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The Dark Prince: Rebirth

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Bright!

 

So...soo...painfully bright!

 

Who the heck decided it was a good idea to steal the Sun and hide it in his cupboard? Dang it!

 

He silently groaned, biting his lips harshly to stop the pitiful whimper that left his lips. He was still too sore to handle any more of Uncle Vernon's beating. This time around he would probably die!

 

As he was thinking about this, a largely guttural gibberish coming just beside the bed had him snap his attention to the present. Wait a minute, his bed in the Cupboard certainly didn't feel this soft. And was it a blanket on top of him? And who's speaking?

 

Dear Lord, where is he? They can't be that merciful to actually have him admitted into a hospital this time? Is he finally discovered by someone? Did the police come and take him under?

 

His internal monologue and list of questions were again disrupted when a gruffy voice with hard consonant sounds anchoring syllables spoke, "Mr. Harry? Can you hear me?"

 

What? Who is that? The speaker doesn't sound remotely...human. Was he dreaming?

 

Instead of asking, he groaned in reply. A gruffy chuckle came before the speaker started to bark in some gibberish language that made no sense to him. He wanted to struggle and wake up, he truly did, especially when he felt his mouth being parted and cold liquid was poured forcefully into his throat. Maybe he shouldn't drink whatever his non-human captors were feeding him. Maybe he should spit it out. But at this point, he felt so thirsty so he didn't even protest, instead drank the honey-like liquid greedily and deeply. As soon as the liquid went past his throat, he felt his head being carefully lowered and a warm feeling spreading all over his body. After that, everything went blank.

   

    

   

   The next time he woke up, his body was numb, bordering on soreness around the edges, which only meant his injuries were healing. He felt adequately rested. When the thought passed his mind he frowned mentally. What time is it? He can't have enough time to give his skinny body enough rest to heal. Aunt Petunia made sure of that. Or maybe they all went out for a weekend and locked him in his cupboard?

 

Feeling hopeful, he slowly blinked open his eyes. The brightness was bearable, letting his eyes adjust to the light. He darted his eyes around, frowning when he noticed a white ceiling that was far from his reach. He blinked once, twice, then the unusual blur reduced to the usual foggy haze but the white ceiling didn't turn grey, neither did the distance reduce. Wait, was he not in his cupboard? He blinked again, his hand groping for the glass near the pillow for a better view.

 

Only to find there are no glasses. 

 

Dang it, where are they? Did he put it somewhere else? But that's not possible. He never put it anywhere other than beside his pillow. He doesn't even have any other place. That's when he noticed the softness of the mattress.

Wait, he is not hallucinating then? He truly is not in his cupboard?

Where is he? Is it really some kind of hospital this time? Nothing else can describe the white-colored room he was in. Besides, it's not like he has anywhere else to go.

Ah! Hospital then.

 

"Ah, finally awake, I see."

 

He blinked, looking up to find who entered the room. It was two small humanoid gremlin-like creatures with flat faces, broad noses, pointed ears, wide mouths, and small, sharp fangs. One was standing near the door and the other - an important-looking one approached him. Oh dear Lord, is this some kind of Alien? Did a UFO come and kidnap him from Private Drive? Or did the Dursleys sell him out? But if he was kidnapped or sold, why did they give him a better place than the Dursleys has ever offered?

 

"Who are you?" He panicked, his eyes wide with fear, voice croaking and lisping, as it was being used for the first time in a while

The alien smirked, "Fret not, little Harry. I am Goblin Healer Sharptooth. You are under my care for now."

 

Hold on - did he just say Goblin?

 

But, Goblins are some mythological animals, they're not real. There's nothing like Magic, Goblins, Vampires, or Werewolf in real life, right?

 

Then what...how...

 

But most importantly...

  

  

"Who's Harry?"

Chapter Text

The ‘Goblin’ stared, so he stared right back. 

 

The ‘Goblin’ stared harder, so he began staring back even harder.

 

Then it turned back, making him almost grin in victory...until he barked at another 'Goblin' in the room and then rounded on him, they started to poke him with their long fingers that were pointier than needles.

 

"Hey!" He protested, flinching away as he felt something strange is happening around him. Some kind of waves rising, circling him, wrapping him with its tendril. "What is happening?" He yelled, trying to duck their attack and try to sit up.

 

"Stop fighting the Magic, child." The 'Goblin' Healer Sharptooth barked, pushing him back to bed, "I am trying to cast a diagnostic charm to know how much memory you've lost."

 

"My memory is just fine." He snapped, "And what are you talking about? What charm? Magic doesn't exist." After saying that, he stopped short. Why does he sound like he's lisping and hissing again? Thank god aunt and uncle were not there to hear him. With their blank look, he knew the Goblins didn't understand him too, he sighed and repeated the words paying attention to speaking in English this time. Nobody understands him when he switched to the lisping language unintentionally. It made them beat him even harder, declaring it to be 'abnormal'.

 

The 'Goblin' froze, stopping his poking for once and ignoring his lisp, "Who says Magic doesn't exist?"

 

"It doesn't." He confirmed. "Uncle Vernon says so."

 

The 'Goblin' gave a nasty smile, looking at him with sharp eyes, "I see. Then what is your name, child?"

 

"I am Freak."

 

Healer Sharptooth froze, then narrowed his eyes, "Beg your pardon?"

 

He cleared his throat, "My name is Freak. Freak er, Dursley, I guess." He gave a helpless shrug. He didn’t know if he even had a last name, but that was his aunt and uncle’s so it made sense that he would share it as well.

 

Whatever he said it seemed to unnerve the 'Goblin' as he shifted uncomfortably, exchanging significant looks with the other ones. "Listen to me Harry," Sharptooth looked at him, "First of all, your name is Harry. Not freak. Your 'uncle' is a nuisance to society who should be locked in Azkaban." He growled, which sent a cold shiver down Harry’s back.

 

"Harry." He muttered in awe, "My name is Harry." He repeated, too stunned with the discovery to notice what the Sharptooth had said about his uncle.

 

"Yes, you're Harry." Sharptooth confirmed patiently, "Secondly, Magic does exist. It's just well hidden from non-magical people for the well-being of both Magicals and Muggles."

 

"Really?" He - Harry, his name is - if what he said is true - interrupted, unable to hold on "Magic exists? And whose well-being? I don't understand, I am afraid."

 

"You would understand better, given you were left with those Muggle filths." Sharptooth spat the words out. "The way they beat you and starve you when you displayed accidental Magic."

 

Harry's brain was swarming trying to catch up with what he said. "Muggles?"

 

"Muggles are what we call the non-magical people."

 

"I see," He - Harry gulped, looking down at his hands, "And so you're saying I am a - what? Magical? Wiggle?"

 

"Wizard is the actual term," Sharptooth said with a smile. "You must remember doing something extraordinary? Something you can't explain to others."

 

"I do." Harry nodded, "I remember how Aunt Petunia tried to cut my hair again and again and it grew back overnight every time. I also remember, just a day ago. I was running from Dudley and somehow appeared on the roof of his school. Uncle Vernon was not happy."

 

"I can say." Sharptooth said darkly, "Say, Harry, do you remember anything happening to you after the beating he gave?"

 

Harry frowned, trying to remember, "Er, no actually. The last thing I remember is being thrown against the wall." He said in a monotone voice, speaking in the third person's view. There's no point hiding it since Healer Sharptooth seems to know everything. "Why do you ask, Healer Sharptooth?" He questioned, staying respectful.

 

Healer Sharptooth seems to be surprised at his respectful tone, "Well then, let me explain a few things then." Harry nodded, listening carefully, "Sometimes, some of the members of the Wizarding family show creature inheritance when they reach maturity, especially wizards with a dark core. This is not something weird, or scary thing to happen to a Wizard. It's perfectly normal, in fact, they are celebrated and revered. However, some of the wizards, mostly Muggle-born wizards, consider them evil and dark, try to kill them, and inspire others to do the same. But it happens simply because those pathetic fools do not understand how Magic works. And the Light side doesn't even care to teach them the glorious history of Magic. Are you following me, Harry?"

 

"Yes." Harry nodded, wondering why he was telling him this.

 

"A wizard generally gets a creature inheritance when they reach maturity. But sometimes, in extreme conditions - like life-threatening situations or any other emergencies, a wizard's Magic may force their body to achieve a creature inheritance prematurely. You're understanding everything that I am saying, right?"

 

"Yes."

 

"The night your uncle gave you the beating, you almost died, Harry." Sharptooth said in a surprisingly gentle voice, "But your magic refused to let you die, so it dived deep into your soul and brought up a gift to save your life."

 

"You're saying that I have gone through some kind of creature inheritance?" Harry's voice croaked incredulously.

 

"It seems so." Sharptooth nodded.

 

Harry frowned, "But, I still feel like a human. How can I be an animal?"

 

Sharptooth smirked, "You have not seen yourself fully, Harry."

 

Harry widened his eyes and started to sit up, Sharptooth raised his hand, "Easy there." Before producing a full-body mirror out of nowhere. Harry gawked.

 

"Was that magic?"

 

"Yes." Sharptooth seems amused.

 

"Wow. Can you teach me?"

 

"You will be taught the finest art of Magic in Hogwarts. Before you ask, it's a British school for Wizards. You will go there when you're eleven."

 

"I see." Harry nodded, accepting his glasses back before remembering the reason the mirrors were created. He shifted around with difficulty, sitting up under their scrutiny. Harry tried to move his legs but found they had been bound together. He frowned, his hands came into contact with what he could only describe as a smooth, cool, strangely textured surface under a blanket. What was that?

 

"What?" Harry muttered, yanking the white blanket away. Instead of staring at legs that were tied together by some weird scaly leather thing, he found what looked like a long tubular object stretching from his waist back up to the bed where it tapered into a fine point. The edge of the textured surface is a couple of inches below his belly button. It was completely flat against his skin and was just too smooth of a transition from skin...to scales. A tail.

 

A snake tail. A snake tail that was moving and slashing around starting from his waist all the way down to the tip.

 

"WHAT?" Harry quietly screamed, trying to keep control of his voice.

 

"Easy there," Sharptooth guffawed.

 

"You're not helping." Harry deadpanned, panic rising. He is a...a snake! A half-snake thingy!

 

"A Naga, that's what you are." Sharptooth informed, rolling his eyes, "Rejoice, child. Naga is a truly powerful and very rare creature inheritance one comes to."

 

"I see." Harry muttered, feeling the smooth texture that was his tail and staring at the mirror, both fascinated as well as horrified "And what will I do? I have no parents, they died in a car accident, they said."

 

"Oh no, your parents are very much alive," Sharptooth said with a nasty grin.

 

"WHAT??" Harry shrieked so loudly, everyone in the room including Harry himself flinched.

 

Sharptooth barked at one of the Goblins who ran out, bringing back a portfolio. Sharptooth went through it, producing a - parchment? He handed it to Harry, "It's your blood inheritance test result."

 

Harry grabbed the parchment at once, adjusted his glass, and started to read.

    

   

Name: Harry James No Name  (Potter by birth, DISINHERITED)

Status: Wizard, Alive

Blood Status: Half-blood  (By birth)

Familiar: Unknown

Magical core: Dark

Magical ability: Metamorphmagus

Creature: Naga

Family  :

 

Birth father: James Fleamont Potter  (Alive)

Birth mother: Lily Potter née Evans   (Alive)

Birth twin: James Charlus Potter Jr.  (Alive, Male)

Godmother: Alice Longbottom née Fortescue (Alive, compromised)

Godfather: Sirius Orion Black  (Alive, DISINHERITED)

Frank Longbottom (Alive, compromised)

Soul father: Tom Marvolo Riddle  (Alive)

 

Inheritance  :

 

Heir to -

Potter -  disinherited

Black -  disinherited

Gryffindor -  disinherited

Lord to -

Riddle ( Muggle ) -  By right of conquest

Gaunt -  By right of conquest

Slytherin -  By right of conquest

Peverell -  By right of conquest

  

   

   

   

"Disinherited?" Harry muttered in an empty tone, hiding his disbelief and hurt.

 

"I guess you do have a long talk due," Sharptooth shrugged, "Hungry?"

 

His stomach growled, replying for him.

   

___________________

   

    

After wolfing down the offered fruits while listening to the tales of the so-called 'Dark Lord and his conquests and then the so-called famous defeat in his supposed twin brother's hand, Harry sank into his seat with a sad expression marring his young face.

 

"Make no mistake child, Magic never lies. Yes, we've all listened to the tales of your twin Jim Potter being the 'Boy-Who-Lived', but if Magic says it was you who defeated him, then it was you."

 

"How can you say? I don't even know any Magic, how can I have killed this Dark Lord person?"

 

"The Dark Lord 'person' as you say," Sharptooth sneered, "is the reason you're alive right now. So you must pay proper respect where it is due. And The Dark Lord is only temporarily defeated, he is not dead."

 

"How?" Harry whispered, "How, he's the reason - "

 

"Why do you think we were successful in rescuing you after we were alerted of your Creature Inheritance? The Dark Lord is not a mere title people gave him, he is the Lord of Dark side, including every Dark cored wizard and Dark creature. He looks after them. He made arrangements to create charms that will alert us of a new Creature Inheritance and their location and rescue them before the Light side can kill them."

 

"I see," Harry mused, glancing at his own inheritance paper that said he was a Dark cored too. "Then why did he attack me? Given he will be my Lord too."

 

"That only he can tell, I am afraid."

 

Harry sighed, rubbing his eyes. He was too tired to think about it. "Who is Tom Marvolo Riddle?"

 

"That would be The Dark Lord's birth name."

 

Harry gaped, "What?" He yelled, "But- here, it says he's my, er - " He glanced at the parchment, squinting his eyes, "Soul father. What is a soul father?"

 

"It seems, there are ways of Magic even our ancient Magical knowledge can not understand." Sharptooth revealed grimly, "I am afraid, no matter what the tales are, soul mates are not real. The Dark Lord must have extensive knowledge of Soul Magic, what we deduced is the extensive practice of his Soul Magic ritual has created part of your soul which identifies him as its creator."

 

"I see." Harry sighed, not understanding, "What you're practically saying is that I am probably a result of his some kind of Magical experiment. Maybe that's why the Potters disinherited me, even if they give birth to me? Or maybe he tried to claim me back that night and something went wrong?" God that sounded so complicated.

 

"Cannot say what exactly went wrong that night, but it's not why you're disinherited." Sharptooth shook his head, "You were disinherited because they thought you to be Squib."

 

Harry frowned, "And what's a Squib?"

 

"Squib is a non-magical person born to Wizards." Sharptooth explained, "People think them to be shame on their family, and its a quite old tradition to cast them off and send them in Muggle World to fend for themselves."

 

"But - " Harry panicked, "You said I am a Magical - "

 

"I did," Sharptooth confirmed, "And you are. They only assumed you to be Squib and cast you off." He explained, "If only they confirmed it by us."

 

"How do you know so much?"

 

"It's written on your papers." Sharptooth opened the portfolio again, searching through it and producing his disownment paper. "They were a closed contract, but to know your identity when we did the blood test, we reopened it." Harry hummed and started to read, his chest searing with the hurt he felt. He could have had parents and a twin brother. But no, they had to go and cast him off declaring him to be - Harry squinted his eyes, "Who is Albus Dumbledore?"

 

"The Light Lord." Sharptooth sneered in disgust, "Headmaster to Hogwarts school and source to our problem. He's the one standing between us Dark creatures and our rights."

 

"It says here he confirmed me to be Squib," Harry muttered darkly. "Could it be because he may know I am a soul son of the Dark Lord?"

 

"Unlikely. He would have preferred to manipulate you or maybe kill you."

 

"I....see...." He sighed, closing his eyes with resignation, "So it seems, for my continuous survival, I will have to go to The Dark Lord AKA, my father."

 

Chapter Text

Harry Riddle sighed softly, rubbing his head with his hand as he put the book down and let his eyes drift away towards the view of his window, the garden. It has been a week since he woke up in the Gringotts and found himself in a completely different World. A magical world, where he belongs. After finding out he had a soul father and looking through the properties his father owned - technically he owned them now by right of conquest - but he would rather not remember that and instead chose to the belief he owned them because he was practically the son of Dark Lord Slytherin, aka Tom Marvolo Riddle. Among the properties, he chose to live in what they called 'Riddle Manor', as per the suggestion of Sharptooth. According to him, very limited people knew the real name of The Dark Lord and even fewer people knew about this manor, so he would be safest here while his soul father was not around yet.

Harry sighed, looking at the garden where he could see Bailey, an unclaimed House Elf that Sharptooth recommended for him, and asked him to say somewhat what he called 'bonding words' to claim her. He kept looking at her as she was working in the garden, tending the vegetable patches and newly implanted fruit trees in one of her new periwinkle blouse and floral skirt, a work uniform so her clothes did not get dirty and gloves that Harry recommended for her instead of the old dirty pillowcase she was wearing. The Goblins had filled some Muggle official works and fired the old gardener, then they set up and renowned the old privacy wards around Riddle Manor for his safety. With the House Elf - Bailey, Riddle Manor soon returned to its previous glory, even though he hadn't seen it yet.

Thanks to the proper care of Bailey, regular visits, and potions from Healer Goblins, Harry - who was practically bedridden - started getting better. His internal organs and bones started to heal properly. The more he was getting healthier, the brighter his emerald scales shone . Bailey fussed over him, practically forcing him to stay on bed rest, and drowning him in potion after potion, as well as bullying him into eating until he felt like bursting. She also took care of his bathroom needs using some sort of bedpan after Harry experienced a rather embarrassing discovery of the end of his urinary and digestive system. He had never been so mortified before.

He was eight years old, damn it. He did not need a bedpan! But apparently, both fate and Bailey begged to differ.

At least she brought him some beginner books on Magic, snakes, and creature inheritance from Magical bookstores to keep him occupied using one of his father's vaults. But she couldn't find any books on Nagas, given they are Dark creatures and apparently have 'kill on sight' orders so books on them are forbidden. Even Healer Sharptooth could not tell him much, other than a few basic facts like how his diet mostly consisted of raw vegetables and meat at first, and that he can go back to using two legs and hiding his scales after his body was done healing, but how, - that he can't explain in detail.

He also informed him what being Metamorphmagus means when he asked. Apparently, growing his hair once could have been considered accidental magic, but doing them, again and again, is not. Harry was amazed to hear that. If Sharptooth didn't inform him, he probably would never have found out.

Ecstatic with the news, as soon as Sharptooth left, Harry asked Bailey for a mirror and tried to change his hair. To his surprise, a change of hair color came as easy as breathing, the problem occurred while changing the size.

When Harry concentrated too hard on changing the hair size, he at first felt some tickling sensation running through his scalp and when he opened his eyes, he found his hair had become so long that it had well-crossed past where it was supposed to be. 

Harry wanted to hide in his room and never come out.

To his amazement, Bailey looked truly delighted when she found him and offered him a proper haircut. Harry was skeptical at first, understandably so after Petunia - but decided to give it try as a benefit of the doubt given she's much better than aunt Petunia in every aspect. In a minute she prepared a chair with different kinds of scissors, a big mirror, and a washbasin. And he was not disappointed when he examined his hair in the mirror after Bailey cut them and shaped them and washed them thoroughly, then styled them.

It fell to his shoulder blades in waves now, surrounding his narrow and hollow face giving a volume, the weight of it helped a little to control the bird's nest of his hair. He liked it much better than the previous bird's nest monstrosity, he decided and Bailey burst out crying when he profusely thanked her.

But after the particular blunder, he decided to not use the ability anymore. Well, at least until they find his father, given he is a brilliant Wizard who can explain stuff to him and guide him properly and a Naga himself, and they promised to search for him when he offered them golds.

But the question is, how. No one has seen him for seven years. Will they find even him?

Of course, they can. Harry refused to think about otherwise. They can do magic, even better than other Wizards that are his father's followers - as they claimed. They will be able to find him.

But what if The Dark Lord doesn't want to do anything with him? He was, after all, an unplanned product of his experiment, as Sharptooth said.

Harry shook his head, refusing to think about them. He had spent his whole life on his own, living off the scraps. He can do the same until he knows enough magic to fend for himself. If The Dark Lord truly looks after every Dark Creatures, at least he can give spare him a small roof to live under, and give him at least a few pieces of meat? If not, he will have to learn how to hunt and maybe build a hut near the forest, he mused as he stared at the forest. Maybe Bailey will help him build it and bring him meat and some fruits until he learned to hunt?

But before everything, he needs to learn how to slither first, he thought as he looked back at his tails. While trying to recover last week, he had enough time to explore himself.

His big tail was at least five feet long, covered with beautiful deep emerald color with shiny darkish edges around each scale. Each scale glittered in different shades of green under the light as if covered in emerald dust every time he shifted or move a muscle. There also were scales spattered along his sides and his belly button. There were even a few patches of scales on his arms, collar bone, neck, and on his back, as Bailey described. He also had retractable claws that could slice through wood and metal pretty easily. He has also noticed that the inside of his upper palate has become darker in shade, as well his pupil which became wider and darker.

Harry had also noticed that if he's angry, scared, or freaked out, which happened when Goblin Healer Sharptooth informed him what Light Lord and light side might do to him if they ever discovered him, long delicate fangs with venom would descend from weird holes in his gums above his regular teeth. Knowing he has venoms freaked him out further, thinking he will die if he swallows them. But thankfully Sharptooth has assured him that the venom was now supposed to be his own body part, helping him digest his food. He also assured him that no other venom whether from a snake or anything else ( except Basilisk, he immediately researched about the kind and was thankful to find its rarest species, almost extinct ), was supposed to ever harm a Naga. At least he has a weapon to defend himself in case of needs.

But he had not tried walking - or slithering, he supposed, ever since he had found out about his tail. Not yet. But maybe, it's about time he starts training, given he feels much better than he has felt ever since he can remember. Even though he's still skinny to the bone. But Goblin Sharptooth says, with the potion and nutrient food, he will be fine within a few months or so. It probably would have taken much longer and he would have stunted growth if he stayed with the Dursleys longer than he did.

He put the books aside, then grabbed the rims of the window, pushing his tail off the bed using his hands. It was a kind of odd feeling, trying to stand up when he didn't have legs but a huge tail. Harry never thought he will miss them! He turned around, facing the wall, so that he had his hands pressed against the wall before trying to get his huge tail under him to push himself up with the support. The feeling of controlling such a long and muscled appendage was both incredible and extremely hard, though Harry likes his tail, it made him much bigger than Dudley if he compared the height between them now.

In an attempt to slither, Harry pushed away from the wall and tried to lunge forward at the same moment he tried to slither like he'd seen real snakes do in the garden when he used to weed the flowers.

He ended up flat on the ground with his nose smacking where it had impacted the floor.

Dear Lord! What the... How on earth did all those snakes make slithering look so easy?!

Well, they're born with it, not changed from a pair of legs! Maybe that's why!

Apparently, his little experiment didn't go unnoticed by ever vigilant and watchful eyes of Bailey who arrived with a pop, looking semi-hysterical. "Master Harry! How many times Bailey be telling you no up from bed?" Bailey glowered, shaking his tiny little fist, "Master Harry must stay in bed." Wish snap of her finger, Harry with his long tail and broken dignity floated back to bed. "why is yous hurting yous?" Bailey wailed.

Harry wanted to hide under the blanket - if possible, the bed - and never come out. "I needed to learn to slither, Bailey." He mumbled guiltily and to be honest a little scared. You can't argue against a fist! It reminds him of Uncle Vernon. Though Bailey is nowhere like him.

Bailey gave him a narrow-eyed look and made a tiny 'humph' sound, then snapped her finger, a vial of potion appeared in front of him. "Yous needing yous potion now."

He sighed and uncorked it and downed without protest. Bailey can be persistent if she wants something done. After gulping it down, Bailey disappeared, but not before reprimanding him, "Before walking, you must heal first."

He guessed she's not wrong, but at least he can try to practice moving his tail now. Maybe if he can move his tail to, say, towards the front wall? Near the door?

When he tried to get his huge tail to move forward, the new appendage ended up just wriggling and squirming on the bed for a little bit while he tried to work out how the muscles moved. He noticed, the further down his tail was though, the less control he seemed to have. He needed to make a greater movement to move a muscle near the end of his tail. At one point his tail got tangled up around itself, looking as though some complicated knot, making Harry sigh in frustration and turn his attention on untangling his own tail with his hands. For several minutes, he fought with the twisting and twitching tail and finally succeed. He sighed and decided it's enough to practice for now.

He needs baby steps to learn baby steps.

   

  

  

    

     For the next week, Harry slowly, but surely taught himself to use his tail to move around. To his consternation, slithering required a lot more work than just swishing his tail back and forth along the floor like he thought it might be. After long research and exploration, he decided that he needs to start the movement at his hips and let the movement ripple down to the end of his scaled tail. His tail also didn't remain flat on the floor; instead, it lifted a little at intervals and would come back down to push him forward. It was involuntary, but he was no less fascinated.

There were so many little movements going on that when Harry tried to think about it, study them all and find out how to control them according to his wish, he would trip himself up and end up falling flat on his face and a semi-hysterical Elf will pop in and start scolding him while pushing him on the bed. It took at least 2 days to teach himself to just stop thinking about moving his muscles when he wanted to move his tail.

The room he had chosen was practically the first livable room he could find in the Riddle Manor, on the ground floor. He has been confined to the room because of his health. But obviously, for a new Naga wishing to learn to slither, the room was too small to really get any real practice in, even if compared to the cupboard he was used to before, this room is practically luxurious given all the space and light and air coming from the big window. So even though he had taught himself how to slither around in the room, his movements were rather slow and stiff. Harry found he had better control of his movements if he sauntered and swung his hips back and forth as a girl does in those television series Dursleys used to watch. But it was workable, he can finally move around the room and it made him happier, feel better with his situation. He will learn to be better with more experience.

And for experience, he would need to roam in the garden!

Thankfully, he has succeeded in persuading Bailey enough to let him roam in the garden, apparently, Goblin Sharptooth has approved for some Sun on his skin, something about health and all. And he knows the Goblins had put privacy wards around the Riddle Manor, promising him that no Muggle or any unwanted visitors will ever come anywhere near Riddle Manor, so it was safe for him to roam in the garden without worrying about getting caught.

He looked around, Bailey is nowhere to be seen. Taking the opportunity, Harry slowly stood from the garden chair and started swinging his hips from side to side to get his tail moving. It felt strange, and oddly exhilarating, for his scales to slide across the ground. He slithered across the rough pebbles going towards the garden. Feeling all the dirt, leaves, and sticks that littered the ground of the garden. He could feel every little dip and rise in the dirt no matter how small, he could feel the roughness of the pebble, the slight scratches it makes on his scales. The stubborn sticks and twines break as he slithered around them. Noticing how long he came from the garden chair near the fountain, Harry started to become more confident with his movements. Slowly he crossed the garden and proceed towards the forest. Harry knows the ward line is extended towards the forest too, given the forest ground belongs to Riddles. So he's safe there.

Harry entered the forest, going deeper. The birds' wings flapping and twitterings filled the surrounding. As he entered deeper, looking around the forest in awe, a fallen log caught his attention. Staring at it, Harry suddenly had the urge to climb it over. Well, it's not like Uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia is here to beat him if he does something his wishes, so he happily went towards the log. The scales of his tail scraped across the soft and wet dead wood and purely out of curiosity he wrapped his huge tail around the fallen log, bending over to help his tail wrap it around properly, wanting to learn just how strong they are. After making sure he has coiled around it adequately enough, Harry tensed his muscles as tightly as he could.

The dead tree log cracked and splintered spectacularly quickly under the strength of his tail and Harry couldn't help but giggle excitedly at the broken and mangled wood. He'd never been so strong before, so being able to crush things with his tail left him oddly smug and excited. Only if he had the chance to crush those walrus Dursleys like this. If he really was stuck being a creature then at least he was a strong creature that could protect and defend him with the strength of his muscle and has deadly venom. He wondered how strong will become when he is much healthier and grown-up. He will also have magic to back him up. He almost felt giddy as he stared at the log, examining it, studying it properly, taking notes on its breadth, and wondering if he could do the same with a live tree as well.

He giggled softly for a moment before excitedly glancing around, finding another log to wrap his tail around and crush, to take notes on how thick logs are crushable under his tail. More giggles escaped him as he crushed one thing after another. So far, he was able to crush six logs of various girth, the thickest being something around seventy inches. Though, it was not long before he started to tire. Harry grinned broadly. A week before he probably would have crashed right after the first log, but now he's getting so much better! He can't wait to reach his optimal health and see what else he can do with his new power and Magic. There are so many probabilities, and he can't wait to learn more.

Not wanting to return too soon, he sank closer to the ground and sat back in the coils of his tail, enjoying the Sun on his face. He never really had the chance to proper Sunbath, all he had was the time he worked in the garden back in private drive. Bailey popped in and offered him a platter full of guava and apple. He took the plate without protest and started to munch as he enjoyed the Sun.

He isn't sure how much time has passed but opened his eyes when he felt the familiar tingling sensation in the back of his mind that tells him someone has entered inside the ward. He flickered his tongue and scented the air, grinning when he scented his Goblin friend. He had grown accustomed to his scent, given the number of times he visited including the first time in Gringotts. He uncoiled himself and started to slither back home.

"Healer Sharptooth," Harry grinned widely truly happy to see him, supporting himself against a cherry tree, "May your gold ever grow."

"And may your coffers overflow, little Harry." Sharptooth nodded, smiling softly at the little Wizard. In past weeks he has grown fond of the little wizard. He has always been so polite, respectful, and humble that he could not help himself. In his defense, Harry is more than just a simpleton Wizard, he is a Naga, and has a truly intelligent and curious mind seeking out knowledge, and a strong personality that the Muggles hasn't been able to break, so he allowed himself to grow the fondness. "I see you've successfully taught yourself to slither."

"I guess so." Harry glanced back at his tail sending a little movement ripples along the appendage, watching the scale glitter. He never grew tired of watching them shine.

"I brought you good news."

Harry gasped, glancing back at him. There could be only one news that is considered  good news  at the moment, "You guys found my father?"

Sharptooth grinned, "Indeed."

Chapter Text

"What." Harry deadpanned, staring at the thing in front of him.

It was scaly-looking, pale as a whiteboard, raw, a little bit blueish. Its arms and legs were thin and feeble, and its face snake-like and without an ounce of hair, with gleaming crimson red eyes as they stared right back at him. Instinctively Harry flickered his tongue, scenting him, blinking in surprise when he tasted the darkness, the allure of his aura - which he now knows is his Magic - the pain and extreme wariness. And yet, so familiar to his own.

Kin.

He truly is his Magical father, given the similarities in their Magic. And understandingly wary of him. To be honest, is he not wary of the man too? They do not know each other, after all. Maybe he doesn't even know he is his son.

"This is homunculus form of The Dark Lord, that we helped create with Magic from his wraith." The Goblin King explained patiently at the horrified child in front of him. The said child broke his eye contact with The Dark Lord's homunculus to stare at him.

"I didn't know my father had become a wraith, Healer Sharptooth said he was defeated, not killed." He said frustrated, scratching his itchy scar that was continuously prickling since their arrival. Why would his scar behave like that? It never did before.

"Oh, The Dark Lord is very much alive, he has only lost his body. He only needs to create a proper body."

Yeah, said in such a way as if it was only child's play to create his father's body for an eight years old who didn't even know the existence of Magic a month before. Heck, he hadn't even mastered the slithering yet! "But - " Harry's panic reaching almost astronomical height, voice turning high pitched and understandingly hysterical, "How he will create a body in this helpless form? I don't even know enough magic yet. What if I mess up? What if I accidentally kill him again? What if I - "

"Do not fret, child." Goblin-King grunted, cutting of his rambles, "I am sure when he is healthy and has enough energy, he will share some of his knowledge with us. Bailey and Healer Sharptooth will help you taking care of your father until that happens."

Harry nodded feeling dumb, useless, worthless; staring at his fathers' helpless baby form as the Goblin King and his guards left with the Floo. He can't help but feel sympathy, not long ago he too was in the same position, having been beaten down and not even knowing how to walk. He flickered his tongue again.

His father smells of confusion and increased wariness. And pain. Lots of pain."Father? Can you understand me?"

The crimson red eyes blinked slowly, staring straight ahead. Harry sighed, before sitting on his coils in front of the comfortable wheelchair-like seat where they had deposited his father.

"Er, Bailey?" He called out and his loyal friend appeared with a pop, "Do you think father needs anything? I smell only pain from him."

"Master Harry may try to give him some soup? Healer Goblins says Master Dark Lord needs soup with potions many times a day."

"Probably a good idea, can you bring me some? I will try to feed him. And check the list he gave you, see if he has some pain killer medi - er, I mean, potion for him."

Bailey bowed and popped back. Harry looked back at the fire crackling in the living room where they were, not noticing the gigantic snake that came slithering in and raised its head, staring at him at eye level. When it spoke, Harry squeaked out in surprise, he quickly spun around to hiss threateningly at whatever had snuck upon him. His fangs were once again out and venom dripped down his chin in thick drops.

":Put those away hatchling, and answer my question:." The yellow slit eyes of a viper snake, gigantic - more than fifteen feet long stared back at him equally threateningly. Harry couldn't help but glance at her shiny midnight black scales appreciatively - she's rather beautiful.

":I am afraid I didn't catch your question.:" Harry felt his fangs retract and he wiped the back of his hand against his chin to get the lingering venom off. He didn't know his father enough, definitely not enough to antagonize his possible pet snake. She could be another Naga, maybe his wife or something? Damn it, is his father even married?

":I asked who are you? I noticed you calling Tom your father, but Tom has no child.:"

":I did not know snakes could understand English.:" Wow, his father has a demanding snake who calls him Tom, and knows him enough to know he has no child. Definitely a Naga, probably his wife. Does that mean she is his mother?

Apparently, she didn't appreciate his cheeky reply as she hissed threateningly. Harry sighed, ":I am not his birth child, more like his...soul child.:"

The snake tilted its head, looking a bit confused... Dear God, is it even normal for a snake to look confused? But since when has his life ever been considered a normal one? Harry shrugged it off. ":What do you mean by that?:"

":I am afraid I do not understand that myself, the Goblins did a test and confirmed me as the son of the soul of Tom Marvolo Riddle. Since I have no one else, I asked for their help to bring back my father.:" Was all he could tell before Bailey popped in with a tray, with a big bowl of creamy chicken soup and spoon and two vials of potion and informed him to give the potion for pain after he's fed. Harry nodded in thanks when Bailey conjured a baby table to hold the tray in front of his father. Harry switched his position and coiled up comfortably, then grabbed the vial of potion.

"Father? Can you try to open your mouth? You need to drink the potion and then some soup, then potion for your pain."

His father's homunculus form had a calculating gleam as he stared at him, probably judging if he's trustworthy. A long minute passed, then he slowly opened his mouth. Harry smiled and gently pour the potion in his mouth, and massaged the throat helping him gulp it, the same way he has noticed Healer Sharptooth massage him when he couldn't gulp down anything.

He swallowed multiple times before finally the potion is gone in his stomach. Harry mentally cheered at the success then grabbed the bowl of steaming creamy soup.

The giant snake watched him like a hawk as he slowly but patiently fed him, occasionally wiping his mouth with a napkin when the liquid dribbled out. After almost half the bowl is finished, he turned his face refusing to eat anymore.

Harry wiped his face clean with the napkin, offering him the pain reliever potion then called Bailey who popped back with the tray.

":Um, should I try to shift him to a bed?:" Harry shifted back to snake language without noticing.

":That would be a good idea.:" The gigantic snake agreed. That brings back another question though.

":But where should I put him? I don't want him far away in case he needs anything.:"

":Then take him to your den, we three will be in the same den.:"

Harry nodded, that would be a good idea. He carefully picked up the bundle of the blanket with his father in his arms, then started to slither out of the living room to his room next door, thankfully not too away. The snake following him. After studying his move, she spoke up.

":You're moving your tail wrong. You are not a worm slinking through dirt or a fish flopping about. Think of your tail as a ripple going down your spine. Going up and down against the ground and spreading out from your center.:"

Harry rose an eyebrow in surprise, but careful enough not to drop his father as he deposited him in the middle of his bed, ensuring he is covered in a blanket, before turning towards the snake. ":Oh? Can you teach me how to slither perfectly then?:"

":Hmph,:" She gauged him up and down, ":You are a skinny one, do you not eat enough?:"

":I told you, I had no one to look after me properly. After my muggle guardian beat me to death, my Magic brought out my creature inheritance and the Goblins took me away, where I found about my soul father:"

She looked at him with a blank stare before nodding slowly, ":Fine, I will teach you how to be a proper snake, hatchling. What is your name?"

":Harry.:"

":Hello Harry, I am Nagini.:"

Harry beamed happily, delighted to have his fathers' pets' approval, ":Are you hungry? I could ask Bailey to bring some rabbit for you too. Do you like rabbits?:"

":Rabbit is fine.:" Nagini tilted her triangular head, ":But I like to catch my own prey, you do not have to worry about me, hatchling. And where are your clothes? You're still a human, it is improper to not wear clothes.:"

":I know.:" Harry shrugged, sinking on his curls near the fireplace, ":I have my muggle cousin's cast off, but they make my scales and the surrounding skin itch and red.:"

":Ah.:" Nagini nodded her head looking thoughtful in a very un-snake-like fashion, ":I remember Tom's time as new Naga. Scales are too sensitive to cheap kinds of cotton and silks. You'll need your clothes made of either pure goblin-made silk or buy them from Naga tribes or create as per your own need.:"

Harry blinked, ":Wow, you know a lot for a snake. Unless you're a Naga yourself..?:" He trailed off.

":I am not a Naga,:" Nagini shook her head, slithering towards him and curling on the rug in front of the fireplace, ":I am a Maledictus.:"

Harry frowned, ":What is that?:"

":A 'Maledictus' is a carrier of a blood curse which will ultimately destine the cursed to transform permanently into a beast form, or in my case, snake.:"

Harry blinked, then gaped at her, ":Wait, are you saying that you actually were a human, cursed to be a snake?:"

":Yes.:" 

":That's horrible! Who'd put that kind of terrible curse on you?:"

":Some bad wizard I'd rather not think about.:" Nagini glared at him, warning him not to continue. Harry nodded, that he can understand, not wanting to talk about those who made his life miserable.

":Is that why you hate wizards? Then why are you stuck with my father?:"

":Tom,:" Nagini said, giving a glance at the bed, ":is different. When we met, the curse didn't take its effect. Tom was kind enough to offer me a place to stay warm and protection when I needed it most. I am forever in debt to him. I won't leave him until my dying breath.:"

Nagini didn't look at Harry as she finished her tale. Harry slowly turned, staring at the fireplace. Sounds of woods cackling filled the room, keeping them warm but not breaking their inner musing. Harry couldn't help but actually feel sorry for her. Being stuck as a snake for the rest of your life .. Harry can't imagine a life like that. He is stuck as a half-snake and already going into semi-hysterical stage mourning for his legs.

":You love my father, right?:" Harry suddenly asked. 

Nagini actually twitched at the sudden question, turning her head to look at him, ":Why do you think so?:"

":Just a hunch,:" Harry shrugged, he didn't really have any proof. ":Say, if you weren't stuck as a snake, you and my father could have ended up married, right?:"

Nagini huffed, looking back at the fireplace, ":I wouldn't count my stars on that, Tom's asexual.:"

":Ase - what?:"

":Oh for the love of..,:" Nagini sighed, shaking her head ": It's a term you'll learn the meaning of when you're older.:"

":...right.:" Harry gave her a skeptical look but relented. For now.

":Tell me more about father.:"
    

 
         
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After feeding his father the potion and soup for the second time after two hours, Bailey brought his lunch. Harry thought about going to the dining hall for it, but decided against it and asked Bailey to bring them in the living room. Nagini rose her head, looking at the dishes while flickering her tongue.

":Hatchling, you're eating only meats?:"

":I ate enough fruits as snacks.:" Harry defended himself, feeling like a scolded child.

":That's not enough, ask the elf to bring you raw eggs, milk, and at least a few salads.:" Nagini hissed, displeased.

":Milk?:" Harry scrunched his nose, disgusted. For some reason, he hated the smell of milk.

":You're just a hatchling, you need lots of milk.:" Nagini glared as if daring him to say no.

":I never had milk, it was the only thing I was happy about that aunt Petunia didn't let me.:" Harry shrugged defensively, before asking Bailey to inform her about updates on his diets, not noticing how Nagini froze at his confession. Bailey looked ecstatic to know his diet has a new variation and bring them within five minutes.

Harry stared at the uncooked egg, not knowing how much he'd like the taste of raw egg or how he will eat it. He decided to make a little crack on its head with the back of the spoon and then pour it in his mouth as if drinking from a glass. To his surprise, the slimy, slightly sulfury sweet bitter thing didn't taste as bad as he thought it would be. Harry licked his lips and picked up a glass of pumpkin juice and washed it down.

":Not the juice, drink the milk, hatchling.:" Nagini, who was following his every move carefully, chided.

Harry grimaced, his tongue darting out and tasting the scent of it. He still hates it.

":After drinking them, eat a piece of meat. It will take the bad taste away.:" Nagini advised and Harry widened his eyes mildly. Now that's a good idea.

":Why are you caring for me, Nagini?:" Harry asked as he picked up the glass full of milk.

":Well, if you're Tom's hatchling, then you're my hatchling as well,:" If Nagini had shoulders, she would have shrugged, ":And after Tom went and blew himself up, he can not take the proper care you need to rectify everything those awful Muggles did to you, so it's my responsibility to look after both of you and our den.:"

Harry froze, looking at her wide-eyed, feeling overwhelmed and deeply touched. No one has ever wanted to take care of him before. Did Nagini truly mean that? Her being a snake doesn't matter, obviously. Our den. Harry likes the word.

":So, you'll become my mum?:" Harry felt his voice crock with intense emotions, eyes glistening. Involuntarily tongue darting out, scenting the earthly smell of kin with hints of burning wood that tasted safe and older - Nagini the Maledictus. Not that he minds, not when he has been denied affection and belonging his whole life.

Nagini, who was curled up on the rug while inspecting the food he was eating, froze. ":Finish the milk, hatchling.:" She flickered her tongue.

That's not a yes, neither a no. Harry smiled inwardly, and decided to tease her, ":Yes mum.:"

Nagini rolled her eyes in a very un-snake way, which resulted in almost rolling her huge triangular neck and slithered off, joining his father in the bed and coiled up around him. Harry watched her slithering in such a regal and perfect poise way - never having the opportunity to look at a snake so closely. He finished the rest of his meal quickly.

":Come on Harry, you're still a hatchling. Hatchlings need their naps.:" Nagini informed him. Harry nodded, not having energy left to argue. He was feeling sleepy, and the bed looked warm enough. He watched as the dishes vanishes with the House Elf magic and stood, slithering toward his bed.

Nagini watched him, then decided, ":Later, I will teach you how to slither and use your tail like a true serpent.:"

":Yes, mum.:" Harry said happily, glad to finally have a guide. Nagini, who was uncoiling herself to make space for him, froze yet again. But to his secret delight, she didn't comment. He flickered his tongue, wishing to know how she's feeling. Even though the snake's feelings are rather dull than other creatures, he can tell she's pleased, hopeful, and determined.

Harry smiled and joined in the bed, coiling himself around the giant viper and pulled the cover on them, adjusting so three of them stay warm. His scar has stopped prickling since his father falls asleep. The bed was big enough to adjust a baby like a homunculus, and two snakes. Harry thought he'd feel awkward to join them in bed, but when Nagini's long and big coils wrapped him gently and brought him closer to them, he can't help but purr in content.

Warm. Kin.

The last thing he remembered before falling asleep was a big triangular head coming to rest on his chest.

Chapter Text

Harry mumbled something incoherent as he shifted in sleep, burying his face in the nice, soft, and warm pillow. He was about to roll over when he found some weight is pressing him down on the bed. At the resistance, he frowned in sleep, then slowly became aware of the bed softer than his mattress in the cupboard and pillow much fluffier. And the warmth and comfortable he was. And the taste of kin in the air. Harry becomes a little confused. It's not every day he wakes up feeling so comfortable, and warm. And content.

Then the memories came rushing by. Was that real?

Harry turned his head to look around, and discovered the dead weight on his chest is Nagini's head. Or should he say, mum?

Harry smiled, liking the word. Mum. Yes, he has a mum now, and he will keep calling her mum. He remembers how aunt Petunia used to preen and pamper his cousin when Dudley called her mum. Do all mums do that? He doesn't know, he never had a mum before. But Nagini does seem to be caring and loving enough. Look how she's hugging him as they took naps together. Even aunt Petunia never took naps with Dudley while cuddling him.

Then again, they're ordinary muggles, not a family full of Nagas and Maledictus.

Speaking of other Naga...

Harry turned to look at his father's still sleeping form. Wanting to know if he's feeling better, Harry took a big gulp of air. Oh yes, no pain, just a little numbness. And comfortable. Good then, Harry thinks as he turned toward the coil as thick as an adult man's thigh, and slowly runs his hand on the shiny scales. Without realizing it, he started to pet them and trace them, scratching a little earning a pleased hiss from his mum.

" :Good hatchling.: " Nagini slurred sleepily, flickering her tongue and tasted his cheek as if kissing him. Harry let out a soft giggle and focused on exploring her mum's scales. His attention caught the long and narrowed slightly twitching tail.

Curious, he went to grab the tail. That exact moment, Nagini moved her tail, making him miss it. Harry giggled softly, entertained, and tried again. This time, Nagini twisted her tail and it slipped past his hand. Harry choked out another giggle and tried once more. Nagini, who was now watching him with amusement glittering in her slit beady eyes, moved her tail just in time, and Harry laughed.

" :Go back to sleep, you two. :" A soft, raspy, and unfamiliar voice spoke up, sounding exhausted.

At first, both Harry and Nagini froze in their little game, blinking at each other. Then at the same time, both of them remembered the third of their den.

" :Tom: " / " :Father: " They both shouted together, turning to look at the homunculus form of The Dark Lord who's looking at them with his vibrant red eyes irate and exasperate.

" :You can talk now: " Harry gushed. He thought it'd take days for him to be able to talk.

" :Yes, but not much, I tire easily.: " His father eyed him, still wary of him.

" :Oh.: " Harry nodded a little dejected, feeling like rejected, even though he does not blame him. " :I am Harry, by the way. I am your soul son.: "

The Dark Lord stared at him, eyes narrowed with suspicion, demanded, " :Explain.: "

" :Healer Sharptooth says, your Magical experiment on soul created part of my soul. Which makes you the father of my soul.: "

The Dark Lord stared at him, a small shaky hand reaching towards him touching the scar on his forehead. " :Harry Potter, one of the Potter twins.: "

Harry flinched and let out an agitated hiss, stumbling away from the touch when his scar pulsed and felt like someone just stabbed his head. He started to furiously scratch it, making it puffy and inflamed red, only stopping when Nagini wrapped her tail around his wrist and hold him down. He let out a whimper, weakly thrashing on the bed, his slender build and still compromised health having no match against a fifteen feet viper. The intense pain overwhelming him.

" :Intriguing.: " His father noted, though he didn't attempt to touch his scar again.

Harry collapsed, coiling in his tails heaving a relieved sigh when the pain suddenly vanished. He lay there, panting and breathing heavily for few minutes, focusing on the way Nagini flickered her tongue against his cheeks as if assuring her hatchling and softly hissing to calm down. When he came around, he found mum looking at him worriedly, as well his father who was studying him with his unique and vibrant red eyes. Then he remembered his question. 

":I was birth Potter, yes, but then they went ahead disinheriting me declaring me Squib, which I am not, by the way. I can do Magic, so I am a Wiggle, just like you.: " He said and promptly changed his hair color into vibrant pink; ignoring his father's frozen reaction at the term 'Wiggle', " :See?: "

" :Turn back, hatchling! :" Nagini demanded; rearing up hoods flaring, offended by the disgusting color. " :Are you trying to blind me?: "

" :Sorry, mum: " Harry bit his lips to stop himself from burst out laughing and turned his hair back to its original color. Then turned to look at his father expectantly. He sighed.

" :I can only confirm that when I am back to optimal health, I am afraid. I am tired.: "

" :I think you need another dose of potion and soup, hold on.: " Harry said, before focusing on switching to English, "Bailey?"

       

        

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" :A green mamba, that's what you are.: " The Dark Lord informed the child Naga as he watched him practice slithering correctly in the garden with Nagini and bickering on who has more dangerous venom.

" :Really?: " Harry glanced at him wide eyes, before looking back at the viper, " :Hear that, mum? I am one of the deadliest snakes, a mamba!: " Harry preened. Nagini rolled her eyes and flicked her tail on his forehead.

" :Focus on moving only your tail without moving your whole length. And vipers are deadly as well, right Tom?: " She turned to look at him who was looking at them, amused. At her word, he was quick to defend himself, " :Don't look at me, I was an albino cobra myself. We all are deadly with extremely potent venom.: "

At his words, both mother and son preened and busied themselves in further practice. Nagini now teaching him how to pounce on prey using his agility and speed.

Days have passed after Tom Marvolo Riddle, aka The Dark Lord Voldemort has returned in homunculus form created by his own Magic and helped by the Goblins. Since day one, Harry has been taking good care of him, probably better than any of his followers would do without a single hesitation or even a grimace. He probably knows how it feels to be stuck helpless, after all. The continued nurture and care, not to mention the Magic stabilizer and nutrient potions that the Goblin Healers brewed specifically for his situation has helped him a lot. Now Voldemort could talk longer than before, even sometimes may use the simplest form of Magic, even though he still gets tired and has to rest after that. But times like this, lounging in the garden under the afternoon sun seems to calm him enough, thus further stabilizing his core.

If only he had his Wand. 

He felt exposed and naked without his loyal Wand. And extremely wary. Technically he knows he needs to contact Wormtail to retrieve his wand, but he has no means to contact the disgusting rat. He will need someone with the mark to summon him.

But who he can use to summon? He doesn't know who is still loyal to him and who will not try to take advantage of his weakened form. Everything has been destroyed since the Samhain night. He needs to regroup.

Speaking of that night...

Voldemort glanced up, looking at the laughing child Naga in front of him, playing and chasing after Nagini as she tempts and calls the child towards her as a mother calls her toddler to try to toddle to her arms. He knows without a doubt that this is the real Prophecy child. Not the other Potter twin, nor the Longbottom child. He can feel the level of power in him. He has felt the same in only one person in his whole life, and that has been him. No doubt he will grow to be his equal, and with the Naga inheritance, even more so.

And then he had to come to him and dare to claim himself to be his son?

Voldemort can still remember what he has seen in the child's mind. He has no intention of turning against him, in fact, he is planning to build and stay in a hut near the forest after he's back in his true body. Needless to say, this piece of information caught him off guard a bit and also stirred something constricting deep inside him. Voldemort narrowed his eyes suspiciously, not knowing what was the feeling and not liking it for what it was, as he watched Harry tackled Nagini on the ground and they both fall at the fast impact, tripping on their coils and roll over, laughing. Ah, as fast as a true mamba. Quite impressive. Also, he hasn't seen Nagini so...happy before.

Focus, Voldemort.

Voldemort scowled, looking at the distance as another dark-haired and green-eyed image popped up in front of his eyes. So similar to him... But he shook it off. No. He has been his imagination, nothing else.

Not the right shade, not the right face.

At that moment, the Elf popped in with trey full of food and soup for him and conjured a big table in front of him, "Time for dinner. Master Harry, Should I feed Master Dark Lord sir this time?"

The child looked up, eyes still full of residual excitement and laughter after playing with Nagini. "No, I will feed him." He said, trying to untangle himself from the coils of a knot. Nagini unhelpfully cooing amusedly at his disgruntled look, making his work even more difficult. But Voldemort knows what she's doing. This way he will have more control over his tail.

After all, she has done the something same with him when he was a new Naga.

"Focus on your own food, she can help with one meal or two." Voldemort decided, making the Elf perked up and she grabbed the trey. Harry reluctantly gave an affirmative murmur then took a seat opposite his father after untangling himself. Nagini focusing on her meal, a half-dead cow that Bailey brought. Voldemort watched Harry wrapping the tail around the chair he has occupied while drinking his potions and wash his hands. Then turn to Bailey.

"Hey, Bailey? Why don't you join us?"

Bailey, who was finishing feeding him, hiccupped and stared at him, shocked. Voldemort stared too, but less for the fact that he invited a House Elf to join their dinner, more for his kindness for someone as insignificant as a House Elf. Do they not remind him of...? 

"Master Harry wanting Bailey to dinner with yous?"

"Of course!" Harry said cheerfully, "You're family. And family eats together, right?"

Bailey stared at his eyes bigger than the size of tennis balls, shocked, before starting to twist her ear. "Um, thank you, Master Harry, but Bailey is being only House Elf, sir. Bailey should not - "

Voldemort interrupted her dramatics, wishing to finish his own food, "You can join. After you finish feeding me."

Bailey gaped even more, before stammering out, "B-Bailey is being honored, Master Dark Lord sir."

Voldemort acted as if he didn't notice the big grin Harry sent their way. Instead, he decided to help the child as he finished his own food. The Elf, Bailey conjured a small chair for her and a spare plate, before delicately starting to serve herself.

"Do you wish to go back to two legs?" He interrupted the conversing Naga and Elf as they eat together.

Harry looked up at him, a little surprised given he never initiated a conversation with him. Then he remembered what he said, looking hopeful, "I'd love to, but I don't know how to - " He trailed off, so much similar to someone he knew that it burned.

"I can teach you." Voldemort offered, ignoring what his brain is trying to whisper. He can do at least this when the child is doing so much for him. "But before that, you will need proper clothes."

Harry shrugged as he picked up a cube of meat with his hand and bite into it, much to Voldemort's disgust. "I can go back to my old clothes when I turn back. I won't have itchy scales by then."

"No you can't, you'll have sensitive skin by then." Voldemort informed him, eyeing the way he's eating with distaste, "And you will need lessons on proper decorum, table manners, and etiquette. I won't have you eating like a beast in my home."

At that, Harry stopped his hand, inches away from his mouth looking at him sheepish and guilty. Voldemort sighed. "Try not to wear your emotion on your sleeve, child. People will use them and make you their target. You will need lessons on Occlumency."

"What is occulancy?"

"Occlumency," Voldemort corrected, entering the teacher mode, "is mind art. It protects your mind, shields you from mental attack and stops letting people know what you're thinking, help you organize your thoughts and guard you forming a mask."

Harry's mouth formed an 'o' as he listened to him, "Wow, you can read my mind?" For some reason, he actually looked delighted to know that bit of information, unlike others who would become terrified to have The Dark Lord anywhere near their head. But, he guessed, Harry is still a child, only eight years old. He probably doesn't even understand the meaning of privacy. He's just - he scanned his surface thoughts and inwardly sighed, exasperated - yes, only delighted to learn new Magic from his father.  Him.

"How do I learn them?"

"I will provide you books," Voldemort said. If he is truly stuck with this imbecile who came out of nowhere and demanded to be his son; then he may as well raise him well to support his cause. "Though you're still too young to understand any of them on Occlumency. So I will teach you that personally. And you can read about etiquettes and decorum from books. Now, finish your meal then you can learn how to shift to your human form."

As he said that, Harry started to gobble down his food like a hungry wolf. Voldemort smothered the chuckle that almost escaped his lipless mouth and reprimanded him instead, "Slow down, child. You will feel nauseous if you eat like that."

Finally, when the food is finished and Bailey vanished with a pop along with the conjured tables and extra chairs, Harry was standing in the clearing, ready for having his legs back after what felt like a lifetime. Nagini was watching them from where she has coiled up near Voldemort's chair.

"Hmph," Voldemort says, eyeing the child up and down, then called out, "Bailey?" She arrived quickly, "Bring one of my spare robes from the master bedroom, resize it to fit the child, and keep it here." Voldemort nodded on the handle of his chair. He remembered stuffing a robe or five in the master bedroom for emergency purposes. Bailey bowed low and popped back, and brought a folded plain black expensive-looking robe, already shortened to fit Harry, and hang it on the handle.

"Are you ready, child?"

Harry nodded, determined to succeed in his first lesson from his father.

"Good. Now as you may have learned already that every Naga has three forms. Serpentine, half-serpentine, and human. Most Naga prefers the half-serpentine form, though, in Magical Britain, they are forced to remain in human form. Naga's human form is not different than any other common Wizard physically, bar they can still have a heightened sense of smell and their instincts. Just like that, their serpentine form is not much different than a common snake of the same species, with the only exception of where they possess the brain and mind of a human and understand their surrounding just like they are used to in their human form. Shifting between the three forms may consider difficult during the first or second time, but with time and practice, it will come as naturally as breathing to you. Are you understanding me, child?"

"Yes, father." Harry nodded, soaking up every piece of knowledge from his father. His father is rather good at teaching and can explain everything easily.

"Good, now to change your form, you must focus on thinking how you used to have a scale-free body with two legs, and let your Magic flow to change you into that form. Take deep breaths, clear your mind, and focus."

Harry closed his eyes, trying to clear his mind while breathing deeply. With determination to prove himself to his father, all his focus zeroed on how he had no scales and two legs, instead of his long tail. As he focused on that, he felt a familiar-yet-not-so familiar hook-like pull in his navel, and panicked a little, instantly opening his eyes to look down at his navel. He remembered that feeling, the last time he felt that he ended up almost dead.

"You're fighting against your Magic, Harry." Voldemort noted, "This is what happens when someone beats you every time you perform accidental Magic. But do not fret, child. Those despicable Muggles won't touch you again. Let your core pour the Magic in your blood, let it flow to your fingertips."

Harry gulped, still afraid of that feeling, but his instincts are trusting the eldest of the den. He let his focus zeroed on his two-legged figure again, and felt the hook-like sensation in his navel. Panic rose again, and he snapped his eyes open against his own will. His father shook his head, but his voice didn't sound disappointed, "Keep trying."

It took him several attempts to even stop panicking at the sensation of his 'Magic coming out of core' as his father described it. His father, even though patient and understanding, was now starting to tire. Harry was now desperate, truly wanting to go back to his legs. He took several breaths, trying to calm himself like once he did when he brought the complaint card to Dursleys about changing the color of the teacher's wig and decided to get over with it.

"One last time?" He pleaded with his father as he said to continue the lesson tomorrow. Voldemort looked at him, then decided to have one last go and nodded.

Harry took one last inhalation, focusing on his scale-less two legs and when the hook-like sensation rose, he squeezed his eyes shut and let the not-so-unpleasant sensation ran through his blood. He felt as the warm feeling spread more and more towards his limbs and to his fingertips. When they reached his fingers, he felt a tingling sensation throughout his body and slowly opened his eyes, looking at his hands mesmerized. There was a faint glow of greenish mist like waves flowing from his fingertips. He blinked, and then they're gone.

"Ah, you finally did it," Voldemort noted, his voice neutral with a subtle hint of pride which Voldemort didn't realize was there. "It wasn't that hard, was it?"

Harry looked downwards, and sure enough, where there were emerald scaled appendages he grew accustomed to looking, was scale-less two skinny looking legs. He looked at his hands, running fingers on his collarbones, but no trace of scales. Harry smiled at mum's coos and praises his successful attempts, looking back at his father who was looking at him with a touch of pride.

"Good, now put the robes on and let us retire to the Manor, Sun is setting."

"Yes, father," Harry said, taking a tentative step forward.

Then fall flat on his face.

Harry sighed, pressing his face in the ground wishing the ground to crack apart and swallow him, ignoring his mum as she rolls over her belly laughing hysterically at his first attempt at a walk - after getting his legs back; he wanted to die in mortification.

     

 

Dang it, Gravity!

Chapter Text

Voldemort folded the copy Daily Prophet neatly into the table, before summoning the next day's copy using a spare Wand he had stored in the house - it was not as well matched as his old loyal yew one but its the best match he could found when Bailey arrived with a small crate of spare Wands she had found on his order. He straightens out the paper on the table in front of him, reading as Harry plays near him.

After Nagini tutored and played with her hatchling and they finished their lunch together, Nagini went out to hunt for herself. She refused to let Bailey bring her food every day, choosing to do it for herself. Something about keeping up her practice. So she went out, leaving her little one to his father.

Voldemort, wishing to get some of his own work done, has instructed the child to practice pouring his Magic out and control it to his wish. He used to do this when he was young himself. Create illustrations and tell himself simple stories to keep himself entertained. At the moment it was to occupy himself during the cold, lonely nights in the Orphanage. But he has good practice and control of his Magic because of it.

The child was mesmerized by his story of childhood. Soon, he was pouring his own Magic out, trying to grab those greenish foggy mist and control them, following his instructions. After making sure he is well occupied with it, he grabbed the pile of Daily Prophet of last decade Bailey brought for him. The Prophet is truly abominable, singing praises of the fake Boy-Who-Lived and breaking news on how many times he had come for the shopping and what else..still, it's useful to learn news of Wizarding World in his absence, occasionally glancing at his son to make sure he's alright and still occupied.

"Did you read the book I gave you last night?" Voldemort asked, summoning the next copy. Harry's ever-curious eyes following the movement.

"Yes, father." He said brightly. "I had read the first three chapters."

Voldemort nodded, frowning a little as he searched for another follow-up article speaking about other of his followers' trials. But instead, another article caught his attention.

Death of Lady Crouch. Private funeral.

After reading the article, Voldemort put the paper down, frowning and thinking about it. Something about the news was bothering him. Voldemort smiled a little at the delightful child as he created a series of colorful illusions of a magical dragon from his book using his pure Magic and flew it across the room, silently musing.

There had to be something fishy about it. Lady Crouch's time of death was too close to Barty's death. It could be a coincidence. But his own instincts say there's something more to it. And his instincts are never wrong. What it could be? Should he ask for more information from his followers? But he can't summon anyone without a present Dark Mark, especially in his weakened form. But the news is bothering him greatly.

Should he send Tit and Tat to poke around the house of Crouch? Maybe if they talk to their House Elf...

All his musing came to a halt when he heard a strange screeching sound, something close to wood cracking. Voldemort opened his eyes - when did he close it? - and looked up to find a disgruntled looking Harry glaring at a few books on his laps offended while rubbing his red nose; books that obviously were not there before; and the wooden bookshelf that usually stands on the corner of the room is tipping down, the child right under it.

Everything happens so fast. The child must have summoned the books using his pure magic after watching him do it - Voldemort's mind provides. His magic had been more of a general pull of the books towards himself, and instead of focusing on one particular book, the whole bookshelf had been caught by it.

Harry looks up at the noise and his emerald eyes grow big and frightened.

Before he can even think twice about it, Voldemort threw his magic towards the child and dragged him across the floor towards him as the bookshelf fell, crushing the books that had been surrounding Harry just a moment later. Harry's foot is barely an inch away from the top of the fallen bookshelf.

The big, wide eyes started to glisten looking up at him, afraid and scared for his life. Voldemort pants, trying to hold himself together, thoroughly exhausted with the simple use of magic. His body is not up for it.

"Potions." He mumbled and pants, sweating profusely. Harry looked alarmed at that, his own fear momentarily forgotten.

"Bailey...." His child's voice is clearly frightened and frantic. But he has no energy to console the child.

Bailey popped in and out, and again in then he felt his mouth being parted and he swallowed when he felt the familiar taste of Magic Stabilizer and replenisher potion. Another couple of minutes, then he opened his eyes. Harry looking at him teary-eyed and almost overwhelmed with guilt.

"Father?"

"I'm fine, child." He said, his voice hoarse. "Do not fret, it happens. With practice, you will have better control of your Magic. Bailey, tighten the sticking charm on every piece of furniture of the room and repair the damage done."

Bailey bowed low and was set to work. Harry was still looking dubious and guilty.

"It's nothing to be guilt for, Harry." He assured him, "When young, I had much more destructive accidents than a simple fall of the bookshelf. You only need more practice with your Magic."

Harry nodded, biting his lips. The smell of guilt lessened but was still there. Voldemort sighed, counting it as progress, and told him to read the book.

Harry agreed and run to his room to bring his book. Voldemort took the opportunity to summon his mischief-maker twin Elves.

"Tit? Tat?"

The twin Elves popped in, their similar blue eyes brightening up seeing their master.

"Master Dark Lord sir - "

"Yous alive!"

"Tit and Tat knew - "

"That you haven't left us!"

Voldemort smiled a little fondly at them, feeling nostalgic at their twin talks. These two had been the secret of his many success in the last war. And he truly missed them.

"Yes. Thank you, my loyals. I have a new mission for you, are you two up for it?"

At the name of the new mission, they brighten up.

"Tit and Tat - "

"Will be doing mission - "

"Master Dark Lord sir - "

"Has for us."

"Good." Voldemort nodded, "Remember one of my followers Barty Crouch Jr.? I learned he is dead. I want you two to go his house, search anything and everything you can find about Barty Crouch Jr, and report it back to me."

The twins bowed low together, then popped out, the exact moment Harry barged in his office with the books.

      

  

     

_______________________

     

  

     

They were having dinner together in the living room - except Nagini who was curled up near the fireplace, snoozing away - when Tit and Tat reappeared with a knocked out dirty blonde haired pale man and a hysterical House Elf with very high, the quivering squeak of a voice, wearing a tea-towel draped like a toga.

Harry stared, eyes wide and confused, the fork he just started to use inches away from his open mouth, as well Nagini who rose her head from her coils. His father, not so shocked as him, quickly pulled a Wand and stunned the Elf, and bound her using live snakes.  ":Only bind, no bites:"  he instructed those snakes who nodded and swayed around the semi-hysterical House Elf.

"Tit and Tat - "

"Brought Master's Barty."

"The bad father - "

"Had been hiding Master's Barty - "

"In bad father's house."

"You two did a good job." Voldemort said, "Keep eyes on the Elf." still slightly amazed at the news. Barty is alive! His most loyal, faithful is alive!

But how?

"Erm, why don't you two join us in dinner?" Harry asked, still confused and a little wary, but polite and kind as ever. He truly has a soft spot for those little things.

The twins' eyes bulged out, and Voldemort sighed, half amused half exasperated, before asking them to do the same. And then introduced them to each other. He can already say the twins had instantly taken a genuine fondness for the little tyke. He is, after all, their Master's son.

They quickly finished their food and Bailey popped back with the plates and other utensils. The twins stood guard on the bound and now awake Elf as Voldemort examined Barty. Harry sitting near his father's chair watching everything with curious big eyes with his mum hissing to him, telling him this is one of his father's followers.

"Master Barty, Master Barty, you must wake up!" She struggled to flung herself towards the young man, "You is killed him! You is killed him! You is killed Master's son!"

"He is only stunned. Now stop talking and let me see him." The Dark Lord sneered. The Elf sniffed but stayed put. Voldemort checked for the spells and soon found the  Imperius working, controlling his loyal, making him sneer in displeasure.

Harry watched the man, lying before him, pale-skinned, slightly freckled, with a mop of dirty blonde hair. Curious, Harry crawled towards the man and poked Barty's cheek. At the exact moment, his father found the  Imperius he was under and Finite'd it, then cast Rennervate. Barty snapped his eyes open. Harry yelped and immediately dived behind his mum's huge coils. Hissing loudly at him, his fangs out and venom dripping, ready to strike.

Dazed, Barty stared at him with wide eyes.

"Barty?" His fathers' soft voice called out carefully.

Looking a bit alarmed, Barty looked around, his left forearm twitching, Harry noticed, smelling a bit of similar scent of his father's Magic there. As soon as this 'Barty's' eyes met the unique vibrant red eyes, all dizziness went out of the window as he immediately sat up and went to his knees, kissing the hem of the blanket his father is using, his eyes wide with hope and longing, "M-My Lord? I am not fantasizing this, am I?"

Voldemort looked amused, "No need of any more fantasy, my faithful. Rise. I am here."

Barty shakingly rose his face, eyes still wide with longing and adoration, but still on knees. "I knew it!" He exclaimed with a crazed look in his eyes, "I knew master hasn't left us alone. I knew my master will come back to us. I searched for you, we searched for you everywhere. I, Bella, the twins... that traitor Igor," He spat out the name as if venom, "He sold us out pleading innocence. that's why... that's why we couldn't search for you anymore, My Lord."

"Yes, I gathered all the information myself. How nice of Crouch to send his  son  to Azkaban without trial."

At the mention of his father, Barty's eyes filled up with disgust and hatred. For his father. That's when the still fighting House Elves caught his attention, the one who arrived with him calling out his name and struggling.

"Winky." He barked at the House Elf loudly, making Harry flinch and hiss with a new wave of agitation. "Stop fighting my masters' Elves this instance, or I will give you clothes."

Winky stopped moving at once, her big eyes filling with tears, "No Master Barty, no cloths. No clothes."

"Then stop fighting and help me serve my master. Go with them and help out with what needed to be done at the moment."

Voldemort canceled the charms that bound her. The Elves popped out. Voldemort glanced at Harry as the child perched himself inside Nagini's coils of safety, refusing to come out even if he now probably understood Barty means no harm to him if the slow decrease in the display of aggression means anything. Nagini is rubbing his cheeks, hissing soft words to the agitated Naga.

"Tell me, Barty," He decided to address the immediate matter, knowing he will slowly come around when his instincts calm down. "How did you escape from Azkaban?" He will need the information to rescue the rest of his loyal followers.

"My mother saved me. She knew she was dying. She persuaded my father to rescue me as a last favor to her. He loved her as he had never loved me. He agreed. They came to visit me. They gave me a draft of Polyjuice Potion containing one of my mother's hairs. She took a draft of Polyjuice Potion containing one of my hairs. We took on the appearance of each other."

"I see." Voldemort mused, "Of course, The dementors are blind. They sensed one healthy, one dying person entering Azkaban. They sensed one healthy, one dying person leaving it. Your father knew this, and smuggled you out." This is convenient, but for that, he'd need to find Muggles and replace them with his followers. Maybe grab a few more, in case any of the other prisoners wish to join him.

"Yes My Lord." Barty continued, "My mother died a short while afterward in Azkaban. She was careful to drink Polyjuice Potion until the end. She was buried under my name and bearing my appearance. Everyone believed her to be me." This is a good idea, maybe kill them off using something incurable like Dragon pox? No, wait, Dragon pox has a cure now.

"And what did your father do with you, when he had got you home?" asked Voldemort quietly, softly.

"Staged my mother's death. A quiet, private funeral. That grave is empty. The house-elf nursed me back to health. Then I had to be concealed. I had to be controlled. My father had to use a number of spells to subdue me."

"The  Imperius  Curse." The Dark Lord sneered, disgusted. If he needs to subdue anyone rebelling against him, he would prefer to keep them locked, but never use so prolonged  Imperius that can affect his mind and brain. Especially if the said rebel belongs to him. His family, his son.

Voldemort glanced at his own son at the reminder. Harry looks calmer, peeking curiously from behind Nagini's coils.

"Yes My Lord. I was under my father's control. I was forced to wear an Invisibility Cloak day and night. I was always with Winky."

"Did anybody ever discover that you were still alive?" said Voldemort softly. "Did anyone know except your father and the house-elf?"

"No, My Lord. I don't believe anyone has seen me."

"Good. Perfect." Voldemort says, satisfied. "Then he can not tell anyone, or ask for anyone's help to capture you without blowing his own reputation."

"Yes My Lord." He said with reverence, his eyes full of hope and adoration for the homunculus form of The Dark Lord in front of him. Harry has long stopped hissing when he started recalling his life, intrigued. After hearing everything and smelling nothing but the pure awe and adoration for his father, Harry slowly rose more to peek at him curiously. The honey-colored crazed eyes looked back at him through the straw hairs. Harry flickered his tongue, picking up the curiosity and intrigues in him but no ill intention.

"Hello? Come out here, little child." Barty called out, "Why are you hiding behind my master's snake?"

Harry hissed at him, showing his fangs and black mouth, refusing to come out still. He ducked as everyone in the room focused their attention on him. Voldemort decided to not involve Barty in the secret, at least not before he is sure Barty won't kill the young Naga out of revenge. He is yet to confirm if Harry truly is his Horcrux or not. "This is Harry, my son. He was left at the hands of  Muggles  upon my disappearance." He spat the word out, "Harry didn't even know the existence of Magic until the Muggle beat him to death and was forced to go through an Inheritance to save his life. He found me. Come out, son, and introduce yourself."

At his father's words, Harry's confidence piqued, having acknowledged as son for the first time and shifted back to human form and stepped around his mum's coils, looking still hesitated. "Hi. I am Harry." He gave a tentative half-smile to the crazy man, waving awkwardly.

Barty had a look of disbelieve and awe at the news of his master having a son, looking at Harry with utmost reverence as if he was God-sent Angel. After all, children are considered to be blessings from Lady Magic by the Dark Side, and Harry being the son of their Lord had him overwhelmed with respect and awe. Barty bowed deep, nose almost touching the ground, "Little Prince, forgive me for not recognizing you at first. I am Barthemius Crouch Junior, most loyal and faithful servant of our Lord, and by extension, you."

Upon hearing the title meant for him and that this man is supposed to be his ' servant ', Harry's already big as doe eyes bulged out, feeling embarrassed and stressed out to the point that he promptly turned his hair in a brilliant shade of vibrant red. Barty stared at him in wonder for few seconds, before bending on his knees and guffawed loudly. Voldemort looking less than impressed, though his face stayed impassive. Harry hurriedly turned his hair back, cheeks flushing with mortification.

Just great, he managed to weird himself out in front of his father's first follower coming to meet him. Why he had to be such worthless?

"Wow, Little Prince, you're Metamorphmagus!" He said in awe, still smiling in joy looking back at his Lord, "This is a rather rare and very useful ability for Little Prince, My Lord. Though, I do not expect any less from your son. I hear only Black blood could have that."

"What's black blood?" Harry couldn't stop his curiosity. Barty frowned at him and Voldemort sighed.

"Blood of people belong to the Black family." He said but didn't explain further. "Barty, you'll help me gain a body for me."

"Yes, of course, My Lord." Barty was eager as ever, ready to serve his Master, "What do I have to do?"

"We will talk about it later, I tire easily in this form." The Dark Lord sighed, "But first, your Wand. I know your old one has been destroyed, I will contact a Wandmaker to custom-made one for you. And then I want you to start teaching him everything about our World, starting with how to control his Metamorphmagus impulse properly. Now, Harry, you can go out and play with Nagini."

Harry nods and turned, left running after his mum's rapidly slithering form. Voldemort reached out inside his blanket and picked out the Wand he has been using.

"Your hand, Barty."

Barty immediately pulled his sleeve and raised his hand, on his pale hand the Dark Mark displaying proudly.

Chapter Text

"Wormtail!" Voldemort sneered at the sniveling rat in front of him.

"Master!" Wormtail wheezed, shaking uncontrollably on the floor as he stared at him with his teary beady eyes, "Oh master! You've returned to us!"

"Cease your theatrics." He barked, and Barty - who was standing with his Wand pointing at the chubby rat - kicked out, making the rat recoil. Voldemort had an inkling feeling he wanted to do more to the rat but refrained. Well, he doesn't blame him. Honestly, who doesn't?

"My Wand, Wormtail."

Wormtail whimpered and pulled a familiar white Wand out from his filthy robes. Barty snatched it out from his hand, sneering in disgust, before bending on his knees and presenting it to properly Voldemort.

With a minute tremor in his heart, Voldemort grasped his pale bone-like finger around his loyal yew wand, feeling it warm up at his touch, and closed his eyes to savor the familiar tingling feeling for once more, feeling the way Magic sang at their union.

Ah, how much he missed his loyal companion that never betrayed him ever since he picks it up at Ollivander's.

"Master, oh master! Please - "

Voldemort growled, opening his eyes to glare at the rat for ruining the moment for him. "What?"

"Can I - can I stay here, master? Please I - "

Voldemort snatched the hem of his blanket away before those filthy hands could touch him. He would have crucio'd the cretin for his daring - but he'd rather not exhaust his core at the moment. Barty glowered and kicked the rat away from his Lord.

Voldemort took a deep breath. After all, the rat still has uses. "You will stay at the Manor and help Barty to create a body for me." Voldemort barked out his order, "You'll have your meal in your room and you will not step out of your room unless called. And if you even try to harm anyone - and I meant anyone who is living here - you will wish for death when I am through you. Do you understand?"

"Oh yes, yes master." Wormtail cried out in relief to have a roof over his head, "Thank you, thank you."

"Winky!" Barty barked out as soon as Voldemort signaled him. "Show the rat the smallest room furthest from my master's private wing." Ever since Voldemort has gained enough energy to talk, he has instructed Harry to move into the master bedroom of the Manor. He had been thankful for the extra breathing space while sharing a bed with a child and a fifteen feet viper. Nagini refused to let either of them out of her sight; until either of them can defend themselves enough.

Winky bowed, "Yes Master Barty. Follow Winky, Mister Rat." Voldemort pressed his lipless mouth to stop the amused smirk threatened to escape. Barty didn't even try to hold his amusement, throwing his head backward, downright laughing.

As soon as they left, Barty turned to his master and sat beside him, looking much like a sulking child. Voldemort sighed. Why did he miss this overgrown child again?

"What happened, Barty?"

"My Lord," Barty looked up with rounded pouty eyes, "Was I not enough to help you with the task?"

Oh, jealousy. Voldemort smirked inwardly, amused though he didn't show them. 'Oh Barty.. you're still such a child! ' He could now confirm it, having to live with a real child. Even if the said child is rather happy and cheery.

"The ritual I have been planning will require the flesh of a servant. I do not wish you to cut your hand for that, Barty. You're far too important to me for that." He said softly, smirking inwardly when Barty widened his eyes, grinning broadly with adoration for his master shining in his eyes.

         

 

___________________

                

 

 

"My Lord?"

Voldemort hums, looking up from the parchment where he was scribbling the rituals he needed. Barty sat on the ground beside his chair in the garden with a book. They all are outside in the garden, soaking up the late morning sunlight. Harry beside him, sank in the chair with both legs tucked in and still completely immersed in his own book.

"My Lord, when you finally have a body, everyone will feel it. Will they not?"

"The Mark will darken and give a spark of Magic, yes," Voldemort said bemused, wondering where it is going. "Why, do you not wish everyone know I am back?"

"If you ask me, I think it is necessary to test their loyalty before you announce your presence, My Lord." Barty mused, "Look at what Karkaroff did. Who is stopping him, or Severus from informing Dumbledore and his order?" He asked, lowering his voice, being careful to not startle Little Prince about the possible threat - though it was not necessary; Harry was lost to the real world.

Voldemort frowned, "Severus has my confidence. He was working as a spy for me." He doesn't need to lower his voice. If Harry wasn't fully occupied with the book, he would have listened to them anyway with his heightened senses. Even he was slightly impressed with the boy's intense focus. This is rather rare among a child of his age.

"My Lord, but what about Karkaroff? Or Malfoy? Nott? They all pleaded for innocence and said they were Imperiused after you left. Don't you think you should test for their loyalty beforehand?"

"Lucius is slippery." Voldemort agreed, "No one knows what he will do. But you're right, of course." He mused, "It's preferable for everyone to not know I am back until I regain my optimal health and power. I will think about something. Maybe make sure they're preoccupied until I gain a body and absorb the Dark Mark's darkening before they notice. Without summon, no one can confirm anything."

Barty bowed, agreeing and fully trusting his Lord. They both watched as Nagini slithered towards Harry, having finally digested her previous meal. She rose her head higher and poked her triangular nose at her son's side. Harry squirmed and let out a giggle, tickled; looking up at his mum with a big smile.

":Mum.: " He said happily. Barty inhaled sharply at the use of Parseltongue, though he should have known his Master's son, who is a Naga himself, should be a Parselmouth too. Barty looked at him in awe, respect for his Little Prince reaching astronomical height.

":Hatchling, you've been reading the whole morning. Take a rest, or your eyes will hurt soon. Come with me. I shall teach you something you'll love:"

Harry perked up at once and looked at his father with huge pleading eyes. Voldemort inwardly chuckled, keeping straight face and gave a nod, making Harry grin broadly as he went running after his mum.

"Barty, come and look at the list you'll need to buy for the ritual. But first, your new Wand."

As they immersed themselves with further discussion about the Wandmakers they can contact without blowing their cover and about the ritual they'll need to perform, they hear someone scream for life. Voldemort and Barty froze, not expecting this. His yew wand slid into his hand. Barty stood, the spare Wand he had been using since his return in his hand. He nodded at Voldemort then run where he could still hear someone screaming for mercy.

Voldemort's heart hammering frantically, hating every second of how weak he is, unable to go check on his son himself, having to rely on his followers for his son's safety. Though Nagini is still with him, and the scream was far from his child's voice. Still, it didn't stop him from worrying.

Is it some Muggle who managed to sneak into their house and attack his son? Or anyone from the Order? Dumbledore?

After what felt like a lifetime, Barty came back, laughing. Not only laughing but laughing hysterically. Looking like he will collapse anytime, he was laughing so hard.

"Barty?" He asked perplexed, seeing the Wizard is nowhere near stopping.

"M-my Lord.." Barty gasped, "You must - " He chocked out another chuckle, "you must see this." Voldemort frowned staring at him confused, watching Barty point his wand at the chair and transfigured the legs to wheels turning it into a makeshift wheelchair, then pushed it.

They arrived at the scene quickly enough. And Voldemort blinked, gaping at the cat and mouse scene being unfold in front of his eyes.

Or rather, snake and rat.

Wormtail - he had forgotten about that rat's presence in his house - probably had given into his rodent instincts - Voldemort mused; and obviously, he didn't obey his demand to stay in his room. And Nagini, having discovered the rat roaming around the Manor - must have introduced him to her son as ' prey '. And the child Naga, whose natural instinct is a predator to a rat - has trusted his mother's instruction unequivocally. Which resulted in chasing after the rat man in his half serpentine form, grinning broadly and showing his fangs. And having transformed into his plump human form didn't help Wormtail either - because of the rodent-like smell and appearance that triggered the chasing Naga's instinct even more. And Wormtail; the halfwit, foolish oaf he is - has decided he can outrun someone as fast as a  mamba by running in the garden in a circle around the fountain while screaming his lungs out.

Voldemort pinched the bridge of his nose, wondering why he ever thought it was a good idea to mark  Wormtail as his follower. Voldemort sighed, glancing at the sadist Maledictus who was watching the chaos she caused with maniacal glee, going as far as cheering for his son every time he caught the rat and pretending to bite using his fangs until Wormtail almost pass out in fear; then letting him go; only so he can chase after him again. And Barty, who had laughed so hard that he finally managed to collapse on the ground beside him.

Voldemort wanted to hide in his room and never come out when the oaf tried to climb on a tree to avoid the chasing child Naga. Did he honestly think a  green mamba can not climb a  tree?

"Alright, that's enough." Voldemort sighed, taking his child's attention who was grinning like a cat who just got a full canary as he watched - with the patience of an excellent predator - Wormtail trying to climb the tree. At his word, Harry looked at him surprised, "What? Why?" he whined petulantly.

" :Tom! Don't be a killjoy!: " Nagini scowled - well, as much a snake could scowl.

"He already has peed himself, is that not enough?" Beside him, Barty wheezed, clutching his sides.

"NO!" / " :NO!: " Mother and son shouted together. Voldemort looked upward at the clear sky of September, praying for patience. Who would have thought that he will be the sane one when he finally has a family of his own?

"He is a second away from having a coronary. What you'll play with tomorrow if he dies today?" Voldemort decided to bribe them, ignoring Barty who was panting like a dog in the summertime, not having enough air in his body to laugh anymore.

Harry shift back to human form, cheeks puffed up and sulking, "I am sad now." He informed him, bottom lip thrusting out in a pout.

" :Me too.: " Nagini said, curling up near his son and glaring at him, " :I hope you're happy now, after making us sad.: "

Voldemort stared at them in disbelief, mouth open and gaping. Did these two just...?

"Merlin, kiddo." Barty wheezed, clutching his sides harder, "I swear to you I will teach you everything I know, especially how to use Magic to hunt the rat even better."

At the promise, Harry perks up, a grin breaking in his face broadly. Voldemort felt like he made a huge mistake introducing these two, given the mother-son duo already gave him enough headaches.

Nagini huffed and leaves, still muttering how unfair Tom had been for taking their toy prey.  ":Come hatchling,: " She says as she started to slither away, " :Tom has become a killjoy with old age. We will go to the forest and find something else to entertain ourselves with.:"

' Well, ' Voldemort thought, staring at the duo leaving bewildered, ' Thank fuck Barty isn't Parselmouth. '

      

___________________________________

     

 

" :Humph! I can smell my hatchling here! Now, where is my little one?: "

Harry pressed his fist against his mouth, muffling the sound of his giggles from where he was perched on the tree, having hidden from mum as they play hide and seek in the forest.

" :Come out, come out little one! I know you're here! I can hear you laughing!: "

Harry widened his eyes and smothered the giggles trying to escape. As he did that, a little buzzing caught his attention. He looked around to find a grasshopper. Without a second thought, acting purely on reflex, he grabbed the hopping grasshopper. He stared at the helplessly fluttering grasshopper in his hand, his half mind telling him to crush it. Bite it. Pour venom in it. And half mind screaming it's gross. Urging him to let go of the small insect. Huh?

Being preoccupied with the grasshopper, Harry didn't realize Nagini sneaking upon him.

" :Boo!: "

Letting out a high-pitched squeak, Harry - who had perched himself on the small thin branch and wrapped his tail around the branch to keep himself from falling - constricted and tightened his tail muscle involuntarily.

And then he fell on the ground, after the brunch cracked and splinter, much like he did when he was roaming through the forest the first time.

Nagini looked down from where she had climbed on the tree to sneak onto her mamba hatchling; torn between laughing at the hilarity and concern for her son.

" :Harry?: "

The child groaned in reply, still buried in the muddy ground refusing to show his embarrassed red face. "I hate gravity." He yelled voice muffled.

The mother viper laughed, coming down from the tree. Thankfully her hatchling doesn't smell hurt. She poked her tail into her son's ear, causing him to yelp and vigorously shake his head making a funny face, which made her laugh louder. Her hatchling is just too amusing!

"I hate you too." Harry decided, adjusting his glasses.

Nagini opened her mouth to reply but stopped when Bailey popped in with the news of the arrival of Healer Sharptooth; which made her hatchling perk up with joy. She knows Harry adores Healer Sharptooth. His first Magical friend.

They arrive in the garden quickly to find Healer Sharptooth and Barty giving each other an extremely judgy look in front of an exasperated Voldemort. Harry blinked, but his face broke into a grin when his eyes met the Goblin Healer.

"Healer Sharptooth! May your gold ever flow!" He greeted, not noticing his father giving him a surprised look.

"And may your health never deteriorate, little Harry. How are you?" Sharptooth smirked. "I see you've gained a house guest." He said, sneering at Wizard who had the audacity to try to confront and stop him from meeting his charge.

"I am good," Harry grinned, "And yes, this is Barty Crouch, my father's follower. He is here to help father, and teach me."

"I see." He looked at him with narrowed eyes, "And pray tell, Wizard, how are you planning to help The Dark Lord and The Dark Heir with your compromised mental health?"

"Excuse me?" Barty said, taking full offense and drawing his Wand out, "How dare you - "

"Barty," Voldemort warned. Barty stopped immediately.

"I dare, Wizard," Sharptooth sneered, "Because one of them is my charge. It is my responsibility to make sure you do not end up hurting my charge because of your unstable mind after the prolonged exposure to dementors and a mind-controlling curse."

Barty, whose face had taken a shade of purple in rage, stopped at the last words. Eyes wide and frozen with realization. The Goblin does have a point, though.

"Do you not wish to serve your master properly?"

"I - I do." Barty's voice trembled.

"Then you will contact a mind healer and take care of yourself first." He said, then dismissed him, turning towards the homunculus of The Darkest Lord.

"Dark Lord Voldemort, I will need to retreat to your living room to check on little Harry."

Voldemort nodded, giving permission. A beaming Harry left with Sharptooth and Nagini, already talking miles a minute, recounting everything he did or learned to an amused Goblin. Barty turns to look at his Lord, his eyes pleading. Voldemort chuckled, "Fine." He dismissed the overeager Wizard who immediately left running after them; focusing on his own paperwork and try not to dwell on how his son feels more comfortable with the Goblin than with him.

Barty arrived, hearing Little Prince gushing to the Goblin about the new lessons he had received from Barty on Metamorphmagus while the Goblin uses Magic to ensure his recovery and listening to him. Barty felt a little jealous as Little Prince was talking to a Goblin with such ease but still wary of him. As he mused silently from the doorframe, he missed the way Nagini was watching him darkly.

Her son may have missed the smell, but she was named Queen of Serpents (Nagini) for some reason. She didn't miss the smell of jealousy and longing coming from the man.

"You know," Healer Sharptooth recommends, "If you're finally having the lessons, you should consider changing your face to look more like your soul father to avoid future hassles."

Hold on. What?

"What?" Barty demands, "What do you mean?" 

Healer Sharptooth ignored him downright, "You're healing much better and quicker now, Harry." He informed him, "Maybe that you're much happier and your Magic is being used properly, making your core stronger. You've even grown a bit too, looking like five years old than before when you looked like a toddler because of your malnourishment. With another six months of potion and proper feeding, you will achieve your optimal health and look your real age."

Harry grinned feeling giddy. He hated looking small, it made him look like prey. He followed him out towards their Floo system which is linked only with Gringotts. Before leaving, Sharptooth paused, then turned. "Stay here, little Harry. I have an important discussion with The Darkest Lord."

Barty was now torn between wanting to chase after the Goblin to watch over his master and to ask Little Prince what they were talking about. But Harry beat him to it.

"Barty?" He asked. Barty's attention snapped towards the child. "Can you show me how my father looked like before he lost his body?"

Barty blinked, wishing to demand the answers. But he holds on to his curiosity. No, first thing first.

"Of course." Barty pulled the memory out and conjured a bowl, murmuring the spell that will give the memory a 3D view. Then showed that to Little Prince.

Harry approached him, still a little wary of him but curiosity won over his fear. He looked down at the bowl, tilting his head as he studied his father's face more closely in every angle, then turned towards the mirror in the corner. Harry stared at the mirror and focused on Barty's instructions. 

Within seconds, as if curious little ripples broke under his skin surface as his body started to change. His tanned body lightened up a few shades to match the smooth paleness of his father's skin. His hair is already as dark as his father's and tamed after Bailey's haircut. Harry straightened his curls, making them slightly wavy - just like his fathers' has been.

Harry studied the features, then turn to look at the memory again. They do look alike a great deal now, only his face is much soft-looking and full of cheek fats. Keeping the image of his father sharply in mind, he focused only on looking like him before he felt the familiar light tingly sensation in his face. He opened his eyes, now smiling brightly when he noticed the desirable changes.

" :No!: " Nagini suddenly protested. Harry blinked, looking at her questioningly. " :Do not lose the baby fats of your face, they will melt with age naturally.:"

Harry nodded, trusting his mum's judgment, and added the soft 'baby fats' on his face back. Nagini studied him, then nodded, " :Good. Now change your eye color.:"

Harry nodded, then paused, " :You want me to have red eyes like father?: " He asked.

Nagini shook her head, " :No, you are a green mamba, you'll have green eyes. I am saying to change the shade.: "

" :What do you recommend?: "

Nagini thought for a moment, then suggested, " :Ask that overgrown hatchling to show you Avada Kedavra.: "

Harry bit his lips to stop the laughter and turned to Barty, "Um, can you show me - " Harry paused, then repeated after his mum, "Abada Kadavra?"

Barty widened his eyes, understanding what is going, and smirked, "Oh yeah, and it is  Avada Kedavra !" He corrected while casting it on the rabbit he conjured. Harry studied the color, blinking when the color brought back a faded memory.

This is the shade of color that he had seen flashing in his dreams many times.

Harry hummed, pushing those thoughts away, and looked back at the mirror. Focusing on brightening his emerald green eyes few shades more. He tilted his head, before turning to look at his mum, " :What do you think?: "

" :Excellent.: " Nagini's tongue flickered, " :Tom will be pleased. It's his favorite curse.: "

Harry grinned, then looked back at Barty wiggling his eyebrows. Barty was looking at him in awe, "You look brilliant, Little Prince. Master will adore the eyes most."

"Let's go ask for his opinion then." Harry grinned.

Barty grinned back, "I recommend taking the glasses off until master has seen you properly."

Harry laughed, nodding, and removed his glasses. "I am half blind." He warned as he started to follow his mum and Barty's scent out in the garden where his father is pouring over the books.

"Father?" Harry asked, standing in front of him.

Voldemort hummed, lazily looking up from the book he was reading. Then he froze as he stared at him; his crimson red one wide as saucers whirling with strange emotions that Harry didn't understand.

"H-Hadrianus?" Voldemort whispered, still gaping.

Harry frowned. What? "Who's Hadrianus?"

Chapter Text

"Who's Hadrianus?"

Voldemort stared, mouth open and gaping, unable to believe what he's seeing. His brain stopped working. Is it...? Is he dreaming? 

And the eyes... Oh, Merlin those eyes...

It can't be...

Technically, Voldemort knows the boy is still Harry. The boy just talked like Harry. He smells like Harry. His Magic feels like Harry. He probably changed his features to copy him, using his Metamorphmagus ability.

Is this some kind of cruel joke?

But Harry can not know about him! Nobody knows... Nobody! Except...

Voldemort glanced at Nagini, his rage rising, building up like a thunderstorm. Nagini is the only one who knew about him. He watched, his carefully constructed calm covering the furious cyclone of rage as Nagini slithered around Hadri - Harry and towards him with a smug smile and impish glee.

" :Nagini!: " Voldemort snarled, eyes flashing crimson, trembling with rage, " :You foolish, wicked woman! You dare make a fake? Is this some kind of absurd joke of yours?: "

" :I am foolish and wicked? :" Nagini snapped, " :Are you blind, or just stupid? Stop being in denial and just look and feel his magic, and remember how  his  Magic felt like then  compare  between the two of them.: "

Voldemort swallowed, his calm visage has been shattered; blood pressure steadily climbing. He is unable to even raise his eyes to meet the boy. The boy looked exactly how he remembered him. How he would have looked like when he was a kid. Merlin.. he can't. He just... can't.

He was only a hallucination. Right? He had to be a hallucination. He couldn't be real! He just couldn't... He had searched the whole World for...

" :I don't care.: " Voldemort spat out, snarling, " :Do not cross your line Nagini, or I shall kill you both for such mindless daring.: "

" :Shut your trap, Tom.: " Nagini said with a deep tired sigh that spoke decades of being the reasonable one between the two, " :You have searched for you-know-what in the whole World. You traveled to the whole World. And now he's standing in front of you, and you're denying him?: "

" :Mum...: " Harry murmured, tears welled up in his eyes. " :It's okay. Father doesn't like it. I will just change back.: "

":No don't you dare,: " Nagini snapped, glaring at her son; but stopped when Harry flinched under her glare. Nagini sighed, speaking softly, " :Your father is just stupid, my little hatchling, don't mind him. Now you run along and call for Bailey; ask her to bring your dinner.: "

" :Yes mum.: " Harry turned, and snatched his glasses from Barty, then darted off. The fighting couple didn't notice him as Harry, instead of going to the Manor, ran towards the forest.

Suddenly something clicked in Voldemort's mind. "Bailey...dinner..." Voldemort whispered as a memory flashed in front of his eyes.

 

" ...Bailey was supposed to bring me dinner... "

 

Voldemort's heart almost stopped when everything snapped back into their places, and he finally made all the connections. What did Nagini just say? ".. feel his Magic and remember how his Magic felt like and compare between the two of them .."

Voldemort blinked, now fully understanding what his Magic, his heart has been whispering at him. It has been him all along, is it not? He did notice all their similarities. The way they both talk; their happy, chirpy nature; their determination and dedication; their kindness and weakness for House Elves; both of their tendencies to call the Wizards 'Wiggle'. And especially their Magic. The way both their Magic calls to him, their immense innate power that bore a strong resemblance to Voldemort's own magical signature - as though within both of them were a part of The Dark Lord himself. Or maybe because of the Horcrux.

This is why Harry felt so familiar to him; that is why his Magic has been claiming the boy. It is one of the reasons he just accepted the imp's presence in his life instead of fighting against it, given he is in his homunculus form.

He had all the clues...how come he not made the final deduction?

He had been living with Hadrianus for a whole month! He finally found the boy! The boy he had been searching for...

And then he pushed him away.

" :Tom? Do you still believe the exact shade of Killing Curse eyes is possible without Magical aid? :" Nagini asked quietly.

Voldemort hated being proved wrong, but after searching the whole World, even he had to admit Nagini might be right. No eyes can be the exact shade of  Avada Kedavra unless he is continuously using Magic to shape them. Or a metamorphmagus.

"Where's he?" Voldemort asked, looking around for the child. If he remembered correctly, Nagini asked him to ask Bailey for dinner, right?

" :Left crying. :" Nagini simply informed him, frowning as she tasted the air, " :But I do not smell his presence in the Manor. Where did he go?: "

He cursed aloud. "Barty?"

"My Lord!" Barty was looking at him alert and concerned, waiting for being acknowledged, "Are you alright?"

"Yes I am fine," Voldemort glowered, impatient, he needed to see the child. "Where's the child?"

"I - " Barty looked sheepish, scratching the back of his head, "He kinda ... ran outside when your Magic was thrashing around, raging."

Nagini whipped her head around to look at Barty at the exclamation, shocked. Voldemort too jerked up and pinned Barty with a venomous glare. What? Did he run away? How he can leave him after he finally had him? "Where?"

"Er, I didn't notice... I was worried for you.."

"You didn't notice!" Voldemort's voice rose few octaves, furious, "And here I thought you swore to look after him!"

"But... The Goblin said he actually is not your son... So I thought..."

HOW DARE HE!

"HE IS MINE!" Voldemort roared, "HE IS MY SON! HOW DARE YOU SAY OTHERWISE!  CRUCIO! "

Barty let out an agonized scream which filled and echoed through the garden. But only for few seconds, before Voldemort staggered, feeling the exhaustion of his unstable core, draining. "Bailey?" He gasped, lifting the curse, "My potions."

"Right away, Master Dark Lord sir."

Bailey popped in with his potions and bowl of soup. Voldemort swallowed the potions but pushed the soup bowl away. He won't rest a second until he has his son in front of his eyes again. His red eyes manic, gripping on his Wand tightly, "My son, my Hadrianus... I had him." Voldemort seethed, his tone murderous, "And then he left. And you let him."

"I apologize, My Lord." Barty gasped, having managed to stand up, albeit shakily, and looked guilty. As he should be, "I will go find your son."

":No you won't!: " Nagini snapped at him irritably, " :You foolish, stupid overgrown jealous and biased Wiggle. I will find my hatchling on my own.: "

"Er.." Barty looked lost at the hissing noises, though he had a feeling he just had an earful from the snake.

"Take me and follow after her." Voldemort snapped, his own voice filled with frustration and anger. But who he is actually frustrated at?

"Take you, My Lord?"

"DID I FUCKING STUTTER??"

   

       

    

_____________________

            

               

 

Tears welled up in his big doe eyes, but Harry didn't even notice them as he kept running and running, not actually minding where he was going and how fast he was going. He just gave in to his instincts and followed where his legs were taking him. The experience of roaming in the forest with mum came handy now, as he dodged the low branches, jumped across the stones and dead logs, and avoided all the quicksand that mum taught him how to recognize through smell - without actually thinking; while running really fast.

'You dare make a fake? Is this some kind of absurd joke of yours?'

He ran even faster if that was possible as his father's words kept ringing in his mind. His father hated him. Hated his new looks so bad that he wanted to kill him. And threatened to kill his mum.

But soon, his still compromised health and exhaustion caught up with him, overriding his instincts and overwhelming him. Harry collapsed on the ground, hyperventilating and his heart beating so fast that Harry feels like it will stop anytime. Harry swallowed dry, closing his eyes and just resting. Breathing. The way-wire emotions and adrenaline had started to wear off. The late evening in the dark deep forest was awakened and alive. Harry knows he is not safe here, he must keep going. But at the moment, he was just.. exhausted. Too tired to even cry anymore. He felt numb. His legs are cramping. And he is starving. And cold.

For God knows how much time later, his heart started to slow, breathing started to even. The cramps of his legs started to reside. Slowly, Harry stood, adjusting his glasses then looked around. He can smell a water source nearby, and from the sound, it feels like a river. Feeling thirsty, Harry headed that way in the dark. Thanks to his heightened senses and better night vision, he can see and smell just fine, unlike when he was a human. The Moon shone brighter at the clear space around the small river that is flowing rather peacefully.

As soon as he reached the river, he drank deeply quenching his thirst and his hunger subsided largely with the stomach full of water. For now. He glanced down at his feet which are bleeding and dirty, full of mud, still cramping but not too much. Harry shrugged and went to wash his feet.

Harry sat beside the river and started to wash his feet. While doing so, he caught his own reflection on the surface of the small river. He stared at his own reflection. His face has not changed, only sharpened a few features. The only big change was his eyes. He rather liked his new look.

But his father had gotten angry when he turned up looking like this.

For a big part of him wanted to change back, not wishing to look like what made his father - no, he didn't want to be his father - what made  The Dark Lord sad and angry. Angry enough that he wanted to kill him. But he also didn't want to go back looking like how he did, knowing he looked like his birth father. Why would he? Neither his birth father wanted him.

No, he will be his own person. He will think of something and change. But how did he want to look like?

Harry frowned, looking at the river while thinking how he should look like. He wished he knew how his mum looked like. But he can't know anymore. And he hasn't seen many people in his life. Maybe he will roam around some people tomorrow, watch how they look like and then decide based on what he liked? Maybe he will head towards the Muggle world where he can - all his thinking came to a halt when a smell caught his nose. Smell of... Harry sniffed the air and widened his eyes. There's fish in the river.

He never had fish before.

Harry's mouth started to water smelling the fresh scent of fish. Maybe he can try some new diet then? Only if he could catch it. But he doesn't know about swimming. His mum still hasn't taught him how to swim. But he won't have her anymore now, will he? 

He felt a pang in his chest thinking about that. He wanted to give up, curl into a circle and cry his heart out again. But he was hungrier. Maybe he will cry when he has a full stomach and is settled. After having almost two months of regular meals, he has quite the appetite now. Harry peered from where he was standing. It's probably not even deep enough to drown a fully grown man.

But Harry is not a fully grown man.

Something flashed in his mind. What did his mum say? Snakes are natural swimmers, isn't it? His mum is never wrong.

Maybe he just needs to get over his fear and try it?

He took his robes off, shivering slightly in the cold, and put his glasses on the ground on a big stone and rubbed his sweaty hands around it; so he can easily find them through his smell. Green sparkle shimmered and Harry shifted to his full serpentine green mamba form. In half serpentine form, he may use the robes, but in his full serpentine form, no human cloths can help him.

He hesitated. ' Ah well, whatever! ' Harry shrugged mentally, deciding to just go with it.

He took a deep breath and slithered towards the river. When the cold water hit his thin body, Harry shivered, half of his mind wishing to retract and stop. But the other half prompted him to not chicken away and proceed. After all, the cold season is coming, sooner or later it will be colder than now.

So Harry advanced. Involuntarily moving his body in lateral, wave-like movements, more or less appearing to shape his slender body in an S pattern. These undulations have started from his head and continuing down their body. This is the same type of body movement he used when moving on very smooth surfaces of the Manor. After trying for some more time, when he is sure that he now has a good grip on how to swim, he started to look for fish and dive.

He finds out the smells are a bit duller in water than in the air. But he discovered that when he covered his eyes with his brille, he can see underwater just fine. So he took a deep breath and dove underwater, waiting behind a big stone, inside the underwater grasses. His green scales being a good camouflage in the Moonlight.

Harry didn't have to wait too long. Soon enough, a big brown trout fish appeared in front of him. Harry used all his training to lunge and caught it. He held it for a moment and pour his venom into it. The fish jerked, making him let go as it tried to shuffle away from him, disoriented. Harry sedately following behind, tongue flickering out. His venom is rather fast-acting on it as the fish become stiff and probably paralyzed. When it stopped twitching, Harry caught it with his mouth, and swam away, bringing it back to the banks.

Harry, with the paralyzed fish hanging from his mouth, perched himself behind a big stone and decided to swallow it the way he has seen his mum doing many times. The stone providing much-needed protection from the cold breeze. Harry put the fish on the ground and looked at it, trying to see how to eat it without being injured by the fin. Beginning by the mouth is a better way. So Harry began to swallow it, slowly, making sure he wouldn't have to regurgitate it later.

After swallowing the whole fish, he felt quite full; his belly bulged out. He began to slither slowly, looking for the stone where he remembers leaving his robe and glasses. Tongues flickering repeatedly, he soon discovered why he can't find them.

He is on the other side of the river.

Harry let out a small snake sigh. He is too full now and feeling quite lethargic. Besides, he is now safer in snake form rather than in human form at the moment, though the robes could have provided him much appreciated extra warmth. Deciding to return for the robes and glasses tomorrow, he started to taste the air, wishing to find some warm place to rest the night. Not too far away, there is an old tree with multiple holes standing, looking to be quite warm. But Harry knows he shouldn't climb the tree with a full stomach, it may disturb his digestion - mum had mentioned it once. So he looked around more.

There's another dead log a few meters away.

Tasting the air making sure there is no other snakes or other predators nearby, Harry slowly slithered towards it. He examined it and found there is a little warm-looking gap in the dead log, and it was filled with dead insect wings and small furs.

Maybe it's some other snake's home?

But he can't move anymore to find another place. So he looked around more to make sure the snake is not nearby. As he looked around, a little buzzing caught his attention. He scented the air, eyes minutely widening when he smelled something familiar. It's the grasshoppers, again!

Harry groaned when something inside him wished to strike out and catch them too. But he is too full now. He can't eat anymore. Besides, insects are smelly and gross. Ignoring them, he slithered inside the gap, tightly coiling up around himself while silently wishing with all his heart that no one, absolutely no one can come inside the gap while he's sleeping and digesting his food.

As he curled up, the whole day flashed in front of his eyes.

He actually thought he finally had a family. A loving mum who will take care of him. A life-hardened father who would teach him about Magic and life. But obviously, he doesn't deserve that. He is a freak. Dudley did say freaks don't deserve anything. And didn't Barty say Metamorphmagus is a rare ability even among Wiggles? In fact, there is no other Metamorphmagus in Britain at the moment.

He truly is a freak, isn't he?

Harry mentally vowed at that moment he will never tell anyone else that he is a Metamorphmagus, neither he will use this in front of anyone who doesn't already know. He can't change what has already happened, at least he can stop it from repeating in the future.

Maybe, just maybe he can stay in his snake form and eat fish, frogs, and other little prey from the forest; and make a hut when the Sun rises? Will Bailey help him with Magic if he asked her nicely? But he had looked after himself since he can remember, even took care of the whole Dursley family; except for the last two months. Harry is sure he can do it again. It's not a big deal, right?

Harry prayed one last time for his safety, then fall asleep.

Chapter Text

Nagini ignored the stupid Wiggle carrying stupider Wiggle following her, as she slithered as quickly as she could following the trace of the smell of her hatchling. She was cursing herself inwardly for focusing solely on Tom, forgetting their son can understand what they're saying just fine; which he did and took it differently. Her poor hatchling must have thought they're rejecting him. That his father is rejecting him. She wanted to bang her head on the nearby tree. How could she forget that her hatchling is so easy to guilt?

Nagini sighed inwardly as she slithers past another quicksand; thankful that she taught him how to identify them. How fast a spooked mamba can run? Nagini knows a green mamba can run up to 12 miles per hour, but a boy with mamba instincts and two legs to jump around like a monkey? At least 15 to 18 miles per hour. Especially if the said boy has run on his adrenaline until his legs can sprint.

The whole journey was quiet, except for the dead logs splintering and rasping of dry leaves as Nagini made her way through the forest, and the heavy breathing of the overgrown stupid Wiggle as he jogged behind her, carrying Tom in his arms.

After hours of following the smell; it was almost nearing midnight when she found the river bank. She was still following the smell; that's how she discovered what her hatchling left behind. She slithered towards them, her triangular head bending downwards as she stared at the familiar resized robes and glasses. The robes smell of forest breeze and seem to be colder, which means they were left behind for at least three or four hours.

Nagini cursed aloud as she raised her head, looking around at the dark forest. Damn it, where did her hatchling go?

Nagini ignored as Barty picked her hatchling's robes and glasses; and showed them to his Lord. Neither did she paid mind to Voldemort who's hand shook as he accepted them and clutch them to his chest as if some long-lost treasure.

Nagini slithered off the big stone and picked up the smell once more and followed it. Soon she realized the smell become duller and duller, then completely vanished as they came to the edge of the river bank. Did he go in the river in his full serpentine form?

" :Did you teach him to swim?: " Voldemort asked, coming to the same conclusion as her.

" :No I didn't.: " Nagini said bemused, glaring at the river as if it was the river's fault her hatchling is not with her at the moment.

Harry doesn't know how to swim. What if his slender serpentine form was swept away with the flow of the river? She knows snakes are natural swimmers, so Harry wouldn't drown. Still, she couldn't help but feel the worry constricting her inside constantly. Nagini tried to smell the surface of the river for his scent but cursed inwardly when she realized the river's continued flow has erased any existence of smell. Maybe he drank some water and then went away?

Nagini spent more time tasting and smelling around the riverbank, ignoring the chilly early winter coldness creeping into her bones. There is no other trace of his smell that indicates he may have returned from the river. Which only meant, he didn't come back after he went inside the river; maybe he went to the other side of the river?

There's one way to find out.

Nagini tasted the water and shivered when she realized how cold is it. Did her hatchling go into this chilly water? Why he would need to do that? Just how desperate was he? Did any other predator chase him?

The last thought sent a chilled sensation throughout her spine, and without wasting another second, she almost jumped inside the river.

Merlin, it's cold!

Nagini ignored the cold and swam across the river with graceful movement. Her focus was only on searching for her hatchling.

Glancing behind to see the stupid Wiggle transfiguring some tree log into the makeshift bridge, and then crossed the river to follow her; still carrying the quiet Dark Lord. At his instruction, Barty cast a warming charm on her which she was internally thankful for, but her heart clenching painfully when she remembered her hatchling didn't have the same privilege.

"He is nearby," Voldemort said quietly, his voice drenched with hope, "I can feel him here."

Nagini widened her eyes, her tongue flickering rapidly to pick up any trace of smell. After a thorough search, Nagini discovered that there was dried fish blood left over, consumed no more than a couple of hours ago. And it has the smell of her hatchling's saliva and venom.

": He ate fish, :" Nagini said, shocked and with awe, " :His first successful hunt, that too underwater! And I missed it!: " At that, her anger return with full force, " :All because of your stupid ass!: " Nagini snapped, glaring at Tom.

Voldemort was looking at the fish blood with mixed surprise, awe, pride, and hope. At Nagini's outburst, he blinked, looking up at her then turned away guiltily. He truly has no excuse.

Nagini huffed, before turning her attention to the dried blood. Her hatchling's smell seemed to be almost dull, in very minute form. Nagini had to flicker her tongue repeatedly to pick up the traces.

Nagini realized, a bit startled, that Harry probably didn't shift back from his serpentine form after eating. Which is normal, he probably felt full and lethargic, then went to search for some warm place to sleep. But where he went?

Nagini probably would have found out, if she had the energy, but she can feel her energy draining. She has traveled for at least five or six hours in the dark cold forest, swam across a chilly river, and before that, they all had a rather busy day.

": Use the locator charm. :" Nagini sighed. If Tom can feel her hatchling's presence, he must be nearby enough for the charm to work.

"Barty, cast  point me ."

Barty nodded. " Point me, Harry Riddle. "

His Wand rose in the air and then pointed toward a dead log. Nagini slithered towards it. Sure enough, the place reeks of Harry's Magic.

Nagini tasted the air and examined the log carefully to find him. Under the two Wand lights, she caught a glimpse of the shiny green scales sparkling as her hatchling snoozed away, coiling tightly.

There he is. Her little ray of sunshine.

Nagini sighed in relief, as she continued to watch him proudly through the very small hole. Her hatchling has learned really well. He even swam and hunted fish for the first time and ate it, and then found a nice warm place to rest and digest.

"Is he here?" Voldemort's voice was full of hope and anticipation. Nagini nodded, as she tried to poke her head inside the hole. It was too small even for her head.

" :Hatchling?:"

The green coils tightened and stiffened up, before relaxing as Harry continued to snooze. Nagini found herself unable to wake the exhausted child up. The day has been tiring for her hatchling, he didn't even have his afternoon nap. If they wish, they may dig the ground around the area for more space so they can approach him. As she voiced her suggestion, Voldemort ordered Barty to do the same. But they soon found some Magical barrier is stopping them from going anywhere near the small hole where the sleeping child Naga residing.

"His Magic is protecting the area." Voldemort noted, "A strong repellant charm, probably cast through Wish Magic."

"Should I cancel the charm or maybe  Accio  him?" Barty offered nervously.

"If only you want to die being bitten by an enraged and flighty mamba." Voldemort snapped, irked. "Either will wake him up and without proper rest, he will be disoriented and irritable green mamba."

"So what now?"

Nagini glanced at the hole once again, then climbed on top of the dead log and curled up, using her own body to keep the small hole warm.

Voldemort watched her, understanding fully well what she's planning to do. With a sigh, he cast a warming charm on the whole area and signaled Barty to put him inside Nagini's coils.

"Now we wait."

            

                     

__________________

          

              

              

When Harry woke up, he hissed and groaned sleepily as the pounding headache throbbed inside his head. Well, that's what he gets for staying in the cold and crying himself to sleep. Maybe he should get used to it, Harry mused as he slowly poked his head out from his coils, stretching a bit and thankful for being in his serpentine form. His serpentine form has dulled the pain, Harry knows if he was in his human form, he probably would have become overwhelmed with it. Harry slowly raised his head, a bit surprised to realize how warm the hole has been.

Harry sighed, glancing outside of the hole where Sun is rising. Maybe he should go out and collect his clothes and glasses, then gather some woods to make a tent to live in? He won't go further from the river. He rather liked last night's meal. He could spend his whole life eating them.

That decided, Harry nodded to himself and started to flicker his tongue, tasting the air for the presence of any predator nearby. As soon as he did it, he almost yelped in surprise when he realized his mum...and The Dark Lord...and, was it Barty? What are they doing outside his hole?

They can't be waiting for him to come out, right? They won't kill him. Right?

No, mum won't hurt him.

Oh, dear. What should he do?

Harry hesitated, not knowing what to do. As wonderful as it sounds, even Harry knows he can't hide inside the hole forever. Maybe he will find a way to slither the other way, without making a single peep? Maybe he will hide in the big stones and grasses on the riverbank?

Yes. That sounds better.

Slowly and as quietly as possible, Harry poked his head out and tasted the air, looking around. He was surprised to find the three adults are sleeping around his hole. Determined to get away as quickly as possible, Harry slithered out and started to head where he can smell the river.

But to his consternation, as soon as he was out of the hole in the chilly dawn weather, the homunculus of The Dark Lord within his mum's coils stirred and opened his eyes. Unknown to Harry, he has already triggered the charm Lord Voldemort has cast; which will alert him as soon as he comes out of the hole.

Harry stopped moving, staring at him like deer in headlight as The Dark Lord blinked open his eyes and looked his way. Maybe if he stays still he won't notice him? 

Looking at him, Harry knows he already has seen him. Harry swallowed, before turning and quickly gaining speed to slither away.

" :Do not leave me alone, my child!: "

Harry stopped on his track, his already wide eyes staring at the distance, surprised at being addressed as 'my child'. He knows it was him  The Dark Lord is addressing. Harry slowly turned his small head to look back at him, flickering his tongue rapidly, still wary of him after what happened last night.

Voldemort was looking at him softly. Nagini has woke up as well. As Harry turned to look at him, his tongue flickering and tasting the air, Voldemort spoke up again, " :This old man was unable to recognize you before. Can you forgive him and return home?: "

Harry gaped, surprised. The air around him does smell like sadness, regret, and hope. Harry glanced at Nagini who has her gaze fixed on him. " :Don't look at me like that, Hatchling.: " Nagini said with determination shining in her voice, " :If you go, I will follow you. I am not staying with this old fool.: "

Harry gawped at her incredulously, before slowly raising his head and shift back to his human form. "I thought you didn't want a fake, Lord Slytherin?" He asked, surveying his reaction. And Barty, who was now blinking his eyes open.

Voldemort's heart has almost stopped when he found him looking like exactly ho he was supposed to look. Hearing the way he addressed him, something sparkled in his eyes, an unknown emotion that is beyond his understanding, "Call me father, Hadrianus."

At the name, Harry looked more puzzled and confused. Voldemort's grin broadened, "This is your new name, my son. Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin."

He widened his eyes, "It's  my  name?" He asked, shocked.

"Yes. Harry is a too common name for someone as unique as you; given by your undeserving birth father who was a commoner himself. Do you like your new name, my child?"

A grin break into his face, "Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin" He tasted the name then exchanged excited glace with his mum, grinning broader, "I like it. Does it means anything?"

Voldemort looked at him, a genuine fondness for the boy and the thrill to finally have him. He honestly thought he probably had lost him. Who knew convincing a child could be so easy? But he won't let anyone else manipulate him anyway; he will train him that way. He allowed himself to smile for the first time in almost decades, "Yes. Hadrianus means rich."

"Rich?" Hadrianus blinked.

"Rich in aesthetics. Wits. Magic. Knowledge. Power."

Hadrianus blinked again, then nodded looking vague and shivering as the cold caught up with him, "Nice."

Voldemort had to agree to that statement. Yes. Nice indeed. He thought as he kept looking at him as if seeing him for the first time, studying him. Soon he noticed him shivering and squinting his eyes to look. With a deep sigh, he returned Hadrianus his glasses and robes, smiling secretly when the boy lit up and put them on. He glanced at the wired filthy glasses with disdain.

That needed to go.

"Let's go back home." He said, glancing at Nagini who has wrapped herself around her hatchling as if hugging him tightly.

"I could Apparate us home?" Barty offers, not wishing to walk that long anymore.

"That would be a good idea." Voldemort agreed. Barty picked him up and on his instruction, Hadrianus and Nagini approached him and gripped on his arm. Barty turned on his feet and Hadrianus felt like he is being forced through a very tight rubber tube. As soon as he was standing on the solid ground again, Hadrianus groaned and fall on his knees, retching. Thankfully most of his meal last night has digested, so nothing came out.

"Just take deep breaths through the nose and let it out through the mouth," Barty advised, handing him a piece of chocolate. Hadrianus nodded, accepting the chocolate and following his instructions, and felt his rebelling stomach starting to calm down. He nibbled on the piece of chocolate and stood, feeling much better. They entered the Manor and sat in the living room. Hadrianus perched himself in his mum's coils, cuddling together on the rug in front of the big fireplace. Barty placed Lord Voldemort on his chair.

"My Lord." Barty took their attention back, picking up a list from the table, "Now Little Prince is back to us, I wish to ask a question."

"Yes?" Voldemort said, knowing what he will ask.

"When do you plan to do the ritual?" Barty asked instead, surprising him.

"Samhein," Voldemort answered. Yule is too far away, he refused to stay homunculus that long. Barty nodded, looking ecstatic at the prospect as if he's more excited about the body recreation ritual. 

Or maybe it's because it's his Lord.

Or because of his inner Ravenclaw salivating at the new knowledge.

"Then I must go to buy the ingredients and start brewing the potion as soon as possible," Barty noted, looking at the list.

"Indeed," Voldemort said, watching as Barty pulled the Wand out and start casting glamour charm on him. Hadrianus watched him with apt fascination as Barty's hair and eye color changed shape in front of his eyes, along with all his other main facial features, such as his ears and nose Barty bowed low at his Lord, grabbed an apple from the plate Winky brought for them and left.

Hadrianus spoke up while snacking on his own food, "Father? Is my Metamorphmagus ability is something like what Barty did?"

"Metamorphmagus," Voldemort said, "is not glamour. Glamour is what you can call an illusion. While Metamorphmagus changes your face according to your wish. Glamour can be removed against your wish or may fade off. But Metamorphmagus change never fades off, it will only change when you actively do it with your own wish."

Hadrianus nodded, munching on the cucumber slices looking thoughtful. "And Samhein... It's the Wiggles' more spooky version of Hallowe'en, right?"

Voldemort looked at him exasperated, must he speak like that? He would need to correct and upgrade his vocabulary. "You can say that, yes."

Hadrianus nodded, "By the way, I never understood. Why did your body behave like that? I mean, if people blow up their body, they die, don't they?" Hadrianus said, then lit up as if he just solved a difficult puzzle, " Is it because you have Magic?"

Voldemort caressed his Wand looking thoughtful, "In a way, yes my Magic helped me do this. As you already know, I have performed some soul magic experiment, which makes me immortal."

Hadrianus's jaw dropped, "Wait wait wait.." He said, his eyes popping out, "Did I just hear you say that you're immortal?"

"Yes." Voldemort's lips quirked.

"Whoa! I thought its some mythological idea, or fairy tale!"

"Well," Voldemort smirked, "You're living in a World where fairy does exist, they're called a pixie."

"Wow!" Hadrianus looked awed at that, "That's...a lot to take in." He swallowed, musing, "So, say if someone shot you, you won't bleed out and die?"

"As you already know, my body may 'blow up', as you say, but my soul will stay anchored to the Living World."

"But...how? I mean, how would you stop Lucifer from coming and collect your soul?"

Voldemort frowned at the name, before realizing what 'Lucifer' is. He has, after all, spend some time in Muggle World to know it. "No, death can not touch me."

"That's...nice!" Hadrianus grinned, "How did you do that?"

"I have put a piece of my soul in an anchor and hide them away."

Hadrianus blinked, tilting his head as he processed the new piece of information, "Wait, are you saying you have cut your soul like a birthday cake and give it to some stuff so they can keep it hidden from death?"

Voldemort felt aghast at his soul being compared with sugary treats, but he had to agree an eight years old innocent child's mind has simplified the whole thing better than he can do it for him. "You can say that." He let out another deep sigh. It's going to be a long few years.

Hadrianus looked pensive, "Does that mean you gave me a piece too?"

"Yes." Voldemort looked at him surprised. The child is incredibly smart for eight years old.

"Oh." Hadrianus was both intrigued and hopeful, "Does that mean I have more brothers? Or sisters? When I can meet them, father? And where are they?"

Voldemort blinked, now realizing what he's thinking, that he made all the Horcrux in a living being, "No, Hadrianus. You are the only one living."

"They...died?" Hadrianus's eyes widened, seemingly horrified.

"No no no!" Voldemort shook his head, his hands on his son's hair trying to assure him as his eyes started to glisten at the possibility of his 'dead siblings'. "When I said you're the only one living, I meant the others are safe in some trinkets, not in other living beings."

"Oh." Hadrianus nodded, still looking a bit dejected and solicitous, rubbing his cheeks on his mum's scales as he stared at the fireplace, lost in his thought. What's going on inside his little mamba head? Voldemort wondered, amused by the scene.

Voldemort was about to pick up his parchment to start working, when Hadrianus spoke up again, "Father? What about your own soul? Is it alright? Not bleeding out or anything?" Hadrianus rumbled, "Are you sure it's because your body needed full soul, that's why your body blow up into pieces?"

Voldemort paused at that. He never thought about his main soul piece. He is living on what... Less than one percent soul? Voldemort felt gobsmacked at that thought. Damn it!

Hadrianus babbled more, "Maybe you should bake more pieces of soul cakes to fill out the gaps, father. Just in case..." He said, shrugging finishing his plate, before grabbing his mum's tail and started to play with it.

Vibrant ruby eyes widened more as Voldemort listened to his son speaking. Soul Replenisher Rituals. Yes, he indeed read about them, and he is sure he still has the books on them. But he never thought about doing it for himself.

That is indeed a good idea. Should he look for it and merge both the rituals? 

Or maybe do thorough research about it and do it on the Yule?

Well, the second option sounds better. He will have his own body to prepare for the more complex ritual. After all, this will be even more complicated and difficult than Body Recreation Ritual. Maybe by the Yule time?

With that planned, Voldemort nodded to himself, pleased.

Chapter Text

Two almost silent pops caught Voldemort's attention. He looked up from the book, nodding at the sleeping child beside him, and pressed his index finger on his lips to silently order the twin Elves to keep quiet. The twins bobbed their heads and clicked their mouths shut. Voldemort raised his non-existence eyebrow in question. The Elves raised their thumbs in the sure indication of the success of their mission. Voldemort nodded and dismissed them.

Voldemort checked on his son, making sure he is deep asleep before nodding at Nagini. His loyal Maledictus nodded back and slowly started to slither out from where she was coiling around them; making sure her little hatchling doesn't wake up. As soon as she was at a safe distance, Voldemort levitated a beautiful eagle quill and placed it in front of her.

Nagini pressed her nose on the quill and whisked away with the portkey.

Then he closed his eyes.

With the advanced practice of Occlumency, Voldemort looked for his snake Horcrux link. While looking for it actively, he noticed a very faint Horcrux link which he realized as his seventh Horcrux. The trace was so minute that Voldemort would have easily missed it if he didn't already know about its presence. Maybe if he had more than just a slither of his soul he would have noticed it. Voldemort inwardly smiled and took a mental note to explore this new link later. Now he should focus on Nagini and her mission.

As he pressed his Magic on their link, he soon found himself in the body of a fifteen-foot viper. Voldemort's smile was nostalgic and wistful, missing his own Inheritance and especially having a body of his own. He let the longing turn into his motivation and focused on his work.

He looked up at the Moon-lit Malfoy Manor through Nagini's beady eyes. He doesn't know whether to trust Lucius or not. The blonde is slippery. No one knows what he will do if he discovered The Dark Lord in this weakened state. But he needed his diary back for the Body-recreation ritual. He could have used another Horcrux if he wanted only his body, but now he has another goal as well. He needs to regain his sanity - at least until he can have the Soul Replenisher Ritual done. The diary being his first Horcrux has been housing half of his soul.

Voldemort tasted the air. With Nagini's skill and Voldemort's magic, their sense enhanced magnificently. He could easily detect the presence of three in private wings. Even if he roams around the Manor freely, no one could detect his presence. Not with the strong dreamless potion that Lucius consumed unknowingly, thanks to the twin Elves. And the Malfoy House Elves has been warned about Nagini, so they wouldn't muddle with their plan.

Voldemort lets Nagini nose through the pipes of the Manor to find the Dark chamber under the drawing-room floor where he knows all the Dark artifacts along with his diary are hidden. To a common Wizard what could have taken probably whole night and more to find, the combined power of Nagini's smell and Voldemort's Magic and knowledge of the Malfoy Manor whereabouts reduced it to half an hour trip to the room. Voldemort watched as Nagini regurgitate the piece of quill on the floor before grabbing the diary with her mouth, and swallowed it. He returned to his own body as soon as Nagini pressed her nose on the quill, whispering " :Home: "

Voldemort opened his eyes on time to see Nagini appear in the middle of the master bedroom of Riddle Manor. A glance told him his son is still sound asleep. He gently kept his hand on the child Naga's hair and let his fingers comb through the soft hair while Nagini regurgitates his diary.

": Things I eat for you :" Nagini hissed disgusted, as she slithered towards them. Voldemort cast multiple cleaning and drying charm on the diary before summoning it to him and examined it for any damage check. The diary warmed up under his touch, acknowledging its main soul piece.

Voldemort smiled, feeling nostalgic and remembering the time he created it.

Ah, good old days. When he used to have his own body and didn't appreciate it enough.

Well, he soon will have his body again.

" :Good job, Nagini,: " Voldemort hissed softly, his eyes fond as he stared at the viper, " :Now let's rest while we wait for Barty to return.: "

             

                    

_____________________________

       

         

          

"My Lord."

Both Voldemort and Hadrianus looked up from their breakfast as Barty finally returned, his face glowing with excitement as he took a seat beside his Little Prince who grinned at him. Barty greeted Hadrianus with a similar huge grin, before turning towards his Lord, showing him his new Wand, "I did it."

Voldemort's lips twitched with amusement at seeing the Wizard fidgeting with suppressed joy and sadistic longing. "What is it?"

"Silver lime wood with unicorn hair core." Barty beamed, "At first I asked for the same as my old one, but I can feel the Silver lime fitted me even more perfectly."

"That's indeed good news." Voldemort nodded, pleased, and permitted him so Barty can go back where he knows he wants to go as he finished his own soup. With the continued nourishment and potions, he was healthy enough to drink the soup himself.

Barty presented him a bottomless pouch, grabbed an apple, and dashed out grinning broadly in anticipation.

Voldemort checked all the ingredients he ordered Barty to bring in the bottomless bag while waiting for his son to finish eating. He pulled out a carefully packed package and glanced at his son who is trying to sneak away from the table being as quiet as possible. "Finish your milk before you go, Hadrianus." He chided the boy softly.

Hadrianus groaned and sulked as he sat back on his chair, "I don't like milk."

"And I don't like fighting with you for milk every day." Voldemort looked at him pointedly as the boy tried to avoid going anywhere near the glass.

Hadrianus sighed and picked up the glass. Voldemort watched like a hawk as Hadrianus pinched his nose to avoid the smell and drank the milk in one breath. Voldemort rolled his eyes. His son is just too dramatic!

' He did learn from the best .'

Voldemort ignored the traitorous little whisper and focused on the package. "Here, something to wash off the taste." Voldemort opened a small glass jar and scooped up a spatula full of black molds and put them on Hadrianus' empty plate. Hadrianus took a big gulp of air to taste it.

"No, don't do that," Voldemort shook his head, "You need to open only a slither to taste the air."

Hadrianus nodded as he closed his jaw with an audible click, "It tastes like fish? Eggs? I don't understand, what is it?" He asked, confused.

"It's a fish egg." Voldemort said, "Or rather, raw unfertilized fish eggs, it's called Caviar. I am certain you will like it."

Hadrianus scooped up a spoonful.

"Hadrianus," Voldemort smiled, "It's a food to savor, not to scarf down. Take a small bite and don't chew, you will lose the flavor."

Hadrianus nodded and took a small spoonful in his mouth. He opened his eyes wide as the buttery and slightly salted fat melted in his tongue. It tastes slightly fishy, a little bit salty, and creamy. Hadrianus stared at his amused father with big wide eyes as he savored the delicious treat for the first time.

"I see you liked them." Voldemort chuckled as Hadrianus nodded vigorously. "Well, I am glad. Now when you're finished, I want you to read this book first, then you can go play with your mum. Is that clear?"

Hadrianus nodded, eyes still wide open as he stared at his plate full of heaven.

"Bailey? Call Barty."

Barty appeared, looking delirious and thrilled. Someone had been casting unforgivable - Voldemort thinks as he took a glance at his son. Hadrianus is still in shock as he enjoyed the taste of the first exquisite in his life. Too busy to notice Barty's condition.

"Take me there."

Barty nodded and turned Voldemort's chair's legs into wheels then pushed it towards dungeons. They reached soon enough and Barty locked the door and pushed him forward until they're standing before a particular cell. Voldemort peered inside where Crouch Sr is lying on the floor, bleeding and panting heavily, staring at the ceiling.

"He won't scream enough My Lord," Barty complained with a pout. Voldemort chuckled.

"Be quick with your revenge Barty, I will need his soul."

"You can have his soul now, My Lord. That's more important." Barty said as he handed him a simple quill and quickly stunned Crouch Sr. Voldemort put the quill on the ground and glanced at Barty, "I will need the potion as soon as I am finished."

Barty pulled a small vial from his pocket and showed him. Voldemort nodded and pointed his wand at the quill as he started to cast the needed curses on the quill. It took hardly five minutes to complete the whole process but Voldemort is already panting heavily when he finished casting. The energy drain is heavy in his homunculus form, in his normal body he wouldn't even tire a bit. Barty was quick to pour the Magic Stabilizer in his mouth though.

When he opened his eyes finally, Barty has already cast  Rennervate and  Imperius on Crouch Sr. The old man was sitting on the floor with wide eyes, obedient. Voldemort smirked and levitated the cursed quill, ink bottle, and his diary towards him. With the Imperius working, Crouch Sr obediently took them and started writing.

"Lift the curse now, Barty."

Barty hesitated, not wanting his sperm-giver birthfather to harm his master's diary, but he trusted his Lord more than anything. If he is asking to lift it, the curse must be already working. So Barty lifted the Unforgivable.

As soon as Crouch Sr's eyes became focused, he tried to stop writing and throw the quill away. But it was too late, he already has started writing. Crouch Sr let out an anguished cry as his blood burn but he still kept writing and writing every single of his darkest deepest secrets on the diary, pouring his heart and soul into it.

Barty whooped in joy as he stared greedily at the screaming monster he was unlucky enough to call his father. The reason his life has been ruined. If that bustard didn't sell his son out for his ambition, he probably would have become a professor at Hogwarts. But it's okay, he had his revenge now.

"What is the curse, My Lord?" Barty asked enthusiastically. As Ravenclaw as one could be. Voldemort chuckled. "It is one of my own inventions when I was in school. I created this diary as a backup for my body and this curse that will make the victim pour their soul into the diary." This way, he will also learn all the dirty secrets of his department.

"I see." Barty said with a huge grin as they kept staring at the screaming and thrashing ex-Head of Department of International Magic Cooperation, but not for a second he stopped writing except for refilling his quill. Soon enough, a faint corporeal form of a sixteen years old tall and familiar-looking teenager with black wavy hair appeared. He was still blurred on the edge, as though looking through a misted window.

Tom Riddle looked down at the Crouch Sr who has staggered and fallen backward as soon as he appeared. He picked up the little black diary and looked around to find himself in a cell. Outside the cell was standing an unfamiliar man with...what is that?

Tom Riddle froze when their eyes met, instantly recognizing him as "Main part?"

"Yes." Voldemort smiled, "Come now, we have a lot to catch up on."

          

                

___________________

          

           

      

"WHAT?" Tom demanded from where he was standing, looking out from the window. Hours have been spent as they talked and catch up. The misty edges around his body have cleared and solid, indicating he has his body back. And Crouch is dead as well. He had ordered Barty to do as he wished with his body.

Voldemort sighed, looking up from the window where he can see Hadrianus is sitting down and reading under the Sunlight while perching inside Nagini's coil. "Out of everything I told you, the news of Hadrianus being our  adopted  son shocked you the most?" Not that he blames him, even he had a hard time believing it.

"Well, yes." Tom said hotly, "I wanted him to be mine in flesh, blood, soul, and Magic."

"He is already mine in soul and Magic," Voldemort looked back at his son, "And I will claim him in my blood after we perform the final merging ritual."

"He will still smell of that stinky mudblood and blood traitor." Tom reminded him, "Speaking of the merging ritual, when are we doing it?"

"Samhain is in ten days, we will do it that time."

Tom hummed, "And what do you plan to tell him about me?"

"The truth."

Tom blinked, looking back at his main part, "Are you sure?"

"Yes." Voldemort nodded, "He deserves it."

"That," Tom agreed, "he does."

"But not now." Voldemort looked at Tom's hand where he was still holding the diary, "Now I need you to go to Slytherin Castle and fetch some books and other stuff for me. Also, I will need the Gaunt ring."

Tom nodded, "I will bring them, but how do I do that? I don't know where is this Slytherin Castle. All I know is the ring is in Gaunt Shack."

"And cursed." Voldemort warned, "Make sure you summon some rats and let the curse focus it before you touch it. And about the Slytherin Castle, I will possess your body to retrieve all the items I'd need."

Tom shrugged. If it was anyone else offering to possess him, he would have cursed him. But he trusts himself, and nothing else.

         

          

__________________

          

          

Possessing the body of his own Horcrux is as easy as it had been with Nagini's. He could also feel Tom's thrill at discovering their Horcrux link with Hadrianus. But retrieving all the items needed for the ritual is not as easy. Especially when they realized they would need to bring some runes curvers, gems and crystals, and other ingredients for the potion new and untouched, and some plucked during Full Moon.

So they detoured in Knockturn alley and returned after few hours, satisfied and few hundreds of galleons lighter. But at least now they have every ingredient needed for the ritual. All is left to draw the runes and wait for Samhain to arrive.

As soon as they arrived in Riddle Manor and reached his office, his loyal twin Elves Tit and Tat appeared before them. Voldemort cast a privacy charm and then looked at them questioningly.

Tit and Tat bowed low and speak up with their twin talks. "Tit and Tat - "

"Being spying on Iggy, Lucy, and Sevvy - "

"Tit and Tat saw - "

"Master's Lucy and Iggy drinks - "

"Firewheezy before sleep."

"And Sevvy - "

"do not drink before sleep."

"You two did well." Voldemort nodded, "Lucius and Karkaroff will be easy to fool, Severus is the one needed planning. I will think about it. Now keep eyes on Severus and Karkaroff for me."

Tom frowned at the main part as the twin Elves bowed and popped back, "What are you planning with your followers?"

"I am planning to lay low about my reborn. Work what we need undercover. As Lord Slytherin, not Lord Voldemort."

"Voldemort is our past, present, and future."

"He was," Voldemort agreed, "But then I lost my complete soul, and with that my sanity and stability, and became what the Light side portraited me to be. Voldemort is a monster in people's eyes. At Samhain night, it will not be Voldemort who rises."

"Then who will?"

He smiled, "Marvolo Salazar Slytherin."

"I.. see." Tom nodded with a frown, "It actually will be brilliant, the only disadvantage being Dumbledore who will instantly know the truth."

"Not if I have any say in it," He mused, summoning his planner, "I have been planning this for a long time, thinking all the pros and cons. First I would need to visit Karkaroff as soon as I get my body back and test for his loyalty. If I find him truly lacking, I will dismiss him and appoint someone I trust as Headmaster of Durmstrang. After that, I will lay all the necessary backgrounds like my 'old home' in Germany, my school life in Durmstrang, and with some tragic backstory that made me move away from Germany and settled where my 'supposed' father's house is."

"And your 'supposed' father happened to be me?"

Voldemort laughed, "No, Tom Riddle will be my uncle. My supposed grandfather is Morfin Gaunt, he fathered a son with a Pureblood Witch who moved away from Britain. That son is my father who married another Pureblood."

Tom nodded, "So you're going to be a Pureblood minus the daddy issues. What about your partner? Hadrianus's bearer?"

"Nagini."

Tom blinked, "Pardon?"

"Hadrianus's instinct has bonded with Nagini as her hatchling. And Nagini is doing a good job teaching him everything she can and raising him. So it will be better for everyone if I put the name of Nagini as my wife. At least I wouldn't have to tolerate some halfwit coward as my fake partner." Voldemort shrugged as they both looked out towards the garden where they can see a half mamba running and grinning being chased by his viper mum.

Tom hummed, looking distant as he processed all the information, "Make her your tragic backstory."

Voldemort blinked, looking back to his teenager counterpart, "Pardon?"

"You need a tragic backstory as to why you moved away from Germany. Nagini is a Maledictus as you described. She can't even betray you with the Horcrux link. You could spin a good story with it. Say you do not want to raise your son in a place where they cursed your 'wife'."

"That is an idea. I will think about it." Voldemort agreed as they looked out at them again. Few minutes were spent in silence before it broke by Bailey who popped in with news of dinner as they both missed lunch.

"Did Barty return?" He asked the Elf. Barty went to stage his father's death.

"Mister Barty had been not returned." Bailey replied, "Bailey being wanting to tell Master Dark Lord sir that Bailey and Winky will not join yous for dinner, Bailey will help Winky in grieving."

Voldemort nodded, "Don't talk about Crouch's death to Hadrianus." He warned.

Bailey nodded and popped back when he dismissed her. They looked back the exact moment to see Bailey popped in front of the child to inform him the same. Hadrianus looked confused, as they could see but he nodded anyway. It's actually better this way. With Barty and all the Elves busy, they can have their privacy for the much-needed conversation.

"Time to introduce you to Hadrianus."

Tom nodded, looking neutral with his mask but secretly thrilled at the prospect. Voldemort hides his smile when he felt his teenage counterpart's excitement oozing out through their soul link.

They went out in the garden where Bailey has prepared the dinner table as they all liked to eat their dinner together while enjoying the view of Sunset on the vast valleys. Voldemort kept an eye on the child Naga, so he watched the exact moment when the child noticed the new presence at their dinner table and went wide-eyed.

"Hello, Hadrianus." Tom said, smiling at the child, and raised his hands to shake, "I am Tom Riddle. I heard a lot about you."

"Hi," Hadrianus said, shaking his hand, a little confused as he stared at him, "You look like me. And you have my father's name." Ah, smart boy, he is.

"No,  you look like me," Tom smirked, amused. 

Hadrianus stared at him for few moments, before widening his big doe eyes even more, "Wait, you're a Piece of Cake like me, right?"

"What?" Tom blinked, gaping at him, "Piece of Cake? What do you mean?"

"Ahem," Voldemort coughed to hid his laughter, "He meant a piece of soul. According to him, I cut my soul like birthday cake." Voldemort grinned, looking at his son proudly. He is so smart at such young age. Look at him already understanding everything without even having to elaborate. "Yes, Hadrianus, he is a part of me. It was necessary to bring a part of me alive so I can bring my body back. He is basically me, as you can see. In few days we both will merge through a Ritual and become one."

Tom felt aghast, horrified, and amazed at being introduced as a ' piece of cake '. Did the main soul part honestly encourage him to say that?

"Oh." Hadrianus looked pensive, frowning at his empty plate. Voldemort clapped softly so the food appeared in front of them with the distant pop of House Elf magic. Tom pulled the plate of rare steak and kidney pie and sausage stew towards him and then went to serve him and Hadrianus as the child still looked thoughtful, processing the information. Voldemort accepted his bowl of soup.

"I have a question." Hadrianus suddenly said as Tom finished serving.

"What is it?"

"We both are a piece of soul cakes, right father?" Hadrianus asked Voldemort who nodded in answer. Hadrianus looked at Tom and asked.

"So you are my brother or father?"

Chapter Text

Barty slowly and carefully poured the measured amount of fennel seed burned on a charcoal tablet in the cauldron, before sprinkling a pinch full of the powdered rose quartz in it. He checked on the temperature again, making sure it is just the right amount of heat before nodding, satisfied, and glanced at his Lord who was checking the time on a small pocket watch.

"After exactly 8 and half minutes, you will need to add the 2ml of fresh raindrops (which was collected in the Full Moon), stir clockwise eleven times then add one anticlockwise stir then clockwise for another eleven times." 

Barty nodded, adjusting the timer on his wand before taking his seat beside the caldron making sure to keep careful eyes on it. "I transfigured his body into a femur and cremated it in the backyard of the house under a preservative charm, My Lord." Barty blurted out, keeping the bowl full of double terminated crystals on the table, "I overpowered the charm just to make sure it will last for a minimum a year or more, it will give us time to decide how to stage his death without the blame being on Death Eaters. I also have his assistant under Imperius, so that's a win, My Lord."

"You did well." Voldemort nodded, "This is a wise decision. We need to cover every aspect of our background before his death is discovered. When are you planning to take your revenge on your birth father?"

"My Lord," Barty gushed with stars in his eyes, "Thanks for sharing those cover-up secrets with me. I am going to have so much fun revealing them one by one after establishing my new identity. He won't be there to cover all his dirty deeds from the public anymore. Soon they will discover who is the real monster here. I can't believe how many innocent Wizards he imprisoned because either they had dark core or just were in the wrong place and wrong time."

Voldemort hummed, sighing, "People will always assume a Dark Wizard is the evil one unless we expose all these so-called good, light Wizards' misdeeds in the public. Anyway, who are you planning to be again?"

"Barthélemy Crouch. My own cousin, uncle's son, a squib. My 'father' left him somewhere in the Muggle World. I tracked him down and saw him working in a Muggle restaurant, he doesn't even remember his birth name. Another example of his splendid job which worked in my favor for once. Now no one alive knows about him anymore."

"This is perfect. You should go to the Gringotts and establish your new identity as soon as possible, you do not want anyone to link your arrival with his death."

"Yes My Lord. I have prepared everything. Homeschooled, has been traveling around the World to learn new Magic. I will go to Gringotts to establish my identity this evening, My Lord. Only if I didn't have to redo my OWLs, NEWTs, and masters as well. And they won't give me a report back on a date." Barty complained. The alarm rang, so Barty rushed to add the raindrops and stirred as required. Voldemort monitored everything carefully then nodded, pleased that the advanced healing potion for his new body is being brewed adequately.

"After exactly 3 minutes, a silver mist will start emerging. You will need to remove it from the heat and add the two frozen ashwinder eggs soaked overnight in dittany when it does. Then it needs to be cooled down for 52 hours before the next steps." Voldemort said without a second glance to the diary where he listed all the steps of the potion he invented for his Body Recreation with advanced healing. Barty murmured affirmative, adjusting his timer again.

"You could always say that you've lost your old ones in some accident while traveling." Voldemort offered, picking up their conversation where it was left behind. Unlike what people say, he has always liked to listen to his people's problems and offer help or advice when he can. He wasn't given the title 'Dark Lord' for just fun or show-off, he is always more than ready to fulfill all the responsibilities that come with it. And that included listening to his people's problems and taking care of them as well.

"Yes My Lord, I will do that." Barty mused, "Though I wish the Time-Turners could bring us back to present as well. It would have saved me a lot of troubles."

Voldemort's hand froze for a second when he heard his loyal's rambling, something flashing in his eyes. A wave of nostalgia that came with it brought up certain memories. And how they had affected his life majorly. "Who knows," He said musingly, smiling a little as he moved again to adjust the blanket on himself - the weather is starting to get colder with each night - winter is coming, "Maybe someone in near future will invent some ritual that will help you visit the past for a certain time."

Barty grins, looking at the cauldron and missed his Lord's little knowing and nostalgic smile, "Yes. Maybe someday someone will." He said thoughtfully, standing up ready to remove the cauldron from heat as the sliver mist started to pour from it like overflowing milk. After all, new theories and rituals are being invented every day. Who knows what they invent next?

": Tom? :"

Voldemort hummed at the giant serpent as it entered the potion lab, inspecting Barty as he added the ingredients being careful to not break the delicate ashwinder eggs.

" :Just a reminder that if you break my hatchling's leg, I will eat both of your legs.: "

Voldemort jolted a little at that, gaping at the murderous-looking viper incredulously. " :What?: " Voldemort demanded. " :Why I would break his leg without any reason? He is my son as well, in case you haven't noticed!:"

": Tell that to junior you. :" Nagini hissed, agitated and ready to kill someone, " :Junior you has created some dangerous-looking Muggle carriage with two wheels from the twigs, and now is teaching my hatchling how to ride it on his demand.: "

" :Muggle carriage with two wheels. ..:" Voldemort frowned, ": do you mean bicycle?: "

" :I don't know what it says. :" Nagini glowered petulantly, " :But it looks dangerous. If my hatchling is hurt because of you... :"

": Calm down, Nagini. :" Voldemort said, now amused but didn't dare smile, signaling Barty to let the cauldron be for the overnight, " :I am sure Junior me has made him wear a helmet, knee and elbow caps and added extra cushioning charm and has taken other proper safety measures beforehand. Hadrianus will be fine.: "

": That's exactly what he said.: " Nagini huffed.

": Well, maybe because he is me? :" Voldemort offered, unable to keep the amusement from his voice this time.

Nagini glowered when she smelled his amusement, " :What if my hatchling falls on a wrong angle? He is just a tiny little hatchling, his milk tooth hasn't even shed yet. Junior you shouldn't have listened to him, my hatchling doesn't know what is good for him yet. I will eat you if my hatchling gets hurt.: "

Voldemort let himself get engaged in folding his planner and other parchments, ready to retire to his own office and get some of his rune works done,  ":While I am sure Hadrianus won't get hurt, even if he does, be assured that junior me will be there to heal him. Stop overreacting to such foolish little things.: "

Apparently, Voldemort being not so concerned ticked Nagini off, " :So I am overreacting!: " Nagini said accusingly, " :And you won't stop with your stupid paperwork even if my little hatchling is dead. :" Nagini threw her great head back and released a wail of despair.

' Hold on...what? I never said that !' Voldemort thought, distressed, as he stared open-mouthed at the distraught huge viper with her mouth wide open, revealing all the venomous fangs and freaking wailing! It probably looked even more threatening to those who can't understand what is being said; for example, Barty, who looked ready to shit himself, or run off hiding his tail between his legs - or probably both.

Merlin.. mothers and their overprotective nature for their babies! He just can't  -

": Nagini,: " He said frantically, " :I am only working on bringing my body back, how I am going to take better care of you and your hatchling without my body?: "

" :He would need to stay alive for you to take care of him!: " Nagini released another series of wails, curling up around his chair not letting him move forward. Voldemort looked around helplessly, not knowing how to tell the anxious mother that he will be fine! It's just a bicycle! But even he had to agree that, to Nagini, who hadn't lived in the Muggle World unlike them, the bicycle might look unfamiliar and dangerous.

": Okay okay stop! :" Voldemort muttered, his own voice sounding unsettled and fretful as he tried to soothe the agitated mother viper, taking mental note on to never underestimate her concern for her son ever again, ": I will go and see him myself, Nagini. And I will stop them if it is as dangerous as you're saying.:"

Nagini paused and huffed, glaring at him murderously and expectant. Voldemort inwardly gulped, afraid of his own life from the agitated viper for the first time in his life. "Barty," He barked, looking back at the pale as white sheet wizard, "Take me to the garden. After that, you can go list all the runes and bring it to me to finalize."

"Yes My Lord."

          

            

          

            

    When they reached the garden, Voldemort was amazed to find Hadrianus was riding the transfigured bicycle rather expertly, circling Tom. The bicycle was adjusted to his height and Tom even made sure to add a nice bell which Hadrianus is ringing continuously as he paddled, looking as thrilled as one could be. And Tom, who was standing on the garden watching him like a hawk, grinning proudly at his little student.

Someone is a fast learner!

Voldemort threw Tom a jealous look. His teenage part has managed to get along with Hadrianus faster than he did. In fact, after bringing back Tom, Hadrianus didn't even come to him asking to learn new Magic or just reading new books while quietly sitting beside him. Tom has bribed the child with fun activities and thus stolen him from Voldemort. But that's okay. He will get him back along with every memory, as soon as he has a body of himself.

": Why are you not stopping them? :" Nagini asked, making him remember the reason they came here in the first place.

": He looks like he's having a rather fun time. Are you sure you want to become a killjoy and stop them? :"

Nagini narrowed her eyes, " :Don't forget he is still weak and recovering from those Muggles' care. I will let him have fun when he is healthy enough to not need to rest every now and then. :"

Okay, Voldemort had to agree that it's a more convenient point. He nodded in agreement and called for Bailey, asking her to bring them some afternoon snacks; knowing it's the only way he can stop the boys without them realizing what he's doing, at least until he can talk to them. Bailey popped in with a tray of fresh fruits and roasted nuts and prepared a table for them. The smell of food immediately caught the attention of the duo who hopped off their bicycles and raced towards them - just like he thought they would.

"Hi, mum! Hi father!" Hadrianus beamed, taking a seat beside him, "Bailey, Winky..join us?"

The Elves nodded and conjured a small chair for them, joining on his both side. 

"Where are Tit and Tat?" Hadrianus looked around.

"They bes on a mission, Master Harry," Bailey informed him.

Hadrianus nodded, knowing his father sends them on missions a lot. "I learned to ride a bicycle today. I wanted to learn it for a long time, you know. Everyone in the Private Drive had one and they used to ride them a lot." The child babbled.

"I see." Voldemort glanced at Tom who smirked behind his glass of juice, "Did you have fun?"

"Very." Hadrianus's thrilled grin was contagious. "I can teach Bailey and Winky too if you two want to learn?"

The Elves' eyes popped out, not really wanting to go anywhere near a muggle carriage. Voldemort took pity on them and changed the subject, "While I am sure they might want to learn later, I want you to make sure to be careful, you know you're still recovering." Voldemort looked at them pointedly, "And not to overdo any physical activity and exhaust yourself."

"Gaah, you're being such a control freak, Voldemort," Tom complained, realizing what he's talking about. After all, he is him.

Voldemort opened his mouth to counter Tom's words but stopped when Hadrianus instinctively said, "Yes?"

Everyone sitting around the table stopped, glancing at Hadrianus who was staring at Tom, expecting.

Huh? What was that?

" :Hatchling, :" Nagini said slowly, raising her head, " :You do know your name is not 'freak', right?: " Yeah, of course, the mother will understand her son better.

Hold on... WHAT? What did she just say?

"WHAT?" Tom shouted, being the more expressive one among the two of them. Voldemort just stared blankly, with a neutral mask on his face.

Oh yeah... How could he forget that? Healer Sharptooth did tell him all about their first meeting and how he believed his name to be 'Freak'. Voldemort clenched his hands at those words. He had punished all those who dared to call him by mean names. And he won't leave his son's abusers either. He WILL punish them. It's just a matter of time.

"Er..." Hadrianus scratched his head, red-faced, his eyes darting around the table like a doe, embarrassed. "Yeah, I forgot... just... reflexes... I guess..." he mumbled guiltily.

Reflexes?

Unknown to poor Hadrianus, his words didn't resolve the growing tension of the room at. All.

"Hadrianus," Voldemort spoke softly, giving Tom a warning glance; hiding his own rage that was boiling like a volcano, waiting to have erupted, "You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Come on now, eat this." Voldemort pushed the plate full of papaya cubes towards the child, taking a mental note to look for something to do with his psychological trauma after the prolonged abuse and his PTSD. The 'to do' list after getting his body back is rather growing rapidly.

"Yes, father," Hadrianus mumbled, picking up a small piece, looking still red-faced and distracted. He put the cube in his mouth. And then - 

"OW!"

Voldemort looked up at the child, alarmed at the painful exclamation; just in time to find him spit the slightly chewed orange-colored fruit out from his mouth which now has a red tint - blood, his half panicked mind provided - and a small tooth.

Voldemort blinked, making sure he is not seeing wrong - that his son really broke his tooth while chewing the SOFTEST FRUIT to exist- for Merlin's sake! He didn't even know that was possible before today!

" :Hatchling!: " Nagini looked at him, alarmed with the smell of blood as Hadrianus spit more into the plate. ":You're bleeding!: " She looked close to freaking out, not knowing what to do, how to help her hatchling.

"Master Harry!" The Elves duo was freaking out as well.

"Hadrianus," Voldemort reached out, along with Tom as soon as they both snapped back into reality. "Come on, open your mouth. Show me."

Hadrianus pressed his hands on his lips and shook his head. His eyes were wide with fear and tears glistening in the corner.

"Tom." Voldemort signaled him to proceed and take control, alternating between hating every second of how he couldn't even help his own son with his broken milk teeth and thankful that he brought Tom back.

"Hey, little Mamba," Tom stood from where he was sitting and approached the frightened child slowly, making sure his both hands are visible to him, his expression gentle, "You know we won't hurt or scold you, right? You did nothing wrong, it's a completely normal thing to happen. And we love you. Do you understand me? We love you, little Mamba. Don't be afraid of us."

Hadrianus was fidgeting on his seat, afraid that they will hit him - like Uncle Vernon did - for ruining their foods with his blood. But the smell of sympathy, worry, and kin in the air stopped him from bolting from the room. Hadrianus hesitated for few minutes, making sure Tom really has no intention to hurt him, then nodded slightly, allowing him to touch him. They are his family. His real family. They won't hurt him. They love him, as he loves them.

Tom smiled and knelt on one knee beside his chair, one hand on his shoulder patting reassuringly and the other on his knees, "Let me help you. Show me."

The raven let his hand fall from his mouth, letting his jaw go slack but didn't open his mouth wide enough.

Tom shook his head, disappointed "Open your mouth wider, little Mamba."

The youngest one sighed and pulled back his lips and unhinged lower jaw. The movement caused his mouth to open wider, letting his delicate fangs descent from the roof of his mouth. Tom lit his wand with one hand and tilted Hadrianus's mouth holding his chin and examined his red mouth still full of blood, carefully avoiding the delicate venomous fangs.

"Which one?" Voldemort asked.

"The upper left lateral incisor." Tom informed, "I am taking Hadrianus to help him clean up."

Voldemort hummed, letting Tom handle it. He had enough experience in the Orphanage to know what to do next. "Return after you're done."

Tom saluted him and ushered Hadrianus towards the bathroom. Voldemort glanced at still alarmed Nagini and the Elves duo staring at their retreating figures. "Do not fret. He will be fine. "

The Elves duo nodded, trusting their master. Nagini sighed, " :I know. But the smell of his blood almost made me lose it.: "

Voldemort hummed, looking at the Elves as they banish the blood from the table. "Wait, don't banish the tooth." Voldemort stopped them and summoned the small tooth, staring at it. Inwardly Voldemort agreed with her. The smell of the blood of one's son will freak out any parent, even if it's only from a broken milk tooth.

After hesitating a little, Voldemort conjured a small wooden box and put the baby tooth in there. His son's first milk tooth. Voldemort felt a bit thrilled at the prospect, the bitterness for missing out on his other firsts lessening a little. His first word, first crawling, first walking, first running. First smile, first toy, first tooth.. but that's okay. He can still have many of his first now. Just like today.

How long he had been lost in his thoughts he didn't know, but he did break out of the spell when he heard the sound of the approaching footsteps and Barty peeked outside, obviously searching for him. "My Lord," He said when their eyes met, "I have the list."

"Come, join us and show me."

Barty nodded and joined them at the table without batting an eyelash at the Elves, knowing Hadrianus likes to spend time with them and is too used to having meals with them. Voldemort accepted the parchment and looked through it as Barty grabbed an apple.

"Where are Little Prince and Junior Lord?" Barty wondered, glancing at the empty seats.

"Master Harry been broke his tooth. Junior Master took him to clean up." Winky informed him.

Barty frowned looking at them, then lit up after realizing what happened. "Oh!" He grinned, "I'd love to see him!"

As if summoned by his words, Hadrianus entered, followed by Tom. Voldemort looked up to find the preteen-teen duo coming outside in the garden with similar big smiles, chattering endlessly.

"Hey, Barty!" Hadrianus grinned, his missing teeth now prominent, looking even more adorable and hilarious as well.

"Little Prince!" Barty wiggled his eyebrow, "Heard the cat got your tooth?"

Voldemort snorted, eyes still on the parchment.

"Not cat, it's the tooth fairy!" Hadrianus exclaimed, "Father? Tom said tooth fairy will come to visit me here, as Dudley is not here anymore to steal her gifts. Do you think she will come? Can I meet with them?"

"The what now?" Barty was confused, looking between them. Not that he blames him for not knowing muggle stuff!

"The tooth fairy." Hadrianus looked at him, "You know, the one who takes your tooth and gives you either gifts or money in return?"

"I have never heard of them!" Barty frowned, "Is that even - "

Voldemort coughed a little, signaling Barty to shut up. Barty, instantly caught up with what's happening, coughed as well and hastily covered it up, "Er, of course, the tooth fairy.. they will come to give you gifts. What do they usually give again?"

"Sweets," Hadrianus tapped his chin, "Or toys. I saw Dudley getting five pounds from the tooth fairy as well. It depends on them, I guess. I am not sure." Hadrianus shrugged. "I want to meet them this time though. Do you think they will come, father?"

Everyone looked at Voldemort, Hadrianus with his hopeful ones, and Barty whose eyes were sparkling with mischief. Voldemort glanced at Tom who looked away pointedly, trying to cover his laughs and groaned inwardly. Tom had to teach him that? He could have told him that they are just stupid fairy tales of muggles! How is he going to bring some imaginary fairy for him to see?

Not that it's Hadrianus's fault. He himself told him that in this World fairies do exist.

Voldemort glanced at his son's big hopeful eyes and sighed, opting to choose not to break the child's heart. Just the image of upset Hadrianus did something funny to his chest and made a weird knot-like feeling in his stomach. He just can't do that! "Yes, they'll come. They are invisible creatures, so you won't see them even if you try to stay awake the whole night."

Hadrianus' face falls a little, but it was soon replaced with the excitement of having gifts from the tooth fairy. He grinned and hopped on the chair, swinging his legs, excited. Voldemort snorted and folded the parchment, while talking to Bailey, updating her about the change of diet for his son for the night.

"Okay, I have a question." Hadrianus suddenly spoke up, making both Voldemort and Tom go 'Oh no!' at that, knowing his questions usually are so odd that they usually don't have answers for them. "What does the tooth fairy do with all those teeth?" He asked.

Voldemort stared at him as he sipped on his soup slowly, his mind unsurprisingly going blank at the question. Barty looked thoughtful as well at that. But to his amazement, Tom was quick to answer him this time, "Put them into sets for old people."

Voldemort promptly choked on his soup.

Chapter Text

Hadrianus yawned, mumbling something incoherently before turning towards the other side hugging the spare pillow; when his hand touched something cold and metallic. Hadrianus frowned sleepily. What was that?

The child Naga blinked his eyes open, still sleepy, before removing the pillow and turning his head to look at what he touched in his sleep. That's when a few big shiny golden-colored coins caught his eyes. Huh?

Hadrianus patted the bedside nightstand for his glasses. But as soon as he touched the table, something falls from the bedside table. What was that? What's happening?

Frowning, Hadrianus sat up now, finding his glasses and put them on, then looked again before going wide eyes. There were gold coins..so many gold coins just beneath his pillow! There was - Hadrianus counted and gasped in surprise - ten gold coins! Ten galleons!

Tooth fairy really came to visit him last night?

He looked up from his pillow towards the bedside table and his eyes widened even more, if possible. The small table was probably magically expanded to hold multiple crates full of Bettie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Sugar Quills, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Chocoballs, Skeletal Sweets, Liquorice Wands, Blood Pops, Exploding Bonbons, Peppermint Toads, Fudge Flies, Fizzing Whizzbees, and several other strange things Hadrianus had never seen in his life.

What?

Hadrianus blinked multiple times, shook his head vigorously to make sure he is not dreaming. When he opened his eyes next time, the crates full of candies and the ten galleons were still there. Does that mean the tooth fairy really, really came for him last night?

Tom was right. His father was right. The tooth fairy really came.

"MUM!" He shouted, throwing the blanket away, "FATHER! TOM! LOOK!" He jumped from the bed, grabbing a fistful of candies in both hands. He can hear someone running already, coming towards the bedroom and the next second, Tom skidded to a halt inside the bedroom, Wand in hand looking around frantically.

"Tom!"

After making sure there's no immediate danger on Hadrianus, Tom turned to look at Hadrianus losing his absolute goddamn mind and jumping up and down like Kangaroo and eating.. was that a Sugar Quill?

"Er, Hadrianus?" He hesitantly asked, not quite believing what he is seeing. Where did he found candy at seven in the morning?

"You were right! The tooth fairy really came for me last night!"

Hadrianus grabbed his hand and dragged him towards his bed. Tom raised his eyebrows, coming forward to check what had made him so elated that had him screaming his lungs out. "Look!" Hadrianus pointed at the ten galleons beside his pillow, making Tom smile inwardly and lowered his wand. He remembers placing five galleons out of those last night after Hadrianus fall asleep, the other five must have come from Voldemort. But his smile dropped, Tom gaped when his eyes fall on the half a dozen crates of candies from Honeydukes. Few of the crates were even open, and Hadrianus is happily eating from them.

Right.

Tom sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, knowing Barty must bring that for him. It's not like he can stop the child from eating them, he never had any sweets before. He can't do that!

Tom shook his head fondly at the child's antics and sighed, then sent a mental reassuring signal to panicking Voldemort: 'Everything's fine, Hadrianus just woke up and noticed his tooth fairy gifts '. He can feel Voldemort significantly calm down after that, amused. He will get all the memories of Hadrianus' reaction after the merging ritual.

"Where is mum?" Hadrianus asked, finishing his Sugar Quills and going through a crate to pick a box of Bettie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.

"She needs milking for some venom, Barty is helping her." Tom looked at him, "Careful with those." Tom advised, taking a chocolate frog for himself, "Some might have weird flavors in them, like grass, wax, or sprouts. I even heard some had vomit flavor."

Hadrianus made a face at that and nodded, picking up a bean and take a big gulp of air. "This one smells like coffee."

"No, you shouldn't smell like that," Tom said, shaking his head and closing his mouth by his chin, "You need to open your mouth just a slither to taste the air."

Hadrianus' cheeks burned, remembering his father has already scolded him for this once and nodded. He nibbled the end of one bean and grinned broadly. Yeah, he now knows how to differentiate them. This one is coffee-flavored.

As Hadrianus was busy rummaging through the bag of Every Flavor Beans to try different flavors, he didn't notice Tom cursing mildly as the Chocolate Frog escaped his hand and landed right. At. His. Face.

Hadrianus' shriek echoed throughout the Manor the second time that day.

        

      

    

_____________________________________

              

      

          

"What's wrong?" Voldemort asked as Tom came hurriedly into his office. He went directly towards the potions shelf and started going through them, waving at him dismissively.

"Nothing. How's Nagini?"

"She's still healing." Voldemort glanced at her sleeping form beside him. Milking hurts and bruises a snake a lot. That's why he doesn't allow milking unless it's absolutely necessary. "How's Hadrianus?" He asked, remembering his screams.

"He is only feeling a little sick. He's fine."

"Sick?" Voldemort frowned, why he would scream then? "And why he is feeling sick?" He watched as Tom picked a few potions, "Tom, answer me."

"It's nothing, Voldemort. He ate a few candies and is now feeling a little sick and dizzy. He will be fine."

"Tom," Voldemort asked slowly, glancing at the clock, "Did you just let my child eat sweets at seven-thirty in the morning? The child Naga who can't stomach cooked food yet? Even before he had proper breakfast?"

"Technically, he started eating from seven.."

"Tom!"

"And I am taking the potions for him right now." Tom ducked just in time and rushed out of the door before the series of hexes and curses hit him.

          

                 

______________________

 

       

      

"Someone looks excited!"

Voldemort turned to find Tom watching him from the entrance of his office, and glowered at him. He might be excited yes, they just finished preparations of the rituals; but he is still angry at him for what he did before, "I will finally have my own body tomorrow after more than a half-decade, of course, I am excited." He said, sniffing imperiously.

Tom gave him a lopsided grin and knelt beside where he was sitting in the ritual room, "Yeah yeah, you deserve to be happy about this. I get it."

Voldemort didn't bother to reply to that, instead focused on Nagini who entered following Tom, ":Is he sleeping? :"

": Yes. :" Tom winced inwardly at her sharp tone, ": He finally crashed from the sugar rush. :"

Tom sighed, ": Give him 30 minutes more to recover, he will be fine. :"

" :Or he could have been fine from the moment he woke up if you just stopped him from consuming so many sweets at once. :" Nagini glowered, glaring at Junior Tom. " :One morning. I was not around  one  morning to watch over my hatchling and he managed to get sick, suffer a bad tummy ache, bounce around the whole manor, and wreaked havoc on the living room. :"

": In my defense ,:" Tom grinned guiltily, ": We hate the Manor. :"

Nagini and Voldemort both give him a look that tells him that was  not  a good defense.

Tom was irked and huffed at them, ": Hey, don't blame me. It was Hadrianus who told Barty that the tooth fairy gives sweets for a tooth.  You  could have told your lackey not to sneak past the whole shop of Honeydukes last night. :" The last part was aimed at Voldemort who looked affronted at that.

": Excuse me, :" he said indignantly, ": Who was the one to give him the idea of the tooth fairy? :"

": Are you blaming me for distracting him from being upset now? :" Tom demanded, standing up and aggravated.

" :Well, you could have used some different topic to distract him. :" Voldemort offered.

" :Well, I didn't see  you  do anything about it.: " Tom stomped his foot on the ground, both hands on each side of the hip. If Nagini had eyebrows, she would raise it at the dramatic display of anger.

": Silly boys, :" Nagini sighed, rolling her beady eyes, ": stop behaving like hatchlings, or I will ground you both .:"

": Excuse me? :" Both Tom sputtered together, offended at being called a hatchling. ": I am not a hatchling! :" 

": That's still up for debate. :" Nagini gave a very un-snake-like snort. 

Their jaw dropped together at that, ": No it's not.: "

": Is it? :" Nagini pretended to think, ": The last couple of hours beg to differ. :"

She could see the moment they realized it, widening their eyes. ": It was his idea .:" Both Toms pointed at each other. Technically, it was both of them come up with the ridiculous idea about how to deal with a Naga child under the sugar rush. Nagini rolled her eyes, muttering about 'stupid wizards' before turning towards the door to go check on her napping son.

Tom cleared his throat, looking everywhere but at Voldemort. "Are we performing the Fidelius Charm to conceal your looks today?"

Voldemort nodded, inwardly thankful for the topic change, "Yes. I have decided to that caster will be you, casting will be on me."

"And the secret keeper?"

"Hadrianus."

"Are you sure about it?"

Voldemort nodded, "It's better this way. I want to give him the choice to reveal the secret on his own. It's not like everyone knows Tom Marvolo Riddle is Lord Voldemort."

        

      

 

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The night of Samhain was rather cold. Especially in the open space like the cemetery, where Hadrianus was sitting down on the chair the Winky bought for him, his small legs folded with his knees upwards and his chin resting on his right knee, arms around his legs hugging himself; and the warm and fluffy comforter protecting him from the late-night chilly breeze. Hadrianus yawned tiredly, tilting his head looking upwards at the crescent-shaped Moon that he learned called as 'waning gibbous' phase. Most of the stars were covered with scattered clouds, but not enough to call the night 'cloudy'.

Hadrianus was half tempted to shift into his mamba form to admire his emerald scales under the Moonlight, but he resisted the temptation. It was a rather cold night, after all. He doesn't want to fall ill and interrupt his father's rebirth ritual. Speaking off the ritual...

Hadrianus let his eyes fall, blinking slowly as he watched Tom checking on every rune one last time and his father who was monitoring Barty and Wormtail from his wheelchair as they prepared the ritual circle. It was well past his bedtime. Even though his father made him take a long nap beforehand, the child was still tired. Mum fought against his presence for the ritual but deflated when his father told her his presence is needed. Hadrianus had been over the Moon when he realized his father needs his help for the rebirth ritual.

That's why he must not fall asleep! Father needs his blood for the ritual!

Hadrianus shook his head vigorously, trying to shoo away the drowsiness, catching the attention of Tom. "Hey little Mamba," He approached him and went on his knees to come at eye level with him, "We still have half an hour before midnight. You can take a nap if you want, I will wake you up when it is time."

"No!" Hadrianus yawned. Even though the offer is tempting, he wanted to see it all, "I want to see." He poked his hands out of the comforter, reaching out for him.

Tom smiled, taking his hands, "What's wrong, precious?" He asked, gently rubbing the back of the small hands, noticing the sad look on the young one's face.

"You will leave me," Hadrianus sniffed, looking down at their joined hands with a sad pout, "I thought you will stay with us."

Tom blinked, before a small smile spread on his lips, taking a quick glance behind where he can feel Voldemort's eyes on them, "Who said I will leave you? You will find me in your father, little one."

"But he won't have much time to play with me. Whom I will play with?"

"Oh Hadrianus," Tom sighed, tenderly cupping his cheek, "Yes you're right. Your father probably can not give you all the time, but I promise you, he will make time for you. Besides, you have your mum, and you will soon meet new friends."

Hadrianus made a face, "No, I don't want to meet with new friends. They're bullies. I want to play with  you ."

Tom's eyes darkened, remembering his times in Private Drive where he was continuously getting hurt by everyone. He won't let his son go through that again. He absolutely refused to let that happen. "Remember I taught you how to use Wand?" Hadrianus nodded, recalling those afternoons they spent when Tom taught him how to draw Wand from the holster and how to flick his wrist properly to cast a spell, "Good. First of all, always remember that you are Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin, Heir to Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Slytherin, and the child of the most powerful and talented wizard of the time. No one, I repeat,  no one  is allowed to badmouth you, let alone bully you. Soon, he will teach you more Magic, including how to protect yourself. If you ever find yourself in a dire situation that you do not like, you are allowed to defend yourself. Do you understand what I mean?"

"Yes," Hadrianus nodded, "If someone bullies me, I am allowed to protect myself."

"Yes." Tom said firmly, "Never let anyone walk all over you. Remember, no one will hurt you for defending yourself. Especially your father, he will  never  do that. He will always be with you. I will always be with you."

"But," Hadrianus frowned, "as you said, my father is the Dark Lord. What if he doesn't have time for me?"

Tom opened his mouth to protest but stopped when an idea formed in his mind. "Stay here," He said, turning and leaving for the house. Hadrianus watched him go, blinking, before looking back when he heard a sound, as though something heavy being dragged across the ground. 

Wormtail came within Hadrianus' range of vision, and Hadrianus saw the rat pushing a stone cauldron towards the ritual circle. It was full of the potions that Hadrianus knew his father and Barty brewed - slopping around - and it was larger than any cauldron Hadrianus had ever seen; a great stone belly large enough for a fully grown man to sit in.

"Stupid Wizard," He heard Barty sneered, "Do you not know how to use a simple floating charm?"

Wormtail wheezed, blinking owlishly at the realization. Barty rolled his eyes and flickered his Wand and the huge cauldron went in the middle of the rune circle.

"Here," Hadrianus blinked, looking up at Tom who came back with an old-looking black leather diary with 'T. M. Riddle' written on it with golden embedded curving - 45 years old, judging by the year imprinted on it. Hadrianus eagerly accepted the diary and opened it, sleepiness was long forgotten; only to find the whole diary is empty. He turned to the back cover of the book and saw the printed name of a variety store on Vauxhall Road, London. So his father brought it during his school days? But he never wrote in it.

Hadrianus looked up at Tom with a disappointed pout. Tom gave him a significant look and flicked his Wand on it. On the instant, the old look of the diary shimmered away, revealing its shiny new look, and the name 'T. M. Riddle' changed into 'M. S. Slytherin'.

Huh?

"That's your father's new name, Hadrianus. Marvolo Salazar Slytherin." Tom said and conjured a quill and inkpot, offering them to him, "Now write something on it."

Hadrianus blinked at him confused but accepted the quill and dipped it into the bottle the way he has seen his father did it. He was about to write on it using his quill for the first time when he noticed a drop of ink that he accidentally dropped with his unpracticed hand shone brightly on the paper for a second and then, as though it was being sucked into the page, vanished. Hadrianus looked at Tom excitedly - who was smiling softly and nodded, encouraging him.

Excited, Hadrianus wrote on it, " My name is Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin ."

He scrunched his nose up, not liking his poor handwriting in the quill. His fathers' writings were so elegant, beautiful, compared to that of his writings were chicken scrawls. Hadrianus made a mental note to practice writings more and more so he can also have neat and legible handwriting.

"Don't worry, he will teach you how to write with quill properly." Tom smiled at the child's dismay. Hadrianus nodded, looking at the diary where his writing shone, just like before - then vanished without a trace. Then, oozing back out of the page, in his very own ink, came words that he never wrote.

" Hello, my little one. Having fun with the diary? "

Hadrianus widened his eyes impossibly huge at the very familiar elegant calligraphy, before looking back where his father is sitting near the ritual circle and smiling softly at him. A huge grin broke on his face as he looked back at Tom who was smiling just as similarly.

"This is yours now, little Mamba." Tom flicked his wand on it again, "I have unlocked the wards of the diary. It has many security wards in it, including blood wards and antitheft. No one other than you will be able to use it or take it from you now. This diary is connected with our minds. So if you wish to talk to him anytime, you just have to write about it. Anytime."

"He won't be interrupted from his work if I do? Say, if he is middle of battle - "

"Do not worry, my precious." They looked back at Voldemort who answered him this time, "You won't interrupt me. Tom is right, you can use it anytime. I will answer you as soon as possible if I am busy." His eyes met with Tom's, "It's time."

Tom nodded, looking back at Hadrianus who has hugged the diary in his chest like his life is dependent on it. He smiled, rubbing his thumb on the cheeks of his adorable boy, "Come, little Mamba."

Hadrianus nodded and stood up from the warmth of his comforter.

"Little Prince, here," Barty gestured to a spot on the ritual circle beside the cauldron. Hadrianus nodded and took his place, still hugging the diary securely in his chest. Tom gave him a reassuring smile and gave a small kiss on his forehead.

The crackling flames beneath the cauldron giving him the much-needed warmth. The liquid in the cauldron seemed to heat very fast. The surface began to bubble. Steam was thickening, blurring the outline of Barty tending the fire. The whole surface of the water was alight with sparks now. It might have been encrusted with diamonds.

"It is ready, My Lord," Barty informed his father.

Hadrianus watched as Tom removed his own robes, then flicked his wand on his father, removing the blanket and the robes on him, and then took him in his arms.

"Eh," Hadrianus gulped, "what if it hurt you two?"

"Don't worry about it. We will see you soon." Tom grinned, before nodding at Voldemort. Voldemort nodded back. Tom took a deep breath, then levitated himself inside the cauldron while holding Voldemort securely in his arms. There was a hiss, and they vanished below the surface; Hadrianus heard Tom's body hit the bottom with a soft thud. Hadrianus swallowed hard, almost holding his own breath. He was worried for both of them, what if Tom and his father drown if they stayed under far longer than anyone could hold their breath?

' Please don't let either of them drown...' Hadrianus started to pray as his scar started to tickle more and more. He scratched his scar.

Barty raised his wand, closed his eyes, and spoke to the night. 

"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!"

The surface of a nearby grave cracked. Hadrianus watched curiously as a fine trickle of dust rose into the air at Barty's command and fell softly into the cauldron. The diamond surface of the water broke and hissed; it sent sparks in all directions and turned a vivid-looking blue. 

And now Wormtail was whimpering. Barty ignored him and pulled a long, thin, shining silver dagger from inside his cloak. Wormtail broke into petrified sobs. 

"Flesh of the servant, willingly given, you will revive your master."

Barty pulled Wormtail's stretched right hand out in front of him. The hand has a finger missing, Hadrianus noticed. As he was eagerly watching what Barty will do next, his mum's voice came from another side of the cauldron.

": Close your eyes, Hatchling .:"

Hadrianus blinked, pouting at his mum but deflated quickly under her stern look. Harry nodded obediently and covered his eyes with his hand and shut his eyes tightly, not wanting to question her judgment. But he peeked through one eye when he heard a sharp cry of Wormtail and the sound of something falling in the caldron as it bobbed more. Barty didn't spare Wormtail a second glance and turned towards Hadrianus.

"Little Prince."

Hadrianus let his hand fall on the side and stepped forth, fidgeting with anticipation. He is going to help his father now! Yay!

"Your hand please." Barty took out a small needle. "It will sting a little, but only for a second." He warned. Without hesitation, Hadrianus raised his hand with determination shining through his eyes. He has gone through much worse than just a needle prick injury. A corner of Barty's lip quirked in silent approval. With a quick move, Barty pricked his right ring finger and squeezed it on the cauldron.

"Blood of the equal, willingly sacrificed, you will resurrect your father."

The liquid within turned, instantly, a blinding white. The cauldron was simmering, sending its diamond sparks in all directions, so blindingly bright that it turned all else to velvety blackness. 

Hadrianus took his hand back, sucking on the small needle prick staring at the cauldron with anticipation, hugging the diary tightly with the other hand. Nothing happened...

And then, suddenly, the sparks emanating from the cauldron were extinguished. A surge of white steam billowed thickly from the cauldron instead, obliterating everything in front of Hadrianus, so that he couldn't see mum or Barty or anything but vapor hanging in the air... He felt a hand gripping him and pulling him backward. Barty. But he didn't pay attention to him.

' It's gone wrong ,' he panicked, frantically looking around, his breathing fast, ' Oh no... my father has drowned ...' Hadrianus felt his eyes burning as he prayed desperately, ' please... please don't be dead, father... I promise I will be good... please father...'

But then, through the mist in front of him, he saw, the potion inside the cauldron boiled more and more violently until it spilled over the sides and swallowed the cauldron whole.

' Please don't be dead, father... I'll be good ...  I promise ...'

Biting his lip so hard that he tasted blood, but Hadrianus ignored the sting as he watched with bated breath; a humanoid form took shape out of the rolling liquid. It became more solid by the passing seconds. Hadrianus narrowed his eyes to see the shape of the man that appeared, with wavy black hair and similar cheek and jaw lines and sharp nose - undoubtedly Tom Riddle - but much older than what he saw a few minutes before. He looks the age of... mid-thirty?

"Father!" Hadrianus rushed towards the still, naked figure lying down on the grass, followed closely by Nagini and Barty. Wormtail sat against a headstone, whimpering while he cradled his stump, but all three of them ignored him. While Hadrianus touched his father's bare shoulder, his scar reacted with a familiar slight tingle.

Yapp, definitely his father.

"My Lord." Barty summoned the black robe and spelled it onto his naked body, covering him then helped him stand up slowly. Hadrianus took a few tentative steps forward and then he looked up. And up. And up some more to finally meet the unique crimson red eyes of his father as he looked down at him with amusement dancing in his eyes.

"Hello, little one." Marvolo Salazar Slytherin greeted his star-struck child.

"Whoa!" Hadrianus blurted out without thinking, "You're so big."

Chapter Text

"Whoa!" Hadrianus blurted out without thinking, "You're so big."

Unsurprisingly enough, the sentence made the newly reborn The Dark Lord go momentarily blank. Yes, he is taller than most people, which is definitely an impressive trait to have - thanks to his natural genetics and some of the enhancement rituals that he performed. He had seen it in their admiring eyes. But not even his most bravest and strongest follower ever had the courage to point it out so bluntly in his face.

After a few moments, the gears of his brain finally kicked in. "And you're really small." He decided to inform him, briefly musing how indulgent and obliging he is being with his child. And he was not kidding! The child is so tiny that his head hardly reached up to his mid-thigh. And skinny. Very much so. Abnormally so. Marvolo narrowed his eyes as they traveled up and down the tiny frame of his incredibly small child, knowing he has no one but the Muggles and the Potters to thank for all the malnourishment his child received at their care. At his age, not even he was this skinny. And he had lived in the Muggle Orphanage during the war.

"I know," Hadrianus nodded with all the seriousness an eight-year-old could master, "but one day I will be as big as you."

Just simple words, as simple as the child's mind, yet it holds so much more behind such declaration. Yes, as The Dark Lord, Marvolo is used to being the exemplar and the mentor of many. But they were fully grown, adult Wizards. And none of his followers would bring their children near him, fearing his impatience and intolerance for rowdy and lousy people. The youngest mentee and follower he ever had was Barty, Regulus, and Severus, but they were seventeen when they became his Knights. Not an eight years old. And definitely not his son.

Son. His son.

Marvolo smiled softly as Hadrianus looked up at him with pure awe and adoration. Even if he knew for a long time that he will have him sooner or later, it still caught him off guard in the most unexpected, but much appreciated way. There is a weird feeling in the Dark Lord's chest as if he is about to puke. A warm and pleasant feeling that's constricting his chest and stomach. Ah! Feelings. The traitorous little troubles that he had shed long ago along with his soul pieces are now back. There are also some other types of feelings, and those he can recognize very well. The anger and possessiveness. The envious feeling whenever he breaths, smelling the mud-blood and the blood traitor in his son's blood. That needs to go.

Speaking off... "My Wand?"

"My Lord," Barty bowed low as he presents his loyal yew Wand to him. He accepted it, smiling softly at his faithful as he caressed his Wand.

"Thank you, Barty."

The way Barty's whole face lit up with reverence and gratitude, Marvolo knows the clever Wizard has realized the gratitude is not only for holding onto his Wand. Marvolo smiled back and give him a small appreciative nod, before turning towards the ritual circle. With multiple flicks and whirls of his Wand, he banished the cauldron along with the remaining ingredients and the used crystals into nothingness. He doesn't want to leave a clue behind that may give rise to any suspicion about what happened tonight. As he was checking for one last time, a sobbing and twitching heap that was Wormtail caught his attention. What a worthless sniveling rat.

"Wormtail, come here." He snapped. Wormtail half crawled, half stumbled until he sat in the grass before them.

"Worthless and traitorous as you are, still you helped me... and your master always rewards his helpers..."

Marvolo raised his wand and whirled it through the air. A streak of what looked like molten silver hung shining in the Wand's wake. Momentarily shapeless, it writhed and then formed itself into a gleaming replica of a human hand, bright as Moonlight, which soared downward and fixed itself upon Wormtail's bleeding wrist. Wormtail's sobbing stopped abruptly. His breathing harsh and ragged, he raised his head and stared in disbelief at the silver hand, now attached seamlessly to his arm, as though he was wearing a dazzling glove. He flexed the shining fingers, then, trembling, picked up a small twig on the ground and crushed it into powder.

"My Lord," he whispered. "Master... it is beautiful... thank you... thank you..."

Marvolo flicked his Wand one last time, and the bright silver color of the newly conjured hand changed to match his skin tone. Not necessarily needed, but he doesn't want to leave behind a single clue of what happened tonight. The least number of people who notice his missing hand, the better. He then pointed his Wand on the Dark Mark and poured his magic onto the Dark mark, making Wormtail wheeze and writhe in pain. Soon, the Mark fade back like it was before. Marvolo aimed his wand at his face.

" Obliviate. Wormtail, return to your mission at the ministry. Now." He barked. He had sent him to the Ministry to spy on the Minister Of Magic and learn the latest news of Wizarding World, given he currently has no followers to keep him up to date with the Ministry news. But he can't take chance if Wormtail is ever caught by the Aurors and spill everything under Veritaserum, including The Dark Lord's rebirth. Furthermore, he was inwardly glad for the silence, tired of hearing his high-pitched screams at random hours of the day for being the favorite chew toy of a certain Naga child.

"Yes, my Lord," Wormtail muttered in a daze and apparated away.

"Tit? Tat?"

The twin Elves appeared with a wide grin, letting him know the plan was successful before they even open their mouth.

"I take it the mission is successful?" He raised an eyebrow and they bobbed their head. Marvolo nodded, "Good."

"Tit and Tat - "

"Wanting to say that - "

"We's very happy - "

"Now Master Dark Lord sir is back - "

"In his old body."

Marvolo smirked and exchanged a glance with a broadly grinning Barty, "Glad to be back." Being bonded to him, the Elves didn't need to learn the secret of the Fidelius to remember how their master looked like. They'd learn it the moment their master knows.

Marvolo looked down when he felt a small tug in his robe. Hadrianus, clearly fighting to stay awake, hanging onto his robes while blinking slowly, his eyes unfocused. Marvolo hesitated, but only for a second before he picked the child up in his arms. It was unnerving to actually realize just how light the child is, but Marvolo is nothing if determined to make sure his son recovers fully from that. Hadrianus immediately curled up around him, his legs around his torso and arms around his shoulder, face buried in his neck, and his breathing even out within seconds.

Marvolo stared at that, amazed, wondering about his Naga instincts and how they came to trust him so easily.  This is his Prophesized enemy? The one whose instinct clearly considers him as a sanctuary to fall asleep upon?

Lady Fate has taken many things from him, but she has also gifted him so much. Most of the time, the gifts are never straightforward. Some were blessings disguised as a curse. And some he didn't even realize as blessings at first. So maybe this time, Lady Fate truly has gifted him with... a son. There are a lot of implications in that statement, it could mean a lot of things. So far, every father The Dark Lord had met was disappointing in some way. Maybe that's the whole point of this. The Dark Lord excels in everything he puts his mind to, so maybe this is a chance, a new challenge to ensure his legacy, the future of his kingdom, and the Wizarding World. And The Dark Lord has never backed off from a challenge.

" :Take him to his chamber, it's well past his bedtime. :" Nagini reminded him, taking him out from his inner musings. Marvolo hummed, turning towards the Manor with distaste. He wasn't joking when he said he hated the Manor. Or anything related to his Muggle parentage. And he is not coming back to this after tonight.

"Come, Barty. Let us retire for the night." 

"Yes My Lord."

He dismissed the Elves and padded towards the Manor with his sleeping son in his arms, with his faithful following him. They entered the Manor, Barty bided him good night and turned to retire in his own chamber, but stopped when his Lord called him.

"I've decided to go to investigate the Malfoys first thing tomorrow, then to the Gringotts. Will you join me for the later one as well Barty?" Marvolo asked, making sure his slight nervousness didn't affect his words. Generally, he doesn't bother with asking a question, just commanding his followers about whatever he needs. But this is different.

Barty, being a smart and clever Wizard immediately picked up the clue, a little confused as to why he is asking for his presence instead of commanding him. "Of course, My Lord," he bowed, "your wish is my command." Nagini was watching the conversation with mild curiosity, probably wondering the same.

"I know." Marvolo smiled and his eyes drifted towards his son in his arm. He adjusted the hold on him, making sure his head is properly rested on his shoulder so he won't be in pain when he wakes up in the morning. "It's just.." he cleared his throat, damn it! It sounded so easy in his head, but speaking the words out is truly difficult. In his defense, he never did this before! So cut him some slack! 

Barty waited patiently with a curious expression, letting him take his time. Marvolo took a deep breath and sighed, "I want to name you as my son's Godfather."

At first, Barty frowned, gaping, probably thinking he misheard his Lord. His master wants him to be his son's Godfather? Him? Little Prince's Godfather? Is his brain playing a trick with him?

"M-me? Godfather of Little Prince?" Barty squeaked out, his voice high pitched and eyes wide, when he realized he didn't mishear him, and his Lord is being completely serious.

"Yes. Consider it as a reward for your help in my resurrection." Marvolo looked at him amused, and maybe a little worried for possible rejection, "But if you don't want it - "

"YESS!" Barty practically shouted, throwing his arms in the air making his Wand sail across the room and landing dangerously close to the fireplace, but froze when little Hadrianus flinched at his outburst and stirred in his Lord's arms. Nagini hissed noticing him too. Barty widened his eyes and slapped his own mouth shut, not moving an inch and not even blinking, neither was Nagini or Marvolo as they were all frozen like a statue, looking at the child in anticipation. But, either the child was too tired, or he was too comfortable in his father's arms, so he continued to snooze, blissfully ignorant to the World.

"I am sorry!" Barty mouthed, his eyes wide, "Oh my God! I am Little Prince's Godfather!" He looked close to hyperventilating, turning into an interesting shade of pink and blue.

"Breath, Barty." Marvolo scolded the Wizard and summoned his Wand, amused as he kept chanting 'Oh my God' over and over.

": I think you broke him. :" Nagini commented dryly as she watched him.

": Yeah, he probably lost his sleep for tonight. :" Marvolo agreed. "Barty, go take rest." He commanded firmly, "Don't make me withdraw the offer."

"What? No!" Barty whisper yelled frantically, making sure not to disturb his would-be-Godson. Merlin's pants! He has a Godson now! "I am going to be the best and coolest Godfather ever!" Barty vowed. He will bring the whole World for his Little Prince. Maybe buy him a lifetime supply of Honeyduke's best chocolate? Or buy him the whole Honeydukes? Little Prince's reaction to finding only a few of them told him he will definitely love it. And he will absolutely spoil him rotten.

"Maybe, but please don't overwhelm the child with too many gifts or sweets. And definitely not dozens of crates of sweets every time." Marvolo warned. He definitely doesn't want the repetition of what happened yesterday, as amusing as it has been to watch Tom and Barty chase after a sugar-high Mamba to stop him from jumping from one furniture to other and throwing cushioning charm around to prevent him from breaking his limbs or being concussed. It made him wonder if his son had another hidden creature inheritance which he didn't realize is there: a monkey. A tornado would have made lesser chaos than him.

"But My Lord..." Barty started to pout. Someone clearly relished the mayhem his Little Prince caused after consuming the sweets that he gave.

"Though I wouldn't say no to books and teaching him anything you want..." Marvolo gave him a teasing smirk, "Except for the  Unforgivable ." That will be his call.

A wide grin slowly broke into Barty's face, his brain already geared up and listing everything he can teach him and every book he can buy him. Marvolo smirked and rolled his eyes fondly. Ravenclaws!

"Good night, Barty."

"Good night, My Lord," Barty said, giggling giddily. Marvolo shook his head, amused, and turned towards his private wings, Nagini closely following him.

": Did he know who will be the other Godparents? :"

Marvolo smirked, ": Let him swim in the clouds of nine for tonight. :"

Nagini gave a very un-snake-like huffy laugh, before nosing through the door of the bedroom and climbed on the bed. Marvolo following her, bending over the bed to put the child within her coils. He'd need to retire in his office and meditate to make sure his Magic and his inheritance are properly tuned with his new body. He tried to get the child to uncoil his limbs around him, but, to his consternation, Hadrianus whimpered and tightened his muscles every time he tried to put him down on the bed.

Okay, that was unexpected.

Marvolo ignored the Maledictus' snakey chuckle and cupped the small wrist near his neck gently trying to pry his hands off, his other hand rubbing his back soothingly, "Hadrianus? Lie down on the bed now, my precious. Let go of me."

Hadrianus let out a displeased sound and pressed his nose further into the crook of his father's neck. Marvolo sighed.

Great! Now how he's going to meditate with eight years old practically hanging from his neck?

        

              

______________________

     

           

 

Lucius Malfoy was having a great day. Waking up from long, and comforting sleep, his eight years old son Draco had been in such a good mood that he didn't even throw much of a tantrum demanding to punish the Elves, even when his favorite socks were a little wrinkled around the edge. After inhaling his breakfast, when Draco dashed outside to ride his broomsticks under the early November Sun, Lucius all but sighed in relief. Narcissa glanced at him amused and maybe a little relieved herself.

A happy child makes their parents happy.. he guessed. Though he doubts that his happiness will last long.

Lucius entered his private office to prepare the paperwork he would need for today at the Ministry. It was too early to leave, but keeping everything prepared beforehand never hurts. As Lucius was humming to himself while going through the Hogwarts governor portfolio to make sure everything is perfectly organized, Narcissa entered his office.

"Narcissa, my darling." Lucius nods in greetings as she took her seat beside him, folding the file on the table giving her full attention. He knows his dear wife wouldn't come to him at this time unless it is important.

"Lucius dear," Narcissa smiled with a hint of knowing look in the corner of her eyes, which immediately made Lucius cautious, "the last night's sleep was pretty amazing. Don't you think?"

"Yes, it was," Lucius said with a little frown, wondering where she's going, "Surprisingly enough, I do feel like adequately rested in a long time."

"Yes Lucius," Narcissa smirked with that look of hers which meant 'I know something you don't'. But given she is even more Slytherin than he could ever hope to be, it could be anything. "It felt like an enchanted one, isn't it?"

Lucius frowned at first, not really getting before the realization drawn to him. He widened his eyes ever so minutely and straighten up a little, making her smirk broadening. Unknown to most people, Narcissa has one of the rare creature inheritance: a siren. And being a siren, she is naturally sensitive to the Magic around her. Of course, she will be able to tell if they were enchanted. People think it was the Lord Malfoy they need to watch out for, Narcissa looking like a delicate and vulnerable Angel never intimidated them. But unknown to them, her Angelic beauty is her mask of a ruthless leader and mastermind hiding underneath, just like a siren.

"You think we have a security breach?" Lucius asked, bewildered and alarmed. Did someone play with Malfoy Wards? How come he never felt it? He is Lord Malfoy! But of course, they had been enchanted to sleep, so he'd never feel it. Did someone slip past all of the Malfoy Wards and Elves? As much impressive as that sounds, they better hope they won't get caught.

"I know we have," Narcissa looked at her hand playing with her wedding bracelet, "and if my assumption is correct, this is the second one in ten days. Last time I foolishly dismissed it, thinking I am just being paranoid. But this is too close to the last one to be a coincident, only ten days."

Lucius was torn between slapping himself inwardly for not realizing it or being thankful for having such a clever and Magic-sensitive wife. Narcissa continued.

"So I had the Elves thoroughly search the Manor to look for any clues this morning. Do you wish to know what I learned?"

"What is it, my dear?" Lucius's heart was hammering, thinking back to their hidden chamber full of Dark artifacts and relics. Thankfully, no one alive other than the three of them knows about it.

"The Dark Lord's diary is missing."

Lucius whipped his head so fast that his head almost spin, his face drained all his blood, and losing his composure. The Dark Lord's diary? Out of everything he had, the diary had to be stolen? The one he swore to protect with his life? But why?

"Narcissa, I - " Lucius's voice wavered, panic rising. Dear Lord, he can't relax for a single day, can he? Oh, Merlin, The Dark Lord will be pissed for losing it. Lucius will be lucky if they survive unscathed and not insane after what he will do to them if he ever finds out. And Lucius knows, no matter what the Wizarding World believes, The Dark Lord is not dead yet. He bears the proof in his hand. The Mark is faded yes, but not completely. This means he might be compromised now, but still surviving, waiting for an opportunity to rise again. And he will return. And Lucius will be dead if he ever asks for his diary. No one is even supposed to know about this. Only him, Narcissa, and The Dark Lord knew about it.

Is it Dumbledore? Anyone from the Order?

But why they will stop taking only the diary when he has a chamber full of other 'illegal' items? And how he is going to explain it to The Dark Lord? He will probably start throwing  Cruciatus before he even opens his mouth to defend himself. And he will be lucky if he stops only at him, leaving his son and wife unscathed.

Merlin! Draco! What does he do now? How he will save his child from The Dark Lord's wrath?

A small hand grabbed his own and squeezed them, grounding him with the warmth and the touch. A simple gesture of declaration 'I'm here ', enough to make Lucius calm down a little, feeling her firm presence ready to support him through the problems, and squeezed her hand back, tightening his Occlumency shields. Now is not the time to panic. They would need to find the diary and get it back before The Dark Lord rises again.

"What should I do?"

"Show me."

Lucius winced a little at the mention of his Dark Mark, remembering the hassles they had to go through to clear his name. He folded his sleeve neatly, making sure not to wrinkle it and they both looked at it. The Mark has not changed, it was still faded, just like it had been. Narcissa let out a small hum as she stared down at it as if it holds the answer to all of her questions. "I think maybe The Dark Lord sent someone to take it without telling us. Or maybe he did it himself. Didn't your grandfather Abraxas showed him everything about this Manor?"

"Yes, he did. But I don't think he will go such length to do so. He could just summon me and I would happily give it back to him."

Narcissa sighed and stood, "But now we can not tell what happened, so we must find it. But before that, our priority is the Wards. Check on them, Lucius."

Lucius agreed with her wife and as they were about to make their way towards the Ward-stone, one of their Elf popped in with news of a guest refusing to tell their name waiting to meet with Lord and Lady Malfoy. They exchanged looks before permitting them to enter. As the Elf disappeared, they went to the outer office where they receive guests and speak with them, both wondering the same. Who this could be? And why would they want to meet with Narcissa too?

Is it about the diary?

They took their place in the outer office room waiting for the Elf to arrive with the guest. Lucius glanced at Narcissa at the approaching footsteps and they tighten their shield, then both looked up together when the guest arrived.

Lucius felt all the blood left his face and he lost composure the second time that day as soon as his grey eyes met the unique and very familiar blood-red eyes and his Dark Mark flared with Magic.

The Dark Lord is back.

Chapter Text

Marvolo could have just entered the Malfoy Manor without the permission of the Lord, as he knows Abraxas has made sure his Magical signature is always welcomed into the Malfoy wards. But he didn't. After all, he has always relished in making the purebloods lose their composure since he was eleven. And the news of the arrival of their master, The Dark Lord who apparently belongs to the realm of death? Definitely worth the wait to watch the reaction first hand - Marvolo thought, sadistically amused and entertained by the way Lord Malfoy is staring ludicrously, pale as a white sheet, completely losing his composure. Especially when he sent a spark of Magic to his Dark Mark, so there is no mistake about his identity; even if they forgot how Lord Voldemort actually looked like behind the public snake façade. And without the Knight's robes and a mask covering his face, it was much easier to read him - which is exactly what he wanted. To actually see if the Malfoys are still loyal to the cause. Marvolo sniffed and narrowed his eyes suspiciously, is that guilt and fear in the air? Guilt for what exactly?

"M-my Lord!"

Lucius stumbled to stand from his seat and approached The Dark Lord on his knees and kissed his robes. "My Lord, y-you're back!"

"Lucius, my slippery friend," he whispered, not bothering to hide his dark amusement even though the anger and resentment he had been nurturing towards them is more pronounced, making Lucius flinch. Barty sneered at him, having grudges against him for being a coward; but he stayed silent, trusting his master to handle them. Marvolo smiled pleasantly, which didn't reach his cold and calculating red eyes, "I see you are all well. I am told that you have not renounced the old ways, though to the world you present a respectable face. Yet you never tried to find me, Lucius. You made sure to have a firm alliance with the current Minister, as much of waste of Magic he is... and hosting elegant parties concerning the Old Magic and the Dark Sect, but might not your energies have been better directed toward finding and aiding your master as well?" He chastised him.

"My Lord, I was constantly on the alert," came Lucius' trembling voice as he stood up on his feet and slowly backed away - as if he's afraid of making any sudden or wrong move - which might result in him end up on the floor, writhing in agony; the guilt and fear in the air getting stronger. And to be honest, if The Dark Lord didn't have half of his soul back, he would have crucio'd him. So he was right to be afraid of him. "Had there been any sign from you, any whisper of your whereabouts, I would have been at your side immediately, nothing could have prevented me - "

Marvolo hummed, before dismissing him and turned to look at Lady Malfoy who was standing few feet away and watching her husband's composure faux pas. Narcissa Malfoy née Black had always been calmer and cleverer than most of his Knights. He didn't Mark her as his follower as he needed her mostly for healing and other Rituals, where the presence of the Dark Mark might hinder her natural Magic flow. Also, Narcissa is more like a diplomat of his, an adviser, not a simpleton follower or frontline fighter even though he knows that she can kick their arrogant rears in one on one duel anytime. And he has always appreciated her for her sharp wits, intelligent mind, and Magical talent. As Narcissa caught his eyes, she bowed respectfully. Marvolo smiled at her, acknowledging her respect. "Narcissa," His voice was soft and warm, "how are you?"

"I am well, My Lord. And I am glad you are back in your optimal health and better stability." Ah, her sharp observations and sensitivity to Magic. How much he missed his true family. She smiled at him and turned towards Barty, "And Bartemius. I had been heartbroken to hear about your demise, but glad to hear that's not true."

Barty smirked, nodding his head at her, "Cissa." He has always liked her better than Lucius. She and her sister Bella has been his close friends since Hogwarts. Of course, the siren will recognize his Magical signature easily, "I go by the name Barthélemy now." he smirked.

"Barthélemy," Narcissa smirked back and nodded in approval, "That's why you transfigured your face," Barty smirked, but said nothing. His Lord had helped him permanently transfigure a few of his facial structures, like his nose, jawlines, and ears, and darkened his hair a few shades making him a brunet. Anyone who knew him before can not recognize him as the old Bartemius now, but his close cousin who looks a great deal like him.

Marvolo pulled out a few stacks of parchments from his pocket dimension. "There have been some recent developments which I wish to share with you. But before that, you would need to sign the secrecy contract, Narcissa."

Narcissa nodded, taking the parchments, and started to read them. It's not new for her to sign a secrecy contract for some of his covert operations. Besides, it might not be a piece of public knowledge, but Lady Malfoy is an excellent natural Healer. Her work in the medicinal field is unparalleled and she is used to consulting with other healers about serious cases under strict secrecy contracts.

"As for you, Lucius," He said and gently touched his follower's left forearm. With a whispered Parselspell, he poured his Magic in the Mark which will stop him from spilling anything to any other soul. It's a tricky little spell that he invented while he was still in Hogwarts. This way, he doesn't have to prepare a secrecy contract or extract a vow for every little secret or idea that he has shared with the elites. Lucius winced a little as the Mark flared and settled into his skin, lacing and binding with his Magic.

"My Lord," he bowed when Marvolo stepped back.

Marvolo accepted the signed contract from Narcissa and send it to back his pocket dimension. Narcissa put her blood quill away, looking solicitous and a little anxious. She knows it must be really important if the Dark Lord had set up the such a tight leash on the contract. She has been both amazed and horrified to read the severe consequences that will follow if she ever violated the contract.

"Master," Lucius took his attention before he opened his mouth, "We crave to know... we beg you to tell us... how you have achieved this... this miracle... how you managed to return to us..."

"Ah, what a story it is, Lucius," says The Dark Lord, "And it begins with a certain young boy." He watched as they both straighten up at that. Marvolo smiled, "You know, of course, that on Samhein in '81, a Potter brat has been declared as my downfall?"

"Jim Potter." Lucius spat. Barty sneered at the name.

Marvolo looked at them, amused, then shook his head. "Harry Potter."

"Pardon?" They gaped at him, including Barty who hasn't heard the full story yet.

"Harry Potter, the elder of the Potter twins. You surely remember there were three children declared as possible threats in the future according to the Prophecy? The Potter twins and the Longbottom. The Samhein night when I went to the Potters, it was Harry Potter, who's defensive Magic disabled me temporarily. Not Jim Potter - as they believe."

The stunned silence was deafening as they processed the new information, starting to have doubts concerning the veracity of the whole story they've heard in the rumors. Then it was Lucius who spoke up, "But, My Lord, there has been no words about Harry Potter since the night. It was as if he disappeared from the surface of the Earth."

"Oh he did, didn't he?" Marvolo smirked and they widened their eyes. Marvolo didn't comment further, letting them believe that he has killed Harry Potter. That the so-called real  'Saviour of Wizarding World' is no longer alive - which is true enough. Hadrianus is not Harry Potter anymore - has not been since he was almost two, and he will never stand against him, he will make sure of that.

Marvolo kept an eye on Barty, who surely recalled the incident where he learned Hadrianus was not his son in blood, and that his name was 'Harry' before he changed it. Barty widened his eyes comically huge as he connected the dots. After all, Hadrianus's previous looks resembled James Potter Sr greatly, even if he now looks nothing like that despicable Wizard. Marvolo smirked as Barty looked dizzy with the bombarda of information he just received and processed, before a slow but wide maddening grin broke into his face, realizing what has happened. Smart boy, Marvolo thinks fondly. Barty has already sworn a vow to him, so he knows his secret is safe with him.

"Now let us come to the topic that I wished to share with you," Marvolo changed the subject, "As I became  temporarily disabled , someone precious to me got hurt. As I was gone, he has left behind alone, in the  Muggle  world." He spat the word out, disgusted. "I hadn't shared with anyone about his existence before, not wanting him to get hurt if someone leaked it to the Order; but he still got hurt, as he was left without a guardian, bereft of any security. So now I am telling you about him, as I want some of my faithful to look after him when I am not around." Marvolo paused, observing them for any negative reaction, "He is my son and my Heir. Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin."

Narcissa widened her eyes minutely, before smiling, genuinely happy with the news. So did Lucius. After all, to the Pureblood society, children are blessings of Lady Magic. And if it is their master's son? He must be God sent! "When can we meet with Heir Slytherin, My Lord?" Narcissa gushed. She always had a soft spot for children. News of The Dark Lord's Heir getting hurt in Muggle World made her delicate form tremble in rage. No Wizarding child should be left alone in the Muggle World, not even if they are orphans and no magical guardian to claim them. Muggles are cruel to what they can not understand. That's why they had been trying to open a Magical Orphanage for a long time. Maybe they will succeed this time. "How old is he?"

"This afternoon, at Gringotts. Barty will take you there. Lucius' presence is not mandatory, I know you have to go to the Ministry, but I want you to be there, Narcissa," He said, then added, "I want you to be his Godmother. He is eight."

Narcissa grinned wide, bowing low, "I am honored to be chosen as The Dark Heir's Godmother." She has always wanted at least one more child after Draco, but unfortunately for them, they can't have it. Maybe Lady Fate finally blessed them, granting their wish? "May I know who are the other Godparents?"  and his bearer, she wished to add but didn't dare ask.

Marvolo glanced at Barty who was grinning and preening proudly, "I am. And you'll adore  Little Prince, Cissa. He is so smart and so kind, intelligent, and such a gentleman! He's just the perfect Prince of the Dark Sect!" Barty gushed.

"However," Marvolo spoke up, knowing Barty will keep rambling about his son for the whole day if he didn't stop him. Not that he doesn't agree with him, but he has other things to do today, "The other Godparents will be Bellatrix and the Head Goblin Healer Sharptooth." He has already sent a missive to the Goblin Healer stating his wish, to which the Healer has answered positively.

At the last name, the three of them gaped at him, blinking foolishly. Marvolo raised an eyebrow at them, daring them to question his judgment, which they obviously didn't. Marvolo ignored Barty's jealous pout and focused on Narcissa as she cleared her throat, "Sister Bella is in Azkaban, My Lord."

"I am aware." He nodded, "They will be released very soon."

Narcissa smiled at that, torn between being relieved for her sister and worried for her current mental state. After losing her unborn child during a fight with the Orders, Bellatrix had been in a delicate mental state. She was not even among the frontline warriors at the start of the war. The Order - namely Sirius Black, James Potter, and Frank Longbottom attacked her from behind, unprovoked, even after knowing she's pregnant; while she was on her way to a shop by herself. Bella did manage to get away somehow but her child succumbed to the injury along with her uterus. She has never been the same as before; raging and snarling to anyone if they dare approach her and begging to The Dark Lord to let her join in the frontline war to exact her revenge on them. Which she did, torturing the Longbottoms to insanity and almost killing Sirius Black and probably would have succeeded if Lily Potter and the wolf didn't intervene and saved his life. But even in her fit of rage, she didn't touch their infant baby, probably remembering her own.

And now, as a result, exposure to Dementors for more than half a decade. Narcissa will be surprised if she remained sane afterward. She will need prolonged medication and regular mind therapy which Narcissa knows Bellatrix will never follow through with even if her life is dependent on it. She is just  that  stubborn.

But if she has a proper motivation; for example - in this case, a child who needs her care and love - not any child but her  master's  child, Bellatrix will be sure to seek for cure from her to get better and follow through the regimen properly.

Tears of gratitude welled up in the corner of her eyes when she realized The Dark Lord decided Bella to be his son's Godmother so that she stays properly motivated to get well for her Godson. He shared his own child with the two women who longed for a child of their own - in her case, a second child; but can't have it. Narcissa blinked rapidly, trying to hold back her tears threatening to spill. "Thank you, My Lord." She bowed low, her heart filled with respect and gratitude for him. She would kiss his robes to express her regards for him, but she knows The Dark Lord wouldn't appreciate that from her. Unlike what the Light side likes to say, within his rule, women of the Dark side are held in high regard and never meant to be the ones to step on. People who abuse women are punished harshly here. Many changes had been done in the Pureblood laws to give women their freedoms and the right to choose a career and right partner and many others.

So she showed her respect by bowing low.

Lucius - unaware of his wife's mental situation, had a calculated gleam in his eyes, "My Lord, our son Draco is of the same age as The Dark Prince." He offered. He would never bring the topic of his son in front of him, but now The Dark Lord has a son himself, so it is best if his Heir makes a place in the favor list of The Dark Lord's Heir who is possibly still unclaimed by another Dark family - if what The Dark Lord saying is right.

"Yes he eight too, My Lord," Narcissa said, smiling broadly "Now Draco is Godbrother of our Little Prince, may I suggest a playdate between them on a later date?" Lucius inwardly winced at the mention of 'Godbrother', but didn't react outwardly. He meant it a different way, had been wishing to join Slytherin and Malfoy line for too long. Even his father wanted it as well. But he doesn't blame his wife. After all, he never dared to express his desire to anyone. Besides, they had been talking about Parkinson's daughter for Draco, not knowing they had an available young Slytherin Heir who can be more than a perfect partner for a Malfoy.

"Maybe someday in the future," Marvolo dismissed it. Lucius' reaction at the mention of 'Godbrother', however minute, didn't escape his notice. The Malfoys had been obsessed with him and his power from Abraxas' time, of course, they will be salivating at the news of an available powerful Wizard of Slytherin line. He blames their Veela genes for that. And he is never going to let his son bear the burdens of a conjugal restriction as he grows. When his son is all grown up and if he wishes for a partner by then, he will encourage him to find a deserving one on his own. And Marvolo will make sure to teach him his worth before that, even though he hardly believes there is anyone worth his son's attention.

"I have other plans now. As I've already mentioned, I do not wish to hide my son anymore, so I have created a different identity for myself. Marvolo Salazar Slytherin, Germany." Marvolo handed Lucius the file containing his plans about his background, "Lucius, go through this file and make sure everything is thoroughly and perfectly in order. I do not want anyone to find out any loose thread that might connect him to Lord Voldemort."  Or else remained unsaid.

"Yes My Lord," Lucius accepted the file.

"As you know I already have a house in Berlin, and the owner's name will change as soon as I change my name legally. After that, I will give you permission to arrange the house and make it look like Marvolo Salazar Slytherin with his family had been living there for years. The house is rather isolated from the crowd and near the countryside, so you do not have to worry about the possible neighbors."

"Yes My Lord."

"And fix an appointment with the German Minister Of Magic by this weekend, I need to speak to him privately."

"Of course, My Lord."

Marvolo nodded, satisfied for now, before glancing at Narcissa who was looking thoughtful. As she caught his eyes, she asked, "My Lord, can we share the information about your son with Draco?"

"You can tell him you have a new Godson, the Heir of Lord Slytherin, whom he will befriend in near future. But you will not tell him that Lord Slytherin is The Dark Lord. Nor that The Dark Lord has a son." Marvolo stated firmly, "Neither you can tell anyone the truth of Samhein '81, nor that The Dark Lord lives."

"Of course, My Lord," she bowed.

"My Lord..." Lucius hesitated, but continued when Marvolo nodded in encouragement, "What about... our goals?"

"I still adhere to that, Lucius. Clearly, the war made the common public turn against us. So this time, we will take over Britain by working behind the screen." Marvolo smirked, "Dumbledore and his Order will never know what hit them."

His faithful followers laughed loudly at that, thrilled at the prospect.

         

           

______________________________________

            

          

Marvolo knocked twice, before opening the wooden door to enter the bedroom, "Hadrianus, it's time to - " He paused, frowning when he found the room empty. How is that possible? He can feel his presence inside the room!

Marvolo entered fully, looking around to find Nagini curled up near the fireplace, giving him a significant look. Marvolo narrowed his eyes when suddenly a memory flashed before his eyes. A memory that belongs to him, but at the same time, not his.

     

      

***FLASHBACK***

      

         

"Now where is my little Mamba?" Tom asked as he wondered in the bedroom. His enhanced hearing can pick up the muffled giggles coming from the wardrobe, and a soft rustle of cloths. He can  feel  his presence inside the wardrobe. But he indulges the child. "Hmm, looks like the Heir of Slytherin is becoming more Slytherin day by day... I can't find him anywhere!" He complaints aloud.

More soft and muffled giggles escapes, Hadrianus is clearly trying to suppress it. Tom smiled, as he wandered near the bed, "Is he under the bed? Hmm, nope! I don't think so. Then let's see..."

           

       

***FLASHBACK ENDS***

        

        

Marvolo chuckled softly as he tucked his Wand in his holster and sauntered further into the room. He can already feel his presence coming from under the bed this time. He knows that if he plays along, indulging the child, Hadrianus will soon realize that his first-ever friend is truly not lost. That he is  still  here, inside his father - just like Tom promised him. And he will come to trust him even more. Besides, no one will ever know if the most feared and powerful Wizard of the time plays hide N seek with his eight years old child, right?

Who are they to judge him?

Nagini is looking at him, amusement dancing in her beady eyes that he recognized from being with her companion for decades. Marvolo rolled his eyes at her and looked around.

"Looks like my little Mamba is hiding from me..." Marvolo said, walking around the bed, "Now, where would he be?"

No one would have heard what his sensitive and enhanced hearing picked up. The soft sounds of a familiar muffled giggle. Marvolo smiled to himself, his heart spreading the warmth to his limbs as he played along, "Maybe he is inside the wardrobe?" He made a dramatic gesture to open the almost empty wardrobe and looked inside, taking a mental note to buy him a whole wardrobe before going to the Gringotts. More soft giggles escaped making his smile broaden as he closed it after picking out a warm cloak and a pair of socks and gloves.

"Nah, he is not here.." He put the neatly folded clothes on the bed, "then perhaps.."

Fast as a snake, Marvolo sneaked one hand under the bed and grabbed Hadrianus' tiny foot, drawing him from under the bed with a quick pull. The child screamed, delighted, as he is dragged across the floor.

"Boo," is all he says to the elated child as he looks up with a huge grin and claps enthusiastically.

"Again!" Hadrianus demanded, "Again!"

Marvolo smiled at him, kissing his forehead, "I'd love to play with you the whole day, Hadrianus, but remember you're meeting with Healer Sharptooth in the Gringotts today?"

Hadrianus lit up at the mention of the Goblin Healer and he nodded, thrilled at the prospect of meeting his favorite Goblin after weeks. He truly adores him. "We're going now?"

Marvolo nodded, "We will go to some shops first, then we will go meet with him."

"Okay." The child easily agrees and lets his father pull him on his feet. Hadrianus is excited, finally going out in the streets for the first time. He stood still as his father took the warm cloak and helped him put it on, along with a pair of warm socks and boots and a quick spell to fix his hair. After making sure his son is properly clothed, he produced a vial full of crystal blue liquid and twisted its cork open, before offering it to him. Hadrianus took the vial and drank the whole content in one breath, before licking his lips as he returned the empty vial to his father, "Tastes like peppermint. What was that?"

"This is a question you should have asked  before  you consume it." Marvolo smirked as his son's cheeks burned endearingly, "It's called calming draught, it will prevent you from shifting into your Naga form in public in case of distress if there is any, during the trip."

Hadrianus nodded, his face still warm, embarrassed as he watched his father casting a charm on his beautiful red eyes, making them darker - a shade that looked like maroon with a darker, brownish tinge.

"Come." Marvolo grabbed his small hand in his own and turned on his feet, apparating away.

As soon as they appeared in the Diagon Alley, Hadrianus grabbed his father's hand tightly, his head spinning, nauseous. He had forgotten how the apparition felt like. But obviously, his father didn't, who immediately knelt to his height and grabbed his both of his arm.

"My little one," he said softly, "You know what to do."

Hadrianus nodded, remembering Barty's advice as he closed his eyes and took deep breaths through his nose, and let it out through his mouth. After the sixth or seventh time, his stomach started to calm down, making his tensed shoulder relax within his father's hold.

"Good boy," His father praised and gave him a small bar of chocolate. Hadrianus beamed, taking it, and nibbled on the piece of chocolate as his father stood. "Come."

Now, aware that he is in a public place, Hadrianus looked around and widened his eyes, his heart starting to beat faster. Even though it was post-Samhein and the place wasn't much crowdy, but it still frightened him the way people are hurrying, pushing past them - thinking they must be coming to hurt him. He grabbed his father's legs with both hands and hide his face, frightened and seeking comfort from his father. Marvolo tries to nudge Hadrianus forward, but the child makes a displeased sound and pressed his face further in his legs. For a child with flighty instincts, who has never been outside much, the crowd of early winter Diagon Alley has understandably scared him - Marvolo mused and sighed, having expected it. That's what happens when you lock a child in a cupboard for his most of his life. And he is determined to correct it.

After debating a little, Marvolo casts notice-me-not and repellant charm on themselves and picks him up in his arms like he did last night. Hadrianus at first squeaked out, embarrassed at being carried like a child that he refuses to admit he is, and hid his face at his neck, believing he could cut out the World just like that. Last night, he was too sleepy to notice his father carrying him to bed.

But at least, the smell of Kin helped him calm down further. Without the calming draught running in his system, he probably would have hissed and snarled at whoever is coming within two feet of radius around him.

Knowing Hadrianus will calm down on his own, Marvolo strode purposefully towards the tailor shop of Occasion Alley where he prefers to buy his clothes. This is the only shop that provides creature-skin friendly clothes in Britain. Thanks to his long strides and the notice-me-not and repellant charm, he reached the shop in ten minutes. By that time, Hadrianus has calmed down enough to raise his face from his hiding place to look around curiously. And Marvolo knows, after a few more exposure to public places like this, Hadrianus will start getting used to it.

Marvolo canceled the charms before entering the Tabitha Tailoring and Textile shop which was thankfully mostly empty except for an elderly couple. Hadrianus started to squirm in his arm, so he let the child down, allowing him to roam and explore the shop. He went towards Lady Tabitha who smiled at him and welcomed him warmly even if she didn't recognize him. Tabitha has been a Dark sympathizer herself, and her son has been one of his marked followers. Marvolo positioned himself in such a way so he can keep his eyes on his son and also talk to her.

"Lady Tabitha," Marvolo smiled, briefly musing if he should let her in the secret of Fidelius, then decided against it. He doesn't want her to know The Dark Lord has a son. He glanced at his son who was standing mesmerized in front of the charmed mannequins preening and showing off their expensive clothes, before looking back at the shop owner, "I am Lord Slytherin. I would like to order a full wardrobe for my son, every season."

Hearing his title, both Tabitha and the elderly lady standing beside the counter gaped at him, their eyes widened, before Tabitha remembering her manners and smiled politely. This is what Marvolo wanted, to establish among the gossip of Britain that Slytherin house has a Lord and Heir now. As they got engaged in the conversation of the type of cotton for the clothing, Marvolo noticed from the corner of his eyes Hadrianus inching towards the self-measuring tapes that are measuring the elder man, his huge wonderstruck eyes following its automated movements. Curiously, the child reached out and poked the tape. But as soon as he did it, the tape turned at him abruptly and zeroed on him in such a way as if about to attack him.

Hadrianus let out a terrified squeak and immediately came running to him to hide behind the safety of his father's long legs and wrapped his hands around his legs. The calming draught in his system stopping him from shifting into his defensive Naga form.

Marvolo and Lady Tabitha had stopped talking when they heard his frightened yelps. Marvolo ran his hand on his son's head, "Hadrianus?" he asked, his voice warm and encouraging.

"There is a ghost in there, it tried to attack me." Hadrianus muffled yelled from where he had hidden his face and pointed towards the tape still measuring the old wizard who blinked.

Marvolo laughed along with the old witch and Lady Tabitha who canceled the charm and summoned the tape, "It's just a spelled tape, Heir Slytherin. Look."

Hadrianus peeked from behind his legs to look at the now docile and unmoving tape. Lady Tabitha smiled kindly and offered it to him, "See? It's just a spelled tape."

Hadrianus glanced at Marvolo who nodded in encouragement, before slowly raised a hand and tentatively poked the tape. When the tape stayed unmoving and docile on the desk, Hadrianus' young and frightened face broke into a grin with a pronounced dimple that makes him even more endearing.

The old witch cooed at him, even Lady Tabitha who looked awed, her heart melting at the delightfully sweet child, "You have an adorable son, Lord Slytherin."

Marvolo grinned, his own dimples showing and accepting the compliment as he watched his son slowly come out of his hiding place, now the fear is gone.

The old witch turned and fiddled with something inside her bags, before bringing out a soft plush toy and offered it to Hadrianus. "Here, a lovely child such as yourself needs a loyal companion." Hadrianus widened his eyes at the plush toy, looking at his father pleadingly who chuckled and nodded in encouragement. The child's grin widened as he accepted the toy and cuddled it in his chest, thanking her profusely, making her coo at him even more because of his natural charm.

Marvolo glanced at the toy, then did a double-take when he realized what is that.

A badger. A fucking  badger with a yellow and black scarf around its neck.

Marvolo groaned inwardly, wanting to bang his head on the nearby wall. His son, the Heir of  Slytherin's first-ever plush toy is a fucking  Hufflepuff symbol?

       

What is his life?

Chapter Text

After ordering a whole wardrobe including every season formal Wizarding outfits for him and his son, Marvolo set up the package to be sent via owl order and went out. Hadrianus didn't ask him where they are going next, quite happy to clutch his hand and talk to his new friend 'Mr. Puff' as they walk. Tom had told him badger is the symbol of Hufflepuff - one of the House in Hogwarts.

Marvolo kept an eye on his son, ready to pick him up at early signs of discomfort but the new toy holds all his attention for now. He used his distraction to cast a strong notice-me-not and repellant charm and ushered him towards the Knockturn Alley.

Usually, he would never bring his eight years old to where he's going, but Hadrianus needs a Wand to start practicing duels, even if he is planning to make him master his wandless Magic and hand-to-hand combat first, not wanting him to depend on his Wand for everything. And he knows his son is powerful and focused enough to control and command his Magic through his wish; with enough practice, he can do simple Wandless spells long before Hogwarts starts.

As much as he respected Garrick Ollivander's knowledge of Wand-lore, he also knows that Garrick had been keeping records of the Wand cores of Dark wizards, including his Knights and their children, for many years, and had been relaying that potentially battle-winning information to Dumbledore. To know a wizard's Wand core was to know his magical Core and to be better positioned to manipulate it, attack it or deplete it. Garrick should have been sworn to secrecy on this matter, it was a cornerstone of professionalism in the Wand-maker community - so his betrayal of this most fundamental of oaths was unfortunate.

That is exactly why he had been encouraging his Knights to not use Garrick's Wand.

There is another Wandmaker down in the Knockturn Alley. Lady Aurora might not be as popular as Garrick Ollivander to the common public because of her creature, but she is definitely more skilled and obviously more professional than Garrick, and being a near-immortal creature, she has centuries of experience up in her sleeve. And unlike Garrick's, she custom makes her Wands and makes sure to use their blood and Magic to bind the Wand to his Wizard completely, so they work even better than Garrick's Wands.

He has taken his own second Wand from her when he discovered her shop while working for Borgin and Burkes, even though he shows off his Ollivander's yew Wand in public to make sure Dumbledore never knows.

Maybe, as Marvolo Salazar Slytherin, he will use his second one as primary Wand? His yew one is rather famous, after all. But his second one, the Tigris with Basilisk scale core? That's the one he actually used while mostly performing Magical rituals which he does out of public eyes. And thanks to the heaven above he had put a charm on the Wand to portkey automatically to Slytherin Castle if ever compromised - which he knows it did on the Samhein night, he had to retrieve it when he was possessing Tom the other day.

As soon as he entered Knockturn Alley, he automatically became even more aware of the surroundings even if the charms on them ensured no one gave them a second glance. His hand holding his son's wrist securely as the child rambled onto his new toy companion as he cuddled it into his chest. Marvolo felt his lips involuntarily turning upwards as he listened to his son's one-sided monologues idly. What a chatty child!

"Hadrianus," He spoke quietly, standing in front of a shady-looking shop. Hearing his name, the child snapped his jaw shut and looked up at him with his wide otherworldly green eyes. Marvolo cast a privacy charm around them and on the shop to make sure no one will eavesdrop when they're inside. He tucked his Wand away and slowly rubbed his thumb on his son's chubby cheeks, looking quite serious, "The shop we're going in now, is owned by a  Vampire ." He stressed the word, "Do you remember reading about them?"

Hadrianus widened his eyes excitedly and bobbed his head. Marvolo sighed, realizing he took it as an adventurous challenge instead of a warning, where other children in his place would have almost pissed in their pants, "Good. Now, if you feel discomfort and wish to be away from the encounter, just let me know. Do you understand? You  do not  have to tolerate her presence if you do not like it."

Hadrianus tilted his head curiously, but still nodded in understanding, looking excited.

"Use your voice, little Mamba." He pressed down on her cheek.

"I will tell you if I don't like it here," Hadrianus repeated.

Marvolo nodded, taking a deep breath, and released him, focusing on tightening his Occlumency shield so he doesn't end up killing the Vampire if she ever looks at his son in a wrong way. A brass bell rang as he pushed the door open of the dark Wand-shop, blinking as he looked around. Nothing has changed in all those years. The same cold and moist temperature, same darkroom. Same feels of ancient magic in the air, the aura he had felt in Hogwarts, and later, in Slytherin Castle. Ah, how much he had missed this! Marvolo feels nostalgic at that. He will be home by tonight.

"Ah. What do we have here?"

A familiar silken voice interrupted his nostalgia. A sly smirk spread on his face as he closed the door and turned. There she is, coming out of where he knows is a library, looking not a day older than thirty in her dark and tempting gothic style dress robes, a stark contrast to her pale as white sheet skin, standing leaning against the counter table; but he knows she is at least nine centuries old.

"Do you realize where you've stumbled into, pretty boy?"

Marvolo smothered his snort at that. Pretty boy, indeed. "I know where I am, Aurora," He answers her. The Vampire had tried hard to become his bed partner while he was working in Borgin and Burkes, but he was never interested in any kind of intimacy with anyone, which apparently bruised her ego. But they did form a tentative acquaintanceship after that. She earned his grudging respect with her extensive knowledge of Wand-lore and Magical history, as well as her fighting skills. And Voldemort had satisfied her and her clan with enough victims from their war.

The Vampire blinked at his familiarity, raising her perfectly done eyebrow in surprise, "You know me?" She questioned, her eyes looking him up and down rather hungrily. Marvolo rolled his eyes inwardly, here we go. Vampires and their never-ending satiety for blood and sex. No wonder his Knights are dubious about taking their children to her. Even he was skeptical and hesitant to bring his child here.

"So is it business or pleasure?"

From the corner of his eyes, he noticed Hadrianus watching her with open curiosity. He was half tempted to remove his son from her field of vision and usher behind him, especially when the vampire turned her silver eyes on him. But to his surprise, Hadrianus didn't run for cover as he expected, he stared right back at her.

Huh? Curious. To actually think he was afraid of those simpleton commoners on the street. And now he's having a stare-down with a  Vampire ? Did he leave his self-preservation outside the shop?

He needs to train those Gryffinodor-ish impulses out from him.

Aurora raised an amused eyebrow at the small boy, silver eyes running on his whole body appreciatively, her desire even for his eight years old child is clear. Not that he can fault her. Vampires like young blood, especially if the said young people is pretty and has a Dark Magical core.

Marvolo sighed, taking deep breaths so he doesn't start experimenting whether the Killing Curse works on Vampires or not, reminding himself of the reason behind this visit and that their sexual and blood satiety is purely instinctual. Instead, he turned, placing himself between them, and went down on his knees to come at eye level as his son. The familiar Avada green eyes stared back at him.

"Hadrianus," He murmured, rubbing his thumb on his arm soothingly, "Can you share the secret with her?"

At first, Hadrianus looked confused, then he lit up realizing what is his father asking, and turned towards the woman, "Tom M. Riddle has pale skin, jet black wavy hair, and tall with dark eyes. In short, him." He just pointed at his father.

Lady Aurora gaped when she heard his name, staring blankly at them as she processed the information. She widened her pale silver eyes and whirled toward her old friend, a wide smile breaking in her blood-red lips. "Tom!" She bounced near him and pulled him in a hug as soon as he stood. "You're alive! I knew it!"

Marvolo smirked, patting her back awkwardly, "Not Tom anymore. Marvolo Salazar Slytherin."

"Suits you." She pulled back with a huge grin, "Have you been hiding all this time? Does that mean no war anymore?" She pouted. She and her other Vampire acquaintances enjoyed feasting on the victims of the war.

"I am working on other ideas to make sure no Vampires will starve in the future." Marvolo informed her amused, glancing at his son, "But for now, I am here for a Wand for my son."

"Son?" Aurora gaped, looking at the child holding a plush toy and still looking at her with his curious big eyes, unlike other children who would have run for hills if they ever caught a Vampire glancing their way, "He doesn't.. he doesn't smell like you! Besides, I thought... you said you were asexual?"

By the love for... "Is that what matters the most to you?" Marvolo deliberately avoided the first sentence, feeling disgusted and an amused exasperation as she gave him a look of betrayal. Was she really hoping to sleep with him still?  Honestly woman, control your urges !

Aurora blushed, before turning and ushered them towards the counter. "So, I am guessing news of The Dark Lord having a son is a big hush hush one?"

"Yes, it is a secret." Marvolo agreed, "However, feel free to spread the news of Lord Slytherin and his Heir seen in Diagon Alley. And I'd require an oath from you."

Aurora smirked and pressed her Wand on her heart, " I, Lady Aurora Smyth, swear on my Magic and Vampiric Inheritance that I would not share anything Marvolo Salazar Slytherin has shared with me today, without his explicit permission. So mote it be ." Magic crackled and snapped around them, accepting the terms. "Happy?"

Marvolo gave a single nod, satisfied. Aurora produced multiple trays containing Wand wood from the big wooden wardrobe behind the counter and arranged them on the counter, "Well, go ahead."

Marvolo gently kept his hand on his son's back and encouraged him to come forward, "Slowly run your hands on the woods, only hover, do not touch them," He advised, "And tell me when you feel a pull."

Hadrianus nodded, looking curiously at the five treys full of different kinds of wood, and rose his hand, letting it hover over them as his father asked. He started with one corner going anticlockwise, trying different woods on the treys but making sure not to touch them, as his father advised.

But to no avail. He didn't feel any 'pull' as his father described. He pulled his hand back, looking back at his father nervously. Lady Aurora shrugged and replaced the trays with other sets of trays from other shelves. He didn't feel anything in these sets as well.

After the fourth time, Hadrianus was starting to get worried, thinking there is no Wand for him. He looked at his father, panic rising. What if he truly has no suitable Wand wood?

His father looked back at him, his face set in an unreadable expression which he always keeps in public. But it was the pale Vampire lady who replied, "Tricky little Wizard you are, hmm?" She hummed, and took out another set of trays from the other shelf, "Try this one."

"Do not bother." Marvolo pushed the trays away. Hadrianus widened his eyes, glancing at his father, his fear and worry rising, thinking his father might be angry at him for not feeling the 'pull'. As he opened his mouth to beg his father to let him try one more time, determined to pick one even if he doesn't feel anything, Marvolo pointed his finger on the highest shelf behind her. "Bring them."

Aurora blinked when she realized what he's indicating, frowning looking back at him. "You do realize what kind are they, don't you?"

Marvolo only smirked in return. Aurora hesitated for a second, "Ah hell," she shrugged, "He's your son after all." She brought the two trays from that shelf. "Try these, Junior Lord."

Hadrianus slowly took his hand towards the tray and widened his eyes when he felt multiple pulls and his hand warming up. "Er," he looked up, his eyes wide, "It feels like all of them are pulling me."

"That's because your core is better suited for this type. Should have guessed," Aurora said, rolling her eyes at Marvolo's smug look, "Hover over every wood for at least three seconds and then tell me which pulls you the most. No rush, take your time."

Hadrianus took his time to compare each wood. Tom had explained to him before why different woods and different cores are necessary for Wands when he was teaching him about Wand. So he knows letting them choose him is best for casting spells and charms. As he brought his hand on the last wood at the corner, Hadrianus widened his eyes. The pull was strongest here. It almost felt like the wood is calling him, begging him to pick it up.

Hadrianus lowered his hand, about to touch the wood but his father's hand shot out, fast as a snake striking its prey, and caught his wrist. And Aurora, who immediately pulled the tray away from his reach with an alarmed shout, "NO!"

Hadrianus blinked owlishly, looking between his father and the Vampire who heaved a relieved sigh. Then he remembered their previous warning and his cheek burned. Lady Aurora glanced at the tray, then looked back at him, "That's the wood you felt the most pull for?"

"Yes." He nodded, wondering what is the fuss about as his father and the Vampire exchanged their looks. "I will need more blood than the usual, and it will need to be soaked overnight. So you'll get the Wand tomorrow." She warned him as he nodded solemnly, even though his eyes were lit with awe and pride. He had read and learned about Wand-lore enough to know the basics. Besides, he knows Aurora is an old and mature vampire, she has enough control over her bloodthirst to not misuse it. She is as professional as one could be when it comes to her business and Wand making.

"He would not give his blood today," Marvolo informed her. He would need to adopt him before that, "I just wanted to learn the type of Wand wood and core he is compatible with. I will bring two vials later and you will make him a Wand out of it."

"Very well." Aurora agreed and Marvolo noticed his son looking at them curiously.

"It's Manchineel wood." He explained, "Very dark and dangerous tree unless of course it is soaked and marinated in your blood. After the Wand is prepared, do not let anyone other than you and me touch it."

Hadrianus looked at him suspiciously, "What would happen if anyone other than us touches it?"

"They will die a rather painful death," Aurora replied this time, having replaced the woods with different kinds of cores now. Hadrianus noticed she brought the cores from the highest shelf as well, not bothering to go for the others.

"Die?" Hadrianus asked, alarmed.

"Yes."

"Is there any way to not let them die?"

Aurora looked at him, amused, "Don't let them touch it."

Hadrianus was still alarmed, looking at his father for confirmation biting his lips worriedly. Marvolo rescued the flesh from his teeth and ruffled his hair soothingly. "Do not fret, : Little Mamba :, I will buy you a second Wand before Hogwarts. And you'll keep this one in a blood-warded holster. So it will be safe."

Hadrianus nodded, and after encouragement from his father, he hovered his hand over the trays again and they soon found a suitable core for him.

"Dark phoenix feather." Aurora nodded, putting a glove on and picked the feather using small forceps, and kept it in a wooden box, "Noted. I will keep them aside. Bring me the blood and the Wand will be yours."

"Thank you." Marvolo canceled the privacy charm and ushered his son outside, before casting the notice-me-not and repellant charm again. "Now," He grabbed his son's wrist, making sure he's with him, "It's time for Gringotts."

As they made their way towards the Diagon Alley, Marvolo spoke up, mostly to keep his attention on him and not on the surrounding, "Hadrianus, in Gringotts, a lady will come to meet you, Narcissa Malfoy, née Black. Do not fret, she's nothing like the pathetic excuse of the woman that was your aunt."

Hearing him, Hadrianus looked thoughtful but nodded anyway, "Yes father."

"You will like her," Marvolo ran his fingers through his son's jet black hair with midnight blueish hue that reflects under the Sunshine - he can't get enough of how much similar they look, especially when he knew Hadrianus didn't change his hair to look like him, only a few facial features - as they entered the Diagon Alley, "She will become your Godmother and teach you everything about Wizarding Culture and Traditions and more."

"Oh," Hadrianus frowned, "Uh, what do I do?"

"Well, I would like it if you greet her properly, the way Tom has taught you." Tom, as per Voldemort's demand, gave him an overview of basic etiquettes and manners that every Pureblood will expect from him - because he is pureblood now. And he will receive further lessons from Narcissa. "She, Barty, Healer Sharptooth, and Bellatrix, another woman whom I'd introduce you with soon - they will look after you and play with you when I or your mother is not around."

"Okay," Hadrianus sounded doubtful, not believing an adult bar his parents would want to spend their time with him. Marvolo didn't answer him, knowing his distrust of adults is normal after what he experienced for most of his life. And he is determined to prove to him that not every adult wishes for his harm.

           

           

       

        As he expected, Gringotts was not much crowded at the time he chose, the morning rush has already ended. Marvolo strode purposefully inside with his son following him closely, his hand still securely held in his father's hand as he looked around with his big curious eyes. Marvolo remembered Hadrianus telling him that when he was out of the life-threatening situation, the Goblins transported him into Riddle Manor via an exclusive Floo Network that they set up for him. So he didn't know how the rest of the Gringotts looks like bar the healing room he was in.

All the Goblins in the Gringotts paused to give him a glance and almost invisible nod of acknowledgment to show their respect, knowing very well who just entered in the Gringotts. They have an uncanny ability to detect someone's Magical signature when they enter. Besides, the Goblins already know he has resurrected. Marvolo gave a single nod, his eyes swiping the whole area to let them know he meant the greetings for everyone, and they went back to their jobs.

"Good noon, Goblin Teller," He approached the nearest free counter. "May your coffers never be empty," Marvolo spoke confidently, "I am Lord Slytherin. I have an appointment with the Goblin King Silverhook which was scheduled in five minutes."

As soon as he said his name, almost every Wizard and Witch in the Gringotts stopped whatever they were doing to gape at him, surprised. Marvolo knows, by the time their business is finished, there would be reporters from Witch Weekly and maybe even the Daily Prophet - wishing to learn about the new Lord of one of the oldest Pureblood line of Sacred twenty-eight which they believed were gone. At least the presence of his son and Heir by his side will lessen the chance of receiving dozens of marriage proposals by the time this weekend.

"May your gold ever flow, Lord Slytherin," He said, ringing a bell, "Yes, Sir. And His Highness is waiting. Griphook will take you there."

Marvolo nodded and followed the other Goblin to the office of the Goblin King with Hadrianus in tow. Marvolo noticed there was an excited bounce in his son's steps as he followed his father to meet his favorite Goblin. He can't help but remember the last time he talked with the Healer a few weeks ago.

Healer Sharptooth, fearless as ever told him that he better get his body quickly, so he can appoint a mind healer for his charge; Little Harry was still traumatized by his previous abuse, his behavior in front of another grown-up adult proves how much so. He will need a mind healer, but his fear and distrust of any adult figure will majorly hamper the therapy. That's why he's waiting for him to get a body before he can appoint a mind healer for the child so he can be present at the time of therapy sessions.

Later he had replayed the conversation over and over in his mind, realizing this is indeed the truth. Barty is the only adult Hadrianus has met after everything happened, and look how long it took for him to warm up with him. The others are Goblins, Elves, a snake, and a teenager with his father's essence. And he had been a Homunculus until last night. And Wormtail doesn't count, given Nagini has introduced him as a prey, and his trust for his mother and Wormtail's resemblance to a rat helped his instincts accept it as such.

So Marvolo has instructed the Goblin Healer to find the best mind healer in the World for his son. They will undergo a combined consultation with the child therapist under an unbreakable vow of secrecy; he won't leave his son with a stranger for such a long time. No more he will be subjected to abuse at the hand of those who should have cared for him.

Soon they reached a rich mahogany door of the Goblin King's office. Griphook has informed The Goblin King of his arrival and left. So he entered the office with his son on tow.

"Well met, Your Highness," Marvolo nodded at him in greetings, "May your coffers always replenish." Unlike what the Light side likes to believe, he does pay proper respect where it is due. And he will never underestimate the nation which holds the economy of the Wizarding World under their claws. Give them the respect they deserve and they will do anything to ensure your gold triples in value. And they did. Goblins truly adore him, not only had they made him more money than he can fathom, but they also treated him with the same level of respect they received from him.

"Well met, The Darkest Lord," The Goblin King Sliverhook looked at him, his face giving nothing other than mild curiosity, "May all your enemies perish. Please take a seat."

Marvolo nodded and took the seat opposite The Goblin King. He was secretly pleased to find there was another seat for his son, which means Hadrianus is already in their good books enough to acknowledge him as an individual.

"If I have to be honest, I was surprised by your request, The Darkest Lord," Goblin King Silverhook said, pushing his glasses on his nose with his pointy fingers, "It is highly unusual to appoint a Goblin as a Wizard's parent figure."

"Well," Marvolo smirked, "It's not just  any  Goblin, is it? Neither is my son just a Wizard. Being a different species than a human stopped neither me nor my son from befriending others and hold the deserving in high regard. And I know he has deep respect and affection for Healer Sharptooth, and as much as he prefers to deny it, I know Healer Sharptooth feels the same about his charge. I just wish to make it official."

The King's lips quirked just a little to show his amusement, but that's enough for Marvolo to know he has won his approval. After all, the King can feel he really meant what he said. Silverhook rang a bell and barked at the Goblin to ready an office and bring Healer Sharptooth there. If he noticed the way the youngest one perked up and sit up straight, he didn't mention it.

"Am I to believe that you will remain in Britain then?" Silverhook enquired as they waited.

Marvolo shook his head, his own lips quirking, "No, I will be back to Slytherin castle."

The Goblin King peered at him, "You do realize that the Castle falls under the State of Hawaii? You will become a citizen of the United States, and your son will be registered for the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry of United States."

"Oh, I know that," Marvolo smirked, "And I informed about my residence in the Slytherin Castle to my  friend  here. As your  client , you will be happy to know my official home address will be the Slytherin Manor in Northern Ireland that I brought two decades ago." Not everyone has the privilege of being called The Dark Lord's friend, neither many can have the honor of being 'friend of Goblins'.

Sliverhook laughed at that with sadistic glee. This is one of the reasons the Light Lord never found his hide-out. Voldemort was, after all, not a citizen of Great Britain. Soon the Goblin came back with news of the room was ready and Sharptooth is waiting there.

Marvolo stood and gave a respectful nod to him and Silverhook nodded back. He was secretly pleased when the amused King acknowledged his son's greetings as well. They made a beeline for the office next door where Goblin Ironclaw is preparing for adoption, and Head Healer is seated beside him. They nodded and greeted him as he entered, Marvolo greeted them back, as well Hadrianus who lit up when he finally found his favorite Goblin, much to their amusement.

"Here," Goblin Ironclaw kept a file full of parchment in front of them as soon as they took their seat, "This file is regarding your legal name change as you requested. After that, you will need to reclaim the Lordship of Slytherin and then you can adopt young Hadrianus and change his name as well. You will need to sign with the blood quill."

"Thank you." Marvolo accepted the all file and scanned them quickly, making sure everything is in order before signing wherever needed. Thankfully he had booked the office for long hours so they do not need to hurry. He also guided Hadrianus about how to sign the file on his name change. Thankfully, the blood pact was more important than their signature, so Hadrianus' displeasure at his poor handwriting was soothed when they explained it to him. Marvolo named Hadrianus as his Heir as soon as everything was done. Healer Sharptooth accepted his responsibilities as Hadrianus' Godfather, almost choking on air looking mystified when Hadrianus asked him  innocently , "Does that mean I can call you Gobfather?"

To check if everything is in order, Marvolo suggested a blood inheritance test which they agreed and took the result reading through them.

Name  : Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin ( Potter by birth, DISINHERITED )

Status  : Wizard, Alive

Blood Status  : Pure blood ( Half-blood, By birth )

Familiar  : Unknown

Magical Core  : Dark

Magical ability  : Metamorphmagus

Creature  : Naga

Birth Family  : ( DISINHERITATED )

 

Birth Father  : James Fleamont Potter (Alive)

Birth Mother  : Lily Potter, née Evans (Alive)

Birth Twin  : James Charlus Potter Jr. (Alive, Male)

   

Adoptive Family  :

 

Adoptive Father  : Marvolo Salazar Slytherin (Alive)

Adoptive Mother  : Nagini Everard (Alive,  Maledictus )

Godfather(s)  : • Barthélemy Thomas Crouch (Alive) [ Confirmation : Pending]

• Healer Lord Sharptooth (Alive, Goblin)

Godmother(s)  : • Narcissa Druella Malfoy, née Black (Alive) [ Confirmation : Pending ]

• Bellatrix Irma Lestrange née Black (Alive, compromised) [ Confirmation : Pending ]

          

Inheritance  :

 

Heir to -

Slytherin

Gaunt

Riddle

Everard

Peverell

Crouch ( Godparental - confirmation pending)

Lestrange ( Godparental - confirmation pending )

Black ( Godparental, second in line - confirmation pending)

Malfoy ( Godparental, second in line - confirmation pending )

Potter ( disinherited )

Gryffindor ( disinherited )

       

   

Marvolo sneered at the names of the 'birth parents', well, that will change very soon.

"Darkest Lord," Sharptooth's voice rang, taking his attention from the inheritance test parchment, "Before we prepare for the Blood Adoption Ritual as you requested, I have something to tell you. Generally, we wouldn't bother, but I have agreed to become young Hadrianus' Godfather. And by the right of a Godfather, I have a recommendation for you." Marvolo frowned and nodded at him in encouragement, so he continued, "I suggest you leave it at only legal adoption, as the Blood Adoption Ritual will clean the blood of his birth parents, it will make your son lose the Metamorphmagus ability along with the Black blood."

If Marvolo was any lesser man with no control, he would have lost his composure and gaped at them. He hated the smell of undeserving people in his blood with passion and will go to any length to clean that from  his  son's blood. But, if the payment of losing that disgusting smell is the loss of his ability?

       

What would he do now?

Chapter Text

The moment Narcissa saw The Dark Lord in a new body, standing well and tall, she knew she had found answers to all her questions. After all, they had been under strict secrecy vow and contract about the diary, they can not reveal the information to anyone. Only The Dark Lord can. Which means the diary went back to where it belongs.

Narcissa wanted to scoff at Lucius's dramatic declaration of loyalty. Obviously, The Dark Lord didn't find it enough in him to confirm the fate of the diary. She had been raised surrounded by loyal and devoted people of the Dark Sect, especially Aunt Walburga, Uncle Orion, and her parents, Cygnus and Druella Black. She knows how the loyal people are treated by The Dark Lord, after all.

When The Dark Lord demanded another secrecy contract which he had prepared before coming, Narcissa was not surprised at all. What surprised her was the consequences of the violation stated in the contract. She is used to seeing the consequences being the cost of her  Magic and sometimes her life.

Never her son's magic and life.

It had put her on edge immediately. What exactly had happened? What made The Dark Lord prepare a contract holding such a severe consequence? Not that she will ever violate it. She was so anxious and worried, she didn't even care if some of her uneasiness dripped out from her mask. Why would he deliberately bring their only child and Heir into this?

And then she knew exactly why. For his son.

Narcissa didn't know if she should be surprised or upset that they didn't have any knowledge of their Lord's son, but she understood. The child is the same age as Draco, which means they had been at war at the time of his birth. And The Dark Lord will do everything in his power to keep his son and identification of his bearer a secret, especially when Dumbledore's precious Order has already proved that they held no mercy for children and pregnant people of The Dark side.

She understood his dilemma, she truly did. After all, they did something same like that for Draco as well, until the war ended so abruptly that they all left confused. What she didn't understand was, if Little Prince was truly secured by The Dark Lord himself, why would he end up at the hand of Muggles?

Unless...unless whatever Ward that secured the house were linked directly to The Dark Lord; for example Fidelius charm, and fallen the moment The Dark Lord was compromised. And then some Muggle may have stumbled into the house and found the child, probably crying, afraid and hungry, calling out for his father. Her heart constricted painfully at that.

But The Dark Lord has Elves and more than few fiercely loyal servants. Why he didn't appoint them for Little Prince? Besides, there had to be some muggle repellant and other charms which were supposed to connect to the Ward stone. They are the basic security charm of any Wizarding house! A mere muggle can not just stumble into a Wizarding house even in absence of the Lord!

Unless... unless The Dark Lord was raising his son in Muggle World in Muggle way? Which is something she knew will never happen!

But nothing else makes any sense! What in Merlin's name had happened?

"Whatever you're thinking, Cissa is probably something our master doesn't want you to think about." Barthélemy's dry voice interrupted her musings. Narcissa hums, nursing her cup of tea before taking a sip.

"It's just..." She sighs, "I do not understand how a  Muggle  could find Little Prince and hurt him when not a single Wizard knew anything about him?"

At that, Barthélemy's cheery expression morphed into something dark and grim. With a deep scowl, he kept his teacup on the tea table in front of them in the living room where they transferred after Lucius left for Ministry. "I have a theory." He said, voice full of hidden rage and frustration - which she understood. "And it's probably closest to what had happened."

"Which is?" Narcissa leaned in, curious.

"The champion of Muggles and Mud-bloods. Dumbledore ." He spat the name out with ferocity and venom, "He probably found out about Little Prince and decided he would be safest in the hands of the foulest and cruel creature known as the Muggles ."

"That," Narcissa blinks, her heart clenching painfully, knowing very well Dumbledore  can  do something like that, "makes a lot more sense."

"I reckon that is exactly what had happened. And Cissa, you didn't see how Little Prince was when I first saw him. He was pale like a ghost, sickly looking and beaten down. The Goblin Healer master told you about? He was under his exclusive care. That Goblin examined him and theorized that Magic brought out his inheritance early to save his life, but did you know, even the inheritance was not enough for our Little Prince's malnourished and gaunt body? I hear the Goblin Healers fought for almost three weeks to keep him alive, and then kept another week in the Healing room under a Healing coma before he woke up. Little Prince didn't even know Magic existed before that."

Narcissa had her trembling hand pressed in her gaping mouth, shocked and horrified. The thought of her Draco being in the same position made her intensely sick as she listened to Barthélemy listed everything Little Prince had gone through. No wonder The Dark Lord put them under such a tight leash. If what she learned is right, then Little Prince has started with his healing weeks before Barty saw him. And he was still sickly pale even after consuming Goblin made healing potions for weeks? She doesn't want to realize what that means. But she does.

"How did he survive?" She whispered. If her voice broke at the last word, Barty ignored it.

"I believe the answer would be because he lives to exceed everyone's expectation, even without trying," He shrugged.

"Please excuse me," Narcissa manages to choke out before she stumbled into the nearest washroom somehow keeping her dignity and emptied her stomach, heaving, and retching heavily, her vision blurred with the tears steadily pooling in her eyes.

But when she finally emerged from the bathroom, none of her previous emotions were visible on her face. Nothing, other than a fire of determination. "When are we due in Gringotts?" She demanded, her voice hoarse from the cry and harsh retching yet firm, focused, and full of purpose, "Let us go early. I wish to see my Godson. I don't care if our Lord  Crucio 's me for that."

Barthélemy smirked.

               

       

        Narcissa, along with Barthélemy marched purposefully inside the Gringotts, following the Goblin who led them towards the Office where currently The Dark Lord with Little Prince - her Godson - is conversing with the Goblins already - two hours before their scheduled meeting. About what? Merlin knows. But she was not interested in that. She was interested in meeting with her Godson.

What if he doesn't like her?
What if he deems her unworthy?
What if he doesn't wish to learn from her?
What if she hurt him even more than he has been hurt?
And that hurt her more than The Dark Lord's crucio could ever hurt her.

Merlin.. it's even more difficult than when she first held Draco in her arms. Probably because Barthélemy has already warned her that he will be wary of her, as any adult figure he met before had only hurt him. And Narcissa understood that more than anyone, already acquainted with people with trauma and PTSD. Which made this situation even worse.

This is not how she wanted to meet The Dark Lord's son - her Godson. But this is the best she can get out of it - and she is determined to make it even better. She will win her Godson's approval - whatever it takes.

They entered the Office room after Goblins had informed the people inside the news of their arrival. Narcissa stilled herself and took a deep breath, letting it out, then entered following Barthélemy. Four pairs of eyes settled on them as soon as they set foot inside. The Dark Lord and a young boy conversing among themselves, sitting on the comfortable-looking lounge chair in front of a couple of Goblin, lots of official parchment and files between them on the desk.

"Barty, Narcissa," Their Master's surprised voice rang, "You are early."

"My Lord," Barty bowed. "I hope we're not intruding." Narcissa tensed up a little, expecting a crucio, ignoring the Goblins beginning to organize all the parchments in a thick folder as they bowed before him.

But to her surprise, The Dark Lord, in place of crucioing them, looked back at the Goblins, "We will inform you later of our decision. As they have arrived already, I believe it's better if their ceremony is done with as well."

One of the Goblin nodded and started to arrange paperwork regarding it. The other one must be Healer Sharptooth, - Little Prince's other Godfather, who is giving him a judgmental sneering look as if they're a speck of dirt he found in his shoe. Honestly, Narcissa doesn't understand why would The Dark Lord choose a Goblin as Little Prince's Godfather. But she knows better than to question his decision.

Speaking of Little Prince...

Narcissa's eager eyes found the youngest one, sitting on the huge chair that was too big for his small frame - in between The Dark Lord and Healer Sharptooth, and watching her. The child was beautiful with striking, aristocratic features. Noticeably smaller than an average eight years old was supposed to be, and way thinner - like Barty told her. Lightly tanned skin, long ebony eyelashes framing his big jewels eyes that glowed behind the oversized glasses, so big for his small delicate face yet so perfectly placed. And those eyes... Narcissa's breath almost caught in her throat as their eyes met. Every one of the Dark Sect knows the exact shade of Killing Curse eyes.

' Merlin help me ...' Narcissa thought with a shocked inhale. How can Barthélemy forget to mention that? A glance told her that had been deliberate, he wanted to see her reaction which he was enjoying with impish glee. Narcissus sighed.

"Ah, and before I forget," The Dark Lord's voice pulled her out of her near stupefied state, "Narcissa, meet my son, and my Heir, Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin. Hadrianus, this is Lady Narcissa Malfoy, née Black, your soon-to-be Godmother."

Little Prince near leaped into his feet after that, approaching her. Narcissa opened her mouth to greet him but stopped, almost widening her eyes when Little Prince raised his small hand. Almost working on autopilot, she raised her hand as well, which Little Prince took, properly, speaking in a confident voice before kissing her knuckles gently, "It's my honor to meet you, Lady Malfoy. Father has spoken nothing but good words about you."

A warmth rose from her neck, spreading towards her face, letting her know she's blushing - rather fiercely. Never in a million years, she expected a proper greeting from Little Prince. Seems like Barthélemy was speaking the truth. Little Prince lives to exceed everyone's expectations even without trying.

"The honor is mine, Little Prince. Please call me Aunt Cissa."

A beautiful smile with pronounced dimples broke into the face, tensed shoulder relaxing a bit. Narcissa's heart almost melted, even though she can still see wariness in his eyes. She can work with wariness.

"Then call me Hadrianus, Aunt Cissa." He insisted, smiling. Narcissa smiled back and nodded.

"Hmm. Maybe I will call you Adrian, Hadrianus is too long." Narcissa teased and pleased when she noticed him grinning broader and his shoulder relaxed even further.

"Hey!" Barty glared playfully at Little Prince, "Why I didn't get a kiss and smile? I have been living with you longer! I deserve at least a hug, kiddo!"

"Hmm.." Little Prince tapped his chin, pretending to think, "Maybe because you stink? When did you shower last time?"

That cheeky reply was so unexpected that Narcissa startled out a peal of laughter, even more at Barty's indignant sputtering. Even The Dark Lord was smirking, amused, and the Goblins who fought the urge to snort. Ironclaw glanced at Sharptooth approvingly. He was not sure when he learned his clanmate and friend agreed to become Godfather of a Wizardling, even if the said Wizardling is The Darkest Lord's child and a Naga. But he can see now why he likes him. The boy has a well-hidden dark and sadistic trait inside him - which is reflected by how well he managed to dismiss the Wizard in front of everyone. And they always took a great delight in a Wizard's misfortune and indignity.

"Hadrianus," The Dark Lord called out, taking everyone's attention, "You can share the secret with her."

"Right," Hadrianus nodded, looking back at her, "Tom M. Riddle, AKA The Dark Lord Voldemort has pale skin, jet black wavy hair, tall, and has dark eyes. If you're wondering for more, him." His thumb jerked backward towards his father with a grin.

Narcissa blinked once, twice, then looked back at their Lord with wide eyes. How could she forget how he looked like? All she remembered was the terrifying snake-hybrid man. How -

"You concealed your previous look with Fidelius?" Narcissa asked in awe, "I have never heard of this possibility."

The Dark Lord only smirked a little, "Magic is eternal, Narcissa."

And isn't that the truest word? And now she realized how similar Little Prince is to his father. Same hair, same jawline, and cheeks. If not for the baby fats and the - Narcissa took another deep breath - the Avada Kedavra eyes, she could have sworn Little Prince is just junior version of their Lord. How she could not notice this before?

As she was looking between them mesmerized, she noticed something. Little Prince's eyes are rather reddish, and he's blinking more than normally a child would. She also caught him rubbing his eyes more than once in the last ten minutes which sent a red alarm to her inner Healer.

"Adrian, what happened to your eyes?"

The question caught the attention of every adult as they all whipped their head towards the youngest, who froze midway rubbing his eyes again , looking at them like a deer caught in Headlight. "Er, nothing?"

Narcissa grabbed his hand and gently pushed it away, removing his glasses and raising his face by finger on his chin to look into his eyes properly. There is redness, yes. But there is no infection. Which only means... "How long have you been wearing the glasses?"

"Um," Hadrianus blinked, "Two years?"

"The glasses are on the right prescription? Can you see clearly? Do you have frequent headaches?"

"I am used to headaches," Hadrianus shrugged making her frown. No one should be used to pain, especially a child. "Aunt Petunia found them from uh, the donation box and gave it to me, it helped me see better."

Narcissa hummed, suppressing her rage rising at his words, "So I am guessing this 'aunt' never took you to any Opto-healers?"

"The what?" Hadrianus blinked at the blurry images in front of him, as though he was looking through a misted glass.

"Eye doctor." Marvolo supplied from behind, looking at the glasses with disdain. How come he never noticed his son is having trouble with his glasses? And if he did, why he never told him before? The question was answered the moment Hadrianus opened his mouth again.

"Er no. I mean my class teacher did ask her to take me, but when I asked her if she will take me..." Hadrianus suddenly shuddered and curled up on his chair involuntarily, as if trying to appear smaller target and defenseless which broke the heart of the adults surrounding him, "she told me no."

Marvolo's face was like stone, completely cold and emotionless, the only sign of displeasure was the hard look in his eyes as he intently glares at the glasses while struggling to hold on to his Magic, lest they destroy the Office-room and hurt his son. At the moment, he regretted not taking Nagini with him, but Nagini most likely would go on a rampage if she heard this, again. So that was a bad idea. Like a really, really bad idea. So he ended up with breathing exercises and his breath came out like a raging bull.

Barty and Narcissa were not doing much better themselves. Hearing this, Barty had suddenly stood and left, afraid to scare his Godson further with his loss of control. Narcissa count down ten to one taking deep breaths, trying to not apparate away and throttle that 'Aunt Petunia'.

They all were so caught with their anger that no one except the Goblins notices Hadrianus doubling over on the chair, face contoured in pain as he rubbed his scar furiously.

"Hadrianus!" Sharptooth shouted in alarm.

"Make it stop," Hadrianus whispered desperately, the pain was so excruciating that his vision white out, "make it stop, make it stop." All pretense at humanity gone as he shifted into his Naga form, his emerald scales covered tail thrashing around breaking the chair he was sitting on, hissing and spatting his venom wordlessly, longing to coil up somewhere dark and safe, away from the World. He hissed when a pair of strong appendages hold him tightly, and suddenly the pain was gone. The abrupt relief made Hadrianus almost blacked out in the warm hold, his instinct picking up the kinship in the touch.

Something cool touched his lips. He parted his lips to drink the cold water greedily. Hadrianus sighed content as he felt his face was being wiped with a wet rug and a feeling of cold liquid that felt heavenly against the scar.

When he finally came around to his senses, his confused groggy mind starting to clear up. Before opening his eyes, his mind registered the warmth and kinship in the air thick around him, the feeling of safety which kept his mind calm. He shifted into a more comfortable position and buried his face in the warm and big pillow, exhausted and refusing to wake up. But when the pillow he was hugging for dear life vibrated with someone's chuckle, followed by a teasing comment "Comfortable?", he opened his eyes to finally look around.

The blurry figures of Narcissa, Ironclaw, and his Gobfather Sharptooth were standing nearby, he couldn't see their faces clearly, but they were probably concerned and worried about him, judging by their smell. And he felt more than saw that he was lying on a big sofa, on top of his father who had his arms wrapped around him and his tail wrapped around his length, probably to keep him from thrashing every furniture in the room in agony. He did remember breaking something while trashing. Widening his eyes, he looked at his father's tail, never having seen him in his own Naga form before.

From what his poor vision picked up, his father's tail was more than twenty-five feet - which made him more than five times bigger than Hadrianus - covered with what seems like beautiful and sparkly white scales which seem to glitter rainbow color under the light. Thick as a wide tree branch, though his narrowed tail is coiled near his waist and slightly twitching as if tempting him to catch it.

And without thinking twice, he caught his tail. ": Hah!:" He said proudly for catching it on the first attempt.

": I wasn't playing catch, little one.:" His father's dry but amused voice came.

": You only said that 'cause you lost .:" Hadrianus retorted with a tongue-in-cheek expression.

Marvolo rolled his eyes at his cheek, ": You got that sass from your mum .:" He deadpanned, even though he made sure to keep his face straight, not wanting others to see him sulking and released him from his grip. He sat up straight with his son still on his lap and adjusted the glamour on his scar while making sure not to catch anyone's attention on it, ": I take it you're no longer in pain now? :"

": Um no, only just tingle like it does whenever you're around or we're in skin contact .:" Hadrianus touched his scar, which felt swollen under the abuse. His wet and sticky hair has covered it. His father hummed thoughtfully, watching his son as Hadrianus slowly stood, shaking his head and neck in a snake-like fashion, before looking around.

"Where did Barty go?" He remembers him storming off when he finished speaking. Did he do or say something wrong?

"Don't worry sweety," Narcissa returned his glasses, smiling at his guilt face, "you did nothing wrong. Barty probably finally realized he stinks and needed, you know," She winked and stage whispered, "Shower."

That earned a delightful giggle from the child, which made Narcissa smile; hiding her confusion, concern, and wariness, not understanding what happened few minutes before that made her Godson shift into his creature form (Her Godson is a NAGA! She almost wanted to cry in joy, and hug him and tell him she's so proud of him, though now's not the best time) and wither in pain and his forehead started bleeding out of nowhere like it had been stabbed! The scene had her wish she could take the pain away from the child. He looked so small, young, and defenseless when he finally collapsed. Was he cursed? Did Dumbledore curse him? The thought made her want to rage, though she noticed The Dark Lord being concerned, anxious, and worried for him, - which was a rare incidence to witness his impassive mask cracking for his son, it was heartwarming to realize how much he truly loves his son - but he was not surprised by the episode. Does that happen regularly? Does she need to contact the curse breakers? But The Dark Lord is an excellent curse breaker himself! Why he didn't do anything? The child has suffered too much already, he doesn't need any more pain! She took a mental note to discuss it with The Dark Lord.

Healer Sharptooth took the scene before him, knowing it's probably one of the side effects of whatever soul experiment The Darkest Lord went through. The Darkest Lord's reaction told him he hadn't anticipated this to happen, which means he will find a solution soon so young Hadrianus won't suffer the backlash every time he loses control of his temper. Noticing his Godson's disdain to wear the glasses though he did wear them without complaint, he addressed his charge.

"Come to me, little Hadrianus."

Healer Sharptooth is a creature specialist Healer. He may not cure his eyesight, but he can ease his Godson's discomfort by slightly modifying a spell he knows, however temporarily.

Hadrianus approached his Gobfather and removed the glasses as he asked, then felt two pointy fingers pressing on his both temple. "Close your eyes."

Hadrianus nodded and closed his eyes. His Gobfather started chanting rapidly in Gobbledygook, pressing on his both temples. He felt a warm and familiar tingle which he knows his Gobfather's magic spread from the touch and enclosed around his eyeballs. "Now open it."

Slowly blinking his eyes open, Hadrianus gaped when everything looks clear as crystal, "Wait, did you fixed my eyes?" Hadrianus gasped, blinking around the room in awe. He didn't saw this clear even with the glasses!

"I can not fix your eyes, child." His Gobfather grunted, "I have only enchanted your eyes to believe it is fixed. The enchantment will last 48 hours, I hope your father will contact an Opto-healer before that." He looked at The Darkest Lord pointedly who nodded with determination.

"Perfect," Hadrianus beamed and to his surprise hugged him, "Thank you, Gobfather."

Sharptooth cuffed behind his back of his head as retaliation for his cheek who released him with a giggle, refusing to blush or smile himself, even though Ironclaw noticed the fond look he was sporting for his Godson.

"Well," Ironclaw cleared his throat taking their attention off his old friend, who needed a moment to recompose himself, "I have all the paperwork, we should get over with this ceremony. Now, where is that coward Wizard?"

      

      

______________________________

         

      

      

"I hate all the Wizarding transport." Hadrianus declared dramatically the moment he regained his balance, thanks to his father's strong arms. They had just taken an International portkey to their home and Hadrianus was not impressed at. All. "Is there any transport system that doesn't make me want to puke or fall?"

": Not really,:" His mum's dry voice came as she slithered from Marvolo's shoulder who rolled his eyes. ": I hate them as well, Hatchling. Slithering is a much better option. :" That Hadrianus can wholeheartedly agree with. Of course, his mum is right, she is always right.

": How are you always so smooth and elegant in everything you do, father? :" Hadrianus demanded, easily switching into their language. No need to use English when it's only three of them, father said Barty will come tomorrow as he has some missions to complete today. And he loved talking in Parseltongue, it has a soothing effect that makes him relax unconsciously, enhanced by the knowledge that their language is only for the three of them to talk and understanding. The language of Kinship. ": I want to be like you but I always end up looking like a drunk hippogriff trying to tap dance. :"

": You will get better with age and more practice .:" Marvolo deadpanned, trying not to laugh at his son's grumbling.

": I hope so .:" Hadrianus sighed with a pout, ": Where are we, father? :" he looked around. They were surrounded by deep and dark forests. There is a river nearby, the sound of continuously flowing water accompanying the chirping of birds above their head. The trees are so tall that even when Hadrianus tilted his head almost parallel to the ground, he didn't see the top. The weather is much warmer than Britain which relaxed him further, and there is a saltiness in the air, with the slightest hint of fishy smell he caught when he inhaled deeply. Is there any ocean nearby? ": Middle into deep of a forest by an ocean? :"

": That's what strangers and muggles will see. And yes, you're right. We're in the State of Hawaii, a country surrounded by the ocean. Now, do you see the old banyan tree over there? :" He pointed on one big and old tree, old enough to be at least half a century old, just by the river bank. Hadrianus blinked, gaping at it. He didn't notice this tree the first time he looked around. How come he didn't notice it before?

": I see it. :"

": Good, come. :"

Curiously, Hadrianus followed his father and mum who made a beeline towards the tree, and his father pressed his hand on its trunk. Hadrianus noticed a spark of his father's magic went inside the tree, and then his jaw dropped on the forest ground as a whole new world opened in front of his eyes.

Just beyond the river, the whole forest shimmered with energy and melted away, revealing a beautiful island encircled by the river. On the middle of the island, there was a majestic castle standing tall and proud, surrounded by an enchanted garden looking like an exquisite masterpiece made by some artist.

Hadrianus turned to look at his father who was smiling at his astound expression.

":Welcome home, little Mamba.:"

Chapter Text

":Home?:"

Hadrianus had asked, perplexed and in awe, as he looked back at the magnificent and royal castle looking like a picture out of a fairy tale in front of them as if he couldn't believe it.

Marvolo could understand his feelings. His dilemma. After having to live with the abusive Muggles, neither of them had considered that place as home. And the Riddle Manor was just a fling. He has already ordered his Account Manager to demolish the Manor and build a new one in its place which will be used as Headquarter of the Dark Sect. Slytherin Account Secretary Lord Ironclaw was probably going through possible home interior designing companies to hire at this point.

Marvolo hummed at his son in reply. ":Come, little one.:" He approached a particular spot by the riverside with his son on tow. ":Do not touch the water.:" He warned him, ":It has many protective measures in it which will activate if your Magic is not connected with the Ward.:"

Hadrianus nodded, his hand holding onto his father's robe. Nagini came towards them, ":You'll love this place, Hatchling,:" she said, successfully distracting Hadrianus, ":There is a lot of warm places and snake doors all over the house for us to roam and play freely.:"

With Nagini keeping his attention on her to make sure he won't run towards the water, Marvolo focused on the trace of his Magic. He moved closer to the water, hands raised grabbing the invisible Magical rope, he pulled the fifty-foot big ship that would safely carry them across the width of the river. Marvolo heard his son's impressed gasp as the beautifully crafted ship colored in Slytherin green rose from the depths of the river and broke the surface, then floated elegantly in front of them, a wide compartment opening on the bow of the ship and a wooden dock emerging automatically from the ship reaching towards the riverbank, waiting patiently to help her passenger to come aboard. Despite having just raise from the river, the ship was spotless, warm, dry, and welcoming.

"Wow!"

Marvolo can't help but feel smug at that, His son is constantly stroking his ego to grow, "Wow, indeed. Shall we?"

Nagini snorted at his smug tone, climbing on the wide dock and slithering inside the ship, occasionally tasting air to make sure there is nothing hostile on the ship that could harm her son. ":Careful, Tom. If your ego grows any bigger than the castle can contain, then you'll destroy years of works.:"

Hadrianus broke out from his stupefied state, hurriedly following his mum ":What do you mean?:" He asked. ":What work?:"

Nagini took a moment to claim the warmest place she found on the deck which was a comfortable lounge chair big enough for five people and coiled up comfortably, before looking at her hatchling who sat beside her and scooted closer and started playing with her tail. She sighed indulgently, allowing him to play with her tail, ":Your father found this abandoned castle when he was touring the world. He is the one who claimed it and built it from ruins to where it is today.:"

":Wait, father build this place?:" Hadrianus looked up, surprised and awed.

Marvolo joined his child and Nagini on the deck, after checking the course of the ship to make sure she will sail through the width and would reach towards the island steadily. ":Yes I did.:" He said, sitting on the lounge chair on the other side of his son, and pulled out his badger toy from his pocket and gave it back to him. Hadrianus accepted Mr. Puff and didn't even think twice before climbed on the lap of Marvolo. Tom had always encouraged him to seek physical affection and warmth from him, knowing a Naga mentality well. And Tom is his father, right? He got the prove when his father's hand started to cart through his hair; and he looked up at him with his big eager eyes, wishing to learn more.

":It was just a few years after the terror of Grindelwald ended. Everyone was still shaken from his decade-long terror. I was visiting one of the Hawaiian native tribes to learn tribal Magic from them. I heard about this castle from them and decided to visit.:" Marvolo said, his eyes distant as he recalled the days of his early twenties, ":That's how I found this place. Yes, it was a complete ruin, but still holding steady. And the Magic of this place.. so ancient yet so strong wards, it was like coming home.:" His smile was nostalgic as he recalls the time of his early adulthood. Hadrianus listened to his father speak quietly, laying his head on his father's strong and firm chest; enjoying every second of the attention he was receiving. Being denied any affectionate physical touch before, he is never going to shy off from cuddles with his father or mum.

":The Gaunts were left with nothing but their shack, a ring, and mountainous pride. All the properties of Slytherin were either sold or distributed among other lines. I inherited nothing from my ancestors. So I decided to make my inheritance. And to make my inheritance, I would need a manor, or better, a castle. So I brought this castle, build up from the ruins, and made it my home, the Slytherin Castle. It was so well isolated from the foolish mortals and silent and full of privacy, just what I needed after spending too much time sharing my place with unwanted people.:" His finger stroked the arm of his son. ":Thankfully there was a law in the US Ministry Of Magic about granting anyone home if they wish to become a US citizen. So I claimed my Lordship and contacted Gringotts to request residency in the US and brought the castle with my own money. They were quite happy to have the gold, still recovering from the reign of terror that was Grindelwald.:"

":So, you were a US citizen?:" Hadrianus asked, confused, ":Then why we became ex-German resident instead of that?:"

":Two reasons. First, because communications between Magical German and Magical Britain had been almost non-existent since Grindelwald. They would know that the German Ministry would not contact Britain even if they know that Slytherin exists in Germany. And secondly, to divert people's attention from our real home...:" Marvolo said. He had thought about this for a long time and then came to this decision. ":Everyone from the Dark Sect knows about Slytherin Castle, but no one knows where it is. I have placed charms to make sure that even if I bring someone here, no one can use any kind of location spell to know where are they, except for the fact that it is Slytherin Castle. And I know some people will become too interested in our history, Slytherin is among the oldest Pure-blood line - so they will put their nose where it doesn't belong.:" And he knows a certain crooked nosed old coot who definitely will, ":I do not want them to find this place and compromise the safety of my - our home.:"

That Hadrianus can certainly agree with. Our home - his father said. He never had a home before, just like his father, so he can understand his father's conflict to announce the World about his true home and sanctuary. Not only this will compromise the safety of his house, but their much-needed privacy will be threatened as well. Snakes and Nagas were very much territorial and seek privacy away from other noisy people.

They fall in comfortable silence, watching the Sunrise over their home and the surrounding huge garden getting bigger with every passing second. The sound of water splashing on the ship with birds singing and chirping, and his father's calm heartbeat. The ship sails through the constant series of crests and troughs of river waves. The near crystal water surface glistening under the early morning Sun.

":Only a problem being the time difference of eleven hours, as muggles call them 'jet lag'.:" Marvolo explained, ":When we left Britain it was around 17:00, here it is 6:00 in the morning. A minor inconvenience, but easily manageable with simple calculation and planning.:"

Hadrianus didn't answer, blinking slowly as he stared at their beautiful castle. Even if the day had been exhausting for him, he didn't want to fall asleep and wake up to find everything was just a dream, he was still stuck in his cupboard. He cuddled closer to his father if that was possible, tightening his grip on his mum's tail and Mr. Puff unconsciously. Probably he was getting sleepy, that's why what happened next startled him. He jerked his head towards it, gaping as he saw a beautiful and powerful-looking black horse emerging from the depth of the river, standing on the water surface and looking at him with its Moonlight silvery eyes as if trying to determine if he is friendly or not.

":Father..:"

":Hush, my child. It's okay. Do not fret. It's okay, it's just a Kelpie.:"

":Kelpie?:" He frowned, looking back but it was gone.

":Kelpie is what you can call a water spirit. You will read about them later. We have a couple of them living here, as do many water creatures, like Merpeople, Grindylows, giant serpents, and many more. It is one of the reasons I asked you to not touch the water. An unfamiliar magical presence might startle them off and go defensive.:" Marvolo explained, ":You'll also find many other creatures in the forest, including a couple of clans of Dark Elves. Most of them are considered Dark creatures according to British Ministry, but in reality rather harmless unless provoked. Do not fret, they will leave you alone when they recognize you as my Heir. They are, after all, under my protection.:"

":Okay.:" He hadn't read about Dark Elves, Kelpies, Merpeople, or any other water creatures yet. Looks like he found new things to add to his ever-growing reading list. He is memorizing the whole Magical Creature Encyclopedia that Barty brought.

With a gentle bump, the ship moored herself on the other side of the river and the dock came out again.

":Come.:"

With an affirmative murmur, Hadrianus followed his father and mum out towards the main gate. Marvolo paused in front of the closed gate, looking back at his son staring at the castle starry-eyed. "Hadrianus, come here."

Hadrianus quickly approached his father and grabbed his hand when he asked for it. "My son, I am going to key you in the Wards now. But for that, I would need few drops of your blood. Just like you did during the ritual at Samhein night. Do you understand?"

"Yes, father." Hadrianus voiced confidently. Before the ritual, Tom had explained to him the significance of Mage blood and why he should always be careful about it in great detail. That's why his father is telling him and asking for his consent, as everyone should - according to Tom.

Marvolo conjured a sterile needle, making sure everything is visible to his son - as it should be - and pricked his finger, then squeezed the finger on the large greyish stone beside the main gate. The droplet of scarlet shone for a moment before the stone absorbed it and it glowed, before going back looking like the boring stone-like before. Hadrianus felt a tingling sensation arising from his navel spreading towards his four limbs before settling again.

"Good," Marvolo nodded in satisfaction. Now he is keyed to the Ward. "Now come. I will key you as my Heir in the Wardstone after cleaning your blood from those undeserving people." He sneered, steering his son inside as the gate opened. As soon as it was open, there were few distinct pops, and five House Elves wearing forest green uniform with black linen and 'S' written on their uniform appeared in front of them.

"Master Dark Lord Sir, you is back!" They chorused together.

"Ah yes," Marvolo nodded, "Everything in order?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. This is my son and Heir, Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin. Hadrianus, they are the keeper and caretaker of Slytherin Manor."

"Hello," Hadrianus beamed at them, "What are your names?"

"These being Finn, Cece, Casey, and Cody. And I am Davy."

"Nice to meet you all." Hadrianus nodded at them, which made them widen their eyes in awe and respect and his father rolled his eyes, here we go again, "Um, I have one friend already, Bailey."

Just as he said her name, Bailey popped in with her glory of a lemon yellow blouse and floral skirts. "Master Harry called Bailey?"

Hadrianus blinked at Bailey, not expecting her to arrive like this. Marvolo took the moment to address her, "Yes Bailey, from now on, you will be Hadrianus' personal House Elf. If he needs anything, he will call you and your main duty will be to take care of him. And make yourself acquaintance with other Elves and the castle and wear a Slytherin badge on your blouse to represent whom you serve."

"Yes Master Dark Lord Sir," Bailey bowed and they all popped back when he dismissed them.

Hadrianus looked back at his father, "I still think blood adoption is the better option."

"Stop brooding, my little one," Marvolo sighed. Hadrianus sounded rather eager to get rid of his metamorphmagus ability and Marvolo knows exactly why. After all, his reaction at finding his new look has not been the friendliest one, he probably still fears rejection from his father. And his abandoned issue made him dislike his ability, however useful. "As I said, your ability is unique which I'd hate to lose. There is only one other metamorphmagus in whole Britain in the last century other than you, and she is a Hogwarts student right now. But do not fret, have faith in your father. I have promised you I will find a third option for you, and I intend to keep that promise."

The easiest solution had been to ask Narcissa to give her blood as Hadrianus's mother. While Marvolo was against informing anyone that Hadrianus is not his son by the flesh, he knows it's just a matter of an Unbreakable vow and she will gladly give her blood for him. Hadrianus has won her heart over on the first meeting.

But he can't do that.

Because of Dumbledore.

That old meddling coot has been after him since the day they first met in the Wool's Orphanage. He never bothered to inform him of his lineage even after knowing he's a Parselmouth, instead he kept such a tight leash on him that he had to get creative just to make sure he has no excuse to expel him. He is suspicious of all the Dark Cored Wizard and the Slytherins by default. And if someone happened to be both? They will automatically be assumed for everything that went wrong.

And now, if Heir Slytherin comes to Hogwarts, all of Dumbledore's ire will be directed on him, and being Headmaster of the Hogwarts, he will keep close eyes on Hadrianus, probably even closer than Tom was. And obviously, try to blame him for even the slightest inconvenience. And Dumbledore knows very well that Tom Marvolo Riddle was Slytherin Heir as well. He will pull every string, try every card hidden in his ridiculous sleeve to connect Hadrianus with Lord Voldemort. Who knows, maybe even illegally collect his blood to do an inheritance test himself without Hadrianus's knowledge. While Marvolo is aware that the Wizarding inheritance test will not reveal the names of godparents, but his immediate family name will come out.

And Hadrianus can not have any immediate connection with any of his Knights, let alone Lord Voldemort. After all, they officially moved to Britain from German just today.

He needs to cover every aspect of their history to make sure Dumbledore can not connect Hadrianus with Voldemort other than the fact that he is his paternal uncle. Every Pure-blood is connected one way or another. So that won't raise a problem in the public eye. The public will brush off Dumbledore's claims as a paranoia of some old people.

And he might know exactly how to claim Hadrianus as his son in blood and flesh without washing off the Black blood. He just needs to check on some books.
   
     
     
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He would need the help of the Goblins - Marvolo mused frowning, staring at the parchment full of calculations and numbers and runes. The old ritual he had found in the ancient texts is not perfect - it can not guarantee that it will keep the Black blood during the cleansing. It is not suitable.

The other option is the Goblin's Blood Cleansing Ritual. Goblin's Magic is more sensitive to identify different types of the blood from Wizarding family; so it will be a great help to split up the Black blood from Potter's blood and the mudblood's blood. But it has the possibility of the outcome of Hadrianus's paternal grandmother being identified as his birth mother.

That will certainly raise a problem - given according to his birth certificate, Hadrianus is born a couple of years after the death of Dorea Black. Unless... unless Marvolo names her as his own mother.

An amused smirk marred in his face which would have made his Knights cringe. Oh, he is going to enjoy the Potter's reaction if this news is ever revealed. Dorea had a big crush on him during their time in Hogwarts, just like any other teenage population in Hogwarts. What she could be thinking now if she hears his planning?

His musing was interrupted when he felt Nagini and his son's presence coming towards him in his study. As he waited for them to arrive while working on the rituals, he noticed out of the corner of his eyes a small snake flap that was installed in the castle is being pushed open by an emerald green nose, then a small green snake head coming out of it, tongues flickering rapidly.

Marvolo watched impassively, his vibrant red eyes gleaming in amusement as his son slithered out of the snake flap and started to come toward him, his gait is quite regal and elegant - Nagini is teaching him well; followed closely by the Maledictus in question.

Hadrianus scented the air, ":Father! Hi!:"

To his further amusement, his son waved at him using the end of his tail and flicking it sideways like he would wave a hand. But he kept his face expressionless and waved back, which is barely a wiggle of his fingers, but that seems to satisfy his son who changed into his human form, his new shirt and trousers intact and perfectly fit for his body, which was spelled specifically to stay on him no matter which forms he is in, and his trousers were also charmed to transfigure automatically into a skirt if Hadrianus wishes to shift into half-Naga form.

"Did you take a nap?" Marvolo asked as the child approached him and claimed the fluffy and furry bean bag chair beside him in his study with a happy sigh. He would never forget the delighted look on Hadrianus's face to discover the furry seven feet bean bag chair in his father's study in front of the fireplace. He had immediately claimed it, not knowing his father has installed it for him decades before he was even born, waiting for Hadrianus to come and take his place beside him.

"Yes, mum made me do it." Hadrianus pouted at his mum who rolled her eyes from where she claimed her place on the rug made of the same material as his bean bag, directly in front of the fireplace.

"And she did the right thing." Marvolo pointed out while going through the ritual one last time before he contacts the Gringotts, "So, what have you been doing since then?"

"We were exploring the castle," Hadrianus said, vibrating with the excitement of having such a beautiful castle as their home.

"And instead of using the doors and corridors, you're exploring through the pipe and snake flaps?" Marvolo raised his eyebrow at him.

"I've already explored using the doors with you when we arrived!" Hadrianus defended himself.

Marvolo paused, then nodded in agreement, "Fair enough."

"What are you doing, father?" Hadrianus peeked on the parchments lay before him, "That looks like some complicated mathematics. Teach me? I am good at maths, I promise!"

"It's called Arithmancy," Marvolo corrected him, "And before you ask, yes, Arithmancy requires a lot of 'mathematics'. If you're truly good at it, then I am sure you will pick it up smoothly. I will start teaching you soon, don't fret." He assured him, "I am studying some old blood cleansing rituals, trying to modify and find a way to use it for you."

"Oh?" Hadrianus asked intrigued, looking at the parchments, "Any luck?"

"This one is the best match I have found so far." Marvolo tapped on the Goblin's Cleansing Ritual. The Gringotts gave him a tome on the services and rituals they can offer, he found it there.

"I can sense a 'but' here," Hadrianus looked at him. Marvolo smirked. Smart boy. 

"Yes, there is a significant chance that Magic may identify the bearer of the Black blood as your mother."

"And that will be undesirable," Hadrianus nodded, knowing very well that his birth paternal grandmother has died long before his birth. "Why can't mum give me her blood as my birth mother?"

Marvolo blinked, not having thought of this. But Nagini shouted, ":NO!:" making the boys jump in surprise.

":Why not?:" Hadrianus asked calmly, inwardly little hurt thinking she is rejecting him. But Nagini shook her head vigorously.

":Absolutely not. My blood is cursed. I can not let my son suffer bearing the same curse. You already have enough share of the suffering of your own.:"

Okay, that is a reasonable and logical reason behind her denial. A valid point.

":Do not fret, I have an idea,:" Marvolo said, having felt his son's hurt under his calm face through their link, a little impressed at his son's mask of composure. This is the first time he saw him using the mask, and it was good enough that he probably wouldn't have realized his true feelings without the link between them and the smell of hurt. ":I can stage it a way which may look like I refused to name your mother in your inheritance, and name Nagini as your adoptive mother.:"

":That is possible?:"

":Yes.:"

As they proceed to explore all the possibilities and pros and cons, Finn popped in to inform them dinner is ready.

"Yes!" Hadrianus fist-bumped the air, happily skipping along with his father to the dining hall after bidding bye to Nagini who is still digesting her last meal. But when they approached the stairs, Marvolo's hand shot out, grabbing the hood of his son's new robe to stop Hadrianus from running on the stairs; unable to push away a memory of a boy with the same green eyes falling down the stairs in front of his eyes.

So when they sit for dinner, Marvolo summoned a couple of rolled blank parchment and quills, letting them hover in front of them. Marvolo willed the quill towards the parchment and it started to write using his handwriting as he focused on their dinner that appeared with a pop. It was a rare steak of duck breast with cranberry sauce, steamed vegetables, and soup. And a plate of raw rabbit meat cubes right in front of Hadrianus. Hadrianus grinned and immediately reached out towards the plate but Marvolo's hand shot out like a snake, stopping him. Hadrianus blinked in surprise, then turned towards his father.

"First, drink this." He presented two vials, "One is to induce your hunger and another is anti-nauseous." Hadrianus nodded and grabbed them, drowning them before licking lips. Marvolo nodded in approval.

"Now, let's see if your creature has matured enough to handle some stew, steaks, and vegetables." He said, filling a small bowl with the chicken stew and placed it next to his plate, "Do not push yourself, stop when you start feeling nauseous."

Hadrianus nodded and started eating the stew, looking pleased, clearly enjoying the rich taste after so long. Marvolo kept an eye on him as he placed few steaks with cranberry sauce on his plate, before grabbing another small bowl full of steamed vegetables and dropped it beside the steak. As Marvolo sipped his goblet of wine, watching like hawk as Hadrianus started to slow down.

"That's enough for now," He said nonchalantly, taking the quarter and half-finished bowl away from him, letting him know it's okay not to be able to finish it, "Try the steaks and vegetables now."

Hadrianus nodded and begin eating the vegetables. "Slow down, child!" Marvolo scolded him, before eating a piece of broccoli, checking on the first list he made, before nodding and waving his hand on the second parchment as it started to write.

"Hadrianus, I am making some daily routines and ground rules for you to follow," Marvolo said, waving his hand to turn the finished paper towards Hadrianus as they kept eating. Hadrianus looked at the paper, humming around his mouth full of carrots, Marvolo continued, "As you can see, your morning routine will start around 6:00, exercise time up to 7:00, and then shower and breakfast at 7:30. After breakfast, you will study until lunchtime which is at noon. You will have some morning snacks in between. However, after lunch, you will start practicing Magic, either with me or Barty. I will give you a task every day on what to practice. Your afternoon naptime is at 14:00, don't pout, nap is important to let your body and Magic grow. After the nap, you can spend up to dinner time doing whatever you wish, you can play, explore the castle or garden. Dinner at 17:30. After dinner you will write small essays on whatever topic you read that morning, spell, charm, any theoretical or historical facts you've read about and their significance; and then you'll show it to me or you can ask me any questions you have regarding them. I will also teach you Occlumency along with other things which you need to learn. Bedtime at 21:00 and you will practice meditation every day before going to sleep."

As he was listing this, Hadrianus had stopped eating to listen to him, which he resumed again after a prompt from his father. "Any question?"

Hadrianus shook his head. Marvolo nodded and made the first parchment disappear into his pocket dimension, he will put it in his son's study table later. By the time, Hadrianus had finished the small helping of his steaks and vegetables.

"You can handle a second helping or do you want to go back to your rabbit meat?"

Hadrianus licked his lips, staring at the dish full of streaks pitifully. "I want more steaks, but - "

"Do not fret, they won't be going anywhere, but your body has a limit," Marvolo said gently, placing his meat cubes beside his empty plate. Hadrianus glanced at the steak one last time before turning his attention towards the cubes. The second parchment was completed by the time they finished their dinner.

"Come," Marvolo ushered his son in his study. Hadrianus fall on the bean bag with a relieved sigh, rubbing his full and satisfied tummy. Marvolo picked the floating parchment from the air and let it hover in front of his son. Hadrianus snatched it from the air and started reading loudly.

"GROUND RULES:
#1. Always listen to me or your mum
#2. Tell the truth. I will know if you lie to me.
#3. No backtalking, throwing fit, whining, or complaining, especially in public. If you have a different opinion on anything, politely ask for privacy and then share your view.
#4. Be polite and well-mannered to everyone around you. If anyone hurts you or speaks ill to you or you don't feel comfortable around them, you'll come to me at once.
#5. Ask for permission before consuming sweets, and NO MORE THAN TWO AT ONCE. Make sure to brush your teeth after that.
#6. Do not go beyond the main gate without informing me or your mum.
#7. NO RUNNING ON THE STAIRS.
#8. SIT on furniture only, no jumping or standing on it.
#9. If you're hurt or in pain, inform any adults or the Elves.
#10. The House Elves may take care of everything, but that doesn't mean you'll not help them with basic chores, like making your bed and keeping your room clean."

"Huh." Hadrianus blinked, "That's it?"

"You want more ground rules?" Marvolo asked amused, raising his eyebrows. Hadrianus blushed.

"No I mean," he cleared his throat, "The list of chores."

"You're not a House Elf Hadrianus," Marvolo said his face expressionless but his voice soft and gentle, "No child should be doing house chores like you used to do for those revolting Muggles, that is abuse." He explained, ignoring Nagini looking murderous at the reminder in the background.

Hadrianus stared at Marvolo, his eyes flickering between his eyes as if trying to determine if he's lying, before nodding warily and shrugged dismissively, looking back at the parchment again.

":Calm down, Nagini.:" He hissed softly.

Nagini hummed, ":Well color me impressed.:" She said, slithering towards her son and wrapping herself around him.

":What?:" Marvolo frowned.

":Nothing, I am just amazed that how much effort you're putting behind raising our son:"

":Well,:" Marvolo sighed, leaning back on his chair, ":I am almost sixty-two years old and it amazes me time and time again that even after all these years, how much that fucked up childhood I had still influences me. And I am never letting that happen to my son. Imagine if he suffered through it all and was excited to finally go to Hogwarts, only to find his parents were very much alive and healthy, he's disinherited for some reason he has no idea about and he has a brother who is a spoiled brat. What do you think would happen?:"

":No one could have stopped him from turning into the second Voldemort of the century.:" Nagini agreed.

Chapter Text

A near quiet pop made the small family of Nagas and Maledictus look up at Davy. Marvolo raised an eyebrow to which Davy informs that their Floo connection in Slytherin Manor of Northern Ireland has a knock as if someone is asking permission to connect.

Marvolo hummed, casting tempus, and saw its 20:47. "Hadrianus, why don't you go to your room and practice meditation as I taught you? It's almost time for your bed."

Hadrianus nodded, yawning and a bit drowsy. Father had been teaching him how to write using quills for hours, and he is now tired and also his hand cramping a bit. So without any fuss, Hadrianus stood and left. Marvolo nodded at Nagini who was hesitating whether to follow Tom or her son, then nodded back, and left with her son. After all, his son's safety is more important. So Nagini will shadow him until they can trust Hadrianus can hold himself in front of opponents.

Marvolo made his way towards the Office where the Floo is connected through a private link only to the Slytherin Manor. Marvolo opened the Floo and stepped in to go to the Manor, taking a note from the clock he kept on the fireplace that it is 07:50 in Northern Ireland.

He examined the link of the Manor waiting to be connected and discovered it's from Malfoy Manor. Marvolo opened the Floo with a wave of his Wand, and within few seconds the Floo flared with life and Lucius came out, closely followed by Narcissa and Barty.

They bowed and took their seat in the Office.

"My Lord," Lucius spoke up, "Severus is coming for dinner at 18:00 tonight."

Marvolo nodded, it means 5:00 for him, though he will wait until their dinner is finished. "And the potions?"

"The new and advanced Opto-cure is ready, My Lord," Narcissa spoke up this time, "As per Severus, this one has minimum to no side effects. And I have taken the liberty to ask him to upgrade it so it can enhance one's vision." Narcissa smirked, "He was excited with the new challenge if his tone of voice anything to suggest." Severus sounded almost giddy, well, his version of giddy. And it had been amusing.

Marvolo smirked and nodded in appreciation. It is always amusing to extract some true reaction out of the youngest potion master of the country. He has, after all, the strongest shield only next to him. And if Severus says it's new and improved, then it is. "He doesn't know who is the potion is for then?"

"I have let him believe it's for one of my confidential patients."

Marvolo nodded, "That is acceptable. I would like it if you check him over for any other hidden injuries that I may not know."

"I can do it now?" Narcissa offered, really wanting to meet with the Little Prince. She didn't have time to get to know her Godson well, and she is determined to know him, be there for him, guide him. If she understood the father-son duo correctly, then the child's bearer is probably dead - that's why he doesn't want to talk about them. This means Hadrianus has no mother figure if he had a mother to begin with. And Narcissa is more than happy to take the role.

"I am afraid Hadrianus is unavailable now," The link is peaceful, either he is asleep already or he is meditating - he can't tell. Either way, it's his bedtime. He can't tell them about the time difference now, but if they are his son's Godparents they had the right to know. "After the meeting with Severus tonight, I want you to come with me to the Slytherin Castle, preferably this weekend which is tomorrow. I will key you two to the Wards there like I did with Barty, this way Narcissa can come and meet with Hadrianus, but I will leave it up to you if you wish to live in the Castle with us or live here in the Manor, Barty. And I will need an Unbreakable Vow from Lucius and Narcissa before that."

The Malfoy couples nodded, knowing very well that he will not disclose the information on Slytherin Castle if they didn't. He is a private wizard. It is a privilege to be offered this in the first place. Lucius is glad to have Narcissa as his wife now, knowing very well that he is learning about Slytherin Castle because of her.

"Barty, I need you for this," He handed him the list he made before, "The instructions are listed." Barty nodded, keeping the rolled parchment inside his robes. He will go through this in the privacy of the Slytherin Manor.

"My Lord, permission to ask a question?" Narcissa asked quietly. It has been plaguing her nightmares and she won't rest until she has the answer for it. At Marvolo's nod, she continued, "What happened to Little Prince at Gringotts?"

Barty perked up a little, sitting straighter. He was not present at the time, busy trying to control his anger. But he heard from Cissa what happened. And Little Prince did look paler than usual. So yes, he was interested to learn about it, study what exactly triggered that intense pain for his Godson and how to stop it from repeating.

The Dark Lord's reaction was inscrutable as ever, through the tightening around the eyes did tell he was not happy with it as well, "I am looking for it myself, and be assure I won't sit still until I have a solution."

At that, they relaxed in their chair, trusting their Lord to find a solution to this. If anyone could solve this, it will be him - he was a genius after all.

"However, I would like it if you take at least an hour a week to teach him everything about Pureblood Etiquettes, Laws, Traditions and Cultures, Narcissa." The Dark Lord commented.

Narcissa was ready for this, not at all surprised that he did ask him to teach about them. It only confirmed her theory of no other parent figure in Little Prince's life other than The Dark Lord. And their Lord is understandably busy than teaching Little Prince everything.

"I would be honored, My Lord." Narcissa bowed, "However, I wish for something in exchange." She smirked, making Marvolo raise an eyebrow at her, a little surprised at the demand.

Barty rolled his eyes. Slytherins! They always want something in exchange. Thank God he was not among them and realizes that it has been a privilege when his master has asked him to teach Little Prince theoretical charms and transfiguration.

"What do you want, Narcissa?" The Dark Lord decided to humor the Witch.

"My Lord, when you will exact revenge from those Muggles..." She smirked with a sadistic gleam in her eyes, "I want in."

At that, Barty perked up at once, "Me too!" He shouted, not wanting to left behind. He had too many plans for them, he even made a list of spells he wants to try on them!

"I can help with a cover-up and legal side," Lucius offered with a gleam as he watched them, always eager to let out some stream while torturing the filthy Muggles. And he has enough practice to know what to do.

Marvolo's smirk was sadistic and borderline maniacal, making Barty howl with child-like glee. After all, Hadrianus is his, and no one hurts what is his and got away with it.

 

 

_____________________________

 

 

It had been a long and tiring day for Severus. Teaching in a school full of dunderheads was not something he had signed up for when he pursued his mastery in Potions. His only entertainment being able to brew whatever potions Narcissa needed for her patients. Days like this he truly misses The Dark Lord. Unlike what Dumbledore believes, The Dark side is his home. 'Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater' - Moody had said, and they have no idea how true is that. He doesn't regret coming to Dumbledore to save Lily thinking The Dark Lord may not keep his words. But he absolutely loathed being a double agent, being a spy against the Dark-side. He never wished to join them, he is nauseated with their hypocrisy and manipulation. And their disregard for anything they didn't understand. They talk about how the Dark Creatures are dangerous and put down, but accepted Remus 'Moony' Lupin with open arms. They spoil their child to no end, yet show no mercy towards the other side's pregnant witch or wizard or even a child. They say homosexuality is not 'normal', yet accepts a child of said questionable sexuality to their Order because they're useful to them.

He was grateful to The Dark Lord for sparing the life of his childhood best friend and his love, but sometimes, when he sees her and her 'husband' being overly lovesick puppy around each other, especially as he can't avoid her given she is his colleague, he asks himself if it was worth it.

So yes, he was more than thankful to Narcissa for inviting him over dinner, given he has seen his childhood archenemy came to visit her again, this time along with the oversized imbecile celebrity that is their son, the 'Boy-Who-Lived'. Severus sneered at the mere name.

"You look like you could use some break." Narcissa, as over the observant one, commented across the table full of exquisite English dinner, "Why don't you come with us tomorrow, Severus? We're going to visit a friend. You'll love it there." She offered.

"You're inviting Uncle Sev and you didn't invite me! That's not fair, mother!" Draco let his protest known loudly on the matter, making Severus chuckle. Narcissa tsked and chastised her son gently for his manners.

"I am tempted to accept the offer," Severus pursed his lips as he accepted the plate of cream dory and served himself a generous amount, "Speaking of which, where exactly are we going?"

"That is confidential." Lucius sniffed haughtily as he sipped on his wine, "We need to discuss more this, perhaps after dinner?" Lucius glanced pointedly at his wife, who smirked unrepentantly.

"Oh, I am sure He will approve him." Narcissa dismissed his concerns.

"Who are we talking about?" Severus kept it out of his voice sounding disinterested, but both parties know he was interested.

"You will meet with Him soon," Narcissa smirked mischievously.

Apparently, Draco couldn't handle not being the center of attention anymore, "Who is it, father?" He demanded, clearly jealous.

Lucius replied, thinking fast and remembering his desire to join the Malfoy-Slytherin line. "You will learn when it is needed, for now, finish your dinner and go to your room." He demanded, not wanting to deal with his son's tantrums. "And stay in your room." He warned.

Draco huffed, opening his mouth to protest but Severus was quick to stop him this time, realizing this discussion is not something to be done in front of a child, "I have brought you a new book on potions, why don't you check them after dinner?"

Draco perked up and nodded, starting to eat quicker. The rest of the dinner went comfortably silent except for some chitchat between the adults. Soon they retire to Lucius's study, after sending Draco to his room.

"So, what is it?" Severus asked once they are inside.

"Excuse me for a minute," Lucius said and approached his Floo, throwing the powder and stuck his head inside. Severus wasn't able to learn whom he was Floo-calling but his question was answered when Lucius stepped back and the Floo glimmered. A thin and tall man in black robes covering his face stepped outside the Floo and removed his hood, revealing the chalk-white skin on his skull-like face, vibrant red eyes with slit pupils, and his Mark burst with the spark of Magic.

Severus was surprised, shocked - one could say, awed and hopeful. The Dark Lord is back? When? How? He never noticed any change in his Mark! Unless...unless he was never 'gone', just going undercover and buying himself time to regroup!

"M-my Lord!" Severus falls on his knees beside Lucius when a muse hits him. Lucius and Narcissa knew. They knew and they never told him? Was it deliberate, thinking him a spy for Light side? Or was the order from their Lord?

"Rise, Lucius, Severus." An amused snake-like hiss sent shivers down his spine, unlike Severus, Marvolo valiantly and successfully managed to keep his face impassive despite wanting to giggle at his face. He had always found it amusing to see them lose their shield. 

"My Lord, how - where..." Severus was still at a loss for word as he slowly stood, strong shield or not, it was such a shock to his system that he still can't believe that he's standing in front of his Lord again! Seeing the amused glint in his eyes, Severus slammed all of his strongest shields tightly around his mind, not wanting to appear weak in front of his Master by wearing his emotions on his sleeve.

"Maybe I will unveil one day, but first," He approached him, touching his left forearm where he carries the Mark and it burned for a moment, letting Severus know that he is under a secrecy vow to never reveal what's happening in front of him to anyone, including the information that The Dark Lord is back.

After it was done, The Dark Lord stepped back and claimed the throne-like seat in their study that Lucius had installed solely for Him, "Lucius, is it ready?"

"Yes My Lord," Lucius scurried to retrieve a file from his desk and handed it back to their Lord with a bow. "I have made it sure so not even Moody's magical eye can find anything to be dubious about Lord Marvolo Salazar Slytherin."

At the name, surprise flickered over Severus's face. Yes, he had read about the mysterious 'Lord and Heir Slytherin' in the evening Daily Prophet before coming here, they even managed to get a blurry photo of a handsome man and a child. That has been The Dark Lord himself?

"Yes, Severus, Lord Marvolo Salazar Slytherin is me." The Dark Lord confirmed his theory, then the thin and pale body melted away to reveal a tall and toned figure with the healthy color of Lord Slytherin. Severus blinked in surprise, then bowed in thanks for letting him know. He doesn't remember if he has seen The Dark Lord in a human form, and he is thankful that he has one. Hope blossomed in his heart, that the Dark side will again thrive with life under his command if he truly has regained his humanity.

Then who is the child? The Heir Slytherin? Is he even real, or just some fake golem following him around acting like a child as per his order?

"My Lord, can Severus come with us? I am sure a young Potion Master like him will be...helpful." Narcissa asked The Dark Lord politely, making him frown as he mused this over.

"That is not a bad idea. However," The Dark Lord looked back at him, caressing his wand, his eyes narrowed suspiciously, "I'd wish to learn if he truly is my faithful even after all these,"

"I am, My Lord," Severus scurried to kneel before him. "I have been continuing the duty that you bestowed upon me.  Dumbledore ," He spat the word out, disgusted, "thinks I am a spy for his precious Order so has let me include in many of his plans. I can make a report on their activity and whatever plan I am familiar with, including on Boy-Who-Lived."

"Do it, leave nothing behind. If I find it appropriate, I might approve you to join Lucius and Narcissa to visit my Castle tomorrow. Speaking of which, tomorrow at 20:00," He looked at them, smirking, "Make sure you rest during the day." Lucius and Narcissa nodded, though they both looked a little confused.

Severus widened his eyes, already making plans on how to win his approval. He is not going to left behind, he had been dreaming to see the legendary Castle in his own eyes since he heard about it.

"I believe Narcissa has asked you to brew some potions, Severus?" The Dark Lord asked with a raised eyebrow. Severus widened his eyes minutely as he understood it, taking the box full of vials out from the pocket of his robes, "The Opto-Cure and aging potion is here." He presented the box with a bow, "Anything else you wish me to brew?" Salivating at the chance of a more difficult brew.

"Yes," He conjured another roll of parchment and handed it to him, "Some of them are arduous brew, given they are for a child with a sensitive creature, though I am sure you will like the challenge. You can brew them in the Slytherin Manor in Northern Ireland. The third lab in the upper dungeons is yours. You can come anytime, just inform me beforehand."

Severus nodded in relief, finally having a decent place to brew in peace. He can't do it in Hogwarts under Dumbledore's crooked nose. "Thank you, My Lord."

   

  

______________________________

 

 

  

On the first page of Daily Prophet, there was a big picture of two males walking out from the Gringotts. One could easily say that the younger one is the child of the older one. Not only because of how similar they look, but the way at the start of the loop one can see the younger male seeking out and holding hands of the older who accepted it with a familiarity that spoke volume. They were both dressed in the finest robes, the older of the two was with an old styled dress robe with the Slytherin insignia at the front while the younger had the most recent styled dress robe in the market with the same insignia. The oldest was with a nonchalant look and his body expression also seemed calm and relaxed, but if you looked to details you would notice how he was alert and ready for something to happen, ready to protect his son and Heir from harm. He was looking ahead on the road, as well glancing to his side at the younger, as if to make sure he is alright as the younger walked beside him while looking curiously at the Magical menagerie shop before the photo was again set on loop.

   

  

SLYTHERIN HOUSE IS BACK?

By Barnabas Cuffe

Yesterday, this journalist has come upon some interesting news. Rumors had said Slytherin House has returned, that Lord Slytherin with his Heir (See picture) has been seen in the Diagon Alley. So this journalist had to contact the Ministry Of Magic for confirmation. Our reliable source from Ministry has informed us that even if they do not have much information on Slytherin Lord and his Heir, but the seat of Slytherin in Wizengamot (See page 3) has been activated. This means Slytherin House has returned to the soil of Magical Britain. Representative of Wizengamot member and Governor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Lord Lucius Malfoy has confirmed the news and was kind to comment, "It is a piece of splendid news to know that one of ancient and noble Pure-blood line, Slytherin house from Sacred twenty-eight list has been activated again. I look forward to meeting Lord Slytherin and work with him in Wizengamot and Hogwarts School Government for the well-being of our Magical society." In case anyone is wondering, Slytherin House is among the four founders house of Hogwarts School (See page 5).

     

  

Marvolo put the paper down with a thoughtful look on his face. Lucius has done a fantastic job playing with words and tells the World that Hogwarts now has an owner. While it will be glorious to join the School Governor and work on the up-gradation of the subpar level of education in Hogwarts, he would need to throw away Dumbledore completely to bring Hogwarts to her previous glory. That old man will always stay a thorn until he removes him. But for that, he would need to work on it. Marvolo knows it will be hard, the old fool already had decades to establish his name among people's good book. To throw him off completely, he would need something big.

Marvolo hummed, casting tempus absentmindedly, and noticed it is almost time for Hadrianus to come down for breakfast. He sipped on his tea and glanced at the pictures again, remembering how he insisted on changing his clothes in the robes shop and cast the glamour on him before going out. He quickly skimmed through the rest of the story as it continued to paint a mysterious air towards them while also talking about him. There were a few more articles on Slytherin House and how they owned the Hogwarts Castle as the rest of the founder's house is not around anymore. He quickly skimmed through them to make sure they did not reveal more than they were allowed; vaguely noticing his son's presence is coming towards the dining hall. He turned the page while musing to owl Lucius asking him to release a small leak saying he was residing in Germany sometime next week. All his muse come to a halt when he came across a photo of supposed Boy-Who-Lived who was 'visiting' Hogwarts with his parents and eating lunch with Dumbledore. His left eyes twitched as he picked up his wand and cut the article with a photo of Marvolo and his son and saved it in his pocket before the rest of the paper burst into flames, the photo of Jim Potter and Dumbledore burning, satisfying him. For now.

He glanced up to see his son, hearing the footsteps before looking back at the ashes he was about to banish, before his head snapped up again, gaping. Barty was carrying a mischievously grinning Hadrianus on his back, as the Muggles say 'piggyback ride'.

"What happened?" He asked with a frown, noticing there is a healing paste on freshly showered Hadrianus's left knee and elbow.

Barty deposited a sheepish-looking Hadrianus on the chair before taking a seat beside him, "He fell."

Marvolo raised an eyebrow, "He fell?" he repeated in a deadpan voice, turning towards his son, "Mind telling me what exactly were you doing instead of exercising that resulted in you 'falling', son?"

Hadrianus reddened and immediately pointed at Barty, "It was his fault."

"Hey!" Barty protested, "You asked!"

"I didn't ask you to throw me across the room!"

"How I am going to teach you hand-to-hand combat and martial arts if you do not know what you are up against?"

"If I die I am going to hunt you down for the rest of my life!"

"You are fiiiine!"

"Say that to my sore sides!"

"You made me carry you!"

"I wouldn't have if you didn't try to drive me to an early grave with your unhinged and very questionable sadistic way!"

"Children!" Marvolo shouted, taking the attention of bickering children making a ruckus on the dining table, "Stop this and eat your food."

At that, Hadrianus glared at Barty, then huffed and turns his nose up and away from Barty with his eyes closed before opening them to grin at Cece who was serving them breakfast. Marvolo rolled his eyes at Barty's offended rearing up. Honestly, did Barty took some mental de-aging potion? He is supposed to be his parent figure, not a sibling! He pinched the bridge of his nose and took control before the squabble starts again, "How are your eyes?" He had started treatment of his eyes the moment Hadrianus woke up, not wishing to risk him going back to the glasses as it takes few hours to settle and the healing starts.

"It's fine. I mean, the drop was a bit oily and the potion was foul-smelling, other than that, everything is fine."

Marvolo nodded, "After the meal, Barty, you can go take some rest in the chamber I have allotted for you. And Hadrianus, the Blood Cleansing ritual will be held in an hour in the Ritual room, I believe you know where it is?" At Hadrianus's nod, he continued, "Good. Now drink all your nutrient potions first."

As they start eating their meals, he produced one of the potions from his pocket and kept it on the table. Hadrianus looked at him questionably and Marvolo explained, "Remember when I told you that everything from your past will be changed? This is the potion that will help you aging for few months. Drink this after you finish eating and then take some rest, you will need it for the Ritual." Hadrianus didn't need to learn that this potion will demolish the remains of whatever twin bond was left between him and Jim Potter. The last thing he needs is the twin bond to get stronger with the proximity in Hogwarts and destroy his plans.

"Yes, father." Hadrianus paused, then asked, "So what will be my new birthday?"

Marvolo smirked and stood up, "First of January, 1980."

Chapter Text

Hadrianus knocked twice, before peeking inside the ritual room, blinking in surprise when more than one pair of eyes blinked back at him. Even his mum was here, perching on a warm runic-stone watching them work.

"Hadrianus, come in." Marvolo nodded at his son, "This is Goblin Ritualist Lord Gornuk, he is under Unbreakable Vow and will be in charge of the ritual. Lord Gornuk, this is my son and Heir, Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin."

Hadrianus approached them, remembering they had chosen the ritual which will need a Goblin's help, and pouted inwardly. He had anticipated his favorite Gobfather to arrive, not someone unknown. But, understandably, his Gobfather is a Healer, not a Ritualist by profession. And of course, his father will search for the best professional Ritualist Goblin to get the ritual done.

"May your coffers replenish, Lord Gornuk." Hadrianus bowed his head in respectful greeting, the way his Gobfather had taught him. The Goblin Lord raised his eyebrow in obvious surprise.

"And may your health never decline, Heir of The Darkest Lord. Shall we begin?"

"Of course," Marvolo picked up a small white robe and gave it to him, "Go to the next room and change into this."

Hadrianus blinked, then nodded, accepting the robe. He had seen Tom and his father performing a ritual before. He knows most of the advanced rituals need to be done by going sky-clad. He silently went to the changing room and changed into the white robe, and folded his old clothes and kept it beside his father's neatly folded clothes. Then went back to the main ritual room.

"Young Hadrianus will need to remove his robes and enter into the center of the cycle and lie inside the basin, submerging himself in the potion." The Goblin Teller who was in charge of the ritual informed them, pointing at the golden-colored almost ten feet big ceramic basin full of a potion of with some sort boiling away in it as he looked over the ritual circle and other preparations for the last time, before picking the long silver ceremonial dagger and giving it to Marvolo, "And you will need to pour blood into the runes on top of the circle when I signal."

"Of course." Marvolo nodded and accepted the dagger at the same time Hadrianus shouted, "Wait, WHAT?"

The adults raised their eyebrows at the youngest who was staring incredulously at the basin. "Are you kidding me? That thing is boiling! I will die!"

Marvolo rolled his eyes inwardly as if he will let anything happen to him. But he can understand his confusion. After all, he is still a child, and not familiar with Magic enough to know it is harmless. Looks like he found which subject to teach his son next. And he knows a brilliant Potion master who is capable of that. "Do not fret Hadrianus, it is not water that will scald you. Some substances boil even under low temperatures, you will learn soon about them. You may feel some sort of stings, but that's on the final part of the ritual."

Hadrianus gulped, torn between not wanting to believe this and trusting his father. After all, his father won't hurt him, neither he will lie to him. And obviously, his father knows the best. And he doesn't tolerate hesitation or delay to obey his commands, he has learned that in the last few months. So he settled for finding out himself.

He hesitated for a moment, blushing to be starker in front of an unknown Goblins. He is not ashamed in front of his parents, they have already seen him naked on several occasions. But the Goblin didn't. As he glanced at him, he saw the Goblin is busy looking over some parchment. So he quickly removed the robes and folded them, keeping them on his mum which she accepted with a pleased hiss, loving the residual warmth and his smell in the robes.

Hadrianus quickly made his way over to the huge basin, making sure to not touch any rune or ingredients as he went. He quickly tested the crystal clear potion, which was, just as his father said, not hot but warm enough to be comfortable. He quickly sank in it, obscuring his nudity from the Goblin who is yet to raise his head from the parchment. Hadrianus found the height of the potion inside the basin is the exact height of him, without the head needing to sink; almost smell-less, with a hint of foreign leaf-like weird scent, though it was not bad. Hadrianus relaxed into the warm water-like potion, letting himself soak, and glanced at his father who was examining the ceremonial dagger in his hand. So he started to amuse himself by playing with the bubbles from the boiling potion around him.

"Let us start."

Soon, the room is full of an echoing deep and gruff voice as Gornuk started to chant in Gobbledegook, his Magic pouring out in the room which made the potion in the basin glow in a black and purple like color. The potion started to bob more and the bubbles erupted on his bare skin. Hadrianus giggled more, feeling ticklish as he looked around him in wonder, not paying any attention even when Gornuk signaled his father to pour his blood in the runes without pausing the chants.

Marvolo glanced at his hand where he was holding the beautiful piece of craftsmanship which probably worth most of his fortune, and made a slash on his left palm without hesitation. Blood immediately started to pour, so he quickly fisted his left hand and bring it on top of the small bowl and let the blood flow. Just as the bowl is almost full, he quickly healed his hand non-verbally and Wandlessly, then turned over the bowl just on top of the runes, letting the runes absorb every droplet of his blood without wasting a single drop.

He sterilized the bowl and the dagger absentmindedly, watching one by one all the runes started to glow as his blood flooded them. Following them, his eyes went towards the basin where Hadrianus is roosting at the moment. He looked at his son, his lips quirking fondly as he watched him play with the bubbles around him, giggling, blissfully ignorant of how his whole physical and magical identity is about to be changed for good. He watched the exact moment the potions turned murky red, making Hadrianus pause in his little games and blink owlishly in surprise and perplexed. Then quickly looked up to find him, seeking comfort in his calm presence and wanting to make sure it's nothing to fear about. Marvolo let his lips take an upward curve and gave a single nod, assuring his son. Hadrianus relaxed immediately in such a way that spoke volumes of his trust in his father. Marvolo couldn't help but feel smug at that, and if his heart swelled with happiness, well, no one has to know.

Hadrianus looked around curiously, not only the color of the potion has changed, the bubbles have stopped blowing as well, and soon he started to feel a little tingling. As if thousands of small but blunt needles are poking him from everywhere, not enough to cause pain or sting, but just enough to cause a whole body-width tingle. Hadrianus squirmed uncomfortably, wondering how long he has to bear this. Thankfully, the potion is still warm. And Lord Gornuk's chanting is still echoing in the background.

Slowly, without anything to occupy himself while submerged in the warm liquid, Hadrianus's eyes started to droop. He struggled to stay awake and not slip into Morpheus's arms in the middle of a ritual. That would be rude, given the ritual is for him. So he looked around to find something to distract himself with and saw his father reading some books while stroking mum's scales, who has decided to take naps. 

Oh, how he wishes he could join his mum.

"Bored already?" His father whispered, chuckling quietly as he noticed him shaking his head in a typical snake-like fashion to stay awake from the corner of his eyes.

"How are you not?" Hadrianus pouted. Marvolo smirked, looking back at his book.

"I am older than you Hadrianus, I know how to stay awake even if I am bored. I am used to attending meetings more tedious than this."

"Huh," Hadrianus blinked, "Sounds dull. I do not want to grow up if I have to do that too."

Marvolo snorted. "You will come closer in few years, during your classes and lectures in Hogwarts."

"Then I do not want to go to Hogwarts."

Marvolo turned a page on the book, "By the time you're ready for Hogwarts, she will start changing for the better. And you're Heir of the Hogwarts, your help is needed, even if you must go through some boring lectures from time to time."

Hadrianus pouted, even though he understands. He heard from his father that the current Light Lord is making Lady Hogwarts imbalance by using only Light Magic and banning the Dark Magic. She is getting vulnerable and weak with every passing year, and may fall anytime in the next decades or so. They need to restore her strength. Hadrianus sighed, rubbing his head on the edge of the basin and looking at the Goblin through his eyelashes. Gah! He's so bored!

"Father?" 

Marvolo hummed.

"How much longer?"

Marvolo turned the page of his book, listening as the chanting becomes more rapid, "Soon enough."

How soon? Hadrianus wanted to ask but refrained.

A few beats passed.

"Father?"

Marvolo hummed.

"It tickles." Hadrianus squirmed. It's increasing with every passing beat.

"It was supposed to, it's cleaning your previous blood and replacing it with mine."

Another few beats passed.

"Father?" 

Marvolo hummed.

"Can I have some cookies after we finish?" Aware that his Elf-friends has found the recipe of perfect 'so called' sugary treats that contains almost no sugar or wheat grains yet tastes all the same. So Hadrianus can eat to his heart's content without getting sick.

"No more than two." Because even if his son can digest it without problem, he is not letting him fill his stomach with unhealthy treats when he needs all the nutrients to grow.

Again, few beats first.

"Father?" 

Marvolo glanced at his son, wondering how much patience he has left and how much he is indulging his child. Hadrianus is lucky that his soul is more stable than he was before, or else he will be writhing under Cruciatus by now.

"Can you make me another bicycle?"

"If you promise not to discard the safety measures I put them for you, and make sure Barty or any other adult is watching over you when you ride it."

"Okay."

Not even a minute passed.

"Father?"

Marvolo let out a long sigh, closing his books with a bookmark, realizing he is not getting any reading done if his son is bored. Regretfully he can't bring him a book and tell him to read it. It may interrupt the Ritual process.

"Can I go to the river for swimming after this is over?"

"After this is done, I will key you to the Ward-stone. By that time, it will be lunchtime. After napping, you can roam outside to your heart's content with your mum, just do not go beyond the river without informing me."

Hadrianus nodded, then fall silent. Just when he was thinking to reopen his book, Hadrianus spoke up, again, "Father?"

"Hmm?"

"Can you tell me another story?"

Marvolo pinched the bridge of his nose, regretting the day he started to tell him 'stories' (aka recalling his travel stories, Hadrianus seems to like them) before glancing at the chanting Goblin, realizing they probably still have twenty minutes to spare. And he knows what he can tell to pass that twenty minutes, after all, it doesn't always have to be a 'story'.

Perks of being a father, yay! At least he was spared from the horror of having to change his nappies!

"Very well."
   

     

    
".... And in ancient Indian culture, Naga were worshipped as gods among mankind and would get everything they wanted from the people they watched over. They say Naga is one of the ancient creatures and considered highly intelligent and among one of the wisest creatures to walk on Earth."

"Is that why people worship you as their God?" Hadrianus asked, mesmerized by the tale.

"Not their 'God', more like their leader," Marvolo sniffed imperiously, "My Naga inheritance came to the surface when I was sixteen. I had been leading people since I was twelve."

"So it's all you," Hadrianus mused, "and being Naga worked as a bonus point."

"You can say that."

Hadrianus wanted to ask if that is why Barty and others like him, because he was a Naga himself, but he stopped himself as the Gobbledegook chanting ceased abruptly, leaving a ringing on their ear. Hadrianus glanced at the clock to find they had been at it for almost two and half hours.

"The ritual is completed." Lord Gornuk announced, "If The Darkest Lord wishes, he can do another inheritance test on his Heir to confirm it."

"Do not mind if I do," Marvolo said as he stood up, signaling his son to come out from the rapidly discoloring potion. It was losing its murky red color and returning to its colorless characteristic. Marvolo glanced at the bowl at the lowest circle of the ritual which is collecting the murky redness from the basin, smirking when realized its almost full. Full of the discarded and unwanted influence of his son's blood. Marvolo sneered and banished them. They won't be going anywhere near his son anymore.

A blushing Hadrianus came out from the basin and Marvolo quickly spelled the white robe on him. 

"I feel yucky."

"You can go take a quick shower."

Hadrianus nodded and accepted the small needle from Gornuk, pricking his finger and dropping it on the inheritance paper. Marvolo absentmindedly healed his son and dismissed him as Hadrianus ran to his room to take a quick shower, He checked the test result to make sure it has all the desired results while a copy of the test have vanished with a flash of light. Marvolo wasn't worried, knowing they will go to the Gringotts as the final Official Inheritance test of Hadrianus.
       

     

Name : Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin Peverell

Status : Wizard, Alive

Blood Status : Pureblood

Familiar : Unknown

Magical Core : Dark

Magical ability : Metamorphmagus

Creature : Naga

 

Family :

 

Father : Marvolo Salazar Slytherin (Alive)

Mother : Yvette Peverell (Dead*)

Adoptive Mother : Nagini Everard (Alive, Maledictus)

Godfather(s) : • Barthélemy Thomas Crouch (Alive)
• Healer Lord Sharptooth (Alive, Goblin)

Godmother(s) : • Narcissa Druella Malfoy, née Black (Alive)
• Bellatrix Irma Lestrange, née Black (Alive, compromised) [Confirmation : Pending]

Grandparents (Paternal) : • Cadmus Morfin Slytherin (Dead*)
• Dorea Violetta Potter, née Black (Dead*)

 

Inheritance :

Heir to-

Slytherin

Gaunt

Riddle

Peverell

Everard

Crouch (Godparental)

Lestrange (Godparental - confirmation pending)

Black (Godparental, second in line)

Malfoy (Godparental, second in line)
         

Marvolo smirked when he noticed what Hadrianus's grandmother's name has come out. Well, he had to go through all of this solely for that purpose. To keep the Black blood. He can only imagine how will James Potter react if he ever did this inheritance test on his son. Is he going to think Marvolo is his half-brother? That his mother cheated on Charlus Potter with some Dark Wizard? Marvolo bet his Wand that their reaction will be most amusing, he wished he can see them if they do it.

"Thank you Lord Gornuk," Marvolo bowed respectfully, "I have already informed Lord Ironclaw to transfer 150 galleons from my account to yours. Am I to believe that the secrecy will be as utmost as Goblin's reputation claimed them to be?"

Lord Gornuk sneered, "Am I to believe that you do not trust in your business partners, The Darkest Lord?"

Marvolo smirked, "It was a pleasure doing business with you, feel free to use the Floo. May your vault never be empty."

"And may the blood of your enemies spill upon the ground and the wind silence their screams, The Darkest Lord."

"Oh, they will." Marvolo gave a shark-like grin and nodded as Lord Gornuk went towards the Floo. As soon as he left, Marvolo glanced towards now awake Nagini and made a beeline towards their study with Nagini following him.

As he waited for Hadrianus to show up, he summoned a blank parchment and the Wizarding Inheritance potion he prepared the night before and kept it on his study. Within five minutes, he felt Hadrianus's presence coming towards his study. He silently picked up the needle and asked a freshly showered Hadrianus to enter when he knocked.

Without a second thought, Hadrianus let his father prick his finger the second time that day. As Marvolo prepared for the Wizarding inheritance test, Hadrianus picked up the Goblin test result and skimmed through it while Marvolo read the second test.

Name : Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin Peverell

Status : Wizard, Alive

Father's name : Marvolo Salazar Slytherin

Mother's name : Yvette Peverell

Adoptive Mother's name : Nagini Everard

Inheritance :

Slytherin

Gaunt

Riddle

Peverell

Black

Everard

Crouch

Malfoy (Second in line)

"Yvette Peverell?" Marvolo hummed as Hadrianus asked, "Who is she?" He frowned as he went through the second test as well.

"A pureblood witch, a second or third in line, if I am correct to assume. Unmarried, near squib. Basically a no-one. I met her during my travels. I watched after her for few days as she was on death bed at the time, with no family to look after her. Thank Merlin I saved a sample of her blood under a preservative charm."

"Why did you chose her to become my mother?"

"I have many reasons," Marvolo said as he signaled Hadrianus to follow him towards the Wardstone, "First, I need an excuse to claim the Peverell Lordship and the seat in Wizengamot. I have already started the procedure of merging the Everard line with Slytherin with Nagini's permission. Even if people try to look for references for Yvette Peverell, they will find none. So no one can question if you become the Heir of Peverell. And as Yvette is not here to take the Ladyship, I will claim the seat as the acting Lord of Peverell according to Ministry paper."

"According to ministry paper," Hadrianus parroted, following his father in the dungeons, "But it's not true, right? You will become the real Lord of Peverell?"

A sadistic smirk came to play on his lips as Marvolo descent on the stairs, "I must admit, I am feeling rather mischievous and childish to set all the traps - maybe you're rubbing on me," He ignored his son's indignant sputtering with a "Hey" as he continued, "but I want to see the reaction on Dumbledore's and the Potter's face when they try and contest for the Lordship of Peverell and the seats in Wizengamot and were declined by the Goblins. You are right, my son, when I take the Peverell House, I won't be the acting Lord. Can you tell me why?"

"Let me guess," Hadrianus grinned mischievously, "Yvette Peverell may not be the direct descendent of Peverell, but we are."

Marvolo blinked, then burst into peals of laughter, "Oh you're getting more Slytherin as the days progressed. I am most pleased."

Hadrianus grinned, pleased, "They will be in for a real shock." He said, then remembered what else he read, "Are you sure no one will get suspicious if they see I inherited the Riddles fortune?"

"Voldemort had no family," Marvolo said, "Neither he had any Heir. It is rather obvious that his nephew will be the Heir of all his fortunes. If that makes them suspicious, then they are welcome to waste their breath over it."

Hadrianus nodded, looking curious as they reached the end of the stairs and Marvolo marched around a dark corner. Hadrianus hesitated to follow, his guts screaming out 'Danger! Stay away! Run! Danger! Leave!'

"Hadrianus?" Marvolo called out when he realized his son is not following him. He turned to look at him who was standing near the end of the stairs, affected by the strong repellant and other protective wards he placed around the place, but strong enough to not give into them immediately and turn back. He approached him quickly and grabbed his wrist, waiting patiently until he had Hadrianus's full attention, "Listen, my son, what you're feeling is our Castle trying to push you away from her most obvious weakness and strongest point. If you wish to become her Heir, you must fight these instincts and follow me. Do you understand?"

Hadrianus's confused face changed into a hopeful, wonder, and determined one. "Let's go then."

Marvolo nodded in approval and went ahead, making sure Hadrianus is really following him this time, which he did with determined steps. So they marched quickly and reached the Ward-stone room. Marvolo pressed his Magic on the camouflaged door and it opened automatically, revealing the glowing Ward-stone. Hadrianus gasped. "Is this - ?"

"Indeed." Marvolo agreed, "Come."

Hadrianus stared at the Wardstone that is two times bigger than an ostrich egg and giving a beautiful multicolored glow and radiating a welcoming warmth. He frowned and tilted his head, there is something written on it in tiny calligraphy? Curious, he approached and almost touched it before his father stopped him.

"Must you touch whatever you like?" He asked, exasperated, "Please do try and use that tiny brain of yours to remember not everything is safe to touch."

Hadrianus blushed and retract his hand, "What do I need to do?"

"Make a small slash on your hand and pressed it on the stone, and let your Magic flow as I chant," Marvolo said as he passed him a small dagger. "You will start feeling light-headed and dizzy after a while, you will need to retract your hand when you feel it."

Hadrianus made a face before accepting it, making Marvolo laugh, "Don't worry, this is the last time I am asking for your blood today."

Hadrianus blushed and grinned, and pressed the dagger on his left palm with determination. Just as Marvolo raised his both hands and started chanting, he made a small slash and immediately pressed it on the warm and glowing stone as the blood started to flow, knowing his father despises a single drop of blood being wasted. His eyes grew when he realized his Magic is being absorbed into the stone, and suddenly he can feel everything. 

He can feel...Her

Every single activity inside the Her, every vassal where Her Magic is flowing, every big and small creatures residing inside Her, let it be the small birds or garden pixies in the woods, to the big magical octopus-like creature deep in the river, or their Elf friends that are working on the different parts of Her. And himself and his father, standing in the dungeons a foot apart. Everything. And he felt the pulse of the life that is flowing through them. The Magic.

His father created a Magic sentient using Pure Magic?

That was the last thing he remembered before everything went blank.
     

     
         

     "That's it, Hadrianus, slow breathing." He slowly became aware of his surroundings without opening his eyes, and soon realized that he is on his bed in his room and his father's soft voices calming him like a soothing balm, "Now try to reach inside you and find the gate of The Mother Castle."

Hadrianus breathed deeply and felt more than saw the gates of their Mother Castle inside his mind. Thankfully his father had already started instructing him how to build a mind palace to arrange his mind before he started building Occlumency Shields around it. And if his Mind Palace looks too much similar to their Mother Castle, well, no one has to know.

No one except his father, who is teaching him how to build his palace brick by brick.

So Hadrianus easily sailed across the river and opened the gate. His father has told him soon he will be able to create more protection around the castle that will keep an attacker at bay. he can already feel someone's presence if they're trying to sneak in - which is mostly his father -  even if he can't fight enough to keep them out.

"I'm in," Hadrianus breathed.

"Good. Now go to the Wardstone."

This is a new addition. Hadrianus hadn't bothered to build a dungeon before, but now that's what he's doing right now. Hadrianus slowly exhaled as the imitation of dark corners created, just the way he had seen it before.

"Good. Now wrap your Magic around the Wardstone in layers."

Hadrianus frowned, but he let the tendrils of his Magic wrap around it, forming layers and layers. As he started to wrap it, the overwhelming sensation and feeling of The Mother Castle started to loosen. He puts up the layers after layers until he can't feel anything. The emptiness after the overwhelming presence left him shivering.

"You're doing a good job, now loosen some of your layers as you feel comfortable, preferably just enough to feel The Castle's Magic and us."

Hadrianus exhaled slowly, then started to tug the outer layer. Slowly, he unwrapped a layer or two, then started to feel Her Magic. He loosened another two layers until he can firmly feel himself, his father, and those inside the castle, like his mum who is - judging by The Mother Castle's Magic, in his father's study, and the House-Elves. At least, he is not overwhelmed anymore.

Hadrianus exhaled and slowly opened his eyes, glancing to find his father seating on the chair beside his bed, looking at him with a fond and proud smile.

"Father?" He asked, puzzled. All he did was pass out, what is there to be proud of?

Apparently, his father requests to differ, who announced with every ounce of pride and satisfaction he can master.

  

"You are now mine in my flesh, blood, soul, and Magic."

Chapter Text

At exactly 20:00, the Floo of the Malfoy Manor flared, and The Dark Lord stepped out of the fireplace elegantly, brushing off the ashes from his stylish robes.

"My Lord," Lucius and Severus knelt before him, while Narcissa bowed. Marvolo nodded at them, before raising an eyebrow at Severus, silently questioning him. The Wizard in question immediately took out multiple rolled parchment from his robes, presenting it to him.

"Everything I have gathered from spying on the Order is here My Lord. I have made different reports on different Order members. Dumbledore kept me under a tight leash in Hogwarts, I was not privy to all of their movements. But whatever I've learned is here."

Marvolo nodded, accepting them. "I do expect it is worth the reward you'll be getting, Severus."

Severus bowed, "I live to please, My Lord."

Marvolo hummed, opening a few of the parchments and going through them quickly. "I will review it over later." He said, rolling them back and looking at the others. Though they have an impassive mask on, their eyes gave away the excitement and anticipation they're feeling. 

"I will require an Unbreakable vow."

Affirmative murmurs rang through the room. Marvolo nodded, satisfied, "Perhaps Narcissa can be the first Bonder?"

Narcissa drew her wand and came forward to stood over where Lucius and Severus had lowered themselves so both were kneeling opposite to their master. Marvolo grasped their hands by both hands.

"Do you, Severus and Lucius, swear to maintain utmost secrecy about the Slytherin Castle from whoever is not in this chamber at the time, except Barty?"

"We do." They chorused. A couple of thin tongues of brilliant flame issued from the wand and wound their way around their hands like a red-hot wire.

"Do you swear not to share any details that might give a clue to anyone about the location of the Castle, including nature, weather, and time differences between places in any form, with anyone, living or nonliving?

"We do." The second pair of tongues of flame shot from the wand and interlinked with the first, making a fine, glowing chain.

"Do you swear to not share any details with anyone about whatever you see or learn in the Castle, except whoever is in this room and Barty unless I give you explicit permission?"

"We do."

"Do you swear you will pay with your death if you break any of the mentioned promises?"

"We do." The final flame shot from Narcissa's wand and twisted with the others, and bound itself thickly around their clasped hands, like a fiery snake.

As soon as they're done, Narcissa came to replace them and quickly sworn the same as Lucius acted as the second Bonder.

Marvolo nodded, pleased, then pulled a portkey from his robe pocket. Lucius, Narcissa, and Severus grabbed into the rope tightly, and then whisked away as soon as Marvolo hissed the password.

But unlike Hadrianus, they didn't appear in the middle of the forest. Unbreakable Vow or not, Marvolo was not letting them in the secret of Fidelius of the old banyan tree, call him paranoid. Instead, they arrived near the river. Without him, they will never be able to come back here. Or trace this spot on the map. He had made sure of that.

Marvolo smirked at the three impressed gasps as he concentrated on calling his ship. Oh yes Lucius, I do have a more impressive home than you will ever hope to have. "Come," he said impassively as he strode across the dock to go inside the ship, suppressing the chuckle trying to escape watching their starry eyes.

They make his little son look like an adult. And that is saying something.

He went and claimed his seat on the deck, smiling softly as he remembered the time his son has come and climbed on his lap on this seat, as if it belonged to him - which, well, it did. But that's beside the point. He watched as Narcissa went near the edge and gripped the handle, staring at the Castle with eyes wider than a House Elf on bad days, Lucius and Severus not far behind, even though Severus is doing much better in maintaining the mask.

As he had some moments to spare, his mind automatically went to his son. He has last seen him this morning, enthusiastically learning Krav Maga from Barty. The sneaky little Slytherin has probably come across the information that his father is the one who has taught Barty and few other Elites Krav Maga, Karate, Taekwondo, and other many types of martial arts, as he learned it during his travel across the World. And he is now obsessed with learning them. So Barty has started to teach him with Marvolo's permission. After all, as the Heir of the Dark Lord, Hadrianus needs to be prepared for everything for his future, and losing a Wand in the middle of a conflict or being disarmed is not a flaw he wants his child to have. And after the first day where Hadrianus ended up having too many bruises and injuries for Nagini to be comfortable with, Marvolo has installed multiple layers of cushions around the training room so he can practice with his heart content without giving his mother a mini coronary after every session.

Marvolo took a moment to reach out the deck of the ship. The ship is an extended part of the Castle, so the Magic is extended here as well. He pressed his hand on the wood, letting his Magic touch it and informing The Mother Castle of his intention - wanting to know what his son is doing at the moment. An image of Hadrianus with his hair still dripping wet eating eggs and slices of bacon, and yogurt with fruits and some nuts in the dining hall and talking animatedly with Barty flashed before his eyes.

This means he is following his routine even in his absence; he has finished gym with Barty then showered. Marvolo sighed, massaging his forehead. Looks like he needs to add new rules on drying hair after a shower. Now he understands those dark circles and puffy eyes he had noticed in some of his followers. Raising a child is truly a full-time job. Honestly, does the child do not know that even if he lives in a warm-weather country, he might catch a cold with that wet hair? Where is Nagini? Another image flashed before his eyes where Nagini is swallowing a rabbit she just hunted in the backyards. Well, that explains why the mother-hen hadn't started her tirades after her hatchling's little stunt.

His musing cut off when the ship reached and moored herself with a gentle bump. Marvolo stood, brushing off the imaginary dust from his robe, and lead his guests to the main gate while absently making sure the ship went underwater to its place. "Narcissa," He said, marching towards the secondary Wardstone beside the main gate, "if you're intending to visit him in my absence, you will require to add your signature to the Wards."

"Yes My Lord," Narcissa said with a bow, still in awe of the Castle, this was beyond all her imagination. A Castle that is almost as beautiful and sentient as Lady Hogwarts? That makes sense, after all, Hogwarts has been her Lord's home as well. "Thank you for giving me such honor." She conjured a small pin, and proceed to add herself in the Castle Wards.

Severus frowned slightly and glanced at Lucius, not knowing who is the 'he' Narcissa will be visiting in their Lord's absence. Lucius only gave him a haughty look, to which Severus merely rolled his eyes. Of course, Lucius knows who is 'he', though Severus has a feeling he might learn that soon enough.

"Come." Their master commanded as he marched towards the majestic castle. They followed him down the narrow path full of small pebble stones, glancing around to appreciate the enchanted garden that surrounds them. A couple of House Elves in Slytherin-colored uniform tending around some of the bushes. The sounds of their footsteps drowned by the chirpings and singing of so many tropical as well as some subtropical birds, Narcissa even caught a glimpse of the magical signature of some wood nymph, probably playing around on the other side of the enchanted garden.

Of course, they will find a sanctuary under The Dark Lord, in his home.

She was so deep in thought that she almost missed when they reached the beautiful castle gate. The enormous wooden gate with Slytherin insignia on them opened as their Lord came near it, welcoming him and his guests with warmth.

"Bailey?" Marvolo asked, not looking as he hung the traveling cloak on the cloak hanger, followed by others, hearing a quiet pop he started to speak, "inform Hadrianus that I - " He paused when he turned and his eyes finally fall on the Elf. He blinked, but that was the only sign that said he was bewildered, "What are you wearing?"

He has absolutely every right to be bewildered. Oh no, her baby pink blouse with small forest green 'S' and the floral skirt is absolutely fine, but the matching flower and leaf tiara on her head was not.

Bailey beamed proudly when she realized where her master is looking, "Master Harry honored me by giving this to me. This be the traditional symbol of friendship here, he says."

Of course, he did.

Marvolo pinched the bridge of his nose. He forgot that Hadrianus had asked him for a book about the country they're leaving in and he gave him. And in Hawaii, lei is the traditional way to greet a loved one or friend - both muggle and magical people follow this tradition. Though he would have appreciated learning this new antics of his son when he is alone, and not in the presence of a known House-Elf abuser. At least he now has a head start that his son might be waiting for him with a lei as well. Either that or a lei is already waiting for him in his study.

"Nevermind, Just - inform Barty to come and join me in my office." He said, knowing they both are in the library, and dismissed her, already dreading to meet with Hadrianus in front of his followers, knowing he can't say no if his child insists on make him wear a bloody flower tiara. He has a reputation to keep in front of his followers. No, he will go meet him in the library, letting him fuss and get over with it while they're alone.

Marvolo sighed, glancing behind to see Lucius's reaction. How he was looking at Bailey with poorly concealed disgust and aversion. 

"Luciuss," He let his name drag with a hiss that had an immediate effect. Lucius straightens up, his face automatically snapped into a blank mask, "Yes, My Lord?"

"I hope you have not forgotten your place. You will regret offending those under my care." He warned him. He doesn't care for Hose-Elves, but Hadrianus does. He will be hurt if they're hurt, even though he is rather looking forward to witnessing as Hadrianus tore the Malfoys into pieces if he even glances at them any way that he doesn't approve. Hadrianus is very protective of those he cares about.

"I... apologize, My Lord," Lucius mumbled. Marvolo gave a nod and turned, ignoring Narcissa's despondent shake of the head.

"Come." He said and made his way towards his office. He can already feel in the Wards that Barty is coming here. He took his seat on his throne-like couch and gestured the three of them to take a seat as well. Cece appeared to serve them tea and other refreshments, wearing a matching lei as well, causing Marvolo to sigh inwardly even though he didn't react. Thank Merlin he already had extracted the vow from them, so he doesn't need to worry if they have realized where are they, especially given the time difference and that they've already learned that 'lei' is a local tradition here.

As they were taking sips of their tea, Barty knocked and entered his office in all his glory, proudly wearing a bright pink lei. Marvolo kept his face stoic, secretly wondering if that was intentional or Hadrianus pranked him. Lucius choked in his tea.

"My Lord," He said as he sauntered inside the room, "Hey guys. Sev, how are you?" He had long forgiven his old friend after his master confirmed him Severus was doing what he had directed him to do.

Severus stared, not knowing how to respond. And wondering why an unknown wizard carrying a dead man's name and some of his facial features wearing a pink tiara would greet him with such familiarity. "I am sorry, do I know you?"

Barty blinked at him, then laughed, picking up his tea as Cece served him, "Oh, right. I forgot. But it's great to know that it works. Anyway, it's me, Barty, though I go by the name Barthélemy now, my own cousin."

Severus widened his eyes, glancing at The Dark Lord who was calmly sipping his tea, "But... I heard you've died in Azkaban."

"I know," Barty grinned, not explaining further, "Cool, isn't it?"

Lips quirked as Severus tried to hide his smile, happy to finally have some of his old friends back, "Indeed." Even though they were friends, he is Slytherin enough to knows some secrets are meant to be secret. And he respects them. As long as he doesn't get caught.

"Do you know you're wearing a pink tiara, Barthélemy?" Lucius blurted out, unable to tolerate such indignity. Severus holds back a snort.

"Yes, so?" Barty narrowed his eyes, daring him to argue further, "And it's called 'lei'. Little Prince made this for me."

Lucius opened and closed his mouth several times, unable to form a word. What he can say without offending their master, the Dark Heir, and Barty?

"I think it's illustrious and very well made," Narcissa spoke up, noticing Lucius's face going redder every minute, "And pink is just a color, is not it, Lucius?" She pressed, raising her eyebrows.

"You are right, my dear." Lucius immediately agreed, even though his face reddened more.

Marvolo hides his smirk behind his cup, thoroughly entertained. Some things never change! And how he missed their dynamics. However, the other members of his elites are missing, especially Bella and the twins. Oh, Hadrianus will love them. Speaking of which... he needs to start planning to break his faithfuls out from Azkaban.

"Barty and Lucius, I believe I have given you some tasks."

"Yes My Lord," They chorused, Lucius continued, "I have selected at least 20 muggles, all are the worst kind as you asked. Mostly abusers, human traffickers, rapists. I have most of their schedule. If you give us a signal, we can start planning the kidnapping and lock them in the Dungeons of Malfoy Manor for the time being."

"Go ahead," Marvolo waved his hand in dismissal, "Just don't take them out too soon, I do not fancy anyone to become suspicious, even in the Muggle World."

"Yes My Lord."

"And grab 10 more, there is always a possibility that some may wish to join us when we're breaking them out from Azkaban. And Severus, you'll need to brew adequate Polyjuice for at least 30 persons for a month."

"Yes My Lord," They all chorused. Severus's brain working overtime, wondering what their Lord intends to do. Is he going to Polyjuice some Muggle and force them to take their place in Azkaban while breaking out the others? His questions were answered by their Lord's next words.

"Narcissa, make sure to prepare whatever disease outbreak you'll need to kill off all the Muggles under Polyjuice. Remember, it needs to be quick and highly contagious, and lethal enough to kill them before cure reaches Azkaban."

"My Lord, I am in the process of contacting some of our connections in the Russian region to access one of their deadly diseases. I will have it within a month or so with none the wiser." Narcissa informed. Marvolo nodded, pleased with the answer.

Severus's lips quirked minutely. That is a brilliant idea! No one will suspect that they have a mass breakdown in Azkaban right under their nose! Is that how their Lord broke out Barty and staged his death?

"And Severus, I hope you're prepared to brew a large amount of more difficult potions like anti-Dementoric and many more?"

Severus widened his eyes, holding his urge to salivate at the new task, "Yes My Lord." Merlin, he can't wait to start the task!

"Good." Marvolo nodded. "I am sure Narcissa and you can discuss between yourself and make a list. You'll brew them in the Slytherin Manor. I will provide you a Time-Turner so you do not have to bother about the alibi."

"Thank you, My Lord." He nodded in appreciation.

"Speaking of which," Marvolo mused, "Do you wish to continue spying? Do you enjoy teaching in Hogwarts?"

Severus blinked, stunned by the question, "Erm," he scrambled for an answer, not knowing what to say. He really thought this will be his life, serving two masters and teaching the dunderheads. And now one of his masters is offering freedom? Freedom to brew at heart's content? To experiment and invent new potions?

But Dumbledore won't let it happen. He had given him the ultimatum, either spy for him or Azkaban. Even though he knows it will be a matter of time until their Lord breaks him out, but he does not want to live the rest of his life as a dead man, hidden from the public and unable to publish his inventions.

"Think on it," Marvolo dismissed, "I do not wish to force you to become my spy, however, it will be appreciated to have someone in Dumbledore's circle to know what the old coot is contemplating."

"Yes My Lord," Severus bowed, still a little stunned.

"Well then, Barty," Marvolo kept the teacup on the soccer, "They've come to visit the Castle. I believe you can give them a tour?" At Barty's enthusiastic yes, he continued, "Excellent. Then join me in the dining hall at noon for lunch." He knows Barty and Hadrianus have explored the Castle enough times in past days to trust they won't get lost in it. And even if they do, they're adult enough to know that all they need is to call a House Elf to show them the way out.

"Yes My Lord," Murmurs followed him as he stood and went out of the room with a swirl of his robes, and went to investigate why his son is not reading in the library like he was supposed to, and decided to go towards the garden.

"Who's Hadrianus?" Severus blurted out as soon as their master left. "And who is Little Prince?"

"Hadrianus is Little Prince," Barty helpfully supplied, Narcissa rolled her eyes while Lucius smirked.

"He is our master's eight years old." He said, "Surely you've noticed the photo where our Lord was accompanied by a child."

All the years of practice of Occlumency stopped Severus from gaping unattractively, "I was not privy to the news that our Lord has a child."

At that, the three of them looked at each other. "How about you explain while touring us the Castle?" Narcissa offered Barty, as he has spent the most time with the child. Barty grinned and stood up, making Severus grown inwardly. Knowing Barty, he probably signed up for a very long rant.

     

      
___________________________

       

    

"...but then I went inside the waters again with mum and heard those merpeople singing in a nice piece! I can't believe it! How can they screech so awfully above water, but change their voice below it! How neat is that! I wouldn't have believed it if mum didn't propose to go check it as well! So that's what I was doing when you came and saw us." They all can hear a young voice talking animatedly in the dining hall as they walked towards it. Narcissa smiled when she heard her Godson, happy that he is finally having the childhood he deserved, before frowning as she listened to his rant.

Did Adrian just say 'mum'? Does he have a 'mum'?

Who is his mother?

The door opened granting them admission, catching the attention of the occupant. Their Lord sitting regally at the head of the table, His chin resting on His hand as He idly listens to His son talking who was sitting on His right side, while His pet snake is occupying the left. Narcissa smiled at the sitting arrangement, well that explains. Their Lord obviously doesn't have a spouse, so His Heir will sit on that seat. So who was this 'mum' Hadrianus was talking about? And why His familiar is taking the seat saved for the second most important person on the table? Did their Lord humanize His pet?

As soon as Hadrianus looked up and found some unknown people in the group lead by Barty, his mouth snapped close. Ah, shy mode on then! Narcissa smiled at him fondly. That was an adorable version of the Pureblood mask they wear in public.

"My Lord," They bowed, their Lord nodded and gestured them to take their seat. Everyone followed his order, acting as though they didn't saw the lilac 'lei' resting beside their Lord, or the multicolored one on the head of The Dark Lord's pet snake that matches with its glittering scales. Severus took his seat, glancing at the child silently watching them through his eyelashes. He unmistakably is their Lord's child, given their similarities. Does that mean this is their Lord's real face beneath that snake façade? Severus can't remember if he had ever seen their master's human side, though he has a feeling he did, somehow forgot it. 

How can he forget something like that?

It's such a shock to the system to actually realize that beneath that mask, there is a man who of course adores His son, judging by the way He was patiently indulging the child to rant. Severus is sure that any other child would have writhing under Cruciatus by now, though he can not guarantee his claims as he never saw their Lord in front of a child before. Speaking of which... Severus narrowed his eyes. The child looks much smaller than an eight years old should be, and thin. If they didn't inform him about the abuse he suffered at the hand of the Muggles, he would have never believed that he is eight years old. Even though his eyes and the way he presents himself say he is older and more mature than a normal eight years old. Definitely more mature than Draco, his Godson.

Out of everyone, Severus understood him on a level that no one else could, having suffered the same fate once.

"Lucius, Severus, meet my son and Heir, Hadrianus Slytherin. Hadrianus, you know Narcissa, this is Lucius Malfoy, Lord of the Malfoy House, and next to him is Severus Snape, Potion Master and the Head of Slytherin House in Hogwarts."

Severus knew his position will catch the attention of the child. But he was unprepared the way the child's eyes snapped towards him and they trailed on him as if measuring if he's worth it.

Morgana's tits! 

A not-so-small shiver ran through his spine. His Lord didn't have to introduce him to them, he can very well tell he truly is their master's son. He acted just like Him when He meets with new people!

Except that their master didn't have eyes of the shade of the Killing Curse.

"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Lord Malfoy and Professor Snape," He smiled, as polite as one could be yet his eyes sharp, as if trying to look into their soul, "I have heard so many - " Severus saw those eyes glance at Barty before coming to rest on them again, "good things about you."

One thing Severus is now sure of, that Barty didn't say enough good things about them. Great, now that one child he wanted to know for once has a negative impression of him.

"Pleasure is mine, Little Prince," Lucius nodded respectfully, after all this is their master's Heir, who will obviously rule the Magical World along with their master in near future. Severus joined him, voicing his own agreement in a polite murmur while wondering what he can do to avoid any misjudgment he might have on him.

As soon as the introduction is over, their Lord clapped and the table was immediately full of different kinds of Hawaiian dishes. Narcissa took the chance to turn towards Hadrianus and pinched his cheeks slightly, cooing, "Look at you, little Adrian! Aren't you a little ray of Sunshine!"

Hadrianus's ducked his head as his cheeks burned furiously. "Aunt Cissa!" He exclaimed, letting his protest known.

Barty snorted as he took two spam musubi, "He is not sunshine, Cissa. He is a bloody hurricane!"

"Barthélemy Crouch!" Narcissa gasped and looked at him sternly. She wouldn't allow him to use bad words in front of a child, let alone her Godson! Barty winced, shooting their Lord an apologetic look, who gave him a pointed look as well.

Hadrianus snorted, "Well," He grinned, glancing at Barty, oblivious to why Narcissa shouted at him, "an argument can be made for the fact that if I am a hurricane, then you're the heated ocean water that helped create it."

Collective snorts were heard around the table. Severus shot him an approved look for the witty comeback while Barty gasped.

"My Lord," He complained, "Little Prince is being mean to me!"

Marvolo kept the goblet of wine on the table and sighed dramatically as he served himself with white rice, mayonnaise-based macaroni salad, and teriyaki beef, "Please remind me who is the Godfather and who is the child between you two?"

Everyone chuckles at Barty's sputtering face. Hadrianus grins at Barty who stuck his tongue out at him. Without wasting a second Hadrianus mimicked him immediately, before accepting the small bowl of poi from his father. Marvolo had ordered the House Elves to cook poi for his son, the vitamin-rich gluten-free carb was easy to digest, so it was safe for Hadrianus to eat without getting sick.

Marvolo watched his son taking two bread rolls as Narcissa poured him a goblet of pomegranate juice, and while he pondered on whether to let them in the secret of his identity or not. They're under Unbreakable Vow, so it's safe for them to know. Besides, with the Fidelius, it's not like they can talk about it. The way Severus's eyes were flickering between the two of them, he knows Severus is already wondering it.

"You can share the secret with them, Hadrianus." He decided. He will let only the Elites and some others that he trusts, like the Goblin King Silverhook, the Vampire Clan King Dracula, and Werewolf Clan Alpha Fenrir remember the secret. Oh and not to forgot Lord Ironclaw, Lord Sharptooth, and Lady Aurora. But one of them is his account manager, his son's Godfather, and his old friend, so it doesn't matter. But that is it.

A couple of sharp inhalation brought his attention back to the table, telling him Hadrianus has already told them. "T-thank you for letting us remember, My Lord." Lucius's and Severus's shaky but the awed voice rang, making his lips quirk as he watched his son pulling a poke bowl towards him with a happy sound. 

Yes, Hadrianus has decided that fish is his favorite. A traditional native Hawaiian cuisine made of diced raw fish? He is definitely going after this one every time he has the chance. He is thankful that he can eat a lot more different types of cooked food under his father's careful observation now, even though he still needs potion.

Marvolo resumed his eating, "Severus, can you take some time from your schedule to teach Hadrianus the basics of potions? He doesn't need to start brewing, I only expect you to teach the theories only."

"Of course, My Lord." Severus agreed immediately. He had expected this, Little Prince was the age where most Purebloods start getting their lessons, so he was unsurprised. Maybe this is the reason he was learning the secret now? It doesn't matter, he will get to know Little Prince eventually, and probably gain his approval soon enough, which will raise his rank and make their Lord trust him even more. "I am free every Friday evening." He informed him, knowing Dumbledore won't be able to keep eyes on him during that time, as he is invited to the Potters for their weekly meeting and dinner along with Black, Lupin, and Weasleys.

"Which is Friday morning for us," Marvolo glanced at his son who kept eating his poke in silence and listening to them, "How about 19:30 to 20:30 every Friday in Slytherin Manor? Barty will take him if I am not present." He said as he took a couple of slices of spam musubi for himself. And obviously, Nagini will follow them, she had made her decision known when he had proposed the idea of teaching to her and Hadrianus before they show up.

As Severus voiced his agreement he turned towards Narcissa, "How about you?"

"I can come to the Castle every Saturday from 15:00 to 17:30, My Lord." She offered, already having decided about it. Her Godson has a lot to catch up on, lessons on dancing are one of them. She will need to learn his daily routine if he has any and see if she can do anything else. Adrian needs every help he can get. She was keen to ask who is Adrian's mother but refrained. Maybe she will learn from Adrian later?

"That is a bit early morning for you," Marvolo noted. It will mean 4:00 to 6:30 for her. Fine with him, it only means Hadrianus doesn't have to alter his routine on Saturday as well.

"It's the least I can do for him." She said. Having eight years old herself at home, she knows what is the best time for a child to learn all the 'boring stuff' as Draco calls them. Narcissa was itching to tell Hadrianus about Draco, but she wasn't sure if it was welcomed, especially the way The Dark Lord has dismissed it. So she doesn't talk about it, knowing it's best to wait for his permission to bring up the topic. That, or if Adrian asks about it. She has a feeling that Adrian might wish to know about his possible Godbrother or sister. Who knows, maybe she will soon arrange for a playdate between the two children?

 

Unknown to her, Hadrianus may have agreed to meet with new adults in the presence of his father's safe and soothing company, but he may never wish to come anywhere near children of his age, especially if they are related to him in any way.

His cousin Dudley made sure of it.

Chapter Text

Soon, November starts to roll into December and the weather started to get colder, even though it's not as cold as it would have been in Britain.

Sitting in his study, Marvolo kept the thick portfolio on the table, glancing at the fireplace thoughtfully. Lord Sharptooth did a good job and sent him folders on the best child psychologists and Mind Healers, both Magical and some of the non-Magical - squib, according to the folder. He has narrowed the list down to three of them. But he needs to contact them before he decides on which of them is best for his son.

":Yes, my little one, you're doing great.:"

Marvolo blinked as his attention went back to the medium-sized box in front of the fireplace, where a green-scaled snake is rubbing its head against the branch that he conjured until it managed to create a tear on its epidermis near the nose area. As soon as sufficient tear appeared, it started to slowly drag and wriggle its whole body through the hard branches. Marvolo watched, fascinated as the green mamba slowly, but surely shredded its whole skin and slowly slithers out of the old epidermis. No matter how many times he has seen Nagini does it, or did it himself, it never gets old.

Besides, it's his son's first time molting. So obviously, it's more special.

":You did it!:" The pride in Nagini's voice was obvious. Marvolo smiled, watching Hadrianus slithering out from the box, looking around with his clear eyes.

":I can see clearly now!:" He exclaimed, his tongue flickering as he tasted the air, turning to look at his mum.

":Yes, your eyes shredded the outer skin as well,:" Marvolo commented, motioning him to come over. Hadrianus shifted back to his human form, looking down at his hands and then rubbed it together, grinning, before sprinting towards his father.

":Father look,:" He said, rubbing his chubby cheek on the back of his palm, ":I am so soft!:"

Marvolo laughs amused, followed by Nagini who chuckled as well, ":You will feel so for a while, you just regrew your whole skin.:" He said, levitating the box and saving it in one of the shelves in his study. If the timing is right, he would need the box for his own shredding which he has scheduled to happen before Yule, so no need to banish it. 

Speaking of which, he needs to start adjusting Hadrianus's shredding as well. He can't have him molting in Hogwarts, no. It needs to be done during his Winter and Summer holidays. He will brew the potion himself that will postpone the time by three weeks, that will be enough.

Marvolo moved his hand, letting his son climb on his lap. He had missed out on his son's childhood and is determined to milk most of the time before Hadrianus is hit with teenage rebellion and decides he is too old to climb on his father's lap and be pampered by him - Marvolo thinks as he runs his hand on his son's soft hair fondly. 

Nagini watched the scene unfold with a soft look, before deciding she deserves to join in the cuddling as well. So she slithers towards them and wraps the father and son in her coils, before keeping her head on their lap. Marvolo shifted a little to get more comfortable and Hadrianus giggled, scratching her mum's scales earning pleased hiss.

Marvolo glanced at his lapful of Naga and Maledictus and decided to use the time to practice something new. ":Hadrianus, do you want to practice?:"

Hadrianus widened his eyes and nodded eagerly, before summoning a ball of light using his pure Magic on his hand. the turquoise color emitting small ball bounced on his hand like some rubber ball. His father has been teaching him how to use his Magic through wishing very hard and control it.

":Good, now follow this,:" He said, summoning his own ball of light before he opened his palm. The ball then slightly shimmered, then started to float on its own as he removed his hand.

Hadrianus watched, mesmerized.

":The key is, as I told you before:" He explained, ":Your focus, and intent. You just simply wish it to happen, portraying how you want it to float clearly and let your Magic follow your command. Do it.:"

Hadrianus nodded and closed his eyes, wishing Very Hard that it will hover above his palm. Thankfully, since he had started to meditate, he has found it easier to make his Magic obey his wishes. On the downside, he gets tired easily. But father has assured him that with regular practice, his core will soon start producing enough Magic so he won't tire even after practicing for hours.

":Open your eyes, son. And see it yourself.:" Marvolo advises, his hands carting through his hair gently. Hadrianus opened his eyes, smiling widely when he saw the ball is hovering exactly the way he has pictured it to happen. He willed it to float towards his father's hand and watched with delight as it did.

":You did a very good job, my child.:" Marvolo praised. Hadrianus smiled so wide that his face hurt.

       

     

______________________

    

   
    
A couple of days later, Marvolo was sitting at the dinner table, waiting for his son and Barty to come and join him for dinner while going through some of the reports Lucius has brought about Hogwarts Board of Governors and their weaknesses, so he can plan on what changes he has to make and how.

He knows that his son is playing outside in the garden under Barty's eagle eyes, probably riding the newly improved bike that Marvolo created for him if Nagini's angry muttering about how everyone is determined to kill her hatchling before his tenth birthday is anything to go by. Well, it is not his fault that his son is like a tiny ball of energy that likes to bounce around and keep distracting him from his work. He needed to find something enjoyable for him so he can let out the pent-up energy.


When the two came in, it didn't take more than a glance for Marvolo to notice the frowned look on Hadrianus and Barty's neutral face, even though his eyes are lit with sadistic glee. Marvolo was immediately alert. A gleeful Barty without an apparent victim can not be good news. Nagini following them in and went towards the seat where she usually perches during their meals, muttering how she is going to bite him and make the 'Dungeons Bat' heal him and bite him again if the overzealous imbecile makes her son ride that muggle monstrosity again. Marvolo rolled his eyes. He is pretty sure it was Hadrianus who insisted to ride the bicycle.

"Good evening, father/My Lord." They chimed together as they took their sits.

Marvolo nodded, clapping. With distinct pop of House Elf magic, the entire table in front of them becomes full of foods. Hadrianus frowned when he noticed some unknown dishes among them.

"Father?"

"While Hawaiian food is good as well," Marvolo started to explain, gesturing at those dishes Hadrianus looking at, "Legally you're supposed to have lived in German until now, so you'll need to start learning about German culture as well. They are examples of some traditional German food." He said, pointing at the stew.

Barty took a small bowl and filled it with the creamy stew that his Lord explained as eintopf - a traditional German stew before placing it next to Hadrianus's plate as he scoops a cup of poi on a small bowl and took a couple of rolls. Hadrianus grinned at Barty for pulling the bowl of poke nearer and started to make grabby hands towards it.

"Finish the stew first." He said to his son before turning at Barty, "What happened?" At Barty's innocent look. Marvolo glared sternly, "Don't."

The innocent look dropped. Barty grinned mischievously, as he served himself with poke and Lomi salmon, "I was telling Little Prince about the Wiggle - er, Wizarding war, between us and so-called light side. About their hypocrisy and prejudices against Wizarding old ways."

Marvolo hummed, ignoring his slip-up, watching Hadrianus make a delighted sound on finding turkey sausage in the stew and eating it happily. He doubts that this is what happened, but Barty is not lying, that he can tell. Probably he explained the war in a more vicious way than needed.

"And pray tell, what you've concluded from his tale, Hadrianus?" Marvolo sipped his goblet, raising an eyebrow as he watched Hadrianus finished his stew in record time, "Take your time and chew first, you foolish imp."

Hadrianus grinned as he scooped a fork full of poi, chewing and gulped down, then said, "I've concluded that all Muggle and Wiggle adults, except you," He pointed his fork at him solemnly, "are stupid." He said, crossing his arms on his chest and nodded with every ounce of pride an eighth years old can master.

Marvolo froze his fork full of branched broccoli midway to his mouth, blinking at his son disbelievingly. Did he say just...? The menace was now eating a piece of rouladen while looking very smug for coming to such an important decision on his own. And Nagini, who burst out laughing hearing her son. It was a very unusual sight that the giant viper making a weird hissing sound as she laughs herself to almost getting sick, especially for someone who doesn't understand snake language. But Barty didn't even twitch, already knowing that his master's familiar won't harm him, blissfully oblivious to the death threats she was sprouting at him ten minutes ago.

Instead, he nodded solemnly as he served himself chicken long rice after finishing his stew, "Right you are, kiddo."

This time, Marvolo gapes at the Barty, until he noticed the mischievous glee in his eyes as he cut the piece of chicken and eats it, grinning madly. Marvolo sighed and decided to ignore him for sake of his own newfound sanity.

"Do you have any questions regarding it?" He asked. He doubts Barty's version of war is good enough for his son to fully understand what they stand for.

"Um..." Hadrianus puzzled over the question for a while, before nodding, "I have one."

Marvolo frowned, "It better be an important one." He warned in his no-nonsense voice, noticing the too familiar mischief glint in his eyes. That can't be good.

"It is." He said so earnestly that if he hadn't noticed the impish glint that came and gone within second and the hint of eagerness, amusement, and glee coming from their Horcrux link, he would have believed him.

"Do tell." He said, resigned as he took a sip of wine. He has a feeling he might need something stronger.

"Why you didn't have a nose?"

Marvolo chokes on his wine while Barty sputtered and coughed on his rice. And Nagini, who was laughing so hard that she almost fell from the chair. Marvolo sighed, clearing his own airway, and picked up his wand and pointed at Barty, focusing on dislodging the food from the wrong pipe. Barty gasped as soon as the food vanished from his trachea.

Barty groaned, "Merlin, Kiddo! You can't just ask people why they don't have a nose!" he said, shooting Marvolo a sheepish look while murmuring thanks.

Marvolo sighed and rubbed his face, glowering at the Maledictus still laughing. He was right, he definitely needs something stronger. Well, at least he knows exactly what Barty told him.

Hadrianus frowned at his Godfather, then at his laughing mum, "I can't?"

Deep breaths, Marvolo.

"No, you can't," Barty informed him while Nagini pants, still chuckling occasionally.

"Is it something like why I shouldn't ask a blind person why they're blind?" Hadrianus asked, which apparently set Nagini off on another fit of laughter.

"Something like that."

More deep breaths, Marvolo. You can't Crucio the imbecile. Neither the Maledictus.

"Oh." Hadrianus looked thoughtful for a moment, before glancing at his father with wide guilty eyes, "I am sorry, father. And I am happy you have a nose now."

More deep breaths.

":Merlin, I can't...:" Nagini wheezed.

":Mum?:" Hadrianus asked tentatively, wondering why she's laughing herself to the verge of getting sick.

Marvolo sighed and clapped his hands, welcoming the instant distraction when the dessert appeared. "You can have one slice," He said, watching as the child lit up and served himself a slice of hula pie, immensely enjoying the scrumptious taste.

"Barty," He addressed the wizard as soon as they finished their dinner, "I and Hadrianus will not be around for some time. Make yourself useful," He said, levitating some parchment towards him who picked them up eagerly.

"Yes My Lord," He bowed and bounded out from the dining hall as Marvolo dismissed him. Marvolo stood, brushing off imaginary wrinkles from his robes. He called Bailey and ordered her to fetch his son's traveling cloaks and shoes.

"Do you have your Wand with you?" He asked his son.

"Yes, father." He touched the Wand holster on his right thigh. His father has brought him the Wand couple of days after the blood cleansing ritual, along with a charmed thigh holster. He is never parted from it except for shower and napping, even though he hadn't used it yet. Father insisted on practicing Magic wandlessly until he is at least ten, and the Wand is for an extra precaution.

"Good. Come on, little Mamba."

Hadrianus leaped on his fluffy sock-covered legs, bouncing after his father's tall figure as they went towards their fireplace with Floo Connection. He took the cloak and shoe from Bailey's hand and immediately bent on his knees to put on his shoes, excitement shining in his eyes. "Are we going for a trip, father?"

"Indeed." He absentmindedly adjusted the robes on his son, "It will be a little cold." He warned as he shrugged on his cloak. Britain is probably raging under snowstorms.

Hadrianus nodded obediently and stood still, letting his father cast a warming spell on him. After casting and patting inside of his son's traveling cloak to make sure the charm is enough for the young Naga, Marvolo holds his hand out. 

"Mum not coming?" Hadrianus asked, glancing towards Nagini watching them leave as he clasped his hand on his father's.

"Not this time," Marvolo said, close his large fist around his tiny hand. "He will be fine," Marvolo rolled his eyes at the pouting Maledictus before they stepped inside the Floo with a pinch of Floo powder which Marvolo threw while stating clearly, "Slytherin Manor, Northern Ireland."

They stepped out from the Floo, after catching a flailing and coughing Hadrianus, snickering; to which he pouted with bottom lips thrusting out, "Meanie."

Marvolo smirked, "The secret is to hold your breath and stand with your legs apart, ready to catch your footing the moment you land."

Hadrianus looked at him, wide eyes, "Blast, why Barty never told me that when I asked?"

"He probably wanted to laugh at you when you fall."

Hadrianus groaned, which was promptly followed by some tirades on how unfair is this and he will take revenge on him for that. Marvolo smirked and turned to his feet, apparating away with his son.

As nausea subsided with the usual exercise of deep breaths, Hadrianus could now smell salt and hear rushing waves before he even opens his eyes; a light, chilly breeze ruffled his hair as he looked out at sea. He was standing upon a high outcrop of dark rock, water foaming and churning below him. He glanced over his shoulder. A towering cliff stood behind them, a sheer drop, black and faceless.

A few large chunks of rock, such as the one upon which Hadrianus and his father were standing, looked as though they had broken away from the cliff face at some point in the past. It was a bleak, harsh view, the sea and the rock unrelieved by any tree or sweep of grass or sand.

"What do you think?" asked his father.

A grin broke into his young face as he looked at the sea waves coming thrashing on the big rock they're standing, "Brilliant." He took a deep breath, enjoying the salty smells of the sea and fresh air and the early morning Sun. This is the first time he's seeing a sea.

"Are we going to camp here, father?" He asked his eyes wide and sparkling with excitement and wonder at the new adventure with his father.

His father was looking towards the cliff while casting few spells that Hadrianus recognized as a detection spell to know if there's anyone nearby. At his question, he smiled and looked down at him, "Not quite, little Mamba. It's not safe, we're here for only a little trip."

"Oh." He said a little dejectedly, but brushed it off knowing it's not safe for him, and focused on enjoying the view for now. His father catch on to his little moment of sadness and smiled knowingly.

"Don't worry, if you behave and be a good boy, we can of course visit few places with an even better view and safer, but not now, little one. I have something important at the moment that needs my immediate attention."

At that, Hadrianus visibly brighten up even more and started to nod vigorously, excited. Marvolo chuckled.

"Good, now shift into half serpentine form."

Greenlight sparkled and shimmered around him as he shifted to his Naga form, his tail coiling up around him and he shivered at the sudden coldness, teeth scattering, and wrapped his hands around himself trying to hold on to the warmth inside his traveling cloak. But his father was ready for this, and he started to cast warming spells on and around his length in webs and let it wrap around him. His shivering stopped as the warmth surrounds him as if standing near a blazing fire and he relaxed.

"Thank you, father."

Marvolo nodded, tucking his Wand in his holster, and approached him. He bent down a little and grabbed onto his son's sides, making Hadrianus widen his eyes, letting out a soft giggle, and squirmed, feeling ticklish. "We will need to fly the rest of the path, climb on my back and wrap your tail around my waist." He said amused, changing his mind and turned, as he let the child climb on his back.

Hadrianus rose on his tail to come near his father's height and climbed on his father's back, his hands around his neck, and then proceed to wrap his tail around him, putting his face on his shoulder. Marvolo slid his hand on the slender coils around him, checking and making sure he won't dislodge during the flight and fall in the sea.

"Ready?"

He felt his son nodding, so he took off flying. He felt his son's muscles tensed up a little bit and tighten around him, but that's understandable given his instincts and thankfully they're not too constricting. He focused on the flight, maneuvering, and flying across the sea.

He felt his ever adrenaline junkie son shift a little, raising his face from where he had buried it on his shoulder and yelled into the sky, shaking his fist "Wheeeeee...!!"

Marvolo couldn't help the uplift of the curve of his lips, the child's thrill is contagious. And a little grateful that he has removed his face from near his ear before shouting in joy.

Soon, he reached the cave and landed in the middle. His child let out a happy sigh before dislodging himself from him.
"Will you teach me how to fly, father?"

Marvolo smiled softly at his ever the knowledge seeker son, "When your Magic is matured enough, I will teach you, my precious."

Hadrianus grinned and nodded, excited at the prospect.

"You can turn back now," Marvolo murmured distracted, as he stepped back from the cave wall and pointed his wand at the specific part of a rock. For a moment, an arched outline appeared there, blazing white as though there was a powerful light behind the crack. Marvolo wandlessly conjured a silver knife and pressed it against his left palm.

"Father!"

There was a flash of silver, and a spurt of scarlet; the rock face was peppered with dark, glistening drops. Marvolo glanced back at his worried son and smiled assuring, "Don't fret, child. I am fine. See?" He pressed his wand on the cut and it was instantly healed.

The blazing silver outline of an arch had appeared in the wall once more, and this time it did not fade away, the blood-spattered rock within it simply vanished, leaving an opening into what seemed total darkness. 

"Do you wish for light, little one?" Marvolo asked his son.

Hadrianus perked up at once, "I do!" With a small dance of his finger, a ball full of beautiful turquoise colors appeared in front of them, made out of pure Magic, alive and pulsating with energy. Hadrianus wished very hard and clearly that the ball would float around them, and it did.

Hadrianus grinned proudly at his father. Marvolo smiled and ruffled his hair, "Good one." He has started teaching the little Mamba how to give the balls different shapes, shades and obey his command. He summoned another similar ball of light.

"Follow me, stay close." He said, and he walked through the archway. Hadrianus dashed after his father to catch up, impulsively grabbing his father's hand, making Marvolo look down at him surprised, and smiled. The two balls of bright turquoise light followed them obediently.

An eerie sight met their eyes. They were standing on the edge of a great black lake, so vast that little Hadrianus could not make out the distant banks, in a cavern so high that the ceiling too was out of sight.

"Whoa! Father, look. A mystery light."

Marvolo hummed at his son's excited wave in the direction of misty greenish light that shone far away in what looked like the middle of the lake.

"Are we going there, father?" Hadrianus asked as they set off around the edge of the lake.

"Yes, little Mamba. Stay close to me and don't touch the water, do you understand?"

Hadrianus widened his eyes and scooted more close to him, away from the lake, and tightened his grip on his father's big fingers. Maybe there are more magical octopuses, squibs, and man-eater mermaids in the lake? Like they had back in home? Or maybe other water monsters he read in the books, of giant serpents, of demons, squibs kelpies, and spirits...

"Here." His father stopped abruptly and little Hadrianus who was still deep in thought about what kind of water monster could be in the lake, and not expecting his father to stop, bumped into his legs and almost toppled on the edge the lake. But his father's fast cobra-like reflex immediately pulled him out of the way by the hand they were holding and urge him closer to him.

"Oh I am so sorry little Mamba, I should have warned you. Stay closer to the wall." He ushered him toward the wall. Hadrianus followed obediently, watching nervously as his father moved closer to the water, his hands raised grabbing something invisible, tips of his father's shoes found the utmost edge of the rock rim. Keeping his hand clenched in midair, his father raised his wand with the other and tapped his fist with it. 

Immediately a thick coppery green chain appeared out of thin air, extending from the depths of the water into his father's clenched hand. Marvolo tapped the chain, which began to slide through his fist like a snake, coiling itself on the ground with a clinking sound that echoed noisily off the rocky walls, pulling something from the depths of the black water. Hadrianus gasped as the ghostly prow of a tiny boat broke the surface, glowing as green as the chain, and floated, with barely a ripple, toward the place on the bank where they stood.

"A boat!" Hadrianus exclaimed happily as he studied it. It was not as big as the ship back in their home, but it was the perfect fit for them. Did father just magically create it? Or it was here before, he only called it for them? 

"Indeed. Now come and do not touch the water." Marvolo climbed carefully in the boat, then pulled his son by his arm carefully, letting him climb on his lap. Hadrianus happily claimed his father's comfy lap as he watched the scary surrounding. The boat started to move towards the mystery light as soon as they sat. There was no sound other than the silken rustle of the boat's prow cleaving the water; it moved without their help - as though an invisible rope was pulling it onward toward the light in the center.

Soon they could no longer see the walls of the cavern; they might have been at sea except that there were no waves.

A rotten smell caught his nose, cadaverine, and putrescine like rotten flesh and Hadrianus frowned, his nose twitching as he bends on the side a little to look down. He saw the reflected turquoise shade of his and his father's balls of light sparkling and glittering on the black water as they passed. The boat was carving deep ripples upon the glassy surface, grooves in the dark mirror...

And then Hadrianus saw it, marble white, floating inches below the surface. 

"Father!" he said, and his startled frantic voice echoing loudly over the silent water as he grabbed onto his fathers' robes, frighten. "Father! Did you - did you..."

"Calm down, my precious. Your father won't let them touch you." Marvolo said as he settled and adjusted hold on his son, so his face was pressed against his neck, blocking out the blurry sight of the lake filled with Inferi, slightly rocking his frightened little mamba, swaying like a cobra. His hand was stroking down Hadrianus's back in a slow repetitive motion. Down, then remove the hand, back to the top of his back. Like he was petting him in his Naga form and did not want to disrupt his scales. Which helped calm down the spooked young Naga. His frantic heartbeat slowly calming against the steady pulse of his father and his promise of reassurances. He was, after all, still a kid and a mamba with flighty instinct which hasn't matured yet.

"What are they?" Hadrianus whispered when he was calm enough.

"They're called Inferius. They're merely animated corpses that I have created with Necromancy, a section of Magic I will teach you when you're older. I have an army of them protecting something precious which I will be retrieving tonight."

"Animated corpse?" Hadrianus asked, mesmerized. "You mean, like zombies?"

Marvolo let out a long sigh, "They can not die if you hurt them in the head, Hadrianus." After saying that, he paused. How did he know those imaginary monsters that muggles created were supposed to die when you hit them in the head?

He blames Hadrianus entirely for this.

The said culprit had his mouth in a small 'o', as he turned his small head to look at the lake, now intrigued. "So, they won't hurt me?"

"Not when you're with me," Marvolo said, amused, wondering how a child's mind works. At his word, he visibly relaxed in his lap, making him feel the satisfactory smugness at his success.

That's when the boat bumped lightly and stopped.

"We're here."

Chapter Text

Hadrianus looked up from where he had his head curled up in his father's neck right at the junction where it met his shoulder, inhaling his father's scent to calm himself. They had reached a small island of smooth rock in the center of the lake. Hadrianus's smile grew as he stood from where he was sitting in his father's lap and with the help of his strong hand, he climbed out of the boat standing on the smooth surface. The balls of light following them silently.

The island was quarter the size of his father's office, an expanse of flat dark stone on which stood nothing but the source of that greenish light, which looked much brighter when viewed close to. Hadrianus squinted at it. At first, he thought it was a lamp of some kind, but then he saw that the light was coming from a stone basin, which was set on top of a pedestal.

"Is your treasure box buried underneath that basin, father?" He pointed at it.

Marvolo blinked, looking at his son, now realizing how it must have been perceived from the eight years old.

Going on an adventure with his father to a mysterious island on a boat across the sea to find a treasure?

He laughed, an amused sound echoing loudly around the empty cavern. Treasure indeed. "No, little one. It's inside the basin. Come and see."

They approached the basin. Father conjured a little four-legged footstool for him. He climbed on it, side by side, then they looked down into it. The basin was full of an emerald liquid emitting that phosphorescent glow.

"Can I touch it?" Hadrianus asked, his voice full of childlike eagerness and wonder as he stared at it. The glow from the emerald liquid making his Avada Kedavra eyes shine even brighter.

Marvolo smirked and decided to humor him. It was, after all, safe for his little son to try to touch. "Go ahead."

Hadrianus put his hand into the basin and attempted to reach the liquid. He met an invisible barrier that prevented him from coming within an inch of it. Releasing a surprised sound, a small frown marring on his face, he pushed harder. But no matter how hard he pushed, his fingers encountered nothing but what seemed to be solid and flexible air. After a couple of minutes of try, he retrieved his hand, pouting at the laughing Slytherin patriarch.

"Meanie!" Was his sulky response as he thrust his bottom lip out in a huge pout at him, now understanding he just pulled a prank on him.

Marvolo chuckled and ruffled his hair fondly, "This potion cannot be penetrated by hand, Vanished, parted, scooped up, or siphoned away, nor can it be Transfigured, Charmed, or otherwise made to change its nature."

Hadrianus opened his mouth in a silent 'o', "So, it is supposed to be ... drunk?"

"Indeed." He glanced at his intelligent son proudly, before taking out a small cat statue from his pocket and put it on the smooth rock, then with a complicated swirl of his wand, the statue turned into a small but frilly senseless old woman. As soon as Hadrianus's eyes fall on her, he shrieked and shifted in his Naga form, jumping behind him, looking aggressive, snarling, and hissing loudly, showing his black mouth, fangs out as well as his Wand. Marvolo, having predicted this reaction from his son, was already reaching out to his son, patting him assuringly while casting a quick 'Rennervate' and 'Imperius'. He counted the last part as progress, though the child is still a long way before he is fully trained and matured enough to stop shifting in public whenever agitated. Britain is too cruel for even an innocent child, like Hadrianus if they ever realize he has a creature inheritance. He needs to strip everything down and rebuild Magical Britain from scratches. But before that, he needs to overthrow the influence of Dumbledore first.

Arabella Figg straighten up and stood, then approached the basin paying no mind to the young Naga who flinched away with a new wave of agitated hissing, not that she could with the Imperius working, and picked up the conjured goblet.

Curiosity won over the anger, and the hissing slowly came to stop as Hadrianus peek from his father's back and watch the cat lady - who tormented him with her cats - sank the goblet into the basin, and filled it to the brim, and then started drinking it.

Huh?

"Want to do some experiment, little one?" Hadrianus looked up at his father looking back at him softly. At Hadrianus's nod, he waved his wand at her, then smirked at him, "What you'll see now, is the effect of the potion."

Hadrianus turned to look at her eagerly, his own Wand lowered, so he watched the exact moment the potion took its effect as she staggered and fell forward against the basin. Her eyes were closed, breathing heavily. Her face was twitching as though she was deeply asleep, but dreaming a horrible dream. To his surprise, her grip on the goblet was still steady as she kept drinking deeply.

Marvolo watched his son closely, with amusement glittering in his vibrant red eyes. As expected, his son slowly came out from his hiding place behind him, shifting back to human form forgetting his distress at seeing his childhood torturer and instead of studying the Squib's reaction closely.

"What's the potion for, father?" Hadrianus asked as the cat lady started to whimper, tears rolling from her eyes and begging for mercy.

"It's a potion of my invention, the Potion of Dispair. It induces your worst fear and forces you to live through your nightmares. I got the idea from the Dementors, except, Dementor repelling charm Patronus won't help you fight this. Nothing but a very strong mind can." Like his, like Hadrianus's. But he doesn't need to know that. After all, the child would never suffer something like this if he has any say on this - and he has every say on this matter. The child belongs to him, after all.

"I ... see," Hadrianus said in a preoccupied tone, his eyes never left the whimpering cat lady begging to stop but kept drinking from the goblet greedily. Marvolo can see the way he is noting down all of the symptoms the Squib is showing, from every single tremor on her body to the sweats that are soaking up her sweaters. But there is also the smell of some weariness, sadness, and horror he can pick up from the air, given the way he has clenched his fist so tight that his knuckles are turning white. Or the overwhelming and conflicted feeling of guilt, contempt, pity, and fear.

"She deserves this, does she not?" Marvolo whispered in his son's ear, rubbing his shoulder comfortingly. Always ready to corrupt his son's innocent mind, to drive away any pity he might be feeling for his abuser, "Did she not torment you during your already miserable life? Did you not ever wish to make her endure the same torture, my child? Don't you feel pleased, that she's finally getting what she warranted through her own action?"

Hadrianus looked at him, his gaze a little distant and calculating as he recalls those memories. The smell and feeling of guilt, pity, and sadness reduced as he nodded. All the time she tormented him with her cats and going as far as denying him whenever he asked for help to hide from Dudley's gang.

Marvolo gently tugged his hair, "Use your words, little one."

"You're right, father. I am not the bad boy, she is. Bad people deserve punishment. Don't they?"

"Indeed they do." He said with barely hidden pride and smugness, watching as his son looked back at her, now with content in his Avada eyes. As soon as the basin was emptied, she falls on the floor with a great, rattling gasp, weakly mumbling for water.

Hadrianus glowered at that. How many times did he ask her for the same or sometimes a place to hide, only to receive a slammed door as an answer?

"Why don't you go to your home for water?" He mocked her in perfect imitation of her voice, kicking her hand out to get away from her reach, pleased to see her already wide tearful eyes widen even more in recognition. Hadrianus turned his nose up and away with his eyes closed, dismissing her completely from his mind as she tried to call him, apologizing and asking for help. No, he will never forgive her. She sat back and watched, even helped the Dursleys to torture and beat him to death. He would be dead if he didn't have Magic and his creature.

And Karma has no menu. You get served what you deserve.

He has a better home now, the best one someone could have, and a father who will not beat him or starve him as the Dursleys did.

Marvolo smiled wistfully, knowing what is going through his mind even without the Horcrux link. "You're doing the right thing, my son." He said, gently carting his hand through his hair, "You're not a bad boy or a freak, you're a very good boy, and very special wizard, gifted by Lady Magic herself to the Wizarding World and me. You're Heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Slytherin. And you're my son. Never forget that."

Hadrianus beamed at that and nodded.

"Come precious, don't you want to see the treasure I've hidden beneath?" Marvolo pulled his son away from the old hag who was now dragging herself towards her fate in search of water. Hadrianus climbed on the previously conjured stool to look into the basin. "There's a locket inside, father." Hadrianus gasped.

Marvolo hummed and picked it up, frowning slightly when something didn't feel right. He was about to open the locket when the telltale smell of putrid flesh hit his nose. His eyes immediately going to his son who was about to turn to look at the lake where marble white hands were dragging the screaming woman down in the lake.

"Look at these runes I drew, Hadrianus." Marvolo successfully captured the attention of inner Ravenclaw of his son, "See these tiny runes around the basin? It is to make sure the potion is untouchable unless it was touched with intention of drinking only. Look at all these, there are many protection charms like anti-water conjuring, anti-banishing, anti-Transfiguration, and many others, including anti apparition and anti portkeys." He deliberately avoided talking about the anti-healing, distressing, and other more dark-natured curses, knowing his son is not ready for that yet. Maybe in few years?

"So, this basin..is like a Wardstone for the whole area?"

"Indeed." Marvolo's lips quirked fondly, his son is very bright and intelligent for someone of his age, "It ensures the protection for my treasure."

Hadrianus nodded, "So, now you have your locket, are you going to Transfigure some rocks to imitate it and curse it to hell and back and leave for your enemies?"

Marvolo, who had raised his Wand to refill the potion, stopped and blinked. Now that is some ingenious thought. Even if someone like Dumbledore finds the cave and fights off all his defenses, it all will be for nothing but a cursed fake piece of jewelry.

"You know what, my precious," Marvolo said, looking at him with a pleased smirk, "I'm proud of you, very much so." He said, ruffling his hair fondly before pressing his lips on the forehead of the shyly beaming boy, "Here, hold on to this for me."

He gave him the necklace, before summoning a pebble and transfigured it to look exactly like Salazar Slytherin's locket, which has long in his memories, down to every curve. He smirked smugly at his detailed craft. No one except him and probably the Goblins could differentiate between two of them now. Nodding in satisfaction, he dropped the necklace back in the basin and started to - to quote his son, ' curse it to hell and back '. That will certainly give his enemies a rather delightful surprise. With an afterthought, he also added some anti-intruder charm inside the basin. Any touch that is not his will alert him immediately.

As he was focused on his task, he didn't notice his son fumbling and studying the locket closely, figuring how to open and finding the letter wedged tightly inside.

When he was finished pouring enough Magic in the Wardstone to last at least half a century, along with filling the basin with a new batch of potions, his son spoke up, "Father? Who is R.A.B?"

"R.A.B?" The Dark Lord frowned as he looked at his son over his shoulder, "There's one R.A.B I knew, Regulus Arcturus Black, but he was long dead if the rumors are correct. Where did you learn the name?"

"It's in the letter, see." He thrust the small parchment in his hand filled with familiar scrawl.

      

    

To the Dark Lord,

I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. 

I face death in the hope that when you meet your match you will be mortal once more. 

R.A.B.

       

          

    

Magic thrashed around him, crackling violently making his son jump in fright looking around frantically as The Dark Lord finished the letter from Regulus. The voice of his son calling him was distant as all he could feel was fear, rage, betrayal, and denial.

He had been betrayed! Regulus Black had better be glad he was dead! Because he will wish for death if he ever gets his hands on him!

"No no no no no!"

He tore the locket from his son's hand. This was neither as large as the locket he remembered it was, nor were there any markings upon it, no sign of the ornate 'S' that was supposed to be Slytherin's mark. Moreover, there was nothing but a poorly made golden locket with no trace of Horcrux inside.

Where is his soul piece? Who has it? Is it destroyed? Is the Horcrux still inside? Who else the bloody traitor tattled? Does Dumbledore know? The Order?

What about his diadem in Hogwarts? Is it discovered too? His cup?

He didn't know how long he was frozen with fright and shock, but he slowly came around to the soothing and earthy smell of kin. Warm and pleasant. He blinked, and found himself in the embrace of his son who has wrapped his small hands around him, rocking him in a snake-like sway, his hands stroking down his back of head and shoulder in a repetitive motion, similar to how he had calmed him down half an hour ago, accompanied with soft declarations of assurances like, 'Don't be afraid', 'You'll be fine', 'We will find the original one', 'Calm down, father' and many more.

When he came around to his sense, his heart finally slowed down to a regular rhythm, he blushed deeply at being comforted by a child, though he didn't oppose the comfort it brought; not when he was never offered the familial comfort before. Hadrianus was, after all, his child. He belongs to him. Someone who won't deny him, won't betray him, will always be in his corner - no matter what.

Kin.

He hugged him back, hands wrapping around the petite body, burying his face in his neck, inhaling the earthy scent of his son. Before when he had a fraction of his soul, he probably would have tortured and murdered the first one to have his eyes on, even if it's his child. Now he's thankful for his regained sanity that his son is at least safe from him. He took another deep breath and slowly pulled his frantic Magic inside.

Still, regained sanity or not, who would dare to come and offer comfort to him when he's clearly upset? His followers' first reaction was to bolt. Not even Nagini comes anywhere near him when he is in one of those conditions.

"Are you feeling better, father?" Hadrianus asked, clearly worried.

Marvolo was deeply touched by his son's concern for him. No one bar Nagini has asked for his welfare before. He cleared his throat, "Yes, thank you, my precious." That's when he realized what he said to him, "How did you know I was frightened?" He thought he had slammed the shield shut. Did he hurt him again? Marvolo removed the glamour to check the lightning bolt scar on his forehead, it looks slightly inflamed and pink, but doesn't look pained or bleeding. Which is good, right?

"I felt your fear." Hadrianus informed him, "At first I thought it was I, then I realized I had no reason to be scared right now. Then I remembered our bond and thought of you. And your Magic was spiraling wildly, clearly upset and ready to strike."

Marvolo notes that and realized how smart his little Horcrux is, already acknowledging his emotions through their bond. And understanding his Magic and its intent? Does that mean Hadrianus has mage sight or he's just sensitive to his Magic exclusively? Marvolo hummed pleased and saving the new piece of knowledge for later - he needs to investigate it. He breathed out and tightened his Occlumency shields around their bond with an additional layer of Magic, not wanting to overwhelm his child with the extra responsibility. After all, he should be the one taking care of the child, not the other way around. He needs to speed up his son's Occlumency training as well.

Hadrianus, however, continued, "Father, you know you're the greatest and most powerful wizard of the World, right?"

Marvolo sniffs contemptuously, wondering why he'd state the obvious, "Of course."

"Then you also know you can handle any problems they throw at you, right? You're The Dark Lord with capital T."

Marvolo falls silent, stunned at his son's confidence in him.

"You just have to think out of the box. Something nobody will see coming."

Marvolo stared at him. Solace and support from his son was the last thing he had expected, however less than perfect attempt it is. Clearly, he is not best at giving verbal comfort, but neither was Marvolo - so to speak. At least he is trying his best to cheer him up. So Marvolo composed himself, looking firm and determined, nodding, "You're right my little Mamba. I will take care of it. Now let's go home."

The travel back from the cave was rather silent. Even though he did flew around more carrying his son, much to his son's ecstasy and joy before they are back home with half an hour to spare before Hadrianus's bedtime. They shrugged off their cloak, handed it back to Davy, and entered his office. Hadrianus happily claimed his favorite plush chair and bounced on it. Marvolo ordered Bailey to bring them some snacks and summoned a book for him.

Hadrianus made a noise of appreciation when Bailey popped in with some manapua for her favorite human to snack on before his bedtime. He beamed at her, grabbing his plate, before biting on a manapua and making a happy noise at the delicious treat, looking back at him, "I love Bailey. They can do anything for us, go anywhere we ask, isn't it, father? Look how she found perfect munchies for us." He waved his half-eaten pork bun that was made without the usual flour that he has trouble digesting - yet tastes the same; before taking another bite on it.

Marvolo's thought process came to a halt, as well as his hand full of manapua midway to his mouth. His son is right. House Elves. They do can go anywhere if he asked, is it not? Kreacher, if he remembers correctly - the Black House-Elf he had used to enact the safety of the cave for his Horcrux - he must have somehow survived, maybe not only went back home using House-Elf magic but also brought Regulus there, who perhaps ordered the Elf to destroy his locket; then the clan of Inferi dragged him under? He had underestimated not only the House-Elf but the effectiveness of his enchantments.

Which meant Kreacher has his Horcrux; he truly hoped that it was still whole, that the House-Elf hadn't managed to destroy his locket. But he had already underestimated them once, he's not taking another chance.

"Tit! Tat!" He called out for the trouble twins Elves, perfect for this job. When they arrived, he draws an illusion of Ravenclaw diadem in the air and ordered them to retrieve it from Hogwarts' Room of Requirement, before explaining how to find the room. When they disappeared with a pop, he glanced at Hadrianus who had a curious expression on his face as he silently chewed on his treats.

"When you go to Hogwarts, you'll find the Room of Requirement most useful, it changes according to your wish and I don't believe anyone else has discovered it."

Hadrianus lit up, before frowning as he gulped down the food in his mouth, "Do I have to go to Hogwarts? Why I can't learn at home?" He doesn't want to go anywhere near Dumbledore and the Potters.

"Yes." He said firmly, "but you do not have to worry about it, my precious. I will make it as safe as I can before you're ready to go. Now this," he handed over the book he bought previously from the bookstore, "is what I believe you'll like. This book is somewhat outdated by this point - several of the potions within it have been altered or superseded.  However, its explanations for ingredient’s properties and reactions are superb, and therefore the one we shall use. It's for your lessons tomorrow with Severus."

Hadrianus's young face lit up, the topic of Hogwarts momentarily forgotten. With a sound of distinct pop, he looked back to find the twins standing over with the diadem and a proud smile. He can already feel the Horcrux from here, and the way Hadrianus squirmed and looked up from the book he had already immersed, he can too.

"Good job put it here." Marvolo nodded at the table. "Now, I have another job for you. Remember this, 12, Grimmauld Place, this is the address where you will find this," He conjured another illusion of his locket, "But you may meet an old House Elf named Kreacher. One of you will need to distract him so he doesn't realize what you're doing, while another searches for this locket. Once you find it, replace it with this," He handed the fake locket to them, "And immediately bring the original to me. Am I clear?"

"Yes, Master Dark Lord." They chimed together.

"Tit and Tat - "

"knows Kreacher." They completed with the usual twin talk.

Marvolo nodded, "Go." He knows the current Lord Black doesn't reside in there, so it will be a secluded place.

They promptly disappeared.

Hadrianus... Nagini... the Gaunt ring... the Slytherin's Locket... the Hufflepuff's Cup... the Ravenclaw Diadem... His Diary.

He made seven Horcruxes seven years ago, didn't he?

A pleased smirk marred the handsome face of The Dark Lord, one who would have to send any lesser man screaming and running in the opposite direction. Which broaden even more when Davy popped in handing him a bunch of letters, one of which carried a piece of good news.

The members of the Hogwarts Board of Governors have finally requested him for a meeting.

Chapter Text

Time flew past and before they knew it, its Yuletide eve. As Marvolo predicted, Hadrianus's routine started to become slow and lethargic at the start of December as he started to drift off to brumation, curling up with Nagini in front of the fireplace. And Marvolo lets him. It was, after all, winter. The hibernation season for the snakes. And Hadrianus is only eight years old child with only a few months of Naga inheritance, so he needs more sleep than usual. Even if they're in a warm-weather country where they wouldn't have to worry about the temperature dropping below zero and a raging snowstorm - except the tallest summits of Hawaii of course.

He will let Hadrianus have two cold seasons to get used to it. In his tenth year, he will start training how to use warming charms and runes to keep his blood warm, which will prevent him from slowing down and get lethargic. Hadrianus may not stay as energetic as other kids in winter - but it will be enough to stop the urge to fall asleep every now and then.

Marvolo sighed tiredly as he finished clearing the residual of the Ritual room after the soul replenishment rituals that he had done. The ritual is more complicated and time-consuming than he thought it would be - but thankfully it's done now. He had realized the stability he had been missing since he had absorbed most of his largest Horcrux, still, that didn't compare with what his cleared mind can do.

And he will need every ounce of his genius, and cleared mind to handle what he plans to do next. The next Hogwarts Board of Governor meeting has been scheduled to be on 27th, in the period between Yule and New Year, and he had requested every professor to be there. Also, the next Wizengamot Session is scheduled to be held on 28th, where he was supposed to swear in as Lord Slytherin and acting Lord Peverell. And Dumbledore will be in both of the places, though he doesn't know about the news of Peverell Lordship being activated as well. The look on his face will be comical. And he will need every bit of patience for the old coot, behave like he is meeting him for the first time, not when he was eleven.

Marvolo breathed deeply as he made his way towards their private wings, absently checking the time to find its half past three in the morning. The ritual had taken more time than he anticipated, but at least it's done now. As he was about to walk past the Heir chamber to his own bedroom, his foot turned on its own, completely involuntary. He stopped for a second, reaching out to his Horcrux link to find it under distress.

Good Lord! Is his son having another nightmare?

Marvolo silently opened the door to Hadrianus's room and entered. He sighed inwardly when he found his son in front of the fireplace, curled up in the soft plush chair instead of sleeping on the bed. What took his attention was how he flinched very minutely every once in a while, a slight frown on his sleeping face as the eyeballs behind the closed eyelids moved. And the tenseness of his body. The book he was reading before falling asleep still resting on his stomach. The warming runes and roaring fire giving them much-needed heat as Hadrianus snoozed away, his tiny hand grabbing Nagini's tail like some kind of plush toy, on other hand his badger toy.

And Nagini, awake, trying to soothe her hatchling by coiling herself all over him making a protective cocoon, hissing softly and tasting his cheeks as in kissing him. His son's head, arm, and legs are thrown over her thick curl, using her as his pillow, even though it was not enough.

":Tom, make it stop.:" Nagini whisper-demanded, clearly in distress that she can't protect her son from nightmares.

Marvolo approached them. ":Why you didn't tell him to go to bed?:" He asked as he gently pried of his fingers from the book, closed it, and put it aside. He clearly remembers telling him to go to sleep after he exhausted himself while decorating the Christmas tree this evening.

":When I came to check on him, he was already asleep on the couch. I didn't want to wake him up.:"

Marvolo hummed and cast a warming charm on his son's bed to make sure the sudden coldness of the bed does not startle his snoozing son. Then carefully and slowly levitated both of them as they were from the plush chair to the bed. Since they started to meditate and visit the Squib therapist, his son is flaring much better than before, but he still has occasional nightmares. And therapist has told him how to handle his child's nightmare, and how important it is to make sure he is comfortable during the time.

Marvolo grabbed his son's favorite throw quilt that he bought him at the beginning of the winter season, making sure the warming runes are still working on it then rubbed his hand on it. His time in the Naga tribe has taught him the necessity of this. The scent of guardian and family on the bed and cover will not only provide the necessary comfort for the child, but it will also help him reduce the nightmares and let him continued to nap peacefully. Not to mention the scent of kinship will bury deep in his subconsciousness, letting him know he's not alone and bring him calmness in his presence. He put the comforter on both of them, carefully tucking them in. The comforter is big enough to cover both of them and more.

The result was significant if the way the frown on his face melted away was anything to go by, though it didn't help with the tenseness of his body. He had gotten better with time, and even though he knows his son might have occasional nightmares throughout his life, the lessons on Occlumency will help him bury those memories in some ancient and forgotten corridors of his mind palace.

Speaking of Occlumency lessons...

Marvolo was rubbing his hand on the pillow when a new idea came to him. He closed his eyes and reach out towards the Horcrux link between them. He focused on sending as much warmth and affection he held for his son through the link, watching in delight as the tension left his tiny body gradually and he slipped into a peaceful slumber.

Marvolo released a breath he didn't realize he was holding, before nodding at Nagini and then turned, ready to go to his room and get some sleep. He absently locked the wards as he made his way towards the bathroom to have a quick shower. Making sure the water is just the perfect temperature, he stepped under as his mind drifted towards his son once again.

To be honest, he was tempted to obliviate his son about his abused past. But he knows he can't do that. It will leave a gaping hole in his mind, as this has been his most of his life. He would rather help him using the Occlumency training. Building a good mindscape and bury those memories deep in the dungeons is what he will need. That, and more mind healing therapies.

He sighed as he turned the shower off. Too tired to dry himself or wear something comfortable, he made use of a quick spell and yawned, stepping out of the shower and ready to sleep for the next decade, beyond exhausted - both physically and magically. Probably that's the reason he didn't notice the tingling of the wards shifting.

But he did notice the almost four feet tall bundle of blankets standing in the middle of his room.

Marvolo stared at that, pretty sure he was not hallucinating and that bundle of the blanket was not there when he went to shower. That's when his brain kicked in and he realized a bundle of the blanket should not stand tall, they're supposed to fall on the ground without support. That was before he recognized the familiar feeling of closeness of his Horcrux and the tingling in the wards.

"Hadrianus?" He asked, incredulous, staring at the small hole somewhere near the top of the blanket where familiar green eyes were peeking from the cocoon of the blanket. How did the child removed his wards and entered his room?

The child shifted from one foot to another awkwardly, ":Father,:" apparently he is not awake enough to use English.

":Use your words, little Mamba.:" He decided to ask the boy, using a little command with Parseltongue knowing his Naga instinct will be inclined to tell him what his human part of the brain is too embarrassed to admit.

":...can I sleep with you?:" came the hesitant request, full of uncertainty. Marvolo looked as his son stared at him, big eyes hopeful and still sleepy, cheeks half-hidden in the cocoon flushed with embarrassment. Such an endearing sight he makes. Enough to even melt the heart of The Dark Lord.

Marvolo sighed, glancing at Nagini who has decided she doesn't need permission to invade his personal space as she curled up on his bed, watching them amused. Well, at least his son is now reaching out to him when he needs him, thanks to the therapy.

His son and his needs will always be a priority for him, even above his own need for privacy.

":Come.:" He decided, turning towards his bed and stretched out. He grabbed a vial of Magic stabilizer and replenishment potion that he kept in his stock and drank it, idly watching as the bundle of blanket climbed on the bed and then coil around his stomach, burying his head on his side and tiny hands fisted on his PJ and his breathing soon become deep and regular. Marvolo banished the empty vial and smiled fondly as he gently rubbed the head full of dark soft curls. To the Naga part of the child, it obviously felt natural to him that he is near the eldest of the den and seeking comfort from him. To the human part, he has long accepted him as his father and someone to look up to. Someone he can trust to protect him even if it's some silly nightmare.

It didn't take even a minute for Marvolo to follow his son into the arms of Morpheus.
 
  

 
____________________________
  
 

  
Marvolo woke on Yule morning as he did most mornings. He went from deep sleep to suddenly alert in mere moments. Before opening his eyes, he let his senses and Magic feel his surrounding for immediate threat, especially when he became aware of a weight on him. He soon sensed no immediate threats, as both his smell and touch sensitivity, as well as the Wards, informed him it is his son sleeping on top of him in his room at Slytherin Castle. And Nagini who is sleeping beside them as well. Marvolo let out a breath and allowed himself the rare luxury of just lying in bed as he cast a tempus.

It's almost eight in the morning. Well, it's Yule, and he had allowed his son to rest from his usual routine. He ordered Barty to go meet with his old friends and spend time with them for the day. It's after all, a festival to celebrate with friends and family, and he is planning to celebrate his son's first yule in the proper wizarding way. He also has planned to take Hadrianus to visit the Makahiki festival of Magical Hawaiian that is happening beyond the forest border of their Castle. His son has learned about them and has been asking him questions about them. Maybe also take him to visit the Honolulu City Light Festival this evening?

Oh yes, Hadrianus is going to love it. Speaking of him...

Marvolo glanced at his chest where Hadrianus moved sleepily and turned his face on the other side. The cheek full of baby fat that had been under before now having the impression of his shirt pattern. Marvolo sighed and stretched, moving his arms which earned a displeased sound from his son who grabbed onto them with his tiny fingers as he continued to snooze.

Marvolo rolled his eyes, though he is happy to notice that his son is finally gaining height, getting heavier and healthier than before. The several potion regimens have finally filled out all his nutritional deficiencies and started working on growing and gaining muscles, and the regular exercise with lessons on martial arts has also sparked both magical and physical growth spurt. Hadrianus can now eat more cooked food without the potions, even though he will always prefer raw meat. He has always made sure at least one dish of good raw meat available for him every once in a while.
Even though his instincts are still high, he is also doing much better with continued nurture from his father - his kin, as well as the mind healer. He may never admit it, but the dual counseling with his son is helping him with his newly healed soul and sanity. Only a fraction of his soul and obsession with power has let him become what Dumbledore and his Light side assumed him to be. But not anymore. He now has his sanity back, as well as his family whom he can count on at the end of the day. Marvolo smiled softly, his eyes wandering over the snoozing young Naga.

Well, it's Yule time. He can afford to be a little lazy as well.

With that, Marvolo held his hand up and the new book he brought but didn't have time to read zoomed into his hand. He eagerly opened the book, before settling it in the air angling it so he can read it while lying. The book was about soul bonds and illegal on British soil, but neither he is in Britain nor anyone can find this book. And since Hadrianus's soul has bonded with his because of the unintentional Horcrux, he needs to learn everything about them.

As he reads, he thinks about the Horcruxes that were well hidden in the least suspecting room, the Heir room - Hadrianus's room. Even if someone breaks into their castle, who in their right mind will search for such an important thing in the Heir room, right? They'll search them either in the master bedroom or his private study or office or library. Not the Heir room. Well, all except one of them. The Locket, which is gift wrapped and waiting near the Christmas tree beside the fireplace in the living room under illusion charm. Yes, he had agreed to bring a Christmas tree. It's not like he can say no to his son when he asked with those blasted puppy eyes.

Marvolo sighed, his hands carting through his son's hair, his mind whirling how the touch between him and his son is helping him to ground himself, not realizing how much he needed it. The cold and loneliness he felt in the Orphanage, which was crippled deep in his bone are slowly seeping away by each passing day, feeling his subconscious mind with warmth and love and companionship of true kin. Family. But he didn't realize he needed him as much as Hadrianus needed him. He is thankful that the child is not shying away from demanding his affection, being clingy and needy.

Because even when he knew he needed it, he would have never brought himself to confess it or ask from him. Even if he is his child.

The dual counseling is helping him as well, even though the Squib therapist has recognized Hadrianus's abandoned issues and has the plan to work on the next. Marvolo knows he will let Hadrianus cling to him, though he truly needs to get over with it if he has to attend Hogwarts.

Speaking of counseling, he needs to start planning to make sure his son is busy and does not have time to dwell on the past as the therapist has suggested. That including more physical and outdoor activities.

He stopped when a plan formed in his head, immediately summoning his planner and quill. Ah yes, he has some ideas on what kind of outdoor activities he can arrange for his son that will be safe and not require his son to leave the safety of wards.

Maybe he can build a tennis court for him? Yes, a tennis court, and a rock-climbing wall with enough safety and cushioning charms in the backyard, as well as a place for practice shooting, with bubbles as well as moving targets like flying saucers. He needs to work on his aims if Hadrianus needs to become a formidable dueller.

Hadrianus also likes to swim in the river, maybe he will fix a time for him when he can swim under Nagini's careful eyes. And also buy him an appropriate swimsuit. Maybe every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for an hour after napping? Marvolo hummed as he summoned his son's schedules, idly noticing Narcissa has added dance lessons every alternate Saturday. Shrugging, Marvolo added the new routine, on the day of dance classes, Hadrianus can shift his swimming session on Sunday.

His eyes lazily went over the other updates on his son's schedule, noticing Lord Sharptooth has also added some changes. He has been teaching Hadrianus Gobbledegook, along with lessons on ancient Magical knowledge and forgotten traditions.

Marvolo turned towards his planner and added language to their next to-do list. He needs to find a good language and literature tutor as soon as possible to teach him Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit, French, Polynesian, and Mandarin Chinese - Hadrianus can learn other languages if he wishes later. He had taken upon himself to teach Hadrianus English (to improve his vocabulary) and German, and he had soaked up the knowledge like a sponge. He will test him out tomorrow and if he finds him enough, he will brew the Accent Alteration Potion keyed to German accent for both of them.

Speaking of languages, Marvolo adds to the list another point to improve his Parseltongue and Parselmagic. He has a good number of books on them that he collected while traveling around the World. Because Parselmage may be declared dark and evil in Britain, but it's used widely in Asian countries like Magical India and some of the African countries.

Marvolo scratched the side of his temple with the back of the quill while calculating the pros and cons of using Magic and body enhancement ritual at the age of eight, almost nine. The books he read have never specified limitations of age but at such young age? He is of course will become taller than most of his peers as well Magically more powerful even without the help of the rituals - making him more charming and desiring. He will need them to spread his web for new possible links and contacts outside Dark Sect. He knows everyone will enormously be drawn to his son's charm and power, just like they had been for him.

Well, everyone bar Dumbledore. 

But does he needs to go through those rituals at such an early age? Is it better to do now, or wait until he is of age?

After thinking about it for a while, he decided to do thorough research on it then decide. He added it to his ever-growing to-do list.

Marvolo adds another note to train and modify his son's reflexes. Now, as a new Naga, instinct and reflex to danger are to shift to his Naga form and hiss and snarl threateningly while showing off his venomous fangs. But he can't let this continue anymore, especially not when he will be going outside, like in Hogwarts where foolish mindless children and ever-suspicious old coot will always startle and pose danger to the child. No, he needs to change his instincts from that to drawing and pointing his Wand.

And he knows exactly how to train him. After all, he has trained himself too. The only difference being, he was an adult at the time. Hadrianus is only a kid, nine years old in seven days, so he will be more prone to his instinct by default and find it difficult to change. But Marvolo is nothing if not persistent, and once Hadrianus knows how much important it is, he will be as determined and stubborn as one could be. They also have two years for it.

All his musings came to a halt when Hadrianus stirred and yawned, finally starting to wake up. "Good morning," He rubbed the mess of the hair of the sleepyhead and put him gently on the bed as he stood. After getting freshened in his ensuite, he noticed Hadrianus still curled up on the space he left, soaking up the warmth. 

"Wake up, Hadrianus."

The child stayed impossibly still on the bed. Is he playing dead now?

Marvolo rolled his eyes.

"Does that mean you don't want to open the presents?"

Just as he predicted, Hadrianus shot up from the bed, "I'm up! I'm up!"
  
 
 

____________________
  
 

 
The Elves had outdone themselves, and knowing this is their favorite human's first festival, they were determined to give him the best. 

"Whoa!" Was Hadrianus's reaction as he stared bewildered at the breakfast table filled with Mushroom, ricotta, and fried egg tartine, smashed avocado toast with egg, sausage, and gravy breakfast casserole, blueberry ricotta scones, egg croissant casserole, and many more dishes.

"Are we expecting guests?"

Marvolo snorted, serving himself with some croissant casserole, scones, and coffee "No, it's all for us."

"But we can't eat so much!"

"We will be eating them for few days," Hadrianus grinned at his father's words as he tucked into his awesome breakfast at once.

"Father, can we go see the magical octopus?" He suddenly asked, making Marvolo pause for a brief second, before widening his eyes when realization drew.

"It's called Kraken," Marvolo stressed. Did Hadrianus truly think visiting a Kraken is on Yule's morning to-do list? At this rate, he is going to have at least half a head full of grey hair before he goes to Hogwarts, "It's amongst the most dangerous animal to exist Hadrianus, not some mundane octopus at the zoo! You can't visit it at your whim!"

"But it's so cool and so big! And you said they won't hurt me!"

Marvolo felt like banging his head on the table. Who knew his own words will come to haunt him like this? "No, we're not visiting it! I do not wish to see if it has enough brain cells to recognize the Lord and Heir." He said, inwardly groaning when his face falls, "Besides, we have other plans for us today."

At that, he perked up at once.

Marvolo whistled sharply, and a screeched reply was heard and a harpy eagle with at least 3 feet wingspan came flying, landing in front of Hadrianus.

"Hades?" Hadrianus gawked, before grinning and reaching out, "Merry Yule to you too," He said, ruffling his feathers and feeding him sausage and bacon from his platter, always ready to spoil his father's beautiful and feathery predator.

Hades screeched in reply and preened, grooming himself. That's when Hadrianus noticed a small roll of parchment tied in his legs.

"Is that for me?" He asked, earning another screech. He glanced at his father for confirmation. Receiving a nod, he removed his burden as Hades dipped his head on his juice then flew off. Hadrianus unrolled the parchment, glancing at the puzzle piece he found confused, and read aloud the note.

"#In the day I store the light of the sun.
At night I shine when the day is done."

Hadrianus blinked, before glancing at his father.

"Let's build our own Yule morning gift opening tradition," Marvolo said, wiping his mouth with the serviette, "Find all the answers to those riddles and see if you can hunt down all the gifts."

"Treasure hunt!" Hadrianus started bouncing on his chair, "Yes yes yes! Oh wait, let me solve this..."

Marvolo's eyes gleaming with amusement as he watched his son rapidly read the lines once again, thinking fast.
"Store light of the sun...shine at the night...store light... Hold on! It's the solar light lamp!" Hadrianus jumped off the chair and immediately ran.

"Wait, stop!" Marvolo stopped him, making him hop from one foot to another impatiently as Bailey brought the forest green furry winter cloak, matching woolly hat, and yellow boot with matching laces. Hadrianus quickly thanked her and put them on, then dashed out into the garden.

Marvolo smirked, following his son as he ran towards the main gate where he had installed a couple of solar lights lamps. Hadrianus made an excited sound when he found a small cardboard box beneath them and opened them eagerly. There was the next clue, with a bunch of numbers written on a piece of parchment and a second piece of a puzzle.

"#Everyone loves me. I'm pretty and smell sweet.
Look down to find me! I'm near your feet."

"Pretty, smell sweet...near my feet...near feet...the floral garden patch! It's pretty, smells sweet and it's near my feet!"

Hadrianus ran towards the flourishing floral patch near the fountain, with a smiling Marvolo lazily following him behind. Looks like these riddles are a bit easy for him. He will be sure to put a more difficult level next year.

Hadrianus looked around the patches critically, before pulling a wooden box with a big smile. As tried to open the box, he found it locked. Marvolo approached him, watching fascinated as Hadrianus looked around the box and figuring out the number lock pretty soon.

"Oh!" He pulled the piece of parchment with numbers and punched the code in. The box opened with a click, revealing the next clue, the third piece of the puzzle, and a bronze key.

Hadrianus saved them in his pocket and pulled the next clue.

"#I'm full of special smells, especially in the spring.
Use me to give your food some zing!"

"Special smell...for food? Which is...oregano? Or the other herbs...Oh! Herbs! The herbs bed!"

Hadrianus dashed towards the herb bed on the other side of the garden and searched for the next clue. He planted his knee on the ground and looked around until he noticed a box made of bamboo planted carefully hidden in the rosemary hedges.

"Hah!" He pulled the box excitedly, noticing the bronze lock, and took the key from the pocket. With a click, the lock opened and revealed a small triangular gemstone, and fourth piece of the puzzle, and the next clue.

"#On me, you can speed like a bird in the sky.
My two wheels will make you fly."

"Speed like a bird...two wheels! My bicycle!"

Marvolo chuckled, watching Hadrianus dashed again, this time towards the small shed in the backyard where his bicycle is kept. He slowly followed him, on reaching he found he is untying the glass jar tied on the handlebar of his cycle. He fumbled the glass jar, looking around, and noticed its lid has a familiar triangular shape.

Hadrianus blinked, and pulled the triangular gemstone from his pocket, and pressed it on the lid, watching with delight as it opened with a hiss. As soon as it did, Marvolo watched as his son pulled the final piece of clue, the fifth puzzle piece, and a crystal runestone.

"#People go round and round me
Adding some lights on a string
And later underneath me
They place the gifts that they bring."

"Lights on string and place gifts?" He asked, remembering Aunt Petunia decorating the Christmas tree on Christmas and Dudley tearing open his presents in the morning. "Christmas tree!"

"Indeed! Let's go." His father's voice pulled him from his bitter memories and Hadrianus blinked, then grinned and made a dash. He quickly reached the living room where he decorated the Christmas tree with his father's help last night after dinner.

But there is nothing beneath it. Hadrianus blinked, then tilted his head when something caught his eyes. There is a medium-sized cardboard box with an empty mold on it. Hadrianus thought for a moment, before pulling the crystal runestone from his pocket and placed it on it. The box shimmered and opened itself to reveal an unsolved jigsaw puzzle with familiar-looking puzzle pieces, five of which he has in his pocket. "Whoa!"

"What do you think? Shall we?"

"Yes!" Hadrianus bounced, grinning at his father. He truly knows what Hadrianus likes. Quickly they made their way to sit on the rug in front of the fireplace and started solving the puzzles together.

":Done with the treasure hunt?:" Nagini asked as she approached them slowly to watch over them, her belly bulged with the food she just consumed.

":Not yet,:" Marvolo answered her, making Hadrianus blink and look up at his father. The jigsaw puzzle isn't a gift?

":Why don't you join us, mum?:"

":Sure.:"

Together, the three of them started to brainstorm over the puzzle. Several arguments, debates, pouting later they finally solved the whole puzzle, which revealed to be an art of their castle. As soon as Hadrianus placed the last piece, a glimmer of light erupted and the whole place beneath the Christmas tree shimmered, then it fell like some invisible liquid, revealing at least a dozen multicolored wrapped gifts. Hadrianus is pretty sure his jaw is resting on the floor.

"Merry Yule, my son."

Hadrianus blinked rapidly, pinching himself and squeaked, confirmed that he is not dreaming, "Merry er, Yule, father." He whispered, still gaping at the presents.

":I think you broke him,:" Nagini commented dryly, watching her son, amused.

":Not my fault if he thinks the Jigsaw puzzle was the gift. As if my son will have only one present.:" Marvolo teased, before summoning the gifts and started passing them.

Hadrianus shut his mouth with an audible click, taking a sip of the hot cocoa that Cece served them, before exclaiming, ":First, ours.:"

":There he is.:" Nagini snorts.

Marvolo shook his head amused, grabbing the gifts from his son and passing him his gifts.

":And mum's:?"

Nagini stilled at that, widening her eyes when she noticed Marvolo pulled a box with her name on it, looking as surprised as her while Hadrianus bounced on his seat, excited. No one gave her gifts, not since she turned Maledictus! Her hatchling brought her Yule gift?

":Together?:" Marvolo asked, glancing at Nagini seeing her overwhelmed. Hadrianus and Nagini nodded.

They quickly unwrapped their package, Hadrianus pausing to help his mum as well. From father, he had received a moleskin journal with unlimited pages, a beautiful eagle quill, and a small velvet box. He opened the box quickly which revealed a locket of heavy gold with a serpentine S in glittering green stone inlay on the front. Hadrianus gasped, "Isn't it...?"

"The Slytherin Locket, yes. It's yours. I have applied several enchantments on it, including protection from most curses, hexes, and jinx, an emergency portkey which will bring you to Slytherin Castle if you press your Magic in it saying 'Home' in the tongue, a health and location tracker which will monitor you for danger. There are also charms to hide it from the view of anyone else not present in this room at the moment, even if you leave it outside your robe. No one can detect its presence on you or take it from you unless you chose not to wear it."

Hadrianus grinned, thanking him and fingering the locket, delighting the way the snake's eyes glittered and it warmed up at his touch, as if acknowledging him and saying 'Hello!' and put it on. Marvolo returned to his gift. It was an old book candle that smells like the library and fresh parchments with a beautiful and wooden candlestick that matches with his table in his study, and a daily personalized planner book that had a moving green-colored snake on it which occasionally hisses and sprouts letters that forms 'World's Best Father'. A personalized gift... that is first. He had never received any personalized gift before. People always bought him expensive gifts but they didn't have any personal touch in them.

Besides him, Nagini was having a mental breakdown as well. Her hatchling brought her a snake grooming kit which has a grooming brush, snake-friendly shampoo and oils to make her scales even shinier, and a big heated but soft furry mat that made her almost purr in content.

":Thank you hatchling. But I didn't give you any gifts.:" Nagini sniffed.

":Well, you can always make it up with cuddles.:" Hadrianus grinned, letting her know it's not a big deal. She already gifted him the best mother ever to exist who teaches him, takes care of him, and gives him lots of cuddles. He knows how lucky he is that he finally has a mum.

From Sharptooth, Hadrianus has received a beautiful Slytherin colored beret and scarf made with goblin made cotton. Hadrianus grinned as he remembered what he gave him. A set of 4 piece personalized wooden coasters with coaster holder with 'My Favourite Gobfather' engraved on it along with Gringotts sign. Even though he made it spill-proof, waterproof, dustproof, and fireproof, still he knows he is probably going to be cuffed in the head for his cheek. Again.

From Narcissa, he received a DIY Crafts box, which made him grin. Narcissa remembered what Hadrianus is planning to make for his father's birthday. Hadrianus is now thankful that he sent him a wide collection and varieties of teas that she likes.

From Barty, he received 100 galleon cards for Honey Dukes - he gave them to his father to keep it safe for him. He will save it until he goes to Hogwarts. He also received a magical atlas that shows all the magical and non-magical places of the World, including the usual essence of any place that he searches, current weather, time, possible magical and non-magical animals and plants that make a habitat in that place. Hadrianus grinned, he absolutely loved it. He grins wider, thinking of his reaction when he will find all the collections of Barty's favorite music brand for the last decade. Barty has complained more than once he had missed his favorite brands.

From Lord Malfoy, he received a 1000 galleon card for Kona Bay Books shop in Hawaii which has a hidden huge Magical section only Magical people have access to. It made him pause, as he didn't send him any gifts. After all, he saw him only once. But father assured him saying he took care of it to which he nodded gratefully and gave the card to his father to save it for him with the Honey Duke's card.

The last gift is from Uncle Severus who sent him a subscription to Magical Animals Magazines which made him beam happily. He hadn't talked with him much except for the potion lessons, how did he realize what Hadrianus likes? Looks like Uncle Severus is a really observant one. After all, he was his father's favorite and a brilliant spy. He really hopes that Uncle Severus liked the personalized planner book and stopwatch he sent him, on his planner, there is a potion kit engraving that moves as if some potion is being brewed and the stopwatch-timer will remind him of time and which potion stage is to brew next.

"Alright, here is the whole day plan," Marvolo said, pushing all the gifts beside and casting tempus, noticing it's almost 10:45. "We will go visit the Makahiki Festival, the hula dance will start at 11:00 if I am right and will have lunch outside. In the evening, we can visit Honolulu City Light Festival. At night, we celebrate the Yule ritual. What do you think?"

"YES!"

Chapter Text

Marvolo stepped inside the meeting room with Barty and Lucius in tow. From what he learned, commonly, the Hogwarts Board of Governor meeting doesn't hold in this room, there is a smaller room which was enough for the twelve members of Governors, now thirteen. But Marvolo has requested the presence of every professor of Hogwarts for this meeting.

Marvolo glanced around the room. It was an old-fashioned conference chamber with a wide and oval mahogany table and multiple comfortable seats. The floor was carpeted. There were multiple portraits around the chamber, portraits of the old Headmasters and Governors included. There also were portraits of the Hogwarts founders, Marvolo noticed, dismissing the other three and looking at one portrait particularly. Salazar Slytherin was eyeing Marvolo critically as well, obviously judging his worth to be the next Lord of Slytherin. Marvolo kept his mask intact as he stared right back at him, raising one of his eyebrows in a challenging way.

Ah, he omitted him from the secret of Fidelius, didn't he? Well, he will rectify that mistake when he returns home after all this is over.

Salazar Slytherin gave him a long look, before smirking when he saw the challenge in the eyes of the new Lord of Slytherin as if daring him to say something. Looks like he appreciates the House and its ancestors. Habitually, he doesn't bother with all these mundane gatherings, but then Lady Hogwarts contacted his portrait and showed him the visions of the current Hogwarts' Headmaster, his pet chickens, and some of the professors on the uproar and the denial on learning about Lord Slytherin, saying he must be The Dark Lord himself, or related to him anyhow. He wouldn't have bothered about the foolish Gryffindor throwing a temper tantrum which would have made a toddler proud, but it's about his house. The Slytherin House. 

The last Lord of Slytherin was Tom. He never heard about this Marvolo Salazar Slytherin before, especially when the man has his name.

So yes, he was undoubtedly curious. Who is he?

Marvolo smirked at the conflicted look on Salazar, before taking his seat and focusing on the people gathering around the table. He peeped around as people entered one by one, Professors and Governors alike. He didn't even bother to give a second glance when Dumbledore entered the room as if he owned it, a few of his pet chickens trailing him in like ducklings. Though Marvolo can't help but eye the Potter matriarch, and how she's smiling brilliantly at something Pomona Sprout saying.

How can she still smile after exiling her child with the foulest of the Muggles? So cold and brutal. Unfortunately, no one can see how much. Even his mother was better than that pathetic excuse of the woman, ran away from her crazed family to give birth to him and keep him safe from them.

No worries, he is going to take that smile away soon. Very soon. He can feel the satisfactory glee of anticipation to his very bone when he remembered what he has been planning for them. He is going to ruin their reputation completely. The Potter scion's fake 'Boy-Who-Lived' fame is the only one he will leave them with.

Marvolo inwardly groaned when the senile coot glanced his way, it will do him good if the goat with his horrendous robes stays away from him.

"Marvolo Slytherin, is it?"

Marvolo sighed but kept his face stoic as he turned to look at him, "Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, Supreme Mugwump of ICW, and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot."

Marvolo raised an eyebrow and kept himself from snorting at the blatant power display. Yeah no, he is not impressed and he's not afraid of showing it. "Pleasure." He drawled, making sure to let him know that it is anything but. Marvolo bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from smirking as Dumbledore lost some of the twinkles of his eyes.

Did he honestly think he will be fawning over him if Dumbledore shows off his positions? He is not some spineless weakling. He is not oblivious to the fact that all of those positions were given to him as recognition when he defeated Grindelwald. Unlike what Dumbledore likes to believe, the majority of the community are not dead from the neck up to his tricks, particularly the members of ICW. if he could have his way, he will lose most of those titles sooner or later. He just needs enough dirt on him to get him fired.

But until then, he would claim a neutral party, neither simpering him, give into his cajolery, deception, and manipulation nor openly confronting him.

"I can not help but notice that even a few weeks before, there was no news on Slytherin House gaining a Lord, my boy."

His left eye twitched violently, besides him, Barty minutely winced and Lucius glanced their way rather gleefully, not wanting to miss his Lord verbally tore the old coot into pieces.

"First, please refrain from talking to me with such familiarity. I am Lord Slytherin, and I expect to be called by such." Marvolo replied imperiously. He caught Severus's eye for a brief second before the man looked away, clearly surprised with his pronounced German accent. Oh yeah, he and Hadrianus had consumed the Accent Alteration Potion last night. Barty and Lucius are already aware of this, and now Severus.

"Oh, of course, of course." Dumbledore twinkled while he waved his hand in a grandfatherly gesture, which only made Marvolo want to hex him six ways into Sunday, "My mistake. You must forgive this old man, Lord Slytherin."

"See that you don't repeat such a mistake," With that, he turned from him as Lucius cleared his throat to take everyone's attention, ignoring his questions. If that was a subtle try to learn where he had been before, then he is doing a poor job to manipulate a Slytherin. He is, after all,  the  Slytherin.

Marvolo immediately turned to the meeting, dismissing Dumbledore and his revolting twinkles. He listened to Lucius idly as he handled the introductory speech, and then everyone introduced themselves even though he already knows everyone. Ah yes, he will let Lucius lead this meeting, he is after all the chairman of the Governor. He had earned the place with his talent. Besides, it will make Dumbledore underestimate him, as he believes Voldemort will never let anyone else lead.

Well, Voldemort would not have let anyone else lead. But he is not Voldemort either.

"First of all, thank you, everyone, for taking time from your Vacations to indulge me," Marvolo spoke easily as soon as Lucius gave him the stage, "As for the meeting, I wish to learn the Board's detailed appraisal on my ownership of Hogwarts and what are my liabilities to Her. I also wish to learn everyone's view and how can I make Hogwarts better, and that involves all the Professors as well, given they are immediately related to the pupils."

Marvolo was not insensible to not notice how the Governors and most of the Professors relaxed in their seat, however minute. After all, notwithstanding public opinion, they do care for Hogwarts.

"Lord Slytherin, first I would wish to compliment you for looking for means for up-gradation of the Education of our children," Lucius, as the chairman, spoke up on the behalf of the rest of Governors, "As the owner of Hogwarts, it is up to you to finalize every arrangement that will affect the school's plans and policies, employing the school staff and supervision of school budget."

Another Governor Gethsemane Prickle nodded at Lucius, "Exactly. To say easier way, it is your call on what happens at the school from now on. If you think a Professor is not doing their job, you can fire them without having to turn to the Headmaster. If you think the school needs more classes, you can arrange it and hire a new professor. In fact, the Headmaster had to turn to you first from now on and if he doesn't and is found about it, he'll be fired and will have to answer before the Wizengamot as well as this Board."

"I am afraid I can not let you do that."

Marvolo felt his lips twitch as the Governors either looked up as if praying for patience or openly rolling their eyes or shaking heads murmuring 'Here we go again.'

"And pray tell, why not?" Lucius drawled.

"I am merely concerned, how do we know that you are not a Death Eater who desires to harm the children? I cannot let my pupils be harmed; as a Headmaster I would be failing in my duties if I did so," The old coot told him, his tone patronizing and self-centered.

"Of course, anyone that doesn't agree with you right away is considered evil or a Death Eater, as always." Lucius sneered at his pathetic attempt to manipulate.

"Of course not," Dumbledore said, his eyes wide behind the half-moon spectacles in a feigned display of shock. More than one person snorted around the table, not buying anything he said.

"Lord Malfoy, I can speak for myself, thank you," Marvolo said smoothly before the confrontation turned more violent. He can already see the way Barty's hand twitching for his Wand. "Headmaster Dumbledore, if I was a 'Death Eater' as you so generously accused, I would have taken control of Hogwarts when Britain was under the reign of Lord Voldemort," He noted with sadistic glee that every single one of them jumped in fright before looking around in panic as if afraid that he will pop out of nowhere and start cursing them, even Dumbledore widen his eyes. "Not 7 years after the end of his era." Hah, people are still afraid to say his name even after almost a decade of his supposed 'death'? He didn't see that coming. But it pleased him nevertheless to see the turmoil brought by the mention of his mere name.

"He is right, Albus." The Potter matriarch decided to intervene, reminding everyone that it is her son who ended his era, which made him grit his teeth in fury. No, she didn't deserve the feeling of accomplishment. Not for the fake 'savior'.

"Regardless," Marvolo turned his attention on the meeting, nodding at his fellow Governors, "Thank you for illuminating me," Marvolo nodded, they all ignored Dumbledore's attempts to protest, "I'd confess, before coming to this meeting, I had compared the academic performance, curriculum, extra-curricular activities and other normal activities of Hogwarts with other Magical schools in International level. I was alarmed to find the number of students coming to Hogwarts each year, even when this is the most prestigious school in Britain. And I am not pleased to find it at the second last in the list on Academic Performance." He shook his head disappointed.

A stunned silence rang around him. Marvolo continued to speak as if he didn't cast the bombarda a second before. This is not the gravest news they are about to hear, after all. "Then I took the liberty to talk with some of the ex-students and to my further consternation, I found the student-teacher association is ignorance at the best, and bullying is somewhat encouraged in some circumstances. This is why most of the wizarding families are now entrusting their children abroad. I didn't want to believe it and did some homework myself, only to find that yes, Hogwarts did make herself number one in something Internationally and that is in bullying." His voice was dripping with sarcasm as he eyes the 'Professors', "Can the professors please elaborate on this?"

"I am sure it's just children being children." Dumbledore dismissed his concern, making every Governor and Marvolo stare at him incredulously. Other 'Professors' shifted uneasily, glancing at each other.

"Oh, so the other  prestigious International schools don't house children, according to you?" He asked condescendingly, eyeing him in such a way as if he is wondering about his sanity.

"Well, now I have more reasons to send my son to Durmstrang," Lucius muttered beside him. Marvolo shook his head and sighed, before producing a file and pull out some parchments, making copies, and passing them. It holds the records that compare Hogwarts with other schools' standards.

The silence dragged as they all read about the reports, and see for themselves that everything Lord Slytherin said was true. Even some inconspicuous wizarding schools that they never heard the name before today have better grades than Hogwarts. After few minutes, it was Minerva McGonagall who put the parchments down first and uttered up in a rather shaky voice, "I know it was not good, but I didn't know it was  this  bad."

"I did," Poppy Pomphrey, the Hogwart's Mediwitch cut in, still in her Matron gear, eyed the column that held the comparison of abuse between different schools "I had to patch up too many students that were the results of bullying over the years, and I hate it." Disapproval is written on her face, "They were never punished, regardless of how many professors called into question, the behavior was always brushed off as ' children being children ' or something like that. Especially if the children in question were a Gryffindor." Poppy glared at unrepentant Dumbledore who shook his head.

"I believe - " He started to speak but Marvolo cut him off.

"Not anymore," Marvolo stated sharply.

"Do you have any ideas, Lord Slytherin?" Dowager Longbottom spoke next.

Marvolo nodded and produced another file, going through them, "As a matter of fact, I do have some plans to rectify them, and while it will take time, I am sure it would do good for Hogwarts to live up to her previous glory once again. We can make it work before next Summer."

"Please elaborate, Lord Slytherin." Cerberus Langarm prompted, sitting up straighter with his best friend Sage Bragnam. Before the start of the meeting both of them, they had been wary of the new owner of their beautiful school, wondering if the foreign Wizard would be good news or bad for that was once their home. But never in his wildest dreams, they considered this. What happened? And how did it slipped their notice?

"Thank you, my first proposition is about the Head Of Houses. A Head Of House can not become a Professor, neither a Professor can become a Head of House. Please hear me out," Marvolo raised his hand to silence them, "Looking after one child itself is a full-time job, I would know, having eight years old at home. But looking after so many children at once? Along with having to teach and grade their homework?" Marvolo raised his eyebrow and looked at Minerva who was about to protest, "Tell me, Madam McGonagall, when was the last time you have talked with one of your lions? I have stated 'talked', not punishing or lecturing. You know, where an adult talks to the children under their care to make sure that they're adjusting well in the school and not getting abused or bullied?"

Minerva McGonagall flashed, "I haven't had much time, between responsibilities of Deputy Headmistress, Head of Gryffindors, and Transfiguration classes..."

"But not anymore," He said firmly, "You will choose any one of the three."

"What? No, you can't - "

"He is right, Albus," Minerva cut him off, glancing at the reports in her hand, "I had to ignore the kids because I couldn't do so many things at once. Can you - " she bite her lips before taking deep breaths, "Can you give me some time to process and think all these before I decide?"

"Of course, you have time until next Summer," Marvolo nodded, before looking at the other Head Of Houses, "What about the others?"

"I wish to become only the Head Of House of Slytherins," Severus immediately replied. He had thought about this when their Lord discussed this with them the other day and this is the best option. He hated having to teach but he cared for his snakes. Without having to teach those dunderheads and grade their homework, he will have plenty of time to do as he pleases. He can finally give more time to invent and experimenting with potions. He was tempting to retire from spying and give his full time in potions as his Lord offered, but he doesn't trust any stranger to come and take care of his snakes. Besides, Adrian and his Godson Draco will start Hogwarts in two years. And he has a feeling it will be rather...interesting seven years. "In addition to this, would you mind if I do something else?"

"What you do during your personal time is not my business, Potion Master Snape." Marvolo waved him off, "You're welcome to experiment with Potions in the labs, assuming that's what you intend to do?"

"Indeed," Severus inclined his head, visibly relieved. Dumbledore had barred him from pursuing his desires. And he is not letting him manipulate his life further than he had. If worst comes to him, he will resign and request his Lord to hire someone qualified enough as his replacement. He will not let Dumbledore come between him and his potions anymore.

"Who will be the Head Of Houses if we don't?" Pomona Sprout asked. Oh, she doesn't want to choose between her Puffs and the greenhouse but looks like she is going to.

"Ah yes, I would like to know that too," Filius Flitwick nodded, "Who will become our replacement?"

"I have a list of potential peoples, but of course I want the rest of the Governors and Professors to look at them as well." Marvolo produced the list and copied it quickly, then passed it on to everyone. A few beats passed as they all studied the list.

"Lord Slytherin, you have chosen me  as possible Head Of Gryffindor House or the Deputy Headmistress?" Dowager Longbottom's stunned disbelief echoed throughout the room.

"Indeed," Marvolo's lips twitched. The Gryffindors need a stern hand to control them and stop their bullies (aka 'pranks') on other Houses. And she is one of his best bets. He still remembered how cowed the lions were during their school life, and how she and Minerva ruled them with an iron fist and kept them at bay. They're the only lions who earned his respect.

"I believe, that is a good idea, Augusta," Minerva smiled at her best friend, "My lions will be in safe hands if you take them, then I will be relieved and choose the duty of Deputy Headmistress."

"I - " Augusta cleared her throat, "I need to think about it." Her mind going to her grandson. She is the only one to raise Neville. If she is busy then who will raise him?

"Thank you," Marvolo nodded, "If you agree, I am sure we can arrange a quarter for you and your grandchild to live during your duty hours." Subtly telling her that having her grandson over would not be a problem. Other professors may not have someone dependent on them but that doesn't mean no one would be the same.

Augusta widened her eyes as she listened to him. That is a good idea. Maybe it would do good for Neville to be near other kids and play with them? The poor boy certainly feels lonely at home. "Thank you for the offer, Lord Slytherin. I will notify my decision by this weekend."

Albus winced inwardly at that, knowing the offer is too good for her to pass. Augusta Longbottom is a no-nonsense witch, excessively strict for her own good. His poor lions will suffer miserably if she becomes their Head. But he can't deny it without a proper cause, her son and daughter-in-law were his Order members after all. They were succumbed to support the cause. Looks like Lord Slytherin is too smart and cunning, he can't deny or reject any of his offers or find any loopholes without sounding like he doesn't care for Hogwarts. He doesn't like this. He needs to keep a better eye on the wizard. Maybe he can ask Severus to look into his case? Severus looks like he's grateful to him for offering what he likes, he probably won't mind keeping an eye on his business.

"I think I have decided," Filius muttered, gazing at the list. Oh, they're all good, there is no doubt. And it was true that he was a little overwhelmed with the pressure of works as well, he can't remember the last time he went out and spent some quality time with his friends and family. This will clear up a lot of his time to do as he pleases. He can give more time to offer a modification of his teaching as well, looks like the pupils need it to improve their grades. And if he had to choose, he knows what he will choose, "I say, if you can secure Emma Warren's consent to become my successor as Head of Ravenclaws, I chose to stay Charms Professor." He loves teaching too much to let it go. And he remembers her, a good young half-blood witch. She almost reminds him of Minerva. His Ravens will be in good hands. He will also offer her assistance if she needs it. Besides, if he has more time in hand, maybe he can finally start the Duelling Club? Maybe Lord Slytherin will permit him to start one? Dumbledore has always dismissed his proposals. But Lord Slytherin looks like a passionate good lad who has Hogwart's best interest in his heart.

"Thank you," Marvolo inclined his head, before glancing at Pomona, "Madam Sprout?"

"Herbology," She said instantly, "But please contact Irene Chang to become my successor, she was a delightful badger of mine. I will assist her until she is familiar enough with the responsibility." Reflecting what Filius was thinking seconds ago.

"Thank you," Marvolo glanced at Lucius who nodded and jolted down the recommended names.

"And what of our Potion Professor?" Dumbledore peered at Severus disappointed, alas, he had more expectation of him, "Can I suggest contacting Horace for that position?"

"But he took retirement," Sage Bragnam, one of the governors frowned at him. Dumbledore twinkled at him, "I am sure my old friend will agree to return."

"Well, if he agrees, please notify us, Or else I will contact Professor Sweepstikes," Marvolo said, "Anyone else has any questions? No? Can we move to our next issue then?"

Everyone agreed. Marvolo started to address his next issue, "We need to add short courses on penmanship, Wizarding etiquette and Laws, basic housekeeping and money management. The Muggleborns and Muggle raised come from a different world than us, they would need those classes to understand our world better," Marvolo said, glancing around at everyone to note their reactions. Most of them were thoughtful, a some of them were downright hostile.

Ah, pureblood zealots, then.

"Those muggle-borns always getting in trouble, denying our ways and traditions. They will never learn," Omar Abasi spat.

"Not true," Severus said smoothly, "I agree with Lord Slytherin, they can learn if they are given the chance."

"Yes, Severus is right, I had to struggle a lot to get used to the penmanship and many other things during school days. Still do." Lily Potter piped in.

"And yet, instead of making an effort to learn them, you are renouncing them," Lucius mocked, eyeing her in poorly concealed disgust. This is the Lady of the Ancient House of Potters? Wearing disgusting Muggle clothing? She didn't even wear a robe! Even the Weasleys wear them, however atrocious! "Lord Slytherin, I will agree to this if you make sure whoever takes the responsibilities to teach those lessons are proper according to our etiquettes."

"Well excuse me if I - "

Marvolo raised a hand before another argument commenced, "Please cease with these foolish exploits," He said, rubbing his forehead, "I have many more proposals that I would like to cover today. Lord Malfoy, yes, that was the idea of this." He raised an eyebrow at Lucius as if saying, 'Stop it this instance. I don't have time for it.'

"Please proceed, Lord Slytherin." Lucius straightens up, refusing to blush at the gentle admonishment from his Lord. Mrs. Potter glared at them, before turning her nose up in such a way that made Marvolo froze, reminding him too much of his Hadrianus.

No. Hadrianus is his child. He had cleaned all of her blood from him. Where she is only acting childish, and Hadrianus is a child. There is nothing more, nothing less. They didn't act like this because she gave birth to him, no. Nagini is his mother, not her. Marvolo is just being silly and overthinking it. Yes, that's it. Even Barty sometimes behaves like that as well...doesn't he? There are no other reasons.

Looks like not only Hadrianus had an abandoned issue. Marvolo sighed.

"Thank you, as I said before, those classes are mandatory. In Durmstrang, every student had to attend those classes, Muggle raised or not. However, I also have other supplementary classes that will help with potions, transfigurations, and charms."

"Such as?"

"Classes like basic mathematics, chemistry, physics, botany, social studies."

"Scandalous!" Omar Abasi rose on his feet slapped his hand on the table, outraged, and disgusted, "Muggle studies! I would not want my children to learn anything related to those filthy muggles." Few other people joined him, looking mutinous as well - though they are rather less in number while the majority just looked thoughtful.

"Actually, they are quite beneficial." Filius cut him off. "I admit I had to learn physics and chemistry from Muggle teachers for my charms mastery under disguise. Muggles truly has better learning for them."

"So did I, in my potion mastery," Severus piped in. Even Minerva and Pomona agreed, however grudgingly.

"I am voting for these classes as well, helps to reduce our burden of teaching them basic mathematics during the Arithmancy," Septima Vector agreed. "This way we'll have more time to teach them many other things."

"I agree, and learning arts will help in my class as well," Bathseda Babbling voted in. "It takes them hours to make their wrist soften enough to draw a simple line for runes. Learning arts will prepare them for the finest art of runes."

"But - " Abasi sputtered.

"I think they're very good progress for Hogwarts," Dumbledore piped in, his eyes twinkling madly as he peered at Omar. Marvolo rolled his eyes before glancing at his side to find Lucius and Barty doing the same. Of course, he will think that. Anything that pisses of a Pureblood fanatics is good for him.

"Whether you like it or not, we are adding them, Mr. Abasi." Marvolo said coldly, "And these classes will be from third years when the elective classes are commenced. Speaking of elective classes, I also want to add classes on Alchemy, Politics, Healing, Literature, Languages, cooking and baking, music, dance, and arts. Also, can anyone tell me why there are no authorized clubs in the school?" Marvolo frowned at them, he distinctly remembers having them in his days, "Something like dueling clubs, culture club, debate club, drama, storytelling, chess, etc are common in every school, even Muggles encouraged their children to learn these! Additionally there's nothing similar to student magazines or something like that! What do the children do when they're not in class or studying? No wonder bullying is so severe in Hogwarts." Marvolo shook his head, frustrated. He can tell it has Dumbledore written all over even before they open their mouth. The accusatory glances were enough.

"I have asked the Headmaster more than once to permit me to initiate a dueling club, but he had always denied giving different excuses." Filius rose his frustrated voice, followed by some other professors, including Madam Sinistra who exclaimed her offer of Astronomy Club having shot down as well.

Before Dumbledore opened his mouth to defend himself and giving some stupid excuse, Marvolo raised his hand. Yeah, no, he doesn't have time for that. "Well, as the owner of Hogwarts, I am giving you all permission to open them, just tell me about it when you finalize everything, courses, and plans for your respective clubs. And from now on, you have any doubts or any ideas, please contact me."

"Thank you," many of the Professors nodded.

"Perfect!" Bethesda Babbling sounded excited, "I have been thinking of Runes club for too long, but after hearing about repeated denial of Filius's offer, I didn't bother asking Albus. Now I can finally have Runes Club. And Debate club. Yes, I will take that too. And I know few people who will gladly start culture and storytelling clubs."

"And I can contact some of my old friends for music and art classes," Professor Sinistra offered. "They're professional, I am sure they'll be too happy to let this opportunity pass."

"Oho! Then I can contact one of my friends to teach Cooking and Baking! Morag McDonald is one of the best chefs I know," Silvanus Kettleburn's voice was warm and fond.

"Thank you, please do that," Marvolo said earnestly, it certainly lessened his workload.

"Lord Slytherin, I can take the Yoga and Meditation classes too, if you agree?" Madam Ronalda Hooch spoke up, "I have learned them during my stay in India." And she certainly has time when the children are not practicing Quidditch.

"Of course." Lord Slytherin agreed, "As I said before, when you finalize the course and schedule, just run them through me."

"Thank you."

"I can teach some basic courses of Healing," Poppy offered. "For advanced courses, I recommend Healer Edward Tonks. He doesn't work at St Mungo's, has his own Healer Clinic, I can contact him if you want?" The blonde Healer will be pleased to have the opportunity to pass his knowledge to the young generation. She is positively thrilled to finally have someone who cared and passionate enough to make everything better. In fact, she is already planning what she could teach the new students. She just needs to go and look for appropriate books to teach the students. Don't blame her, Albus is alright for a Headmaster. But the new changes were excellent for the students. Besides, there are not enough Healers or Mediwitch in the Wizarding world. It will do real good for both present and future for the children.

"Thank you," Marvolo nodded as he scribbled the name on the parchment. "This will leave us professors for Alchemy, Politics, Literature, and Languages. Lord Malfoy, what is your opinion about being the Politics Professor in Hogwarts?"

Years of occlumency practice stopped Lucius from bulging his eyes out, he cleared his throat. "I can teach about the Politics of course, but I don't think I would be able to give my full time into it." Lucius frowned.

"I hardly think the school children are going to become a politician in one week if you don't." Marvolo looked at the new list of classes, "I assume one class per month will be enough to learn about how Wizengamot functions, or some basics like that. I can arrange something like a big lecture room where every student can seat and learn together."

"This is acceptable," Lucius agreed easily. Politics is what he is best at, and he will be happy to pass on some of his knowledge to the next generations.

"Perfect. Anyone else has any ideas on who could be Alchemy, Literature, and Language professors?" Marvolo looked around.

"May I suggest Charlotte Lawrence for Literature?" Myra Curio, one of the governors suggested, "Her family is famous for literature and authors, Charlotte herself has written many good books. For language, which languages are you offering to teach, Lord Slytherin?"

"Well, languages like Latin, Arabic, Olde English, Sanskrit are obviously useful, they're needed for spell casting. Maybe some creature languages like Gobbledegook, Elven, Mermish and others if anyone is interested to learn," Hadrianus will definitely be interested to learn them, and he will let him learn them in school. After all, he needs some enthusiasm and motivation to attend Hogwarts. "And others like Greek, Roman, German, French, Spanish, Czech, Italian, etc, whatever is available and students are interested."

"Oh, this will be interesting," Some of the governors jolted down their own notes while others look thoughtful, "I am sure we will find some people to teach all these languages."

"Thank you, if you find someone, please notify us," Marvolo nodded in appreciation, "It doesn't have to be one person, it will be too much for one man to teach so many classes." Everyone murmured affirmative, "Next, Alchemy professor."

"Well. Nicolas Flamel is the best Alchemist out there," Barty suggested in his faint French accent.

Everyone in the room froze as they gazed amazed at the new Wizard whose reason for the presence in the meeting is yet unknown to them.

"Nicolas Flamel?" Marvolo asked his brain geared up and calculating. Is he not the one who invented Philosopher's stone? Also a good friend of Dumbledore. "Headmaster, do you think you can reach out to him and see if he's interested in teaching?"

"I will contact him," Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling madly, satisfied that Lord Slytherin is dependant on him for contacting at least two of the new professors. Tom would never do that. Does that mean this wizard is truly not Tom? So far, none of his actions was any close resemblance to how he knows Tom will act, though his mannerism and charming personality were exactly how he remembered Tom's were when he was in school, knowing exactly what to say and how to sound passionate about his responisibilities, making everyone around him eating out of his palm. Which is what had him on edge and make him observe the wizard in question more closely. But he also remembered him casually mentioning his eight years old son and how he is raising him, and he knows Tom won't be patient enough to bind himself in conjugal bond or raise a child himself. Hell, he doesn't think that Tom is even fertile enough to sire a child after dwelling so deeply in the Dark Arts. So yes, he is conflicted about this Wizard. He is an entirely new character, an enigma.

"While it's all good and all," Minerva spoke up, "How are we going to manage so many classes as well as clubs at once? And how students are going to take so many classes?"

"And here comes my third proposal of the day," Marvolo said, "All the Houses will have every class together."

"Pardon?" Many people looked up, surprised.

"There is no need to hold two classes per each year for each subject. Every year group can attend every class together. I will make sure the classes are bigger and more spacious to hold everyone. It will free up more time for all the Professors to have some time for themselves as well. Also, it will promote the inter-House relationship and get to know each other as they spend more time together. Maybe awarding them points when you witness a budding inter-House friendship? It will definitely encourage them." Marvolo mused aloud, "I am also thinking about building more common rooms where all four Houses are welcomed to spend time together. Maybe install some indoor games, something similar to board games and bowling?"

"I don't think - "

"I don't care what you think Albus," Pomona cut in. She turned to Lord Slytherin, "What an excellent idea, Lord Slytherin. Maybe we can even create a student bill of rights. If we had expectations of proper behavior for the students it might help reduce bullying?"

"We could standardize detentions and other punishments too. If we had something officially written down, then the children couldn't claim House bias." Aurora agreed.

"That is acceptable," Marvolo agreed, pleased with the progress. "Maybe we can contact the Head of the Ministerial Education Act Regulations to draft up student bill of rights."

Albus scowled darkly, he didn't like Ministry's interference with his Hogwarts. They're corrupted, they shouldn't come anywhere near the children. He needed to shot down the idea, but they didn't even ask his opinion on the situation. How dare they decide what to do in Hogwarts without consulting him? Especially when he is right here? After everything he did for the society? He would have protested but everyone immediately agreed with Slytherin when he offered it, so he had to bite down his denial. Why can't they see that Slytherin is a Dark Wizard? He needs to keep a better eye on the situation. Maybe sabotage the effort from behind the scene? He has some friends in the Education Act Regulation, maybe their help will come in handy.

"And what about the children?" Albus asked, peering at him from behind his half-moon spectacle disappointed, "They won't have much time to enjoy their childhood if they're swimming with so many classes."

"It's not 'too many classes', Headmaster," Marvolo countered, inwardly rolling his eyes, entirely unbothered with the 'I am disappointed in you' act, honestly he is too bored to put up with them anymore. Oh, he knows he is already planning to sabotage his proceedings, the old coot is not subtle enough to hide his scheming. And he knows exactly how to counter them. "Classes on penmanship, etiquette, etc will take hardly 4 or 5 sessions at the beginning, which are for their good. Politics will be once a month. And the rest of the classes are elective. You need to learn them if you wish to take mastery on those subjects. Besides, children should be kept busy otherwise they tend to get in trouble. To keep them productive and physically and mentally healthy through activities. The lessons are for both their present and future."

"Very well said." Lucius and many others agreed immediately.

 

Chapter Text

"Moving on to the next list of classes I wish to combine in the curriculum," Marvolo deliberately looked at his notes while Lucius and Barty focused on smothering their laughter at the comical looks on Dumbledore's face, "I wish to introduce Elemental magic and Astral magics for pupils beyond OWL. Oh, and not to neglect the classes on Creation and Alteration of spells and Rituals from 3rd year. Their core will be developed enough to wield them. And while Creation and Alteration of Spells might be an Elective, the rest should be added as the Core classes."

"Lord Slytherin," Dumbledore loudly protested, "I can not in my good conscience permit you to allow my pupil to practice such dangerous and highly unstable magic!"

"Oh? Dangerous and highly unstable, you say? Care to explain?" Marvolo said in a sweet mocking tone which made Dumbledore bristle even more.

"There had been too many injuries and even death because of these kinds of practices."

"Yes, there had been too many accidents in these kinds of practices, only because they didn't know what they're doing, having no knowledge beforehand. There is nothing wrong to make sure they learn them firsthand in a safe and secured environment, and what's better than learning them in the classroom under an expert's careful observation?"

"That's...actually convenient and very insightful of you, Lord Slytherin," Lucius feigned a surprised look then looked thoughtful, which straightened the rest of the governors as they all look at it in a positive light now. This time, Marvolo had to bit the inside of his cheeks to smother his laughter. As he expected, most of the wizards are like sheep, they look up to someone as the leader and follow their path of choice. At the moment, Lucius is their leader, and a positive comment from Lucius made sure to have an assertive impact on the rest.

"I absolutely refuse to - "

"Oh God, Dumbledore, can you just shut up for a moment and let others discuss it already?" Omar Abasi snapped, glaring at him, "Unlike you, we care for our children." He added haughtily, basking in the chance to finally have an upper hand on the senile goat. Barty and Lucius smirked at each other, and everyone else ignored them and proceed to speak as if they didn't hear him interrupt.

"You're right, Malfoy," Babbling nodded sagely, "The young peoples are always looking forward to an adventure, and what's better than try an unknown kind of magic? You can not stop them from being fools, the least we can do is to make sure they're being fools under our watch." Which earned a nod from many of the professors, all familiar with the rebellious phases of their pupils.

"But who will teach them?" Madam Longbottom frowned at the others, "We do not know who could introduce them to the Elemental or Astral Magic!"

"We know who mastered those arts and are the best on introducing to the young generations," Lord Slytherin looked at her pointedly, "An Unspeakable."

"You think they would consent to take classes in Hogwarts?"

"We could make a petition on it and ask the Minister's permission," Lord Slytherin glanced at Lucius, "If you could arrange a meeting between a representative from the governor and the Minister?"

"Of course," Lucius nodded, "And I believe it will be more beneficial if you're the one to address to him about it. I am certain he will be more susceptive to your sound reasons." Lucius gave a small smirk. All the better as they finally have an official reason to meet with Fudge before tomorrow's Wizengamot session. Not only Fudge will be malleable to their suggestions, he will do absolutely anything  Lord Slytherin 'suggested' after his Lord made a generous donation to his causes.

Lord Slytherin, for his part looked pensive at the offer, which made Gethsemane and some others inclined to make sure he agrees, the lad is passionate and charming enough to make the Minister see their reason, "We're sure Minister would love to hear from the wizard himself, Lord Slytherin."

Marvolo still looked unsure, looking at the rest of the governors, "If you're quite certain..." Manipulation at progress to its finest, he is the master of it, of course!

"We are," They all nodded firmly, while Augusta just shrugged, she doesn't care who takes the charge. And yes, she is okay to let the children learn in a safe environment. She remembered during their teenage time some of their colleagues injured when they tried and botched a ritual for not knowing how to perform. She would rather not let history repeat itself, now they have a chance to rectify it.

"And what about Rituals and Spell Creation and Alteration?" She inquired.

"I know a brilliant Ritualist, I can ask him if he is amenable?" Marvolo offered, "Lord Gornuk, he's one of my acquaintances."

"A Goblin?" Filius asked, surprised. They're about to have a Goblin professor? That's new!

"I am sure at least  you  wouldn't be in a predicament with it?" Marvolo asked at the Half-Goblin Professor, amused to see him blush.

"But by the current law, a creature does not have any rights to teach!" Marcello Russo raised an eyebrow at Marvolo.

"Ah, so you'll agree if they had the rights?" Marvolo imitated him raising his eyebrow the same way, amused.

Russo snorted, but didn't reply, so did Dowager Longbottom who let her lips curl just a tad while Dumbledore frowned. They are Wizengamot members as well, and they know very well which bill is going to be offered tomorrow. Looks like they now know where Lord Slytherin stands among the voters and has quite the confidence on which side will win. Longbottom has been pondering on it, not coming to a decision. But even she has heard Lord Gornuk is a brilliant Ritualist. If he agrees to teach, Hogwarts will flourish. Looks like she found which side she is going to be on.

In Dumbledore's case, he frowned at the implication. No, however unfortunate it is for young Remus, he understands that he can not let the bill pass tomorrow. It will give all the Dark Creatures like the Werewolves and Vampires wreak havoc everywhere. He needs to talk with some of his old friends to make sure they're on the right path of voting. But before he even processed everything and open his mouth to let his opinion known to others, the topic of discussion has already changed.

"The last being the Creation and Alteration of Spells, any ideas?"

Lucius cleared his throat to take the attention, "May I suggest Mistral Fontayne Wesia née Malfoy? Even though quite old, she is still among the most brilliant Spell crafter to date I have the pleasure to know." And she was born a Malfoy, however distantly related. It will bring more good light to his family.

"While it's true, isn't her granddaughter more amenable for the position? She is young and brilliant as well."

"You can not be serious!" Omar Abasi sputtered, "She married a Lovegood! They all are barmy and insane, going on and on about some imaginary magical creature in The Quibbler!"

Marvolo looked up from his parchment to pay more attention to it. While it's not known to everyone but he remembers that Lovegoods share seer blood, so does Wesias as they descent from Cassandra Trelawney's daughter. A marriage between them? This is bound to be interesting. And he can't let the opportunity of meeting another seer pass.

"Does it matter what they speak of in their magazine?" Marvolo frowned at them, "If she is gifted with the art of Spell Creation and Alteration, then she can be a valuable Professor. You can't call it 'insane' without sounding hypocritical, you all let a ghost teach Magical History for decades!"

Awkward murmurs rang throughout the room, letting Lucius know all are in silent agreement and he will handle contacting Pandora Lovegood née Wesia.

"Thank you, so it's confirmed then." Marvolo nodded as Lucius added the names to the list, "Anyone has any question?"

"Lord Slytherin, if I may," Myra Curio spoke up, looking at the notes in front of her, "If Madam McGonagall is thinking about taking only the responsibilities of Deputy Headmistress, we should also think about a new Transfiguration Professor," Myra Curio offered, earning affirmative murmur.

"I can recommend Emeric Switch?" Minerva McGonagall offered as she peered at the governors, "She is one of the brilliant Transfiguration masters and she was my mentor. If she can't give us time, she can at least give some recommendations."

"That is a good suggestion," Marvolo nodded as they jolt down her name and address as well, "We shall endeavor to bring her with us. Anything else?"

They shook their head. Marvolo nodded, "The next issue, The Defence Against Dark Arts class. I hear there was some accident of your previous professor?"

"Yes," Minerva pursued her lips thinly, "He died by snakebite a couple of weeks ago."

"Which I still have doubts," Marcello Russo narrowed his eyes at Dumbledore. Ah, someone is not happy! "My brother wasn't someone who will visit the Forbidden Forest on his own at night, there must have been something that compelled him."

"That's unfortunate," Marvolo bit the inside of his cheeks and kept his facial expression cool and calm, "Is it true that the post has some curse on it? I heard no professor succeeded in teaching more than a year? Is that what had been working behind your brother's untimely death?" He frowned as he looked around the professors, genuinely curious about what they have to say.

"It is a popular belief that The Dark Lord has cursed the position," Albus informed him keeping his eyes on him. But the Wizard looked genuinely curious and confused. It made him wary again. Does that mean Slytherin is really not Tom? Unless... he is a brilliant actor?

"That's...inappropriate. Why you didn't let a curse-breaker examine it?"

That made wheels turn in everyone's head as they all turned towards Dumbledore at once, wishing to learn the answer as well. If the curse is true, then why Dumbledore didn't do it?

Dumbledore froze when everyone's attention turned at him at once, inwardly cursing Slytherin six-way to Sunday. Yes, he had always basked in everyone's attention and awe of him, but not accusation and glares. Albus winced under Marcello Russo's fierce glare, remembering it has been his brother. Damn the Slytherin boy, did the blasted Wizard came into the meeting with the sole purpose of turning everyone against him? Even his colleagues are looking at him disappointed.

Why can't they just see he is a dark wizard? Why they're agreeing with him so quickly, so eagerly? He noticed even his colleagues have started treating him with the respect that Albus deserved, not Slytherin! They never agreed with him so eagerly! Is it because Slytherin is amongst the Sacred Twenty-Eight list, and Dumbledore is not? But Dumbledore did so many things for society, he deserves the same treatment! Is it because Slytherin 'owned' Hogwarts? Are they going to accept whatever lies the boy keeps sprouting?

"I hadn't believed that Voldemort truly cursed the position. If so, I would have discovered it long ago." Dumbledore said without an ounce of his jovial nature, ignoring the way everyone jumped around him at the blasted anagram. Marvolo inwardly rolled his eyes at the hypocritic wizard.

"Regardless, we can't let that continue for more than it had been." Many people agreed with him at that, "Is it true that you haven't found a Defence Professor yet?"

"Yes," It was Minerva who replied.

"Lord Crouch, what is your impression on this matter?"

Barty straighten up, frowning with a calculating gleam in his eyes, "How about changing the name 'Defence Against Dark Arts' to simply Defence class? If You-Know-Who had truly cursed the position, he must have used the name to tie the curse on it, it's a matter of simply changing the name. Besides, it's not like we're learning Defence against only dark arts, we're learning to defend ourselves in any hostile situations, let it be some unfriendly opponent or a boggart, right?"

At the suggestion, everyone looked either stupefied or astonished as they all stared at him, including Dumbledore who had completely lost his twinkle as he gaped unattractively. Barty suppressed his urge to giggle at their flabbergasted faces. While it was true that his Lord had cursed the position, it is also true that the curse doesn't take effect if it's someone who has his Lord's approval. And it's not like anyone can actually know that the one who cursed the position is sitting right between them and brainstorming ideas on how to remove the said curse. The entire situation is so funny, it's becoming hard to not laugh. Barty made sure not to glance at Lucius or Severus, knowing their laughing eyes might make him lose control and he will burst into hysterical giggles. Oh, he can't wait to tell Hadrianus, he will surely find it funny as well. And Bella and the twins, when they return home.

"Ah, thank you for the suggestion, Barthélemy." Marvolo nodded, rolling his eyes inwardly at the bloke's struggle at containing his laughter. Oh no, he is doing a good job at it, but Marvolo had known him for too long to not pick up the tiniest clues of sparkling eyes and biting of lips.

"I am sorry, but who are you again?" Dumbledore asked, noticing how similar he looks with Bartemius Crouch Jr, though he is at least 5 or 6 years younger than the deceased wizard and his accent has a French tinge.

"Barthélemy Crouch, at your service," Barty waved at him cheerfully, "Lord to Crouch Estate. I am here to take the Defence position."

"I haven't heard about you before," Omar Abasi peered at him.

"That's because my father moved to France before my birth," Barthélemy shrugged nonchalantly, "I grew up there and had been traveling around the world after completing my mastery, but then Gringotts contacted me to inform my uncle's unfortunate death. Upon hearing my arrival in Britain Marvolo contacted me for the Defence position, that's why I've decided to move in and now I am here."

"I see," Dumbledore nodded, his twinkle back in his eyes. Yes, he did hear about Crouch's elder brother moving into France, so he knows the story has at least some truth in it. "And you're here because Lord Slytherin contact you?"

Barty snorted, "If you want to ask how I know Marvolo, you have to be more direct and polite, Dumbledore. Besides, it's none of your business." He frowned at him.

"I am merely concerned, my boy. I have never heard of you before today and all I'm hearing that you've moved in Britain at Lord Slytherin's request."

"I am not your boy," Barty made a distasteful face, "It is Lord Crouch or Professor Crouch for you, Headmaster. And I moved in because I wanted to spend more time with my little Godson. I didn't have anything left after my mother's death, after all." Which was true enough. Anyone can see that in his wide expressive eyes which earned the young wizard more sympathy points from others.

"Regardless," Marvolo spoke before Dumbledore pressed for more answer than he wishes to reveal today, like questions on who is his Godson, "Barthélemy is here to take the position of Defence class, he is qualified, having both Defense and Charms mastery and yes, I agree to the name change. Any objections?" He looked around as people shook their heads. "Good, Lucius, I believe you'll arrange the paperwork regarding the name change."

"Of course, Lord Slytherin," Lucius nodded as he added it to his ever-growing list.

"Perfect. Now, about the History professor," Marvolo started. "I have noticed persistent bad grades in that class for decades. And when I inquired about it, I've learned it's a ghost who teaches the subject. This can not continue."

"Cuthbert Binns has long been Professor at this school," Dumbledore frowned at him, "I know you went to the Durmstrung Institute so you don't know what it was like to study here, but the students enjoy his lectures."

"Is that so," Marvolo deadpanned, "Then pray tell, why there is at least 98.67% drop rate of History after OWLs?"

"It's merely children being children, nothing else - "

"Oh honestly Albus," Pomona snapped, before turning at Lord Slytherin, "Please don't mind him, Lord Slytherin. I have been hearing complaints from several badgers of mine, and every one of them is frustrated with Binns, telling me they can't learn anything from him. According to them, the only topic he teaches is Goblin wars."

"It's true," Filius piped in, followed by Severus.

"That is unacceptable," Marvolo frowned, "If children do not learn our glorious Magical History, they will never learn our true ways, they will renounce our tradition and Magic will suffer for their less than proper proceeding. I can not let that happen. They deserve to learn our excellent classical and medieval history and the beautiful tales of Lady Magic, grand Origin of Nine Realms, and the stories behind Magical creatures, the Inheritances, and Blessed Constellations."

"Hear hear," Several governors and professors agreed, Omar Abasi being the loudest among them.

But Dumbledore was panicking inwardly. He can't let children learn the Olde ways, what if they chose Dark paths as many other had before? What if they accept the revolting and unnatural things like Creature Inheritance and Necromancy? This is outrageous! He did so many things, sacrificed so many lives to make sure that both of them are declared illegal in Britain, and have Kill On SIght order on them to stop spreading such filth among other pure children! If the Muggleborn learned about them and realize that they are something like a 'blessing from Lady Magic' or something scandalous like that, they will accept them with open arms! And he can't let that happen! If they are truly something like 'Blessing from Lady Magic', then he would have some creature in his blood as well. He deserved the blessing too, did he not? He did so many things for society, after all! He can't let it happen for the Greater Good!

If the muggle-borns understand their place in the Wizarding World, they will never look up to him anymore, they won't ask him to be their guide. Because if they realize their place, why they will need someone to fight for their rights?

That blasted wizard! Why he had to be the Slytherin scion? Why he couldn't have born in some insignificant houses where his words would have discarded, instead of taken into any consideration? Tom Riddle had been the same as him, just some insignificant Slytherin bastard! And he made sure Tom didn't realize his heritage before its late. And now this boy came out of nowhere demanding to be the owner of the Hogwarts! The sheer audacity...Dumbledore suddenly stopped. Hold on, didn't Tom had the same goals as him? Segregation from Muggles, acceptance of Muggleborns in Pureblood society and teach them their places and bring back old ways? Then how... Dumbledore widened his eyes.

Blast! Lord Slytherin is Tom!

Voldemort is back!

Dang it! Why Severus didn't tell him anything? Does that mean the traitor went back to his old master? But from what he saw, Severus had been curious to learn about him too! Does that mean Tom doesn't trust him anymore to summon him?

Which one was it?

While Dumbledore was having a quiet mental breakdown and panicking inwardly, the discussion was still being held around him.

"There is one Greek Historian I know, Paul Herodotus, he was a Professor of Ilvermony," A quiet voice spoke up, taking attention from everyone bar Dumbledore. Marvolo looked up to find the Muggle Studies Professor Quirinus Quirrell, who spoke for the first time that day, "He had retired, but he was brilliant from what I've heard from my friends. Maybe if we talk to him, or at least ask for some recommendation of a good Historian from him?" He glanced at Marvolo questionably who nodded thoughtfully. The Herodotus family is famous for producing renowned Historians for centuries. He learned from him a lot during his travels, even worked as his apprentice for 6 months. He knows his son is currently teaching at Ilvermony, maybe he can convince Paul Herodotus to teach at least for few years until he found another Historian?

"Ah yes! He is brilliant," Aurora agreed eagerly, "I learned the Magical History from him during my school life in Ilvermony. Furthermore, I have the idea of Astronomy Club because of him, I was planning to tell the children about the tales of Blessed Constellations in the club."

"Okay then, everyone in the agreement of arranging exorcism for Binns and contacting Professor Herodotus as new History professor?" Marvolo looked around easily gaining collective yes, though he didn't miss the panicked and scheming glint on Dumbledore's face. Looks like he needs to make sure Professor Herodotus has extra security while in Hogwarts. He can't have the stupid goat killing him off now.

"I will contact the Exorcists then," Lucius noted down.

"And I will contact the Professor," Sinistra offered.

"Thank you, moving on," Marvolo nodded, "Our next and my last proposal of the day: The Summer dormitories."

"I am afraid I can not let that happen," Dumbledore denied immediately, finally having calmed down in time to learn about the new discussion.

Marvolo sighed. Same old arguments. "Care to elaborate?"

Dumbledore shook his head sagely as if he regrets whatever BS he was about to sprout, "Having students underfoot is an imposition. Someone has to be around to care for them during Summertime, and we all tend to come and go during the summer so even if we aren't directly responsible for the students who chose to stay, their presence would affect our lives."

"That is easily manageable," Marvolo waved his hand as if batting a fly, which made Dumbledore scowl minutely, how dare Tom ignore him like that? Is he not afraid of him?

"I can arrange for some Summer Matron to look after those who chose to stay during the summer. Every school has them. The Elves can easily take care of the rest. And there will be wards in place for their security."

"I know that you...went to Durmstrang," Dumbledore peered at him from his half-moon spectacles, letting Tom know that he knows precisely where he went, "But let me tell you, here students do not wishes to stay in school during summers. They are quite loved and welcomed among their families, and we do not wish to cut them off from their loving families." Hah! Now what, Tom? You can't even claim that you used to request again and again, even begged me to let you stay in Hogwarts!

Marvolo bit back his smirk. So this is how he wants to play? Too bad! "Headmaster, I am not saying that students would want to stay in school for their own amusements, but those who don't have a safe home life are to return to the outside of Hogwarts, and forcing them from here isn't the right thing to do. Besides, if they do not want to stay, they do not have to. I am just giving them an option to anyone who wants to can stay. No matter what the House, and no reason required."

"This is a good point," Bethesda Babbling exclaimed as Aurora Sinistra said at the same time, "We had the same in Ilvermony."

"Anyone who chooses to stay might end up cut off from their families," Minerva pointed out, frowning. Though she can remember many students coming to her asking if they can stay during the summer. She had to send them to Albus, who declined to speak the same excuse as he just gave.

"As I said, no one wants to stay in Hogwarts during Summertime for their own amusement, but a reason."

"This is not possible," Dumbledore shook his head sagely as if he is truly sorry for refusing his request, just like he used to refuse Tom during his school life. How...amusing! Some things never change!

"Are we even prepared to support students who no longer have access to their family money? Not everyone has access to a family trust." Gethsemane Prickle spoke up, many agreeing with him.

"We can always offer them some summer jobs," Marvolo offered, "Besides, I have many other plans to raise funds for Hogwarts. I will be sharing some with the Governors in the next meeting, as some of the plans are still up in the air. However, there are many students out there who do not have a home to return to, this is for them."

"Can you share at least one of your plans for raising funds today?" Sage Bragnam asked, making others nod in agreement. They needed to make sure they can afford this before taking any decision regarding it.

"Of course," Marvolo nodded, taking a sheet out while inwardly whooping in delight. He had been looking forward to this part of the meeting. He made several copies of the parchment, passing them to everyone, "This is the statement of Hogwarts funds during last five decades, 1940 January to till date to be exact." He said, smirking to see the panic rising in Dumbledore's eyes. Naughty, naughty Dumbledore, using school funds for war?

"You see, at first I only asked for last two decades statements from the Goblin, but then I was obviously alarmed by the amount spent during that period, that's why I asked for at least five decades from them," Marvolo said. The statement from Goblin will secure his place as Hogwart's owner in everyone's mind because Goblins wouldn't give those statements to anyone who asks. Marvolo then raised a challenging eyebrow at rapidly paling Dumbledore, "But the use of school funds from the 1970s to 1981 is too high to let it pass as a coincident, especially when I don't see any significant change in Hogwarts during that periods. Not a single extra class or clubs, pay raise for any stuff or even new hiring, nothing. Which brings the next question, where did those funds go, Headmaster?" Marvolo smirked viciously, enjoying every moment as dead silence greeted him for few seconds as they processed the information before Governor and Professor turned to glare at Dumbledore and immediately noted how pale he is. No one missed the timeline, and yes, they all can see the Gringotts's statement in their own eyes.

Did Dumbledore use school funds for war?

Marvolo smirked triumphantly. How many can tell they made Dumbledore lose composure in public successfully? He did today, too many times that he honestly lost count. But this time takes the whole cake.

"You're wrong! He would never do that!" Lily Potter stood, fuming like a lioness at the false accusation. It had to be false, she doesn't believe in some paper, they can be forged artificially. Dumbledore wouldn't do that, right?

"Listen here Madam Potter," Marvolo was having a hard time not to sneer at her, he should have killed her that night. Seriously, what does Severus sees in this woman? He would never understand, "This is a Gringotts' statement. They are never wrong. And it says here clearly that Dumbledore had taken out a large amount of money, repeatedly over those decades. Even after the supposed end of the war. Unlike some people here, I am not a stupid common British Wizard who is blind to his every fault." So pathetic and so far up in Dumbledore's ass and ignorant to everything around them that it makes him remind of his Knights when he was lost to his own insanity.

But at least their ignorance worked well for him. It's because they're ignorant to their own lineage about being descendants of Gryffindor, he has the ultimate claim on Hogwarts. Even he wouldn't have learned about the Potters being Gryffindor's descendant if he didn't saw the previous blood test result of Hadrianus's. Dumbledore hadn't mentioned it or contested his claim, which means neither he knows about it. And he is taking the secret to his grave, and he is immortal. So the secret is safe with him.

"Is that why you're so against any change at Hogwarts? So you can use the fund as you please?" Barty took the opportunity to put another nail on Dumbledore's coffin. He is enjoying too much how his Lord is verbally tearing Dumbledore into pieces with a few selective words, feeling giddy and trying to smother his laughter at Dumbledore's loss of holier-than-thou grandfatherly composure. So were Lucius and Severus, though the latter was much more composed than others.

Gethsemane Prickle stuttered as he stared at Dumbledore, horrified and appalled, "B-but, why would he do that? He's Dumbledore!"

"Why don't you ask him that?" Lucius's voice drawled.

"Dumbledore! How could you?" Augusta Longbottom's voice boomed, as did Omar Abasi and others, making Dumbledore winced as he tried to think of something.

"M-my boy, you have to understand that it was a dire situation - "

"Dire situation?" Marcello Russo snarled, "What kind of dire situation permitted you to put your greedy hands on Hogwart's funds? Do you not know all the hard works we had to do to raise the funds?"

"My boy, surely you remember - "

"I wonder, Headmaster," Lucius drawled, his eyes sparkling with vicious amusement, "Did you become Headmaster so you can safely steal from children's educational fund without anyone knowing? You were certainly against any kind of change, it makes us think how long you have been using the fund for your own business, probably even before the wars."

The comment was like another fuel to fire. Immediately several voices rose, many governors, professors, and Minerva and Augusta duo verbally tearing Dumbledore into pieces with the ferocity of pissed-off mother dragon as the man in question slowly sunk into his seat. There are some disgustingly loyal people like Lily Potter still denying it, even though the evidence is right before her eyes, and Gethsemane stared at the statement with horror and a thoughtful look. Marvolo watched the spectacle with well-hidden savage glee. He hadn't seen such quality entertainment in a long time.

Dumbledore fumbled for words, while inwardly boiling in hidden rage. He knew Tom had some ultimate motive behind this meeting. He was still reeling over the fact that Voldemort is back! He needs to go and arrange an Order meeting and prepare for war. Instead, here they are, wasting breath over some silly school stuff. What good it would do? Children need to be alive to receive their education! But no one seems to share the same opinion as him. Dumbledore shook his head, disappointed. People never seem to realize the Darkness lies behind the pretty and charming face of Tom. This always will be their downfall. But Dumbledore will be there when they realize they were siding with the monster. He will accept their apologies and lead the war, killing Tom again. Just like he did before, with both Tom and Gellert.

Dumbledore glowered when he realized he can't use Hogwarts' funds anymore for the war effect. The blasted wizard did bind his hands this time. Did he charm the Goblins to give him the statement too? And here he thought Goblins are impervious to charms. After all, they never were impressed with Dumbledore, and he did so many things for them!

Marvolo enjoyed the show for several minutes while he sipped the tea that appeared before him, wandlessly checking for anything harmful. You surprised me by making me raise my Wand against my son, Dumbledore. Now enjoy your surprise gifts. More are coming for years until I destroy you completely, and Lady Magic will be breath in relief and flourish again.

Marvolo's attention snapped when he felt the Wards shift, telling him that his son has woken up from a good night's sleep in the Slytherin Castle. He cast a tempus and widened his eyes. The meeting had started after lunch and it's now way past dinner as per British time.

Marvolo glanced at the scene in front of him before sighed. As much as he would love to enjoy this show the whole day, he doesn't have all day. He has to return home to his son as soon as possible. He raised his Wand to shot some loud fireworks to grab their attention and waited until they calmed down.

"While throwing accusation for being less than fair is impressive and all, it won't solve our problem." Marvolo stared at Dumbledore calmly, "I want a detailed statement of the fund during the timeline, and a refund of every single Knut that was used for something other than educational purpose, Headmaster." Dumbledore about to open his mouth to counter him, but Marvolo cut him off again saying, "Rejoice, that I didn't ask for interest and branded you as Thief. Though it would have been better to ask for it, Hogwarts needs every Knut she can have to return to her previous glory."

Dumbledore paled further if that was possible. Branded as Thief is the worst crime next to murder according to Wizarding World.

"You have time until next summer. Oh and mark my word Dumbledore," Marvolo warned, "if I find you using the funds that are to be used for children's education for some of your personal business again, I will fire you and appoint someone who will bring Hogwarts to her previous glory." He glared at him. "Understood?"

Dumbledore sighed but nodded sagely as if he is sorry for his poor choices of not letting him use the Hogwarts fund for incoming war. Dumbledore would give him credit that it was a truly brilliant and cunning strategy, to make sure his greatest opponent and object of fear have a weakness, lack of resources and funds, But he has many rich supporters who are ready to donate for his cause, the Hogwarts fund is basically nothing against the combination of Potter and Black fortune.

"So that was one of my plans, to put a stop to unnecessary wastage of money," Marvolo looked up, "I have another plan, and for it, I will need all of your help, including the Professors."

"Please tell us."

"How can we help?"

"Yes please!"

"I will help any way I can!"

Marvolo nodded, pleased with everyone's eagerness, "I was thinking something along the line of fundraising events. Some advertisements in every newspaper, posters in public places to ask people to donate money for our children's education fund. We can also do a petition to the Ministry, asking their help."

Marvolo can see the wheels turning in people's heads. Oh, he knows many of them are in contact with several charity funds, they all know how these things work. But now they're thinking about using them for Hogwarts too.

"This is actually a good idea," Sage Bragnam mused.

"Yes, it is. Lord Slytherin, I suggest that you let the public know about how bad the School is faring and the changes you're thinking about." Lucius suggested.

Marvolo frowned, "Are you sure about it?"

Lucius nodded confidently, "Trust me, Lord Slytherin, if the general public knows everything about it, they will be inclined to help us raise more funds." Besides, it will be another nail to Dumbledore's coffin, which is a bonus for them. "And people tend to ignore the advertisements, but if we make it on the articles, they will read about it.

Marvolo nodded, pleased. He knew Lucius is a brilliant politician, he knows how to play people. "Can you handle the newspapers then? I will contact the Gringotts to open a public donation vault and inform you about the vault number."

"Of course."

"We can handle the posters for public places, Lord Slytherin," Filius spoke up after a brief discussion with his colleagues, "We will make some drafts and contact you to finalize it?"

"Thank you," Marvolo inclined his head.

"Lord Slytherin, can I ask you to let us arrange some donation from Muggle World?" Quirinus gave him a wobbly smile as he approached him with Potter and Severus, having more confidence now as his previous suggestion was welcomed, "We have expertise in that area, and we will open some muggle bank account for it then transfer the money to Gringotts."

Marvolo would have danced at the brilliant idea, "That's a brilliant idea! Are you sure you can do it?"

"Yes." Quirinus nodded confidently.

"Then you must do it!" Marvolo nodded eagerly, thankful that the pureblood zealots are busy scheming to not counter this brilliant idea. "Just contact me or Lord Malfoy when you're ready to transfer the amount."

"Thank you."

 

________________________

 

Lucius cleared his throat.

Marvolo stopped on his track midway towards the Floo when he heard him. After the meeting was over, Lucius, Barty, Severus had followed him to Slytherin Manor. While Lucius and Barty had other business, Severus is here to for his weekly lessons with Hadrianus. And he was about to retrieve the child from Slytherin Castle to the Manor when Lucius stopped him.

His wand slid out to his hand and the wards went up around the manor. He cast several spells and made sure they have a privacy charm around the four conversing Wizards before Marvolo looked at Lucius.

"Lucius." He raised an eyebrow, "You have something to say?"

Lucius nodded, "Yes My Lord, it's about tomorrow's Wizengamot session."

Marvolo nodded in encouragement, "Yes, what of it? We have struggled carefully and laboriously to make sure the bill will succeed tomorrow. And I am personally about to make sure Potters and Black won't be able to vote." James Potter and Sirius Black two are the most prominent voters of light, being the ultimate supporter of Dumbledore, following his footpaths and opinions on where to vote. Many look up to them, for being the parent-figure of their precious child savior or so, that's why taking care of them before this particular session is essential. Thank Merlin the Weasleys lost their seat in the Wizengamot when they have been declared blood traitors for refusing to punish and furthermore denounce Septimus Weasley when he cheated on his wife Cedrela Black and impregnate another witch. And they're too vain to admit their liability by disowning him and recover their property and Wizengamot seat which saved him further nuisances.

The bill they are planning to sponsor at the Wizengamot session tomorrow was creature equality rights. To recognize humanoid and human-like creatures and give them the right of freedom, like the Goblins, High-Elves, Centaurs, Merpeople, Vampires, Werewolf, and many more, and give them the right to use Wand and have a steady job for whoever willing.

Among the fifty Wizengamot members, they had recognized the members who are either neutral or against the bill. Lucius, with help of others from the Dark Sect (Lucius had to go discreet to keep the news of their Lord back, but he did tell the others that their Lord is not dead, he will be back soon. So they all agreed to vote in favor to make sure their Lord is satisfied with them when he returns) had worked hard to persuade them to their side, making them see the benefits behind the bills. Though some people are not convinced and rather vocal against it, so they had to make sure they are outnumbered. Mostly by either a timed Imperius curse that will automatically be kicked in at the time of voting (one of Marvolo's inventions and modification) - they are the people who are more supportive of Dumbledore; some are strongly confounded that had them strongly believe that the meeting is on three days after tomorrow, and some others are simply blackmailed or bribed into voting in favor. Yes, Marvolo knows he's not playing fair, but unlike some people, he is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He will do anything to make sure those under his care are alright and have what they deserve.

"I know My Lord, but I have been hearing some... less than fascinating news."

"Like what?" Marvolo frowned.

"Dolores Umbridge," Lucius sneered at the mention of the despicable witch, "She has been loud against the creature rights bill we're about to offer tomorrow, I heard she is trying to influence some of the people by blackmailing them."

Marvolo frowned furiously, his Magic lashing out and on instinct, he tightened the Occlumency shield, he doesn't want to hurt his son after all. Let the child peacefully have his breakfast with his mother and the House Elves. "Who is she?"

"A half-blood witch and a British Ministry of Magic bureaucrat, Head of the Improper Use of Magic, has been responsible for many creature legislation."

"Against, I presume."

"Yes, My Lord."

Marvolo hummed, "Do we have anything on her?"

Lucius gave a particular malicious smirk before it dissolved and he replied, "Her mother is a Muggle named Ellen Cracknell. Her younger brother was a Squib, she disposed of them to make sure no one knows about them."

"I see," Marvolo gave a predatory smirk, "I can not let my work destroy because of a malevolent woman, Lucius. Several plans are in motion and they can not be delayed like this."

"Give us order My Lord," Barty bowed, "We'll dispose of her."

Marvolo thought fast, knowing every second is crucial at the moment. The Riddle Manor had finally turned into a beautiful and worthy Headquarter that is suitable for the Dark Lord, only people with Dark Mark has permission to enter, though the rest of the knights still doesn't know about it. They had been planning to take the better part of Great Hangleton and turn it into a Magical town to house Wizarding families so they do not have to stay in Muggle World, reduces the chances of exposure of Magic to Muggles. So far they had succeeded to take the whole Little Hangleton and some outer part, they're waiting for him to start planning how to build a Magical town.

"The new Dark Knight's Headquarter is ready for use, how do you think about letting a toad test its dungeons for a night?"

Lucius and Barty gave a vicious smirk each before they left, "My Lord's command is absolute."

  

  

Marvolo turned, satisfied then frowned when his eyes fell on Severus, "Severus, why didn't you take the Prince Lordship?" The more vote, the merrier.

Severus looked at his Lord, his face showing nothing of the surprise he felt, "My mother was disinherited, My Lord."

"But you were not, right?"

"My Lord?" Severus frowned, not understanding. Marvolo sighed, "After the lesson with my son, why don't you go check in the Gringotts? We could use Lord Prince's vote for tomorrow's bill as well. Besides, Dumbledore can not do any harm against a Lord."

Marvolo shrugged, before grabbing Floo powder to go to Slytherin Castle to bring his son, leaving a speechless Severus behind. He found him on his favorite bean bag, bouncing in anticipation while talking to his mum animatedly, wearing the robes he bought specifically for potion brewing, that has repelling charms, waterproofing, fireproofing, and protection against burns and smells from potions as well as protection for his eyes and hairs. Marvolo chuckled as Hadrianus immediately jumped on his feet watching him come out, reaching out for the leather sheath roll of silver knife set in good spirit.

"Someone's in good mood," Marvolo noted with a raised eyebrow, making Hadrianus beam.

"We will start practicing how to use the knife and how to cut and dice ingredients today, father."

Marvolo chuckled, "Ah, so it was today?"

"Yes," Hadrianus adjusted the robes on him, before frowning at him, "Father? You didn't sleep last night, right?"

"No, my son. I was busy."

"Then why don't you go and take a nap now? I will be fine with mum and Uncle Severus." He likes Uncle Severus, in a sense, he reminds him of his Gobfather Sharptooth. It could be his no-nonsense attitude, or the dark humor they both share.

Marvolo smiled at the concern on his son's face, "I will take a nap when you return from the lesson, now I am not finished for the day yet. I will be talking with some people while you study."

"Okay," Hadrianus easily agreed then all three of them Floo'd out to the Manor where Severus was waiting.

"Uncle Batman!" Hadrianus proclaimed him with a grin which earned a grumble from Uncle Severus and an amused smirk from his father, well it's not his fault that Uncle Severus has an Ahool creature inheritance and he honestly looks like Batman without the mask, "Good evening, I hope you're faring well? Oh and I love the gift, thank you for the subscription. Did you like mine?"

"Good evening, young Hadrianus. You're welcome. And yes, I liked both the planner and stopwatch, thank you." Severus allowed a small twitch of his lips. He'd admit that at first, he wanted to win his Lord's approval by playing nice with his spawn - he was a Slytherin, after all. But slowly the said spawn had melted a tiny part of his cold heart by his sharp intelligence, focus, smartness, wit, and humorous sass. He was exceedingly polite, but also a cheeky imp with questions that are both insightful and uncanny. He had taken himself to call Severus either 'Batman' (That was a Muggle superhero that dresses like him - Severus had checked and still wasn't sure whether to take it as compliment or insult) or even sometimes 'Snow-white' (Apparently his 'hair black as ebony, and skin white as snow' matches her description - which again left Severus in dilemma as to whether it is compliment or insult).

"You're welcome," He beamed, "Shall we?"

"Let's go."

"Severus?" The wizard in question turns to face his Lord who smirked, "I expect a memory of tomorrow breakfast."

Severus nodded a bit puzzled, Marvolo watched impassively as they left for the potion lab, Nagini glancing at Marvolo and silently following them after a nod from Marvolo.

He smirked before his Wand slid into his hand. He adjusted the Wards around the room and cast an Animagus reversal and Rennervate charm on his unconscious hostage, then sat back, asking Cece to bring him tea and something to eat.

He calmly ate his sandwich as the blonde witch opened her eyes, before slowly coming to focus, saw her surroundings and her eyes went wide.

Marvolo's smirk turned downright feral, "Good evening, Ms. Skeeter."

Chapter Text

Rita Skeeter prided on being a journalist and Biographical author and writing poison-pen articles after articles for the Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly. Of course, it doesn't matter if whatever she wrote is based on truth or false information. After all, she writes what people would always like to read, it doesn't matter what they ought to read as the truth never brings her enough publicity and money.

And people tend to get bored if they do not find some juicy articles from the Queen of the Quills herself every once in a while, so she is bound to find some new gossip for her next article. So obviously, when she learned about the new Lord Slytherin who moved from Germany after his wife's tragic accident that the public doesn't know about, she immediately leaped at the chance. It will be obviously a groundbreaking article if she can find out what exactly happened to his wife, the witches around the country will thank her for letting them know if the new strikingly gorgeous and drool-worthy wizard of the town is available and ready to take another wife. After all, he is a man and needs a lady who is competent to look after his Heir in his absence if the said 'wife' is indisposed and incapable. He should thank her for looking out for him.

But never in her dreams, she thought the cute and sultry young wizard will be paranoid enough to forge an Anti-Animagus ward around his home.

The moment she woke up in the Wizard's office room, tied up and bound in a chair, the powerful wards still enclosed around her, she realized she is outsmarted by someone for the first time in her life, and now well and truly trapped.

"Good evening, Ms. Skeeter. Mind illuminating me why you were sneaking around my property in your Animagus form?" Marvolo's face was contoured and furious, he hates it when people try to intrude on what's his, however designed it to be.

"L-lord Slytherin!" She stammered, "I can explain!" whimpering when she felt the binds around her tighten.

"By all means, please do." The wizard added a dangerous purr in his voice, which sent a shiver down Rita's spine. Damn it, the man is too good-looking, and his voice...oh my god his voice...

"I - " Rita gulped, should she let him know the truth?

"How eloquent." Marvolo noted, his uniquely dark maroon eyes gleaming with amusement, "And here I assumed you were, what they call you, 'Queen of the Quills'?" Marvolo raised his eyebrow, unimpressed. "Though I wasn't sure of what to expect from a water beetle."

Rita took a deep breath, collecting herself and her wits. She would need it to deal with a Slytherin.  The  Slytherin, as it seems. She can already tell the man is cunning and smart, given the way he has tricked her. Outwitted Rita Skeeter!

"I only wanted to learn about the new Lord of ancient and noble House of Slytherin," She batted her eyelashes coyly, "I am sure my lovely readers will want to read about the new Lord as well, what to expect," she winked, making him raise his eyebrow even though his face stayed blank, looks like she finally found a challenge, Oh! this should be interesting! "And whether he is  available  in the market... after what happened to your  former  wife." She trailed off with a sultry grin, which didn't fade even after Lord Slytherin gave her an unimpressed look.

"That's it? You only want to know if I am 'available in the market' for those witless, mindless, imprudent witches?" Marvolo was rather vexed at the unexpected turn of events. Yeah, he forgot the cons of having his old look back. He had no time to think what the foolish witches are imagining or dreaming, too busy saving their arses. "How...disappointing." He drawled.

"Well, you  need  a woman to take care of your Heir." Rita countered, "A child needs a mother for their healthy upbringing. Also, someone who will give you a spare."

"I have no use of a spare," He retorted coldly, " My  child already  has  a mother who takes  excellent  care of him. He doesn't need another," Thank Merlin Nagini is currently down in the Potion lab with Hadrianus, the mother hen would have struck the woman and eat her  alive  in sheer jealousy. But it showed him the fault in his planning, apparently, people are now assuming Nagini's 'accident' made her incompetent to raise his son. "Especially not through some unregistered animagus," Marvolo uttered, his eyes gleaming with the promise of retribution which sent another shiver down Rita's spine. This time, shiver of fear.

"However, I would like to propose a business... arrangement. One you might find to your advantage and not as disappointing as your...dreams."

Rita widened her eyes, a gleam entered her eyes. A business proposal from Lord Slytherin? That was unexpected. She thought Lord Slytherin will hold on to the information of her being an unregistered animagus as some blackmail material to not bother his family further. Not this. She wouldn't have denied it even without the blackmail, anything that will help her with publicity and promotion. "I'm listening."

"If you find yourself with a deal where you will get some exclusive clues and tips on some private lives of Dumbledore and the Potters, in exchange for money and immunity from their retaliation, what would you think? Quite a fantastic deal, do you not agree, Miss Skeeter?"

Rita's eyes shone with predatory gleam and she straightened up, the pain of the bind seemingly non-existent at the prospect of such a big story. She didn't expect this. Tons of golds that she will obviously get for those articles, besides the money and immunity from their retaliation in exchange for making their lives hell? This is too good to be true. "What's the catch?"

"Oh, nothing much." Marvolo shrugged as he casually said, "Simply either Lord or Lady Malfoy or any other associate of mine will edit your writings before you send them to your editor. And to make sure you do not publish what you were not permitted, you will consent for an oath or," Marvolo waved his hand carelessly, "maybe an exclusive contract, whatever I deem good enough."

Rita thought about it quickly. Obviously, it has too many pros that outweigh the cons. Besides, she is a master of finding loopholes in any contract, and she can always keep in mind whatever they do not wish her to publish and publish once the exclusive contract is over.

"Do you consent?"

"I do." Rita nodded firmly. What can Lord Slytherin do? If she didn't like it, she will declare it void and work her way.

"Perfect. Now give me your left hand for the oath."

Rita frowned at that. "I demand a contract."

Marvolo rolled his eyes, "In case you haven't notice, I didn't prepare a contract, I wasn't foreseeing you to bug me today," Marvolo's lips twitched at the unintentional pun, Hadrianus would have fallen from his bean bag rolling on the floor laughing so hard if he heard it. "And I wish it to be done with as early as convenient, as I will require an article to be published for tomorrow's forenoon Prophet. So oath it is."

Rita widened her eyes, she had resigned herself from having an article anytime soon. Well, what harm an oath can do, right? So she presented her left hand. "Well, hurry up then, I will need time to learn everything I can, and write it then send it to Prophet before the deadline of the day."

Marvolo gave her a sardonic smirk and within a second, he pulled his notorious Yew wand and pressed it on her forearm, hissing out, ": Morsmordre :."

Rita had cried out when she saw the legendary devil's wand, and before she can even breathe, the Dark Mark marred her pale and bare forearm making her cry out in pain.

Marvolo didn't stop hissing as he added some Parsel-glamour on the Mark to hide it from an undesired eye. After all, he can't have a journalist carrying the Dark Mark openly. Though Rita didn't need to know that.

Rita sobbed as she stared at her Mark horrified then looked at Marvolo with an accusation glare. "I didn't consent to this! And I thought it was something only You-Know-Who can do? Who are you?"

He smirked, then the beautiful and young aristocratic face of Mavolo Slytherin melted to reveal what's hidden underneath, the infamous Voldemort look, "'My Lord' or 'Master' will be sufficient."

If Rita wasn't bound in the Wards, she would have fallen from her chair. What? You-Know-Who is still alive? But how? Did Jim Potter not kill Him that night? Did they fake the whole thing? Rita stared at Him with wide eyes.

Oh dear Merlin, did she broke into You-Know-Who's home in the hope of setting Him up with some unsuspecting Witch and then flirted with Him? Oh God, even she is not that daft or disturbed!

Hold on, You-Know-Who is already married and has a son? Did He fall in love and had a son with whoever it was, is that why He retire from the war? Is You-Know-Who even capable of feeling? That is...surprisingly civilized and article-worthy - hold on! Is she really thinking about running an article about You-Know-Who having a wife and son while tied and in the mercy of You-Know-Who? Talk about priorities...she thought hysterically.

Dear Lord, help me!

Lord Voldemort's lipless mouth curved into a feral smirk, His vibrant red eyes gleaming in amusement, reading every thought on the reporter's mind. It's always amusing to hear His victim's thoughts when He confronts them.

"I - You... Dear Merlin... No.." Rita continued to stammer and ramble staring unblinkingly, not knowing what she's saying or what to say next.

Marvolo considered it as another impossible thing done. He has reduced Rita Skeeter into stunned speechless babbling fool.

"Did you truly believe I will grant you some 'loophole' in the oath?" He mocked with a cynical laugh and He bent over her chair to rub her already sore forearm, making sure she can't reveal anything to anyone in any form, ever.

Rita fainted, overwhelmed, and pained.

Rolling His eyes, He cast  Rennervate  on her. Despite how amusing it had been to see people so afraid of Him, still gets irritating when He has other commitments. While He admits she just had the shock of the year, can she get over with the shock already? They are on the clock here.

"H-how?" Rita choked, not believing her eyes. She can't believe You-Know-Who is still walking among them wearing a pretty face, "I thought... Jim Potter didn't defeat you?"

"Jim Potter?" Lord Voldemort sneered, brutal and cruel. "That deceitful trickery of the old goat can claim whatever he desires. That's not what transpired that night, a common babe can not 'defeat' Lord Voldemort." And  His son  is anything but 'common'.

"Then what happened?"

"Now that is an intriguing mystery, which you don't have to trouble your pretty little head about, Miss Skeeter. Learn this, from today onward, you're among one of the...what they name it?" Lord Voldemort looked mockingly thoughtful for a second, before smirking, "Ah, Death Eater." He sneered at the distasteful moniker. As if He would name His disciples as such degrading name. "My servant, united to me for eternity and beyond. So you can not claim it 'void' and move on."

Rita looked down at her Dark Mark, understanding the gravity of the situation she had walked in on. Her own curiosity and desire for a good story had made her stumble into such circumstances. So now she has to do whatever He ordered to survive. Little did she know her curiosity and 'urge' to follow Lord Slytherin to His home from the Board meeting had been precisely engineered.

Is she going to let Wizarding World crawl at the feet of madmen to make sure her survival?

Ah yes, she will. Besides, it's not like she ever cared about anyone before, right?

"The offer...still stands? M-my Lord?" She added hurriedly, making Lord Voldemort smirk, she is learning her place rather fast.

"Indeed. However," He took a few steps towards Rita and looked down at her as He said in a hollow mask of dulcet tone as He removed her binds, "I simply cannot, in my honest conscience, let you vilify my House or mine when I am just a few steps away to usurp Dumbledore and finally take control of Magical Britain from right under his nose. Do you understand, Miss Skeeter?"

"O-of course, My Lord." Rita nodded enthusiastically, she has already sold her soul to the Devil so what worse can happen? "I will never let you down, My Lord. You want me to publish everything I can find on Dumbledore- "

"Enough, Miss Skeeter." Lord Voldemort ordered in a bored drawl before narrowing His eyes as He hissed, "Do understand that you are easily replaceable."

"Yes! I understand, My Lord!" Rita gulped dryly, bowing so lowly her forehead was touching the carpeted floor, knowing exactly how she will be replaced and no one will find any trace of her remains.

"Good. Now I require you to write this article - if I am satisfied, I might see for your promotion. Think of it as the assignment of your life. Good luck Rita, I expect you give your best."

Rita's lips curved into a wobbly smile as she nodded and sat up straight, patiently waiting.

Marvolo looked at her with distrust but did not say anything to her. Instead, He turned His head to nod at a particular corner of his Office before saying, "She's all yours, Narcissa." He has, after all, promised her retribution.

Narcissa dropped her invisibility charm, smirking like a predator who just got a canary, and bowed as she replied, "As My Lord commands."

  

   

_____________________

 

  

Marvolo stood in front of the portrait that he ordered Davy to fetch from the Portrait room and called out, "Salazar Slytherin."

After few minutes, the eyes of the old bald wizard moved on the portrait, informing the occupants of the room of his arrival. Salazar glanced at the current Lord Slytherin before looking around to find himself in Slytherin Castle when his eyes fall on the youngest one sitting on a fluffy seat staring at him with wide bright green eyes.

His eyes widened, and before he could stop, he blurted out, "Hadrianus? Is that you?"

Hadrianus blinked owlishly, "You know me?"

Salazar blinked, before his bewilderment dissolved to form a smirk, "My...apologies, Heir Slytherin. You look like someone I met a few decades before. Good to see you too, Tom."

Marvolo smirked back, already knowing what is going on in his ancestor's mind, "Salazar, it has been long. How did you realize it's me?"

Salazar gave him a dry look, "Well, obviously he is your child. I may have forgotten your face but I haven't certainly forgotten his."

Marvolo chuckled and his Wand slid into his hand as he cast several charms that ironically Hadrianus has taught him - the charms that will make sure there are no other portraits peeking around them to learn secrets.

"You can tell him now, my son." Marvolo put his Wand away as Hadrianus dutifully involved him in the secret. Salazar nodded, he had already suspected something like this.

"So, What happened to Lord Voldemort?"

Marvolo rolled his eyes,  here we go again , "I have changed my plans."

Salazar scoffed before asking in a slightly condescending tone, "Why? Did everything not go as plan, Tom?"

Marvolo glared at him, his nostrils flaring as he hissed, "No, it did not, but that does not mean I was wrong in my approach."

"Of course not." Salazar snorted, his lips curved into a smirk such a way that reminded Hadrianus of his father, "You're never wrong, are you, Tom? No matter how foolish or unnecessary your actions may be, you will never be wrong. You're incapable of being wrong."

At the tone, Hadrianus's eyebrows flew past his skull. He never, ever heard anyone addressing his father that way. That mocking, teasing, and reprimanding tone that he heard from his father when he did something foolish like when he jumped in the puddle of mud and then slipped, bruising his ankle. Which only means...

"Are you my grandpa?"

The bickering between Salazar Slytherin and his father was arrested as they both stared at him, both wondering at how the child's mind works.

"What?" Marvolo somehow managed to not choke successfully while Salazar covered his mouth, his shoulders trembling as he tried to control his laughter. It didn't work and, before father and son could react, Salazar began to laugh loudly. He laughed for what could have been a minute or two, only managing to turn his loud laughter into a gasping chuckle after a few more seconds.

Marvolo sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Hadrianus, he is not - "

"Denial." Salazar cut his descendant off, making the Dark Lord turned to glare at him. Salazar condescendingly admitted, "Unlike your father here, I have no problems admitting that I consider him as a son, rather than a descendant." Salazar scoffed before adding, "He would have made a better heir to both me and Delphi instead of our real son."

"Delphi?" Hadrianus tilted his head like a curious puppy.

"Delphinus Slytherin née Peverell, my husband."

"Ah, is he here as well?" Hadrianus was now definitely curious. Does that mean they're descendants from both Slytherin and Peverell through this couple?

"Of course, he is in the Portrait room."

Hadrianus nodded thoughtfully, ignoring his father who was still staring at him, astonished.

"Pray tell, how exactly did you come to this decision, child?"

"Well, he was scolding you like you do when I do something stupid then get caught."

Marvolo blinked, his mind whirling at his words. Even if he did ignore that Hadrianus noticed Salazar 'scolding' the Dark Lord and honestly say what he thinks in front of him without any fear, but the point where he mentioned 'doing something stupid and  get caught ' had blown his mind. Where did his child learn the phrase 'Do not get caught'? Did Barty teach him? Or Severus? He rather put his money on Barty. Marvolo pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. As if he was already not stressed enough!

Salazar took their attention again, "Now that you have taken the Slytherin name  officially , the wards of Hogwarts cannot deny you, no matter how much that senseless lion child tries. There are things we must discuss concerning your responsibility as my successor as both Lord Slytherin and Lord Hogwarts."

"Ah, so you will finally tell me without any surprised test or nonsensical puzzlements this time?" Marvolo raised his eyebrow challengingly.

"Your lack of trust in your ancestor's words is astonishing, Tom." Salazar drawled, which sounded so similar to his father that Hadrianus couldn't help but smile as he listened to them engaging in playful bantering again.

    

   

____________________

   

    

 

Severus had been tempted to eat breakfast at his private quarters. But alas, there is an unspoken Slytherin Rule to attend every meal, at least the breakfast together at the Great Hall. And as the Head of Slytherins, he must attend it as well, no matter how exhausted he is after the late-night Order meeting. Besides, The Dark Lord has asked him to supply the memory of breakfast, which means something interesting was bound to happen. Maybe something that will disrupt the Potters and Black from attending the Wizengamot session today? His Lord definitely indicated something like that, so Severus is not missing it.

Speaking of which...

Severus cut a bite-size of his omelet and ate it, subtly feeling the Prince Lordship ring in his right index finger. He still can't believe he actually inherited the Prince Lordship! As his Lord suggested, he went to Gringotts after the study session with Hadrianus and tested, surprised to find his Lord was right. His mother was disowned, not him. His grandfather had named him as his Heir before his death. This means, he too now has a seat in Wizegamot. And he will swear in with his Lord today. And if he forgot to inform Dumbledore about this, well, it was his fault that he kept him up so late with the Order meeting last night!

 

FLASHBACK

 

"What is the meaning of this, Albus? You called for an emergency Order meeting?" Moody grunted as he limped inside the Headmaster's office through the Floo, closely followed by other Order Members which are not much - only Potters, Black, Lupin, Tonks, Diggle, Doge, and Minerva. Severus was intrigued as well, he had been in the Gringotts discussing his Prince Estate with the Goblin Accountant when the familiar phoenix came to him.

Dumbledore shook his head shrewdly, "Ah yes, lemon drops?" When everyone rejected the offer, he sighed and popped one in his mouth, "I am disheartened to inform you that Voldemort is back."

The dramatic declaration earned too many dramatic reactions that Severus had to refrain himself from rolling his eyes, even though he was intrigued himself as to how Dumbledore came to this deduction. His Lord had already known that this will happen, which is why He took all the necessary precautions. So he wasn't worried.

"How? And why do you think so?" Moody asked, finally calm enough to sit down.

"Marvolo Slytherin is Voldemort, I am afraid."

"Oh for Merlin's sake, Albus," It was Minerva who snapped, eventually lost all the patience with him, "Give the young chap some break! Just because he caught you stealing from the children doesn't mean he is You-Know-Who."

A stunned silence rang around the room, before Moody's voice roared, "What do you mean, stealing from the children?"

Severus winced, remembering he is an ex-Auror. Stealing is considered the worst crime next to murder and line theft.

"I will tell you," Minerva growled, obviously done with Albus, and ordered a House Elf to bring the parchment, ignoring his heavy protest and thrust it on Alastor's hand, "See for yourself. It was Gringotts's statement which Lord Slytherin copied to give us."

Moody took the copy to look through it while Doge and Diggle both protested vehemently, refusing to see it and declaring them to be false, Dumbledore wouldn't do that' while the self-proclaimed Marauders all looked stunned and subdued, along with Lily.

"So...that aside," Lily grimaced, already knowing what it was "What makes you think that Lord Slytherin is You-Know-Who? Because he was absolutely nowhere near the Madman we all know, neither in look nor in anything, he in fact offered several ideas that are actually good for Hogwarts, especially those classes for Muggleborns and muggles studies for Pureblood! You think You-Know-Who would want anything related to Muggles?" Even Lily had to admit that. 

"Wait, really?" James and Sirius blinked at Lily surprised who nodded and explained about it. That Lord Slytherin offered the penmanship, courses on wizarding laws and etiquette for muggle-borns and muggle raised, and Muggle science for the Pureblood so they can learn better.

Everyone looked at Dumbledore, wishing to learn what he has to say as well.

Dumbledore twinkled at her, knowing he can't exactly explain and tell them Tom's  true  intention and goals. He can't have the monster earning sympathy now, can he? "I recognized the darkness lurking behind all his seemingly good intention."

"What are they? Is he planning to lure all the children into destruction and war by signing them up with cooking, dance, and yoga classes? Do you expect the children to attack muggles with spatula and breathing exercises now?" Minerva breathed heavily, her tone heavily condescending and sarcastic which made Albus's twinkle cease.

"Minerva, don't you trust me?" He raised his hand to stop Doge who started to protest loudly at Minerva's treatment of him. Only if Minerva trusted him like Doge as well.

"To be honest, not anymore," She stated flatly, "And whoever trusts you is honestly welcome to waste their breath over it, because I think you're eventually getting senile, seeing darkness and war everywhere. You're so desperate for a war that you ignored the children, going as far as  stealing  from them." With that, Minerva turned dramatically and stormed off from the office. Severus now wished he can do it as well.

"Albus wouldn't do that - "

"He did, boy," Moody cut Doge off, keeping the copy on the table, his real and magical eyes trained on Dumbledore radiating anger and betrayal to his old friend, "It was a copy of a genuine statement from Gringotts. They can not be forged artificially."

Now even the Marauders are looking at him, half disbelieving half horrified. "You...t-truly stole from  children's  fund for war?" Lupin stammered, unbelieving. Severus rolled his eyes at the werewolf.

Moody continued, "However, it doesn't give us proof that the bloke is You-Know-Who. I met the bloke myself from distance, and he was wearing no glamour, nothing. And his background in Germany is solid. All records say he had been studying in Durmstrang during the war, and then started a family business and settled in Germany, got married, and had a child. He moved in here because of an accident with his wife and mother which killed the mother though consequences on the wife are unknown, popular believe being it made the wife paralyzed or something. Not a single sighting or connection with any of the known Death Eaters other than Malfoy who has contacted him  after  he moved in, but that's just Slytherins being Slytherin and salivating to be allied with anyone important and from the Sacred List." He waved it off, "Nothing of significance."

Learning Marvolo Slytherin is not a threat from someone overly paranoid as Alastor Moody erased the unease from the room and everyone relaxed.

"Alastor," Dumbledore sighed, popping another lemon drop in his mouth feeling the calming effect, he needed it after Minerva accused him so wrongly and then stormed off, "You know very well that everything can be forged."

"Maybe, but documents from Gringotts can't. And you're damn lucky he didn't band you as Thief. I would have." Alastor growled, standing up, "now my mood and time have been successfully wasted, I am going home."

"Alastor, what about You-Know-Who?"

"If there is a single raid, attack, or missing person or any whispers or rumors that screams You-Know-Who, you'll find me at your corner first thing. Can't do anything against a bloke who is clearly trying to look out for the children." Moody waved him off before going to the Floo connection.

One by one, they all left, murmuring good night. Dumbledore stopped Potter and Black to remind them of the Wizengamot session the next day before they left. As Severus was about to leave, Albus spoke up, "Did he summon you, Severus?"

Severus gave a long-suffering sigh, then pulled his sleeve showing his almost faded Dark Mark to Dumbledore, "I think he hardly can."

      

     

  FLASHBACK ENDS  

  

 

Severus sighed once again, glancing at Potter and Black being their imbecilic self and making fool out of themselves at the head table during breakfast. They're here to leave the overweight Potter spawn at Lily's while they attend the Wizengamot meeting. The mannerless halfwit boy is currently stuffing his face with eggs while trying to talk with his equally mannerless dimwit mutt-father, which is apparently 'adorable' sight for Potter Lord who is laughing at them and Lily trying to reprimand them.

Severus sighed.

He was doing his best to ignore them and focus on his own breakfast when the mail came. The Prophets were dropped unceremoniously on the table, charmed with a liquid, fire, and other common paper damaging material repellent charms. Severus managed to catch the paper on time, saving his tea and decided it was the end of his breakfast as he opened the paper.

As soon as his eyes fall on the headline, he widened his eyes and focused on not choking.

  

  

The Boy-Who-Died?

Disowned twin brother of Boy-Who-Lived killed  

Rita Skeeter  

Yes, dear readers, you've heard it right. Your favorite journalist has come across this grave news. Our dear child savior (See page 3) had a twin brother who was killed by Muggles a few weeks ago.

When I heard the news, like all of my lovely readers, I too was shocked. Boy-Who-Lived had a twin? Why we didn't know that? And why he was not with his family and his twin brother? Who is the criminal who was responsible for breaking the sacred Twin bond (See page 5) between them and send him to live with Muggles? And why would they do that?

The answer is even more shocking because the parents of the Boy-Who-Lived, Lord and Lady Potter thought him to be a squib. (See page 5)

That brings to the other important question: Was he truly a squib? And why he was killed then? And what happened to the murderer?

To investigate the answer, your favorite journalist went to the Muggle World, where the police (Muggle Aurors) had imprisoned the Dursleys (See page 7). What I heard from their mouth was truly repulsive and shocking.

Mr. Harry ex-Potter had been living with them since he was a toddler. They not only starved the poor child and kept him locked in a cupboard, but also abused him whenever he displayed accidental magic. Yes, my readers, the ex-twin brother of our child savior was not a squib. "He was a freak, an abnormal, just like the rest of you, like that 'sister' of mine. We never wanted him in our perfectly normal happy little family. We tried to beat that freakishness out of him, but it was never enough. It wouldn't go away no matter how hard we beat him!" Said Petunia Dursley nee Evans, muggle sister of Lily Potter nee Evans.

Then why they didn't contact Lily Potter to take the boy away, if he was unwanted?

"Because they didn't want him either," Vernon Dursley's (Muggle husband of Petunia Dursley nee Evans) reply was unsympathetic and brutally honest, "If they wanted him, then why would they infect our perfectly normal family with that freak? So we had to do the needed to save our son from his freakishness."

What kind of 'freakishness' did he use? That answer brought an even more repulsive answer. So I am not telling you the real reply they said, just let me tell you that all of his accidental magic was defensive, including apparition out of harm's way, stopping his uncle from hitting him and some others.

I think we can all agree that we must all find out the truth of what has happened to the late Harry ex-Potter. It is our duty as responsible wizards and witches.

  

  

Severus skipped few paragraphs to where Rita has posted the punishment and how the Muggle Aurors had arrested them after finding the battered body of the child and sent their son to a Home after he had been obliviated of Magic's existence along with the Muggle Aurors and judges.

They also posted a photo of the Dursley family and the whale of the cousin along with a battered body of a very small and very skinny child nursing his clearly broken limb and cradling it to his chest defensively - if the reporter didn't say the boy was a twin of Jim Potter they would have thought him a toddler.

Severus stared at the photo, there is something that pulled him to the photo. Those eyes, the fire of anger, determination, and hatred flashing in those bright green eyes, eerily similar to someone he knows very well. When he 'accidentally' mentioned the Muggles in front of him during the lesson. Severus's breath hitched when he remembered Barty's words, about how he was left with the muggles where they abused him and beat him to death...is it a coincidence?

Then his master's words came to him: Asking him the memory of this morning. His Lord  knew  or maybe organized this article to come out this morning. But how did He knew, unless....unless Hadrianus  is  Harry Potter.

The thought made his heart almost stopped as all the pieces finally snapped together. About where his Lord had been before and how He came back. And even without the obvious Potter hair, the horrendous glasses, and gaunt body, how similar Harry looked with Hadrianus. But Hadrianus is 7 months older than Harry...then how...ah! The aging potion that he brewed!

Besides, he is the one who brewed the Opticure potion for him as well.

No one would have picked up the clues unless they know the boy intimately and spent time with him regularly. But if Severus ignored the obvious similarities of features with his Lord, Hadrianus looked exactly like Harry. The changes must have bought by the blood adoption.

But why would his Lord go such length to get him under his wings and take care of the boy? Unless....he was the real 'vanquisher'.

It all made more sense, as to why his Lord would want to keep the real Prophecy boy for himself, raise him to support his cause, and not go against Him. After all, He would know the best as He was the one who actually witnessed what happened that night, other than the toddlers. Dear Merlin! And all these falls under the Unbreakable Vow he swore that day! Which means he will be taking this secret to the grave, which he has no problem with.

All his musing came to a halt when Lily beside him asked why the students are behaving like this.

Severus looked up from the paper and observed the students' reactions. Everyone is either loudly whispering among themselves, gossiping openly, or glaring at the Head table, some giving them stink eyes. Severus glanced at Albus who looked deadly pale, staring at the photo.

Severus snorted, "Why don't you read the papers, Lily?"

"What is it?" Lily snorts, "Another article on Jim shopping?"

Sirius snorted loudly, "Our prongslet on Prophet again? Let me see!" He snatched the paper from Severus who let him have it with a roll of his eyes, and the mutt picked up his coffee and read the first page. And Severus had the privilege to see the revered Auror and self-proclaimed Marauder dump the entire cup of coffee down the front of his expensive jacket, looking he had the sudden case of verbal diarrhea. Potter yelped and leaped out of the way and the mannerless Potter spawn burst out laughing seeing his Godfather.

"Bloody hell, pads!"

"James!" The said Potter ignored his wife's chastise for language and picked up the Prophet, wondering himself what had his best friend stunned, and Severus watched with sadistic glee at how he paled so quickly, if not for the shaking hands, he would have thought him dead.

"What the fuck!" James's shocked voice boomed around the silent Great Hall as they all turned to see their reaction.

"James Potter!" Minerva snapped for his language, still pale from the article herself.

Their Deputy Headmistress's voice broke the spell as some students jumped on their feet and asked loudly, "Is it true? Jim Potter had a twin?"

Severus watched the exact moment the question caught the attention of Lily who was cleaning the robes of still stunned Black Lord, who whipped her neck so fast Severus was sure she had whiplash.

"What?" Jim Potter leaped on his feet as well, "I have a what? What the hell are you talking about?"

Everyone around them was still so stunned that no one except Severus noticed the eight years old's language. In the meantime, Lily had snatched the paper from his husband and read the paper herself, before falling on the chair behind her heavily. "Harry..." He heard her whisper. But surprisingly, he felt nothing, no sympathy, no pity that would have urged him to tell her that her son is not only alive, thriving at the moment. She lost the right when she disowned him for being a supposed squib.

"What is it, mom, dad? Why are they saying I have a twin?" Potter spawn nagged at his parents which snapped the attention of his parents.

"Lily, James, Sirius, Severus," Albus called them out, before standing and going to his office. Severus sighed, before standing gracefully and following them in, ignoring the fat whale that almost looked like the cousin 'Dudley' who whined loudly for an answer.

Once inside the office when everyone settled, Black whirled on him, sneering "What is Snivellius doing here? It's a family matter!"

"Sirius," Albus peered at him disappointed, "His help will be appreciated." 

The mutt backed down, but not before giving last scathing glare.

Severus noticed as Lily still staring horrified at little Harry's battered figure. Everyone with two eyes can see Harry is truly the twin brother of Jim, yet they look so different. Jim is overweight, chubby, and much bigger and wearing expensive clothes where Harry looked so small, clearly starved, beaten down, and covered with bruises and in oversized rugs. Where did his Lord found this photo of Hadrianus? Did he take it from the memory of the Muggles?

"I have a brother? How come none of you ever told me that?"

"Correction: you had. Your parents killed him for you," Severus couldn't help but sneer at the imprudent child. This is the twin brother of Hadrianus? Their Dark Prince? They are both different as day and night.

"Severus!"/"Snivellius!" Multiple voices rose, glaring at him, Severus glared back challengingly, "Am I wrong?"

"How I would know Petunia will kill him?" Lily snapped. "Albus said he was a squib, I can't keep a squib child in a magical family! What if he hated Jim for it?"

"So you never bothered to check once?"

"We told them to contact me if they saw any sign of magic!"

"And you trusted Petunia just like that? Have you forgot how she was as a child?" Severus asked, sounding tired.

Lily mumbled something akin to she never expected Petunia might kill her son and James, finally over with the shock, higher his wife and glared at Severus, "Hey Lily bear, we are not sure if your sister truly killed Harry. It was, after all, written by Rita Skeeter, you know the filthy woman always spouting lies. Why don't we go check ourselves now?"

"Now?" Albus protested, "We have a very important meeting in an hour, how can't possibly - "

"Screw your meeting, Albus!" Black suddenly leaped on his feet, "James's son might be in danger because  you  said he was a squib. You can not think about stopping us now!"

Severus realized this is the Dark Lord's way to stop Potters and Black from showing up in Wizengamot.

"Now now, my boy, why don't you sit and think it through? It says the muggle Aurors are already investigating the case."

"It's a case for magical Aurors!" Lily snapped. "My baby boy died! I want them in Azkaban!"

"There is an easier way to learn the truth without having to waste time in finding the truth." Albus twinkled at them, before glancing at Jim Potter, "Tell me, my boy, have you felt something weird recently?"

Jim blinked, "Um, no?"

"Are you certain? No sensation like sudden emptiness or feeling of impending doom or something like that?"

"Emptiness?" Jim asked as he looked thoughtful which made everyone look at him with wide eyes. "Er, mom? Remember when I collapsed that day during dinner?"

"Yes." Lily nodded, feeling of dread crawling inside her guts. "You keep saying you feel very weak since that day in November, I even took you to Healers who said nothing was amiss."

"I have been feeling something weird too, I thought they were weird and go away."

"Like what, pronglet?" Sirius whispered, "Why you never told us that?"

"Feeling like I have lost half of my body...which is weird since my body parts are fine." Jim frowned at his godfather, "I thought you'd laugh at me."

Severus rolled his eyes inwardly, this is what happens when the adult figures of a child are clowns.

"They're signs of a broken bond." Sirius collapsed on the chair, "It also means the other prongslet was truly magical. Jim wouldn't have felt the full backlash of the broken twin bond if Harry was a squib. You wouldn't know that, Lily, not your fault. But at least you would have told us."

Jim frowned at his godfather, "Siri, am your prongslet. Not anyone else." He glared, starting to turn red in jealousy. Sirius gave him a weak smile but didn't reply.

But Severus reflects whatever he learned rapidly. The twin bond was broken in November - as per Lily, that is the time when he brewed the Aging and Opticure potion. This means his Lord had given him the aging potion, which not only changed his birthday but also broke the twin bond between them. A cunning move, which not only made Hadrianus have a different birthday but also made sure he had a minimal magical backlash.

But must have at least some backlash...Unless...unless he blood adopted Hadrianus right after breaking the twin bond, before it settled permanently. So Magic will accept him as not only his son, but also as a whole being, not a rejected twin. While the Potter brat suffered the whole backlash from the broken bond as well as the ricocheted backlash from Hadrianus's rejection. No wonder the brat is still suffering from the broken bond. And Lily or the brat never told anyone who would have realise what is happening and take some measures, but now its too late, it has settled in his magic.

"This is why a proper History teacher is necessary," Severus piped in, "If Lily knew what's happening, the situation could have handled properly." Smirking when Albus shot him a disapproval glance. Lily's broken eyes glanced at him.

"So, are you telling me that..."

No one replied, not even Albus who was staring at the ceiling, twinking absent from his eyes. Severus sighed and decided to rip off the bandage at one.

"Your disowned son pass away that night, yes." Severus nodded. Three pairs of vulnerable broken eyes looked up at him, this time without any mocking or sneering. Yes, it was blunt and cruel. But it was nothing they don't deserve. Severus has been long questioning the morality of the woman he fall in love with, mourning for his sweet childhood best friend Lily. But this Lily? She is not his childhood best friend anymore. The fame, light propaganda and hypocrisy is now written to her cores. This Lily doesn't deserve his love; friendship, may be. But not love. 

"I - I need to go and check that myself. If he's...he is...I will KILL that bitch myself!" Lily snapped, looking like a prowling lioness, "HOW DARE THAT BITCH PUT HER HAND ON MY SON!" Lily rambled, not noticing her other son's increasingly sour mood, "JAMES!"

The said menace jumped, "Yes Lilyflower, you're right. Coming Siri?"

"What about me?" 

The adults paused to look at Jim, wincing, "I think you should stay with Minnie until we return. Sev, can you take him?" Lily asked. Severus nodded.

"I was thinking, I should also go check on some others, see if anyone has to say anything," Severus looked at Albus pointedly, to which his twinkle return, however forced, "Ah yes yes, that would be appreciated."

Severus nodded curtly, before glancing at the Potter brat, "Come, Mr. Potter," he whirled on his feet and went towards the door when he realized Potter is not following him. He glanced back to find him looking at his parents betrayed and kicked puppy but no one is noticing him.

Albus was saying, "My boy, why don't you reconsider. If Harry is already dead, however misfortunate, don't you think that after the Wizengamot session - "

"Albus," James snapped, "I know you have no family, so you don't know how it feels to be blamed for someone's death who is under your care. Especially if they were your family." Severus noted how Albus paled at the implication and fall silent. That's...interesting. He knows his Lord will find this intriguing as well. But James didn't notice him as he continued, "We have disowned him, yes, but Harry is still our firstborn. How do you think we can show up at the meeting without not knowing what actually happened? Without knowing how to counter the accusations coming our way? It is on Daily Prophet."

Severus smirked, before glancing at the brat, "Come, Mr Potter, I don't have all day," he insisted the child, before opening the door of the office and stepped outside, this time Potter brat following him. Unlike certain people here, he has a Wizengamot meeting to attend and vote, after all.

Chapter Text

Lord Voldemort trod down the last step of the dungeons of His Dark Headquarters and made His way inside with a slide of His foot.

On His way to a cell further down the lower dungeons, His gaze fell on a particular family of two overweight male whales, a female whale, and one horse face hostage all clustered together to share some warmth and sleeping, the scene made His lipless mouth curl. If He had a nose, He would have flared it at their sheer audacity of still existing and Heaven forbid breathing. Yes, He is aware that in Skeeter's article, it was mentioned the Dursley family is being imprisoned in a Muggle cell. It had been nothing but just added as a carefully constructed lie and diversion created by none other than Narcissa Malfoy, to buy them more time for the meeting to keep the Potters and Black distracted and keep stumbling around like a fool to find which prison they're in and then finally learn that they broke the cell and escaped just last night.

After all, he can't have Amelia Bones taking the case from the Muggle World and investigate it. If they somehow learn the Obliviation charm working on them and order the Unspreakbles to find a way to remove it, they will learn immediately that Harry is not dead, rather experienced a Creature Inheritance and so the Goblins had rescued him and obliviated them all.

This will plant a Kill On Sight on His son automatically, as Naga is a class 2 Dark Creature in Magical Britain and has a Kill On Sight order, including every Wizard with Creature Inheritance, declaring them as 'abomination', thanks to Dumbledore. No, He can't have that. He would rather let them believe Harry is dead and Dursleys has escaped imprisonment, kidnapped their son from 'Home' and now they're on run along with Vernon Dursley's sister Marge.

Not that they will find the 'body', as the police will notify them that Dursleys informed them the child's parents died in a drunken car crash so no one to claim the body, that's why they have already cremated it and the ashes have been scattered on the sea. He knows that Rita has several follow up articles that are yet to come, she is now planning to publish the news on how 'Harry' died believing he was an orphan whose parents died in a car crash, courtesy to the Dursleys and Potters, and how his body had been cremated and everything, executing to paint bad air towards the Potters, Blacks, and Dumbledore and why they disowned this innocent child without any confirmation and if they should be trusted with raising 'our dear savior' properly and not killing him on some trivial inconvenience as well as they did with his twin brother.

Lord Voldemort's lips twitched at the reminder of the two equally devious and motivated women working together to destroy the Dursleys', Dumbledore's, Black's, and obviously the Potters' reputations. One motivated like a mother-dragon to exact revenge on behalf of her Godson, another to get promotion and pay-rise as He promised. (Yes, He finally gave in and involved Narcissa in the secret that who Hadrianus was before, which makes her the fourth person in the whole World to know the secret. Though He has a feeling a fifth person will be added to the list very soon, Severus is nothing if not observant and smart) Yeah, even He doesn't fancy having their combined target on Himself, the Potters and Dumbledore must watch out, they would never know what hit them.

Well, until this day they've exclusively endured positive attention from the public and media. Now they will learn how vicious and malicious they can be. And if the Potters end up on probation and losing the rights of their dear 'savior' son to the Wizarding Family Sevice as well, it's nothing they didn't warrant after all. Additionally, the said 'savior' is well on way to becoming a miniature whale, no doubt result of his parents' overcompensation because of their firstborn; maybe the Weasleys will take him - if the Family Service even allows them to have one more mouth. The dear 'savior' maybe finally learn how to share room and food with several mouths. Shame most of the Weasley clans are already in Hogwarts, their den is probably not as congested as usual. That is unless his beloved parents couldn't claim him back within next summer.

At least, with them occupied with attempting to overcome the ruthless slanders and defamation, he will have enough time to correct most of the legislation without Dumbledore trying to put his crooked nose where it doesn't belong.

He sighed, glancing at them, pondering for a moment to separate them and keep each in a different cell but nixed the idea for now. He didn't want them getting sick so soon or heaven forbid dying on Him. He had a lot of plans for them, and killing them is none of them. No, He must focus on more important matters other now. He will come back to them later and decide what to do with them. Maybe let Nagini have a go as well, she certainly deserves it. Barty is certainly having time of his life practicing Dark Curses on them.

He stepped forward and stood in front of a particular cell and His eyes narrowing in on an ugly toad's huddled and abused form, wedged in the corner of the cell, her pink cloak wrapped around her, sleeping in a sitting position.

"Told you," was Fenrir Greyback's smug tone as he peered inside the cell. After he was contacted about The Darkest Lord's return and the bill they were about to propose, he had taken residence in one of the several outhouses of the Dark Headquarter with his pack. The forest behind their outhouse is delightful and it has been exactly what he required for his pack. And when The Darkest Lord permitted him to do whatever he wants with the Umbridge bitch for the night except killing her, he had been salivating at the prospect. Alas, it wasn't a Full Moon, he wanted the bitch to be the 'monster' she feared the most. But he had taken his sweet revenge and tortured her whole night for inflicting so much pain to all the Werewolves out there, ruining and killing their lives.

The Dark Lord made a humming noise as He stared at the bleeding and beaten form of Umbridge kept in the prison for the night without food water or anything. Just like what she had perpetrated in so many Dark creature's life, including some of His own. He was tempted to keep her and torture her for eternity, but He can't. For one, she is one of the public figures that can't go missing without raising a red flag, and two, He can use her position to make some changes in the Ministry.

"Have you had any success?" All the Dark creatures that had been on His side in the past were showing reluctance to join him, due to the fact the last time it had blown up in their faces and made life even more uncomfortable for them. He reluctantly acknowledged it had, He had seen the legislations had that been passed over the past decade and it infuriated Him. But He is now inclined to correct them, the bill they were about to pass in Wizengamot today is one of them. And He is hoping it will sway them to their side.

"Any werewolf worth the title makes sure they aren't easily found, even by me," Fenrir grumbled out, and he respected it despite the annoyance it brought to him. "I need the Full Moon and extra senses to track the pack down, I got as far as Rutland before I lost their tracks, it's a big pack, not as big as my own, I'm hoping to track them the next Full Moon. With news of new Lord Slytherin having the same goal as The Darkest Lord reaching each corner of the British Isles hopefully, they will leave clues if they want to be found." Clues that no wizard would see let alone understand. "It would be sooner if they knew both are the same man."

"Good, do not fail me, Fenrir," Lord Voldemort warned, He needed them on His side; they were undeniably one of the best weapons against wizards and they all fall under His care being the Dark Creatures. "And no, I don't want them to know it unless absolutely necessary, I have too many plans in motion that won't succeed if people know who is Marvolo Slytherin."

Fenrir gave the Dark Lord a curt nod and turned back, it was time to head back to his pack, the full moon was just a little over a week away, and he with his Beta would need to make their way to where they last caught a whiff of the pack. Then begin tracking them again from there, hopefully, they didn't move around a lot. Usually, they never moved unless they had no choice but to leave it behind, whether by wizards or bigger packs fighting for territory. But they will be happy to learn someone is giving them a sanctuary and maybe move in with them, obviously after the pack Alpha comes and checks everything themselves. And the place has too many outhouses in the good distance so they do not step on each other's territory, and the forest is too vast and good enough to hold at least 50 large packs.

Lord Voldemort watched the Alpha Werewolf leave with gleaming eyes, before turning to face the unconscious witch in the cell. In a swift movement, He unlocked the cell and entered, His Yew wand slid into His hand and several curses hit the witch, curving in as runes in body parts hidden from public eyes, namely the back of the tongue. After the Curse of Secrecy is settled in her tongue and Magic, He started to heal all the cuts and bruises and force-fed her a blood replenishment potion. After watching the color return on her face, He pondered for a moment on how to wake her up, then decided on Crucioing her. He hadn't cast His favorite curse for ages, after all. He needs to keep up the practice and reputation, can't let people think He is going soft now.

A hoarse scream echoed throughout the lowest dungeon and bounded on the walls, startling other prisoners and terrifying them out of their wits, thinking they will be next. Though he knows the sound won't escape the encloser of the Dungeons.

"Hem hem, d-do you know who I am?" Umbridge croaked out at the robed figure in front of her through watery eyes, trying to sound confident and cocky as if her old job could still somehow save her here. "When I get out of here I will make sure all of you are in Azkaban and the wolf is put down for what he did to me!" Her face twisted in victory, ignoring the shiver that went down at the mention of the werewolf, still clinging to the hopes of escape and getting saved.

"Who you are?" Lord Voldemort hissed thoughtfully, His voice sibilant and cruel, "Let me guessss, a Half-blood witch, daughter of Orford Umbridge and Ellen Cracknell, younger brother wasss a Ssquib whom you poisssoned with your muggle mother almossst 2 yearsss ago, am I wrong, Doloressss?" He ended the name with an extra hiss.

He watched her inhale sharply, disbelief crossing her face. She couldn't believe this person knew that much about her
Umbridge managed to squeak softly, swallowing thickly; he knew! This unknown person in front of her knew what she'd done! How the hell did he know what she had done? How could he? Nobody else did, yet the evidence was irrefutable. Her heart thumped painfully in her ribcage, worry began to gnaw at her as she tried to contain her fear not wanting him to see her so vulnerable. How could she not be? When this wizard had laid her bare? Threatened her with exposure? She had spent so long climbing up the ministry, aiming to become Undersecretary of Cornelius, hiding her dirty secret ― with one word from this person, it would all crumble to dust.

Who is he? Why is he trying to imitate You-Know-Who's voice? Is he trying to hide his identity and scaring her shitless? If so, the tactic is definitely working. But she will know who is it.

"Who are you?" She demanded.

The lipless mouth curled into a sardonic smirk before the long hand covered in the midnight dark robe rose, and the pale, long fingers pulled the robes down, revealing the skull-like white as chalk face and a pair of vibrant red eyes.

Is that You-Know-Who? He is alive? She is under You-Know-Who's mercy?

The Head of Improper Use Of Magic fainted dead away.

Lord Voldemort allowed himself to spare a moment to pinch the bridge between his none existence eyebrows at the dramatic faint. What kind of idiot fainted dead away when faced with an enemy? That was just asking for death really! And this is supposed to be the Ministry of Magic bureaucrat and Head of Improper Use of Magic, honestly, can they become any more pathetic? Even Rita Skeeter had more guts after meeting Him and used the last of her wits to ensure her own survival after she got over with her initial shock. Which makes her more Slytherin and thus more dangerous than this despicable excuse of a woman ever hopes to be.

He cast another Crucio on her, just because He can, which tore another scream out of the unconscious woman as she woke up.

"Just a nightmare, it's all just a nightmare, a bad dream nothing else!" He heard her muttering under breath while whimpering in pain from the aftereffects of double Cruciatus Curse which made Him roll His eyes.

"A nightmare, isss it? Maybe another Cruciatusss will help you to wake up!" He said in a cold dulcet tone before raised His Yew wand for the third time and let her writhe for ten seconds, before letting go. He wanted to take His sweet time to use various types of other curses, but He is on the clock here, having an appointment with Fudge in two hours and the Wizengamot session in three hours, and He still has some last-minute preparations to take. "Are you awake now?"

A feeble whimper was the answer.

Lord Voldemort hummed before putting His wand away and asking Tit to bring the potion for Cruciatus curse. Lord Voldemort saved the potion in his pocket and started to talk in his usual cold sibilant voice, "Lisssten here, you sssilly imprudent woman, if you tell about me to anyone - alive or dead, in any form - verbal, written or sssignaled, the obssscure and dark curssse I placed on your tongue will activate and your body will start decaying rapidly and painfully, ssstarting with your mouth preventing you from sssaying anything further. You will be dead within ten minutes, long before the people around you underssstand what'sss happening or even try to sssave you. If you try to remove the curssse, it will activate. If you do not obey me or any of my assssociatesss that contact you, which includesss Lord Ssslytherin, Lord Malfoy, or Lord Crouch at the moment, it will activate. If you try to expossse any of them, it will activate. Do not tessst me. Underssstood?"

The wretched witch huddled further into the corner as a pathetic display of contemptible cowardice and nodded, still whimpering.

"Good girl," He praised in a patronizing voice which was designed to make the listener feel useless and insignificant, which they are, "Now, obviousssly, there are sssome marksss that will increassse your pitiful excussse of a life ssspan, however temporary, would you like to hear them?" He said in a mocking slow voice as if talking to a particularly slow child in a playground.

Dolores Umbridge let out another whimper and nodded.

"All you have to do, isss lisssten to me or my assssociatessss like a good little girl and not make a peep. Do you underssstand?"

The witch nodded again, so she was hit with mild cruciatus as a reprimand. After all, his mercy has a limit, "Ussse your voice, however horrid and disssstateful they are."

"Y-yes, M-my Lord."

"Good, now tell me, what you will do if I tell you to vote in the favour of the Bill Luciusss isss going to presssent?"

"I-I will v-vote in favor," She squeaked, "M-my Lord," she added hurriedly.

"Try again," Lord Voldemort shook his head, looking down at her with his glowing eyes in disappointment and impatience.

Umbridge thought fast, then replied in the same sickening squeaky voice, "I-I will vote in favor and encourage others to do the same?"

Lord Voldemort stared at her, His face showing none of the amusement, "Are you telling me, or asssking?"

"T-telling you, My Lord."

"Hmm, you're learning fassster than I expected that toad brain to work," Lord Voldemort pulled the potion from his pocket, "Asss your prize, you can have thisss." He raised his hand forward and dropped the vial without warning. His lips twitched when the toad crawled faster than he thought she could and caught the falling vial before it can connect to the ground and shatter.

"Remember, behave." He called for Tat who popped away with the toad.

 

 

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"Ah, Lucius and Lord Slytherin! Come in, come in!" Fudge stood and welcomed Marvolo and Lucius in his office with a beaming smile. Marvolo took his hand and smiled through the man's disgustingly sweaty hand that he felt beyond his winter gloves.

"Minister," He nodded. His countenance was stern but polite.

"Cornelius," Lucius nodded as well.

"Ah no none of that, please call me Cornelius. Any friend of my dear friend Lucius is a friend of mine," Fudge waved his hand around, giving them another beaming smile.

"Then I insist you call me Marvolo, Cornelius."

"Of course, of course," Fudge signaled them to take a seat, "Tea, coffee?"

"Tea will be fine, thank you."

Fudge snapped his finger and a trey arrived, he made himself prepare a cup of tea as per his guest's taste as he babbled, "I must say, Marvolo, this has been a pleasant surprise, to say the least, that some of our old Pure-blood lines are not dead yet. Who would have guessed that the Slytherin line was active in Germany?"

"And Peverell," Marvolo smiled pleasantly as he accepted his cup of tea, nonverbally and wandlessly checking for anything before taking a sip.

"Pardon?" Fudge glanced up surprised from serving Lucius another cup.

"My son's bearer was the last member of Peverell branch, and she named him her Heir before her death. Which makes him the Heir of Peverell, and me acting Lord until he reaches majority." 

Fudge looked momentarily stunned for a minute, before recovering and giving another beaming smile, "This is an excellent piece of news."

"Thank you, Cornelius. May I pay you a compliment on the recent legislation that you supported about the usage of the Ministry Budget? It was a quite clever one. I completely agree with opening a fundraiser for the acceptance of donations from all the willing families. Merlin knows Ministry needs every help it could get to make sure Magical Britain is working smoothly, after all."

Fudge seemed surprised that Lord Slytherin was aware of it at all, as it hadn't been very publicly covered in any of the newspapers, including the Prophet and Wizarding Times Of Britain. It has been passed rather quietly but given he is talking with a friend of Lucius Malfoy, obviously he will be aware of it. Fudge smiled, accepting the compliment, and relaxed on his seat more. The hint with the donation meant some of it will be donated for his cause, after all.

"Ah, thank you, thank you. So, Lucius was telling me you have some petitions and new ideas for Hogwarts? What I can do for you, Marvolo?"

Marvolo pulled a rolled parchment by his gloved hand from his new stylish and expensive plum-colored Wizengamot robe pocket and gave it to Fudge who accepted it, untying the ribbon and unrolling it, then spread it in front of him, reading it. Marvolo glanced at his clock, and waited for ten seconds, before giving Lucius a small smirk.

No, he didn't curse the parchment, don't worry. It was just a neat but near-forgotten obscure little charm that will make the recipient believe whatever the caster is saying irrevocably and be more susceptible to his suggestions. It's going to work even better with few choices of words and playing with them, sometimes even giving proof. And Marvolo is a master of playing with words. Additionally, Marvolo had overpowered the charm to make sure will work for at least six months without removal. He can always reapply it before the time limit is up. Fudge doesn't have a Lordship ring as his elder brother is the Lord of the family, so it won't raise any alarm.

Yeah yeah, he is being unfair, and unethical once again, but when the so-called 'Light Lord' even after being so famous, still uses manipulation, lies, and potions (this is one of the reasons he was tempted to remove Severus from his Order) to control others, he needs to use every card in his sleeve to counter him as well. Besides, saving the Wizarding World from their own stupidity is a Sisyphean task with no reward. He has absolutely no patience and even less time to charm his way to the top. At least he is not being generous with Imperius or cowering everyone with his cold, devious and ruthless Lord Voldemort persona anymore, so that's a plus?

"I do not know if this news has reached you or not, but as the owner of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I am planning to remodel the classes and schedule and add extra classes and clubs for the children. As an ex-student of Durmstrang during my school life, I noticed there are absolutely no extra lessons on different kinds of Magic. How are the children going to learn them, if we don't offer to teach them in a safe and secure classroom under a master of the art first?" Marvolo shook his head, disappointed, "which is why I have added many classes, though Dumbledore seems to be against any changes I offer," Marvolo gave a long sigh.

"Truly?" Fudge looked up, surprised, "This is the most ridiculous...! Why would Dumbledore intervene and stop adding new classes? That sounds like an improvement to me."

"Apparently not, according to Dumbledore." Lucius scoffed, "He thinks them 'dangerous' and 'highly unstable'."

"Dangerous and highly...how?" Fudge looked between them, bewildered, "What classes are you adding?"

"Classes like penmanship and Wizarding law and etiquette for Muggleborns, for example," Marvolo shrugged casually, "One would think he would be up for it, after all, he is a self-proclaimed defender for the rights of Muggle-borns. I also have added classes like yoga, arts, music, literature, languages, astral magic, alchemy, elemental magic, and few others."

"He also appointed a new defense professor who has given tips on how to remove the curse placed by The Dark Lord on that position," Lucius informed him, "And arranged Exorcism of Binns and appoint a competent teacher."

"This is a fantastic improvement of the Hogwarts, I must say," Fudge nodded enthusiastically.

"Yes, I would say so," Lucius is nodding as well, "But Dumbledore's maneuvering is becoming more concerning and tiresome as the day passes. I would say he's going senile. Did you know he tried to accuse Lord Slytherin as Death Eater in the meeting because he didn't agree with his plans? And I heard from my friend Severus, he is a professor from Hogwarts - you see, that he is now insisting everyone who will listen that Lord Slytherin is You-Know-Who." Lucius snorted.

"What?" Fudge sat back straighter, wide eyes, "Oh, this is just absolutely absurd. Is he trying to make a fool out of himself? That's just insane."

"Exactly, he is losing it. But you know how everyone loses their own reasoning ability when they hear anything from Dumbledore," Lucius shook his head mournfully, "Bad days are coming because of him, very bad days. I worry for my friend here."

Marvolo silently drank his tea, his eyes down as if subdued as well.

Fudge shook his head, obviously can't wrap himself about what he's listening to, muttering for some time before looking at Marvolo with a determined face, "Lord Slytherin, please excuse the Headmaster for his transgressions, I would keep a better eye on him. The man is obsessed with his glory days, as now things are peaceful and calm, he is falling into obscurity! Please do not mind him, he is just fawning for attention and making things unnecessarily complicated for everyone! That's what he does the best always. I will support you and whatever changes you are planning for Hogwarts."

"Thank you," Marvolo inclined his head, "Support from you would mean a lot for me, after all, you are the Minister of Magic, and from what I have heard from Lucius, Albus Dumbledore doesn't show you the respect for the powerful position you hold. You'd think after those peaceful years under your leadership some people would learn how to pay proper respect where is it due."

Fudge's chest puffed up and his nose rose a bit into the air imperiously, "Yes, you would think that."

"Now, two of the new classes amongst everything I ordered was Astral Magic and Elemental Magic. Nothing highly advanced, just the basic level on how to handle those magic and what precautions one must take. And we all know the master of these kinds of Magic is an Unspeakable." Marvolo nodded at the petition he just presented, "I will need your permission for that, obviously."

"Of course, it will be good if the children learn how to handle them from an Unspeakable," he slammed the green seal on it, "Permission granted. You can take it to the Department of Mysteries and they will tell you which Unspeakable is available and willing for teaching."

"Thank you, Cornelius," Marvolo said sounding genuinely sincere, "This will reduce a lot of my workload, now I can focus more on appointing the Goblin Lord Gornuk for the Ritual class for Hogwarts."

"A Goblin?" Cornelius looked taken aback.

"Did you not know?" Marvolo sounded near gushing as he explained, "He is one of the best Ritualists I have the pleasure to know, I have learned a lot from him. Hogwarts will flourish if I can agree to make him teach here. This is why I am hoping for today's bill to pass."

"B-but...a Goblin? Will he even be amenable to teach Wizards?"

"He will if we grant them the citizenship and freedom they deserve," Marvolo sounded earnest and passionate as he described, "In Durmstrang, we had many creature Professor teaching us, some of them were werewolves and vampires..."

"What?" Cornelius jumped on his seat.

"Please Minister, hear me out," Marvolo raised a hand, "Think about it. Who will achieve more if a Goblin comes to Hogwarts and teach our children everything they know? Our children can study their ways, they wouldn't need to worry about another Goblin war because they will apprehend their ways." Well, they will certainly not teach their Magic, but that's beside the point. They won't need to announce war if they're given the freedom they deserve. "Similarly, we can monitor the werewolves and vampires considerably more when they are not driven into hiding from Wizards if we offer them jobs. Tell me, isn't it more beneficial to keep tabs on them when they're in front of you?"

"But - " Cornelius argued, "What if they infect others? And the vampires will suck anyone dry!"

"A valid concern," Marvolo nodded, "But build them a blood bank where the donors can willingly supply blood in exchange for some money and a vial of blood replenishment potion for every unit, you will have several content Vampires willing to offer hard works or even pay in exchange for that blood. They seem to be uncontrollable and they tend to 'suck someone dry' exclusively if they're starved. I would know, having studied with them in the same room and receiving wonderful history lessons from some of them."

Fudge listened to him in stunned silence, before asking, "And what about the werewolves?"

"We have magic at our disposal, we can utilize it. Some people market trunks that have various charms and runes on them. We could pick a shop and reserve them to mass produce a wolf-proof trunk that will have some standard charms like extension charms, anti-paw, locking charms, and some other official protection that, when activated, will make it impossible to open by anything other than a hand from inside. You can of course custom made it to be forest and plant trees if you prefer, but it's better to leave that to the customers. And every werewolf will be needed to testify and vow that they will spend the Full Moon in those Ministry-approved trunks. This is of course for those who do not have a forest at their disposal. Who has a forest near their home can set up similar Wards around their territory and have Ministry Ward and Curse breakers check it so they don't come across others. Those who are too poor to buy them can work and pay for them through periodical installments. Just think about all the money it will bring to the Ministry. And if those poor souls have the right to a vote as well, you will be swimming in blessings and votes in no time." Marvolo smirked, then offered, "If you want, I can take charge of it and oversee myself about the trunks and the wards for the werewolves, I have experience on them, having travel many places grants you different kinds of knowledge. You only need to approve our bill and then sign some documents. Maybe even appoint some Aurors to look after the trunks during the time of Full Moon to make sure no one comes out in Wolf form and then a Healer to assure their recovery next morning."

"That's..." Cornelius was speechless, "I've never considered this before."

"Well, now you know," Marvolo gave a lopsided smile, "If you wish, I can provide blood banks for the Vampires as well. But obviously, I would need the bill to pass before that."

"Yes, please do it." Cornelius nodded firmly. Whatever this young lad is saying is too good, especially if they give him the blessing and vote for him for the election next year. He will no doubt be hailed as their savior and everyone will praise him. He fumbled for some parchment and pulled them, quickly jotting down the notes, "I will contact the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. In fact, I have heard the current Head is ready to retire and looking for a replacement, I was thinking of hiring Dolores but she won't mind, you seem to be perfect for it. Would you like the position?"

Marvolo looked at him surprised. That was...unexpected. That will obviously make some of his works easier as he is planning to change several legislations related to Dark Creatures, particularly the Kill On Sight order on Wizards with Creature Inheritance and many others. He can work without fearing turncoat, as he himself will do it instead of depending on others. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement already has a competent Head, and he is looking forward to work with Amelia Bones. "Of course, I will be honored to have entrusted with such position and responsibilities."

"Perfect, let us talk about this in more detail after the Wizengamot session. We have an important bill to pass today."

     

      

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Dumbledore was his usual buoyant self, Marvolo noted when he entered following the young Auror. He had been jovially talking with some people in his atrocious orange robe. Why did he not wear the plum robe uniform of the Wizengamot session? Does he consider himself above the rule because of his Chief Warlock position?

Marvolo bit the inside of his cheek and kept his eyes on ahead when his attention snapped on him as soon as he entered. Barty, Lucius, and Severus were following them, so he knows he has seen them all.

"Lord Crouch, you are here. And Lord Prince is here." Barty and Severus nodded, taking their respective seats swearing allegiance to Wizengamot. And then Auror turned.

"Here, Lord Slytherin," the young Auror showed him his seat among the dais. Marvolo nodded in a small thanks and pressed his hand on the head of the seat and all his Lordship rings became visible, shining, and glowing.

"I, Marvolo Salazar Slytherin, Lord of Slytherin, Gaunt, Everard House, and Peverell House, solemnly declare that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Wizengamot of Magical Britain and that I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear or favor, affection or ill-will, so mote it be."

The Slytherin seat glowed, along with three more seats across the room and then they merged magically, earning several gasps declaring his Lordship is true by Magic and then shimmered, allowing him to sit. Marvolo smirked and took his seat, relaxing and enjoying the comical look on Dumbledore's face. He was looking between him and Severus. Marvolo ignored him to let his eyes roam, sighing inwardly when he noticed Dumbledore coming towards them.

"My boy, I wasn't informed that you have taken the Lordship," Albus peered at Severus, and Marvolo could see the disapproval written on his face. Of course, he will disapprove this. Severus just announced a giant "F you" at him when he accepted his Lordship, diminishing his control upon Severus to half.

"I believe this is my personal life, you're not my guardian who has the license to dictate how I should live it." Severus dismissed him, obviously unbothered by his 'I'm disappointed in you' face. It has been Severus's own idea to not let Dumbledore know unless in a public setting so he doesn't force him to remove his Lordship before the public becomes aware of a new Lord.

"Of course, I am merely concerned." It is too public to make a fuss and Dumbledore knows it. And he can't use the 'Lord Voldemort could be displeased to learn this new information' tactic in front of Lord Voldemort, where he looks like he could care less. Is it another trick to confuse Dumbledore? Well, he is not obtuse, he knows all of his strategies. He had to be displeased with the loss of control over Severus. Or maybe it's a piece of good news if he expresses his anger by cursing him later on? It will definitely confirm that this dark wizard in front of them is truly Lord Voldemort, and then he can finally tell his skeptical Order members 'I told you so' and accept their apologies and lead the war - it's such a shame dear Jim is not ready for war as well. Maybe he will start searching for what is the 'power the Dark Lord knows not' and start planning how to use it for his war and kill Tom, "I thought you were disowned by your grandfather."

"Correction: My mother was. Not me."

"I see," Dumbledore nodded sagely, "Welcome to Wizengamot then. You too, Lord Crouch." Mourning the loss of a vote, Severus will definitely support his friend. Malfoys needed to know that Severus is on their side, it will make Tom trust him more. But it doesn't matter, he has talked with his old friends and they all agreed with him, the Bill shall not pass.

"Thank you."

"Lord Slytherin," Dumbledore addressed him, his eyes twinkling from behind the half-moon spectacles, curse the boy, how did he take the Lordship? Does that mean he knows where is the Resurrection Stone? This is the last piece he was missing and then he can become the Master of Death. His eyes automatically going to his Lordship rings, eyes gleaming when it fell upon the Peverell ring carrying the coat of arms - is that the Resurrection Stone? Innocently resting on his hand. Oh what he wouldn't do to snatch it right there and examine it properly, then claim it if it was truly the Stone. "I didn't know you were Lord Everard and Peverell as well."

"Well, now you know." Marvolo looked down at him from his nose imperiously. Ah yes, he knows where his concern lies. Slytherin and Peverell have two votes each, while Gaunt and Everard have one. That's six votes already in his pocket.

"But it is a well-known fact that the Potters were the direct descendant of Peverells, how come you take it?" How did the blasted boy steal Lordship? Trust Tom to use his Slytherin cunning to find some loophole. Well, he won't let him get away with it. The Peverells have been the subject of his obsession for too long, both his and Gellert's.

The Wizengamot fall silent as they all looked their way, now stopped pretending to not eavesdropping on them. Marvolo sighed.

"No, it was not well known, but it is now after you declared it so dramatically," Marvolo was having a hard time not rolling his eyes, all his tactics to get him in trouble is childish and immature, "My son's bearer was a Peverell, the last descendant from Antioch Peverell's line. She named him her Heir before death. And as my son is currently eight, I am the acting Lord. And Magic has accepted it already." And of course, he himself is the direct descendant of Cadmus Peverell, so he has more claim than the Potters, being descendant of the elder brother. "Any more questions?"

Marvolo can see the suspicion and dread flash in Dumbledore's eyes and he was restraining himself from either attacking him or interrogate him, as they were currently in presence of Wizengamot, knowing he can't cross-question him again, it is a well-used method to use a surrogate to bear a child or get into a relationship of three; Dumbledore can't question him as this is a personal level question which he has no right to find the answer - especially not in front of Wizengamot. So he shook his head and backed down, as did the rest of Wizengamot, their curiosity satiated. But he knows Dumbledore is probably going to make Potters contest him for it. And the Goblins going to reject it, so it doesn't matter. Marvolo smirked and went back to the session where Lucius is now starting his presentation.

"Are you sure you shouldn't sit near him or should have entered with him?" Marvolo heard Barty whisper to Severus who snorted and shook his head in reply.

"He is surprised yes, maybe shocked when he notices me voting against his choice, but he has already asked me to 'befriend' you and additionally our Lord. So he will be satisfied when I tell him this will be in favor of me to befriend you all. Besides, I am a friend of Lucius, of course, I will support his Bill."

Barty snorted and sneered, "Gryffindors. They never use their head, only heart."

"Indeed."

Marvolo listened to Lucius's presentation attentively, though he had known every word by heart, given he was the one who helped create it. So he couldn't help but let his eyes wander among other attendees. After all, their reaction will tell him many things.

He quickly glanced around the Dark Sect to look at his people and some of the Dark Sympathizers. Their reaction on finding him had told him they are going to talk to him at the earliest convenient. But the question is, should he tell them who is he?

Hmm, maybe invite them for a tea at Malfoy Manor and then give them the shock of life and then bind them in oath? Marvolo smirked. Well, that will certainly bring some entertainment.

He let his eyes wander towards those people he knew were under timed Imperius. He knows that Imperius curse wouldn't leave a trace when they've been cast expertly, but if they act too negatively during the presentation and then suddenly vote on the favor, Dumbledore might get suspicious. But thankfully, no one seems to be acting out of place.

There were obviously quite a few vacant seats, but it's their fault that they chose to wear their Lordship ring only during the Wizengamot session, which allowed them to be Confunded.

Dumbledore's attention was not on presentation as well, he keeps stealing glances at him - eyes twinkling and calculating. Merlin, can someone please inform him that it's getting creepy? People would take his abnormal obsession on him differently this time, given he has created a near saint persona this time. Maybe he will let them talk if it paints even more bad air on Dumbledore and his second to Merlin persona.

Finally, when the presentation finished and Lucius was giving the speech on the conclusion, as on the pros of the bill. Marvolo's eyes found Barty's and he gave a single nod, watching him reach out for inside his robes. He watched as more people from the Dark Sect, mostly his marked followers reach out to their pocket as well then they all subtly touch their wands. Soon, more and more people who were anticipating the voting part with open glee, he watched their eyes glisten for just a moment and a blank mask took over their face. Marvolo counted and inwardly cackled in mirth, that's twelve of the Wizengamot members under Imperius! He didn't expect this much! His followers seem to be rather eager to prove their loyalty to him! He is now relieved to find them using all the lessons he taught them to not get caught. As they were Imperiused long away from the Ministry, it won't be caught on the Wards. And because of the diminished light during the presentation and the Head of Law Enforcement clearly paying attention to the Bill, no one would catch the momentary glistening of their eyes. He only caught them with his heightened senses and knowing what to look for.

He will let those members stay under the Imperius, Merlin knows when it becomes useful in the future. He will order them to keep it on the back of his head, remaining passively, so it won't drain their Magical reserve.

As soon as Lucius's presentation finished and he retook his seat, Dumbledore, as Chief Warlock, called out for votes, "Motion is heard. All votes in favor of the bill, please raise your wands."

Marvolo idly raised his own, quickly counting the number of Wizengamot raising their wands and inwardly cackling to find 39 votes in favor, he has won even without those members Confunded and absent in the meeting. He was not surprised to find the Minister, Umbridge (her vote gained a lot of surprises), Marcello Russo (who gave Marvolo a significant shrewd look to which he gave a small smile) voting in favor, but he was surprised to find Augusta Longbottom and Amelia Bones also voting in favor. That was...unexpected.

The look on Dumbledore's face was comical, especially when he found his old friends, who agreed with him vehemently about the cons of the bill, has raised their wands in favor.

The Goblin King Lord Silverhook will be pleased, and so will Fenrir and Lord Dracula. He must contact them to ask for their advice to word all the new Legislations he is going to make as the new Head of Magical creature department. They will be pleased and be firmly on their side after this significant victory.

"Thank you, that is 39 Wands in favor, the Magic of Wizengamot counts at least 87 Lordship votes out of 103," Dumbledore announced looking like sucking a particularly sour lemon drop. Every Lord from Sacred List has at least two votes, some people like Marvolo have six.

Minister Fudge gleefully banged the hammer against the wooden bench in front of him, "Motion carried. The Bill for Magical Creature Equality and Rights is successful. Congratulations, Lord Malfoy."

Lucius graciously accepted the significant win and their applaud, his grey eyes finding his, knowing how important it was for their Lord. Marvolo allowed a small smile of approval and applauded for him with the public, which earned an honest to God beam from the Malfoy Lord. His speech has been glorious. He deserves some prize and recognition for it. Looks like a Knight meeting and celebration with them is in order.

After the meeting was wrapped up, they stood, ready to retire and Marvolo and Lucius waited patiently with Barty and Lucius for Miniter to finish talking with Madame Bones with Umbridge who kept stealing glances at them. The poor woman looked like she had lost twenty pounds of weight overnight and unusually quiet as if she is afraid a word from her would activate the curse. Marvolo sighed, looks like he has scared the woman too much. Needless to say, it will raise suspicion if she keeps up this act, so another talk with the toad is also on order.

"What are you trying to do, Tom?"

The four of them slowly turned their head towards the headmaster standing near them, looking ready to fight and cause a scene. Marvolo made a believable act to look around, then at his companions, then turned towards the headmaster, looking confused, "Excuse me? Are you talking with me?"

"You can't fool me, Tom, I know who you are."

Marvolo blinked bewildered, perfectly aware the whole Wizengamot is now eavesdropping on them, few openly staring.

"...right," He uttered as if he is not understanding what is happening and what is he talking about, "Good for you, then?"

"Stay away from my Hogwarts, Tom." The headmaster no longer looked genial as he pointed his Wand at him in a threatening gesture, even though Marvolo's Tigris Wand was nowhere to be seen. My, someone is furious for losing so badly.

"Excuse me?" Marvolo this time turned to give him his full attention, the perfect posture of a predator who just got threatened for their territory. "First of all, my name is Marvolo Slytherin, not this 'Tom' that you're speaking of. And Hogwarts belongs to me."

"I know who you are, Tom. Stay away, I wouldn't say twice."

"Is there a problem, gentlemen?"

Marvolo turned his exasperated stare to look at the Minister with Madame Bones and Umbridge on tow, with some Aurors standing at a distance ready to intervene in the scene. Miniter was looking at Dumbledore with poorly concealed suspicion and Bones was just confused and frowning at them.

"Dumbledore here is insisting Lord Slytherin as someone called 'Tom'," Lucius frowned at him, looking puzzled but anyone who knows him intimately can see the hidden merriment in his eyes to get him in more trouble. "And threatening him to stay away from Lord Slytherin's completely legal and Magical property."

"I am afraid I have to reveal the real truth behind that well-constructed lie, Hogwarts belong to no one, especially not this Very Dangerous Individual. Amelia, I insist you must arrest this man and interrogate him with Veritaserum for his true nature."

"Excuse me?!"

Various loud protests intensified, the Minister's voice is the loudest among them Amelia Bones was staring at Dumbledore as if she was seeing the man’s true nature for the very first time.

"This is completely absurd!" The Miniter's voice rose, "Albus, don't make me order the Aurors to escort you outside. You can't just blame people you don't like as 'Dangerous Individuals. He is Lord of not one or two, but four Houses, do not forget."

"Now, Cornelius, you have no idea who you are dealing with," Dumbledore said in clear warning while glaring at him.

"No, you have no idea how absurd you are being with your claims, Albus." Looks like Cornelius finally grew a pair to counter Dumbledore and not back down. The charm he had placed on him gave him a spine to stand up. Even Dumbledore looked taken aback. Cornelius never talked back to him like that before.

Amelia rose her hand to quiet everyone, looking tired and exasperated. "Why don't you explain, Dumbledore?"

"I most certainly will, Amelia," Dumbledore said and took his time looking around the whole Wizengamot, making sure all eyes were on him before continuing. "This man," and he emphasized his words by pointing a steady finger at Marvolo who was still looking mostly confused and bewildered at the turn of the events, "Is Tom Marvolo Riddle, otherwise known as The Dark Lord Voldemort."

If Dumbledore was expecting some sort of dramatic reaction from the people around him just like he had from the Order members, he didn’t get it. Even without the influence of the Imperius, his 'old friends' stared at him in complete disbelief and incredulity.

Amelia pinched the bridge of his nose in a way that spoke volumes of how long she has been dealing with his antics while Fudge puffed up in outrage. "Preposterous!" He had known this will come and he has promised Lord Slytherin to support him, how can he not when the lad has so many wonderful ideas that will give him a good sum of money and loads of votes? The old man has gone senile if he thinks a young and passionate chap like Lord Slytherin can be You-Know-Who.

Several Lords and Ladies looked around in disbelief, murmuring amongst each other about this ridiculous accusation. Not a single person in the entire room looked as though they believed Dumbledore, not even those that usually supported the headmaster.

Meanwhile, Marvolo stood gaping up at Dumbledore with his mouth hanging open. "Pardon?" he finally said while closing his mouth and swallowing a few times as if he just processed what he is being accused of and yet can't believe it. Murmurs rose in volume, most people shaking their heads in clear disbelief and sympathy for the new Lord of the town. They all had heard about the accident which killed the poor bloke's mother and incapacitated his wife, which made him move to Britain from Germany. He doesn't deserve this kind of stressful welcome. It will be a loss for Britain if the lad decides to move back to Germany again.

"You may believe you can fool the whole world, Tom," Dumbledore said in a clear warning. "But you do not fool me. You never have and you never will."

"He’s finally gone senile," some people loudly claimed from the crowd earning respective positive murmurs.

Minister shook his head disappointed and started to explain to the crowds Dumcledore's tendency to brand anyone as 'Evil' and dangerous while the chap is clearly looking out for the children of Hogwarts. Lucius backing him up, even Barty who explained some of the new plans Marvolo had offered for Hogwarts. And soon most of the crowd started to agree with them, and Dumbledore looking around with wide eyes as if he doesn't understand where it all went wrong and his protests are being ignored. No one can see the Dark Wizard in front of them and arrest him. They should trust Dumbledore, how can they look at him like that after all he had done for society?

"Headmaster," Marvolo stated slowly, his eyes narrowed, looking he finally gathered enough courage to stand for himself after the crowd's and Minister's clear support, "Is it your way to try to shut me out of Hogwarts because of what I revealed in the Board Meeting yesterday?"

Dumbledore paled rapidly, he hadn't thought about it through, still not having wrapped his mind around the fact that borrowing some money from the children's fund to save those said children could come across as 'Stealing'. How can they even think that Dumbledore would do something as mundane and barbaric as that? But Dumbledore didn't have time, in between realizing Lord Slytherin is Tom, to having his own Order members turning against him, then the spectacle and the unfortunate and untimely article of the demise of some insignificant pawn that took his two of the most powerful and significant supporters from his side, and then this horrible and appalling bill got approved by majority vote! And not to forget Tom actually gaining more than two votes as he expected! And the loss of Peverell Lordship to Tom! He can't let the monster be the Master of Death! He deserves that title!

"You do realize that Hogwarts is actually a Private school, right?" Barty gleefully added, though his face was perfectly constructed into looking deeply offended on behalf of his 'friend'.

Marvolo shook his head and turned to look at Amelia, "Can I file charges of false accusation, attempt property theft and reputational damage against him?" Oh, he knows it won't take much for Dumbledore to weasel out of the way of the charge and keep it out of the Prophet. That's why he would save the stealing from children's funds for something bigger than this. Besides, Dumbledore had already agreed to pay him back. 

"Yes, you can." Amelia Bones agreed, while still looking at Dumbledore as if she can't believe he would say something like this.

"He is also partially responsible for killing the twin of the Boy-Who-Lived!" someone screamed, which earned even more murmurs. "I call for a thorough investigation." More and more Lords and Ladies agreed to this.

"Motion is heard," Minister looked delightful at the turn of this event as he almost skipped on way to his hammer to bang it once more, "Now, Dumbledore, you're on probation from the Chief Warlock position for accusing a Lord of four Houses, among which two are sacred Houses, wrongly and attempting property theft, and the investigation of the murder of twin brother of Jim Potter until the investigation is done. So you're hereby dismissed. Aurors, escort him out."

Dumbledore was gaping as he looked like he had no clue how it had come to this. He still has no idea how Tom discarded his monstrous look and become so pretty. That look had to be the result of dwelling so deep into Dark Arts, he still can't detect any glamour or even Alastor's eye couldn't find anything on him. All he knew that when he noticed Tom waiting for Cornelius, he had to get to him and save him from falling into Voldemort's honey traps. He just assumed that if he exposes Tom in front of the Wizengamot members and when Amelia orders the Unspeakable to pour Veritaserum, the truth will come out and the Wizarding World will thank him again and hail him as their savior. How everything comes to this? Why did Cornelius turn on him? Did the Malfoy already got him and bribed him into their side? He had more expectations of that spineless gluttonous boy, shouldn't have supported him to become a Minister. How can the whole Wizengamot turn on him like that? He saved them from the greatest monster Grindelwald and then he's the only one Voldemort feared, that's why he never attacked Hogwarts before. He is the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Chief Warlock of Wizengamot, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, owner of Order Of Merlin, First class and the face of the House of Brave, Righteous and Justice, the Gryffindors! How dare they!

The Aurors were obviously hesitating but then Amelia gestured harshly at them to get going and they rushed towards Dumbledore to lead him to the doors.

Marvolo bit the inside of his cheek to stop cackling like a madman. He has to thank his little son for the idea of gaining his full soul and thus his collected smartness and intelligence. If he had known he will have this quality entertainment if he had taken the Political way, he would have gone this way from the beginning.

Barty was shaking his head in entertainment and delight at the magnificent display in front of them when he caught the pair of black gleaming eyes. "Gryffindors." He scoffed.

"Gryffindors," Severus agreed.

Chapter Text

Narcissa wrapped her winter travel cloak tighter around her as she made her way towards the Floo connection of Malfoy Manor. It was 03:51 am and she needs to catch the Floo at 03:57 to Slytherin Manor and then at 04:00 to Slytherin Castle. As she stopped in front of the Floo, she pinched a bit of Floo powder and waited, knowing both Floo opens for exactly 30 seconds. The Dark Lord might seem too paranoid, but she knows that better safe than sorry. 

"Mother?"

Narcissa stopped, her eyes widening as they found her son standing near the door, and not in his sleepwear - she noted.

"Draco? What are you doing up so early in the morning?"

"I could ask the same for you," Draco crossed his arms over his chest and pouted, "I've noticed you always go somewhere every Saturday this time, but you never answer me. So I decided I will go with you today."

Narcissa widened her eyes. Of course, Draco could feel the Wards shift. Lucius has made him the Heir when he performed his first accidental magic. How could she forget that?

But the real problem is a bit different. As much as she wanted both her children to meet, the Floo permits only one person whose Magical signature has been keyed to it. So even if she wanted, Draco couldn't go with her. And the child is too stubborn to accept it. Maybe if she gives him some half answer, he will back down and give her time to convince their Lord to let the children meet?

"You can't go with me, at least not today, please listen," She raised her hand, "Where I am going, only my magical signature accepts the entrance. You will likely be caught up in the wards and it will be a very painful experience until the Lord of the property comes and relieves you."

"Then so be it, I don't care," Draco stomps on the ground, "But I want to know what you and father have been hiding!"

"Oh, Draco," Narcissa sighed, "Maybe I will tell you about it when I return," She proffered when she felt the Magic spike. The Floo is opening. "But I can't let you go at your whim, as it is not of fun and frivolity." 

Draco felt the Floo getting connected as well, making him rush forward, ignoring Narcissa's alarmed cry.

"Draco! Stay back, you inane child!" Narcissa admonished.

"I am coming with you!" He said as he gripped onto her robes tightly.

Narcissa was torn between split-second decisions, knowing she has less than one to decide. She has no idea if their Lord will even be in the Castle. And if so, there is no guarantee how he will react to some juvenile tantrum. He might be indulgent for his own child, and Narcissa is not willing to find out if it is the same for her son as well, the chances are extremely low as the said child didn't even owe fealty to him.

"Dobby!" She called out unrepentantly, decision made, however unsatisfactory it may. She can't miss the Floo and therefore little Adrian because one of her sons is being unreasonably stubborn and obtuse to learn about the other.

"What Dobby can - " She cut the Elf off urgently, "Dobby, take Draco to his room right this moment." The poor Elf might suffer the consequence, but it will survive. She will come and tell him some of the truth later on.

"WHAT? NOO - " Draco was about to turn and escape, but couldn't avoid the House-Elf magic. Narcissa, not wanting to test Draco's insistence and any other trick he might have in his sleeve, immediately threw the powder at the Floo and stepped in hurriedly.

  

She breathed in relief when she stepped out from the Floo in Slytherin Castle. For a second, she thought Draco will end up in the Castle wards and her Lord might let him. She dusted the invisible wrinkles off her robe and straightened, marching towards the room her Lord allotted for the lesson.

As usual, when she reached the room, little Adrian was already there, patiently waiting for her. But the sight of him today made Narcissa stop in her tracks and stare at him amazed.

The child wearing his customary clothes and robes is a familiar sight, what not usual was the traces of white powdery substance on his whole face, rosy cheeks, and raven hair...is that oat flour? It seems like he had been playing with flour before her arrival and when she came, he cleaned his hands and robes -  not knowing his face was covered in it as well  - and then came running to sit here like a good boy.

"Good afternoon, Aunt Cissa," Adrian beamed at her.

"Good afternoon, Adrian. Can you give your father this vial when he returns?" Narcissa asked as she pulled a crystal vial with single blond hair inside. Adrian made an affirmative sound and saved the vial inside his pocket. Narcissa nodded and collected her hands, before looking at him amused, "So, what were you doing before I came?"

"Napping," Adrian's eyes were wide and innocent. That sneaky wee Slytherin - Narcissa thought fondly. She would have fallen for it if it wasn't for the flour on his face.

"Really?" Narcissa deadpanned and conjured a mirror, "Then you wouldn't know where it came from, would you?"

Adrian frowned at her accusation and glanced at the mirror, then immediately went wide eyes and stuttering.

"Oh! Ugh! Mama! Why you didn't tell me?" Adrian complained blushing as he furiously rubbed his cheeks off the flour.

"Mama?" Her heart pumping as she immediately looked around, maybe she will finally learn who is the woman who seemingly married their Lord, and believed to be the bearer of her Godson? The one 'wife' everyone thinks has been incapacitated because of some 'unfortunate accident'?

But there is no one! Nothing, not even a peep of another woman or anything, except for the hissing sound coming from the giant Viper which resembles...cackling? Does a snake can even laugh? And why would it laugh out of blue?

But more importantly, whom did he address the title for?

"Er..it's..it's her!" He immediately pointed at the giant saw-scaled Viper coiling near the fireplace, "She did it when I was sleeping." Narcissa glanced at The Dark Lord's familiar again and rolled her eyes, before blinking when she saw the viper doing the same. Hold on - did the snake just rolled her eyes? Are they even capable of doing that?

A doubt entered her mind, and not for the first time she wondered - does the snake understand English?

Narcissa saved the information to ponder on later and focused on her Godson, and just raised her eyebrow. Did he literally use 'the cat (snake in this case) did it' excuse and thought she will believe him? She might not understand Parseltongue to ask the said snake, but that doesn't mean she is obtuse. She has eight years old at home as well, though Draco tends to blame the Elves for everything.

Under her patient but firm stare, Adrian deflated like she knew he would and blew a raspberry, "Fine, I was baking."

Narcissa flicked his forehead as a reprimand for blowing a raspberry. "And why you were baking alone? Where is your father?" That news was most definitely not 'fine', as eight years old shouldn't 'bake' alone! 

"I was not alone, mum was there, Bailey and Cece were also overseeing everything. And please don't tell father, it's a surprise for his birthday tomorrow."

The 'mum' word caught her off guard again, though it was surpassed by the fact that this child was baking and arranging for his father's surprise birthday party. It's their Lord's birthday tomorrow? How come she never knew it? Knowing their Lord has a birthdate is...honestly unexpected and made Him more...mortal.

"That's nice to know." She said lightly as she blinked her astonishment away.

"Anyway, she wants me to ask your assistant to bake the cake." Little Adrian talked before she could ask him anything else, like who is his mother. "But I have baked just fine before, no one had assisted me then!" Adrian added his complaint promptly, and it was not directed towards her, so Narcissa guessed it was addressed towards his mother. But there was no one else in the room, not a single magical signature. Is his mother wearing something like an invisibility cloak to hide? But if so, she would have heard the other side of the conversation or felt their Magical signature. But there are no other sounds except the crackling of wood and hissing of the snake.

And Narcissa may or may not be freaking out a little now, exactly what kind of 'accident' this woman sufficed? And is it some genuine accident?

"Okay fine!" Adrian pouted as retort at whoever was talking, not realizing how much this was starting to agitate his Godmother, and grinned up at her, "Mum says you're a good cook and you can teach me some baking charms so I wouldn't need a microwave?"

Narcissa blinked rapidly, processing the information that Little Prince's 'mother' actually knows about her, at least enough to appreciate that she is a good baker. But how? Is she...a ghost? Well, at least she has surmised why his 'mama' consciously 'forgot' to inform him about the flour on his face, she obviously wanted Narcissa to discover him baking alone and help him. If anything. Narcissa is now sure about one thing, this woman is truly incapacitated to some point and that is to make sure her son is safe when he's baking. Probably she is a ghost and only her son can see her? But her Lord said incapacitated, not dead!

"Er, yes." Narcissa blushed for stuttering, "I mean, of course, I can teach you. I don't know what a 'microwave' is but I can teach you how to bake magically."

"Wow okay, so do you mind if we learn about that today?"

"Of course not. But have you used your Wand before today?"

"Yes, Barty has been teaching me some basic shield charms. I even sent Avis Opungo at him for pranking me today, he charmed my shoes to tie the shoelaces every time I walk and trip me!"

Narcissa inhaled sharply at that. If someone did this to Draco, he would have bemoaned extravagantly and dramatically then demanded their punishment, while Adrian took the prank as it is - a harmless joke and retaliate right back with what he knows, instead of demanding his father to do something! The difference between the boys is truly startling! It makes her - Hold on just a second. Did she just hear an eight-year-old used Avis, a sixth-year NEWT level charm? And then paired it with Opungo? "Adrian, who taught you to conjure living objects and how to set them off on someone?"

"Er, I read about it? But I learned the Opungo from Barty." Adrian looked at her, puzzled. "Then I tried it and it worked."

Narcissa rubbed her eyes, muttering under her breath. While she definitely admired how Barty teaching him the Opungo backfired on him spectacularly, how can the foolish wizard let the child perform such advanced spells at such young age? So long before his Magical Core has matured? Does he want the child to undergo some severe case of Magical exhaustion? Narcissa sighed tiredly and knelt before her godson, grabbing his arms, "Adrian, I am really impressed and proud that you read about all the spells and charms and can perform them so easily, but promise me, you will never perform such highly advanced spells on your own? You're still too young, your Magical Core is not matured enough for using Wand so frequently. You may suffer the Magical exhaustion."

"Don't worry, Aunt Cissa," Adrian grinned up at her reassuredly, "Father has already made new rules that I must practice spells only in front of father or any other adults that father has approved. And father has dictated me to keep the Wand on me all the time and use it if I am stuck in a situation I don't like. Father let me use only Magic for an hour followed by using Wand for an hour a day and then make me take naps afterward. And I tried the Avis and Serpensortia in front of father yesterday."

Narcissa nodded, using both the raw and Wand-based Magic for a limited time under strict observation followed by sufficient rest is something she can agree with. Regular use of Core with the proper intervals for replenishment might even be healthy for the maturity of his Core, as one's Core is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. And she knows, however mischievous and sneaky Adrian might be, he won't disobey his father. He is acquiescent to his father's rules and cautions and follows them religiously, (Maybe knowing Adrian would have died if it wasn't for his father made him admire Him and follow everything He says so scrupulously?) something Draco is severely lacking which is why they haven't bought him a Wand yet, keeping all his lessons strictly theoretical except for potions. Maybe she can also start a new practice routine for him and confiscate the Wand later to make sure he's resting adequately?

"Good. Let's go to the kitchen then?"

Adrian beamed, then leaped on his feet and dashed out from the room, the viper who had taken upon itself to follow the child around is rapidly uncoiling itself. Well, at least little Adrian has found a dedicated protector in that snake! Just before it went towards the door, it turned abruptly and Narcissa quickly took a step back, not wanting to agitate the man-eater snake, and met with its unblinking yellow beady-eyed stare.

There was an unnerving glare in the giant viper's eyes as if the snake knows Narcissa is still wondering about Hadrianus's mother and now silently challenging her to contest the child's right. Trust the Dark Lord's snake to comprehend human behavior.

Narcissa panicked inwardly. Looks like the snake can see Adrian's invisible 'mother' as well, and has not approved how she reacted around her.

"I mean Little Prince no harm, I swear." Narcissa blurted out hands raised, not knowing if she is talking with the seemingly invisible and silent woman or the giant viper... or why she would need to speak this aloud. She has been agitated about the snake after Lucius told her about how he had witnessed it squeezing someone to death with its deadly muscles, and then proceed to eat them whole.

The giant viper gave a little huff and a single nod then turned and rapidly slithered out. Narcissa let out a shaky breath as she processed the irrefutable evidence she just received.

The blasted snake understands English.

  

   

_________________________

  

   

   

Hadrianus glanced at the bucket to find it almost full of all the winter berries he gathered, so he put the wooden berry-picking rake on the ground when Cody, the head House Elf in charge of the gardens and plants appeared on his side.

"Hey Cody, thanks for teaching me how to select the best berries," He grinned at his little friend as he accepted the bowl from her and put a fistful of hollies in it for snacking while he gave the rest to her.

"You is welcome, Little Master." She accepted the bucket full of berries and immediately left for the kitchen so Cece and Finn can make some Winterberry trifle for the Little Master for desert, saving some of them for the icing for the matcha green tea and pistachio cake Little Master has baked for Master Dark Lord's birthday. Normally she would never let Little Master work like some of them, but Little Master insisted on learning it, and they can never say 'no' to Little Master when he asks so nicely, so she taught him and let him rake while she kept an eye on him.

"Hey, mum," Hadrianus said as he popped a berry in his mouth, "Can we go say hi to the babies?"

Nagini sighed. Ever since Hadrianus discovered a nest of occamies he had been insisting on visiting them. ":You do realize they're on the middle island of the river?:"

":Yes, but they're also inside the ward-line, and you'll be with me!:" Hadrianus insisted, ":I will be fine.:"

":If something happens...your father is going to be angry!:"

":Nothing will happen, come on, mum!:"

Nagini sighed, knowing very well that arguing with her stubborn son is a lost cause, ":Very well, let us go.:"

":Yes! Thank you.:"

  

Hadrianus shifted into his green mamba form and they both jumped on the river water to swim across towards where he knows lies the occamy nest. On reaching the nest, Hadrianus shifted back and made a quick detour to nearby bushes to grab some grasshoppers and stunned them, then put them in his pockets.

":Hey Aodh! Hello everyone! How are you all?:"  Hadrianus grinned as he approached the nest where one male adult Occamy Aodh and four Occamy babies are coiled up and making a racket, probably hungry and waiting for their mother Enda to return with food.

":Noble Speaker! You are back!:" Aodh hissed in greetings.

"Speaker! Speaker!:" ":Speaker! We're hungry!:" The babies cried out as they reached out towards him, tiny wings flapping rapidly.

Hadrianus grinned and pulled all the unconscious grasshoppers from his pockets, making them yell in happiness as they all fought to eat their share.

":Thank you, Noble Speaker.:" Aodh hissed as he accepted his own share: A stunned juicy rat.

":How is Enda, Aodh?:" Nagini asked as she raised her head, and delicately put another stunned rat on their nest, ":This gift is for her, she gave birth to many healthy hatchlings.:" The Occamies had been very territorial when Hadrianus had first discovered their nest, but their frequent visits and all the foods he and Nagini brought for them had to wear them off slowly.

":Ah, thank you, O giant mother serpent of Noble Speaker, my mate will be pleased.:"

"You're welcome.:"

":Have you named them yet?:" Hadrianus asked, curious as the babies tried to climb on his arms and he let them, smiling softly at them.

":No Noble Speaker, they will be named after their first successful hunt.:"

Hadrianus nodded, glancing back at the babies. They hang around for few more minutes to talk, mostly Hadrianus cooing at the babies and complimenting them, they truly are the most beautiful creatures among every creature he has met. The turquoise-colored skin with teal-colored feathers was glittery and emits rainbow shades under Sunlight. Truly gorgeous creature!

Hadrianus grinned at their preening and caught them more grasshoppers when suddenly he felt a mysterious sensation of Ward tingling. It is a curious sensation he never felt before. It was as if...Mother Castle is trying to catch his attention. Hadrianus frowned and focused on the feeling when he realized it has turned into something of a tug. Is Mother Castle trying to tell him to go somewhere?

":I am sorry pretties, I have to go somewhere,:" Hadrianus put the babies down and they all curled up in the warmth, content and comfortable, hissing in thanks.

":Mum, follow me, the Mother Castle wants me to go somewhere,:" He said as he gave in to the tug, hissing the Occamies goodbye and promising more treats when he will come to visit them again. His mum hissed in agreement and chased after him. The tug continued even when they reached the river so Hadrianus turned into his mamba form and followed, his mum closely trailing.

When they reached the other side of the river, Nagini tensed, ":Hatchling, you realize where are we?:"

":Near the Ward-line border, I know. I am just - Oh boy!:" Hadrianus ignored his mother's hiss of alarm as three demon-like cats emitting throaty grovel high pitched sound at them.

":Stay still, mum. It's just the matagots.:" 

":Just the matagots?:" Nagini let out a strangled disbelieving sound.

":Completely harmless unless provoked, and being shot offensive spells.:" Hadrianus agreed, he learned everything he could find, especially about the residences of Mother Castles.

":Did you deliberately forgot 'extremely territorial'?:" Nagini asked dryly as she carefully noted them for any signs of aggression. She will strike out and kill them before if they even try to pounce on her hatchling. But they're not being aggressive yet, as they have probably seen them coming from the Castle. The same castle that they think of under their territory.

":Pffft it's fine.: Ah, thanks, Casey. Just what I needed." Hadrianus thanked the House Elf in charge of animals and offered the dried fish that arrived on his palm towards the matagots. Mother Castle is still tugging at him, and he needs to follow.

The matagots gave a curious mewling sound and sniffed, before approaching him. Nagini tensed beside him but didn't say anything as she watched them move like a hawk.

Matagots approached him and gave him a little sniff, Hadrianus put the dried food down on the ground letting them smell him once more, then decide they're not interested in him anymore as they turned their attention on the food. They obviously recognized him as the child of Mother Castle.

Sparing another second to make sure they're truly not after him anymore, Hadrianus slowly back away then turned and give into the run once again, Nagini following him. They ran for another half a minute along the border of the Ward-line, before screeching to a halt when the tugging stopped. Curious, Hadrianus looked around carefully when his sensitive hearing has picked up a wounded mewling and he could smell some blood in the air.

Following the smell and sound, he reached near the borderline to find a large butterfly-looking creature with a wolf-like skull panting on the ground, unconscious, bleeding and hurt. Hadrianus gasped and ran towards it. It clearly has a broken wing and a large gush near the abdomen which is bleeding.

":Hatchling no! It looks dangerous.:"

":But it's hurt.: Bailey? A bowl of clean water, healing pastes, and blood replenishment potions. Quick!"

"Here they are, Master Harry." Bailey bought them hurriedly.

"Thanks, Bailey, now help me clean the debris!"

Hadrianus and Bailey worked together to clean the debris and heal its wound using the nice little healing charms that Aunt Cissa taught him when he cut his finger in the knife while trying to smear the cream on the cake they baked an hour ago, watching the gush stitched up and healed magically. Thank Merlin Aunt Cissa caught him baking! Or else he wouldn't have learned it! He doesn't know if the Wish Magic would have done it as nicely. Hadrianus quickly fed the poor creature a half vial of blood replenishment potion. He knows Uncle Severus has upgraded the potion to make sure it works on non-humans too, as long as they have some magic. And Hadrianus can already tell this creature has magic blood.

":What is this creature?:" Nagini was confused as she watched her Hatchling and the Elf working on it.

"It's called Swooping Evil, mum, and it has a broken wing. I do not know how to mend a broken wing. Any ideas, Bailey?"

Bailey whirled her ear pitifully, "Bailey is not knowing, Master Harry, but maybe Casey knows?"

Before he opened his mouth, another pop sounded and an old House Elf appeared, looking disapprovingly between the hurt beast cradling on the lap of Little Master and the mentioned wizard. Sometimes she does share the feeling of exasperation with her Master Lord on Little Master's antics. Why he must disregard his own safety like this?

"Casey, Hi!" Hadrianus gave her a guilty grin, "Do you know how to mend broken wings?"

The older Elf sighed and shook her head, "Casey knows if the swooping evil returns to its cocoon, every hurt will be mended automatically."

"Oh?" Hadrianus perked up, learning a new bit of information. It hadn't been on the books. Maybe because they didn't know how to catch one alive, tame it and learn? "How do I help him return to its cocoon form?"

"He would need to be conscious, he will do it himself."

Hadrianus hummed, thinking about how to wake up the unconscious swooping evil. He hardly thinks a simple rennervate will work, given their skin is spell repellant.

":Careful, Hatchling, it smells like a predator,:" Nagini told him as she coiled near him, ready to defend him if needed.

Hadrianus nodded as an idea formed in his mind, he pressed his hand on its wolf-like skull and pressed his Magic in it, citing his Magic to enter its head with a clear command 'Wake up!'.

Hadrianus watched as the dark eyes blinked open, and the white snout rose from his lap to stare at him, the air scented curious, wary, anger, hungry, and pain. The frightened gasps of the Elves suddenly reminded him that the creature in front of him is an encephalophage. Oh, Merlin...! What he had done? He could hear his mother cursing from behind. Nagini may not know what the creature does, but she obviously recognized the hostile stare-down of a predator who now considers her son as prey.

"Um, good boy?" Hadrianus blinked up at it, staring at the wolf-like skull, wondering if there would be any wolf or maybe dog-like behavior in it.

The swooping evil's face twisted, the sharp tooth barring into a ferocious snarl and it screeched, trying to flap its uninjured spiked wings and attack him. Hadrianus yelped and grabbed its face with both hands and try to hold it as far as possible from his brain, ignoring his mum's angry hisses as she tried to lunge at it and the Elves' alarmed cry. "NOOO! Bad boy! Down boy! You're not allowed near my brain! I have only one!"

Abruptly the swooping evil stopped flapping its unbroken wing and struggling, going as far as docile in his hands as it stared at him with wide disbelieving eyes. Then swiftly shrunk into a small cocoon to hang from Hadrianus's left wrist.

Hadrianus blinked at his wrist where a green spiny cocoon is hanging from a thread. What just happened?

"Um, the creature has claimed you as his human, Little Master." Casey's disbelieving voice broke him out of his stupor.

"Me?" Hadrianus gaped at her, "Why me?"

"Because you claimed it, Little Master. And it's Magic accepted that and acknowledged you saved its life. Or else it wouldn't have obeyed you."

"I claimed him?" Hadrianus's stare now turned incredulous. "When?"

"When you made your magic enter his body to make it obey you."

"I - wow, okay," Hadrianus said resigned, blaming it on the bizarre world around him and less than exemplary decisions he made in response. He was about to defend himself - saying something like he needed to save its life when he felt the Floo flaring and telltale sensation of his father returning home. Hadrianus perked up at once, a seemingly dangerous beast hanging from his left wrist momentarily forgotten. His father had been busy for the whole day, and he had missed him. "Father's home! Bailey, can you bring me and mum to the Floo room?"

A quiet pop later, Hadrianus dashed forward and collided with his father who was brushing the ashes off his warm cloak, earning an 'Omph!', "Father! I missed you!" He muffled yell from where he had buried his face in his father's leg, hugging it tightly.

Marvolo chuckled and picked up his son in his arm, accepting the warm enthusiastic hug, and kissed his forehead on his lightning bolt scar. He had been a tad worried when he noticed in the Wards that his son approaching the borderline and then felt a spike of distress from him. But he seems unharmed and happy enough, so he saved it to investigate later, they have some works to do now.

"Hello to you too, my little Prince. Did Narcissa come today?"

"Yes," Hadrianus lit up and pulled a vial from his pocket, "She told me to give it to you."

"Good. Did you have your dinner?"

"Yes, father."

"Good boy. Now, I want you to go and dress up nicely and warmly, put on the grey robes."

"Okay!" Hadrianus said happily and dashed out as soon as his father let him down. When he returned wearing the robes he had asked him to, he paused on the gate to gape when he noticed Lord Malfoy standing there, instead of his father. When did he arrive? Hadrianus frowned at him and then realized the person may look like Lord Malfoy, but he smells exactly like his father and the scar gave the distant tingle, proving his suspicion. After all, he knows very well that looks can be deceiving. Besides Lord Malfoy always scented scared and extremely wary in front of mum! (Though sometimes Barty smells scared in front of Aunt Cissa - but only when she threatens him, and his mum never did anything to Lord Malfoy, so why he would be scared of his big cuddly sweet mother is beyond Hadrianus's guess.)

"Father?"

Marvolo smirked. That's the beauty of Naga. You can use glamour or Polyjuice to look different, but you can't hide the smell of your blood from a species that greatly depends on their smells. At least now he is sure his son will never be fooled by Polyjuice and glamour.

"Are we going for an undercover mission?" He asked excitedly at the prospect of a new adventure. His father always brings up the best adventures.

"Yes," Marvolo smirked as he looked at his son with a calculating gaze, wanting to learn what else he can deduce.

"Okay, so aunt Cissa has a son or daughter? I am presuming a son, and maybe my age? Probably that's why she always catches on me so quickly."

"Indeed." Marvolo chuckled, before producing the photo of Heir Malfoy, "Draco Malfoy. Now, remember, his personality is majorly based on superiority and confidence."

"So act like an arrogant snob, got it." Hadrianus nodded as his father snorted at his words. He studied the photo then focused on changing his appearance. His hair lightened and beautiful green eyes turned silver. His father transfigured the Slytherin Insignia on his robes into Malfoy insignia, then looked critically at his son and then smirked. Without the smell in his blood and their soulbond vibrating with life, he wouldn't have believed him as anything but Draco Malfoy.

"Good, now let's go. Don't forget it's almost 8 in the morning in Britain," His father informed him as he checked his son's warm robes to make sure it's enough for the little Mamba.

Hadrianus followed his father to their Floo to go to Slytherin Manor and then grabbed his father's hand who apparated them directly in front of a tiny, grubby-looking pub.

"What is this?"

"Leaky Cauldron, come." His father steered him inside and they entered. Hadrianus noticed an old and bald toothless bartender glanced up from where he was moping the counter.

"Ah, Mr. Malfoy. What I can get for you?"

"I would like to use the Floo," His father said in perfect imitation of Lord Malfoy as he paid him 2 knuts. The bartender accepted it and offered him a bowl full of Floo powder. His father took a pinch and nodded at him stiffly, before turning towards the Floo. Hadrianus noticed the Floo is not as well cleaned and shiny as they had at home, and remembering the role he is playing, he made his face twist into open disdain and sneering.

His father threw the Floo powder in fire stating clearly, "Ministry of Magic, main hall."

As they stepped out from the Floo with a soft whoosh, Hadrianus noticed that they were standing at one end of a very long and splendid hall with a highly polished, dark wood floor. The peacock-blue ceiling was inlaid with gleaming golden symbols that were continually moving and changing like some enormous heavenly notice board. The walls on each side were paneled in shiny dark wood and had many gilded fireplaces set into them, one of which they had come out. Probably because it's so early in the morning, the place is not packed with people. Halfway down the hall was a fountain. A group of golden statues, larger than life-size, stood in the middle of a circular pool. The tallest of them all was a noble-looking wizard with his wand pointing straight up in the air. Grouped around him were a beautiful witch, a Centaur, a Goblin, and a House Elf. The last three were all looking adoringly up at the witch and wizard. Glittering jets of water were flying from the ends of the two wands, the point of the centaur’s arrow, the tip of the goblin’s hat, and each of the House Elf’s ears.

Hadrianus stared at the statue with distaste. He can believe the House Elf, but who in their right mind thought a Centaur and a Goblin would look at a Wizard adoringly? Narcissistic and blind people!

"I hate the statue." Hadrianus declared. Marvolo snorted, of course, he would. Though his love for all the creatures runs too deep to not want to immediately cast a bombara at it.

"So do I. Come."

As they passed the fountain Hadrianus saw silver Sickles and bronze Knuts glinting up at him from the bottom of the pool. A small, smudged sign beside it read:

All proceeds from the Fountain of Magical Brethren will be given to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

Well, at least they had some sensible bones in them, Hadrianus thought warily as he followed his father toward the gates into the smaller hall beyond, where at least twenty lifts stood behind wrought golden grilles. Hadrianus followed his father towards one of the free and open lifts. He noticed several witches and wizards who recognized 'Lord Malfoy' either nodded at him in acknowledgment or simply turned their heads in open disdain. Hadrianus bit the inside of his cheeks to stop himself from snickering. Lord Malfoy sure has some enemies!

His father wisely ignored them all and approached the lifts, and pressed the nearest down button and a lift clattered into sight, the golden grilles slid apart with a great, echoing clanking, permitting them entrance.

"Hold on to me."

Hadrianus immediately grabbed his father's legs as he noticed his father pressed on the number nine button, the grilles closed with a bang, and the lift began to descend, jangling and rattling.

"Whoa!" Hadrianus yelped as he tightened the hold on his father's leg as if his life is dependant on it as the lift sped up at once.

"Department of Mysteries," said a cool female voice when the lift stopped, making Hadrianus peek from where he had hidden his face in his father's legs.

"Come."

Hadrianus let go of his father's leg and followed him outside, looking around curiously. The walls were bare; there were no windows and no doors apart from a plain black one set at the very end of the corridor. And there were a couple of Unspeakable standing and talking to each other in a whispered voice. When they stepped into the hallway, they stopped their conversation to look their way, waiting patiently when they realized Lord Malfoy intended to talk with them.

"What can we do for you, Lord Malfoy?" One of the Unspeakable spoke up when they approached them.

"Unspeakable Rookwood, I am here as a representative of Hogwarts Board of Governor," Marvolo said in imitation of Lucius's voice as he pulled the sealed letter from his pocket, the letter containing the petition and official permission from the Minister.

Augustus Rookwood quickly read them through, nodding when he finished, "We have heard about this new proposal Lord Slytherin suggested for Hogwarts, and we had been waiting for the permission. We will contact Lord Slytherin to talk about the course details and schedules later, once we decide who will be amenable to teach." He put the parchment back in the envelope and saved it in his pocket.

"Thank you," 'Lucius' inclined his head at that.

"Anything else?"

"Yes, I am hoping to give my son a tour to the Hall of Prophecies, he wishes to know if there is any prophecy regarding him."

The Unspeakable snorted at that, "Not impossible, there are hundreds of them being created and destroyed every month. Come, I will take you, but make sure not to touch any Prophecy that doesn't belong to you."

"Of course."

Unspeakable Rookwood ushered them towards a large, circular room. Everything in here was black including the floor and ceiling — identical, unmarked, handle-less black doors were set at intervals all around the black walls, interspersed with branches of candles whose flames burned blue, their cool, shimmering light reflected in the shining marble floor so that it looked as though there was dark water underfoot. There were around a dozen doors here.

"What are all those doors for?" Hadrianus can't help but point out.

It was the Unspeakable who replied, "They are the entrance to several chambers, like Prophecy Chamber, Time chamber, Death chamber, Thought Chamber, Dream Chamber, and many more. You will learn if you become an Unspeakable when you grow up, Heir Malfoy."

Hadrianus had blushed when it was not his father who replied, but the name 'Heir Malfoy' reminded him he was Undercover here, so he has a role to play. So he straightened up, standing tall and proud beside his father, and rose his nose in the air, reminding himself of Dudley as he did so, "Thank you."

The Unspeakable's lips twitched as he opened the door of the Hall of Prophecy for them, "When you're done, close the door behind you and say my name, I will escort you out."

"Thank you." 'Lucius' nodded as he leads his son towards the room full of the beautiful, dancing, diamond-sparkling light and the door closed behind them. Hadrianus closed his eyes to a slit, letting his eyes became more accustomed to the brilliant glare he saw clocks gleaming from every surface, large and small, grandfather and carriage, hanging in spaces between the bookcases or standing on desks ranging the length of the room, so that a busy, relentless ticking filled the place like thousands of minuscule, marching footsteps. The source of the dancing, diamond-bright light was a towering crystal bell jar that stood at the far end of the room.

Hadrianus ran after his father as he seems to know where he was going, grabbing his father's hand impulsively, "What does an Unspeakable do, father?"

"They are, what you can call a researcher. They research and study different branches of Magic."

"Oh, so Wiggle version of scientists?"

"Indeed."

"Cool, I want to become one too, father."

A slow smile took place on his father's face, "If you wish for the same after you grow up, then, of course, I will allow it."

"Thank you, I will," Hadrianus voiced earnestly, making his father hum.

"Here it is," His father said suddenly as he stopped in front of a shelf.

"What is it, father?" Hadrianus asked as he craned his neck as much as he can, but still can't see.

Noticing his little son pulling at the leg of his trousers, Marvolo picks him up and pointed at the very heart of the bell jar. Hadrianus read the yellowish label affixed to the shelf right beneath the dusty glass ball. In spidery writing was written date of some nine years previously, and below that:

S. P. T. to A. P. W. B. D.
Dark Lord and (?) Harry Potter

 

Hadrianus unconsciously tensed at the name, turning his head to look at his father questioningly.

"Father?"

His father hummed.

"I am not - "

"I know. That's why I am here." He said as he closed his fingers around the dusty ball’s surface. Remembering the Unspeakable's warning, Hadrianus tensed up, but relaxed when nothing happened.

Marvolo dusted it off as he stared at the glowing orb in his hand, the reason for everything that transpired in the past decade, though he is glad it had happened, he has gained his son because of it. He had expected it to feel cold, but it did not. On the contrary, it felt as though it had been lying in the sun for hours, as though the glow of light within was warming it.

"Let's go home."

   

    

    

__________________

   

  

  

Hadrianus watched as his father let the orb fall on the ground of the Study room where they are sitting in their respective seats. The orb falls on the ground, the glass shattering, and a pearly-white figure with hugely magnified eyes rose into the air, Hadrianus could see its mouth moving and a cool, dreamy voice spoke up,

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...."

Hadrianus blinked around midway to bite into the winterberry trifle, then turned to look at his father, concerned and worried. Either must die at the hand of the other? But he doesn't want to die, neither he wants to raise his wand against his father.

Besides his father is immortal, where is the point in that?

Marvolo must have noticed his worry, so he waved it off with a dismissal way, "Don't worry about it, the Prophecy has been fulfilled, you have already 'vanquished' me when you were someone who born as the seventh month dies."

Nagini agreed with him, ":True, and it doesn't say you have to keep doing it.:"

"Yes, besides, you're now someone who has been born at the dawn of a new year, Magic has accepted you as my son in blood, flesh, and soul. No one can say otherwise."

At that, Hadrianus relaxed back at his bean bag, and bite into his trifle. Marvolo smiled he took a dainty sip of his tea. "So, now that has been out of the way, tell me, what have you been getting up to the whole day, child of mine?"

Hadrianus widened his eyes when he suddenly remembered the small cocoon he had hidden in his robe pocket and choked on his trifle. He gulped audibly, "You're not allowed to get mad."

For instance, his father's smile vanished and suspicion and concern entered his face, "What did you do?"

Harry bit his lip, contemplating his options as his father's eyes narrowed into slits, carefully testing the boundaries between concerned and livid.

"See… here's the thing - "

"What. Did. You. DO."

Begrudgingly, and while wincing rather heavily, Hadrianus attempted to give his father a short overview of the five hours, obviously keeping the news of baking cake hidden.

"You did WHAT?"

Hadrianus made a strangled noise, staring with obvious dismay at the man as he sputtered, trying to find the right words. "I - In my defense, I couldn't just leave it there! It was hurt and bleeding!" His mum was enjoying him getting scolded too much, so asking her for help was out of the question.

"Do you know what else it is?  An encephalophage! You, however, carry the same brain within your skull which it feeds on!"

"That's beside the point!"

"That is the point!"

"But - " Hadrianus wanted to argue for his new little pet, "he was hurt!"

Marvolo took a shuddering breath and then become eerily calm as he took a sip from his cup.

"You're grounded."

Chapter Text

Ages-old battle instinct had Marvolo ingrained the habit of sensing and feeling out his surroundings with his Magic before he opens his eyes. And for the last couple of months, sensing out for his son as well. So when, on the morning of New Year Eve, Marvolo noticed he can't feel his son anywhere in the Slytherin Castle, his first reaction was alarm and dread. And then, when he noticed he can't feel Nagini as well, he felt as if his heart stopped beating.

HOW?! He NEVER felt anything at the night!

What did the hell happen?

As Marvolo recognized a full-blown panic is starting to settle in his bones, he slammed his shield up and threw his blanket off to rush towards his son's room to check out physically and maybe find a clue on what happened, who dared to kidnap his son and decades-long companion. He will tear the World apart if anything happens to either of them! On the verge of freaking out, he almost ran into his son's House Elf who appeared at his side just as he threw open the door of his son's room.

"Master Harry has requested Master Lord sir's presence in the Manor for his surprise birthday celebration and asked Bailey to place his birthday gift on the nightstand table. Happy Birthday, Master."

Marvolo gaped for a second before his half-sleep half panic-addled brain geared up and he remembered that this is indeed New Year Eve, his birthday. Is that what's happening? They're preparing a surprised birthday celebration for him while giving him an aneurysm?

Clearly, neither of them realized that they will be responsible for Hell is to be loose on Earth if something happens to either of them! The first Wizarding war or even the World War is nothing compared to what Marvolo would do if that happens.

As he finished processing everything, he immediately reached out towards the Horcrux links on both his preciouses to find them rather excited and giddy with anticipation. No trace of distress, no alarm, or any sensation of pain coming from either of them. He was tempted to see through their eyes but refrained himself. No, they're fine. And if they're working so hard to give him something like a birthday surprise - as repugnant as that sounds, he will indulge them and not ruin their delight.

Marvolo took a deep breath and calmed down. Well, no one has ever wished him on his birthday other than Nagini, heck people didn't even know when was his birthday. So that's a bit unexpected and unusual for him. But even so, how come he never felt the tingling of the Wards shifting in the Manor? Is his son truly that proficient in sneaking inside the Wards that he placed, or he is losing touch? He even sneaked inside his bedroom the other night as well! Even now, when he reached towards the Slytherin Manor wards, he can't feel them. What is happe - OH!

Mother Castle is blocking him. That little twit probably asked the Mother Castle to block him out until he reached the Manor. And he didn't even know that Mother Castle was capable of doing that until now.

If Marvolo was a lesser man, he would have smacked his face. Of course, even the Mother Castle would prefer to listen to his son's request and block Her Lord! Note the sarcasm here.

Hold on, did the Elf just say his son left him a present?

Marvolo turned on his heels and managed to keep his dignity and not stomp towards his room to find out, anticipation bubbling inside, a tiny little part of his heart jumping up and down in sheer joy of having his first birthday gift ever. Speaking of which...he thought he grounded the child. And Marvolo knows Hadrianus will not disobey him like that. Then why did he...?

Marvolo saved the thought for later to find out when he went to the Manor and picked up the silver wrapped gift from his bedside table carrying his son's name tag. Quickly tearing through the wrappers, he opened the lid of the box to find a gift basket made of bamboo in there, which contained multiple gifts that are decorated rather artfully. Marvolo slowly placed the basket on the bed, his eyes roaming from one to another. The first gift that caught his eyes was a beautifully created crystal crown that seems to change color with light and time, magic is radiating from it, which he examined to find unbreakable charm, anti-dust, resizable charms, and some basic protection charms which Marvolo recognized Barty had been teaching Hadrianus. It was so artfully created that, if it wasn't for the 'Wiggle Lord' written on it with familiar handwriting and his Magical signature in the crown, he wouldn't have believed it was his son who made it.

Next what caught his attention was multiple medium-sized photo frames made of twigs and pieces of cardboard, armed with preservative, waterproofing, fireproofing, and anti-dust charms, holding several beautiful moments of his life. Like the photo of him standing in the Slytherin Common Room wearing his Prefect badge and holding Slytherin Court, his graduation day, and some random photos like him hanging out in Slytherin Common Room with his first Knights! There also were photos of just him, Hadrianus, and Nagini casually chatting in his Study or the photo where they all are cuddling and Marvolo teaching Hadrianus how to draw a ball of light, followed by Hadrianus who summoned his own ball.

Marvolo stared at the photos for a long time. He can tell every photo was taken from memory, judging by the blurriness around the edges. While he knows some of those memories are from Hadrianus's own memory, that doesn't explain how he got a hold on the memories of his school time. Who could have supplied him with these memories? A memory of a flustered young boy looking up at him with wide adoring eyes came to his mind, but Marvolo shook his head. No, he knows Theonel Nott doesn't remember his face anymore. And the photos clearly say whoever is this remembers him. They clearly were involved in the secret of Fidelius. And he has no idea who they are.

Marvolo sat up straighter uneasily. Whoever is it, he must get to them first and make sure they're under a strict secrecy oath. While he can give credit to Hadrianus for his efforts, he can not let them ruin his plans.

Marvolo saved the gift basket on his shelves, taking the snacks from them (All his favorite snacks!) and ordering Cece to save them, he went for a quick shower and then put on some nice clothes. If his son is arranging some kind of surprise for his birthday, he might as well be prepared for it.

 

When Marvolo reached the Manor, he was prepared for...maybe some kind of private celebration. What he wasn't prepared for was a glitter bomb to set off as soon as he stepped out, then several voices rose in the air, "Happy Birthday My Lord/father!" making Marvolo breathe deeply and curled his hand into a fist which was itching for his Wand with several curses already on his tongue. Okay, he wasn't prepared for this. At. ALL!

Damn it, he is not a simple and regular Wizard! He is a battle-hardened war leader with paranoia dialed up to nine and his instincts consist of shooting a killing curse at anything that catches him off guard! What were they thinking?

No, he can't blame the child! The innocent wee Naga has no idea what a monster his father is!

When he was calm enough, he looked around to find his son, Nagini, Barty, Narcissa, Severus, Lucius...and Walburga? Everyone is grinning up at him, though he can see the wariness in the adult's smiles. Good.

The last one's present was totally unexpected. Never in a million years, he thought his son will find out about Lady Black and reach out to her. Well, that explains how he was able to get a hold of memories of his school time. This also means Walburga knows who is he, but at least it made him relieve some tension. Walburga and Orion were fiercely loyal to him even if they didn't take his Mark, though he would acquire some oath from her later.

Marvolo took his time to look around the room to find it decorated with Slytherin color and a big 'Happy Birthday' written in golden and white glitters floating in the air, which changed the next second to form 'Wishing you a day filled with happiness and next 364 days filled with joy,' and then 'I love you' and many more. Thankfully there was no balloon, or else Marvolo wasn't sure how he would react. He can hear Nagini cackling at the sight of him, which made him wipe whatever expression he was sporting but not before shooting a glare at her. He can tell it was Nagini's idea about the glitter bomb.

Marvolo stood tall and nodded at them, sighing when he failed to brush off the glitters from his robes, face, and hair. If it was anyone else, they would be dead! "Thank you, everyone."

He made his way towards the Head of the table where his son is almost bouncing on his feet in excitement, grinning from ear to ear. As he took his place, he looked at the sneaky child and raised an eyebrow. "Was it a prank on me?" The glitter bomb had to be a prank!

"What are you talking about?" The child's eyes were wide and innocent. Marvolo snorted and decided to let it go, for now.

"Someone ignored me grounding them."

Hadrianus blushed, tugging at his left wrist letting him know where is the blasted creature hiding. "Well, you said I couldn't 'cross the river for a month'. And technically, I didn't cross the river, I used the Floo!" He shrugged, face set into a guilty grin making several voices snort at that. Marvolo resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose. Of course! That sneaky little imp! Barty covered his mouth with the box he was currently holding to hide his smile while Narcissa, Lucius, and Severus bit the inside of their mouths to stop their lips from forming into a treacherous smile of their own. Only Walburga outright guffawed.

Marvolo pinched the cheeks of his son making him exclaim 'Ow! Ow! Ow!' for the sheer cheek, then looked back at his old classmate, "Good to see you, Walburga. I haven't known you were acquainted with my son."

"I wasn't, My Lord," Walburga smiled fondly at the child pouting and rubbing his sore and red cheeks, "However, I did express my desire to learn about the current Lord Slytherin to dear Narcissa. Then this morning, Narcissa appeared and welcomed me for an afternoon tea with Heir Slytherin in the Slytherin Manor on his behalf. I obviously accepted and then learned the truth from him and then I was invited for dinner and additionally for your private birthday celebration. And I have to say, he is such a delightful and polite little chap, reminded me of my son Regulus, he truly is a perfect Heir."

"Indeed?" Marvolo snubbed the rage at the mention of the traitorous Regulus and turned towards his son who ducked his head, his cheeks burning, "Aunt Cissa told me Grand Aunt was your old classmate, so I thought you'd like to meet up with some old friends for your birthday."

Hold on, did he just say... "Grand Aunt?"

It didn't escape Marvolo's eyes how Walburga puffed up at the title, "I instructed him to call me that, which I am through dear Narcissa. He makes a much more desirable descendant than I had the displeasure to meet, I wish you had some Black blood in you, little Adrian. I would have petitioned to Arcturus to disown Sirius and make you the Heir Black." The House of Black will be honored if their Lord accepts the name.

It was Barty who spoke up next, "Isn't Sirius the Lord of Black?"

"I would never let that blood traitor become the true Lord of Black, not when I am still breathing! He is the acting Lord at the moment, the true Lord is Arcturus. And Sirius had vowed that he will never have a child, let that Potter spawn have the inheritance after Arcturus's dead! Can you believe it? The Noble Black family is in the hand of the disgusting Light family! Not only that, a blood traitor family responsible for our Lord's fall!" Walburga was outraged, her voice taking a shrilly note which had Marvolo almost cringed. Though he is relieved at the news, as the Potters has gained too many Lordships. Many people gave their seats to Jim Potter as an appreciation for ending the war or to save themselves from going extinct. He doesn't need to add Black seats added in the pile as well.

Marvolo smirked inwardly, knowing his son does have some Black blood in him. But he is not interested in gaining the Black Lordship, he already has too much work to do. "If you want, Walburga, I can plan for some alternative. Unless you want to name Heir Malfoy as your Heir?"

"Dear Draco has been in my mind as the last hope, but I didn't want the Black House to be merged with another House, despite their rank. So yes, I would like to learn your plans, My Lord. Can you save the House of Black from going extinct or merge with others?"

Marvolo inwardly rolled his eyes at the hypocrisy. She doesn't want to merge Black with Malfoy, but wants to merge it with Slytherin? And then she says 'despite their rank'. Does she honestly believe Lucius is a feeble-minded WIzard to not understand that? Not that he can blame her. Lucius himself wanted to merge Malfoy with Slytherin, although using another approach! "Well, I have some of my side projects under consideration, if everything continues as designed, our dear Bella can provide you a spare as Heir of Black if you concede the female line to serve House of Black."

Stillness surrounded around the table, before everyone exclaimed together, "How?!"

"My Lord, sister Bella was - "

"I know," Marvolo nodded, "Have some faith in your Lord. And if what I am planning for Bella meets success, I can arrange something similar for Narcissa as well." That is if Lucius lets go of his family pride and agree with a surrogate. Maybe he will when he sees the result. Marvolo is aware that the most pureblood line is going extinct because of their prejudice to accept change and welcome a surrogate. They think it will bring unwanted and impure ancestry to their Heir, refusing to accept further knowledge on the topic and learn the truth. (This has been one of the reasons he didn't clarify the issue on his son's bearer during the Wizengamot session - because they might accept him 'marrying another' after the 'death' of his 'former wife', but then will start questioning why he's not doing the same again after the 'accident' with his wife. Learning that bit of news from Rita Skeeter had been an eye-opener for him, and made him extra wary for his next moves. After all, he can't have eerie fangirls stalking his every movement and then realize who he is underneath!)

But if they notice fanatic pureblood like Blacks accepting it and producing pureblood and powerful Heirs, (and he knows Bella will do anything her Lord suggests) they might start accepting it. After all, the more Magical people, the merrier! And the products of Malfoy-Black, and Lestrange-Black will be truly powerful.

Walburga almost cried in happiness with Narcissa, even Lucius and Severus looked excited and awed at the prospect.

  

  

After the brief gift giving - though none of them were as precious compared to what his son gave him - it was time for the dinner (or breakfast, in Marvolo and Hadrianus's case), Marvolo couldn't stop himself from widening his eyes looking at the delicious-looking matcha green tea and pistachio flavored cake with 'Happy Birthday' written on it with familiar handwriting; which told him who made the cake. There was also a great albino cobra (his Naga form) with berry eyes coiled up around the cake and flaring its hood proudly over what seems like a snowman in front of two simple winterberry bushes - made of original winterberry and cake cream foundation. He remembered fondly the day they were roaming the previously unexplored wintry part of their garden in their half serpentine form and Hadrianus discovered the big and charmed snowy section full of bushes of hollies and other winter plants and squealed in ecstasy before demanding they make a snowman together. Hadrianus had been very proud and over the moon for having his first snowman that no one will destroy, he probably never realized that it has been the first snowman for both of them. After that, they made several detours to the snowy section to make snowmen and snow angels whenever they're free. (After all, Hawaii is a warm country, the temperature doesn't drop below zero so they can't have the real snow.) This memory has been among the photo frames as well - both of them proudly grinning as their respective charmed carrot-nosed snowmen preened, surrounded by the holly bushes under heavy snow.

"You made it?" Marvolo raised an eyebrow at his eight years old. How? He is a child!

Hadrianus squirmed on his seat and blushed under everyone's attention, while Nagini giggled softly from where she is perching on the lounge chair. It was Narcissa who spoke up, "I caught him baking alone yesterday, the whole face smeared in flour."

Baking alone? Where did he learn to - Oh! Of course. His son has stopped being a child since he was a toddler and in care of those muggle scumbags! Marvolo took a note on a detour to the headquarters dungeons.

"Is that what you've been doing for yesterday's lessons?" Marvolo raised an eyebrow as he picked up the knife on his insistence. Hadrianus ignored him and prompted him to cut the cake, which he did reluctantly.

The cake vanished and then appeared as several pieces in front of everyone's plates. Marvolo cut a bite-sized piece and ate it, surprised to find how moist and fluffy it is. Not too sweet and the flavor is perfect - his favorite, as always. It made him realize how observant his little son is. No one ever knew him at this intimate level before.

"The cake is awesome, Little Prince. Kudos!" Barty waved his own piece before taking a huge bite, followed by affirmative murmurs from Lucius and Severus. Hadrianus blushed shyly but beamed happily, pleased. The Dursleys never complimented him, under their care - or lack, thereof - he was only acknowledged for his mistakes.

"I will teach you some of my mother's recipe," Walburga smiled and cooed at the child.

Narcissa smiled into her wine. Coming from Aunt Walburga, that is practically a compliment. "I am sure little Adrian will be delighted to learn them, Aunt Walburga."

"My Lord, if we may," Severus spoke up when a comfortable silence was fallen as they all got busy with the excellent dinner.

"Yes, Severus?"

"You had asked me to find someone worthy of the trust to look out for the Dark Prince while Barty is in Hogwarts."

"Yes," Marvolo looked up eagerly, "You found someone?" Because heaven forbid if that child can go one day without scratching or bruising himself. Marvolo feels like if he wraps the child in bubbles and cushioning charm, he still will find a way to get in trouble when no one is around to supervise the trouble magnet. He had left him alone for few hours yesterday (to celebrate the win with his inner circle of the Knights and inform them about his return as 'Lord Slytherin'), and then returned home to discover the imp running around with a possible class XXXXX Dark creature flapping from his sleeve as if cemented with a permanent sticking charm. He still can't believe he had allowed him to keep it, not that he can actually retain a familiar from its wizard after the bond has already formed, no matter how much he tries. But at least he can nurture and guide the connection between them in such a way that they can keep each other safe and not get in trouble in public accommodations.

"My Lord, I have looked for the best and competent guard, and I believe Corban Yaxley can look after him until Bella and the twins are home and healthy enough. Among others, I suggest Theonel Nott, though physically incompetent, he has a grandson of the same age as the Dark Prince and they can play together in your absence."

Marvolo hummed as he relaxed back into his seat, inwardly rapidly going through everything he knew about the Wizards. Yaxley was among his Knights and has an eye for subtlety. Loyal and smart enough to be his son's bodyguard, but is he trustable near a child? He is not sure. And Theonel, however physically challenged, is a formidable duller as well. After all, he had taught him in school. And Theonel will not try to fashion a marriage contract between the children in exchange, understanding his worth and place well, unlike someone else. Oh yeah, he hadn't missed the comical look on Lucius's face at the mention of Nott and possible competition with him.

"My Lord, I can offer myself as well," Walburga suggested, "I am a lady in my lonesome living in Grimmauld place with no commitment. I will be happy to spend some time in good company."

Now that can be a good idea. When Walburga is not shrieking, she can be an intelligent witch with valuable knowledge obtained from the famous Black Library. Maybe Hadrianus will wear her out with his thirst for knowledge and she will let him run wild in the library under her careful surveillance. Marvolo considered all the options quickly, then glanced at his son and subtly at Nagini. Nagini gave a half nod, not minding the shrilly witch, knowing she associated with Tom from school and has been loyal to him. And Hadrianus looks interested to get to know his honorary 'Grand Aunt' too. So Marvolo spoke up, "I accept. But you will have to take a secrecy vow."

"Of course, My Lord."

"Fine then. Narcissa, after Walburga has taken the secrecy vow, please discuss Hadrianus's routine with her and find out when she will be amenable, I will key her to the Wards of Slytherin Castle later." Marvolo ignored the gasp at the mention of Slytherin Castle and glanced at Severus, "Severus, contact with Theonel and ask him if he's agreeable to meet with Lord Slytherin, but don't tell him about me or anything. Ask him to contact me."

"Yes, My Lord."

"Speaking of which, My Lord," Narcissa spoke up, "I have informed my dear son Draco about little Adrian, he has been fascinated to meet with a new and potential playmate." Maybe not 'fascinated' with the way he grilled her with questions while becoming redder and redder and then throwing an enormous tantrum afterward, jealous of having to share his parents and his Godfather with a 'foreigner' and the inevitable competition for his highest status as Pureblood Heir, though Narcissa is determined to make him see reason and well behaved before they meet. She can't have him misbehave with her Godson, "Perhaps if we could arrange a playdate between them? They are, after all, Godbrothers."

Lucius felt his eye twitched at the mention of 'brothers' once again, before deciding he needs to discuss it with his dear wife about possible pairing between the powerful Heirs and to stop her trying to 'brother zone' the children before Draco has the chance to own the Dark Prince's heart. He is sure Narcissa will relish the opportunity to have more claim on the child. Maybe subtly hint Draco about the potentialities and not to miss the favorable circumstances while The Dark Prince is still available?

If Marvolo wasn't always keeping an eye on his son, he probably wouldn't have noticed the flash of panic in his eyes and the spike of distress coming from their bond, though on the outside Hadrianus maintained a neutral face. No one, except him and probably Severus - noticed him. And obviously, none of them attracted attention on his moment of dread. After all, among everyone in the room, they're the ones who would know what he might be feeling. And he knows for once that the mind healers hadn't started to address his anxiety concerning the same age yet. But he can't delay the inevitable after the way Narcissa has stretched on the 'Godbrother' part (which was his fault really, he's now regretting appointing her as his Godmother. He should have prioritized people with no children.) as much as he would like to keep him in his safety cocoon. Perhaps they can meet under surveillance and Marvolo can monitor the progress and go from that?

"You can bring him with you during your next lesson." Marvolo reached out towards his son to brush off the bread crumbles from his face (Yes, using the serviette, instead of using Magic; knowing the silent 'I am here' gesture will make Hadrianus relax - which it did) and ignored the mildly disappointed expression of Narcissa and Lucius. They were probably hoping to let their son attend Hadrianus's birthday celebration tomorrow, but he wouldn't allow any excuse to further distress his little son on his first significant anniversary.

  

  

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The rest of the day passed in a rather peaceful way, despite the surprise celebration during the breakfast (or dinner, if you think about the guest). In the afternoon, the family of Nagas, a portrait and a Maledictus were relaxing under the Sun in the garden while engaging in debates on whether or not all answers and sources of every Muggle mythological belief are actually related to Wizarding World. Hadrianus is quite certain that the Santa Clause is actually a Wizard who probably visited some Muggle children via Floo travel, that's why they believe he arrives via the chimney. And then Delphi agreed with him, assuming Santa Clause's sleigh is pulled by Thestrals who are probably disillusioned and charmed to look like a common reindeer. This theory brought up another question: whether the Muggles who had seen death can see Thestrals or not.

That was when Severus arrived with the help of the Dark Mark as his Lord's permission.

A House Elf wearing a Uniform with Slytherin insignia popped in near the gate to inform their Lord will meet with him in the front yard garden. So Severus made his way towards them while he heard the topic of the discussion. He halted in some distance to watch his Lord in His Naga form resting in the huge blanket on the ground, Little Prince also in his Naga form perching inside His coils, and their Master's familiar also dropped all over them as they talk and eat snacks. Severus knows from his own Ahool Inheritance that they are most comfortable in their half-Naga form. What was most shocking was the portrait of Salazar Slytherin and another man hanging out with them as well, relaxing and rather actively participating in the ongoing debate with them.

The scene was immensely domestic. He never imagined witnessing his Lord doing anything domestic, or familial. It reminded him that behind the God-like personality, intelligence, and cunning, there is also a man.

"Ah, Severus. What do you think? Can Muggles see Thestrals?"

Severus cleared his throat as he approached the family, his Lord with an amused glint in His eyes and little Prince grinning up at him, while the people in portrait just watch him curious. "I think those who have seen death can see the Thestrals, though the theory was never tested or published, as the Ministry officials make sure to keep disillusion wards around them and obliviate any Muggles in case they are exposed."

"As they should," Salazar agreed, "Muggles would never understand anything related to Magical, they're the reason behind every old tradition and culture being tagged as Dark and illegal. Just because the muggle-borns do not understand them!"

"True, but I do believe with Tom's approach, they will eventually start studying our ways. I am voting for bringing them young though." Delphi piped in from where he was lounging with his husband in the portrait. Marvolo gave a thoughtful humming sound.

"And what if any one of them sees Azure?" Hadrianus grinned at them as he raised his left wrist revealing the tiny cocoon hidden in his sleeve. Severus blinked and realized 'Azure' is the name of the Swooping Evil. Rather fitting, given the azure shade of blue on its inner body.

"I would rather prefer if they don't," Marvolo raised an eyebrow at his son before looking at Severus, "Speaking of which, Severus?"

"It is done, My Lord." Severus bowed, before pulling a miniature box from his pocket, enlarging it to its original size, and presented it to Him. His Lord nodded as He accepted it, before looking back at His son, "You can call him out for his meal."

Hadrianus blinked owlishly when the box was passed to his hand, opening it to find a bloodied and fresh severed human brain inside. Hadrianus widened his eyes, before raising his left hand and called, "Azure? Come! Dinner!"

The cocoon cracked to reveal a rather young swooping evil who flapped its wings and screeched in reply, flopping and moving around on his human's lap until Hadrianus pointed at the box. Within a second the beast dived towards it and started to devour his food rather hungrily. Hadrianus watched him eat for few seconds, fascinated but not disgusted - having accepted the fact that he has a human brain-eating familiar, before looking up at his father, "How?"

"I have ordered Severus to go to a few Muggle Forensic Labs for the supply of fresh human brains. They are always working on several cadavers, he just made sure that they save each brain of the healthy cadavers in a charmed box before returning the body to their family. Every time they place a brain, it will arrive on your box, you can give it to Bailey so she can preserve the brains under an excellent charm for Azure. People are dying out there every minute, so you will never run out of his food and endanger your own." Even though he knows a familiar will never attack its Wizard. But he is not taking any chance with the dangerous beast that should be classified as XXXXX (Known wizard killer/impossible to train or domesticate) according to rules of classification by the Ministry of Magic.

"And how did you convinced them to do so, Uncle Severus?" Hadrianus stared at Severus, incredulous, ignoring Grandpop's (that's what Delphi insisted Hadrianus call him, much to Grandpa's aghast at the informalities and ordering him to call both of them as 'grandfather'. Both of them had laughed at his expression and Hadrianus refused, instead of calling them 'grandpa' and 'grandpop'! His father had been too amused to listen to grandpa's complaints when he told him.) compliment on his father's glorious idea.

Severus smirked. "Magic," He deadpanned.

Hadrianus blinked, then burst out laughing.

  

  

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Filius had been appalled by the esteemed Headmaster's behavior. While he said nothing about all the new changes and planning for new schedules the staff are arranging for the students, it's rather obvious in his body language that he is not approving them. And not to mention the dark look on his face whenever Lord Slytherin is mentioned during the staff meeting and given he was mentioned quite frequently in recent times, he was always in a sour mood.

Even though Filius can admit he might not be as cunning as Slytherin, still he is not a simple-minded Wizard, he had been the Head of the smartest House for some reason. Unlike Bethesda, he had understood the changes themselves are not the reason for Headmaster's disapproval (except for the ideas of clubs and new classes maybe), it's because those ideas were brought by Lord Slytherin. And Filius knows very well that, unlike other Professors, Dumbledore is biased against every Slytherin. Thinking all of them as Dark and evil Wizards. But he has crossed a line when he tried to claim that Lord Slytherin is You-Know-Who so they shouldn't trust the man with Hogwarts' curriculum.

No one believed him, and understandably Professor Crouch had been in an uproar, obviously upset for the insult towards his childhood family friend, revealing that Headmaster tried to claim the same in front of Wizengamot as well and now he is on Probation from Chief Warlock position. Filius, Pomona, and others had demanded an explanation for his claims, and obviously, like always, Albus's reasons were inadequate and illogical at best. His 'concerns' thus have been dismissed by the professors and Mineva, the angry lioness, has threatened him into cooperation, especially after she assured him she will appeal to Lord Slytherin for changing the Headmaster of Hogwarts if he keeps it up; then patronizingly reminded him to submit the statement of the Hogwarts fund and begin paying what he stole. And Albus's loyal patron Lily Potter has been under probation from her job because of the ongoing investigation and so he has no other supporter in school at the moment. Even faithful Hufflepuff like Pomona has turned her nose as well, declaring her loyalty is towards Hogwarts, not Albus.

Filius sighed and looked around. Silvanus, Aurora, and Bethesda were discussing some of the new plans for their club beside him in the Staffroom, while Severus and Barthélemy Call-Me-'Barty' Crouch idly chatting up about a newly published research related to some spellwork. Pomona and Quirinus were grading homework beside them. They all were waiting for Minerva, Poppy, and Ronalda, ready to go to Slytherin Manor to discuss their plans for the new class and club and finalization of the drafts they've created for the fundraiser posters. Initially, they planned for only Filius, Severus, Barty, and Bethesda to go meet him, but then the others wished to accompany them as well, having completed their own planning.

After a minute or two, the door of the staffroom opened and Minerva came hurriedly, followed by Ronalda and Irma. "My apologies, Irma wanted to meet with Lord Slytherin as well, here, give him my resignation letter as the Head of House and Transfiguration Professor. Augusta has already written to him accepting the position, and not to forget the letter from Professor Switch. She has accepted the position as well. Oh, and Pandora Lovegood and Lord Gornuk's acceptance letters have arrived, tell him they've agreed to start classes from next year and will contact him once they draft up their schedule and plans." Minerva completed in one breath, lips twitching when some of the staff cheered at the announcement of new Professors. Unlike the new courses that are to be added from next year, they didn't want to wait for next summer to begin the new curriculum of old courses and clubs, determined to start them when the students return after their Yule Holiday.

"Where is Poppy?"

"She couldn't come," Minerva said, her face taking a dark look as she scowled, "There was another 'accident' of one of the students residing at the moment, she told me she will give the man a Floo call later." 

"Who is it?"

"Miss. Currow." Minerva sighed. Everyone stayed silent for few seconds, already knowing what must have happened, some of the tyrants must have found her alone and hexed her for the 'unforgivable crime' of being the daughter of a Death Eater. Severus sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He will visit her after the meeting and find out why she was alone. He has always encouraged them to stay in groups of at least three!

"And what about Professors Slughorn and Flamel?"

"Albus is yet to contact them, which I will make him do now," Minerva said firmly with a determined gleam in her eyes. Barty smirked at that, oh he doesn't envy the Headmaster for earning so much ire from his own second in command! When he was a student here, he hadn't realized what goes on behind the doors of the staffroom and how annoyed Minerva is with the barmy old goat. 

"Perfect, let's go then?" Professor Crouch jumped from the chair, looking around as everyone smiled at the always eager young man's excitement and stood to follow him towards the Staffroom Floo. Minerva wanted to join them too, but she has other duties she can't avoid at the moment, and knowing she is now the Deputy Headmistress, she can always meet him for one thing and others. She is rather relieved to have such a competent young Wizard in charge, Albus always finds a way or another to avoid the paperwork and constantly zone out whenever she's talking about Hogwarts which always made her beyond irate. He has never shown any interest in Hogwarts other than a few hand-chosen pupils - funny how all of them are in his Order! It's like his focus is always on wars and politics, despite being the Headmaster of Hogwarts! She would rather not waste her breath with him on issues with Hogwarts anymore, besides, if what the Board of Governors saying is true, it is Lord Slytherin who will be responsible for overseeing Hogwarts Curriculum and other stuff. And she will happily contact him. She has been concealing her annoyance with Albus, thinking them as trivial insignificance until the young lad came and not only showed how bad the things had been because of her ignorance, but also that no one is perfect, even the Leader of the Light, the winner of Order of Merlin and defeater of Grindelwald is flawed like others. 

  

 

With soft and multiple whooshes, the ten staff members arrived in the Slytherin Manor. As they all patted and removed the ashes, the familiar voice of Lord Slytherin spoke up from behind, "Welcome, Professors. I was not anticipating so many of you to come today."

Filius with others spun around to find Lord Slytherin in the big Office room connecting the Floo, sitting in a comfortable lounge chair behind a big desk, looking at them with mild surprise. His posture was regal and impressive as always, dressed resplendently in the refinery, but what caught them a little off guard is the presence of a small heap of fluffy crochet blanket full of bright stars that seem to be twinkling, and the Moon radiating a muted glow in his lap. That... seems a bit out of place! It looked more like belonging to a child!

"Apologies, Marvolo, but the presence of some of my colleagues were last-minute addition for today's appointment," Barty blushed, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly, "I didn't have time to owl you."

"That's fine, Barty. Please, take a seat everyone," Marvolo waved on newly conjured chairs while giving an affiliative and polite smile revealing his dimples. They murmured thanks and took seats, ignoring the presence of the baby blanket on his lap.

"Is Adrian alright?" Barty asked, eyeing the small lump on his Lord's lap.

Adrian? He recognized the name as the name of the Godson of Professor Crouch whom he talks of. Where is - That's when Filius noticed a tiny round shape full of raven hair carefully tucked under Lord Slytherin's chin. Oh! Is that...a child under that blanket? Is that Adrian?

Marvolo's eyes followed theirs to his lap and he blushed a little, one hand moving upwards to adjust the blanket on his lap, "My apologies. My son has decided that a scratched knee has earned him the privilege of turning himself into a human sloth and because his mother was not around, he has claimed me as his comfort tree. And I couldn't shake him off as he has stuck himself with me using Magic!"

That earned him peals of laughter around the room. Barty grinned as he looked proudly at his colleagues, "Yeah, my Godson tends to bounce around like a monkey but one scratch and boom! He will cling to you like a sloth! Wonder which one is his animagus form!"

That earned another round of laughter, and everyone relaxed in their seat. Yeah, they all know Professor Crouch is the Godfather of Lord Slytherin's Heir. He nearly never stops talking about the child and his amusingly witty antics. If what he says is all true, then Filius can't wait for the day the child will go to Hogwarts. Using accidental Magic purposefully? They hadn't considered Barty's words before but now they can see proof themselves. That is quite extraordinary! The child is truly powerful and has excellent control of his Magic. Filius can't wait to take him under his wings and teach him everything he knows! Oh, Minerva will love the child as well! He can't wait to go back and tell her about the little imp! Maybe she will teach him how to become an animagus as well? 

"Do not apologize, Lord Slytherin." Filius glanced at the sleeping child cradling in his father's arms. If the rumors were true, the child has gone through too much trauma of losing his grandmother and mother in one accident a couple of months prior. So he understood without needing Lord Slytherin to tell them that they have left only each other for comfort. "Children are the blessing of Lady Magic. You're lucky to have a miniature you running around and filling your home with their joyous merriment and amusing antics."

Lord Slytherin smirked at that, not of mockery or taunting as he aimed at Albus in the meeting; but a genuinely happy one which made his whole face lit up a little as he glanced at the child on his lap with an affectionate and gentle smile. Filius exchanged a look with others at that, everyone coming to the conclusion that Albus has truly gone mad. How can he claim this passionate young man as the serpentine monster? They all know that You-Know-Who doesn't have a son, even then he would never offer comfort to a child for something as mundane as a scratched knee and be genuinely fond of him. Of course, they all have understood that the child is the motivation that has driven Lord Slytherin into bringing Hogwarts to her former grandeur. He is preparing her to be the best for his Heir's education before he turns eleven. Upgrading her to satisfy the level of expectation that any parent would desire their child's school to possess.

Barty exchanged a quick glance with Severus before ducking his head to take a slice of Battenberg cake that the Elf brought them and bite into them while trying to hide his smile. He was surprised when he saw Little Prince sleeping in His lap, knowing very well The Dark Lord will never bring the child into a meeting like this unless something happened. But now he understood the motive behind this particular move. It is to plant a firmer belief in the other Professor's minds that he is nothing other than a common family-oriented wizard and a proud father.

After all, who will believe that the cruel, merciless, ruthless leader who doesn't hesitate to torture and murder anyone getting in His way would offer warmth and devotion to a child for a scratched knee, right?

Oh! Little Prince will be soo traumatized when he wakes up!

The thought alone made Barty almost crack up. Looks like their Lord found a way to flawlessly retaliate on Little Prince on his birthday for setting up a surprising birthday gathering for Him then startle Him with the glitter bomb! And no one can even prove that it is a prank on him! Only his Lord will know how to kill three or four birds with a single curse!

"How old is your son?" Pomona asked.

"He turned nine today."

"Today!" Multiple jaws dropped, "Oh no, we interrupted on a special day!"

"That's okay," Marvolo waved him off, "We have already celebrated his birthday." 

"Don't you have any soirees planned for him?" Bethesda asked, perplexed.

"I did ask him if he wants to meet with new people and befriend someone from this new place, but according to my son, he hates attention from anyone other than his parents and family. So that idea was shot down. We had a little outing instead." He had taken him to the amusement park to celebrate his day after the cake-cutting ceremony was done. Hadrianus had relished every moment and was beyond exhausted on return.

"That is...very nice of you to ask for what your son actually desires." Pomona replied, surprised, "Most parents just assume them and cause obligation for their children, Lord Slytherin."

Marvolo smiled at her, dazzling and placid, while Barty bit the inside of his cheeks to stop himself from cackling. Oh, they have no idea! "Please," He inclined his head courteously, "Call me Marvolo."

"Then you must call me Pomona." Filius, Bethesda, and others joined with her, asking him to call him by their first name. Barty smirked at Severus's face flushed for a second with panic to call their Lord by their name, so he sat still, probably trying to not attract attention on him. Barty was once in the same position as him. Though he learned quickly after his Lord glared at him for being reluctant to call him by his name in public. After all, they're supposed to be 'friends'!

"Lord Slytherin," Irma Pince took the attention when they all calmed down from fawning over the child, disregarding his request to call him by name, she is a very professional witch, "I am Irma Pince, the Librarian of Hogwarts. Deputy Headmistress told me if anyone, you'd be able to solve my issue. So I would like to submit a petition to you."

"What is it about?"

"The Headmaster has removed multiple books from the library and denied most of my book requests. Children cannot be educated if they do not have the correct books from which to learn." Pince told him, irate and face set in a stern line, "It's been an ongoing conflict since my appointment as Hogwarts Librarian. Most of the books from the Restricted Section have been removed. Even more from the normal bookshelves and it keeps happening!" Worse still, he would remove them without her being aware or informed beforehand!

"Did he give a reason as to why these books were removed?" Marvolo questioned, frowning. He hadn't known this information. Dear Lord, can the headmaster fall any lower? 

"No," came Pince's curt reply. "I had no idea any of them had been removed until a student wanted them. I did not realize it was him at first until I went to him to complain about the books being stolen from the library."

"Did he give a reason for not allowing other book requests?" Oh, he knows what is this about. The old fool trying to stop letting others learn anything that he considers 'dark', even if it's considered grey by the Ministry, and maybe something to stop the Muggle-borns from realizing their place.

"No," Pince admitted exasperatedly, "I just got the paperwork back with a big red 'Denied' stamped across it. When I finally lost my patience and confronted him a few days back, he gave a lame excuse."

"And what was that excuse?"

"That it was unappropriated for Hogwarts library, not for children to be reading." Pince declared huffily.

Marvolo didn't resist pinching the bridge of his nose. It was Filius who asked the next question, appalled. "What are the books?"

"Magic," was Pince's dry reply. "Defence, books on creatures, Inheritances, Pureblood Laws, Charms, Astronomy, Theoretical Magic, History Of Magic, Potion, Ancient Magics, Ancient and Advanced Runes, Alchemy, Wandless Magic, Arithmancy…the list is endless."

"Did you bring the list?"

"I did," She pulled a thick and rolled parchment from her robes, "I have also brought the list of books I wanted in the Library."

"Give both of them to me," Marvolo sat straighter, as much straighter as he can with a sleeping child in his lap, "I will install them back and maybe arrange some wards around the Library which makes it impossible to remove a book without your explicit permission in future."

"That will be adequate." Irma Pince nodded, satisfied.

"Also, I have been thinking to add more varieties of books, some leisure reading like fictions and non-fictions, general knowledge, different Magazines, and newspapers - both Magical and Muggle. The letter could help with their Muggle Studies as well. What do you think?" Marvolo glanced at Quirinus who nodded eagerly.

"Maybe books on Science and Technology as well, if you're adding them as elective?" Quirinus offered. All the better. The Wizarding World must learn what they are up against. As they all say: Know thy enemy!

"And the books on arts, yoga, cooking, and music!" Bethesda exclaimed loudly, before slapping his mouth shut when the child in Marvolo's lap moved a little. Dang! He had forgotten about him!

Marvolo nodded, ignoring his embarrassment, "Why don't you all give me a list of books you want to add during the next meeting? I will speak to the rest of the Governors and make arrangements."

Irma relaxed in her seat and ate the cake, beyond pleased this time. Looks like Minerva was right, the young chap is good for Hogwarts!

The topic changed and the discussion about the new schedules of classes and ideas for materials for new clubs started.

"Professor Herodotus had recommended his daughter-in-law Alexandra Herodotus nee Angelos as our History Professor," Aurora said excitedly, "Not family bias, of course, because she was his apprentice, almost as good as him. So I contacted her, and here is her acceptance letter," She kept the parchment on the desk, "I have already told her to contact you with the new course and schedule. She will come to Hogwarts on the same day the students are due, so the letter may arrive any day."

Marvolo nodded, and then the attention was taken by Quirinus and Ronalda who asked him if it was possible to install some muggle sports like several types of obstacle courses, tennis, and table tennis, gymnastics, surfing drills for the students. The new ideas were welcomed by others rather enthusiastically, so it was a big yes and he left it to Quirinus and Ronalda to arrange for it and make a portion of Black Lake safe enough for children to surf with the artificial and charmed waves. Hadrianus would probably love this idea, knowing how much he likes swimming.

Next to them, Bethesda asks if they can have apprentices in Hogwarts as they have in the Ilvermony and Durmstrang. The apprentices can also help to teach the students, which will be good training for them. Dumbledore never allowed them in Hogwarts before, afraid for the safety of students. But they can be easily countered with a simple oath before the start of the apprenticeship, which can be added in the general terms and conditions before acceptance of apprenticeship!

Marvolo agrees with him, permitting each professor to have a maximum of two apprentices at a time after they are cleared from the respective Magical Guild. A magical oath before apprenticeship will be needed and Severus agreed to draft up general oath words for them.

As they talk, Hadrianus moved in his father's lap, starting to wake up. The conversation among the adults was halted as they all looked at the sleepy child moving on his father's lap, the blanket keeping him warm falling from his upper body, revealing a miniature version of Marvolo Slytherin who was twisting and yawning tiredly, rubbing his eyes before blinking his bright green eyes open.

Barty smirked as Hadrianus stared at the strangers in front of him with growing confusion and wariness, before craning his head to look at his father and then immediately blushed on realizing where is he and what's happening around them. The sounds of chuckling and snickering around him turned him as red as a tomato as he tried to hide his face in his father's robes, which made the adults laugh even louder. Barty was cackling so hard that it is surprising he is still sitting on the chair and has not fallen on the floor. Even Severus is smirking.

"Is it a prank on me?" Marvolo couldn't help but laugh at his muffled voice from his chest.

"What are you talking about?" He retaliates with the same innocence in his voice, which was countered by the smirk.

Hadrianus groaned miserably and slammed his head in his chest, praying the ground to open up and swallow him! Marvolo grinned at that.

Barty's laughing reduced to occasional chuckling as he stood when Marvolo shot a glance his way, "Hey kiddo, how about we go and make a snowman in the garden, let your father do all the dull adult works?"

Hadrianus couldn't be more glad for his Godfather for saving him from this mortifying experience, before nodding and demanded to be held by raising his arms in a Universal baby gesture. Barty laughed and approached them and picked him up from his Lord's arms.

"Don't forget to dress him up accordingly," Marvolo said after them as he flicked his wand, the blanket with the stars and Moon sailed through the air, neatly folded, and then placed on the rug in front of the fireplace, before adding a simple glamour to hide the sleep-addled wrinkles on his robes.

"Of course. See you all at school." They left after waving at the others, who waved at them back still chuckling.

Aurora fawned, joined by a hyperventilating Pomona who looked like she has been refraining from pouncing on the child and pet him hard, "You have a cute son, Marvolo."

Marvolo smirked.

Chapter Text

"Now, my son," Marvolo said as he leads Hadrianus out from the door of the Mind Healer. They were here for their weekly combined counseling and Marvolo couldn't be prouder of his son for managing so fine. Even the Squib was a little surprised with how great the child was prospering and how quickly he is recovering from his PTSD. Though, Marvolo thinks it's all because of their shared Naga inheritance that's encouraging the child with his instincts and thus influencing his subconscious perception. But today, he is beyond proud, if that was possible when the squib had urged him to take an IQ test for his son, declaring him to be too intelligent for his age! Well, he unmistakably noticed that, but hearing the piece of scintillating revelation from a certified Healer, is a compliment if he ever hears one. He knew one other person whom the doctors decided having higher intelligence than ordinary and urging to test for IQ (though he hadn't done it, thanks to Mrs. Cole, and later it had become insignificant): that has been him. But he is determined to not repeat that mistake with his son. His son's IQ test is not something insignificant. "Don't forget, your aunt is coming to look after you as I will be a little busy for the rest of the day. So expect her when you wake up from your afternoon nap. Be a good boy for her, hmm?" He said as they reached the Receptionist. Only a family of two was standing there but he paid them no mind, his focus still on his son.

"Yes father," Hadrianus was grinning with ears still red, a mixture between proud, bashful, and satisfied from the conversation between the doctor and his father.

Marvolo flashed him a knowing and proud smirk at his son and turned towards the receptionist, "Excuse me, I was recommended for an IQ test for my son and has been referred to the IQ test clinic by Dr. Welsh."

"Of course," The receptionist smiled brilliantly, "Would you like to give the test in the IQ test clinic or his school?"

"In the clinic, please."

The Receptionist nodded as she got busy with booking a slot for them. Marvolo's attention was taken by his son who tugged on his sleeve, "Yes?"

"Is her son coming as well?" He whispered as his hesitant eyes found his. He is scared. And nervous. Though his reasons are different now as he knows the son of someone as great as Aunt Cissa can not be bad, right? Even if he has a superiority complex - as father said. But his father also has a superiority complex - that doesn't mean his father is not the best one out there!

But what if he doesn't make a good enough impression on his Godmother's son?

Marvolo quickly thought this through, already decided that they will meet only in his presence. Is it going to be today? He doesn't believe so, as he will be preoccupied. But before he could reply to him, their attention was drawn by a surprised voice, "Lord Slytherin - Peverell?"

Marvolo raised his head to quickly scan the surrounding, his eyes coming to meet with Dowager Longbottom standing near the reception of the hospital with her grandson, looking at him surprised. Marvolo cursed inside his head, having not expecting it. But of course, he smiled pleasantly outside while carefully casting a privacy charm surrounding them, adding a subtle compulsion at the receptionist, nothing harmful, it's just she will feel a strong urge to not call him or his son by his name. He can't have her disclose their names as 'Tom and Harry Riddle' in front of his former classmate now, can he? It's going to dissipate all the efforts he created with tremendous preparation.

He should have designed a suitable Muggle identity for him and his son. Maybe he will charm the papers and the muggles to change the name to Durjaya? And his son could be Devarsh. At least the names are adequately muggle, reflecting their Indian origin, and the meaning behind the name is accurate.

He should have thought this before today. "Ah, Dowager Longbottom. A pleasure to find you here."

"Pleasure is all mine, I haven't expected to meet you here in the Muggle World." She looked at him carefully. What he is doing here? A Slytherin in Muggle World is not good news, though she is saving the judgment. Especially because of the presence of a child version of Lord Slytherin with different eye colors standing just beside him clutching his hand. Definitely his son. Why they would need to visit a Muggle Brain Hospital out of all places? A squib relative admitted here? Augusta hardly thinks that's possible, that a Pureblood Slytherin will visit a squib relative admitted to muggle hospital. Besides, the child was grinning at his father a moment before. Anyone visiting their relative admitted to a hospital wouldn't grin like that.

Marvolo smiled, dazzling and enigmatic, knowing very well what's going on in her mind, along with confusion because of the presence of his son. While a part of his brain felt disgusted with the idea forming in his mind, the other part - the Slytherin part jumped at the decision.

"Well, I must confess that I wouldn't be here unless for my son's counseling," He started, watching her widen her eyes minutely, "Dr. Welsh is a renowned child psychologist, and he was recommended by some of my associates."

"I understand," Augusta averted her eyes from the father towards the son, before looking away, a little ashamed of herself. She should have realized it herself, a child with trauma like witnessing the consequences of an accident that caused his grandmother's death and mother's incapacitation would need some help and Dr. Welsh is one of the best Mind Healers for children out there, even if he is a squib. She learned everything she could about every muggle healer here before coming. "Pardon my intrusiveness for asking an inappropriate question. I appreciate your honesty, even though you didn't have to divulge us, and of course, I agree with your arrangement to see a psychologist, after what he must have experienced." To most of the Pureblood, agreement to see a Mind Healer is always kept strictly secret if they even consent to it - as most believe them to be shameful practice. Though she can't help but wonder about this unfamiliar 'IQ test' that she listened from the conversation. Is it something related to post-trauma patients? Like one of those scans that take unmoving black and white photos of the inside of the brain?

She paused when she noticed the minute flinch of the child, then the way he averted his eyes and seems to be fighting with himself to not recoil and appear a smaller target. Augusta watched bemused as the child took an unconscious step towards his father and clutched his hand tighter, clearly seeking comfort from his presence, his magic swirling around him and embracing him - as if attempting to soothe and shield their distressed owner from the World. Augusta was impressed with the purposeful act of his accidental Magic - it was quite extraordinary for someone's magic to be so controlled and sentient of their own to offer the feeling of compassion and warmth to its owner! This is not an act but a spontaneous and subconscious reaction, clearly, the trauma has affected the child deeper than she thought. Probably whatever happened, occurred right in front of him. So she hurried to change the topic, offering her secret for their secret. She is an honor-bound Gryffindor, after all.

"I am here as a friend's recommendation as well," She said, tearing her calculating eyes from the child, "I have heard the Muggles may have some better treatment for brain-damaged patients than St Mungo. It's for my son and daughter-in-law, both incapacitated in war, you see." Augusta realized belatedly exactly where and how Professor Crouch learned that the Muggles have a better understanding of the human brain. Is he not the Godfather of the child in front of her? She did hear about the tales of his antics from him many times.

Marvolo nodded understandingly, already knowing who gave her the idea. Barty and Narcissa both had been fascinated with MRI and CT-scan of the brain when Dr. Welsh asked for it for Hadrianus and since then they had been reading up Muggle's Anatomy, Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, and any other Healer books they could find after touring multiple Muggle bookstore with Severus. Well, not only them, of course. He himself has been fascinated as well. After all, knowledge is knowledge, no matter where you gain it from. And learning this has been interesting for him, different from anything else he read before.

As they talk, their attention was taken by the receptionist, "Excuse me, sir, I have booked a slot for tomorrow at five in the evening, it's in room number 17A. And you will have to fill this form."

"Thank you." Marvolo inclined his head at her, taking the form, and turned at her. "Oh, before I forget, this is Hadrianus Slytherin, my son, and Heir," He beckoned the child forward, might as well introduce them, "Son, meet Dowager Longbottom, the new Head of Gryffindor House."

"An honor to meet you, ma'am," Hadrianus came forward and courtesied, kissing her knuckles gently before backing away with a polite and sweet smile. Augusta nodded, pleased to find the child polite and knowing manners adequately. Perhaps Neville would do good to befriend the child, and how to control his own Magic from him. She is quite worried about her grandson for not performing enough accidental magic to meet her expectations.

Besides, if the child belongs from a family where muggle treatment from a Squib is welcomed, then he can't be that bad, right? From their posture and outfit, they are quite familiar with the Muggle world. This means the child is not an uptight Pureblood snob like Malfoys. Maybe this is normal for Magical Germany to accept the best from both cultures? Equality between Purebloods and Muggleborns alike? That is certainly good news and tells her how much Magical Britain needs some serious up-gradation. She is thankful for the changes Lord Slytherin - Peverell bringing for Hogwarts and Magical Britain. A child of a wizard-like Lord Slytherin - Peverell is worthy of associating with the Longbottom Heir.

"Thank you, Heir Slytherin - Peverell. May I introduce my grandson and Heir of Longbottom, Neville? I believe you two will be in the same year. You two can become pen-pals. Growing up alone without parents, Neville doesn't have many friends."

The other child Neville had blushed and looked like he wanted to shrink away from the encounter, but Marvolo knows the last word has won Hadrianus's attention who looked at him with a new light, of course remembering he had been in a similar position not long ago and smiled radiantly and enthusiastically at him, "Guten Tag! Ich bin sehr erfreut Sie kennen zu lernen, Erbe der Longbottom Familie." (Hi! Pleased to meet you, Heir of Longbottom family.)

Marvolo smirked at the other child's momentary blank look as he studied the form in his hand, Augusta Longbottom looked like she wanted to smile. Taking a little mercy on him, he cleared his throat while filing up the form. Looks like the Accent Alteration potion has been a bit overdosed with the eight years old, he probably should have let him take half vial of it. While he doesn't mind the child switching to Germany at home whenever he is excited, it is sure a con for him at a moment like this. Though it's not a con for Marvolo, as now he appreciates that Augusta will be confirmed about the child's upbringing in Germany. After all, the Accent Alteration potion is an obscured branch of potion, declared illegal and dark because one of the ingredients is blood and its use to alter Accent and thus hide identity.

Hadrianus realized where it went wrong when his father cleared his throat, making him blush deep red to the tip of his ear, stumbling, "Erm, p-pleased to meet you, Heir Longbottom." Now the mortified child looked like he wanted to shrink and hide in some deep dark hole, away from the World. Though there is nothing to be embarrassed about!

The other child, bless his Hufflepuff heart, now grinned back at him and shook his hand enthusiastically, obviously wanted the other child to not feel embarrassed because he accidentally spoke in another language at the moment of excitement. "Hello! Pleased to meet you too, Heir Slytherin - Peverell."

Hadrianus beamed, still red in the face, "Call me Hadrianus, or Adrian."

"Call me Neville then. So you're from Germany?"

Hadrianus blushed again and nodded.

"That's nice. I would like to hear stories of Germany, I have never been there."

"While it's good and all, why don't you two save all the 'getting to know each other' by talking through letters and fixing a playdate?" Augusta suggested, "I am sure Lord Slytherin - Peverell has places to be." Maybe she will encourage Neville to ask Heir Slytherin - Peverell what kind of test is that on the letter. 

The children immediately agreed.

Hold on, Marvolo thought as all his attention came to a halt listening to the children talking and bonding over their shared embarrassment. His son, the Heir of The Dark Lord's first friend is a Light Wizard with Hufflepuff heart and Gryffindor origin? Not only that but the third Prophecy child?

What. Is. His. Life?

   

 

__________________

 

 

Hadrianus squinted at Aunt Cissa, watching her fuss over him, checking the swimming suit he was wearing to make sure the warming and other protective Runes are working. "Aunt Cissa, you know you didn't have to babysit me at some ungodly hours, right? I am not a baby! I am a big boy, nine now!" This has to be some god-awful hour in Britain! She has her family, her own son, she can't keep visiting him whenever his father is busy in the daytime!

"I know you're not a baby!" Narcissa urged him to finish the fruits, a growing boy like him needs all the foods he can eat! Look at him flourishing after getting all the proper nutrition and appropriate activities and improving both height and muscles! "Besides, it's my duty as your Godmother to make sure my borderline suicidal Godson with the powers and perils of intuition of a flabberworm does not adopt another possible XXXXX class beast today." Knowing him, he will probably try to find an Acramantula or a Basilisk in the forest. Though the latter would more likely to befriend her Godson, given he is a parselmouth and a Naga!

Merlin! As if she is not stressed enough! Now she has a brand-new nightmare!

Hadrianus splutters in indignity and outrage, "Hey! I do not have 'perils of intuition of a flabberworm'! Neither I am 'borderline suicidal'! I can assure you it's the danger who finds me! Barty says the Deity of Chaos has a crush on me!"

Aunt Cissa elegantly snorted, Hadrianus didn't even know people could snort elegantly before he met her! "Very assuring."

"It is! Unlike what my father says, I do have some sort of self-preservation!"

"Someone with a modicum of self-preservation wouldn't adopt a swooping evil!" Narcissa informed him sardonically as she watched the beast in question flaps its wing as it preens and moves around on her Godson's shoulder as if it owns him, the only thing keeping her inching towards her Wand is the knowledge that the beast is her Godson's familiar and has a spell-proof skin. Narcissa narrowed her eyes when something caught her attention, "What is that?"

Hadrianus followed her eyes towards his right ankle and beamed, "It's my birthday gift from Barty. Look." Hadrianus removed the Kydex sheath and ankle holster to shows her the Blackhawk Tatang Knife. Narcissa had to resist pinching the bridge of her nose when she found a note engraved on the holster:

'Happy Birthday, Little Prince. May you be the reason someone smiles today, or be the reason they drink... Whatever works!'

...Charming!

"Darling, do your Godmother a favor." Making sure the child is looking at her, Narcissa proceeds, "Please stop listening to your Godfather, he's killing off your brain cells. Here, have some milk."

"I hate milk!" Hadrianus scrunched his nose in disgust.

"It's almond milk, sweety. Try it."

Hadrianus give the white liquid a suspicious sniff, finding it sweeter and a hint of little nuttiness. Intrigued, Hadrianus give it a little sip, humming at the subtle change of taste, though they're mostly the same, "I still don't like it," He declared, "but I will drink it if you give me seven spoons of Caviar."

"Three," Narcissa said, her lips twitching in amusement.

"Six and a half!"

"Three and a half!"

"Six."

"Four."

"Five and that's final!"

"Five is fine." Narcissa nodded her head as if it was a good enough deal, before calling one of Malfoy House Elves to bring the jar of her Godson's favorite treats.

"I have a question." Hadrianus declared as soon as he finished the milk.

"What is it, my dear?" Narcissa asked as she served him five spoons. She has long resigned to having thrown bombarda of questions. Though, until now, they were mostly related to any topic they're learning that day. But she did hear from Barty about weird 'head-scratching induced questions' Hadrianus usually asks if he gets the chance. So she took a sip of her tea while patiently waiting. How difficult it can be, right? Doesn't hurt to at least hear them.

"Why is it called almond milk when we can call it nut juice?"

Narcissa promptly choked on her tea and coughed noisily. Okay, she takes it back, she doesn't want to hear them. The viper snake beside her started emitting some strange sound Narcissa can swear is cackling. Well, it sure is enjoying her awkward situation. Trust the Dark Lord's snake to be sadistic!

"Adrian," she moaned after she cleared her airway and breathed deeply, "You'll learn the answer when you grow up."

The child looked thoughtful at her answer as he munched on his treats. Narcissa suddenly had the urge to stop him from thinking and usher him towards the river for swimming. But her musing was drawn by his next question, "What did it feel like on your last day of being a child?"

Narcissa was a bit taken aback at the sudden change of topic, wondering not for the first time about how the child's mind works. Not even Draco asks this type of question, as his questions are mostly materialistic, "Why do you ask?"

"So I can know when I grow up." He answered without wasting a second, making Narcissa blink. Before she could come up with an adequate response, the child has already fired his next question, "Why do we have to be born young and grow old, why can’t we be born old and get young?”

Narcissa stared at the child blankly. While it was quite a deep question for a nine-year-old, she doesn't know how can she satisfy the child's wondering. The giant serpent is no help as well, too busy laughing its head off! "It was a good question, maybe you can ask your father when he returns?" Rather Him than her, "Either way, it's time for your swimming. Let's go!" She exclaimed as soon as he finished his Caviar.

Narcissa inaudibly sighed in relief when the child in his half Naga form and head wrapped in Bubblehead charm, followed by the giant serpent dived inside the river to swim and play Quapaad with the other couple of merchildren who have been waiting for his arrival. Letting his familiar fly on its own until he resurfaced again. Knowing the child will be busy for at least a couple of hours, she took out some medical reports of her patients and started going through them, sitting in the Garden lounge chair enjoying the Sun while sipping the excellent tea.

Not even a few minutes passed before Hadrianus poked his head out of the water to ask her, "Do you think merpeople's finger prune from being underwater for so long? Is that why all of them always wear armor? Mum says you might know the answer."

Narcissa let her head smack on the table in front of her with a loud thud!

  

   

_____________________

   

 

A sleek and elegant black cat-like creature pounced on the Island of Azkaban, bigger than a common male panther with an inky dark coat of fur that seems to shine under the Full Moon. Deadly sharp claws adorning each paw and the razor-like canines that could cut through any flesh, the diabolical image was furnished with demonic-looking red eyes that seem to be glowing like a pair of rubies. If there were any people out there and yet remained unharmed enough to see him properly, and they would become confused whether it is a black panther, black puma, or black jaguar!

But the apparent confusion is what made the huge wild cat even more dangerous-looking and fiendish.

The black wild cat waved his tail slowly, ears straight and attentive as he looked around, then let out a grunting sound, followed by a low hiss as he headed towards the big fortress in the middle of the Island. He was soon joined by an unusual accumulation of animals, like a beautiful giant black wolf with glowing eyes and blueish hue patterns on his face and the same glow around his chest with spikes, a horned blue-sided antelope with glowing eyes, a honey badger, a peryton, a jackalope, a monstrous tarantula spider, a nine-tailed fox, and an ahool. They all chased after the huge black cat - their leader. Their dark and mixed fur colors being obscured by the opacity and stormy gloom of the North Sea.

"Crow crow!" A common raven crow crooned and flapped its wings catching their attention, making the black panther-like wild cat bolt forward with the rest of the creatures. When the whole group gathered in front of the gate of the fortress, the crow crooned again, giving a positive signal. The bat flew off ahead of them, magically shrinking itself enough to get inside using a filthy ventilator. A few seconds later, a squeak caught the attention of the leader who nosed the gate open and entered inside the fortress of Hell, closely followed by the unusual accumulation of animals. The honey badger, kitsune, tarantula, peryton, and the jackalope crept further at the panther's signal, followed closely by the crow flying above their head. The wolf and antelope stayed with their leader while the giant ahool bat hanged itself where the crow had been before.

The small number of animals sat on the clean corner that has been magically cleared of filth, waiting patiently for half an hour before their attention was taken by a distant call of "Crow crow!"

Their leader mounted on his four powerful feet, raising his forelimbs upwards, and then started to change. The inky fur converted into the same midnight black hooded Gothic style fighter robe with stylish belt equipped with charmed sword holster and several secret pockets storing different other lethal weapons; several runes and charms including weatherproof, water and fireproof, protection against minor hexes and jinxes, protection against tracking charms being attached to Him, etc are drawn on the robe expertly. On his both feet covered with the same clothing completed with strapped boots hiding the several ankle and thigh holsters. The beautifully crafted sleeve that covered the pale as white arms rose above in the air, the Yew Wands in his gloved hand. The rest of the three creatures stayed alert encircling their Lord protectively.

The Dark Lord kept His eyes closed, His whole focus on the Wards, searching for the ones He wanted to change. He stopped the Wards that are supposed to alarm the Ministry and some other Wards that are keeping the Prisoners locked in and ceded all the other Wards like monitoring the healths of the prisoners, making them look like they have merely fallen because of poor maintenance.

After double-checking to make sure He didn't miss anything, all of them apparated to the terrace of the fortress. The bat screeched before it came flying to join the others on the ground, shrinking itself to land on the back of the wolf and hanged itself from one of his spikes. The wolf looked less than impressed for being used as a bat perch and snapped at it, growling, using his tail to bat the bat - the unintentional pun making it huff and smirk at the irony. But the bat simply ignored him and stayed where it had been. The wolf rolled his eyes in a very non-wolf way and huffed again, before ignoring its presence.

The Dark Lord, unmindful of his subordinate's playful bantering, raised his Wand to shot signal at the sky. Soon, multiple people with similar hooded warrior robes and poison green masks with silver outlines - different from the infamous bone-white 'Death Eater' masks and plain black robes - apparated on the terrace.

Not only He had outfitted His Knights with different styles, but He had designed their Uniform with different runes and charms similar to His own. His Knights are now stronger than ever and enhanced as they have never been before - nothing, not even bad weather or a surprised attack from behind could hold them now.

And if he had borrowed the idea from His son's trainer robes and swimming costumes which He had let Hadrianus design for himself - well, no one is going to question Him on that! Even He had to admit the child is a genius in progress!

Their new and improved mask is now impossible to fall off in the middle of the battle, charmed to stay glued even if the owner is unconscious, and hides their voice making it appear genderless. As did their outfits. No one other than The Dark Lord Himself can know who is who. He made it so no one - if they're caught - will be able to pull another Karkaroff.

The robes and masks are charmed to outfit their owners at a moment's notice, otherwise kept hidden in pocket dimensions that will be artificially created and store the moment the owner disrobes themselves. Besides that, he will be informed the moment someone put on the robes, and keep track of them to prevent anyone from any unauthorized hodgepodge that He didn't appreciate.

Another example of His genius invention. 

"Go," The Dark Lord ordered His Knights, caressing His Yew Wand in His ghost-like hand, "Bring them to me."

The wolf and antelope beside Him whistled sharp, taking their attention as the bat flying off his makeshift perch, and soon, everyone other than the ahool and the Clan of Dementors - bolted forward, the robed men following them and mixed with the darkness of the fortress. Even the glow of their body is not visible anymore.

As they left, the ahool changed to reveal a man with the same bat-like midnight black robe and similar mask. The Dark Lord conjured a crystal vial from the pocket dimension and levitated it on the gloved hand of the other man. "Careful with that." It was said in a monotone and blank voice, sounding as if He could care less of the consequence if the other is not - but Severus knows how much The Dark Lord cared for all of them. He simply nodded and vanished into the night - but went another way than the others.

Lord Voldemort glanced at the Clan of Dementors clustered together to watch them work, His lips curling into a wry smirk. The leader of the Clan has already talked with Him, permitting Him to do whatever they wished with the prisoners, as long as they do not starve them - as the Ministry does. No matter what the Ministry likes to believe, the alliance with Ministry with the infinitesimal understanding between them is ephemeral. And He already has many ideas to keep these inscrutable creatures content and happy. He has already given them the address of the most nefarious and worst type of muggles, especially those who abuse children and criminals of human trafficking, rapists, and other criminals who escape justice by bribing or blackmailing. He already has at least a few hundred on His list - though he had warned them to not take them out at once and to lay low until He has complete control of the Ministry. He has wizards on his list as well but he is refraining himself, knowing this would alert the Ministry that the Dementors are out of their control.

Soon enough, His knights have gathered all the Prisoners in front of Him. With the Moonlight permeating the gloomy darkness on the terrace, anyone can see the clear division between the Prisoners. Ten of them were without any binds or chains and now being handed conjured shock-blankets, water, and calming draughts, while the other seventeen were bound and silenced, on the ground at His feet. He smirked under His hooded robes as His Knights also brought the Unconscious Aurors, all eight of them except those who are His, bounded and unconscious but unharmed, being hit with sleeping charm from behind and then Confunded into thinking they have fallen asleep while patrolling.

It shows how much incompetence the Ministry is for not erecting good wards to keep animagi and other creatures out of Azkaban and not preparing their Aurors to pick up the magical traces and signatures of people surrounding them. Their ignorance has always worked in their favor during the war. It's such a shame that even after being faced with such criminal charges, the Potters and Dumbledore have escaped the Azkaban, using their name and funds. He wished He could torture them to His heart's content then Obliviate them to stage the blame on some Light Auror. Well, He will destroy them other ways - sooner or later.

"Bless the Dark....is that you, Master?" A  familiar but croaked voice whispered, drawing Him from His musings and The Dark Lord turned to find a gaunt feminine figure of one of His loyal Knight dragging her shock-blanket-covered body towards Him, staring at Him with wide crazed eyes. The Dark Lord smirked, releasing some of His power letting the woman taste it, making her fall at His feet. Even if most of the upper part of His face except the glowing red eyes are hidden with the mask, she can recognize the smirk and the allure of her Lord's Magic from anywhere!

"My Lord! My Master! It's really you! You're back to us!" Bellatrix cackled loudly in joy and the rest of the captives cheered loudly, understandably not realizing what was happening to them at first. Probably because of their different outfits and peaceful approach.

"My Lord, we hadn't realized that you're back!"

"Yes My Lord, our Mark gave no signal!"

Together, they all fall on the ground at His feet, kissing His robes and bowing. Lord Voldemort smirked and raised His hand. The chaos around them quietened instantly and they all rose to their feet and stood straighter, taller, and prouder, giving Him the attention He deserved. They all knew their Master will be back and break them out sooner or later. The glow coming from the Patronuses surrounding the terrace is nothing in front of the glows in their eyes. The glow of devotion and adoration towards their Lord, fueled by the hope for a better future.

"Yesss, I am back to full ssstrength, but it'sss confidential at the moment." Lord Voldemort stated in His sibilant voice, then turned towards the bound but awake prisoners at His feet. "But are you prepared to ssserve me?" The question was aimed towards the 17 people bound. On His signal, the silencing charm around them was removed.

"What you will do if we don't?" One of them asked, still shivering while eyeing the shock blankets with envy. Oh, what he wouldn't do to have one of them. Even if the warmth of the Patronuses is keeping the Dementors away, it is not protecting them against the wind of midnight winter is so chilly and freezing on the terrace.

"Hmm, what do you think about tesssting out our new and improved dissseassse?" The Dark Lord's voice was cruel and taunting, "Oh, and not to forget, the suggested dissseassse is more lethal than the dragon poxss with a cure yet to dissscover."

Several gasps and some horrified screams filled the air before several voices rose together consenting to be Marked. They all knew or have witnessed how terrible and deadly Dragon Pox can be. Something more lethal than that? No, they're not taking chance.

Lord Voldemort smirked as His Knights came forward and dragged aside those who had voiced consent. He quickly counted them, pleased to find fourteen of them, and Marked them with the new and improved Dark Mark. Leaving the old Mark vulnerable to undesiring eyes showed Him the fault, as they all were left vulnerable when He was compromised. He can't have that. Besides, carrying a Dark Mark openly on their forearm will nullify His plans of working incognito. Which is one of the reasons why He has already changed the Marks on His old Knights. And He has to thank His son to give Him the idea when the child discovered the Mark on his Godfather's arm and questioned Him about it.

As soon as they're Marked, His Knights handed them the shock blanket and calming draughts.

Lord Voldemort glanced at the last three of the bound Wizards and tsked in mock pity at their defiance, before waving His hand dismissively. The stunners from the Knights hit them and they're obliviated and taken back to their cells, while the Dark Lord turned towards one of His new followers standing with the others.

"Now, am I to underssstand correctly that your imprisonment will end in twelve daysss?"

"Y-yes, M-my Lord."

Lord Voldemort hummed, then turned towards one of His Knights. Severus came forwards and bowed, "It will be adjusted accordingly, My Lord."

The Dark Lord nodded and dismissed Him to do the same, knowing he won't fall victim to the new virus. "You won't return with us tonight, asss your imprisonment will end ssshortly. You will wait here until your discharge and the Dementorsss will be notified to not approach you and some of mine will look after you during the ssstay. You will receive fresssh clothesss and blanketsss with warming charm and healthier food and clean water. I will contact you once you're free."

The gaunt-bodied man widened His eyes, gaping at Him, "W-why would you do that? M-my Lord." He added hurriedly.

"Unlike what people prefersss to think, I do take care of everything that belongsss to me. And from now on, you're one of mine." The Dark Lord explained patiently pointing at his Mark, followed by whoops and hollers and agreement from His knights.

The man blinked stupidly before bowing in gratitude and backed away, looking much relaxed along with His new Knights. One of His Knights - the Auror who was stationed in the Azkaban - came forwards and took Him back to His cell.

"Have you collected hairsss from them?" The Dark Lord turned towards His Knights.

"Yes My Lord." They chorused.

"Good. I hope you have noted who wasss in which cell."

"Of course, My Lord. I have noted it all down."

"Good, ten of you take the Mugglesss and go after him to replace them." He pointed at Lucius, then addressed Barty, "Give them the notesss and the vialsss of Polyjuicesss, then stay here with the othersss." Good Lord, He needs to give them nicknames! Maybe He will let them select names for themselves.

"Yes My Lord."

Lord Voldemort watched impassively as His order is being carried. Five at a time, the newly freed Knights disappeared with the portkeys which will take them to the Dark Headquater where two Healers are waiting for their arrival. The muggles were Imperio'd and were given polyjuice and then taken to their respective cells by the rest of the Knights. The extra muggles were offered to Dementors and they gladly consumed their souls, then they discarded their bodies in the sea where the Dark Lord has lured in some sharks and other aquatic carnivore animals to take care of the bodies. And the sleeping Aurors were returned to their respective stations.

"This has to be the most peaceful and probably the best and successful raid we ever had!" Lord Voldemort heard Severus whispered in surprise and awe. He had returned after doing his own job.

Barty snorted, "I know," He said giggling giddily, "Even if I miss the opportunity to take out some Order members, but the fact that we're duping the whole World so thoroughly is so thrilling it made up the chaos!"

The Dark Lord inwardly rolled His eyes at his giggling and fangirling Knights and looked at others as they all gathered after everything was finished.

"Go. I will meet you all at the Headquartersss."

The rest of the Knights apparated away. Well, everyone bar Barty. "Barty."

"I will go only with you, Master," Barty informed Him with a determination in his eyes. Lord Voldemort sighed, recognizing the stubborn voice, knowing very well that not even Crucioing the brat will make him go. The brat is too stubborn and too loyal to Him to let Him stay here without any backup, going as far as against His Order. Though He appreciates the gesture inwardly, given He will be vulnerable to attack while erecting the Wards.

So, instead of wasting His time in fruitless arguments, He apparated both of them to the ground floor and started to clean every Magical signature of His Knights from the fortress. After double - triple checking to make sure nothing was amiss, the Dark Lord reset all the Wards, then both of them stepped away from the Wardline and apparated away.

After reaching the Dark Headquarters, He found the quarters now busy and crowded with people, Healers, and House Elves assisting them. They all bowed at Him but He waved His hand dismissively, letting them return to the organized chaos.

As Lord Voldemort watched them work, He blinked in surprise to discover Narcissa working among the other two Healers. But wasn't she...?

Lord Voldemort reached towards the Wards of Slytherin Castle to find her is still with His son. Ah! The only way Narcissa could exist in both places at the same time is by using a Time-Turner. Bedazzled, He was about to approach her to talk when He noticed Karkaroff is taking hesitated steps towards Him, clearly wishing to tell Him something.

He cast a privacy charm around them and stared at him silently.

"I-I have a message f-from the German Ministry of Magic, M-my Lord..."

"What isss it?" He sneered at the pathetic excuse of Wizard.

Igor whimpered under the glare and presented Him a parchment hurriedly. The Dark Lord nonverbally and wandlessly checked for any trickery and realized the only charm being there is no one other than Him will be able to read it. He hummed before accepting the parchment and read it quickly, before smirking as He put the letter in His robe pocket. The German Minister has invited Him in his house to discuss some development. Maybe He will also take His son with Him, the child needs to see the country he supposedly grew up in!

"Igor."

"Y-yes, M-my Lord?"

"Do you think your Lord isss merciful?"

"Y-yes, My Lord."

"Tell me why."

"You haven't k-killed me for my t-treason, My Lord."

"True. A traitor like you ssshould be killed. Ssso tell me why I haven't?"

"B-because my position is useful for you, My Lord."

"Yesss it isss, but do understand you're easily replaceable. I have many Knightsss with better fidelity and more than deserving of the position. Ssso there will be no third chance. Do I make myself clear?"

"Y-yes, My Lord."

"Good." The Dark Lord summoned a rolled parchment from his Pocket dimension and offered it to him, "All of the necessary information isss in this parchment. Any other missssing information you might need, contact Lord Ssslytherin. I have arrangementsss to establisssh multiple of the Knights' past in the Durmstrang, with a hissstory of residence in Germany and Bulgaria. I'm entrusssting you in making sssuch recordsss exist asss sssoon asss possssible then, Igor."

Karkaroff bowed as he accepted the parchment, "It will be done, My L-lord."

"I will contact you again sssoon, Igor," Lord Voldemort said and walked towards Narcissa.

"Th-thank you for your m-mercy, M-my Lord." Igor whimpered pathetically, "I-I live to s-serve you."

The Dark Lord ignored him and stood in front of Narcissa watch her waving her wand around. Noticing Him, she stopped and bowed. He let His voice drop in a mere whisper, "Narcissa, if you're using the Time-Turner, at least tell me you've taken enough rest?"

"Yes My Lord, at your order I traveled back a few hours ago to take enough rest. Besides, after all the efforts I put up to stop little Adrian from attempting to ride on the back of the Kelpie, I truly needed it."

The Dark Lord nodded, before pausing when everything she said caught up with him.

"He did WHAT?"

Chapter Text

Theodore smothered his laughter as he watched his always composed grandfather, Lord Theonel Nott almost giddy and fidgeting in front of the gate of the Slytherin Manor, waiting for the Dark Lord to come and receive them. He had been like that since he learned the return of the Dark Lord.

Theo knew that the assassination of his father Theodorus by Auror Moody, followed by the death of his mother while giving birth to his brother Theodoret had deteriorated his grandfather's health. Theodore had been hardly a toddler by then.

But the announcement of The Dark Lord's sudden 'defeat' at the hand of Boy-Who-Lived had inwardly destroyed him.

Because with The Dark Lord, died their hopes for the future of Magic. A future where the difference between the Light and Dark did not matter, where Magic is simply Magic. A future where traditions are preserved and honored, where every magical being prospered without the prejudice of the Light or the Dark, where all magical children were protected and educated regardless of their blood...

Because this was what the Knights of Walpurgis had stood for. That was what their Dark Lord had stood for.

And while he did learn all the stories of the people with a stupid moniker such as 'Death Eaters', he knows that not all of them are true. Yes, the Knights did some unspeakable things like murder and compelled people into their sides with Dark Arts, but that is aimed only at those who stood in their way of achieving goals, along with the certain meddling fool who fought hard to deny every single one of their proposed laws.

It was the meddling fool's Order of headless chicken who arrived to interfere with their mission, not even bothering to learn who is right and who is wrong, and made things complicated by just throwing curses like candies and making mayhem.

Dumbledore did not trust them for they had sworn loyalty to Tom Riddle, the half-blood orphan who had made the entire Slytherin house bow down to His power. The masses started to distrust them solely because they were Slytherins, solely because they were Pure-bloods, solely because they were Dark-cored, and solely because Dumbledore did not trust them. The ignorant fools did not realize how stagnant their culture had become, how deep Magical Britain had fallen in regards to the other countries.

Earlier the time of rising of The Dark Lord, His Knights had all three - Purebloods, Half-bloods, and Muggle-Borns in their ranks. Their Lord charmed them all with His rational thinking and His passionate desires. The Pure-bloods embraced Him because He wished to preserve tradition, and bring back old glorious days of Magic; the Half-bloods cherished Him because He desired equality based on talents and skill, not blood status nor inheritance; and the Muggle-Borns assembled for His desire to include the Muggle-Borns earlier and to protect the abused Magical children from the Muggles who were afraid of them or abused them for being different, and to teach them about the Magical World everything that others were ignorant to explain.

When Dumbledore started to meddle with them, the Muggle-Borns in their ranks were the first to leave or betray them, driven away by the self-proclaimed champion of Muggles and mudbloods, who started sprouting bullshits like the Dark sides hated Muggle-borns. The main causalities of the first war had been Muggle-Borns who blindly sided with the Light. They crumbled like insects against the more experienced and skilled wizards and witches alike in The Dark Lord's ranks, simply because they were too prejudice to comprehend the truth.

It made the Muggle-Borns believe that Dumbledore is right, and the Pureblood assumed they're more powerful.

But Knights knew it was honestly because they had higher knowledge, skills and had a more extensive armory of Magic. They used Dark, Grey, and Light without any restraint or prejudice. Power was power, regardless of its classification or type. The intent of that Power is what matters the most.

That was one of the things The Dark Lord and His Knights stood for.

"You're early."

Theo glanced at The Dark Lord who arrived so suddenly that that didn't even notice, and they immediately knelt. Theo has already heard about the addicting alluring magic of their Lord that makes everyone want to kneel and proffer their undying loyalty. This is the first time he witnessed this and realized how true is that. It was power at its most regal form. And he was aware of The Dark Lord having a Political façade, the Lord Slytherin - Peverell. And while not everyone has the honor to learn that both are the same, Theodore has learned it, after swearing the Unbreakable Vow.

"Please pardon my eagerness, My Lord. I just couldn't wait." Theonel stood with a bit of difficulty and held the clutch tightly and alert, ready to serve his Lord. "This is my grandson and my Heir, Theodore Nott."

Theo happily let his knees succumbed to the allure, bowing deeply. The Dark Lord's lips curled a bit before He beckoned them to follow Him.

That's when Theo learned they're going to visit THE SLYTHERIN CASTLE!

  

    

Theo was in awe and fascinated, overwhelmed. They all had heard about Slytherin Castle being Magical Sentient - created by The Dark Lord himself but this is the first time he has experienced it. The Magic is bustling with life here, pulsating and energetic. And the majestic Castle's beauty is beyond everything Theo had expected or imagined since he learned about the Castle.

Seeing him watching the garden with googly eyes, The Dark Lord had kindly permitted him to roam in the garden as they talk. So that's what Theo was doing, observing in awe as every plant, even the grass seems so alive with Magic, moving on their own even without breeze, and the garden pixies and beautiflies and so many different types of birds and grass animals hopping and playing around happily that he honestly thought has been extinct - at least according to Ministry books - but apparently, their Lord has collected them and let them roam freely and breed unobstructedly in His home. Merlin knows what else is there in the forest beyond the border of the river.

He truly is the Lord of Dark Sect, is He not?

Theo was distracted thinking all these when suddenly he bumped into a running someone. A boy - rather a powerful one - that's all he understood before crumbling into the ground, groaning. The other boy has also fallen on the ground with a surprised yelp before he sprang up as if nothing happened and dashed towards him, "Hey! Are you okay?"

Theo let out a sob in reply, clutching his bleeding and painfully throbbing knee. That has been a particularly tough pebble!

"Blast! Bailey! Water and healing paste with the numbing potion, please!"

Before he realized what's happening, he was being pushed up to sit by strong arms, and the familiar taste of numbing potion is being offered which he gulped down gratefully. He opened his eyes at the feeling of cold water to find his knee is being washed and the boy is carefully rubbing the healing paste on it. The pain numbed immediately and the cut started to heal, making Theo relaxed.

"Don't worry," He smiled cutely and assuringly at him, his German accent is prominent in his voice even though he spoke in precise and perfect English, "A good comrade of my father brewed this one for me. You'll be good as new within moments. I would know, as I keep tripping and scrape my legs and hands in these pebbles all the time."

"Thanks." He smiled, a bit relaxed as the boy's talking kept him distracted from the lingering pain as it healed quickly.

"I am sorry, I didn't intend to injure you. I was chasing the garden pixies and didn't notice you standing here. I should have watched where I was going, especially after learning father will have guests today."

"Uh, no it's okay," Theo said awkwardly. "It was my fault too, I was distracted, didn't notice you coming."

He wasn't used to playing outdoors even with his brother or if some of his friends come to meet him, except for riding a broom. It was uncouth for a Pure-blood Heir to get dirty in the mud like some Muggles, grandfather had said. But the boy in front of him is certainly having the time of his life playing in the garden. Proved by the dirt on his robe - which could also be because he just fell, and his slightly tanned figure. Oh, how Theo wished he could play this carelessly with his brother, without any restriction and expectation, just like him.

Looks like his father is not as strict as Theo's grandfather. Who is his father anyway?

"Hey, are you alright?" The boy asked in obvious concern. Theo blinked, widening his eyes even more. Not even his friends showed concern if he was hurt. And Malfoy always hurt him, by shoving on the ground or kicking him. Theo suddenly had an urge to befriend this unknown but kind boy, so they can play without being hurt. Maybe he will request grandfather to let his brother attain with them next time? That is if they ever come here.

"I am fine," He smiled at him, "Thank you."

The boy didn't look convinced, but he smiled and raised his hand to help him up. Theo accepted his hand little hesitated and the boy beamed, which suddenly made Theo happy as well. He likes this boy, Theo decided. 

"I am Theodore Nott," Theo said standing proudly, "Heir to Ancient House of Notts."

The boy looked at him, which suddenly sent an involuntary shiver on Theo's spine. Doesn't the eyes look the shade of Avada Kedavra? That's the exact shade the books had described. And his Magic, Oh Merlin his Magic... It has the beautiful allure, calling him to stand nearer, to bow to the boy. The similar intoxicating, alluring, and overflowing Magic, drowning Theo with its allure and silently whispering the promise of power which makes him wish to bow in front of this boy and submit themselves with the vow of eternal devotion.

Who is he? Is he related to The Dark Lord anyway? Their Magic seems...similar!

"Nott?" He said, his eyes sparkling and dancing with mirth, "Any good in knots?"

Theo snorted, a burst of amused giggles escaped from his mouth before he could stop it. Oh, Merlin! Did he just make a pun? That was awesome! He had always been a fan of puns! But no one other than his brother ever gets him! Yapp, he definitely likes this boy - Theo concluded, he is more fun even than his best friend Blaise. Theo covered his mouth until he calmed down, then smirked at him. "I am a frayed knot."

The boy blinked, then he burst into fits of laughter soon followed by Theo until tears collected in the corner of their eyes. If his grandfather sees this, that his mask is nowhere to be seen in front of an unknown boy, he will surely ground him. But at the moment, Theo didn't care. It will be worth the punishment. Theo never felt so relaxed even in presence of his best friend Blaise before, the boy seems to radiate the vibes of comfort and safety. They finally stopped after laughing for a minute or so.

"Sorry," The boy said as he wiped the tears, "That was knot punny." And cue the second episode of laughter of the day. Merlin, this unknown boy will kill me with laughter - Theo moaned rubbing his sore sides. He grinned as if he perfectly knew what Theo is thinking.

"I am Heir Hadrianus Slytherin-Peverell, by the way. Nice to meet you."

Theo blinked, then gaped at him. Heir Slytherin? Does that mean...son of the Dark Lord? Theo glanced at the seal engraved on his robe and widened his eyes even more. Merlin! It's true then! The Dark Lord truly has a son! Did he just knocked out the Dark Lord's son and made Him wash his legs like a servant and then laughed with Him like an equal?

Morgana's saggy tits!

Well, that certainly explains why his Magic feels like what his father said when he described The Dark Lord's Magic. The allure, the whisper of promises. The power. Of course, it goes without saying that His son will have the same allure as Him!

So Theo let himself gladly yield to the allure as he stumbled to his legs and fell to his knees, bowing lowly and deeply ashamed of himself, "An honor to meet you, My Prince. I appeal to you that you excuse me for my disrespect of not recognizing you and knock you out earlier. If you wish to punish me, I will accept."

If Hadrianus had been surprised with his sudden change of attitude, he didn't let it show. "Rise, Heir Nott. I may be the Dark Prince, but I'd prefer that you do not address me as such, I am still a child - just like yourself. How about you call me Hadrianus or maybe Adrian?"

Theo beamed so hard that his muscles hurt. Hah! Take that, Malfoy! "I would be honored to have such privilege, though I am not convinced if I deserve it."

"Never you mind," He brushed it off.

"My Prince, my sincerest apologies, but it will be unbecoming of me to say so." Theo shakes his head as he looked at The Dark Prince in awe, basking in the presence of such a powerful being. He can feel His Magic, so calm and warm, relaxed and soothing, and vibrating with freedom and life. The Castle's magic embracing and twirling around him, both dancing and playing around in the same tune, as if they are just extensions of one another. Which Theo knows is entirely true. After all, He is the Heir of this Castle.

"Okay," The Dark Prince cleared his throat a bit stiffly, "You want to do something?"

"Like...what? M-my Prince?"

"Well, we can play Hide N Seek, Catch the Flag, Cat N Mouse, Marbles, Freeze dance, Hit the Target, Tennis, Quapaad or Paintball fight or simple chase... the last few ones are my favorite and I play it with my mother and Godfather! What do you prefer?"

Eh? What are they? Theo never even heard of any of them except Quapaad, and Hide N Seek! But Theo is not going to admit his lack of knowledge on outdoor games, not when he finally has a choice to play, and with The Dark Prince Himself! He is Heir Nott, he will learn.

But - "Father says a Pureblood Heir should not get dirty in the mud like a Muggle."

To his amazement, Hadrianus only grinned at his disheartened face, obviously knowing he really wants to play. "A Pure-blood Heir should not be dirty in presence of other people. You'll be fine as long as you shower after playing. You can shower in one of the guest rooms and ask your House Elf to bring you some fresh clothes."

Theo blinked. He never thought it like that. Why he never thought about it? Theo knows why, because he's an idiot. A huge relieved smile broke into his face, matching the smile The Dark Prince was sporting. "Then let's play, My Prince."

   

    

    

Unknown to the children on garden busy learning how to paintball fight using coloring charms, a certain Dark Lord and Lord Nott heaved a relieved sigh for entirely different reasons as they watched them play.

 

 

__________________

 

 

Marvolo appears in the Library to find his son sitting on one corner of the library, immersed in a book that was in his hand as he leans against the bookshelf. Nagini curling up around him, her head on his thigh, napping. The swooping evil purring on his lap as well, it seems to be enjoying himself being scratched by Hadrianus, whining and batting with his hand whenever he's pausing, making him resume the scratching.

Marvolo stared at the scene, exasperated. He brought the child expensive faux fur bean chairs, mahogany tables, and chairs with fluffy stuffing, yet the child chooses to remain on the ground in the cold? He brought him dozens of plush toys and miniature figurines like bears and dinosaurs, which he has investigated and learned to be preferred toys by the children of his age, but no, he has to surround himself with a giant saw-scaled viper mother-hen, occamies, kelpies, and a purring encephalophage that acts like a cat! 

"It’s unbecoming to lay in the dirt," Marvolo says, a tiny smirk on his face as Hadrianus yelps in surprise and the book falls from his hand to the floor. The swooping evil whines as the book hits him and promptly turns into a cocoon to disappear in his sleeve.

"I didn’t hear you coming," Hadrianus says as he rises hastily. Nagini, awake now, slithers out of the way.

"Clearly," Marvolo's lips quirked in amusement and he waited.

Three...

Two...

One...

"Father? Why does it say about some specific hand movements and all? You or Barty never taught me about these hand movements, yet I could cast the same charm it says require this type of hand movement? Neither I saw anyone of you doing any hand movement?"

Marvolo smirks. There it is!

"A lot of what you will read in your textbooks is pure filler. A wizard does not need words, does not need wrist movements. Does not even need a wand. You already have what you need, inside you. It is your magic that does it, nothing else."

"Then why do we need a wand?"

"The wand is a conduit. The better the wand, the stronger the match with the wielder, the greater you can channel your magic. In fact, why don't you come with me? Nagini, you can wait for us in the study."

They go to the training room where Marvolo summons a dummy and tell him to explode it through wish. The dummy explodes into pieces.

Then Marvolo repairs the dummy with a flick, then tells him to wish once again, channeling the magic through the wand. This time, the dummy explodes so spectacularly, it turned into a pile of ashes. Nothing was left to repair. Hadrianus gasps, lowering his wand and turned his astonished gaze towards his father.

"This is the difference a wand makes. It amplifies your magic."

"And with hand movement?"

"Try it and see for yourself, there are many spells, like Expulso, Reducto, Bombarda...which one you choose?" Marvolo asked, summoning another dummy.

Hadrianus thinks for a moment, before selecting Expulso, and followed his father's hand movement, and said the spell aloud. It worked, of course, and the dummy exploded into pieces for sure, but not as powerful as it has been before with both wish magic and Wand-based magic.

"While the Wish Magic is nothing but your own raw magic serving your wishes, the spell makes it easier for most people to do as they wish, especially those who have no control of their magic - unlike us. You will learn the motions are only there for weak wizards and witches." His father continued his lecture, "Ministry obviously doesn't want the Wizarding people to realize and practice their true power and core, making them more dependable on their wand."

"Oh, so they can induce fear and control them by threatening to break their wand?" Hadrianus asked, catching up.

"Exactly," Marvolo smirked proudly at his clever son, " What people forgot is that we had Magic before the discovery of Wand-lore. However, when you will go to school, you will have to be seen doing it 'the proper way'."

"Is that what I will learn at school? Some stupid silly hand movements?" Hadrianus tried to keep the unimpressed reaction hidden, he really tried, but it's so hard!

"I’ve no doubt you’ll find ways to occupy your time, as I did." Marvolo said as he ushered the child to their study, "Observe those around you and learn what you like. Befriend the right people. Cultivate relationships with your peers. But do not get attached." He stressed the words. The child needs to learn early to never get attached to some mortal.

"Gain allies from Light and Grey Sect, yes, got it."

Marvolo's lips quirked at his borderline deadpanned tone, "Speaking of which, how did you like the new friend?"

Hadrianus gives him a wry grin, "A friend, or an ally, father?"

"Why do you think so?" He raised an eyebrow.

"He acted as such, though the better word would be, 'lackey'."

Marvolo laughs loudly, a burst of genuine laughter vibrating around the room, rich and deep. Looks like he need not worry too much for his son. He smirks at him, "Friends are nothing but more loyal allies, my son. But yes, anyone from Dark Sect who associates with you after learning who I truly am, will become your 'lackey'."

Hadrianus groans, "Please tell Heir Nott to come to meet me when he grows a spine! He was doing just fine then I introduced myself and boom! He looked like he wanted to poop himself or cry! Wouldn't even call me by my name or talk back at me! It was getting creepy and disturbing! Is Heir Malfoy going to be the same?"

"Well, you are the Dark Prince, and I am quite certain Heir Nott was offering you the respect you deserve." Marvolo smiled at the child's misery, "They have their value and as far as the company goes, they are the best the Wizarding World has to offer. Always surround yourself with rich, powerful Pure-bloods in public. On your own, you can decide if there is a Half-blood or a Muggle-born that seems worthy of your time. Collect valuable pawns and learn who to associate with, in public or in private."

"Sweet Morgana! I don't even need a lackey! I am nine! I want someone equal!"

Marvolo wanted to roll his eyes at his son's pitiful wails, "You must learn this, child, that you have no equal. You are above those simpleton berks."

"You jest!"

"I wouldn't do a wisecrack about this."

"Don't you think Dumbledore will become skeptical if he catches everyone regarding me as 'My Prince'?"

Marvolo raised his eyebrow, amused at his son's blatant attempt at manipulation, making him flush. He was getting better at it as the day progressed, knowing exactly what to say, which made him reconsider his own words. A true Slytherin.

"He will become skeptical even if he doesn't. But yes, you're right. I will speak to Theonel about it. Maybe assign them to call you by name in public."

Hadrianus murmured something miserably, making his father smirk. "How about this, you agree to this arrangement, I will bring you with me when I travel to Germany?" Marvolo offered, watching him perk up at once.

"If I agree, we'll go to Germany?" Hadrianus asked in surprise.

"The international portkey will arrive soon. I have some business with the German Minister of Magic, but I can make arrangements to give you a tour of the country if you wish." To be honest, he planned to take the child with him regardless, but if he gets a deal out of it, he will obviously take it. He is a Slytherin after all, he is The Slytherin. And he knows Hadrianus won't let the opportunity go.

"Fine!" Hadrianus agreed. After reading about Magical Germany and its culture, he had wanted to see it in his eyes. As much as he wanted to tell Nev about Hawaii, he knows he can't. But at least now he can talk about his 'homeland' on a more personal level. Tell him about his favorite restaurant, parks, enchanting magical localities, sightseeing spots, and much more! Being called 'My Prince' will be worth the experience! "But I want to meet with Heir Malfoy without your interference first, father."

"I will concede to your wish if Narcissa hasn't." He knows Narcissa didn't share the entire truth with her son yet. She is oath-bound, after all. He really should have let Malfoy meet him first. If anyone, it's the Malfoy who requires to learn who is he. Now he has an inkling that this might end in a failure - assessing the stray thoughts he plucked from the Malfoy couple's mind.

Davy popped in with the mails, interrupting the pair from their musings, and handed most of them to Marvolo. Then kept one at a little distance from Hadrianus, knowing their Master Lord will assess the mail first, "This one be for Master Prince."

Even they started to call him 'Prince', Hadrianus thought sulkily as his father quickly scanned the mail for anything harmful before returning the miniature box to his original size and pushing it towards his son.

"Did the portkey arrived?" Hadrianus asked as he pulled the box, already knowing they're from Neville as he is the only one who will send him a letter, even without looking at the seal.

"Yes," Marvolo showed him the small rope and picked up the note attached to it, "Tomorrow, at 5:00. Bailey will pack your essentials, you do not need to fret." He advised when Hadrianus widened his eyes in alarm.

Hadrianus nodded, relieved, and focused on the box. He was surprised to find a small potted plant wrapped in bubble charm, a small booklet about the plant, and Nev's letter. Neville has found out his birthday has passed just recently and probably sent him a late birthday gift. Hadrianus quickly grabbed the letter and read it, his eyes widening as he looked up at the magical orchid. The plant, if kept on the bedside table, will absorb negative energy around him and feed on his nightmares!

How did Neville know he has nightmares? He never mentioned it in any of the letters, neither he ever talked about the supposed trauma!

Did Neville has the same about his parents?

Marvolo was smirking at the letter where his account manager has informed him that Dumbledore and the Potters tried to contest him for Peverell Lordship. The Goblins had obviously denied the Right of the Contest, telling them Lord Slytherin-Peverell has a better claim being descendant of two of the elder brothers of Peverells, while Potter is from the youngest Peverell, and Lady Magic has accepted that. The Potters, being the idiot they are, had the audacity to accuse the Goblins - in Potter's words, cheating even after they gave him the freedom of right.

And now Gringotts had issued a Magical Restraining Order on House of Dumbledore, Potter, and Black for five years against all the Goblins!

Marvolo holds back a snort as he read that part. Did the Potters and Dumbledore honestly think that the Goblins will care about Boy-Who-Lived and the Light lord? Especially since they clearly stood against the Creature Right Bill! How did they even think of a comment like that will go without consequences! It was not them who ensured their freedom, it had been Marvolo. He only wished he could be there to observe the spectacle in his eyes. Well, at least he knows what is going to be tomorrow's highlights of the news for Daily Prophet. He is sure Rita will have a field day with the piece of news. He took a mental note to contact her, the poison pen of the Queen of Quill will be needed.

At least Lord Gornuk will be safe from their meddling in Hogwarts because of the Magical Restraining Order!

A surprised gasp took his attention upon his son who was holding an exotic-looking potted orchid with wonder in his eyes, the letter from the Longbottom child still clutched in his hand. "What is it, child?"

Hadrianus gave him the letter silently, still studying the plant.

Marvolo frowned as he accepted the letter and quickly browsed through it, his eyebrows raising when he reached the part where the Longbottom child has explained about the use of the orchid.

"That is," Marvolo looked at the pot with mild curiosity, "surprisingly thoughtful of him."

"I know," Hadrianus gushed. He was glad to have such a good friend and immediately pulled a parchment to thank him, also informing him that his father thinks his gesture was very thoughtful and very nice of him. What he had understood from his letters, no one, not even the grown-ups thinks of him highly and supports his hobbies for plants. Unjust. Even his father encouraged his love for creatures, notwithstanding the exasperation! The plants are basically innocuous compared to that.

So he will be pleased to learn his father has regarded him highly. Coming from his father, he knows this is practically a compliment. Neville deserves to know that.

And Nev is basically a genius in Herbology! Hadrianus is very eager to learn more from him.

Hadrianus paused in his letter and asks his father if he can tell Neville about the IQ test which Nev had asked about. Marvolo advises him to tell them, even gave some names of books regarding it, and encouraged Hadrianus to tell them that his IQ is 168. The information on books will give Longbottom an idea about how intelligent he is.

"But, my son, learn this: do not get attached, as they all will abandon you one day."

"Even Neville?"

"Especially him," Marvolo nursed the cup of tea, "Never overlook the fact that he is a Light wizard. While he might proffer a good companionship, he will never concede you and your judgments. His loyalty will inevitably be for the Light Side. And they're our enemy as long as Dumbledore lives." 

Hadrianus frowned, "How are you so certain?"

"Child, you must acknowledge the certainty that each of them will leave. If not by betraying you, then by death. Heed me, my child, it will spare you the grief."

"Does that mean you are not attached to me? Given I will die too." Hadrianus halted when he noticed his father's Magic violently whirling out around them like a maelstrom in the sea, making the torches of their study visibly go lower in their sconces. Hadrianus blinked as he looked around, amazed. This is the second time he saw his father is getting angry since his father had figured out how to stop the backlash. But the first time, he can see how the surroundings react to his father's displeasure so clearly.

"Do. Not. Talk. Like. That." Marvolo snarled, his voice borderline hissing, the redness in his eyes flashing dangerously, threatening to spill blood anytime. His heart beating frantically, his Magic raging inside at the mere mention of losing his precious child. How can he forget that his child is as mortal as the rest of the World?

"But it's the truth," The child had the audacity to argue back in his face.

Marvolo took a deep breath. If it was anyone else, he would have cursed him. But he won't curse his child, his Heir. He belongs to him, his precious Horcrux, however stupid he is. But the child needs a Horcrux too. Maybe it's time he starts training that kind and considerate personality out of him? The earlier, the better. Or else the child won't ever be able to kill without feeling remorse - a necessity to create a Horcrux. He will ensure Hadrianus create at least one Horcrux.

Honestly, the child had an almost similar childhood as him, if not worst, how he can still be so gentle and merciful? This will become a weakness, a burden - which he can't let his child bear. The World is full of cruel and unforgiving sinners. His child is born to be unfettered, to be free of any leash or obligations, and to rule beside him. His mercy should be limited, and people should know if they're given mercy and be grateful for it.

Maybe it's time for Marvolo to begin preparing him. He already knows Hadrianus will grow out to be someone who wouldn't react negatively to witnessing murder and death. After all, he's the one who helped him create his first Horcrux, however indirectly. But to murder someone without remorse? That would need effort. But he will make that effort, he can't lose his child. The whole World will burn to the ground if he ever does.

An idea starts forming in his mind, making him sit up straighter. He glanced at his child blowing to air dry his letter, an empty envelope beside him. Marvolo flicked his finger causing the letter to dry immediately. Hadrianus grinned sheepishly before pulling his Heirship seal.

"Let us leave for the Manor," Marvolo decided, "You can send it via one of the owls in Manor. Nagini, come with us." They already had dinner, after the detour, he will make his son go to sleep.

As they went to the Manor, Hadrianus ran to the owlery to send his mails via Hades who came flying to him. After cooing, feeding, and pampering the beautiful predator, he tied the sealed letter to his legs and watched him spread his enormous wings and flew off, then headed towards the backyard where his father asked him to meet. The morning weather here is rather cloudy and chilly, looks like it may snow anytime.

When he reached the backyard, he was rather surprised to find an unknown woman sitting beside his father on the garden lounge chair, both looking at him expectingly. There was some paperwork in front of his father on the desk, though his attention was on him at the moment, so was the woman who was smiling at him, soft and with fond affection.

This woman...why does she smell...so familiar...just like... "Mum?"

Nagini grinned, so did Marvolo who smirked at the gaping child, "You're...you're human now!"

"Oh my child, I am human. Just a cursed one."

"I know that! I only mean..." Hadrianus boggled at her, his brain stopped functioning for a moment. How!?

"This is a fine example of reverse Human to Animal Transfiguration. Especially since I knew how she looked like before the curse ran its course," His father spoke up, always unhesitant to educate his son, "And I simply added a translation charm and changed the color of her eyes to complete the appearance."

Hadrianus stared at him for few long seconds, before suddenly his body is moving faster than his brain and he collided with his parents, mostly his mum, hugging her tightly and burying his face in her neck. Nagini laughed wetly, hugging him back and then pulling him closer, making him seat in between her and Marvolo, his legs secured around her slim waist. Marvolo watched the scene with a fond expression, stroking his back fondly. He hated to break the moment, but they are here for some reason, after all.

"Hadrianus?" He asked softly.

"Father," He turned with tears in his lovely green eyes, "Please tell me this is permanent."

"I wish it was," Marvolo shook his head, "But both Human to Animal Transfiguration and the reverse is a dangerous and very unstable branch of Magic with side-effects if not performed precisely. Though I can overpower it to sojourn at least a day." He offered.

"How about transfiguring her every day? You can teach it to me, then I will do it when you're not home!"

Marvolo smiles at him, "Maybe, if she permits me to do so. But transfiguration on humans is a complicated and very advanced branch of Transfiguration, you ought to study and practice a lot before that. It will require years, even for someone as skillful as you."

"Then why can't we just remove the curse?"

"As much as it grieves me to confess, I am afraid the blood curse is irreversible and permanent, my son."

Hadrianus falls silent. He had always believed whatever he had said before. But this is the first time he refused to believe him, he knows every curse has a countercurse - his father has said so. Maybe no one has invented that yet.

'Well, if no one has done it before, then I will be the one to invent the counter curse.' Hadrianus vowed mentally, determination shining in his eyes as he turned to look at his beautiful mother. She is so gorgeous! Pale smooth skin with artistic eyes full of warm and glowing emerald orbs that seem to be mirroring the identical hue as his eyes, he doesn't know what shade her eyes were before but the green - so similar to his eyes - looked so perfect! Like some evidence they didn't need for people to realize their relationship. She was wearing an elegant black dress covered in Slytherin green winter cloak. Her striking aristocratic face looks Asian and beautiful. Though her viper form is beautiful too...

Nagini smiles at her fretful son, hugging him tightly, kissing his forehead, "Do not fret, my child. I am fine by the way I am. Maybe he can use the spell in Germany so you and I will tour around the country while he attends some boring meetings? What do you think? Some mother-son bonding time?"

Hadrianus beams brightly, "I would love that!"

They grin at each other then turns their similar Avada Kedavra eyes towards Marvolo who nods, "I can make such arrangements."

"Perfect!" Mother and son chorused, delighted, making Marvolo smile.

"Now, for the reason, we're here. Hadrianus, I would recommend you to practice the shield now." Taking note of the serious tone of his father, Hadrianus turned in his mother's lap, glancing at his father curiously before nodding and closed his eyes, and his shields went up, as tight as he could - though he knows his father could break them without an effort as if they didn't exist in the first place. Testing the shields to make sure they're holding steady, Hadrianus opened his eyes, feeling calm and collected. Marvolo nodded and flicked his wand somewhere in front of them. Hadrianus let his eyes follow the route, frowning when he noticed Magic shimmering a few feet away. He noticed his mother tightening grip on him, but didn't comment on it as he watched with another flick of his father's wand, the shimmering fell with the near-invisible wave, revealing...

Hadrianus widened his eyes, a snarl starting to form on his face, his legs kicking out and almost shifting into his Naga form, but the shield stayed strong, relieving him from the urge to shift containing his emotions and retained his composure, which he obviously didn't feel. How could he be calm and composed, after seeing his abusers in front of him, even if they're on the ground and bound?

Hold on...bound?

Hadrianus observed with wide eyes. The three Dursleys, Aunt Marge - no, she is not his aunt, they're nothing to him, his true family is sitting on both sides of him - and, is that... Piers Polkiss? They all looked beaten down - as he had been once - and they all lost weight.

"I - " Hadrianus's voice is rough, a knot in his throat.

"Shield, my child. Deep breaths and shield."

As soon as his father's voice entered his ears, Hadrianus moved on autopilot and breathed. His shields still holding up and stable. Strong as they have been.

Marvolo watched his son with growing pride. He already knows his son has a remarkably strong shield, impressive for his age. He built them as if they were designed to be there - as if he is a natural Occlumens, though Marvolo knows he is not. "Good boy," He praised, his son deserves the compliment, "now come." He stood, approaching the unconscious Muggles.

Hadrianus gulped, his anxious and fearful eyes finding his mother's, begging for mercy and leniency, knowing he won't find it in his father.

"Is it necessary, Tom?" Nagini asked, tightening her grip around her baby, "Hadrianus is not comfortable with it. He is just a hatchling still!"

"I know, this is why I am insisting that he must face it and overcome his fear as he grows," Marvolo said, turning around to face them. "While I appreciate your insistence to protect your hatchling from every pain, Nagini, the World is not as kind, and neither we can shadow him everywhere. So we must prepare our child for everything. This is the first step. Come, Hadrianus."

Marvolo pulled the child from his mother's safety, urging him to follow him towards the bound and unconscious Muggles, the hand on his back confines and comfort at the same time. Hadrianus feels betrayed to be led into danger this way, by his father of all people. 'No! There is no danger', he reminds himself. 'You have a wand, you are not a child anymore. Your father, The Dark Lord is ready and standing right beside you. Your mother is directly behind you. No muggle can hurt you. There is no danger.'

Hadrianus unconsciously reached for his Wand and that settles his erratic pulse somewhat, feeling its weight and smoothness with his fingers, hidden in the blood-warded thigh holster as his father wakes the five Muggles. As soon as they are awake and realized who is in front of them, they screamed. Unknown to Hadrianus, the Muggles can only see Marvolo in His Lord Voldemort façade, and Hadrianus as Harry, the boy they abused.

Hadrianus grimaced at the high-pitched screams. He had never screamed. Not once. Not when the Muggle horse face beat him with the pan, not even when the Muggle whale beat him with the belt.

He never begged for mercy.

But he dreamt of fighting back, of screaming himself raw to attract someone's attention for help. To call the police. But he didn't.

He had stood still and suffered it.

"Don't fear, I am here."

"I’m not afraid of them if that is what you are implying." Hadrianus follows his father to stand in front of them. It’s not a complete lie. He doesn’t fear the Muggles, of any sex or age group. It’s just that he doesn’t like them, someone dislikes cockroaches. That's different.

But when he appeared in the field of vision of the Muggles, they stared at him as if he was the foulest abomination ever walked on the Earth.

"You!" Vernon bellowed, glaring at him with his beady eyes and Hadrianus had almost winced at the high-pitch tone, "You did this to us, boy! With your strange, abnormal thing! Get us out of here, you disgusting FREAK!"

"Why can’t you just be normal?"

"You are nobody."

"Freak!"

He feels his power drain at the memories, coldness advancing down his spine. He didn't notice his father snarling out the spell, not even the tortured scream of the man stopped the memories from flowing. But it did stop, when a soft hand took his, another hard hand pressed down on his shoulder. Familiar smells - the smell of Kinship, Earthly - filled his nostrils and bring out different memories from his mindscape of Mother Castle, battling with the old ones. The boy - no, his name is Hadrianus - feels rooted to the spot as the memories battle within his mindscape, the Castle's presence alone is making the older ones flee to some forgotten corridors as the new memories flood his mind. He is sure if he was in the Castle, the Mother Castle would have reached out to him and embrace him with Her warmth, offering comfort like She always does whenever he is hurt.

And the memories flowed unobtrusively.

"We love you, little Mamba. Don't be afraid of us."

"You are now mine in my flesh, blood, soul, and Magic."

"Welcome home, little Mamba."

"I'm proud of you, my son."

"You're my son. Never forget that."

"Did you not ever wish to make her endure the same torture, my child? Don't you feel pleased, that she's finally getting what she warranted through her own action?

"Bad people deserve punishment. Don't they?" "Indeed they do".

"No child should be doing house chores like you used to do for those revolting Muggles, that is abuse."

"You're not a bad boy or a freak, you're a very good boy, and a very special wizard, gifted by Lady Magic herself to the Wizarding World and me."

"...no one is allowed to badmouth you, let alone bully you."

The green eyes snapped open, alight and glowing otherworldly with demonic determination, reminding the people around what shade they were. "My name is," he snarled, "Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin, not 'freak'", kicking out and stumped on the fat and short hand of the male whale, the same hand that struck him and beat him to death. Vernon roared in agony, his post-Cruciatus anguished body unable to take such assault. His already purple face taking a darker shade.

Petunia, Dudley, Marge, and Piers were too terrified to even speak; they just lay there huddled in the ground. They had no idea where they were, or if they would even be rescued from these people. The crackpot old fool that came with Petunia's sister had sworn they would be safe. At least the boy couldn't perform magic, a 'squib' they had said, so they wouldn't be hurt. They were beginning to realize, though, that there were other ways to be hurt...

Once, they had been the predator. But now, the hatchling has shed his shell and discovered his power and spine.

"I want them to suffer, Tom. I want to make them feel everything they made my son go through!" Nagini snarled furiously, her glowing green eyes burning with hatred as she hugged her son tightly from behind.

"Your son?" Petunia gave a nasty jolt, looking around at her, "Lily? Is that you?"

"Lily?" Nagini spat, "Do I look like that despicable excuse of a Witch?"

"Whoa - but, is he not the son of my sister? He looks like them!"

"Son of your sister? Did you even hear yourself, you vile Muggle? After what you did to your 'son of sister'? I wonder if your 'sister' would do the same to your son when you die. And you will die, mark my word." 'I will be the one to end you', Nagini thought but didn't say aloud. She doesn't need to. The promise of retribution and burning rage in her eyes was enough for them to cower back. Petunia falls silent, looking stricken and humiliated.

"However, I will indulge you. Tom?"

Marvolo smirks before the charm concealing their real look was lifted from the Muggle, revealing what's underneath. Nagini stood by his son proudly, cupping his round baby cheeks with her soft hands, "This is what he actually looks like," she said, before peppering his face with kisses. "My handsome baby boy."

"Mum!" Hadrianus laughed, blushing.

Marvolo smirked at the Muggle's gaping look, picking up every thought going through their mind. All the adults thinking the same. They all had wondered why Lily never came to visit her 'son', not even once. Now they're thinking...this is why. That they've become the scapegoats. After all, they have learned about the Dark Lord they're fighting against, and already know that he is the Dark Lord who kidnapped them!

"We didn't know," Petunia uttered desperately, "We didn't know my sister kidnapped your son and did those freaky things to make him look like them, I swear. Please let us go."

"Let you go?" He snarled, "After you abused a Magical child to death? And encouraged your 'son' and his friends to do the same? No." Marvolo snapped, before looking at Nagini, "What do you suggest, my dear?"

Nagini started to jig in anticipation, "I say, return the same courtesy. Make them do all the chores of your Headquarters, lock them in a room smaller than the cupboard where Hadrianus was, curse them whenever they fail to do something, and when I deem it enough, I will eat them."

"You what?" Hadrianus laughed, not believing his big cuddly sweet wonderful beautiful mother is capable of even harming someone's hair, let alone eat them!

Marvolo looked amused, perfectly knowing she's capable of that, "Are you sure you won't get sick?"

"I have a good digestive system, thank you." She said haughtily.

Hadrianus laughed, thinking they're fooling around.

"And what do you suggest, Hadrianus?"

Hadrianus hummed, glancing at the Muggles at his feet, cowering, remembering every pain of each bone he broke, every bruise, all those heartbreak and betrayal, "I lived eight years on one stale bread, one glass of water, and gruesome chores for every day. I want them to have the same. But they can do chores in your Headquarters, I don't want them near my home. Mama can do whatever she wants to them, if I survived broken bones, their 'perfect and normal' son and his friends can do it too. Right father?"

Marvolo smirks, he is certainly not about to tell his son that he survived because he has magic at his disposal, Dudley, Piers, and other muggles do not have the same privilege. "As you wish, my son. But do you not want them to realize the pain they put them through?"

"What? hurt them back?" Hadrianus widened his eyes.

"You mean if they have to face a negative experience after doing something wrong to you?"

"Um," Hadrianus glanced at his mum, uncertain "Yes?"

"That's called consequences," Marvolo smirked, making Hadrianus widen his eyes in understanding and Nagini hissed in agreement.

"Do you want a wand, Nagini?" Marvolo asked amused, wishing to learn how deadly the woman is in human form.

"I have no need, though I am hoping my son will indulge his old mother, won't you, child of mine?" Nagini grinned at him, predatory and murderer-esque, all tooth showing, telling everyone who is she. A dangerous and deadly Maledictus.

Hadrianus smiled and kissed her knuckles, bowing, "Just say the word, mother of mine."

"Perfect!" Nagini grinned and danced towards the bound shivering Muggles and bend over Dudley, asking him, "You invented the game 'Harry Hunting', did you not? Hurting him every time you catch him?"

Dudley opened his mouth to deny, but Marvolo flicked a compulsion on him to speak only the truth, "Yes."

"Let's play the same, see how you enjoy it," Nagini smirked down at him, before turning towards Marvolo. "Tom? Release him. Bind the rest."

"As you wish," Marvolo happily obliged her, wishing to see her bloodthirsty vengeance, and binds the Dursley family and Piers on the trees, and silenced and cast a jinx so they won't pass out or can close their eyes while keeping Dudley on the ground, petrified and silently screaming. He has lost control of his bladder before the game even starts!

Nagini hummed, "Tom? Remember the whip you discovered during that raid in the war?"

Marvolo widened his eyes, "Oh, you vicious woman!" He smirked in admiration, before conjuring her a spiked whip with a cruel grin.

"Wow," Hadrianus eyed the whip with wide eyes as Nagini traced her finger on it. "That gonna hurt a lot!"

"Yes, my son. Now, I want to see you play chase with this prey." She said, pointing Dudley with her whip, "The whole garden is your playground. Every time you catch him, I will whip him ten times. Bailey! Bring us lots of popcorn, I missed eating popcorn!"

A slow grin stretched on Hadrianus's face. Oh, how he loves playing chase with real, live preys! He missed it since his father ordered Wormtail away from them. Instead of chasing after the pixies and Azure but not as satisfactory.

"What are you waiting for?" Nagini grinned rubbing her finger feeling the spiked whip. Her little hatchling is right, it's going to hurt, a lot.

"Ready, steady, go!"

Chapter Text

"Hey!" Narcissa stepped inside the quarter where her sister and brother-in-law were residing, "How are you all feeling?"

"Hey, Cissy!" Bella grinned as she sat up from the bed, stretching, "Much better than how we were a couple of months prior." Her husband murmured the same as he sat back on the bed after opening the door for them.

"Well, you would have been in a much worst state if our Lord didn't arrange to supply the calming draught, nutrient potion, and some other strength-enhancing potion in your foods and drinks for the last two months when they were preparing for the breakout."

"Yeah, we knew it. We were speculating if it was deliberate or something else," Rodolphus said musingly from the bed he was occupying.

"I mean, you can't expect the good-for-nothing Ministry do it for us, do you?" Rabastan added from the door as he entered his brother and sister-in-law's quarter on the House-Elf's request of his presence, flashing Narcissa a bright smile, and went to sit on his brother's bed.

Narcissa hummed as she summoned the Healers' charts and quickly went through them, they truly are physically healing much quicker and better than she expected. Perhaps it's time for insisting on the other healings.

"It all looks good," Narcissa agreed, "Shall we proceed for our next step of Healing?"

"Next step?" Bella laughed, "Cissy, we're fine!" The twins agreed though they looked curious about what the next step could be.

"But not as fine as you were before all of that!"

"We will be as soon as we regain our nutrition and weight." Bella insisted. "And we would need to practice dueling to get back in shape. A lot. But that's it." She has a feeling what Cissy might be indicating, and she is not going that way. She is Bellatrix Lestrange née Black. She doesn't need Mind Healers!

"That's not what our Lord deems," Narcissa stated, making them widen their eyes. Narcissa nodded seriously, "He has issued the order for everyone to go through Mind Healing. No exception." She stressed the last words, looking at Bella pointedly who looked like restraining herself from verbally tearing her off. She knows Bella will never reject their Lord's direct order.

The twins exchanged glances, both coming to the same conclusion. While they knew they would need the mind healing after prolonged exposure to Dementors, they would have never accepted it, their pride stopping them. But they can't ignore their Lord's direct order. They will go to Hell for their Lord, and they did!

Bella glared at the boys through her heavy-lidded eyelashes, knowing they've already given up. But she absolutely refused to accept this insult. Mind Healers! She doesn't need Mind Healers! It's an indignity to her honor. But outright rejecting so will mean rejecting her Master's orders. So she will go see them.

But that doesn't mean she has to listen to them, right?

"Do you consent?"

Three reluctant nods were the reply she got, making her smile broaden though she knows very well what scheming her dear sister is doing. And she has the perfect card for it. After all, the reward for good behavior is what encourages a Slytherin most.

"Now, as the reward for your consent, our Lord has permitted me to involve you in a secret."

"What is it?" The three pairs of eyes perked up and focused on her.

Narcissa smirked, before pulling out a piece of parchment from her robes and let it float in front of their eyes. The twinks and Bella had their eyes wide as ostrich eggs and their lips opened in a comical 'o'.

"That's...that's - " "Lord Slytherin!" The twins widened their eyes.

"I knew it," Bella howled, "I knew something was wrong, and we're not going mad! I told you the Dementors can't affect us that severely to make us forget our Master's true face!"

"Yes you did," The twins agreed, blinking in astonishment. 

Rodolphus started, "Our Lord concealed His old look - "

"- with a fucking Fidelius?" Rabastan finished in their typical twin talk, still reeling.

"Yes, He did." Narcissa smiled amused. Oh, how she missed hearing their entertaining twin talks. The Magical Bond between twins is truly something special!

Her smile faltered when she remembered a pair of Twin Bonds that was severed by the cruelty and prejudice of the Light side. How could Dumbledore let that happen? Even if they made some excuses like ignorance and subpar knowledge - which is why magical education is needed! - Black is in their Order! Black is supposed to know how special the magical Twin Bond is, especially since he had a sibling himself and must have experienced the backlash of their severed Sibling Bonds after Regulus's death! And a Twin Bond is even stronger than that!

Well, she is now thankful they did, as they now have the perfect Prince for Dark Sect, the future of the Magic is restored. But it could have happened so much better if they stayed the twins without the prejudice, with one of them leading the Light side and another leading the Dark Side, bringing them closer and mixing them to balance out each other. As it should have been.

"Whose handwriting is this, Cissa?" Rabastan's voice brought her back to reality, glancing up to find him examining the piece of parchment, "It's not familiar."

"Huh? You're right," Rodolphus frowned, taking the parchment himself to examine.

"Our Lord trusts someone we don't know with such an important secret?" Ah, there is the jealousy in Bella's voice as she turned to look at her, "Who is it, Cissy?"

Narcissa smirked, "I can tell you, but not sure if you've earned the privilege yet."

Three groans were heard.

"Come on, - "

"- we're not children anymore!"

Narcissa laughed, delighted, "Maybe you're not children, but I am a Slytherin. So I want something in exchange."

Bella pouted, but conceded the truth, "Fair enough, what do you want?"

"A vow."

"A vow?" Three surprised voices chorused.

Narcissa nodded. "Two, actually. One is a secrecy vow which is as per our Lord's Order, and the other is where you promise that you will take the Mind Healing seriously, cooperate with the Healers and accept their advice," Narcissa smirked at their astonished face. "And I am supposed to share the memory with our Lord, so choose wisely."

Bella glowered at her petulantly.

"It seems, dear brother - "

" - yes, brother dear - "

" - our precious Cissa has - "

" - something special to share!" They grinned at her identically, making Narcissa smirk back. Well, they're not wrong!

"Special what?" Bella muttered, which was cut off by Rabastan's next question.

"Barty and Sev are involved in it too, isn't it?"

"Yes." Narcissa inclined her head, making Rabastan nod.

"And that's what they had been hiding." He deduced, frowning. This is the reason Barty was wiggling around the topic when he asked him what he had been doing since their return. And Rabastan has heard that Barty has started his job at Hogwarts just recently. Barty had always been a bad liar, especially in front of Rabastan. And how Rabastan has been hurt inwardly, thinking Barty doesn't trust him anymore. Assuming he found Sev is more trusting than him.

But now he understood it. Barty and Sev are under a secrecy vow. That's why they couldn't tell him. Why did he not understand that before? Oh, he knows why. The Azkaban has hampered his reasoning and judgment ability. No wonder Sev had been so amused when he made a fuss over it. Of course, that sadist will find my suffering amusing - Rabastan thought fondly.

"I will go first," Rabastan promptly brought his Wand, not wanting to waste any more seconds to learn the secret which involves both Barty and Sev. "I, Rabastan Lestrange, swear upon my life that I will not adjourn but accept whatever my Mind Healer advises me to do, and cooperate with them. I also swear upon my Magic and Life that I will not share whatever secret Narcissa Malfoy née Black share with us today with anyone unless our Master, The Dark Lord Voldemort permits me to do so. So mote it be."

The magic snapped, accepting his sincere vow. He opened his eyes to find his brother, sister-in-law, and Narcissa - all looking at him surprised, before a knowing glint entered in Rodolphus's mirthful eyes. Obviously, his brother understood his eagerness and feelings. Rodolphus knew he had been infatuated with both the lively Ravenclaw's smart and cheerful nature and a shady Slytherin's cunning temperament since Hogwarts, though he never acted on it. Mostly because one of them had been promised to some Pureblood Light witch and another had been blind to anyone other than a mudblood Light witch! His only consolidation has been Barty wasn't interested in her the slightest, and the mudblood wasn't interested in Severus that way.

But maybe...just maybe, he has a chance now?

'Bartemius Crouch' is dead, so he doesn't have to marry the Light Witch his late father had picked for him. The Witch's family has broken off the contract when Barty's loyalty to The Dark Lord was discovered and married her off to the Abbott family. And Lily Potter is safely married to a Pureblood traitor.

And now an opportunity to learn something that concerns both of his subjects of infatuation? Yes, he is not letting that go.

"I will go next," Rodolphus picked up his Wand. He will need to assist his poor brother to make those blind idiots see how much he is in love with them. And if they're on some mission they have no knowledge of, he can't do that!

Bella groaned as the twin pairs of round and pouty eyes fixated on her. Now she is probably the only one to be left behind in the secret. And no, she won't be left behind. Besides, she has understood Rabastan's eagerness, after all, she is not blind to not realize how much Rabastan likes Crouch and Snape. She was there to see how Rabastan had withdrawn himself after hearing Severus's treachery, and how he broke down completely at the news of the death of Barty. She was also there to witness the unadulterated joy on his face when they discovered that Barty is alive and Sev didn't betray their cause, he had been following their master's order all along.

And if her twin fire salamanders are now planning to honeytrap a wolf and a bat, they will need her help. A woman's tactility and slyness.

"Fine, I will do it too." Bella sighed and picked up her Wand, lips twitching as the twins cheered. She swore the vow, then looked at her sister, "Happy?"

"Thank you," Narcissa smiled, and then cast a privacy charm to make sure no one is eavesdropping, then revealed, "Yes, our Lord is Lord Slytherin and he has concealed His old look with Fidelius and the secret keeper is His son."

Silence.

"Hold on, Cissy, what are you saying?" Bella asked, astonished.

"Did you just say, His son?"

"As in, our master's son?"

Narcissa nodded, "You've heard it correct, our Lord has a son. It's his writing," She pointed at the parchment, before hiding it in her robes. She can't lose such important information. Everything will fall apart.

"We...never knew about him."

"Will he be leading beside our Master?"

Narcissa glanced at her still shocked sister and replied to the twins, "He will, probably, in the future."

"Why not now?" Bella finally found her voice, making Narcissa smile.

"Because right now, he is just a child."

"Wait, he is a child?" The three widened their eyes comically.

"Who's the bearer?"

"Where was he then when Master was...you know..."

"I believe it would be better if you hear that part from our Lord." Narcissa won't lie to her sister about their Godson, and it is up to their Lord if He will involve them in the secret or not.

"I can't believe it!"

"Yes! Our lord has a child!"

"Our Junior Lord!"

"The Dark Heir!"

"Well, Barthélemy named him 'Little Prince'," Narcissa said, "But let's call him The Dark Prince," The twins turned on her with identical smiles.

"The Dark Prince," They parroted in awe.

"How is he like?"

"Does he look like Him?"

"What is his name?"

"How old is he?"

Narcissa laughed at their excitement, it's so adorable to see, "His name is Hadrianus Marvolo Slytherin-Peverell. He is only nine."

"Beautiful name," Bella whispered, her eyes shining with tears, "Worthy of The Dark Prince."

"Tell us more."

"Yes yes, more!"

"I would say he's quite...extraordinary. Powerful. Humorous and witty, And a wee little genius in making."

"Is he like - "

" - our Lord?" 

"Yes. He is like a more entertaining, genial, energetic, and miniature version of our Lord."

Bella squealed hearing that, wiping her tears of joy, "When can we see our Dark Prince?"

Narcissa smirks, hold on Bella, you haven't heard the best part yet, "There is one more glorious news you need to know before that."

"What could be more glorious than the news that our Lord is alive and in full health and has a child?" Bella asked incredulously.

"Well, maybe the news that the said child is your Godson?" Narcissa offered, smirking when she noticed the look of astonishment Bella was sporting. She wanted to giggle at the gaping googly eyes she was receiving from all of them.

"Cissy...did you just say,...that our Lord has appointed me as The Dark Prince's Godmother?"

"Yeah, you and me, both!"

"My-my Godson? I- I have a Godson?" Bella looked near to a mental breakdown.

"Yes."

And that was it. Bella promptly hid her face in her husband's chest and burst out crying, the rest of them sporting a somber look as they looked at wiping mother. Losing all her hope to have a child had killed the woman inwardly, and now the news of having a Godson -

"You're telling the truth?" Rodolphus asked, rubbing the arms of his crying wife to comfort her.

"I wouldn't lie about something like this, Rodolphus," Narcissa whispered.

Rabastan stared at his hands, the guilt eating him was immense. He had offered Bella to accompany her that day, but the stubborn Witch had refused. If he insisted to go with her, he probably would have a number of nephews and nieces to play with by now. He knew Bella wanted at least four children, and Rod would have indulged her happily! The more the merrier - He had said.

"Who are the other Godparents?" Rodolphus asked, wishing to change the topic.

"I and Bella are the Godmothers, Barthélemy and Goblin Lord Sharptooth are his Godfathers."

"Goblin Lo - you know what, I do not want to know. Did you say Barty is his Godfather?" Rodolphus asked with mirth, glancing at Rabastan who perked up hearing his name.

"Yes, it has been a reward for his help at our Lord's resurrection." Narcissa nodded.

"Oh dear Lord, please tell me the overzealous raven hadn't killed our Little Prince?" Rabastan groaned.

"Not yet," Narcissa snorted, "But he almost did, by giving him a knife as a birthday gift!" Narcissa stressed, exasperated, "Thankfully I noticed it and told Severus who seized it from Little Prince before something happened, promising him he will get it back when he's older and more practiced with it."

"You told it to Severus, not our Lord, or remove it yourself?" Rodolphus was surprised.

"Our Lord had been busy planning the breakout from Azkaban, and I know Little Prince will listen to Severus more than me, probably next to The Dark Lord. I didn't want to take a chance with something like that." Narcissa smiled, "He is, after all, his honorary and less disastrous, more proficient Godfather."

"Thank Merlin!" Rabastan exclaimed, though his voice was undeniably fond which they ignored, even Narcissa.

Bella's muffled sob calmed down with occasional hiccup as she listened to the conversation flowing around her and accepted the glass of water from Cissy. "When can I meet with my Godson?" She sniffed, her voice hoarse.

"Bella," She sighed, while she knows she doesn't deserve to hear this, but Bella needs to know! "You need to get better first."

"I'm better now!" She snapped.

"Both physically and mentally, Bella! Our Lord has passed orders that you can only meet with The Dark Prince if all the healers give the green cards!"

"You can't stop me from meeting my Godson!" Bella's eyes were wide with madness.

"It's not me who issued the order, Bella," Narcissa replied calmly.

"I don't care, I am going to see him," Bella stood and marched past Narcissa who shook her head, amused.

"You think our Lord will keep His son here?" Rabastan asked, catching up.

"Yeah Bellsy, I think he is in The Dark Lord's home." The twins glanced at each other then looked at Bella, uttering in chorus, "The Slytherin Castle."

"Yes," Narcissa confirmed.

Bella whirled on her heels, staring at Narcissa with absolute jealousy, "You've seen the Castle too, haven't you?"

"Of course, I did, so did Barthélemy, Severus, aunt Walburga, and Lord Nott. We're all keyed to the Castle's wards, as we look after The Dark Prince when The Dark Lord is busy."

The three collective gasps were heard.

"Take me there!" Bella demanded. "Now!"

"I can't."

"WHY NOT?" Bella screamed, coming near her face. Narcissa sighed.

"First, because you're not keyed to the Wards! If I take you now, you will be likely caught in the Wards until our Lord is available to return home and release you from the Wards. Is that the first impression you want to make on your Godson? Think how unimpressed he will be! I haven't taken even Draco there yet!"

Hadrianus will not be unimpressed, in fact, he will be worried sick if he finds her stuck painfully in the Wards and he can't do anything about it. And Narcissa will not give him another reason to have a new nightmare! He has enough of them. And Bella is not sane and stable enough to realize it. Thankfully their Lord knows it too, so if she requests Him for passage, He will simply order her to get well soon first. Hopefully, it will be another motivation she needed to see the Mind Healers!

"And second, The Dark Lord is supposed to go to Germany with The Dark Prince, or probably left already. I do not know for certain."

"Fine! Then I will ask our Lord to take me next time He comes to meet with us."

"Our Lord has already issued an order that - "

"By the right of Godparents, not even our Lord can stop me from seeing my Godson!" Bella snapped, crazed. And as soon as she said that, the magic snapped up, accepting her claims.

"Oh Bella," Narcissa stared in absolute horror along with the twins, "What have you done?"

  

  

________________

   

  

  

Barty entered the staff room following Severus for the first staff meeting on the first Monday since Hogwarts started after Winter Vacation. He sat on the seat when Dowager Longbottom came in a good mood and took a seat beside him, smiling faintly. Now that is unexpected.

"Madame Longbottom, may I know the reason behind you being in such a good spirit?" Barty grinned as he spoke in his faint French accent.

"Oh, you know the Muggle Brain Clinic that you recommended in Germany?" She said, continuing at his nod, "They say the reports have come and they've consulted several best...what they call it, er, neo - "

"Neuro physician? Neurosurgeon?" Severus asked with an amused smirk.

"Yes, that," Longbottom nodded, "They said that they might have a chance to cure my son and daughter-in-law by some Muggle therapy, which I honestly didn't understand whatever they tried to explain - but they said they will get better! Even though it may take time - "

"Oh! That's wonderful!" Several voices rose around the staff room, all were listening to them. It's not every day you see her so cheerful!

"Yes," Dowager Longbottom let out a sound between chuckle and sob, "I couldn't believe it! I never thought - "

"Is it true? Muggles have a treatment of prolonged exposure to Cruciatus?" Professor Emeric Switch, their new Transfiguration Professor was surprised as well.

"Maybe you can tell us in detail about what they told? We can find out about what treatment they might be giving and share it with you, and with St. Mungos, if it's successful." Barty, ever the knowledge-seeker Ravenclaw, exclaimed happily which made several heads nod.

"Oh, bravo! It will be revolutionary! I want to be there too!" Filius, another knowledge-seeker Ravenclaw, clapped in delight.

Dowager Longbottom gave a wet chuckle and looked at Professor Crouch with solemn gratitude, "Thank you, Professor Crouch. I understand you probably feel guilty about what your cousin did and trying to correct it, and I can't give you enough gratitude for it. Longbottom House owes you a debt." Magic snapped up and accepted the claim.

Barty used every bit of self-control to stop fidgeting uncomfortably as he nodded. To be honest, he wasn't unconditionally guilty of what they did to avenge the death of his first Godson, Bella's unborn child. But he did notice what became of Heir Longbottom because of what they did. Besides, it might have been a part of his Ravenclaw heart that wished to know if Muggles truly can find a cure to this.

As others got involved in the conversation, Barty's eyes found Severus who was sporting that very rare soft look on his eyes. As the baby blue clashed with dark ones, Severus gave a very tiny smile and a near-invisible nod of appreciation which suddenly made the brunet very happy. Like he truly did something right.

"Oh, speaking of which, Professor Snape," Augusta turned to Severus that broke their moment, Severus turned towards her, "Heir Slytherin-Peverell has invited my grandson to join him in potions tuition with you, did you know about this?"

"Yes," Severus nodded, "Adrian asked my permission before giving him the offer, he said Heir Longbottom is worried about potions?"

Augusta raised an eyebrow, surprised at the child's thoughtfulness. "He did?"

"As I said to Adrian, I do not mind, you can send him. I teach Adrian every Friday evening."

Augusta stared at him for few seconds, then smiled, "It sounds good. But what about Lord Slytherin-Peverell? Don't you teach in his house?"

"He was present when Adrian asked me, He has permitted me to teach both boys together in the Manor if Heir Longbottom wishes and you agree. However, they're in Germany for this week, so the class will resume the next Friday."

"Well, that sounds great, I will pay you, of course."

Severus nods.

Aurora spoke up, interested, "Marvolo is in Germany?"

Just the exact moment, Dumbledore entered the staff room to hear the question from Aurora. He immediately zoned into the ongoing conversation among his staff members, wishing to learn more about Tom.

"Ah yes, they left last week." Barty nodded. "Will be back by next week, at the most."

Dumbledore fought back a frown and maintained his usual genial look as he reclaimed his seat. He was coming from Ministry where he learned from Amelia that some deadly and contagious disease has been spread among the Azkaban prisoners, most of them are already dead by now, and a few more will probably be dead by tonight. Even some Aurors had been affected by it and died as well. The news will be all over the Daily Prophet by tomorrow morning. If Tom is occupied in Germany, he probably doesn't even know that his loyal Death Eaters are dying in Azkaban. Albus needs to contact some of his connections in Germany to keep eye on Tom, noting his behavior and if he immediately returns and contacts Ministry as soon as the news reaches him.

If he does, he can prove to others that he is truly Tom. And he knows Tom will come and try his best to save his trusted followers. Maybe if he suggests that they keep the news of the death of his loyal Death Eaters under the rug for a couple of days? Until Tom returns and Albus catches him red-handed? Sounds like a good idea. He would need to escape the staff meeting as soon as possible.

His musings were drawn by the word 'Slytherin-Peverell' being uttered by some of his staff and immediately his attention zeroed on a hyperventilating Pomona.

"...should have seen him! Oh dear Merlin, he's so cute!"

"I know, right?" Aurora gushed.

"Pomona," Dumbledore chuckled, "While I admit Lord Slytherin's aesthetic is quite nice, don't you think it's uncouth to fawn over him?" Oh, how comical her face will be if she learns she's fawning over the monster? Nah, he will save her from further embarrassment.

"Fawn over him?" Pomona frowned, "I wasn't talking about Marvolo! I was talking about his son!"

Albus's twinkle ceased, less to the fact she's calling him by his name, more to the face that she said, "His...son? Are we talking about Lord Slytherin here?"

"Of course we are," Aurora said, "Barty talks about him so much, did you not hear him?"

Albus glanced at Professor Crouch grinning with usual mirth at him. He honestly believed the child of Lord Slytherin is a fake story, maybe a golem or something. Even when Severus confirmed that he indeed has a child, he hadn't wanted to believe it and dismissed the possibility. Lord Voldemort is not a father material! The Dark Arts would have dimmed any possibility to sire a child! But if all the staff members have seen him with their own eyes -

"Have you all met him?" Albus looked at Filius. At least Filius will be able to differentiate between a golem and a real child.

"Ah yes, when we went to meet with him on the new year." Filius agreed. "He was quite a delightful child."

Albus nodded, distinctly remembering that they did go to meet with Tom in his house. But surely not-

"I am sure the child will be a delight to teach as well," Aurora said, "I mean, can you believe he has such great control of his Magic already?"

"Really?" Now Minerva was intrigued. This is a new piece of information.

Filius agreed as well, "He used his accidental magic purposefully in front of us! You will love him, Minerva, though I am sure charms will be his favorite!" He grinned.

Albus frowned as he listened to them talk. Did they saw the child and talked to him? Are they sure he's not a golem then? Besides, it sounds like they witnessed the child performing accidental magic of some sort! And a golem can't use magic! Does that mean Tom truly has a child? But that's impossible! A cruel, merciless, loveless monster like him can't take good care of a child! Does that mean -

Barty snorts as he supplied, "Maybe the second favorite, his first will always be the Creature."

"Wait, really?" Silvanus Kettleburn asked, interested.

"If you ask him whom he wishes to save, a man or a man-eater, Adrian will choose the man-eater without a second thought." Severus drawled.

The staff burst out laughing, even Dumbledore chuckled mirthfully at that, "Sounds like our Hagrid would love him." He twinkled at Hagrid who was beaming wide. He needs to learn if Tom has stolen the child from somewhere, maybe if the child befriends Hagrid, he can manipulate the child into confessing his abusive home condition to Hagrid and rescue him from the monster?

"Ay, I'll love 'im!" Hagrid's voice boomed around the staff room.

Barty and Severus exchanged a near horrified glance at that, both thinking the same. Merlin, no!!

The door opened again, and the rest of the staff members like Prof. Alexandra Herodotus, Lord Gornuk, and Unspeakable Rockwood walked in, and the meeting finally started.

  

  

 

_____________________

 

   

 

"So? What do you think?" Nagini asked as she twirled around in front of the full-length mirror.

Hadrianus looked critically at the baby blue-colored lacy evening gown with long sleeves and grinned, showing his both thumbs up, "It's good!"

"Do I look better in this, or the royal blue high-low styled gown? Or the golden coronation gown? Or the forest green sequin ball gown? Or the silver low back mermaid long fishtail gown?"

Hadrianus seemed torn as he looked between all of them, biting his lips. It was probably the hardest question he was ever asked, though he is not intending to go back from it. Unlike, his father, he's not that coward! His father would have run the other way as fast and elegantly as he could if mum asked him this.

"Tell you what mama, take all of them!"

Nagini flipped her long, straight and smooth waist-long hair to one side and raised an eyebrow at her son knowingly for his such a Slytherin answer, making him blush.

"I am sure father won't disagree with me," Hadrianus mumbled, his cheeks red.

The assistant chuckled at his cheeky response and replied in the same German language as they're all speaking, "Milady, your son is very charming and clever."

"Indeed," Nagini looked like she wanted to roll her eyes, but refrained and gestured at the dresses, "Well, go ahead, pack them. If my son says so, then I am taking all of them."

"Of course, Milady, it will be packed momentarily," The assistant eagerly bolted to pack the dresses as soon as the Lady put it off. The moment the gorgeous mother-son duo barged in their shop with four security guards trailing behind at a distance, he knew they're going to earn a good amount of galleons tonight. And he was right! They didn't introduce themselves - and he understood their reluctance, he can already tell that they must be from some rich noble family, so introducing themselves will be a breach of their security and privacy - given their family Lord is not around, even if they have guards trailing them. Though he was more surprised to find her son seems to be so keen to doll his beautiful mother up with elegant and fancy clothes. This is first! He never saw a son so enthusiastic to accompany their mother shopping! The young lad must be a real mamma's boy - he thought, amused as he waved his wand around frantically. Well, he's not complaining! Especially when the boy is offering a way to earn more galleons for them!

   

   

     After doing some more window shopping at different shops, a tired Nagini and Hadrianus with their pocket full of miniaturized shopping bags entered the magical ice cream and cookies section around the corner. As they nibbled away on their favorite treat, with the guards sitting at a distance having their own at Hadrianus's insistence, the shop opposite to them caught Nagini's attention.

"We'll go there next."

Hadrianus nodded dutifully before the shop's name caught his attention and he squinted his eyes, "Is that...a make-up parlor?"

"Yes."

"But mum? You're already beautiful without those icing on your face!"

Nagini smirked as she wiped her son's cheeks off the cookie crumbles with the napkin, "Thank you, my little one. But it's for your..." She delicately touched his forehead, letting him draw the conclusion by himself. Hadrianus widened his eyes and nodded in understanding. Yes, he has heard the conversation between his mum and father about how he can't use glamour to hide the scar all the time. Looks like his brilliant mum has spotted an excellent way to cover it.

After finishing their snacks, they went to the shop.

"Good afternoon ma'am, how can I help you?" The shop assistant gave them a brilliant smile that didn't falter even when she noticed the fully robed intimidating-looking bodyguard that followed them inside the shop and three others remained on the outside, looking around alert and tensed. The mother-son pair that entered paid them no mind, obviously used to their presence trailing behind them, and the older woman smiled back at her politely.

"Good afternoon, Miss. Schmidt." She said, reading her name from the badge, "Can you give me an idea on how to hide this? It's becoming wearisome to hide it all the time under glamour." She confessed, her right index finger removing the stray hairs from her son's forehead revealing an angry red and elevated lightning bolt-shaped scar hiding behind a glamour.

Mia Schmidt looked critically at the scar on the child's forehead, her inner beautician salivating at the challenge, "Of course, please follow me."

A couple of hours and several trials later, Nagini delicately raised her son's chin and turned left and right examining the now well-hidden scar, before nodding in satisfaction, "So the formula will make sure it will stay undetected and waterproof and smudge-proof?"

"Yes, Milady." Mia nodded fervently, "It's not a standard process used by most customers to cover unpleasant and stubborn scars because of the expense of the excellent full-coverage concealer potion and use of such high-level spells and runes, but it is the best and most reliable procedure to the date, undetectable even by the most advanced revealing charms!"

"How long will it work before he needs to reapply the formula again?"

Mia calculated quickly and informed her, "Three months, Milady. But if you prefer, I can make it last six months at the most before the formula starts fading and needs to reapply!"

"Yes please!" The mother-son duo chimed in chorus, making her smile broaden.

  

   

     "Tom!" Nagini burst into his office with Hadrianus on tow as soon as he arrived in their three-Storey bungalow house in Germany through Floo after the meeting ended, "Guess what?"

"What?" Marvolo chuckled at the exhilarated pair, removing his robes and claiming his throne-like chair. They were certainly having the time of their lives touring around the country and regaling him with their adventures every night. Obviously, on some days, he joined them as well, but today hasn't been that day.

"See!"

Hadrianus pulled his hair away from his forehead, revealing the clear forehead. Marvolo raised his eyebrow, well that's new!

"Come on father!" Hadrianus was bouncing on the spot, excited, "Do your overly paranoid bibbidy-bobbidy-boo! See if it comes out!"

"There's no spell with such ridiculous incantation!" Marvolo drawled amused, before beckoning him to come closer. Spells after spells hit the spot where he knew was the scar had been but to his growing wonderment, whatever was glamouring the scar didn't even falter. It looked as if there is nothing hidden beneath, all clear and natural. Did they remove the scar? Marvolo panicked inwardly worrying for his Horcrux, before realizing the Horcrux link between them is still there.

Then what happened?

"Okay, I yield." Marvolo sighed, lips twitching as the mother-son duo high-fived with each other, "Tell me how?" He had been worried about the scar, the glamour won't hold against Dumbledore or Moody, but looks like they found some solution to it.

"Women power," Nagini winked, making Hadrianus giggle behind his hand.

"Oh come on!"

Apparently, it made both of them crack up, with Nagini falling against the wall and wheezing in laughter.

"All the power of The Dark Lord Voldemort failing against the women's beauty product! Oh, Merlin! I never expected I will see this day!" Nagini wheezed in laughter which set off her son, even more, making him fall on knees on the floor, giggling hysterically.

"Hey!" Marvolo will deny until his dying breath that he was pouting, he was not pouting! He was not!

He was.

    

         

     "...and then she confirmed it will last for six months, and even after that, it will take at least two weeks to wear off completely. So plenty of time to visit and reapply," Hadrianus explained as he finished his supper, a bowl of steaming traditional German soup of beef broth with noddles and dumplings. Marvolo nodded as he sipped on his own drink thoughtfully.

"Well, at least we can have a few sessions to confirm it before its time for Hogwarts."

Hadrianus hummed around his mouth full of soup. Marvolo took another sip and straighten up as he remembered something.

"Hadrianus, Nagini, I know we're having a vacation which will last for another week and so, but I need to tell you that we have to visit the Headquarter for breakfast tomorrow. There is someone I wish you to meet. We'll be back to the vacation shortly after that."

"Bellatrix?" Nagini guessed, making Marvolo nod.

Hadrianus nodded and yawned, exhausted after the long day full of fun, shifting around his mother's lap to get more comfortable, "Is it the same lady whom we heard the voice that day, saying that even you can't stop meeting us?"

"Yes," Marvolo said bemused, "It had been a magical claiming, so I can not hold it back any longer without consequences. Even though I wanted her to heal completely before you met her."

"'skay, maybe she'll get better after the meeting," Hadrianus muttered drowsily, a soft hand carting through his hair making him sleepy.

Marvolo hummed in reply, watching the exact moment the child fall asleep on Nagini's lap. They sat in silence, content to watch him sleep for few minutes before Nagini spoke up softly.

"Your minions and guides are some useless excuses of security, we almost got lost at least three times since we started touring around the country."

"But you didn't," Marvolo countered, frowning.

"Yes, no thanks to them! It had been my hatchling's near-eidetic memory that saved us, he had memorized the map of Germany from the Atlas that Barty gave him!"

Marvolo glowered hearing that. He needs to crucio those cretins. Ugh! Why did he surround himself with such incompetent fools that can't guide and guard them properly? He can't use his most loyal and trusted Knights Barty and Severus as they're now at Hogwarts, Lucius handling the other missions he had to send him in. The other loyal Knights like the Lestrange twins and Bella need to get better quickly, he can't leave the security of his precious Horcruxes in the hands of such dunces like this!

Hold on! Wait a minute! Did Nagini just say - "He has a near-eidetic memory?" Marvolo asked astonished, "Well, why I am surprised? Of course, building a mindscape gives your near-eidetic memory!" Because when every memory is stocked neatly and well kept in the mindscape, you tend to find them at the moment's notice. And he himself helped him build the perfect mindscape.

"That's not true," Nagini argued back, (quietly) "He had it before he even met you! Or did you forget his IQ is 168?"

"Of course I didn't forget, but how can you tell he had it before?"

"How can I not? He self-taught himself to write and read after overhearing hardly one or two lectures in a local school!"

Marvolo blinked, bewildered, "Excuse me?"

Nagini took a deep breath, remembering how she gradually pulled that piece of information from her hatchling bit by bit over the week and Tom had not been with them. "Have you ever wondered how a child from an abusive family, who never went to school, can read and write?"

Marvolo paused, widening his eyes as the realization draw. Come to think about it, Hadrianus was a rather well-spoken for a child who never received any education, "Tell me," He demanded.

"He told me he lingered outside of some local public school few times to overhear the lectures and remembered them. And then practiced whatever he heard on his own, later, when he was free from the chores. And whenever that fat muggle child tore a book or pencil or anything, he never glanced at it twice. Hadrianus obviously noticed it and took the chance to collect and save them in his cupboard and practice. He also used to collect the discarded newspapers and read them to expand his vocabulary. That's how he learned what he knew when he was found by the Goblins."

Marvolo was speechless as he heard her talk. When she is finished, he stayed silent, mulling over the information and processing it, mentally vowing his son will never undergo such a struggle to educate himself further. "How do you know so much?" He whispered after few minutes. The urge to apparate away and curse the Muggles is strong.

"I asked indirectly." Nagini shrugged, "I heard that day the Dursleys had instructed him to stay invisible and unheard. I had been wondering about it since then. He told me, gradually."

Marvolo nodded, rolling the paperweight in his hand, still reeling over the news.

"I will probably turn back in fifteen minutes or so. I am going to put him down on the bed before that." She said glancing at the clock, picking the sleeping child in her arms, and stood. Marvolo hummed in agreement, relaxing in his chair, still recalling that day.

   

   

***FLASHBACK***

  

(ALERT: MENTION OF BLOOD AND GORES)

 

 

"Dear Dudderrrrsss, run faaaassteeerrrrr..."

His fat whale of a cousin cried out as he tried to limp away, the bruises are all bleeding quite freely now, trailing after him from each time Hadrianus caught him. He can track him through the blood down with eyes closed!

But that wouldn't be as fun!

"Come on, 'cousin'! Faaaasssteerrrrrr...." Hadrianus laughed burlesquing, the exact way they used to when they chased him, making Dudley yelp, terrified, and dived around the fountain. Hadrianus laughed as he danced around the fountain as well, while Dudley ran the opposite side.

Wrong choice!

The wicked grin he was sporting contagiously spread on his parent's face when a certain green-blue huge butterfly-like creature chased Dudley from the other side. Dudley shrieked in panic at the fiercely snarling alien-looking creature, ducking as fast as he can and turned around.

The wrong choice again!

His frantic shrieks echoed around the Garden when Hadrianus, with an extraordinary move he learned from his Godfather, whirled across his own axis with his right legs kicking out, making Dudley lose his footing with the sharp hit and fall.

Hadrianus smirked at Dudley whimpering and wheezing at his feet, and raised his hands in mock surrender, not even out of breath, "No magic!" Azure landed on his shoulder, hissing at him viciously, cowering the boy from his presence alone!

Oh, what a delightful sight he makes, terrifying and ruthless - Marvolo thinks with wonder, watching his son proudly.

Dudley yelped, startled hearing the 'forbidden' word.

"What?" Hadrianus sardonically tilted his head, "Is it the term 'magic'? Are you going to weep like the big fat cry baby you are and run to your mommy daddy? Oh wait, I believe they have already overheard us."

Hadrianus cheerfully waved at his 'uncle', then blew a flying kiss, earning a chuckle from his mother who had approached them with the whip. The silenced 'uncle' has finally given up trying to scream after the third chase, was now torn between worrying for his son madly and wanting to throttle him. Dudley cried out on seeing Nagini approach, not living in 'denial' anymore, and finally used his last brain cell to do something productive. Like begging to Hadrianus.

"Have mercy cousin, please Harry, please, have mercy. Please, dear cousin!"

Nagini raised an eyebrow, "It speaks!" she exclaimed scornfully, earning a chuckle from Marvolo who was relishing the finest piece of art they were performing.

Something soft, feather-like, fell on his face, and Hadrianus looked up at the sky. It has finally started to snow. The beautiful pure-white feathery snowflakes drizzling around, but the coldness didn't touch him, having wrapped up with his father's warming charms. Plausibly he would have prance around naked under a heavy snowstorm yet never feel the cold again. It's in the past now.

Hadrianus let his head tipped back and his eyes closed, smiling as snowflakes dusted his long ebony eyelashes, just enjoying the moment. Aware of his father approaching them and Azure promptly dived inside his sleeve.

A long, distant memory flashed in front of his closed eyes, but he didn't recoil this time. He is sufficiently warmed, his shoulder relaxed as the heavyweight was lifted from it. He is free. Free to spread his wings and never look back again, never to be caught in a cage again.

Just like Hades.

"Do you remember the last winter, Dudley?" He suddenly spoke, voice soft and eyes still closed, yet aware of everyone's attention being solely on him, "The day you were returning from school and your 'dear cousin' was shoveling the snow in the backyard."

He smiled pleasantly as if recalling a good memory, "You and your best friend Piers then came up with this new game. Chasing your cousin and beat him up when you catch him. It was a snow day as well, just like today."

Hadrianus opened his eyes and looked around in wonder, his surrounding is now covered in white. He ignored his shivering and wailing cousin as he continued, "But Harry doesn't recall the snow being so white, to him, it was blood red. Painted with Harry's blood."

"Oh, hatchling..." Nagini let out a strangled sob. Marvolo's face was inscrutable as ever.

"The Universe doesn't recall you giving Harry any 'mercy', dear Cousin," Hadrianus tsked, looking at the crying boy at his feet, "But they do recall, your cousin Harry never begged, nor cried. Not even let out a 'peep'. Is it not what your 'daddy' required of him? To be never heard or seen? 'Harry' had always obeyed that rule." His voice was a mere whisper, but everyone can hear him loud enough.

"But then Harry died, your murderer, criminal, and 'normal' daddy killed him. From his ashes, Hadrianus has been born." Hadrianus's sweet melancholy eyes turned savage and menacing as he smirked down at him, "Tell me, dear 'Dudders', why Hadrianus will say anything when his lovely mother wishes to avenge dead Harry?"

Just as the sentence finished, a venomous swoosh was heard, and Dudley cried out in pure and raw agony. His skin ripped open from the nasty assault and blood pouring because of the metallic spikes, the several patches of pale yellowish fat layers can be seen underneath the lacerated skin. Hadrianus watched with mild curiosity as his mother pulled the whip backward and raised her delicate arm again, and the spiked whip lashed out as if the strike of a deadly viper. The manual butchery instead of using Wand and curses made the carnage of the wrath of an enraged mother more gruesome! 

The snow never felt so good before.

But this time Marvolo didn't even glance at the sinful woman striking the Muggle boy with the smoothness and grace of a majestic justice-seeking Queen Serpent. He watched his son. He had always regarded his son as a sweet, pleasant, and lively little child with a magnetic personality and knack for running towards trouble. He never realized that someone as gentle and friendly as Hadrianus can be as ruthless remorseless as well.

No, he knew he could be. He had seen it before. He didn't realize that he had that wild vindictive steak well hidden and wrapped beneath that warm, kind personality, not trained into it. And Marvolo had only acted as a chemical buffer to the solution and unleashed that trait! 

Marvolo laughed, cold and harsh, but as beautiful as the snow that surrounds them. The diabolical triumph and smugness of The Dark Lord Voldemort gleaming on the face of Lord Slytherin-Peverell made all the bound Muggle's skin-crawling, a visceral need to escape growing even more than before.

Unable to take any more strikes, Dudley fainted.

"Really? That's what? Thirty-five?" Hadrianus was unimpressed, "I had endured sixty-seven strikes in one day from his 'perfect and normal' father!"

Nagini's left eye violently twitched at that, picking her whip up in her hands as she turned to look at the tied Muggles, "Maybe it's time for a brand-new prey." Her smile was stony and scornful as she eyed the particularly ugly specimen that resembled more like a consequence of some crazy experiment of coupling some beasts. The said experiment must have produced a corpulent whale with some limbs and then someone had the amusing idea of teaching the abnormality how to walk and talk!

Hadrianus, hearing her, turns to his mother with a rejuvenated spark. With a flick of Marvolo's wand, the said anomaly, also called 'Vernon Dursley' replaced Dudley the Second Anomaly, who is now fastened between a weeping Petunia and Marge.

Nagini hums, "What do we do with you, you strange aberration of a specimen? Perhaps continue what your boy couldn't finish?" She asked, dragging the whip dribbling with the scarlet shade on the specimen's bulged belly, letting the blood ruin the filthy rug he's wearing even further, "Or avenge for what you did to my son?"

Pale blue eyes wide with fear darting around to find escape, but that's the only muscle he could move.

"Ah! I know what to do." Nagini threw the whip away and rubbed her hands triumphantly, "It's the bad blood that needs correction. Tom, remember the Blood Boiling Curse?"

Marvolo looked even more amused, "I believed you wished to take the retribution yourself?"

"That doesn't mean I can't enjoy a good show!" Nagini danced towards her son, smiling fondly as the beautiful green eyes looked up and focused on her, "Besides, maybe it's time you show our son some good Curses and how they affect a live human body. What do you say, my little hatchling?" She booped on her son's cute little nose, making it crinkle.

"I would love that!" Hadrianus said earnestly, always eager to learn some new Magic. Oh, how he had always wished and dreamed to retaliate on these people. Finally, he's getting some!

A pale yellowish beam hit the frozen body on the ground, making him scream in agony and close his eyes on reflex. Hadrianus skipped towards the writhing ex-abuser of the man and knelt beside him and observed him, taking note of his teeth grinding, fists clenching, flushing, tensed muscles, and how his body temperature seems to be rising so suddenly. The Muggles seems to be clawing his own skin to release the sting and anguish, making the skin tear. Hadrianus counted down to ten seconds before the curse was lifted. He took notes of his heavy breathing, the pained tears falling from his closed eyes, and the excessive sweating that seems to be almost forming a pool beneath him. The air seems to be permeated with the scorching smell, as if something has caught on flame. And not to ignore the few scalding blisters that appeared on his skin.

Hadrianus raised his head to look at his father who has been observing him the entire time.

"What happened in the ten seconds that caused this?" He pointed at the blisters. He remembered having the same when he accidentally burned Dudley's favorite breakfast on the morning of his birthday, and as punishment, Vernon had burned his hand by forcibly shoving it in the bowl full of boiling water. But there is no boiling water that would produce a similar effect like that! Then how it did happen?

Marvolo smirked. Looks like the revolting family has earned so much ire from the child that he has turned apathetic to their suffering, instead preferring them to be his study object. He has no objection to this development, obviously!

"I can reveal to you what is truly happening underneath the surface if you wish to study in detail." Marvolo offered, kicking the blistered hand out of his way, making it whimper.

"I do," Hadrianus responded sincerely.

Marvolo stepped over the fat Muggle, earning a pained grunt from him, and walked towards his son's location and offered his hand to him, "Come, my child. I will show you."

Hadrianus eagerly took his hand and let his father pull him back to his feet. Marvolo went towards the muggle's loose limbs and webbed his wand, making the snow-covered green grass around the four limbs grow rapidly, and then weaved itself around the wrists and ankles, making it unmovable. The muggle cried out in panic, trying to pull his now bound limbs with no success. Ignoring him, Marvolo cast a laceration charm on the right arm, revealing a not so major vein, (he can't have him bleeding profusely and then dying on them now, given they make such a good dummy for his son!). Vernon whimpered pathetically but Hadrianus paid no attention, choosing to observe intently as his father cast the curse once again. Nagini approached them as well, watching everything curiously.

"Whoa!"

Hadrianus watched, fascinated with how the crimson red liquid started to sizzle openly under the Curse. The scorching and gurgling gore made the muscles of his body burn, resulting in more blisters appearing. The writhing Muggle is clawing his skin again, screaming raw.

Hadrianus scrunched his nose in disgust as the burning smell became too intense, making him gag and promptly turn and bury his nose in his father's robe. The curse was lifted and Marvolo ran his hand on his son's hair, concerned, thinking it was perhaps a bit extreme for his young one, "Hadrianus?"

"Stinks." Came his muffled reply.

"Well, he's not lying," Said Nagini, pinching her own nose in disgust.

Marvolo chuckled and waved his hand, the air was immediately purified and replaced with fresh air. Hadrianus peeked from his hiding place, his nose twitching and satisfied when it didn't stink anymore. After having his creature inheritance, he had been rather sensitive to smell.

"How long will it take for him to heal?" Hadrianus asked, looking down inspecting the third-degree burns on the almost unconscious muggle's body, "It took a week for me to heal fully from the same blisters."

Marvolo glared at the wretched Muggle on the ground and sent a stinging hex at his arm, making him cry out in sheer agony, "You are a powerful Wizard, my child. Your Magic worked day and night to heal you. But a Muggle does not have that privilege, he will take a month at least, more without aid."

Hadrianus hummed, glancing down at his hand opening and closing the fist, studying the familiar scar that was left behind, trying to push away the memories of anguish nights, and wondering if Vernon will have something similar to this when he heals.

Nagini approached him, bringing him out of his discontented musings. She took her hatchling's hand and pressed a gentle kiss on the scar, trying to hold back her own tears as she saw the badges of tortures giving the proof of what her son went through. Hadrianus smiled weakly at her.

The somber moment was suddenly broken by a loud crackling and snapping of Magic, and then a female voice with steely determination came drifting towards them, "As per the right of Godparents, even our Lord can'