plants were informative and detailed without being excessive stating where to find, when to best gather and how to properly store them. Added to that was information on the plants for those who wanted to grow them. The drawings accompanying it were obviously done by Neville since the best his son could do in that area was a stickman while the writing style he recognised as his son’s.

Now he was sitting together with the two authors in his study.

“I made a few pieces of advice of improvement, but all in all this is an excellent work. If you want you can ask either the goblins or some other publisher whether they would print and distribute it.”

He was adamant that they did such things on their own. Sure, he would guide them so that they got what they deserved and not some lousy deal, but most of it was their own work. Only that way they would learn how the world worked. Would he do everything they would rely on him every time because they didn’t know what to do and that was nothing he wanted.

“Perhaps we should talk to Griphook then, what do you think?” Hadrian asked his friend musing about their options. “We can use H.S. Solutions for it and distribute the income between the two vaults.”

Neville hummed upon that thinking it through. “I think you're right. We can ask another publisher should he refuse,” he nodded in agreement.

Salazar smiled fondly at them. They were nothing but determined when they wanted something. He knew that quite a few people thought that Hadrian was spoiled, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, he bought him everything he wanted when it came to books, potion ingredients or other things to support him in his desire to learn but everything else he wanted? That Hadrian worked for all by himself. Half a year ago, he remembered his son wanted to have a ring he saw at a shop that cost about one hundred Galleons. He only told him that if he wanted it, he would have to save money and buy it himself. It took Hadrian all of two months to save enough to buy it by selling potions as well as saving what he gained through the patents on the recipes of his improved potions.

He was extremely proud of both Hadrian and Neville. They both came a very long way since they first met over four years ago. Both were confident young boys now who knew how to survive the manipulations of Dumbledore and others. Though Neville was most of the time content with letting Hadrian handle things and supported him whenever possible. However, one shouldn’t think that Neville couldn’t hold his own if necessary. He once gave a botanist from whom he wanted to buy a new plant for his greenhouses a run for his money when the man thought that he could get the better of him only because he was nine at that time.

Doing as they said they approached Griphook with the matter and the goblin gladly helped them getting the book “Beginners guide to Potions” on the market the author stated as “H.S. & N.L.”. For the first edition there would be three hundred copies with more printed should the need arise. Two months later then the first edition was sent to the stores and to their surprise another three months later more copies had to be printed. The book was a full success especially for teaching children how to brew but was also suitable for adults who wanted to learn the art of brewing.

Soon their 11th birthday approached together with the eagerly awaited but at the same time dreaded letter inviting them to attend Hogwarts.

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 23: Into the Lion’s Den

 

Soon their 11th birthday approached together with the eagerly awaited but at the same time dreaded letter inviting them to attend Hogwarts.

 

The only mentionable thing that happened until then was that a few weeks before the boys’ birthdays the extended Wizengamot elected a new Minister of Magic. Augusta resigned at the end of her five years long term not wanting to go for another one recommending Sirius as a competent successor with having the same goals, in the end, Sirius won with a landslide victory.

Because of that, Dumbledore was optimistic that he finally would be able to dictate politics again, but Sirius quickly made clear that he would not have any of this; he was neither buyable (he was one of the wealthiest persons after all) nor reacted to blackmailing in any other way than redirecting it to the DMLE. Over the years, he also had distanced himself from the old man and nothing would change this in the future, or anytime at all.

It was the morning of the 31st of July now and Hadrian's eleventh birthday. Salazar precautionary put down the tracking-redirection wards the day before so that the Hogwarts letter could find his son undisturbedly. Neville already got his yesterday, and now Hadrian was excitedly waiting for his own.

At about ten in the morning, Hadrian was still asleep since he and Neville stayed up until after midnight to celebrate both birthdays when a barn owl swooped in through the open window and landed on the back of a chair hooting softly. Hedwig who sat on her perch next to the window looked at the other owl critically. She never liked having foreign owls in Hadrian's room and only tolerated those she knew like the ones from Gringotts or family and friends, which showed up quite regularly; she was very protective about her territory. Once she had enough of the presence of the other owl and Hadrian showed no sign of waking up any time soon she swooped down onto the bed and started to nibble at his ear. A few moments later Hadrian began to wake up.

“Hedwig, whassup?” he mumbled. “’m tired. Le’ me sleep.”

The other owl hooted indignantly, and once Hadrian saw the barn owl waiting on the chair, any tiredness vanished in an instant, he hopped out of his bed and ran over to get the letter. As soon as the owl was relieved from its burden, it launched into the air and flew back out of the window wanting to get away from the snowy owl. After untying the letter, he carefully looked at it. It was an envelope made out of parchment and the address written in emerald green ink addressed to him.

Mr H. Potter
The bedroom on the right, 1st floor
Phoenix St. 6
London

Hadrian growled. He hated anyone addressing him with his old name; it brought too many bad memories with it. Over the time, he started to think of Harry Potter and Hadrian Slytherin as two different persons. Hadrian knew it was unfair towards his birth parents who gave him the name, but it was his way to cope with what happened in those five years of his life; it gave him some distance to it while Hadrian Slytherin was the happy boy he was now. Then there was the problem that no one knew his change of name, not yet anyway, so how could he expect to be addressed any other than Harry Potter.

Turning around the letter to see who wrought him he found on the back of the envelope stamped into a blood red wax seal the crest of Hogwarts, a capital H in front of a quartered emblem each quarter showing a different animal, a lion, a snake, a badger and a raven. Therefore, this was his Hogwarts acceptance letter, but he was careful never the less because something was wrong about it. He could not pinpoint it, but there was some weird magic radiating from it hence why he decided to show the letter to his father first. Better be safe than sorry.

After a quick shower and getting dressed, he went downstairs. First, he dipped shortly into the kitchen, but there were only the elves preparing the meal with a few presents lying on the counter.

After the second year, that he was with his father, Hadrian let the Prophet publish an article that stated how grateful he was but that he was well cared of and did not need so many presents. However, if people wanted to make him a great gift, they should send the presents to the Magical Orphanage the Department of Magical Childcare opened after his father suggested and financed it.

It was not that they did not have the money to care appropriately for the children living there but not having to pay for the toys opened the possibility for other things like little trips for the children, which were twenty-three by now. They consisted of five war orphans and the rest were muggle-born that came from abusive families who were quite glad to get rid of the “freaks”. Once the paperwork was done and they made sure that the parents really did not want the children they oblivated them, it was safer for everyone involved.

Moreover, the Department of Magical Childcare not only successfully established the orphanage but also initiated a program to help mundane parents with magical children. They stocked up their personnel especially for that purpose to explain and guide the parents from the first moment on when their children showed magic. Another thing they offered was the possibility for those parents to meet and exchange in an environment that made sure that no one else got to know about the magical world and for the children a place where they could get to know others of their age that were like them. All that led to a decrease in Auror operations where they had to deal with hysteric parents and frightened children.

People again were quickly picking up on Hadrian’s behaviour, speaking in high terms about their saviour for how generous he was and that he cared more for others than for himself and surprisingly many sent presents to the orphanage instead of him ranging from money over sweets and toys to other things they might need. Getting to know about it, Harry thanked them profusely which resulted in praises from his father for how he handled this situation. However, that didn’t save him from those who insisted in sending him presents on his birthday or other holidays but luckily those were only a few and mostly sent useful things like vouchers. Today it would prove bothersome since the tracking-redirection ward was down but it was necessary, and he could not hide forever anyway.

So now, he went to his father’s study to show him the letter and knocked. Upon hearing a short, “Yes?” he entered.

“Morning dad” he greeted him with a hug.

“Good morning and Happy Birthday. I hope you slept well?”

“Kind of, got woken by Hedwig when an owl arrived. It had this letter with it” he replied handing over the letter.

“Ah, so your Hogwarts letter arrived. This was to be expected, but why didn’t you open it? You were so excited about it yesterday.”

Salazar now was curious. Yesterday he was envious because Neville already got his letter while he had to wait another day but now he first gave it to him? Something was wrong.

“There’s some strange magic radiating from it. It feels like the tracing charms you showed me, but something is off with it” his father taught him to distinguish between certain spells from only feeling the magic over the years, but there were still quite a few he couldn’t recognise when confronted with and that was one of those cases. He also learned some revealing spells, but he had a feeling that they would not show what it was. Besides that, he wanted to be sure before attempting anything, and he knew that his skills were far from good enough to detect correctly what was wrong when it was Dumbledore tampering with it.

Salazar mused about what his son just told him. When Hadrian said something was off with it, he believed him, so he cast some elaborate revealing charms over the envelope.

“You're right; this isn’t normal. Typically, this letter should only have the standard tracing charm on it so that it finds the person it is addressed to, but it seems that into this one is a second charm embedded but I cannot tell which. Wait a minute perhaps I can tell you more then.”

Salazar carefully started to deconstruct the spells on the letter when he suddenly flinched. “A loyalty charm? If this old fool thinks he can gain your favour through such means, he is more senile than I thought.”

He cancelled the charms entirely before giving the letter back to his son.

“So it’s now safe for you, but good that you came to me with it…”

“Sure, wouldn’t touch anything strange without asking you first. Other than that, what do you think about the addressing of my old name? Shall I tell them about the change or leave them in the dark for a bit longer?” he asked curiously.

Salazar hummed upon that. “I leave it up to you to decide that. They will find out sooner or later so only make sure that it is to your conditions and not theirs.”

His son nodded when suddenly a wicked grin appeared on his face. “I just thought about a good way to mess with them. If what you told me is correct, which I do not doubt, doing what I just thought about should prove to be highly amusing later when I arrive at Hogwarts. It also might drive them up the wall until then.”

“You surely spent too much time with Sirius and Remus…” his father muttered but smiled nonetheless which made Hadrian laugh.

“Anyway, where is mum?” at some point a few years ago he accidentally called Sylvia mum and since neither she nor his dad objected it stuck.

“At work but she only has the shift in the morning and will be back in the afternoon,” his dad told him.

“Okay,” he said while exiting the study to fetch some breakfast. “I’ll go and write a reply later,” he said in before leaving.

After a short breakfast and back in his room, he sat at the desk, took out some parchment, ink and a quill and wrote a reply to Professor McGonagall. When he was finished, he folded the letter put it in an envelope and went over to Hedwig.

“Hey girl, would you mind taking that letter to Professor McGonagall at Hogwarts?”

The owl nibbled at his finger and Hadrian tied the letter to her leg with a smile.

“Thanks. I’d say you just leave it there and come back immediately, I fear they might do something with you should you stay too long, okay?” Hadrian did not put it beneath Dumbledore and try to lace his owl with tracking or other possibly harmful charms and spells.

Hedwig hooted in understanding and flew out through the open window happy to have something to do. Once his owl was out of sight, he went back to his desk to write another letter to a person he sought to make a proposal to, telling her to meet him at Potter manor the next day at ten if she wanted to possibly make the deal of her life. He also wrote to Griphook requesting a contract from him that would bind the one who signed it to his conditions. Oh yes, this would prove to be extremely fruitful. These letters he sent out with owls from their Owlery.

Once Hadrian sent out the letters, he went onwards with actually opening his Hogwarts acceptance letter. Inside he found first a short message telling him that they accepted him at Hogwarts followed by the list of school supplies. Hadrian also noticed that he already read the required books twice at least when he saw what book he would need for potions. His eyes went wide before he bolted from the room letting Shiyo who up to now lay on his bed dozing looking after him as if he went mad. Hadrian ran down the stairs skipping most of the steps before running into the drawing room, grabbing a pinch of floo powder before flooing to the Longbottom manor. There he ran straight to the sitting room knowing that it was the most likely place where he would find Neville at that time of the day, there or in one of the greenhouses. He burst into the room startling Alice and Frank.

“You couldn’t have told me?” he exclaimed without any greeting waiving the supply list around.

“Why? To spoil your fun of finding out yourself?” Neville snickered.

“You…” Hadrian growled walking over to his friend as if he wanted to strangle him.

Neville, on the other hand, having received the same education in melee fighting as Hadrian only grabbed his right wrist and with a strategic placing of his leg behind him quickly had Hadrian lying on the floor. Hadrian however not wanting his friend to get the better of him promptly had him right next to him before rolling around and placing himself over his friend. This was only of short success since Neville having other plans used Hadrian's momentum to reverse the situation again. The two of them fought and rolled around none of them wanting to lose not even noticing that Salazar entered the room.

“Good morning, so that is where my son rushed to” he greeted Alice and Frank with a smile.

“Good morning to you too. Yes, it seems that your son tries to strangulate our son for not informing him about something” Alice replied her amusement clearly shining through while Frank only nodded in greeting before resuming to his newspapers.

They were used to the two engaging themselves in impromptu sparring since they regularly ambushed each other. The elves in great foresight had spelt everything the two could knock over with permanent sticking charms after having to repair something for the third time. Even windows weren’t safe from the two when in the middle of the fight as Neville once proved when managing to throw Hadrian through the window in his room and over the balustrade of the balcony on the first floor. Not that Hadrian injured himself from the fall since he already learned how to cushion a fall from a relatively low height at that time, but Sylvia had do patch him up nonetheless because of the injuries he gained by flying through the window. After that, she also decided to teach Neville at least some basic healing spells so that he could treat injuries properly should she not be available, up to now he was at least able to put a broken arm or leg in splints and mend shallow cuts while bandaging anything more serious. That at least was enough to get to a proper healer without risking too much blood loss or worsening the injuries.

“I wonder what got him to rush here,” Salazar mused when he noticed the school supply list lying abandoned on the floor. He picked it up and quickly scanned it, reaching the bottom he saw what obviously got his son to act as he did as the potions book listed was “Beginners Guide to Potions”, their book. He had to admit that Neville became quite good at hiding things because even he did not suspect a thing after the boy got his letter the day prior. Slowly but surely the scrambling of the two lessened until they both lay next to each other heavily panting.

“Jerk” Hadrian teased Neville after resuming his breathing to a reasonable level.

“Twit” Neville laughed. “You know I would never have dreamt that our book would become the Hogwarts first year’s potions book.”

“Me neither…me neither. What do you think; will the second one be as good as this one? I am worried that people might be disappointed after the first one obviously took off so well” Hadrian sighed.

They started with a second following up book a few weeks prior and had already a few chapters written as well as the outline for some more. In foresight of having less time while at Hogwarts, they expected to finish it sometime around Christmas.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” Alice said softly with a smile. “As long as you give your best nothing can go wrong and I doubt that your second book will be less good than your first one.”

“Mum’s right, we shouldn’t worry about it and even if it isn’t as liked as our first…what eleven years old can say from themselves to have published a book that got Hogwarts standard?”

“Surely not many” that was when his stomach rumbled protesting about not getting enough to eat this day. “Ugh, I was so excited that I didn’t eat properly this morning.”

Alice chuckled lowly. “It is nearly lunchtime anyway. Do you two want to accompany us?” she asked.

“If it isn’t too much trouble,” Salazar replied.

“Since when has it been any trouble at all?” Alice replied before calling for the house-elf to let it know that they had two guests. Salazar and Hadrian ate with them so often that the elves probably prepared more than enough in case they stayed, even Sirius and Ley stayed at least ones in a week.

 


 

 

Professor McGonagall sat in her office preparing for the new school year when suddenly a snowy owl landed right in front of her, a letter tied to her leg. She untied the message, and right after that, the owl flew away as fast as she could. McGonagall looked confused after the owl but only shrugged and turned her attention towards the letter she just received. She had to read it several times not believing what it contained. Shaking her head, she stood up and went straight to Dumbledore’s office.

Arriving at the gargoyle that protected the headmaster’s office, she said: “Lemon Sorbet” upon which the sculpture gave the path free. She climbed the stairs and entered the office.

“Ah, Minerva what leads you to my office on this fine day? Can I offer you something? Tea? Lemon drops?” Dumbledore asked with a grandfatherly smile, but she only shook her head.

“I just received this letter from Mr Potter. Read it for yourself” she laid the letter on Dumbledore’s desk with a scowl.

Dumbledore picked it up and read it. First, his eyes went wide before they narrowed. “Is this supposed to be a joke?” he asked slight anger seeping through into his voice.

“Unfortunately I have no idea. The letter arrived half an hour ago with a snowy owl, but I wasn’t able to get a closer look at the owl since it left instantly after I untied the letter” McGonagall admitted. “Though I can’t imagine it to be true.”

“No, surely not,” Dumbledore said emphatically.

“So what shall I do?” the stern woman inquired.

“Ignore it. Raising to the bait would only lead to embarrassment. Whoever thought this a good joke will probably lose interest when we don’t react to it” Dumbledore mused.

“But what if it is real? What if Harry truly wrote this?” she was not entirely convinced and should she be right she would insult the boy by ignoring it.

Dumbledore sighed. “Minerva, you know as well as I do that this letter is a hoax. Do you really want to make a fool out of yourself by answering to it?” he replied his grandfatherly smile firmly in place.

Minerva thought about it before shaking her head. “You’re right, I’ll leave it be. Thank you for your time, Albus,” she said before turning to leave the headmaster’s office.

“You’re welcome.” Dumbledore nodded towards her before taking a lemon drop out of a bowl on his desk and popped it into his mouth.

 


 

 

The next morning shortly before ten Hadrian was sitting in one of the drawing rooms of the main Potter manor waiting for his guest to arrive. In the letter he sent the day prior, he asked her to come here at ten o’clock. He decided to use the Potter manor for this in order not to give away where he usually lived. It did not take long before the fire in the fireplace went green, and a woman in the mid-thirties stepped out. Her nails polished perfectly in a bright red, she wore a slight makeup, bright red lipstick and her blond curly hair pinned up. Fittingly red glasses rounded off the picture.

“Ms Skeeter, it’s a pleasure to meet you” he stood up and held his hand out in greeting. He wore emerald green dressing robes with silver trimming radiating confidence, power and money.

“Mr Potter, I have to admit that I was surprised to hear from you” she replied shaking his hand. “May I inquire what initiated this?”

“You may, but please have a seat. Can I offer you anything? Tea? Coffee?” he asked politely.

“A tea would be nice.”

Hadrian called for an elf and asked him to bring them the tea and some small snacks. A few minutes later, the elf reappeared together with a tray laden with a teapot and a plate with little sandwiches.

“The reason for why I wanted to meet with you is that I want to make you a proposal,” he stated confidently. “I know about your writing style, and while I have to admit that it is terrific and would be useful for my plans, I don’t want to end up on the wrong end of it. Therefore I would offer you that I would only go to you should I wish to have information published in return for you just writing true and accurate facts about me. This would include that you send me a copy of any article you want to print which contains information about me, or those I provide. You would also need my approval of revealing that information. In fact, you would become my solitary media correspondent for publishing only the information about me I want to be printed, in a favourable manner. I would also provide you with other very intriguing and quite shocking revelations about certain people over time.

“This is the contract you would have to sign, should you agree,” he explained pushing the contract he got from Griphook towards her.

He had to admit that the goblin did a good job setting it up; neither he nor his father had been able to find a loophole in it. In summary, it said what he just told the woman including that she could not redirect the information he gave her in any manner without his approval or speak about this arrangement.

Skeeter sat there a shell-shocked expression on her face. When she received the letter, she had wondered what the boy wanted but that she would never have thought of. Would she want it? Being the correspondent of the Boy-who-lived could prove very profitable, but on the other hand, he could stop her from writing anything at all.

It was as if he read his mind when he spoke up again. “Should you worry that I would put a stop on every story you would want to write about me, I can appease you. Quite the contrary actually, there is a lot of information I want to be revealed in the near future, but I want it to happen to my conditions hence the proposal. I can also assure you that a few shares of this information would shock the wizarding world pretty badly all the while being completely true. What do you say? Want to continue printing half-truth and more or less lies to impress your readers or would you want to do it with cold hard facts while having enough proof to attest to your claims?”

Skeeter blinked a few times in surprise. Even if he had stories only half as good as he claimed for her to print, it would still be a gold mine. She had to admit that the boy intrigued her. As probably everyone else, she imagined the boy to be a Gryffindor through and through considering his behaviour that leaked out over the years. Sacrificing his own presents for orphaned children was a prime example for it, what sane Slytherin would sacrifice personal gain like that? Now, on the other hand, it looked like the boy was nothing but a Slytherin and this smug smirk he sported told her that he at least had a gist about what she thought and found pleasure in her confusion. So yes, she wanted in. However, she also did not sign anything without reading it thoroughly, so she picked up the contract and started to read.

“Take your time,” Hadrian said seeing what she did before picking up a book and starting to read himself.

The woman did as he said and read the contract three times but could not find any trap or such thing. In fact, the deal was something every reporter could dream of which again ignited her curiosity not being able to say whether the boy was more Gryffindor or Slytherin. Sure, she would have to ask for his consent before publishing anything about him, or whatever information he provided. Not to mention that it had to be the truth and accurate because otherwise, she would lose her magic.

On the other hand, she could keep any money she would gain from the articles even going so far as to give her a bonus of 100 Galleons per article should she do a good job. Yes, one could argue that with this, he could put a stop in everything she wrote about him but one did not go the length to set up such a contract only to want to stop someone. Therefore, she picked up the quill he provided and signed the contract.

“Very well, I have to admit that I'm quite glad that you approve of this proposal because I quite like your style and it would have been a shame had I to go to someone else. As I said I have a lot of information to share beginning with the fact that I don’t go by the name Harry Potter anymore,” he said with a smirk.

Skeeter who thought that she could not be more surprised than she already was looked at him with wide eyes. “But what name do you use then?” she inquired.

“Ever since I got adopted over five years ago my full name is Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin though I only go by the name of Hadrian Slytherin” his smirk became even broader when he saw that Skeeter’s eyes nearly bulged out upon that revelation. “However I have to ask you to not reveal this information before September the 2nd because it would interfere with my plans. Nonetheless, for now, what do you think about a story of the ‘Harry Potter speaks up after five years’ kind or something the like? An article that would not only give some insight into my life before I got adopted.”

That made the woman sit straighter. “Is it okay if I use my quick quote quill to take notes?” she asked.

“As long as the article contains the truth and is correct I do not care what means you use to take notes,” he just stated.

After that, they talked about several topics Hadrian giving information about himself that were safe for revealing before Hogwarts started up. He didn’t doubt that Skeeter would make the best of it.

 


 

 

The next day then Hadrian and Neville went shopping for their school supplies in Diagon Alley accompanied by their family except for Sirius who unfortunately had to work. At first, they went to Gringotts to get some business done and to do the standard inheritance test every child of a wizarding family did at the age of eleven to determine of which lines they were the heirs.

Hadrian already did one when Salazar adopted him, but the problem was that the heirship of specific lines only appeared when the tested person was eleven or older. Therefore, it came to quite a surprise that Hadrian not only was the heir of one of the founders but two, Slytherin and Gryffindor. Salazar was quite shocked about his son being a descendant of Gryffindor until Griphook explained to him that Hadrian only became the heir of the Gryffindor line because the original heir died two years ago. Hadrian was the only other still living relative despite being of a side branch of the Gryffindor family and therefore not a direct descendant. The other surprise of that visit was that Neville was a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff, which at least Hadrian did not surprise in the slightest. With Neville's attunement towards plants, he somehow suspected it already.

Once done at Gringotts, they bought an entirely new wardrobe to last them through until at last Christmas break since they would not be able to buy new things during the term. Books they luckily did not need since they already had the ones from the list. Another shop they forwent was the owl’s emporium and the magical menagerie since both already owned one, or in Hadrian's case three, familiars.

However, they made a stop at the cauldrons shop to buy pewter ones because the only ones they possessed were silver or in Hadrian's case also various others in copper or gold. After that, they went to the apothecary to stock up on ingredients to last them for a few months. Both were more content with the parts being as fresh as possible hence why they opted to only buy as many as necessary for about five potions and owl order more during the term. Not many students did that because they didn’t think the subject important enough to waste more money than necessary on it but both Neville and especially Hadrian were well known in the apothecary and so the owner gladly made an exception for them, supplying them regularly with fresh ingredients.

The next stop on their list was writing utensils including a few new journals for both where they could write down the results of their respective researches. Following that, they went buying a wand. Neither of the boys really needed one but it would be highly suspicious and attract unnecessary attention should they cast every spell not only successfully the first time but also without a wand. Up to now only the closest family members and friends knew about their ability to perform magic wandlessly and it would stay that way had they anything to say about it, no need to give away their true power without need. Therefore, they entered Ollivander’s for the long search for the right match, which proved to be more complicated than anticipated. For both together they needed over two hours of trying one wand after the other. At some point, Hadrian directly passed the wand he tested to Neville when it rejected him so that they would not have to go through the pile twice. In the end, Hadrian left with the twin wand of Voldemort, holly and phoenix feather, while Neville gained a cherry wood and unicorn hair one. Nonetheless, they would go to Gregorovitch within the next days to get wands as fitting as only a custom made one could achieve.

At last, they also went and bought a telescope something they did not need up to now because frankly spoken even Salazar had not figured out what that subject was good for. The only things you might remotely need it for is either ritual magic or to gather specific ingredients and brew certain potions, but for all three you only need to know what the current moon phase was because that was the only extra-terrestrial object that had any influence on the planet, everyone who thought different was an idiot. Even for the possibility to foretell the future by looking at individual stars, he never found any evidence.

After having lunch at one of the restaurants in the alley, they returned back home where a surprise waited for the two boys.

“Ah, I see my gift for you finally arrived. Originally I wanted to give it to you for your birthdays, but it took longer to craft them than anticipated,” Salazar said seeing two identical boxes standing in his study. He lifted the lid of one of them before handing it to Neville and the other one to his son.

Both instantly opened their respective box revealing two trunks, one in emerald green with black and silver ornaments having the initials H.S. engraved on a silver platter and one in a deep Bordeaux red with silver adornments having the initials N.L. on top, both were the family house colours.

“Thank you dad” Hadrian exclaimed while hugging him but his father only laughed.

“You think this was everything? Both trunks have seven compartments of which one is a library, one a small flat with everything needed to live in should the need arise, one wardrobe, two storage rooms and one empty that can be set up for training purpose. However, it is the last compartment that should be interesting for you. Who of you wants to see his first?” he explained.

Hadrian only shrugged, so Neville placed his trunk on the floor and opened it in the last compartment. From outside he could not see much more than a ladder leading into a small corridor, so he stepped into it and climbed down followed by Salazar and Hadrian. They found out that the passage ended after a metre leading into a small room from which three doors went. Since Salazar obviously did not want to tell him which of the entries to open first, Neville shrugged and chose the one opposite of him. Opening the door and stepping trough he found himself in a huge rectangular room with long tables at the sides and in the middle as well as a few shelves and containers. In an instant, Neville knew what that was; he was standing in a greenhouse entirely with artificial sunlight, climate and irrigation. He spun on his heels embracing Salazar in a firm hug thanking him profusely.

“Behind the other two doors are also greenhouses like this one. Each regulated separately in regards to light, temperature, humidity and watering. I doubt that you would be able to grow any plants in here that are highly sensitive to their surroundings, but for most plants, it should suffice” Salazar again explained once Neville let go of him.

“I don’t know what to say…except thank you!”

The only other day they saw Neville's face shine like that was when Salazar woke up his parents. It looked like they would not see him the next few days when he moved those plants in here he wanted to take with him.

“So now Hadrian's trunk?” Salazar asked.

Both boys nodded. Hadrian had to admit that after seeing what Neville’s one contained, he pretty much knew what in his would be but he wanted to see it nonetheless, and he was not disappointed. His trunk contained a fully equipped potions lab with everything he would need to continue his experiments including the equipment of a typical chemical lab he also used quite often mostly to extract specific essences from plants. Several lamps lighted it brightly, and it had ventilation charms to provide fresh air.

Once they sat back in the study, Salazar spoke up again. “Both trunks can be secured with passwords which can be set overall or for every compartment separately. It also has the highest anti-theft charms available marking everyone who tries to get in without your consent so that you know exactly who tried to get in. Other than that they have security measurements imbedded port-keying you straight to St. Mungo's and Sylvia should you fall unconscious inside of it for whatever reason.”

The two boys nodded in consent. They quickly went to work setting up the passwords in Old Norse so that it was unlikely that anyone other than them or Salazar would be able to get in. Both also knew the passwords of the respective other just in case they might need it.

Two days later then Skeeter published the first article after Hadrian received a final draft of it the day prior and he gave his okay.

 


 

 

New evidence about crimes committed against Harry Potter – Dumbledore to blame?

 

The last years it grew silent around our dear saviour, so you dear readers might understand my surprise when I gained new until now unknown evidence about crimes committed against the Boy-who-lived.

While being appointed as his guardian, Dumbledore removed not only money but also several items and books from Potter’s vaults without the knowledge or approval of the boy. Especially the books are worrisome since most of them were the books about his family history, ancestry and business. According to a Gringotts statement, he removed them one day after Harry Potter’s victory over You-know-who and were only given back upon insistence from the goblins.

One has to wonder why Dumbledore removed them in the first place and whether he had the intention to ever give them back. Was it perhaps his intent to withhold the boy his legacy? At the moment we have no answer to these questions, but this devoted reporter is poised to find out.

However, that was not even the worst crime Dumbledore committed.

When we got to know that it was Dumbledore who left Harry Potter with his abusive family some already suspected that he knew about their character and what they would do to our saviour, but now this devoted journalist gained prove of it. An anonymous source supplied me with a memory of a conversation that occurred shortly before Dumbledore left him at Privet Drive covered only in a thin blanket on a cold November night.

Minerva McGonagall, Professor for transfiguration at Hogwarts, explicitly warned the headmaster that “they are the worst sort of Muggles imaginable”. Though despite this clear warning he placed the boy with them, worst of all not even giving Harry Potter directly to them but dumping him on their doorstep with a letter explaining the situation.

Some of you might say now that the memory was a fake but I had it examined by specialists and he confirmed the authenticity. So why did Dumbledore just leave the boy on their doorstep and did not make sure that they would take him? Is the highly esteemed headmaster of Hogwarts really so cold-hearted, to just dump a one-year-old boy on the doorstep of his relatives not knowing whether they even wanted him?

We all can agree that this was an atrocious behaviour by Albus Dumbledore and one has to question himself if a person who commits such is really the best person to run a school. What however left this devoted journalist baffled was the statement from Harry Potter after asking him about those crimes Dumbledore committed against him.

“I hold no grudge against Dumbledore or against my relatives…not anymore. My life before the adoption is a chapter of my life I came to terms with and closed it. One could say I went onwards. To the things he retrieved from my vaults I can only say that he gave every single item back he took.”

After that, I asked him whether he thought poorly about muggles in general after what he had to endure, but he only laughed. “I cannot hold the entire mundane population responsible for what a selected few did. It would be as if I said that every witch and wizard is evil only because of the two Dark Lords. While I do not deny that what my relatives did were crimes beyond comprehension it was their crimes and theirs alone” he replied.

I think that we all can agree, dear readers, that this is another proof of Harry Potter’s magnanimity. Not many people would cease holding a grudge against the people who wronged them. One can only hope that Dumbledore takes this second chance to heart and rights his wrongs.

 

-Rita Skeeter-

 

For more on the events five years ago see page 2

For more on Harry Potter see page 3

For more on Albus Dumbledore see page 3

 


 

 

The public outcry that followed that article was immense. People knew that Dumbledore left Harry Potter with his relatives but that he did so, knowing very well what would happen was what only very few suspected. Not only was that bad but that the man had the gall to withhold the boy’s family history from him was the icing on the cake. Many called for justice, but unfortunately, the man still was too well-connected and therefore could escape it, easing the rage of the people even if only slightly.

Harry Potter, however, they admired for overcoming his grudge and naturally forgiving Dumbledore for everything he did despite the severity of the man’s crimes. They were glad to have such a shining example to lead and inspire them.

Said boy, on the other hand, had a fit of laughter after reading the article. He had to admit that Skeeter was brilliant as long as she was on your side. It will be fascinating once he reaches Hogwarts and the next article comes out. The children belonging to light and neutral families will praise his name while the dark ones probably mark him as insane for his behaviour. Well, that is until they meet him. Hadrian did not doubt that he would have to show them that he was no one they could mess with, but they should keep their quiet once he put them in place.

 


 

 

Within the next days, they also finally managed to go to Germany for their custom-made wands. This time Hadrian got a Cedar wand with Thestral hair, Dragon Heartstring and Horned Serpent Horn as a core. Neville, on the other hand, got a chestnut wand with Dragon Heartstring and the hair of a dryad as the core. Both also bought a wand holster each that could contain two wands that Salazar later would enchant so that only one of the wands would be visible and so that neither wand could be summoned remotely.

However, after practising with the wands, they quickly met a problem. Both boys performed hardly any magic with the wands from Ollivander and far beneath their standard with the ones from Gregorovitch having to use more magic than when doing it without a wand. Ley came up with a solution entirely by accident. She made a joke that they would be more likely gaining results when using simple twigs. Sirius who heard that quickly transfigured something into a resemblance of a wand before handing it to his godson asking him to try letting it appear as if it was a real wand. A few tries later it became evident that this was the way to go because that way their magic behaved as if they cast wandlessly which in fact they did while letting it look like using an actual wand. One would only be able to tell the difference by examining the “wand”.

Upon Neville's curious question about the reason, Salazar could only assume that the boys’ magic was too strong to properly flow through a normal wand resulting it in blocking their own magic instead of supporting it. It was like having to get a large amount of water through a small pipe, you can press all you like, but the result would be the same in the worst case even destroying said pipe. Unfortunately, the wandmakers nowadays were not able to produce wands that would work properly with Neville and Hadrian anymore, another thing lost in time. In the end, they had to buy a second wand holster for their ankle where they could store the wand from Ollivander’s while having their fake wands in the wrist holster.

 


 

 

The last weeks flew by, and it was September the 1st now. Hadrian and Neville accompanied by James who carried the trunks, Sirius, Ley, Sylvia, Remus, Alice and Frank now stood on platform 9 ¾ right next to the Hogwarts Express, Shiyo who wore a glamour to look like a cat, for now, was right next to Hadrian. It was quite early and therefore the platform not as full yet as it would be in half an hour shortly before the train was due to leave. The two boys looked stunning, Neville wearing some casual robes in a deep blue while Hadrian already wore his Hogwarts robes. He had his long hair bound together loosely in his neck with an emerald ribbon. Both were holding themselves with confidence. Would someone have told them how they would be and look when they first met, they probably would have suggested the person visit a mind healer, but now it was an entirely different story.

“Hadrian, come here,” Sirius said embracing him in a hug while Alice and Frank said good-bye to their son. “Promise me to write me at least once a week. I want to get detailed reports on any prank you play especially on Snape,” he said with a grin, which earned him a hit on the arm and a glare. Hadrian already told him what he thought about their “pranking” of Severus Snape and that he would never do such a thing especially since he loved potions too much to want to get on the professor’s wrong side.

“Don’t listen to that idiot and do what you think is right” Remus joined the conversation earning a glare of mock betrayal from Sirius.

“I will.”

“Be careful you two and should anything be, go to Madame Pomfrey. I already sent her your health reports” Sylvia added in her no-nonsense voice.

“Mum, you know we always came to you or dad when we were hurt, or something else was wrong” Hadrian replied indignantly.

“I know, but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry” Sylvia now smiled giving him a hug.

“Take care of Neville will you?” Alice said after walking over. “Even if you get sorted into different houses you'll always be friends remember that.”

“Without Neville, I would be stymied, who would supply me with potions ingredients then?” he joked.

“Ah, so you're only my friend because I supply you? I will remember that” Neville said with a huff looking pointedly in another direction.

“Okay, you're also good as a sparring partner but besides that…” Hadrian continued his taunting.

“You should be lucky that we’re in the middle of the platform or you would be lying on your backside right now” Neville retorted upon which Hadrian stuck out his tongue childishly. The adults laughed at their antics.

“I think you two should get onto the train or the compartment you want will be taken” Ley spoke up in a soft voice leaning against Sirius who had an arm draped around her. She was a quiet woman, but they all knew that she cared deeply for each of them especially Sirius. They all wondered when Sirius would finally take the next step.

*Take care of that idiot that calls himself my godfather or he might prank the entire wizarding population in England while I am away. Merlin knows he has the power now* Hadrian said in perfect Chinese, which made Ley snicker.

“Oi, I understood that and I'm not amused,” Sirius growled, but Hadrian only smiled angelically. He knew very well that Sirius still had problems understanding Chinese when spoke quickly as he just did so it was unlikely that his godfather understood everything.

Once they said goodbye to everyone, Neville and Hadrian went into the train to find an empty compartment hopefully at the far end of the train from where they could oversee the entire platform. Luckily, they were early enough so that the train was nearly empty and therefore had no problems to acquire the compartment they wanted. After hauling their trunks into the racks, they sat down opposite of each other. Shiyo and Midnight who Neville let out of her cage hopped on the bench next to Hadrian and curled up around each other to sleep. Hedwig had opted to fly to Hogwarts because she still refused to go into any cage.

“You know I wonder why your father didn’t accompany us to say goodbye, I could have sworn that he wouldn’t want to miss you leaving to Hogwarts” Neville mused suddenly.

Hadrian snickered and pulled down the collar of his robes a bit to reveal a black snake curled around his shoulders sleeping deeply. At first, Neville looked a bit confused before realisation his him.

“Oh…I thought that was Meiren. You know they are nearly identical except their eye colour” he snickered.

“Meiren is wrapped around my chest at the moment. She is far too large to fit on my shoulders anymore” Hadrian replied while putting the collar back up so that the snake could only be seen if one looked very carefully and knew what to look for. “He went to bed quite late…or early in the morning depends on how you see it hence why he is still sleeping. My father wanted to check a few things at Hogwarts and thus accompanies us for a few days before he goes back home.”

“I remember he said something about the wards and those blasted soul pieces…well, we’ll see in time,” Neville said before pulling out a book from his bag and starting to read.

Hadrian, on the other hand, began to observe the platform to assess who was joining them at Hogwarts this year and who was at higher levels. While checking out a blond man with his son who he could clearly identify as Malfoys he pulled the ribbon from his hair to mess them up a bit, so that a few strands fell into his face as if he had to cover something and so that he had not that pureblood look anymore before binding them together again. Neville shot him a questioning glance upon that but only received a smirk he knew Hadrian tended to sport before an especially sly prank, so he left it be.

Continuing to watch the people on the platform Hadrian spotted a horde of children with red hair accompanied by two adults. They are the Weasleys he mused, every single one sorted into Gryffindor. Yes, his father supplied him with very detailed information not only on the Professors but also on everyone who would attend Hogwarts, knowing it was crucial in handling them correctly.

He watched as the platform filling up with more and more students and their parents. Some of whom he could identify from his spot were the Notts, Zabinis, Amelia and her niece Susan, the Abbott family and a few more. The clock ticked towards eleven and the later it got, the more those students still standing on the platform hurried to get onto the train and find a compartment that hopefully was not full.

That was when they heard a knock on the door.

“Yes?” Hadrian exclaimed pulling his gaze from the platform looking at the door expectantly.

When it opened, they found Susan standing in the corridor.

“Hey, here you are, Neville, I just came to say hello. I’m sorry where are my manners, my name is Susan Bones and who are you?” she addressed Hadrian.

Hadrian, on the other hand, winced mentally. This might get complicated, so he quickly erected a few privacy charms. “You know me…we already met several times actually…” he started, but she interrupted him.

“Hardinger? But…but…” she was confused that he now looked so different.

Hadrian had to admit that she was as sharp-witted as her aunt was, but then they met quite a few times over the years. Mainly on their birthday parties but also on some other occasions like Ministry festivities he went to with his father, so it was not that surprising that she made the connection especially since he always accompanied Neville.

“Yes, but I’d ask you to keep this a secret. I promise I’ll explain everything tomorrow morning” Hadrian replied.

“But…why?” she was utterly confused.

“Because I chose to take that name over the last years to hide from certain people…” he sighed telling her a partial explanation.

“Why would you do that? I mean you're not Potter…” she started before her eyes went wide. “You bloody are!” her aunt would be appalled by that choice of words, but given the situation no one said anything. “Well…sure…I’ll keep quiet about it. I mean I can understand why you did it, and I don’t doubt that my aunt would rip me apart shouldn’t I do so” she finally said. Her aunt told her a few things about Potter and that he had to be careful because some people wanted to either control or even kill him.

“Thank you, it means a lot to me” Hadrian smiled.

“No problem. I will be off again, should you want to pop in I am in the third wagon fourth compartment. We’ll see us in Hogwarts then.” With that she left shaking her head and muttering something under her breath.

“Do you think that was wise?” Neville questioned once she had closed the compartment door again.

“She would have found out eventually, and I don’t doubt that she will keep quiet about it. Besides that, it is better to give her the truth now before she blows a fuss later. I like her, and I'm not one who makes a habit out of lying as you know” Hadrian replied before pulling out a book himself and starting to read on his own since the train left the station some time ago and therefore he had nothing to observe anymore.

A few minutes later the compartment door opened without the person knocking first and one of the Weasleys poked his head in, from the looks of it the youngest boy. To Hadrian who looked up to see who intruded their compartment in such a blunt manner, it looked like the boy was disappointed, as if he was looking for someone but not having found him.

“Hi, may I sit with you? Everywhere else is full” he said shyly.

“Sure, suit yourself,” Hadrian said before resuming to his book.

“I’m Ron, Ronald Weasley,” the boy said raising an eyebrow upon seeing the two reading.

“Nice to meet you, I'm Neville Longbottom” Neville replied in greeting.

“My name’s Hadrian” Hadrian added observing the reaction to the missing last name over the edge of his book.

He had to hide a smile when he saw Ron staring at him in confusion. “Hadrian? No last name?” he asked bluntly.

Yes, this boy would end up in Gryffindor like all his brothers of this Hadrian was sure. For Slytherin, he was far to blunt and Ravenclaw…well the boy’s reaction to them reading spoke volumes. Hufflepuff might be an option, but he somehow could not see Ron as hard working.

“My last name is none of your concern” he merely replied.

“Fine” Ron drawled out and started to read a Quidditch magazine sulking over it.

The three of them sat in silence for quite some time each of them reading when the door opened again this time revealing Malfoy with two of his goons Hadrian recognised as Crabbe and Goyle, a stone had a higher IQ than the two, and that was not an insult but the truth. Malfoy looked each of them up and down to asses whom he had in front of himself. Hadrian, he instantly dismissed with already wearing his school robes as if he had nothing else seeing the mundane black jeans and shoes he wore beneath it peeking out of it. Neville, he dismissed because of the reputation they build up around him over the years and about the Weasley boy they did not need to say anything, he was a Weasley.

“Hello, I heard that Harry Potter was on this train and wanted to ask whether any of you knew where to find him” he merely stated in a manner that said he was much better than they were and Hadrian had to wonder whether the boy would really end up in Slytherin.

On the other hand, Malfoy surely did his homework and therefore probably knew that the Weasley boy was going into Gryffindor and assumed that Neville would go there too or Hufflepuff hence why he adapted to the Gryffindorish way of bluntness.

“As if I would tell you even if I knew where to find him” Ron snapped upon which both Neville and Hadrian looked at him in surprise, antagonising a Malfoy was a particularly bad idea. It was one of the best-connected families within the wizarding world; they could make anyone’s life miserable should they decide to do so. You either had to be suicidal or higher in the food chain not to fear any retaliation upon such an act.

Before Malfoy could retort anything to that Neville spoke up. “For my part, no one introduced himself to me with that name so how am I supposed to know?” that earned him a surprised look from Malfoy.

“I second that, but I wonder why you are so desperate to meet the boy?” Hadrian added.

“My name’s Malfoy, Draco Malfoy” Ron snorted upon that. “Think my name is funny? For yours, I don’t have to ask…red hair, dull eyes and worn clothes…probably a Weasley” the blond snapped back. “Anyway to your question, certain people like Potter should make the right friends, and that’s why I'm poised to find him, but I doubt that a Mudblood like you know anything about the wizarding world and which families are better than others. Sitting with a blood traitor and a squib…well, it was nice to meet you, but I have to go and find Potter” with that he left the compartment.

“Do you think he will find him?” Ron spoke up.

“Doubtable” Neville replied before going back to reading.

“Though I have to admit that it went quite well,” Hadrian said over his book.

That let Ron choke. “Quite well? Do you even know what Mudblood means? It is the worst insult in the wizarding world” he exclaimed.

“He is right, it could have been worse.”

“You're crazy…both of you,” Ron said before leaving hearing Neville mutter something about Gryffindors under his breath before closing the door.

After that, the train ride was quiet and uneventful. Sometime around noon, Salazar finally woke up and peeked out of Hadrian's robes. Out of boredom and because he could not do much else, he started to read the book his son read.

For lunch, they ate the meal James prepared for them and put into boxes with preserving charms so that it was still hot, Hadrian sharing some of it with his father who he knew ate nothing for breakfast. The trolley each of them ignored completely, already having a stash of sweets that would last them until Christmas. James always saw to it that the two boys had everything they needed while not going overboard with it. He even sent elves with food and drinks to them when they shut themselves off in Hadrian's room writing the book so they would not starve to death.

They were so enamoured in the respective reading material that they were surprised when the announcement came that they would reach the Hogsmeade train station in five minutes. Neville quickly changed into his Hogwarts robes while Hadrian put Midnight and Shiyo into their transport boxes. Shiyo was highly peeved about it because he didn’t want to leave Hadrian's side, but Hadrian explained to him that he would like it if not everyone knew that they bonded right from the beginning so Shiyo even if reluctantly agreed.

Soon the train pulled into the station, and everyone left. Hadrian and Neville stayed firmly with each other so that they would not lose each other in the masses of students. A gigantic man whose name they knew was Hagrid, called for the first years over the heads of the students and so they made their way over to him. The man led them down to the edge of the black lake where a small armada of boats lay at the shore. Neville and Hadrian shared a boat together with two other boys they did not recognise and therefore assumed where mundane born. When they left the coast and rounded a corner, the two boys got their first sight of Hogwarts. Hadrian had to admit that the castle was impressive with its many towers and lights behind probably every window. It looked inviting and gave the impression of home.

Salazar snickered lowly when seeing his sons look which earned him a growling.

A few minutes later, they pulled into a harbour in a cave beneath the castle where they left the boats. Hagrid led them up a flight of stairs where a stern looking woman waited for them slightly impatient thrumming with her fingers on the reeling.

“The firs’ years, Professor McGonagall” Hagrid’s loud voice boomed through the entrance hall.

“Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here” the woman, McGonagall, replied. Once everyone gathered, she spoke up again. “Welcome to Hogwarts. The start of term feast will start soon, but before you will take your seat you will be sorted into your houses” she told them in a stern voice before holding a speech about the different houses, their qualities, that good behaviour earned you points, and bad would result in a loss. In the end, the house with the most points would win the house cup.

“The sorting will take place in a few minutes. I would ask you to wait here while I check whether we are ready for you. I suggest that you all smarten yourself up a bit while you wait” she said with a pointed look on Ron who had dirt on his nose and Hadrian for how he wore his hair, but he just ignored her. With that, she left through the door to the great hall.

Hadrian heard Ron muttering something about battling a troll for the sorting and wondered about the stupidity of the boy. While that sounded like something Godric Gryffindor might have suggested, he highly doubt that the other three founders would have allowed something that might endanger the students, least of all his father or Helga. He listened to the conversation of the others slightly bored when several ghosts floated through the wall into the room chattering animatedly as if there wasn’t a group of students they surprised and shocked with their behaviour. Hadrian had the distinct feeling that they did it on purpose every year to frighten the first years.

“Ghosts…”Neville muttered.

“Let them have their fun. I doubt they had much to do over the summer holidays with nearly no one around” Hadrian replied.

“Young man, don’t be mistaken we have many activities to entertain ourselves with” the fat friar, who apparently heard his comment, scolded him slightly.

“My apology, it wasn’t my intention to offend you by assuming how you spend your free time” he replied bowing his head respectfully.

“My, my, what a nice and well behaved young man you are and don’t worry no damage is done” a woman smiled who Hadrian knew was Helena Ravenclaw, daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw and house ghost of the same house.

“If I might be so bold, my Lady, I would ask you whether it would be possible to talk to you at a later point of time. I am highly intrigued with not only you but also this castle and its history. Therefore, I would gladly learn everything that you might be able to teach me about it” he gave her his best smile, and he was sure that were she alive she would have blushed.

“You're flattering me, I hope to see you in Ravenclaw. I would be glad to tell you everything I know” she replied when coughing sounded from behind her that startled quite a few students who were listening to their conversation unashamedly. “It seems that the sorting is about to start. I wish you a farewell and hope to see you soon again” having said her part she and the other ghosts left through the next wall chattering excitedly about the “charming new boy”.

Hadrian saw that Draco threw him a curious glance while walking into the great hall together with the others. While the others stared around themselves gaping at the floating candles or the enchanted ceiling Hadrian took the chance to straighten out his hair again so that he looked adequately for what was about to come without it being noticed already.

“You know Rowena would be affronted by your lack of reaction towards her ‘masterpiece’” Salazar hissed with a low snickering.

Hadrian knew precisely what his father meant. Some time ago, he found his diaries from the time he founded Hogwarts and to say that they were highly amusing and interesting would be an understatement. Once his father found out he read them, he was not happy at all, but Hadrian only stated that he shouldn’t have left them lying around in the library of the Russian mansion if he didn’t want them to be read.

That was when he heard a girl lecturing about the ceiling his father just talked about.

“It is bewitched to look like the sky outside, I read about it in Hogwarts: A History,” she told no one certain.

“That would only partly be correct. It is not bewitched to look like the sky outside but spelt to be invisible. Rowena Ravenclaw herself with the help of Salazar Slytherin was the one to charm it, weaving also spells into it that makes it seem as if snow and rain also fall inside the hall vanishing shortly before reaching the people within” Hadrian could not stop himself to add.

The girl was apparently a bookworm and thought it adequate to rub it into every one’s face that she knew more than them. Perhaps that would show her that this was not the case.

“How do you know that” the girl retorted for ones slightly angered that he just showed her up, but also astonished about what he knew.

“Hogwarts: Behind the Scenes” he answered with a grin. “Unfortunately a limited edition not for sale” he added when she looked like wanting to know where to get the book.

She just wanted to give him her piece of mind upon that when Professor McGonagall called them to order. Shortly after that, the hat came to life and sang a song about pretty much the same things the Professor told them earlier. Once the hat fell silent again and the applause died down, McGonagall spoke up.

“I will call out your name, then you come up here, sit down on the chair, and I put the hat on your head. It then will sort you into your house. Abbott, Hannah” the girl in question did as Professor McGonagall told them to and the hat quickly sorted her into Hufflepuff.

Hadrian in the meantime let his gaze wander over the head table to see who was sitting where. He recognised Professor Flitwick, which was not hard since the man was a half-goblin and had the stature of one, which could be quite deceiving in a battle, but the man was duelling champion multiple times. Next to him, he saw Professor Sprout and someone he assumed was Professor Vector the Arithmancy teacher. Then there was, of course, the headmaster Albus Dumbledore with his white beard and hideous robes, today a baby blue. Next to the man was an empty chair where obviously Professor McGonagall would sit. On the other side then came three Professors he did not recognise because his father had no pictures of them and the description was also not very concrete.

Whom he recognised, however, was Professor Snape at the far end of the table sitting right next to Professor Quirrell. When their gazes met, he let a slight smile curl his lips that seemed to pique the Potions Master’s interest. The man looked at him intensely well-hidden curiosity slightly shining through; Hadrian had to admit that the man was good. He, however, had spent hours and hours together with his father in a Pensieve learning to read even the best-hidden hints of emotions. That was when he registered a slight shifting in his mind like a whisper, but it was there.

“Well hello Professor Snape,” he said mentally, upon which the man’s eyes widened slightly. “Don’t worry I have no problem with you performing Legilimency on me but I’d advise you to not go any deeper for you might find more than you were looking for.”

“And why is that?” a voice snarled through his mind.

“Let’s just say that the last person who tried to dig deeper was confined to bed for one week with a murderous headache” he snickered in reply.

That had been the first and the last attempt of his father to teach his son Occlumency only to find out that the magical outburst and following mind lock of his son when he came to him had an interesting side effect. The dragon that protected him at that time seemingly never left and even gained company, a very fierce one at that. It was only thanks to his father’s own strong barriers and quick thinking that nothing more serious happened, he didn’t pity Dumbledore should the man try anything like Legilimency on him.

“Is that so? Might I inquire who you are?” the hard edge in Snape's voice had vanished, and curiosity sneaked into it.

Hadrian laughed. “You'll find out soon enough. I dare say it will be highly entertaining for you…except you like Dumbledore then probably not.”

Snape just wanted to reply something when he was gently thrown out because right at that moment Neville was called for sorting. Hadrian had to hide a smirk. True, he told his godfather that he would not prank the Potions Master, but that did not mean that he would not mess with the man, just not the way the Marauders did during their school time.

Neville nodded towards him before walking up to the chair and sitting down. McGonagall sat the hat on his head and for a few moments, there was silence before the hat started to laugh so heavily that he actually fell of Neville's head. Every single person in the great hall stared at him some in shock, some in disbelieve and some in curiosity. McGonagall threw Dumbledore a strange look, but the old man only shrugged about the hat’s antics and motioned her to put it back on Neville's head. It did not even touch it when calling out “Slytherin” with a chuckling.

Again, everybody stared at Neville in shock and surprise, which might be thanks to the reputation the boy had. They had decided to go with the notion of Neville’s uncle Algie and let it appear as if he was a near squib to everyone, not family. This way everybody would underestimate and dismiss him leaving him more room to observe and manoeuvre, though now that the hat sorted him into Slytherin it might become quickly evident that he was not a squib since the Slytherins were well-known for being highly observational.

Hadrian wondered why Neville got sorted into Slytherin in the first place. He knew that his father did not really care in which house they landed, and he would have thought Neville in Hufflepuff. Not that he believed that Neville would not survive the manipulations in Slytherin; he got the same education as he after all. He sighed, there was no point in musing about it, and he had to concentrate on the sorting because just at that moment McGonagall called out the next name.

“Potter, Harry” the old woman called out.

Instantly chattering arose in the hall asking whether it was “the Harry Potter” accompanied by people craning their necks to see who would step forward.

Hadrian had to keep himself from snorting. They behaved precisely as he predicted dismissing his letter as a joke or prank and continuing to call him by his old name. Well, should they think that he would play by their rules they would have something else coming so he completely ignored being called.

After a few moments in which no one came forward McGonagall called him out again, but Hadrian behaved as everyone else did, looking around as if searching for the Boy-who-lived. Quickly the awed muttering changed into wondering and worrying where the boy was. McGonagall looked at Dumbledore questioningly, but the headmaster only motioned her to go on with the sorting.

Slowly but surely the sorting went on and one after the other the students were sent to their houses. At last, Blaise Zabini went to Slytherin and the only one still standing in front of McGonagall was Hadrian who now had his arms crossed behind his back radiating power and confidence looking at her in disapproval.

“And who are you?” she asked confused. If that was Potter then why did the boy not come forward when called out? He also did not look like James had his age, which confused her even more.

“My name is Hadrian Slytherin” he exclaimed in a low voice that carried through the entire hall nonetheless thanks to the utter silence of the students. “It is not my fault that you seem to be unable to comply with my wishes.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 24: For so long…SLYTHERIN

 

“My name is Hadrian Slytherin” he exclaimed in a low voice that carried through the entire hall nonetheless thanks to the utter silence of the students. “It is not my fault that you seem to be unable to comply with my wishes.”

 

While the hall was silent before said silence was now palpable. It was as if no one even dared to breathe after that simple statement, everyone was staring at him in shock and surprise. Even Professor Snape was not capable of hiding his emotions completely as he also blatantly stared at Hadrian.

After a few moments of this utter silence, the muttering of Professor McGonagall's "Mr Potter" echoed through the hall.

What followed, one could only describe as utter madness because once the students processed this statement, hell broke loose. Everyone talked with everyone questioning whether he really was Potter and how it came to be then that he changed his name to Hadrian Slytherin. Others worried that this meant that he was the next Dark Lord, while the Slytherins mainly wondered what that meant for them and whether he really was a descendant of Salazar Slytherin.

Hadrian let his gaze wander over to the head table again to see how the teachers had reacted upon this revelation. Most of them were the same as the students, mostly shocked and surprised, while the most fascinating reactions were the ones Snape and Dumbledore showed. While Snape stared at him in open disbelief, Dumbledore mainly showed disapproval, betrayal and hatred. It looked like he would be under the scrutiny of the headmaster for the foreseeable future, but he didn't overly worry about it because he knew ways to work around that.

It took a few more minutes before Professor McGonagall came out of her stupor and called the hall to order again, which was easier said than done because no one listened to her. In the end, Dumbledore stood up and shouted "silence" without using a sonorous to silence the students effectively.

"Mr Potter, if you think this a joke…" she started but was interrupted by Hadrian holding up a hand.

"Professor McGonagall, by no means is this a joke. As I wrote in my answer to your acceptance letter, I legally took up the name Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin shortly before my sixth birthday and went by Hadrian Slytherin ever since. Therefore, I would ask you to respect my choice of names since I will not respond to my old name anymore. If you insist upon calling me Potter you might also call me Potter-Slytherin but never under any circumstances simply Potter or Harry Potter" Hadrian explained in a soft voice. "Should you, on the other hand, be unable to comply with those wishes I fear that I will have to reject receiving any education here at Hogwarts and leave."

Again, everyone stared at him when Dumbledore spoke up. "Mr Potter, you cannot simply assume the name of an old wizarding line as you see fit. This is line theft and a severe crime leading to lifetime imprisonment in Azkaban. I know for a fact that you're not related to the Slytherin line," he stated slightly smug.

"Had you carefully read my letter you would know that this assumption is incorrect," Hadrian replied. “My mother was the first witch in a long line of squibs descended from Salazar Slytherin himself and result of an accidentally broken oath of his grandson. However, this shows me that you are neither inclined to listen to anything I have to say nor respect my wishes. Therefore, I can do nothing more than leave because I will not allow you to treat me in such a way, least of all accusing me of line theft. Good evening, Headmaster, Professors," he stated towards Dumbledore with a slight dipping of his head.

With that, he turned around and walked towards the entrance doors in a way that radiated power and determination without looking arrogant. "Accusing me of line theft, I can see the headline now Headmaster of Hogwarts insults Founder's Heir. Perhaps I can still go to Durmstrang," he muttered under his breath on his way out of the hall.

Shortly before he reached the doors, a small beetle crawled out from under his collar and unnoticed by everyone, flew down to the floor before flying back up to the head table. Hadrian reached the entrance doors of the great hall undisturbed with everyone just following him with his or her eyes and with one last look at Dumbledore, he left. Once outside he started to snicker quietly because he could hear the ruckus that echoed through the doors.

"That was brilliant," came a hissing from his shoulder, it was his father in snake form poking his head out. "Showing up Dumbledore in such a way, and in front of the entire school at that…though I fear that he will be keeping a very close eye on you from now on."

"As if that would have been any different had he found out on his own. You were the one who told me how he despises anything Slytherin after all," Hadrian retorted while walking through the entrance hall and towards the door out of the castle. "What do you think, how far will I get before someone comes rushing after me?"

"Not far, you probably won't even be able to leave the castle completely," Salazar mused and was right with this assessment.

Hadrian was just halfway through the entrance hall when he heard the door opening behind him and someone coming after him at a quick pace.

"Mr Slytherin," he heard Professor McGonagall say slightly out of breath. He turned around and raised an eyebrow questioningly.

"Please wait. It was not my intention to insult you; the Headmaster was the one who advised me to ignore your letter. I am terribly sorry."

Her voice became softer now, and Hadrian nodded towards her in acknowledgement, nonetheless wondering about the transfiguration teacher going against the headmaster by giving him the blame. He was under the impression that she was a loyal follower of Dumbledore; it seems that he would have to re-evaluate that assessment.

"I knew your parents, so it was hard to believe it was true…however, the headmaster agreed to accept your change of name and wishes for you to come back."

Hadrian quietly stood there looking at the older woman as if weighing what to do before he slowly nodded.

"I will come back under the condition that no one, at least the professors and staff call me simply Potter again. Should however, anyone fail to do so, I will be on my way back home, and then no one can convince me to come back, did I make myself clear? I also expect the headmaster to openly apologise for accusing me of line theft."

"Of course, Mr Slytherin. The students though might need some time to get accustomed to it," she replied worriedly, not wanting the boy to leave because of something the teachers had no influence over.

"That's fine with me, I can handle it," he told her and walked back up the stairs that led from the great hall to the main entrance doors.

Professor McGonagall led him back into the great hall and up to the head table. Hadrian looked first at Dumbledore seeing that the man was not amused about what happened but seemingly had no other way than to go with it, not wanting to lose Hadrian as a student.

After that, he looked at Snape with an amused glint in his eyes and a slight smile curling around his lips. It seems to him that the Potions Master could not decide whether to be confused about the, for his image of a Potter, completely oppositional behaviour or amused about how he had played the headmaster.

McGonagall stepped up to the head table to exchange a few quick words with the Headmaster before said man looked at him. He all the while stood at the foot of the pedestal on which the head table was placed, his arms crossed over his chest.

"Very well, the Professors may call you either Mr Potter-Slytherin or Mr Slytherin," he said in a grandfatherly voice before leaning back into his throne-like chair and falling silent.

"Headmaster, are you not forgetting something?" Hadrian asked in an expectant voice, but Dumbledore only raised an eyebrow.

They stared at each other Hadrian felt something stirring in his mind only for the headmaster's face to fall, and he made a hasty exit from Hadrian's mind. Hadrian had to suppress a smirk and sighed instead

"Very well, let's get the sorting over with," he said while un-crossing his arms, Skeeter would surely have a field day with what had happened this evening.

"Mr Slytherin" McGonagall called out.

Hadrian walked up the stairs, sat down on the chair and got the hat placed on his head.

"Ah finally the boy himself. Once I saw in Mr Longbottom's head what was about to happen and who was gracing these halls again I couldn't stop myself from laughing," an amused voice echoed through his head.

"Yes, you shocked the entire hall with your behaviour, Pythagoras," Hadrian mentally snickered. "Though I wonder…why are you called Pythagoras?"

Now the hat snickered when he remembered that particular moment.

"It was shortly after I was created. Your father and Rowena were discussing the mathematical theorem of that man and its applicability on magic giving me and my enchantments as an example when Godric dumbly asked whether my name was Pythagoras because that was the only word he understood of what they said, and hence the name stuck." The hat gave him a mental shrug. "That reminds me, I have something to show you," he said with the mental equivalent of an evil grin before showing him some mental pictures of his father.

Hadrian had a hard time not to outright laugh upon seeing what the hat was showing him.

"Remind me to never anger a woman," he replied amusedly.

That was when he heard a coughing sound coming from McGonagall, realising that everyone had started to worry about what was taking so long he told the hat

"I think you should sort me, everyone's starting to worry about why this is taking so long."

"Yes, yes, go on spoiling my fun…I should sort you into Gryffindor for that," Pythagoras huffed.

"Really? You're a mad hat made by a mad hatter…" Hadrian retorted.

"You know that you just called your father mad? He actually created me as a retaliation prank. If I remember correctly, Godric had spelt the door to his chamber in the eastern tower to open only if he answered the riddle it spoke correctly. After a week, it annoyed him so much that he moved out of there and into the dungeons because Godric hated it there and never entered them, before enchanting me as retribution. Rowena, on the other hand, was so smitten by the riddle-speaking door that she took that tower for the dormitories of her students," the hat explained.

"I know what I did, but my statement stands," Hadrian snickered.

"Well…before anyone throws a fit I should probably sort you. Perhaps I can visit you, and we could talk a bit more?" he asked hopefully.

"How are you supposed to get to me? I can hardly walk into the headmaster's office stating that I want to exchange stories with you," Hadrian replied with a mentally raised eyebrow.

"Don't worry I'll ask Fawkes to bring me to you. Goodbye for now though…SLYTHERIN!" the hat exclaimed for everyone to hear."

With a smile, Hadrian stood up after McGonagall took the hat off his head and walked with a determined pace towards the Slytherin table to sit down on Neville's left side. The Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin tables erupted into applause while he did so. Gryffindor, on the other hand, looked shocked as if there had ever been the possibility of Hadrian being sorted somewhere else, which was also the reason for why everyone wondered, what took him so long.

“What took you so long?” Neville voiced the question that everyone wanted to know.

"History lesson. Pythagoras told me a few interesting stories of the founder's time," he answered with a snicker. "Did you know that Ravenclaw tower wouldn't be Ravenclaw tower today if Godric hadn't enchanted the door to Salazar's rooms in a prank to only let people enter if a riddle was answered correctly? Salazar obviously was so annoyed about it after a week that he decided to move into the dungeons because…and that is the real thing, Godric was frightened of darkness. Pythagoras was created as the retaliation prank."

Quite a few students around him snickered upon hearing that, they could imagine that when someone spoke up.

"Pythagoras?" a girl, Millicent Bulstrode, asked.

"The hat's name. Salazar and Rowena argued about the adaptability of Pythagoras' theorem, a mundane mathematician and philosopher, on magic with the hat as an example and Godric after hearing that only understood that word and thus called the hat Pythagoras."

"Are we really supposed to believe that? As if Salazar Slytherin would prank anyone, not to mention, discuss something a muggle came up with," someone snapped.

Hadrian looked up to see who spoke up before a nasty grin appeared on his face. "Mr Malfoy, was it? I'm sorry, but I forgot that as a Mudblood I have no idea about those things." he sneered.

Malfoy on the other hand blanched.

"You didn't…did you?" Zabini asked when he saw the blonde's face. "Merlin, you did."

"He was already wearing his school robes not even ten minutes after the train left, not to mention muggle trousers and shoes. What was I supposed to think? Moreover, you two lied to me," he tried to defend his actions before making counter accusations.

"Ah yes, Mr Malfoy? Would you please enlighten me, at what point did I lie to you? Because I cannot remember such an instance and besides that, I only lied once since my father adopted me. That one time taught me to never do it again," he retorted in the sweetest voice that made Neville wince internally, it was a trap that promised nothing good for the person who stepped into it.

Oh yes, Hadrian had once tried to lie to his father, it backfired so spectacularly when his father ripped the lie apart that he swore to himself to never do it again.

"I gladly help your memory. On the train, you and Longbottom told me that you have not seen Potter. How can you not have seen him when you are Potter?" Malfoy replied with a smug grin, but everyone around them had a distinct feeling that it would not last long.

Hadrian proved them right when he started to laugh.

"It seems that you misunderstood us, Mr Malfoy. Neville here stated that no one introduced himself to him with this name and he was correct. On the very first day we met, I introduced myself as Hadrian Slytherin to him. While he got to know that I am Harry Potter, later on, I never introduced myself to him with that name. I seconded that statement then, and I don't have to tell you how weird it would be to introduce me to myself," he observed with satisfaction how Malfoy blanched even more.

"He is right I only got to know that he is, in fact, Harry Potter because he introduced himself with his full name to my granny," Neville added.

The blonde boy swallowed before speaking up again.

"I have to apologise, Heir Slytherin. My overhasty assumptions led to inappropriate comments on your blood status and ancestry. Please accept my sincere apology," he said bowing his head lowly deciding that it was better to play nice with the heir to the founder of the very house he was in.

Hadrian doubted that the apology was heartfelt but that was not the point, it would prove to be more useful to not antagonise the boy and accept the apology, genuine or not.

"As long as it doesn't happen again no damage was done since I'm also not quite innocent by misleading your view on me with my choice of clothing. However, I would ask you not to call me Potter under any given circumstance. This actually goes for everyone," he now addressed the Slytherin table as a whole, noticing with approval that everyone nodded in understanding.

"May I ask you a question, Mr Slytherin?" a brown-haired boy he knew was Theodore Nott asked.

"That was already a question Mr Nott," Hadrian snickered in reply. "But you may ask another one."

Nott blushed slightly but questioned nonetheless. "So, you're really the heir of the Slytherin line?"

"Proved by the goblins and through me wearing the name without repercussion," he replied.

"It is true then? That your mother was a descendant of Salazar Slytherin?" Zabini inquired.

Hadrian quickly had to lean back because suddenly the feast appeared on the tables and he had bent forward to see Nott better. It seemed that during their conversation Dumbledore had held his speech without any of them listening.

"Yes, that is true. Salazar's grandson Alaric Slytherin swore an oath which he then accidentally broke rendering him a squib. He then later married a mundane and they had a child. The line continued down through the ages until my mother was born as the first witch," Hadrian explained.

"But what about the Dark Lord's claim to be the heir to the Slytherin line?" someone down the table Hadrian recognised as Daphne Greengrass asked.

"That son of Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Sr. is as close to the Slytherin line as you are hence why he was never able to claim the title or the vaults," Hadrian snorted silencing the table and letting everyone save Neville stare at him.

"Then why is he a Parselmouth?" Nott finally wanted to know what everyone else thought.

"He is a descendant of Herpo the Foul the first person who succeeded in breeding and controlling a Basilisk. It seems that people tend to forget he existed and was a Parselmouth as well," Hadrian replied while starting to pile food on his plate, James would throw a fit should he not eat properly not to mention his mother.

"But how do we know that it is the truth? I mean no offence, but it is quite hard to believe," he pressed further.

"The simple fact that I'm the heir by birth should tell you that," Hadrian retorted with a stern glare. "And that!"

With that, he held up his left hand revealing the Heir Ring of Slytherin. His father gave it to him on his eleventh birthday as Neville also received his.

This was another protection since every heirship ring was laced with ancient and potent protection charms that not only repelled minor hexes but also any attempts to control an heir through means like potions since any mind-altering potions would not take hold. It also worked as an emergency portkey able to forgo any ward and was activated by either freely given blood or their magic pressing into it.

Nearly everyone sitting at the table openly stared at the ring, and one had to wonder what was with the Slytherin decorum, they could at least try to hide it. Hadrian, on the other hand, continued eating as if nothing were wrong.

 


 

 

At the teacher's table, sharp black eyes observed what was going on at the table of his Slytherins while the man was listening to the stuttering of Professor Quirrell who was going on about some creature he met.

His thoughts, on the other hand, were at a completely different topic, Harry Bloody Potter or Hadrian Slytherin as it was now. He actually had no idea how to handle this situation, and as it was, he still could not believe that Lily Potter née Evans, the very same woman who liked to tease him for being in Slytherin, was the direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself.

Now the hat had sorted James' brat who neither looked nor behaved anything like he had expected, into his house. Sure, one could say that he used his fame, but Snape suspected that it was less due to being airheaded and attention seeking but more a tool to use to his advantage.

Besides, the way he played Dumbledore, he truly knew what buttons to press to get the man to do as he wanted. Snape did not doubt that should the boy want it, he would have the entire staff wrapped around his finger in no time.

Should the boy, however, think that he would be an easy target and do as he wanted he would have another thing coming. For now, he would treat him like any other student in his house and see where it would lead him. Content that he had a plan he turned back around to the stuttering fool.

 


 

 

The feast continued while students were talking with each other and soon the main course vanished, and the desert appeared. At some point during the feast, Hadrian heard a buzzing near his ear. After a curt nod, the bug left his shoulder and flew out through the next window.

Neville and Hadrian indulged themselves in some sweets while Hadrian discussed potions with a fourth-year girl and Neville talked with Zabini about the climate certain plants needed. It did not take long for the meal to end and the desert had vanished before Dumbledore stood up again.

"Now that we are all fed and watered a few more words before we go to bed. First, the forbidden forest is called that for a reason, it is forbidden. Some of the older students should remember that as well," he addressed someone at the Gryffindor table obviously, but Hadrian could not see whom. "Mr Filch also asked me to remind you that no magic should be used in the corridors. Whoever is interested in playing Quidditch for their house team may contact Madam Hooch, the tryouts will be held in the second week of the term."

Hearing that Neville looked at his friend. "You want to try?" he asked.

"I don't know but probably not," it was not that he did not like to fly or play, but he was not an enthusiast like others.

Marcus Flint, the captain of the Slytherin house team, who heard that snorted. "As if a first-year would play good enough to get on the team, we take only the best."

Neville looked at the older boy but simply shrugged before listening to Dumbledore again.

"…third floor corridor on the right is out of bounds for everyone who does not wish to die an excruciating death," the man said with a stern face.

Hadrian and Neville exchanged a quick glance knowing that they would talk about that later. In the meantime, Dumbledore obviously told the students to sing some song, which everyone did and to their own tune resulting in what one might just call a terrible noise but what the old man referred to as music once everyone had finished singing.

Dismissed, the two stood up to follow the Slytherin prefects Amanda Roberts and Jonathan O'Connor to the Slytherin dorms.

Once they reached the Slytherin common room, the prefects told them to wait there because Professor Snape wanted to talk to them before they went to bed. Not much later said man rushed into the room his robes billowing behind him probably to intimidate the first years. Hadrian and Neville who both had witnessed what Salazar was like when enraged only were mildly impressed.

"You have all been sorted into the noble House of Slytherin" he started while still walking before he stopped and sharply turned around to face them, his voice a mere whisper, but it caught the attention of everyone with ease. "And that means following certain rules.

“For one, while you are in the common room you can act or fight with each other as you see fit, however, once you step out of the common room and into the halls of Hogwarts, you will show unity. The house of Slytherin already has a bad standing with the other houses as it is and I will not tolerate you showing any weakness towards them.

“Second, whatever you do…do not get caught. Should any of you lose house points because said person thinks that school rules do not apply to him or her and is stupid enough to get caught for it, said person will have to answer to me, is that clear?" he asked getting fearful nods in return.

Only Hadrian, Neville and Malfoy nodded confidently.

"Good. Should there be any problems, be it personal or with the curriculum do not hesitate to ask either the prefects or me. For questions of any kind, I will stay here in the common room from seven to eight in the evening and beside that is my door always open for you. Any more questions?" silence was the only response. "Very well, I advise you to go to your rooms and sleep because the school will start up tomorrow morning. You will find the girl dormitories on the right and the boys on the left. Goodnight."

With this clear dismissal, everyone set into motion to find out which room they got. Since the location of the Slytherin dorms was in the dungeons and therefore had enough space for it, only two students shared a room instead of everyone in the year as it was with Gryffindors. Hadrian and Neville walked through the left door hoping that they would share a dorm. They however quickly found out that this was not the case as Neville shared a room with Nott and Hadrian with Malfoy.

"Mr Nott, might it perhaps be possible to switch rooms?" Hadrian politely asked the other boy.

"Why is that?" Nott asked a bit confused and surprised about the request.

"It is only that I know Neville since before we were even six and he is the only person I trust enough to share a room with," he explained.

"What is going on here?" Snape's low but demanding voice suddenly sounded from behind them, silencing everyone in the vicinity effectively.

"Professor, I merely asked Mr Nott here whether it is possible to swap rooms," Hadrian explained.

"Mr Slytherin, you might be the heir to one of the founders of Hogwarts and this house, as well as famous for defeating a dark wizard but that does not automatically imply special treatment, do I make myself clear?" Snape snarled. "You may not switch rooms with Mr Nott."

Said boy looked apologetically at Hadrian.

Hadrian, on the other hand, looked at Snape in surprise before quickly erecting a few privacy wards so that no one except them and Neville could hear them or possibly lip-read what they were talking about; this was a private conversation, which not everyone in Slytherin needed to know about.

"Professor, I can assure you that I didn't expect any special treatment and my fame is only a necessary evil I use to my benefit. However, right now there are two extremely powerful wizards after me, of which one currently resides here at Hogwarts.

“One of them wants to kill me while the other thinks it apt to try to control me to kill the one who wants to kill me while probably expecting me to sacrifice myself on the way. Both have excellent connections within the wizarding world hence why the only person currently residing at Hogwarts whom I trust is Neville. So, forgive me but I will not share a room with anyone other than him."

"If you are not careful Mr Slytherin, you might find a third person on that list of yours," the man drawled out in a low voice.

"With all due respect, Sir, do you really want to go down that route without knowing all facts?" Hadrian raised an eyebrow. "You should know that I did my homework before coming to Hogwarts and therefore know certain things…" he now let his gaze shortly wander to the man's left forearm before returning to his face, which caused the man to narrow his eyes.

"Are you attempting to blackmail me, Mr Slytherin? Because you may find out exactly what type of hell your life can be for these next seven years," the Potions Master hissed in a low tone before Hadrian could finish.

"Far from it Professor, I actually don't care for whom you work or to whom you're loyal to. However, are you really dismissing a possible way out this easily? I am aware that you have no idea what my plans are or whether my words are only platitudes or not, but you can rest assured that they will fall…both of them. The only question is do you want to be caught in the crossfire or would you rather break your bonds and get what you truly want…freedom?"

For a few moments, Snape was silent before he laughed harshly. "What knowledge does an eleven-year-old boy have about such things? You defeating the Dark Lord was sheer dumb luck and nothing else, now stop this nonsense at once. You will share your room with Mr Malfoy, and this is my last word in this matter," he looked at Hadrian as if daring him to object.

"What a pity, it seems that I have to find another place to sleep then. Nevertheless, I would ask you to think about what I said. I do not expect your answer soon, but you probably know that this period of peace will not last forever. Goodnight, Professor," with that he cancelled the privacy charms and stepped next to Neville. "Want to come with me? I'm about to find somewhere else to sleep," he asked his friend already having an idea of where to go.

Neville looked from Hadrian to Snape who at this moment was sporting a murderous glare before looking back at Hadrian.

"Sure, why not."

To be honest, he was not comfortable with having to sleep together in one room with a person he did not know either, and while he didn't fear their head of the house, he had to admit that he would be glad not to be somewhere where the man could reach them tonight.

Therefore, Hadrian walked down the corridor followed by Neville and turned around a corner out of sight of everyone else, after giving a short nod towards a painting that showed his father, followed by two cats.

It took a few moments for Snape to come out of his stupor and follow the two only to find the corridor they went into deserted which was strange since said corridor was a dead end with no rooms going off from it. He looked at the painting of Salazar Slytherin expectantly for an explanation where they vanished to but only received a smirk in return before the man had the gall to walk out of the picture.

Cursing under his breath, he rushed back down the corridor to where the Slytherin students were still standing talking about what they just witnessed letting them step out of his way quickly to let him through.

 


 

 

Hadrian and Neville entered the room through the hidden door the painting of his father opened for them after feeling the family magic. Once properly in the room they stopped, staring at what they saw. They stood in a large room decorated in dark reddish-black wood with beige, emerald green, and silver decorum. On their left separated by a high counter with high chairs at it, was a kitchen made in the same deep reddish-black wood, which Hadrian looked at with glee.

He loved cooking, and here he could cook for them whenever he wanted without making the house-elves sad by doing their job.

In the back left there was a table with four chairs where they could sit and eat. On their right were several shelves laden with books in the front right next to a sitting group consisting of black leather couches around a coffee table in front of a huge fireplace. In the back four doors went off into other rooms. It was lit by a large chandelier hanging in the middle of the room wherein small glass cups green fires burned.

Midnight instantly strode over to one of the couches, hopped on it and curled herself up quickly followed by Shiyo who first shook off the glamour

"Wow, this is…I don't know what to say," Neville exclaimed.

"Yes, my old rooms," Salazar who had slithered down from his son's shoulder and transformed back said. "So much time has passed since I was last here, but everything still looks the same."

Hadrian walked over to the bookshelves to look at what reading material they provided. Finding out that about a quarter consisted of books, which were written in a language he did not understand and another quarter of those he had already read. However, the rest should last him for at least a week.

Neville, on the other hand, wanted to know where the doors led to, opening the one on the left first only to find a storage room that was except for a bucket and mop empty. The next door turned out to be quite an extensive library.

"I think I have to spell this door shut or we won't see Hadrian for the next few months," he said half joking.

Salazar started to laugh when seeing his sons face after he walked over and looked into the library, it was as if Christmas came early. While Hadrian instantly vanished between the bookshelves, Neville examined what was behind door number three. It turned out to be a large potions lab.

"And the next room I should probably ward against Hadrian," he snickered.

"Oi! Am I allowed anywhere in these rooms?" Hadrian's voice echoed out of the library.

"Yes, the kitchen," Neville deadpanned.

"Ah, so you're only my friend because of the food I cook? I'll remember that!" Hadrian retorted from right behind his friend.

"So, we can agree that we are only friends because we use and need each other…" Neville turned around with a grin.

"Each other? More likely because you need me" Hadrian teased with a grin.

"Oh Really? Who supplies you with fresh plant ingredients?"

"Only because you need the potions and fertiliser."

"Boys, please. As much as I normally like your bantering, I think we have other more important things at hand. It is getting quite late and tomorrow school starts," Salazar said looking pointedly at them.

"You're right, dad," his son said draping an arm around his friend who in return placed his around Hadrian's midsection.

Salazar smiled fondly at the two boys who walked past him to see where the last door lead. To an outsider, it might look like the two were fighting, but that could not be any further from the truth.

Despite their teasing, bantering and fighting they were the closest friends, brothers in all but blood.

Ripping himself from his musings, he followed them into what he knew was the bedroom only to find them staring. He could not help but snicker, the bedroom was a remarkable sight after all.

Two of the sides together with a part of the ceiling formed a dome of windows only interrupted by stone columns that ended in a ring in mid-height showing that the room was actually located at a cliff under the lake so that you could look into it.

At this moment it was nearly black because it was night, but they did not doubt that they could see quite far once it was morning.

In the middle of the dome stood a large bed with emerald green bedding. A beige carpet covered the entire floor so that it was not bare stone and you could walk around barefooted without worrying. On their right were two doors, one leading into a wardrobe and the other into a huge bathroom much like Hadrian's at home.

"Okay, I take back anything about what I said earlier this is…there's not even a word to describe it," Hadrian rambled.

He walked over to the windows to touch it only to find out that it was not actual glass that was holding back the water but spells so that you could walk right into the lake if you desired to do so.

His father snickered again while levitating the bed to one side of the dome before duplicating it and placing the copy opposite of it leaving a corridor in the middle. He then conjured a bedside table for each of them. Neville instantly claimed the right bed, but Hadrian seemingly did not even notice what was going on utterly enamoured with making the water ripple by touching it.

"Hadrian, I'm going to burn the library…" Neville teased him.

Ripped from his thoughts, Hadrian turned around with a puzzled look. "Why would you do that?"

 “To get you back to reality” he now laughed.

"Oh, ha…ha…ha…very funny," Hadrian retorted. "I was just thinking about which spells were necessary to accomplish…that."

"Something that you can do another day because I'm definitely not going to take notes for you during class," Neville said while placing his trunk next to the bedside table and enlarging it. In forethought, they had shrunken them once they had learned that they didn't share a room and knowing that they might change it.

Hadrian followed his best friend's example digging for his toiletry and bolting for the bathroom. "First" he laughed.

Salazar snickered while Neville just shook his head continuing to take out what he would need for the night before joining Hadrian in the bathroom.

 


 

 

Hadrian lingered in one of the couches in front of the fire staring into it lost in thought, his father and Neville were sitting in the other ones reading. None of them was tired enough to go to bed yet, and since it was not even ten in the evening, Salazar didn't say anything about it, knowing that they were used to going to bed at ten.

"You know the day today made me wonder…" he suddenly said. "What happened to the Dursleys?"

His father sighed, he knew that Hadrian would ask that question someday, but he had hoped it would take some more time. "I'm sorry, but I won't tell you what happened to your aunt and uncle. You can rest assured that they got what they deserved though."

"Fair enough, but what about Dudley? I mean he was five at that time…" he highly doubted that his father would do anything to a child.

"Oh, he's doing reasonably well actually. I took him to a boarding school in America that specialised in problematic children. He graduated their Elementary School last year and now is in the second year at the Middle School. It seems that once he accepted that they would not tend to his every whim and found a healthy way to release his aggressions his grades skyrocketed.

“I look in on him regularly and even offered him the choice to come back to England, but he refused; he said ‘he's happy where he is, having found good friends’ his words, not mine," Salazar told him. "He also expressed the wish to meet you one day though I didn't mention it until now not knowing how you would react or wanting to hurt you."

"Perhaps one day…" Hadrian replied before falling silent again lost in thought.

Would he want to meet his cousin again? It sounded like he became a decent boy. Well, right now he had other things to worry about, namely an insulting headmaster and an irritating Potions Master.

However, the reaction of Snape he somehow predicted. It was hardly surprising with what his birthfather did to the man that he hated anything Potter, but he was not a Potter anymore. Not only that, but he was the heir of the house the man was the head of so it was understandable that he did not know what to think about it.

Only time will tell, but Hadrian hoped that the man would overcome his school rivalry and see the opportunity for what it was…a way out.

Not much later Hadrian and Neville went to bed not wanting to be tired on their first day. Salazar, on the other hand, stayed up for a while longer before changing back into his Animagus form and curling up in front of the fire next to Hadrian's snake Meiren.

 


 

 

Snape paced his quarters furiously, a glass of whiskey in his hand; he only could describe the situation as a nightmare. Not only had Potter been sorted into his house (yes, the boy was a Potter no matter what he called himself now) but he also seemed to know that he had been a Death Eater.

Sure, the boy said that it did not matter to him, but who was he kidding? Was he indeed a Slytherin by name and birth, something Snape still had his doubts about, he certainly had ulterior motives. No one in their right state of mind would ever dismiss this compelling blackmailing material especially not a Slytherin.

He had to get the situation back under control and quickly, or he did not doubt that he was eventually going to be thrown out of his job or in the worst case imprisoned in Azkaban for life. This time even Dumbledore would not be able to protect him.

The only problem was that he had no hold over the boy. Potter had been right; he went down this road without knowing every fact, or any facts at all really, and the boy knew it.

Over the last few years, the boy had hidden so well that no one knew more than what the media printed, and that was probably what the boy's guardian wanted the people to learn.

Luckily, he had the first year Gryffindor/Slytherin class tomorrow afternoon. That would give him plenty of opportunities to observe the brat, and perhaps gain something to hold over him.

 


 

 

The next morning the two boys went to breakfast quite early. They now sat at the centre of the Slytherin table with their backs to the wall and enjoyed the breakfast. Not many students were up already, only seven were sitting at the Slytherin table while three sat at the Hufflepuff table. The most sat at Ravenclaw, which was more than half of them. Gryffindor table, however, was empty which was in all reality not that surprising since it was not even eight o'clock yet and they were known for sleeping in.

Only Snape and Dumbledore were already sitting up at the head table, Snape staring at Hadrian in disdain, which only served to amuse the boy.

"If you go on like that he will try to kill you before Christmas," Neville chuckled.

Hadrian sighed. "Hopefully not," he replied while looking at the man in question. "He's a good man and a great Potions Master; I would hate to have him as an enemy."

"Perhaps you should stop antagonising him then," Neville suggested.

"Then he would see me as weak, and that's not something I want either. This is like walking a tightrope, one wrong move and everything was in vain," he could only hope that what he did yesterday evening was the right thing.

They continued their breakfast talking about various things while more and more students filed into the hall. Several of the Slytherins threw him a strange or angry look upon seeing where they sat.

"Potter!" a boy suddenly snarled from behind Hadrian deliberately ignoring his wishes. "You're sitting in my place."

Hadrian however completely ignored him sipping his tea.

"Hey, I'm talking to you!" the boy now grabbed Hadrian's shoulder and turned him around resulting in him nearly dousing himself with the hot tea.

"Be careful this tea is hot, and I don't want to bathe in it," he said giving the older boy, Robert Gillam a glare.

"You're sitting in my place," the boy now hissed.

"And you called me Potter, so what? At least I'm not making such a fuss about it…you, on the other hand, are beginning to attract attention," he now turned back around.

Gillam looked up and saw that indeed quite a few Ravenclaws who had the table right next to them looked at him puzzled. "If I were you I would be more careful who you antagonise. I can promise you that you don't want me as an enemy."

That statement made Hadrian chuckle. "The highest you might climb on my enemy scale, Gillam, is that of a nuisance. Even the plants in Neville's greenhouses are more intimidating than you."

"You're only digging your own grave, mark my words Potter!" with that, he turned around, stalked to the next empty place and sat down.

"Is it your goal to make an enemy out of every person at Hogwarts?" Neville questioned in disbelief. "If so, then please tell me now so that I can distance myself from you enough to not get hit by the backlash."

"Please, have some faith in me, Nev. Should this situation not resolve itself before the day ends I will gladly step back and let you deal with everything," he said with a grin knowing how much Neville hated these games of power.

"For your sake, I hope you're right because if not…well let's just say I know a few nasty curses" he glared.

"Oh, I'm very much aware of that fact."

At that moment, Snape went along the table and handed out the timetables. Hadrian took his with a polite "Thank you." and saw that they had Herbology first, followed by Transfiguration, break and then double Potions, all in all, not a bad day.

The worst day, however, would be Wednesday when they had not only double History of Magic but also Astronomy in the middle of the night. Not that Hadrian or Neville hated History, quite the contrary actually, but according to every one of their family was Binns not only long dead but also taught them History in the most boring way that everyone had a tough time not falling asleep.

After a few more minutes, Hadrian and Neville got up, picked up their bags and left the great hall and to walk over to the greenhouses outside. Approaching greenhouse number one they saw that they had the lesson together with the Hufflepuffs who eyed them warily.

It seemed that they did not know what to make out of him. On the one hand, they knew what the media printed about him but then again, he was the Heir of Slytherin, and that overshadowed everything they knew.

"Good morning," Hadrian greeted them with a smile. The Puffs exchanged looks before greeting back in a low voice. "Did I do something wrong?" Hadrian asked now confused.

The others were quick to negate that statement but nonetheless looked at them warily. Neville elbowed him in the side.

"What was that for?" he asked his friend.

"You're scaring them," Neville gave him a pointed look.

"What?" Hadrian looked at him slightly confused. "I haven't even done anything to them, I just greeted them," with a flick of his wrist he had his wand in his hand and shot a spell at Neville that changed the boy's hair black and blonde. "There, it fits you" he chuckled.

"Why, you…" Neville quickly retaliated.

About five minutes later the rest of the Slytherins arrived to find a bunch of laughing Hufflepuffs and two strange looking Slytherins.

"What in Salazar's name is going on here," Malfoy demanded to know.

Hadrian who was leaning against Neville turned around. "Hi, we were just entertaining ourselves while waiting for the lesson to begin," he replied with a smile.

"Why do you look like you fell into a colour changing potion?" Malfoy raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow.

"As I said we entertained ourselves," he waved his wand over Neville and himself cancelling the spells. "Better?"

"You let them curse you?" the blond growled which made a few of the Puffs flinch back.

"What? Oh no, that was Neville" Hadrian said with a slightly confused expression that quickly gave way to understanding. A few of the puffs snickered.

"I beg your pardon?" Malfoy had a hard time reigning in his anger. "I thought Professor Snape was clear with what he said yesterday."

"You know I don't particularly care about what the man says, especially when I want to become friends with a few Puffs, and neither will you."

"Rest assured that he will learn of this," Malfoy said with a threatening expression on his face

Luckily for Malfoy, this was the moment when Professor Sprout opened the door to the greenhouse to let them all in. The first half of the lesson was going through theory before they were to repot the actual plants in the second half. Hadrian gave Neville a short nod before walking over to the professor.

"Professor Sprout, ma'am," he said with a curt bowing of his head.

"Ah Mr Slytherin, I have to admit that you have quite the vast knowledge about plants so what's the matter?" she asked with a smile.

"I would like to talk to you for a short moment. I wanted to ask you whether it would be possible that Neville and I could work together during the practical part of this subject. The thing is, that while I indeed have a vast theoretical knowledge of Herbology, I'm quite bad when it comes to the practical part, probably ruining more plants than it's worth," he explained.

"Really?" she replied raising an eyebrow; somehow, she could not believe that.

"If it helps I can ask our tutor, a Master in Herbology himself, to confirm this. Merlin knows that he threatened to throw me out of the greenhouses should I dare to touch any more plants," he now chuckled amusedly.

"Well if you're sure… Nevertheless, I would need that statement from your tutor to confirm your claims. But for now, you may work together."

"Thank you," Hadrian bowed before her, which made the witch blush before returning to Neville.

The rest of the lesson they worked together in perfect sync as they had always done in all those many hours in Neville's own greenhouses. Sprout was practically cooing over them, especially Neville who managed to actually make the bouncing bulbs they were repotting do so voluntarily which was never heard of before. Usually the bulbs attacked anyone who came near them or tried to repot them.

"So, who needs whom?" Neville teased after casting a cleaning spell on himself once the lesson was over.

"The bouncing bulbs need you, they're in love with you it seems" Hadrian laughed teasing his god-brother.

This caused a few of the Hufflepuffs to laugh too, which earned them glares from the Slytherins.

"They practically jumped into their new pots by themselves," Susan Bones chimed in not the slightest bit intimidated by the other Slytherins.

She had been a bit late for the lesson having helped a housemate to find the greenhouses, hence why she had not been there before the lesson. However, she seemed to have talked to the others because they were far less tense around Hadrian and Neville.

"That's Neville for you…" Hadrian joked. "Well, we'll see you later, we have Transfiguration now."

"Remember, you still owe me an explanation!" Susan shouted after them earning a wink of understanding from the boys.

They walked together to Transfiguration arriving a few minutes early and taking a seat in the first row. On the teacher's desk sat a tabby cat observing them with interest, when Weasley entered the room. Once he saw them sitting there, he walked over wearing an expression of utter disgust. Neville groaned knowing what was to come.

"Oi Slytherin, you're a disgrace for everything good and upright. To think that everyone celebrates you for defeating You-know-who. You probably only did it so that you could become the next Dark Lord" he sneered.

"Mr Weasley, there is a difference between being dark and being evil. Only because I am dark does not mean that I am evil. In history, there were also light witches and wizards who were evil while dark ones were good. A prime example of this was Morgana Le Fay herself who despite being dark was a healer who saved countless lives.

“As to your accusation of me defeating the Dark Lord only to become one myself, I can only say that a one-year-old child hardly thinks farther than the next meal or nap," he shook his head at such stupidity being displayed.

"Ha! You just confirmed it yourself! Only his followers call him ‘Dark Lord’!" he exclaimed.

Hadrian however, looked at the redhead in disbelief.

"You know that that made no sense whatsoever? Not only did I defeat said man when I was one, and I will gladly repeat myself that at that age no one thinks any further than the next meal or nap. Besides that, let us just assume that I somehow managed to become one of his followers at the age of one, wouldn't it then be counterproductive when I kill him?"

Weasley just wanted to snap something back when McGonagall tapped on his shoulder with a scroll of parchment having turned back from her Animagus form.

"Mr Weasley, ten points from Gryffindor for verbally attacking another student, now sit down," she said in a stern voice giving him a glare when it became evident that he wanted to complain.

After that, the lesson went on without a hitch. First, they once again went through the theory before doing the practical part.

That was the part where Hadrian grew bored because honestly, he could change a matchstick into a needle for three years now, even if his transfigurations only last half an hour at best. So far, he sat there prodding the matchstick with his fake wand when Professor McGonagall came around and looked at him disapprovingly.

"Mr Slytherin, is there a problem?" she asked.

"Unfortunately, there is. You said you wanted us to transfigure the matchstick into a needle, but you did not specify what kind of needle. Do you want a sewing needle?" with a flick of his wand Hadrian transfigured a perfect sewing needle but before McGonagall could say anything more he went on. "Or a curved surgical needle?" another flick and it transfigured into what he said. "Or a milliners needle?" but before he could give another flick with his wand, McGonagall intervened.

"Alright, enough! I understand your point, Mr Slytherin. Take ten points for Slytherin for a perfect result, and since you're done with today's course load you can write me one foot on the different types of needles and what they are each used for," she said before going over to the next person helping them.

Hadrian started to rummage in his bag for some parchment, a quill, and ink, before getting to work on the assignment, smirking when he heard Neville mutter "show-off".

"She asked, and I gave her an answer. Not my fault when she gives unspecific instructions," he snickered.

At the end of the lesson, Hadrian walked over to Professor McGonagall handing over his finished work on the different types of needles. The stern woman unrolled the scroll only to look at him in disbelief.

"If I remember correctly, Mr Slytherin, I said something about one foot not" she did a quick measuring. "Five."

"I have to apologise I must have misunderstood you and assumed that you meant one foot on each type," he replied.

Professor McGonagall looked back at the parchment only to see that he was correct, having written exactly one foot on each type. She sighed.

"You may go now, Mr Slytherin."

"Professor," Hadrian said with a curt bow before turning around and walking up to Neville who had waited for him.

McGonagall looked after them as they left, listening amusedly to how Mr Longbottom scolded his friend for deliberately misunderstanding her. She shook her head. When she first found out that the boy had changed his name, she feared the worst, that probably a Death Eater had gotten a hold of him, but seeing him now she was relieved.

 


 

 

Hadrian and Neville entered the great hall for lunch still discussing how to interpret the instructions Professor McGonagall gave him when he had an idea. Waving Neville to follow him he walked over to where the first-year Hufflepuffs sat.

"Hey, would you mind if we sit with you for lunch?" he asked them.

Some of them looked at each other in surprise before they nodded. The two sat down on the empty places and started to load their plates with food.

"So, how was your second lesson? What did you have?" Hadrian asked looking at them expectantly ignoring the confused looks of the older Puffs, not to mention the entire rest of the hall.

"We had Charms, and it was awesome!" one of the Puffs started to ramble. "We learned the theory behind the levitation charm."

"Yeah, Flitwick is so cool! I think he's part goblin," another one added.

With that, there was no holding back. Everyone wanted to add something to the conversation or started to argue if said person thought differently on a particular topic. Lunch passed by quicker than they anticipated and they probably would have continued their conversation had the bell not reminded them that the afternoon lessons were due to begin.

"I'm sorry Susan, I promised you an explanation but now lunch is over, and we still had no time to talk," Hadrian said apologetically.

Susan laughed. "Don't worry. I don't really need an explanation anymore. It was only my fear that things might change…that you might change, but I just saw that you're still the same and I understand why you didn't tell me your name," she waved him off. "Perhaps when there is enough time you might tell me everything but for now I'm just glad."

"You truly went into the right house," Hadrian smiled before leaving towards the dungeons for potions.

They arrived at the door to the potions classroom where Slytherins and Gryffindors alike were already waiting.

"You sure that your name is Slytherin and not Hufflepuff?" Weasley snapped.

"Quite…not that this is any of your concern. Though I have to wonder, this morning you accused me of being the next Dark Lord, and now I am suddenly a Hufflepuff. Perhaps you should make up your mind," he lifted an eyebrow.

Snape saved him from having to endure a retort by slamming the door open and ushering them in. Everyone took their seat, the Gryffindors on the right and the Slytherins on the left. Once everyone was seated, the Potions Master took roll, flinching when he reached Hadrian's name. When he finished taking roll, he stood up stalking around his desk.

"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion brewing," he said in a voice barely above a whisper that nonetheless caught the attention of the students with ease.

"It seems he has the same ability as you," Neville leaned against Hadrian and whispered, earning him a disbelieving glare. "I remember you catching the attention of the entire great hall the same manner."

"Even the silence of a grave would have been louder than the great hall at that time, so it was hardly a feat," Hadrian retorted unfortunately loud enough for Snape to hear him.

"It seems that some of you deem themselves above paying attention" the man sneered crossing his arms. "Mr Potter-Slytherin what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

"Given the case that after doing so you stir twice clockwise before adding a sloth brain and Sopophorous Bean's juice of twelve beans and stir seven times anti-clockwise you would get a sleeping potion so potent that it is called the Draught of Living Death, Sir.

“However, I can say out of personal experience that crushing the beans with a silver knife instead of chopping them up as it is stated in the primary instruction textbook you will get far more juice out of the seeds.

“Also, the instruction of using the juice of twelve beans can be subpar since the amount of juice you get from one bean depends on size and quality of the bean hence why I advise using the juice off ten excellent to fifteen lesser beans. Another thing improving the potion is adding one stir clockwise after the seven times anti-clockwise," he explained.

Snape raised an eyebrow. "Where would you look if I asked you to find me a bezoar?"

"That depends on the reason for why you ask, Sir. Are you asking because you were accidentally poisoned? If so, I would instantly look into your ingredients cupboard since it cures most of the known poisons.

“Should you, on the other hand, ask because you ran out of it, the most natural thing would be to order new ones from the apothecary.

“However, should this option not be available, the next step would be asking Hagrid whether he has any goats because a bezoar is a stone from the stomach of a goat.

“Besides that, the ones harvested from mountain goats are more potent than the ones from normal house goats because mountain goats feed mostly upon herbs instead of grass making the bezoar more effective," he once again explained patiently.

That piqued the Potions Master's interest, "What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?" he asked as he slowly uncrossed his arms from his chest.

Neville winced earning him a glare from the man.

"Sir…how long do you want the explanation to this question to be?" Hadrian asked carefully in reply.

"As detailed as possible" the man again rose an eyebrow.

The boy was able to give detailed answers to the other two questions, but he was not able to answer this? He would have to lie and say that he was not disappointed.

"Oh Merlin…no," Neville groaned.

"Something the matter, Mr Longbottom?" Snape sneered.

"You don't know it, Sir, but asking him a question results in one of three different versions of an answer. The short version consisting of mostly one sentence. Then the reasonably long answer you just witnessed two times and the ‘why in the name of sanity did I even ask’ version…you just asked for the third option now," now it was Neville giving the explanation.

"I fail to see how this is bad."

"The last time I made this mistake he gave me a five-hour long monologue," Neville winced again.

"Five? I could have sworn it was seven hours," Hadrian mused.

"That's probably because I tuned you out at some point and let you talk," he retorted. "You see? You never, under any given circumstance, want the last version."

"Just give me the reasonably long answer then…" Snape sighed looking at him expectantly ignoring the muttering of it being the right decision from Neville.

"Monkshood or better known as Aconitum napellus and Wolfsbane or known as Aconitum lycoctonum are two different species of the same plant genus known as Aconitum.

“They are therefore not necessarily the same plant as is often assumed, which mainly shows through the different colour of the flowers…Yellow for Wolfsbane and Blue-Violet for the Monkshood; Aconitum napellus.

“However, there are right now thirteen different species of Monkshood known, all with a different flower colour including a yellow one, Aconitum anthora, which is known as both yellow Monkshood and healing-Wolfsbane.

“This is probably also the reason why many people think Wolfsbane and Monkshood are the same plants. One should use the scientific Latin names to distinguish between them because several different species do not even have the same magical properties.

“So is the Aconitum anthora better used in healing potions, while the Aconitum lycoctonum, or Aconitum vulparia, are far more potent in the Wolfsbane potion; though every plant of the Aconitum Genus would do reasonably well in both kind of potions," the entire class stared at him in utter disbelief upon that "reasonably long" answer.

Snape could now see how that boy was able to hold a five to seven hours long monologue about something. "Ten points to Slytherin for excellent answers," he said once he found his voice. "You wouldn't perhaps wish to take over the lesson?" he asked jokingly.

Hadrian looked at Neville in surprise who only shrugged. "Sir, if you are honestly asking me to do it I would gladly comply."

Now it was Snape who blinked in surprise before pointing towards the front of the class with a flourish, not really expecting the boy to move. To his utter surprise, Hadrian shrugged, stood up and walked up to the front, leaning himself against the teacher's desk.

"Okay…" he started sorting through his thoughts. "You should probably take a few notes on what I just explained as it could come in useful at a later date."

"We're supposed to remember everything?" Weasley gaped.

"Ten points from Gryffindor for shouting in class, now keep quiet!" Snape snapped from next to the entrance door where he was leaning against the wall observing the boy carefully.

"No, you're not supposed to remember everything that I said. What is important though, is that powdered root of asphodel and infusion of wormwood are two of the main ingredients used in the Draught of the Living Death," he gave the other students a pointed glare upon which everyone hurried to search for a quill, ink and some parchment to write down what he was saying.

"A bezoar is a potent antivenin against most known poisons found in the stomach of a goat," he continued once the scratching stopped. "Lastly Monkshood and Wolfsbane are not necessarily the same plant but belong to the same genus Aconite, which is for now enough to know about them," he again waited for everyone to finish.

"Now something which is extremely important in a potions lab, and around potions or potions ingredients in general, is that you never under any given circumstance use magic. Neville, would you please throw me one of the Sopophorous beans?"

Neville threw him the requested ingredient, which he caught with ease. With a flick of his wrist, he had his wand out, threw the bean into the air and shot a stunner at it, letting it explode like a firework with a crack.

"What just looked and sounded like a firework could have been infinitely worse had I not used such a bean for a demonstration but an asphodel root instead, thereby not only killing every single person in this room by the force of the explosion but probably turning the entirety of Hogwarts castle into a smouldering crater. So, remember to keep spells as far away from anything having to do with potions as long as you are not absolutely sure nothing grave will happen," he saw with approval that everyone bar Neville looked reasonably shocked about this revelation.

Once he was sure that he had the attention of the class again, he started to explain different ways of preparing ingredients and how each way changed the magical properties of certain components. He lectured this way through the first period answering questions when they came up.

"Okay, let's take a five-minute break before we continue with actually making the Boil Cure potion in the second period," he said dismissing them while pushing off the desk. Instantly the room filled with excited chattering.

The bushy haired girl he remembered from the sorting came rushing to him. "Yes Ms Granger?" he asked.

She looked a bit nervous. "Was what you said about the different species of Aconite correct?"

"It was, should you, however, look for a book describing the different magical properties I have to disappoint you because there is none."

"How do you know about it then?" she was a bit confused.

"Part of it I learned from my father, but most of it I found out on my own through experimenting," he replied.

"Would you mind telling me more about it?"

"Actually, yes I would. For one, this is nothing you truly need to know unless you want to become a Potions Mistress, and besides that, there are things you cannot learn through books but only through the first-hand experience. If you want to know what a certain combination of ingredients does do not run into the library but try it out instead. History is a subject learned from books but potions you have to do yourself, experiment and make mistakes, or you will never be more than mediocre," Hadrian explained.

Granger pouted and stalked back to her seat. Casting a quick tempus Hadrian cursed under his breath, the break was up.

"Okay, quiet please!" he called out waiting for the ruckus to die down. "Good. I want you to now begin to brew the Boil-Cure Potion, as it is described on page forty-five of your book. Remember what I told you about the preparations of ingredients, and do not forget never add the porcupine quills while the cauldron is still on the fire. The Gryffindors go to the supply cupboard first, and no shoving! There is enough for everyone."

While one side of the room walked over to the supply cupboard after coming out of their stupor of surprise, Hadrian walked over to his seat where his bag still stood and picked it up before walking back to the teacher's desk. That was when he spotted green robes in between the red ones.

"Mr Malfoy, I didn't know that you suddenly became a Gryffindor?" he asked. "Get back to your seat, you're going last today."

"You're not even our teacher! So why should I even listen to you?" the blond snarled.

Hadrian saw that Snape perked up upon hearing that, obviously wanting to know what he would do now.

"That doesn't mean I don't know how to get you to comply," with a flick of his wand he pulled the boy backwards by the collar of his robes before sitting him down on his seat and fixating him there with a sticking charm. "You may move again once everyone else has their ingredients, and Mr Nott I know that you're thinking about bringing Mr Malfoy his supply, but I would advise against it," he said with a pointed look observing how Snape chuckled in the back of the class.

Once the Gryffindors were back in their seats, he motioned for the Slytherins to go fetch their ingredients, watching as Nott threw Malfoy an apologetic look. He waited until everyone had sat back down before releasing Malfoy.

"You may go now, Mr Malfoy," he motioned to him, earning himself a death glare in the process.

He started to pull out his own equipment while still watching the class as they went about preparing their own potions. Filling up his cauldron with water, he went to work on brewing his own Boil Cure potion when he saw Malfoy throwing something in the direction of the Gryffindors after some time. With a flick of his wand, he caught it mid-air and levitated it back to Malfoy's cauldron.

"Mr Malfoy, the next time you want to test out what happens when adding an Aconite flower to this particular potion please do so with your own potion, and not one of your classmate’s. You probably hoped that I would follow my own advice and not perform any magic in this classroom, however, as my demonstration earlier this afternoon should have shown you, I know what I can or cannot do in a potions lab. Now I remember you wanted to know what happens when you put this particular ingredient in the potion…why don't we find out?" Hadrian asked before cancelling the spell and letting the flower fall into Malfoy's cauldron, which the boy watched with horror.

Shortly before it touched the potion, he cast a ward around the cauldron not wanting to hurt anyone after all. It did not even take seconds to turn the cauldron into a green bubbling mess safely contained.

"Too bad…it ruined the potion. Now, Mr Malfoy, I do not know how Professor Snape handles such idiocy, but I definitely do not tolerate messing around in a potions lab. Had this concoction hit anyone it would have brought the person to the infirmary for one night at least, which is in comparison quite harmless to what could potentially happen. Potions is a subject that requires precision and caution.

“In Charms, one wrong move only results in something unwanted though mostly harmless, but here it can permanently harm, or in the worst case kill you. So, do us all a favour, stop messing around and start taking this seriously," he gave ev