Cobalt robes swept along marble floors. Boot steps echoed off stone walls. He adjusted his cranberry-colored tie, tucking it down into place. He walked at ease as if he were the only person in the world who mattered. Other students in the corridor quickly moved aside at his passing and he barely made it seem like he noticed they were there. In fact, he did notice them. He noticed everything and everyone. He rounded the corner, dodging the younger student who nearly ran into his side with ease before continuing on his path as if nothing happened. He folded his hands behind his back as he slowed, coming to a stop in front of a large wooden door. He watched the creature on the door, a carving of a Thunderbird, blink at him before the door swung open. Quietly, he stepped inside, and the door closed behind him.
The room in front of him was comprised of polished marble on the floors and on the walls. Pillars framed the window which overlooked the mountain outside. A sea of green shone in the daylight. Bookshelves stood opposite the window, with tomes of every kind in every language. In the center of the room was a large mahogany desk covered in papers. Some were in stacks and other loose in every direction around the desk. Behind the desk, a woman sat. She had magnificently long brunet hair which would have touched the floor if it weren't braided. She had amber colored eyes which shone against her bronze skin and were framed by her high cheekbones. The woman folded her hands upon seeing him enter the room.
"Ah, Mr. Black." She greeted with a warm smile.
"You wanted to see me, Headmistress?"
"Sit, please." She gestured to the cranberry colored chair in front of the desk. He sat down, carefully folding himself into the chair.
"May I call you Hadrian?" She asked after a moment of silence between them.
"Yes, Headmistress," Hadrian answered, wondering not for the first time why she called him here.
"Would you like some tea, Hadrian? Or maybe some coffee?" The woman stood with an unsurprising grace and moved toward the drinks stirring themselves in the back of the room.
"Tea please." Hadrian accepted the cup she handed him, and they sat in silence for a few moments more while they sipped their drinks. Hadrian set his on the desk in front of him and rested his hands on the armrests of the chair.
"I suppose there is no longer any need to delay what I'm going to tell you." Hadrian watched his headmistress with curiosity. "Do you know of the Triwizard Tournament, Hadrian?"
"Of course," Hadrian answered.
"Yes, I thought you might. You are at the top of your classes." The woman paused. "As you know, the Triwizard Tournament was classically a competition between Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts. It was disbanded long ago due to the sheer number of injuries and ultimately fatalities the tournament inflicted upon those who entered." The woman paused again, and Hadrian nodded for her to continue. "It has been reinstated."
Hadrian blinked at her. "Forgive me but why are you telling me? That's a tournament for Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts. The reinstatement doesn't affect us."
"Oh, but it does. The reinstatement of it was conditional on the fact that it will no longer be a Triwizard Tournament. It will be a healthy competition between wizarding schools. Most wizarding schools have agreed already. Unfortunately, Ilvermorny was one of them."
"A healthy competition between wizarding schools?" Hadrian couldn't believe what he was hearing. The tournament reinstated and Ilvermorny included. "What other schools are involved?"
"The original three, of course, Ilvermorny, Castelbruxo, Mahoutokuro, and Uagadou. The rest have vehemently refused to allow their students to compete in any and all competition that could possibly kill them and I am inclined to agree. However, there is not much that I can do. The Board is in control of the overall decisions regarding the school." The last words were spoken with bitter disgust.
There was a long silence between the two of them. A storm brewed inside Hadrian's mind, but he was careful not to let it show. He kept his face a cool mask, tapping his fingers on the armrest of the chair as he thought.
Reinstating the tournament. Ilvermorny participating.
"Whose idea was it? To reinstate the tournament, I mean." Hadrian asked carefully.
"You know the answer to that question, Hadrian."
Hadrian nodded, still careful to not let his face betray him.
There was no way Voldemort could know he was alive. They had been so careful upon fleeing all those years ago. Everyone thought Harry Potter was dead and buried in a grave in Godric's Hollow. Perhaps it was inevitable that the tournament would be reinstated.
"Why are you telling me, Headmistress?" Hadrian asked, looking out the window at the expanse of green.
His question was met with silence for a long moment before he heard a sigh. "Because you will be going to Hogwarts for the tournament."
Hadrian shrugged out of the cobalt robes, carefully folding them onto the chair in his room. Next to them, he placed his cranberry tie. He hated the color scheme of Ilvermorny with a passion. He never understood the blue and red combination from the moment they handed him the abominations. He moved to the wardrobe in the corner of the room and opened it slightly, avoiding looking at himself in the mirror. He grabbed a cranberry colored suit, sliding it on and completed the ensemble with a cobalt tie. The school never minded what a student wore as long as the colors were still blue and red.
Hadrian vaguely remembered the one day he won a bet due to the school's inane rules about colors.
I was still in blue and red.
You were in nothing but paint and a loincloth.
Blue and red paint and a blue and red loincloth. It's well within the rules.
Remus hadn't been too happy with him to receive the letter from Headmistress Nyah about Hadrian's antics. He still had the Howler.
Sirius, however, thought it was fantastic. He'd never heard a Howler that meant howling with laughter.
Hadrian smiled, adjusting his tie around his neck. He finally looked in the mirror. Vibrant emerald eyes blinked back at him. His normally wild black hair had been tamed slightly. His jaw flexed as he glanced at the picture pinned to the mirror of the wardrobe. James and Lily Potter.
Hadrian never knew them. He knew he looked a lot like James, he could see it in his own reflection. He also knew he had his mother's eyes. As he got older though, some of the features that reminded his caretakers so much of the friends they once knew seemed to fade. Harry's frame grew stronger than that of his father and his eyes grew brighter than that of his mother. Time had hardened him in a way that hadn't yet hardened James and Lily. For being an auror, there was still a light to James's eyes. For fighting in a war, there was still a kindness radiating from Lily's soul.
Kindness had its place, but radiation of it was weakness. Or maybe it was an excellent mask. Hadrian hadn't yet decided.
He tucked his wand into the holder on his forearm and shut the wardrobe door. Looking around the room, he decided he didn't need anything else before finally leaving, locking the door behind him with a wave of his hand.
On the way toward the dining hall, he was quickly joined. Her blonde hair bounced with every step and her lapis lazuli eyes sparkled against the cobalt dress she wore. A cranberry belt wrapped around her waist and at the center was a single gold Gordian knot. Her cranberry shoes tapped on the floor as she walked next to him, not saying a word as she easily wrapped her arm through his.
They walked side by side into the dining hall, easily finding seats at an empty, round wooden table. The dining hall had yet to fill as they were among the first arrivals. Round, wooden tables scattered the dining hall. Above them hung banners which held the crests of all four houses; Thunderbird, Pukwudgie, Wampus, and Horned Serpent. The walls lining the hall were granite leading to a large open window which overlooked an expanse of red spruce and balsam fir trees. It almost looked as if it were possible to fall off the edge of the world from their mountaintop.
More students filed into the dining all in various combinations of blue and cranberry. Hadrian watched them with disinterest while the girl played with a loose thread on his sleeve. Normally he would have dealt with the thread, however, it seemed to entertain her, so he let it be.
"What did Headmistress want?" She asked finally.
"I have a feeling you will find out soon, Cordelia."
Cordelia blinked at him before vanishing the thread off his sleeve. She then leaned her hand on her palm and fluttered her long eyelashes at him with a sly grin on her face.
"Or, you could just tell me now."
"Or, you could just wait," Hadrian answered, leaning on his palm while facing her.
"But I don't want to wait." She wined, pouting at him.
"What are you pouting about now?" A new voice asked.
"Hadrian won't tell me why Headmistress Nyah dragged him into her office today," Cordelia informed Nicholas, the owner of the new voice. The boy sat down on Hadrian's other side, propping up his arm on the back of Hadrian's chair while crossing one ankle over the other.
"Maybe she was confessing her undying love for him."
Cordelia rolled her eyes.
"Well, it's not completely out of the question," Nicholas said, gesturing to Hadrian. "A qualification for being a professor here is loving the Golden Boy."
"You're confusing which of us is golden," Hadrian muttered, looking at the blond next to him.
"It is true. You do envy my lovely hair." Nicholas ran a hand through his hair, separating the strands so it looked slightly wild. "I think you just have a thing for blonds."
Hadrian pushed the other away from him and the other boy cackled.
More students filtered in and before long the headmistress followed. Her blue gown had cranberry folds which seemed to move strangely like fire. However, the headmistress's attire was never what interested people the most about her. On her bare, left shoulder was a large Thunderbird tattoo. The tattoo was incredibly lifelike as every student in the school had seen a Thunderbird due to the house. The silvery bird had a cloud design which branched into sunbeams. However, as if the tattoo itself weren't interesting enough, every now and then the bird would take flight across the headmistress's back as if it were flying across the sky. The first time Hadrian saw the tattoo in a different place he thought he'd imagined it. Then he saw it move. He watched the eyes twitch, he watched the beak of the bird open and the claws stretch. Then the bird moved as if it were alive and it settled somewhere else. It amazed him every time.
The headmistress swept the front of the room and turned to face her students. Next to her, the various professors stood, branching out on either side. The students fell silent, gazing up at their headmistress.
"Good evening students," She called.
"Good evening Headmistress."
"I'm certain you're wondering why I've gathered you all here as this is not one of our usual feasts." The students shifted. "I have an announcement." She paused, looking out over her students. "As you know, the Triwizard Tournament was a tournament between Beauxbatons, Hogwarts, and Durmstrang for many years. The tournament has been reinstated and we have been invited to join."
"He couldn't know about Harry, could he?" Sirius asked, pace through their flat, or was it an apartment? They were in America after all. Yet still, he kept wanting to call things by their names as they were back home. Fries were chips, apartment was a flat. Of course, their accents were never questioned. In fact, people seemed to love them. Everywhere Sirius and Remus went, people seemed to adore their British accent. Even Harry had written about how people at school commented on his accent.
"No, he couldn't have. No one even knows he's alive except for us. As far as Voldemort knows, the prophecy is dead. 'Neither can live while the other survives.' Well, he thinks he's the only one who survived."
Sirius rubbed his chin, not taking comfort in Remus's words.
"Harry said Nyah all but assured him he would be one of the students to go. There has to be something we can do. We have to stop this."
Remus sighed, watching Sirius pace along the edge of the bed.
"We can't," Remus answered, rubbing his forehead.
"Why not?" Sirius exclaimed.
"It will look more suspicious if we pull Harry out now than if we let him go."
Sirius stopped pacing abruptly and then let out a heavy sigh. "You're right of course."
"We have to trust Harry to figure it out. He's a smart boy, I know he can. And that's only if he is chosen. He might not be."
Sirius crawled into the bed next to Remus. "We'll have to be prepared if he is chosen though."
"We've always been prepared, Sirius."
"I don't know why I ever worry with you around," Sirius commented, lying on his back.
"Because you have nothing better to do," Remus answered, looking back toward the book he'd abandoned at the beginning of Sirius's tirade. A pillow suddenly darkened his view. Remus grabbed the feathery projectile and threw it back at Sirius. "You child."
Hadrian tapped his wand against his thigh. Faster, faster, faster. He was finally alone in his room after what seemed like days of pure bombardment. Since the announcement of the tournament, which had officially been named International Magical Cooperation, he hadn't been able to sleep. It seemed like the word InMaCo was on everyone's lips. Names were being said day after day as to who would be the champion Ilvermorny would put forth.
He hated it. He knew there was a push for him to go, but he didn't want the eternal glory that was promised at the end of the tournament.
He stood and ventured to the window, pressing his face against the cool glass, hoping it would calm the storm in his mind. But there was a storm brewing outside as well and the wind whistled past the window. It was haunting to hear the howling of the wind.
Hadrian turned away from the window and lied down on his bed, wishing for the sweet release from reality that sleep promised.
That night he dreamed of a vast countryside and a stone castle next to a lake.