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A Serpent's Choice

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Hadrian James Potter, Rian for short, did not have an easy life.

Although many might believe that he, being the Boy-Who-Lived and all, would have an adoring family who fulfilled his every wish, it was not true. His family of abusive Muggles hated him and treated him even worse than a Malfoy would treat their house elf.

Hadrian hated his life. It was the summer right after his sixth year and not even a week had passed, but he had already been beaten up by his cousin twice and the last real meal he had, had been at Hogwarts. He was sick of this. The only good thing at the moment was the fact that the Megalomaniac Lord Voldemort, murderer of his parents and responsible for all the shit that happened in his life, had not reared his ugly head since the first year Quirrell-incident. The young, incredibly handsome and charming version of the Dark Lord had not shown up again either. A shame, really, he admitted to himself. God he was hot.

Rian shook his head to rid himself of those traitorous thoughts and repeated the thought Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort. He’s evil. Not hot. Eviiiil. Then he giggled. Evil. EVIIIL. Such a funny word. Evil? What is even evil? Hehe even evil that rhymes. Wait, actually-

“BOY!” The delightful voice of his uncle ripped him from his happily drifting thoughts and Rian had to get up.

“GET DOWN HERE THIS INSTANT YOU DISGUSTING FREAK!!!”

What had he done now? Maybe, he thought with the sarcastic humour he had adopted as his own, I did not prepare his breakfast fast enough. Oh wait, that's impossible since I got up an hour before the fat whale!

Not necessarily any smarter pertaining the reason for being screamed at, Rian wanted to scream back “What did I do now?!” but instead he just went downstairs again, preparing for the unnecessary beating he was sure to receive.

As he entered the kitchen with his gaze lowered to hide the murderous thoughts that were crossing his mind, he asked neutrally “What may I do for you, Sir?”

The thundering footsteps and heavy breathing of his enraged uncle were his only warning before a fist connected with his already bruised ribs and he went down.

“How dare you?!” A kick to his stomach.

“You filthy vermin!” He curled into a tight ball and tried to protect his head.

“We feed you!” Rian had to grit his teeth harshly, so he would not accidentally start laughing like a maniac. Feed him? They stopped doing that years ago.

“And clothe you!” Yeah right.

“And you! How do you repay us for all of this?” Well, let’s see. I do the cooking, cleaning and tend to the garden. I repair everything that needs repairing and I get worked like a slave every chance you get. Beside that? Yeah you are right, I do absolutely nothing and laze around all day, sobbing about my Godfather. Who died, by the way. Gruesomely.

“You stole our food!” Ah, so Dudley was hungry again. Whatever. Wait until I'm seventeen you disgusting piece of muggle filth.

Rian sighed defeatedly and retreated into the back of his mind while his uncle beat him to a bloody pulp, as had been their routine for the past six summers.

 


 

As he woke up again he was lying on the floor of his tiny bedroom and hurting all over. Luckily his magic had already started to repair his body and the worst injuries were healing quickly so that he would be able to move again in a few hours, but that did nothing to alleviate the murderous rage churning in his gut.

The rest of Rian's summer passed in much the same way, with the occasional beating in between his chores and a few bites to eat, until his seventeenth birthday. The 30th of July was a day just like every other day, with the exception that Rian stayed awake until midnight, the way he did every day prior to his birthday he had had up to this point. When the old digital clock on his bedside table displayed the time to be 11:59 pm, Rian started to mentally count down the seconds until his magical majority would hit him, which was supposed to come with a power boost and better control over his magic, additionally to the permission to finally cast magic outside of Hogwarts.

He knew that it would probably hurt a lot and had thus gagged himself, since he did not want his loving family to have another reason to torture him before leaving in the early morning for their bi-yearly vacation.

Nothing could have prepared him for what came next.

It started with a light burning sensation in his abdomen, which spread throughout his whole body while getting stronger gradually. Then his legs started literally melting together and his back exploded with pain, while his body still felt as if it was burning up. The screams of pure agony tore from his sore throat and straight through the cloth in his mouth, echoing perversely in the small room.

Rian slowly opened one of his eyes, groaning in pain as he was immediately met by too bright daylight that seemed to split his already hurting head in two. He waved a hand at the source angrily and the light dimmed down considerably.

With relief he sighed and went back to sleep.

 


 

As he woke up again a few hours later he realized what he had done and sat up quickly, which made his head spin, wide awake. His thoughts razed in total panic. How had he performed magic without his wand? Would the ministry come and get him now, imprison him like they had Sirius? Had he even performed magic or had that been nothing but a drea- that thought process was cut short by his searching gaze, which landed on his window. The window with a floating black mist in front of it that reeked of magic and sheer power. Damn. He raked a hand through his smooth and silky hair, continuing to think about the consequences of his wandless magic. Until he froze. Smooth and silky hair? He did not have smooth and silky hair, untameable and nest-like were the words that usually came to mind.

Slowly, he raised a hand and touched his hair again, then pulled it in front of his face. As the black curtain of silky strands hung in front of his eyes, he realized another thing.

He could see without his glasses, his back had miraculously stopped hurting and his legs felt strange. With a start he remembered the melting sensation again and looked down fearfully to reassure himself of his legs’ integrity.

There were no legs. Instead, a three to four-meter-long tail covered in shimmering scales sprouted from his hips and wound around his bed in elegant curves. Rian fainted for the second time that day.

 


 

 The first thing he noticed this time was that the pain in his head seemed to be gone. Then he remembered the changes. Hadrian had performed wandless magic, his hair had grown out into what felt like waist-long silk, he no longer needed his glasses and his fucking legs were gone! He got up shakily, his tail curling on the ground to stabilize himself instinctively and began searching for the tall mirror in the abandoned treasures of his cousin. When he finally found it in the hindermost corner, where he had put it so he wouldn't have to look at his scars all the time, he stared at it disbelievingly. He no longer looked like the scrawny child with ghostly pale skin he had always been. His skin was glowing almost white and his eyes, framed by impossibly long and dark lashes looked just like the Avada Kedavra curse that he had survived as a baby. His hair was a shimmering black, so dark it was almost blue now and reached his waist in long elegant curls. His facial features looked more like the aristocratic ones of a Black now, rather than the pointy yet somewhat round ones of the deceased James Potter, and his blood red lips looked full and decidedly kissable if he could say so himself. As Rian finished observing his changed face, he let his eyes wander downwards over his wings to his waist, following his tail further along.

Wait. Wings?!

His gaze shot up again and he could see the way his eyes widened as they landed on his most recently discovered appendages. Between his shoulder blades, a set of feathered black wings was adorning his back. When he flexed his shoulders, he spread them accidentally, displaying an impressive span of three meters. Utterly fascinated, Rian reached out with a hand and softly caressed the shiny feathers and smooth scales at their base, which shimmered just like his hair. He sighed in delight at the feeling and almost lost himself in the sensation of his own warm caress.

After a while he came back to his senses and resumed his observation of his new body.

As he took in his elongated canines, pointed ears and forked tongue he came to a conclusion. However it had happened, at midnight of his seventeenth birthday Hadrian James Potter had gained a magical creature inheritance which came with a power boost so large that he could freely connect with his magic now, without the previous necessity of a wand.

Now the next step was to find out what he was and how in the name of the devil he could change back, since there was no way in hell that he would lead his life with a tail instead of legs and wings so huge that he no longer fit through doors.

He considered writing to Hermione, but she had not contacted him at all throughout the holidays just like every other friend he had, even though he had written her multiple times. That was quite suspicious and reminded him of his second year and the whole Dobby Disaster. Maybe his mail was getting intercepted again and if that were the case, he would rather not inform whoever was intercepting and most likely reading it of his change in race.

Wizards could be prejudiced as fuck after all. What would they say when they found out their boy hero had become a creature, a second-class citizen in their eyes?

So instead, he ordered a load of books about humanoid magical creatures and some random books to distract from his main interest, figuring that if there was anyone reading his mail they would find no offence with that and let it go through.

He started to meditate as soon as an angry hooting Hedwig was gone with his order. She had decidedly not looked happy with him for leaving her in her cage so long, especially when he had screamed in pain, frightening her immensely.

 


 

Inside of his mind, there was a vast, seemingly endless blank space. Hadrian drifted around for a while, trying to figure out how to reach his magical core, until he made out a faint glimmer in the distance. Rushing there at once with the weirdly floating walk he had figured out how to use, he reached the small spot fairly quickly in his opinion.

In actuality, it could have taken any amount of time between mere seconds, several minutes or even hours to get there, as there was no way to differentiate time in the grey abyss. As he arrived at the sparkling spot, he felt a peacefulness envelope him he never felt before.

It felt as though he had finally come home after a life of drifting aimlessly. With the peacefulness came a sudden burst of instinctual knowledge, which told him how to change in between his three forms.