Chapter 15: Of Ministries and idiots
Salazar eyed the person in front of him critically. It was a young man about six feet and two inches high with dark skin and a bald head wearing a light blue robe and a hat in the same colour.
“On what base and whose order?” Salazar demanded to know.
“You are accused of impersonating someone else, abduction of Harry James Potter also known as the Boy-who-lived and the practise of the Dark Arts. Now please hand over your wand and follow me.”
“Interesting but I have a few more questions though. First who am I accused of impersonating, second have you any prove for your accusations and third who ordered this?”
Salazar’s patience was running out and fast. It has been a long day, he was tired and definitely not in the mood to play any games with this idiot who just made the same mistakes as the Minister at the trial.
“It is Jack Hardinger you are impersonating. We got the tip that you are not him” the man was obviously dancing around the other two questions.
“Ah, is he?” came a female voice from behind the four Aurors.
Salazar’s eyes went wide when he heard it. He knew very well who this was since he worked for said person for over a decade before returning to England but he was at a loss about what said person was doing here.
His suspicion was confirmed when the dark skinned Auror turned around and cleared the view upon a 4’9” tall middle aged woman with an amused twinkling in the eyes.
“And who are you?” the auror growled at the woman.
Salazar chuckled while he thought: `Your worst nightmare if you’re not very careful´.
“Oh me? I’m no one important, just the Head of the American Ministry of Magic Henrietta Coulson the American pendant to your Minister” she replied with a waving of her hand.
The Auror gulped, he heard about the American Minister and what he heard was terrifying. This woman was a legend. That was when Bones appeared to see what this crowd that formed around them meant.
“Auror Shacklebolt what is this about?” she demanded to know.
“We have order to arrest Mr. Finnigan and Mr. Hardinger” the addressed Auror answered.
“Interesting, especially since I have no knowledge of such an order. So who ordered this?” Bones was pretty upset about that someone thought he could order Aurors around without informing her.
“Minister Bagnold, ma’am” came the sheepish reply.
“Ah the soon to be Ex-Minister. She has no right to give you orders and she knows it as well as you should. As much as I would like to leave you in the mercy of Mr. Hardinger who would when I interpret the gaze he gives you the right way tear you apart without even blinking but I can’t afford to lose four of my most promising Aurors at the moment. The Department is understaffed since the war and I need every man and woman so do me and yourself a favour and rethink your loyalty” she growled.
It seemed that the man wanted to say something but being confronted with the daring glare of not only Bones but also Salazar and Henrietta Coulson he quickly changed his mind and waved his co-workers to leave. Bones looked after them shaking her head before turning around and looking at the small woman.
“Henrietta Coulson, how long since we last met? How’s the ICW?” she greeted her with a smile.
“Too long my dear, too long. I see you have a firm hand on your staff” Bones growled upon that.
“Ladies, I have to thank you for solving this situation but please apologize me I have to take care of a horde of journalists before they think about printing lies. James take care of Sirius please” Salazar interrupted them with a small bow before he lost even more time while he waved James to go and take Sirius who looked like he would collapse any second to St. Mungo’s. James nodded and finally went together with the assistant to floo there.
Salazar was about to enter the waiting elevator when his former employer spoke up.
“I come with you. Ms. Bones, I’m in England for the rest of the week so I think we will have some time to get exchanged within the next days.”
Bones nodded and the two entered the elevator alone the crowd in the hallway staring at them.
It took several seconds before Salazar finally spoke up while watching the floor numbers passing by.
“Henrietta, it’s so nice to meet you after such a long time but what are you doing here? Don’t take it the wrong way I’m glad you helped me with those…idiots but I never thought you would come to England.”
Henrietta chuckled lowly. “Did you really think I would want to miss you taking Dumbledore apart in front of his followers? He has been a nuisance ever since he became Supreme Mugwump in the ICW and I’m glad I could see him getting down a peg or two.”
“Why am I not the slightest little bit surprised? I guess that’s where you also met Ms. Bones?”
“Perceptive as always. Yes I met her in the aftermath of the war. We worked together to get order and stability reinstated. She was also the one who informed me of the trial today.”
A loud ringing told them that they arrived at their destination. The doors slid open and they left the elevator. When they turned around the corner Salazar growled. The entire hall was filled with journalists while Aurors stood guard and on a podium was Dumbledore in his entire glory giving a speech. Henrietta again chuckled lowly.
“So this was what the farce with the Aurors was, a distraction to buy him time so that he can spread his version of the truth. Pathetic should he think that this would work” he growled.
“…so Mr. Black was released because of a procedural error” Dumbledore explained to the journalists when Salazar coughed audible for everyone.
Dumbledore’s head snapped upwards and he directly faced Salazar. His face darkened for a split second before he regained his grandfatherly mask again.
“I don’t know what Professor Dumbledore told you while I was occupied but I should warn you. Should anyone think about printing any lie or slandering information about Mr. Black, myself or the case I would find myself obligated to take action upon it. If you have any doubt about my ability to do so you might ask Ms. Bagnold your soon to be Ex-Minister in what position she found herself in quite recently” he looked around the hall and at the gathered people with a daring glare.
Quite a few exchanged worried looks. Henrietta who stayed around the corner and out of Dumbledore’s sight just smiled. Yes in her opinion it was a good idea to take a vacation to England.
“Why would you think I told them lies?” Dumbledore asked with an amused twinkling in his eyes.
“So you want to tell me that you told them the entire truth about the case, Sirius Black and what happened in the courtroom? The unfiltered truth and not only the version that suites you best?” Salazar shot back.
“That coming from someone who isn’t even the person he pretends to be” Dumbledore said in a manner like one would scold a child with.
Salazar rose an eyebrow and crossed his arms before his chest. “You would know that why exactly?”
Now Dumbledore smiled. “Because you admitted it.”
“It seems that you have me at a loss now. When did I admit that I’m not Jack Hardinger?” he asked curiously.
“Right in the courtroom. You told the entire Wizengamot about a conversation and its content only three people knew about and you also presented the Wizengamot a Document that previously was in the hands of one of these people. So how do you explain that when you are not said third person?”
Salazar pinched his nose while the gathered journalists followed the entire conversation with glee heads turning back and forth like at a tennis match.
“Did it never occur to you that I got that document from Ms. Bones and that she told me about the conversation? Or that I might know the third person?” sometimes he could only wonder about the ignorance and stupidity of the people. “And even if I am said third person and that’s a very big if, what does it prove?”
“It proves that you know where Harry Potter is hidden!” now everybody looked at Salazar.
Ah so that’s the way the wind blows. Salazar blamed his exhaustion for not seeing it earlier. It was just a week that he got Harry out of Privet Drive and a lot happened in that week. Too much for his liking and it tore at him. Yes he was old and had an extremely strong magical core but first upgrading the wards and later getting three people out of a mindlock state was nothing to laugh about. Even he had his limits and since he had no time to rest and regenerate properly he was slowly reaching them.
“Albus to-many-names-and-titles-for-your-own-good Dumbledore, if you want to know where Harry Potter is at the moment just ask. Not that you would get an answer from me because I DON’T know where he is and now stop bothering me with it because I have a press conference to give.”
Dumbledore on the other hand didn’t think about stopping. So with a grandfatherly smile he continued. “I know that you know where he is. How else would you get his heritage test?”
Salazar pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. It wouldn’t do any good to hex that man into the next week in front of the entire press of England and where else they might have come from.
Suddenly Henrietta came around the corner and stood right next to Salazar.
“Albus, this is getting ridiculous, would he know anything about the whereabouts of Harry Potter he would tell you don’t you think?”
“Not when he is the one who has him, my old friend” Dumbledore replied with a slight bow towards her.
“How is he supposed to do that? Jack Hardinger isn’t even citizen of England. Your ministry would never have consented with the adoption and our Ministry definitely didn’t help him.”
“But is he really Jack Hardinger and not some imposter?” Dumbledore rose his eyebrow.
Henrietta now grew slightly angry. “Do you impute to me that I don’t know the man I worked with for over ten years or that my Ministry doesn’t do thorough background checks on its employees? Should you have forgotten our Ministry has very strict rules about it hence why we are one of the top magical organisations regarding effectivity and integrity. Something one couldn’t say about your little Ministry that isn’t even able to give a man a proper trial not to mention to keep track of one six years old boy. Now cut it or do you want to continue this discussion in front of the ICW?”
Dumbledore growled lowly while considering his next step. “You should be grateful but this nice little conversation took longer than I anticipated and I have business to attend at Hogwarts. So I’m sorry but we have to continue at a later point, have a nice day.”
With that Dumbledore stepped from the podium he stood at and left the Ministry through the next fireplace. Once he vanished in the green flames everyone in the room started to talk excitedly. It seemed that this would be the big headline next to Blacks innocence. Salazar sighed, he couldn’t do much about it but it didn’t really matter so he left it be. He stepped onto the podium Dumbledore just left to ensure that the journalists at least printed the truth.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I don’t know what exactly Mr. Dumbledore told you so to ensure you that you all know the truth I will tell you what happened during the trial and I swear to you that the information I give to you are as far as I’m aware true. As I told you earlier I don’t want to see any lies at the tomorrow’s issue. When I’m finished feel free to ask any question you like” why telling a lie when the plain truth is far worse and more damaging than any lie he could come up with.
So he told them everything that happened beginning with his visit at Azkaban and ending with Black’s acquittal. He even went so far as to present the journalists copies of the research results he gave the Wizengamot earlier.
When he finally finished quite a few journalists tried to ask questions.
“Okay, okay, please only one question at a time” Salazar said after calling them to order before pointing at one reporter.
“Mr. Hardinger, so it isn’t true that you and the person informing Ms. Bones and Ms. Bagnold are one and the same?”
Salazar chuckled. “But we are one and the same person. I disguised myself as a reporter so that Mr. Dumbledore wouldn’t be informed of my plans beforehand. As I told you it seemed that he had a genuine interest that Mr. Black stayed in Azkaban otherwise he wouldn’t have tried to get me sacked during the trial. Where Mr. Dumbledore was wrong is that I’m originally Mr. Stein and pretend to be Mr. Hardinger. Mr. Stein was my undercover identity and as far as I’m aware it is no crime to lie about ones identity as long as you don’t claim to be a certain existing person who you’re definitely not.”
He pointed at another journalist. “So you know who has adopted Harry Potter and where he is right now?”
“Harry Potter was adopted by John Smith and yes I know said person because he was not only the person who hired me to get Mr. Black out of Azkaban but also gave me the heritage test. To your question where he is, as I told Mr. Dumbledore I have no idea where he is at the moment. Unfortunately this is everything I can tell you on that matter because Mr. Smith secured every other information regarding that topic with a Fidelius Charm” rumouring went through the rows of journalists.
“So Mr. Black wasn’t released only because of a procedural error but he truly is innocent?” another one asked.
“Sirius Black is the magical bound godfather of Harry James Potter. There is no possible way for him betraying the Potters and still being alive. It was Peter Pettigrew who did this because he was their secret keeper.”
“But Peter Pettigrew is dead.”
“No he is not. A fact confirmed by Mr. Black under Veritaserum is that Pettigrew is an unregistered Animagus, a rat to be precise. When Mr. Black found him and confronted him with his actions Pettigrew panicked. He was the one blowing up the street while cutting of one of his fingers and hiding in his rat form. Evidence of this can be found in the file I copied for you. So should you ever coming across a rat that misses a toe immediately inform Ms. Bones or any other Auror. Pettigrew is extremely dangerous and I would ask you to pass this information so that everyone is warned.”
Another rumouring went through the reporters. This was when one spoke up and asked a question that no one anticipated.
“Was…was Harry Potter abused by his relatives?” it was like a switch was turned because now everyone went silent and looked at said man.
Salazar looked down not knowing what to answer upon that.
“I’d like to refuse answering this question” he finally said but his whole demeanour told the journalists everything they needed to know. He took a deep breath before continuing.
“If there are no more questions…” the whole hall stayed silent. “Then I will leave now. Good evening.”
Salazar stepped of the podium and walked over to Henrietta.
“Nice play, I doubt Dumbledore will like the result even one bit.”
“That’s what I intended. Where do you stay here in London? Hopefully not in that run-down tavern called Leaky Cauldron…”
“Merlin beware, no I have standards higher than that. I don’t understand why all the English think that it is the go to location. No I stay at the Wizards and Dragons in the city.”
The Wizards and Dragons was a magical upper class hotel. Not quite cheap but far better than that rat nest that was the entrance to Diagon Alley, at least when it came to lodging.
“Nice location and good cuisine to. What do you think I pay for a late dinner and we talk a bit?” he asked her.
Henrietta eyed him critically. “I have a better idea. You go home, have a night of good sleep and invite me tomorrow evening. You look exhausted and you could bring your son around tomorrow” she replied.
“Yes you’re right it has been a long day. Sounds 6 p.m. good for you?” he answered after trying to stifle a yawn.
She nodded. “We can meet at the bar there.”
Salazar signed her that he understood before wishing her farewell. After that he went to the apparition point. It was well after ten and looking for Sirius at St. Mungo’s would be futile so he apparated directly to his townhouse where he slumped into an armchair in his study. A few minutes later James came in with a calming herbal tea.
“Is Hadrian asleep?” he asked while sipping the tea.
“Yes, Sir, he was at the Longbottom manor while I had to attend the Wizengamot meeting and when I picked him up he was quite tired and fell asleep nearly instantly. Don’t worry the nanny that took care of him and Neville has no idea who he is and Ms. Longbottom has sworn her to secrecy. It seems he had a nice afternoon” James explained.
“Good. Merlin knows that he needs it with what he has been through.”
Salazar emptied his cup before he stood up.
“I’m going to bed. Until tomorrow” he said with another yawn.
“Good night, Sir.”
After peeking into his son’s room to confirm that he was sleeping Salazar went into his own bedroom and barely managed to get changed before he collapsed on his bed and slept in an instant.
Dumbledore was back at his office in Hogwarts and he was furious. How had an American hit wizard managed to know the law better than he did?
He sighed. When he made his plans he thought he put every possibility into account. From how Harry would be treated by his relatives to the risk of one of the Death Eaters finding him. He had put so many tracking and tracing spells on him that no one should have been able to get rid of them without him noticing. Not to mention that they were so strong that no average person should be able to disable them in the first place. The only person that could be able to get rid of them that quick would be Voldemort but he was if not dead then weakened enough that even he shouldn’t be able to do it. There was no one else in this world powerful enough, was there?
But Harry disappeared none the less and he was nowhere to be found and he couldn’t get any hold upon those people that knew something.
On top of that this damned American managed to get the Minister sacked for deliberately breaking several laws. He doubted that Bagnold would survive the vote of no confidence that surely was to come. The problem was that Dumbledore hadn’t any candidate he could present to the Wizengamot at the moment and who had even the slightest chance to win. At least he was able to prohibit being the second big headline in the tomorrow’s issue of the Prophet.
But wait perhaps he had an option. It was desperate he knew it and it depended on several factors but when he played his cards right he would have a loyal follower officiating as Minister.
Yes he had a plan and if everything went accordingly he was back in the game. But he would have to get rid of Jack Hardinger first before he could inflict even more damage to his plans that was for sure.
In the morning Salazar woke up quite late. It was obvious that he needed that sleep and since he had no appointments that morning James didn’t wake him. With a look on the clock it turned out that it was well past ten in the morning so Salazar stood up and got ready.
Afterwards he went down to the kitchen in hope to get a late breakfast. There he found James buzzing around while Hadrian sat at the table reading…what else, but it seemed that he was through with his potions book because Salazar could identify the book as Hogwarts a History.
“If you go on like that I have to expand my library soon” he joked while giving his son a hug.
“Morning dad” he returned the hug. “Well I’m through with the potions book so I thought I read a bit about what you did in the past. But I hope I can soon try brewing some potions…”he looked at his father with an accusing look.
“I’m sorry but I had so much to do…but I promise that we start as soon as possible” he didn’t want to disappoint Hadrian especially since he was so eager to finally get started.
“I know dad and I also know that you’re doing most of it for me so don’t worry and I highly doubt that I run out of interesting stuff to read any time soon” he replied with a smile that earned him another hug.
“What do you think, want to meet your godfather today?”
“Are you sure?” Hadrian asked suddenly filled with concern.
He didn’t know the man that was his godfather and he feared that he would try to take him away from his dad. Okay truth be told he knew his dad also only for a week now but with him it was different. It was like he knew him for his entire life and Salazar showed him for so many times now that he wouldn’t hurt him so that it didn’t really matter to him. He was the father he never dared to hope to have.
“Hadrian, even if he is your godfather he can’t do anything you don’t want and from what I saw until now I doubt that he would hurt you deliberately. But I have to warn you, while at Hogwarts he was in the House of Gryffindor and against anything Slytherin. While I hope that he might overcome his prejudice it might take its time so don’t be too disappointed should he have problems with that I adopted you, okay?”
Hadrian nodded. Neville had been quite a source of information regarding the house rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin so it wasn’t surprising that when his godfather was in Gryffindor he might be prejudiced against his father. Though it might be funny to see his reaction. That was when four owls swept in through the owl window and landed on the table. Three it seemed carried newspapers while the fourth had a letter tied to its leg. James took care of the owls with the newspaper while Salazar untied the letter. He opened it and started to read it.
Dear Mr. Hardinger,
I wanted to inform you that thanks to your actions at the trial there will be an extraordinary Extended Wizengamot meeting on Friday at 11 a.m. to charge a vote of no confidence against the acting Minister. When successful a new Minister will be elected right afterwards. I hope that you could attend as a counsellor to the DMLE because I fear that either Mr. Dumbledore or Mr. Malfoy might try to take advantage of this situation.
Hopefully I hear from you soon.
Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement
of the British Ministry of Magic
“Damned” this was a small detail he unfortunately didn’t think about until now. Another sign for his lack of time to rest and regenerate properly.
“Is something wrong, Sir?”
Salazar hold out the letter which James picked up and read. James looked at Salazar questioningly.
“For Merlin’s sake don’t tell me that you forgot that this would come…”
“I had a lot of other things on my mind lately but it shouldn’t matter anyway. If necessary I can later replace anyone who might become Minister now. Anyway I’ll have to meet with Ms. Bones this afternoon and it should be a benefit when Ms. Longbottom attends to. Perhaps we can come to a solution” he picked up quill and parchment and wrote letters to both women which he then gave to James so that he could send them.
“Oh and Hadrian this evening we’re going to eat out of house and meet Henrietta Coulson if that’s okay with you. She is a nice woman though sometimes a bit intimidating, I worked for her for some time.”
Hadrian thought about it for a moment not entirely sure whether this was a good idea or not. But when his father said that is was okay he believed him so he nodded.
“We’re going to meet her at six in the evening so I would ask you to be ready and down at the study a quarter earlier. Oh I forgot you’ll need something to wear…” but before he could continue James interrupted him.
“What would you do without me, Sir…?” he chuckled. “Yesterday on our trip through London we also went to buy some clothes, mundane and robes alike. I’ll help him select his attire for the dinner.”
“Thank you, I’d possibly lose my head somewhere…”he retorted while picking up the newspapers.
It was an issue of each the Daily Prophet, the New York Magical and a special edition of the Quibbler. He had a subscription to each of them. The Daily Prophet for the daily English news while the NY Magical for American news and The Quibbler because he liked how they get down on people without them noticing.
Yes many thought The Quibbler was only conspiracy theory and rubbish about non-existent creatures but they were wrong. When you read between the lines you’d find out that the articles were well researched and more accurate than what the Prophet printed and most of the creatures were not so non-existent than most people thought. Despite that it was always funny to read because of non-serious articles in-between.
But for now he concentrated on the article in the Prophet because he feared that they were the one printing any lie. Hadrian in the meanwhile fetched the Quibbler.
Sirius Black – Mass murderer or in fact innocent?
You all know Sirius Black as a traitor and a mass murderer. However, is he really?
Four and a half years ago, the Aurors found Black standing in front of a smouldering crater after You-know-who killed the Potters and laughed maniacally while telling everyone that he was guilty of their deaths. At that time, the Aurors who investigated the case found him guilty of betraying the Potters before killing his old friend Peter Pettigrew and twelve muggles. The Minister Ms. Bagnold convicted him with a life-long sentence to Azkaban without even giving him a trial.
Nevertheless, yesterday the unthinkable happened. Black finally got his trial in front of the Wizengamot and they found him not guilty. Yes, my dear readers you read right, Sirius Black is innocent. The American hit wizard Jack Hardinger who also pressed the trial presented airtight proof of Blacks guiltlessness.
So was it up to now unknown that Sirius Black is Harry Potter’s magical bound godfather. Therefore, it was impossible for him to betray the Potters and still be alive. For those of you who do not know it being a magical bound godparent means taking an oath on your life that in case of the parents’ death you do your best to care for the child and never betray it or its family.
Mr. Hardinger also gave us proof that it was impossible for Mr. Black to blow up the street and kill Pettigrew with the evidences left behind as they were. If you want to have a look on the full report, copies can be viewed at the Prophet as well as the Ministry. A summary of it can be found on page 09.
Though now arises the question who really is guilty of those incredible deeds. In a questioning under Veritaserum Black told Amelia Bones everything. It was Peter Pettigrew. I know how most of you now rumble that Pettigrew is dead but he is not. As Black confirmed yesterday Pettigrew, who was the secret keeper of the Potters instead of him first betrayed them. When Black confronted him, he blew up the street while cutting of one of his fingers before going into hiding as a rat. Yes dear readers Peter Pettigrew is an unregistered Animagus.
Therefore, should any of you ever come across a rat that misses a toe do not try to engage and capture it but immediately call in the Aurors. Pettigrew is considered extremely dangerous.
However, one interesting fact was left unmentioned up to now. The release of Black was not because of a verdict of not guilty but because of a procedural error committed by out dear Minister. So managed Mr. Hardinger to get an official statement from Ms. Bagnold in front of the entire Wizengamot that she would throw Black back into Azkaban despite given proof of innocence. A law from 1503 states that should someone sentence a person to prison despite given proof of innocence it renders any trial null and void and there is no way to try the accused person for the same accusations again. Therefore, Ms. Bagnold’s statement made Black a free man.
However, this is not the end of Ms. Bagnold’s problems. It turned out that the imprisonment of the Head of a House cannot be longer than a week without a trial. Sirius Black however became Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black after the death of his father Orion Black in 1979. Therefore, he is entitled to receive a compensation of one hundred Galleons per week of imprisonment without a trial after the first. Since his imprisonment lasted four and a half years that makes a compensation of about 23.300 Galleons to be paid by Ms. Bagnold because she was the one to refuse him a trial.
It seems to me that we soon will have a new Minister but who that will be is only speculation. However, it appears that Cornelius Fudge is a good candidate for this job. We will report should new information come up.
For more about Sirius Black see page 2
For more about the trial see page 3
For more about Jack Hardinger see page 8
For more about Minister Bagnold see page 9
Salazar smiled contently while shuffling through the newspaper to take a look at the article about him. He quickly read it, it was mainly who he worked for and what his achievements were but nothing interesting. The article beneath it on the other hand was a different thing. He wondered though why it wasn’t on the front page.
Dumbledore offends American Ministry
Yesterday Albus Dumbledore, Order of Merlin first class and Supreme Mugwump at the ICW made a huge faux pas. He offended not only a former member of the American Ministry of Magic and Magical Affairs but the entire Ministry as such.
After the confrontation with the American hit wizard Jack Hardinger, he accused him to be an imposter despite having no evidence for such an accusation. His entire reasoning consisted of the thesis that Mr. Hardinger and a journalist who met Ms. Bones earlier that day are the same.
While Mr. Hardinger confirmed that this in fact is true he told the attendant journalists that pretending to be a journalist was only so that no rumours would spread since the person who adopted Harry Potter, John Smith, hired him to get Sirius Black out of jail. He admitted that it might not have been the best way to do it but he assured us that he is Jack Hardinger.
Ms. Henrietta Coulson Head of the American Ministry also accredited that. Even then, Dumbledore did not admit his fault. On the contrary he accused Ms. Coulson to not know her employees and of not doing proper background checks. He even went one-step ahead and said that Jack Hardinger is the one who adopted Harry Potter despite that being impossible since he is not a British citizen.
Nevertheless, when Ms. Coulson told him that they could continue this discussion in front of the ICW Dumbledore took the option to leave without any further comment.
One has to ask whether this will have any influence on the British-American relationship and what the ICW will think about such a behaviour.
It seemed that Dumbledore used his influence to if not prevent that article completely at least get it somewhere where no one would notice it.
“Interesting…” he muttered before speaking loud. “What about the Quibbler, something of interest in there?”
Hadrian giggled lowly. “Seems that Ms. Bagnold suffers a severe Wrackspurt infestation though I wonder did she get them from Dumby or was it the other way around?”
Salazar looked at him in curiosity before he started to laugh. “Dumby?”
“Well his name is much too long, I mean who names his child Albus Percival Wulfric Brian? Sorry but I stick with Dumby…much more fitting” he answered with a snickering.
His father shook his head while leafing through the NY-Magical. Their article was mostly a puff piece about him and how he managed to get the British Minister sacked and that it is a shame that he no longer worked for their own Ministry. All in all he was quite content with the outcome of all this.
“Oh Hadrian, I want to leave in about half an hour to St. Mungo’s make sure you’re ready by then.”
Without any forewarning his son jumped up as if he was hit by a stinging hex, dropped the newspaper he was reading and bolted out of the room.
“You know I really have problems understanding him sometimes. Most of the time he behaves and talks like an adult and on other occasions like now he behaves more like the six years old child he is” Salazar sighed. “I hope that with time it will get better…”
“I have trust in your abilities to guide him, Sir. Don’t forget that it is only about a week ago that you brought him here, he is not used to behave like a child because he was never allowed to.”
“You’re right and with Neville as his friend it hopefully doesn’t take too long. But now I have to get prepared myself” with that he stood up and also left the kitchen.
About thirty minutes later he and his son left to St. Mungo’s.
They arrived at Sylvia’s office through the floo network. Salazar cleaned them both up with a flick of his wand when he turned to Hadrian.
“I would ask you to stay here. I have to talk to your godfather first and explain him several things, okay?” his son nodded.
So Salazar turned to the door and went to where he knew Sirius was placed. When he reached the man he saw that he sat on his bed drinking a cup of coffee.
“Good morning Mr. Black. Did you have a good night?” he greeted him.
“Oh mornin’ Mr. Hardinger and yes never had such a good night for a long time. Where’s my pup? Is he okay?” he looked much better compared to the day before. It seemed that a night of good sleep did wonders on the man. His face wasn’t as hollow anymore and the eyes sparkled with life.
Salazar took a look around before he threw up silencing and privacy charms so that no one could overhear their conversation.
“If you’re referring to Harry yes he is well. I brought him with me but for now he is waiting in Ms. Pye’s office so that we can discuss a few things beforehand.”
Sirius nodded slowly. “You said something like that yesterday…but I haven’t found out what might be so bad that it would let me see you in another light.”
Salazar sighed. “One thing first” he took out his wand. “I swear that everything I tell you in this conversation will be true as far as I’m aware.”
Sirius cocked his head while the oath settled.
“Okay so that’s that. To begin with my name originally isn’t Jack Hardinger” he took a deep breath to prepare himself for what is to come while Sirius rose an eyebrow. “My birth name is Salazar Slytherin.”
Salazar was prepared for many things to happen from disbelieve over denial to outright getting shouted at from Sirius but what happened next he would never have thought of. Sirius looked at him dumbstruck with wide eyes and open mouth when suddenly someone on the other side of the room divider started to howl with laugher. Both Salazar and Sirius looked at each other blinking in confusion before Salazar went around to look what the matter was.
There on the window sill he saw him. His son gasping for air having a hard time to not fall over because he was laughing so hard.
“Hadrian?” Salazar was torn between confusion and disappointment that he obviously ignored his order.
“S-sorry…dad…” he said between fits of laugher. “But I…couldn’t let…the opportunity pass…to see his…reaction…not after what you told…me this morning.”
During that he stood up shakily and went around the room divider to show himself properly still giggling.
“I have to admit it was totally worth any punishment” finally he calmed down enough to speak coherent sentences again.
With a smile he turned around to Sirius.
“Good morning, Sir. My name is Hadrian Harry James Potter-Slytherin. Nice to meet you” he introduced himself while holding out his hand.
Sirius mechanically shook it looking confused before he glared at Salazar with a gaze that clearly asked “what in Merlin’s name did you do to him?”. Salazar could only shrug helplessly and gestured that he also had only an inkling about what happened.
Sirius growled slightly when he turned back to Hadrian.
“Really? Sir? You sound more like one of those bigoted purebloods than a six years old boy. What happened to you?” he cocked his head in curiosity but what was said about curiosity killed the cat or in this case the mood.
Hadrian flinched and when he saw what glares Sirius shot his father he ran up to him and hold on to him like he was never letting him go again. After a sigh Salazar knelt down in front of him and pulled him into a hug because he started to cry. He picked him up and sat down on a chair with his son placed on his lap, Hadrian’s face burrowed in his shoulder. Sirius watched the entire thing closely.
“Oh Hadrian, what did those…individuals do to you” he murmured to himself while rubbing soothingly the back of his son.
Sirius now sat on the edge of his bed. “Harry, what happened?” he asked with a soft voice completely ignoring the glares Salazar shot him for digging deeper.
Hadrian sobbed again. He didn’t want to think about what happened even less talking about it. Ever since Salazar took him away from…there he had nightmares waking up in the middle of the night not being able to get back to sleep. He tried to hide it, tried not to show how he really felt because he feared that his father would be angry or would not like him anymore and send him back. Yes he knew what his father told him but fears knew no reason.
On the other hand what did the mediwitch say a few days ago? Talking about it might help. But he didn’t want to, they would hate him.
“I don’t want to talk about it…you will hate me” he merely whispered his last thought.
“Harry, pup, I would never hate you no matter what. I promised James and Lily to always care for you” he sighed. “The only thing I regret is that I couldn’t keep my promise but one thing is for sure I could never ever hate you.”
“Me neither” Salazar now continued. “I spent four and a half years of searching for you. Nothing of what happened during that time was your fault and the only persons I would hate for it are these…persons, never you” the last part he spoke through gritted teeth.
With a last sniffing Hadrian pulled himself from his father’s shoulder looking at him with watery eyes before turning around to look at Sirius. Both man smiled at him affectionately so he sighed. He swallowed one last time before he started to talk.
“It all started when Dumbledore dumped me at that hell with…with the Dursleys” Sirius face darkened visibly. “I don’t remember much from the beginning only that I was locked up in the cupboard most of the time. As far as I can remember not much happened until sometime after my third birthday. That was when everything got worse” he sighed again.
“First it was only doing some gardening or cleaning the floor. Every time I wasn’t fast enough or did something wrong I was beaten or got nothing to eat that day, but most of the time both. They even told their own son to beat me up. But that wasn’t the worse. When I was about three and a half they started to teach Dudley how to read and write but he hated it. He insisted that if he had to endure that `torture´ I also should have to. Aunt and uncle always did what he wanted and so even if not really wanting themselves they taught me how to read and write too. I’ve always been a quick learner and so it was no wonder that I learned it in quite a short amount of time. So when I was four I could write and read quite fluently but that only made my aunt and especially my cousin furious because I was better than him” he sniffed while leaning his head against Salazar.
Salazar and Sirius exchanged gazes not knowing what to think about it when Hadrian continued.
“Uncle Vernon on the other hand took advantage out of that saying that my freakishness finally was useful for something. Not that I now also had to do all the cooking and all the other chores no every evening after they finished their meal he dragged me into a spare room and dumped me with books I had to read. First it were dictionaries and books about grammar and such, later books about how to write professional letters or how to make presentations.
It was around Christmas that he started what he really wanted to do. Every evening he dictated me letters, documents…well everything he needed to be written down. Did I make any mistakes I was beaten again and I never got to sleep before eleven despite having to get back up every morning at seven. He quickly found out about my ability to memorize everything I read word for word. So about a year later he only dumped me with orders about what I would have to write and left to watch telly or whatever he did. Weren’t the letter good or formal enough…
Unfortunately one evening around February this year I collapsed because I was so exhausted. You know beside my own school work I also had to do Dudley’s, had to do all the chores, cooking, gardening and in the evening uncle Vernon’s work. He beat me worse than ever that evening. It turned out that I broke several bones because of that but they didn’t care. I got roughly patched up and had to work the next day again.
Well that’s how it was until Salazar came one evening about a week ago and took me with him…” he again buried his head in Salazar’s shoulder to cry again.
The matron has been right talking about it helped and he felt better but it hurt never the less.
They all sat there for quite a while silently only the sniffing of Hadrian heard from time to time. Salazar swept over his back in a soothing manner and after some time he drifted into a slumber all the stress and fear falling off from him. For once he really looked like the nearly six years old boy he was. Salazar carefully casted a silencing charm over him so that he wouldn’t be woken by their conversation. But he didn’t risk to lay him onto a bed fearing that this would wake him up again. Sirius understood that and kept his quite until then.
“Is he serious? I mean that can’t be true can it?” he asked confused and a bit more than angry about what his godson just described.
Salazar looked at the floor sadness showing on his face. “I fear that he was actually sugar-coating the truth, perhaps without knowing it. It seems that he thinks that I don’t know about it but ever since I took him with me he didn’t sleep through one night properly. He always wakes up at some point due to a nightmare and can’t get to sleep again…and then there is something else. I don’t know whether I should show it to you now but on the other hand I don’t want to withhold information regarding Hadrian from you.”
“Mr. Slytherin…Salazar, it seems that I owe you more than I was aware until now and I know that James, where ever he is right now is laughing his ass off about that I’m indebted to not only a Slytherin but in fact THE Slytherin…” he took a deep breath. “You not only got me out of Azkaban you also did what I wasn’t able to do namely getting Harry out of the hell Dumbledore dumped him in despite not having to. Never the less he is my godson and I demand to know what happened.”
Salazar contemplated what to do next. Sirius was right he was Hadrian’s godfather and he had a right to know.
“At one point you’re wrong. I had to get Harry out, he is family after all” upon seeing Sirius disbelieving gaze he chuckled. “Harry is my great grandson in 33rd generation.”
Sirius took a sharp breath before narrowing his eyes.
“This is impossible. The Potter line never got near the Slytherin line and Lily was a muggle-born.”
“You would consider Lily Potter muggle-born but in truth she was a half-blood of a squib and a mundane. Said squib was also the child of a squib and a mundane. This goes on until my grandson Alaric. He made a mistake and broke an oath so that he was rendered a squib. For about nine hundred years I thought now that the Slytherin line was lost until I found Harry.”
Sirius hummed upon that. It sounded ridiculous but it was not impossible and the explanation was logical considering that he had the same green eyes as Harry and his mother…it made sense.
“But what about You-know-who? It is broadly known that he was your heir” Sirius was a bit confused even more when Salazar suddenly started to laugh.
“Merlin’s beard, that stupid hypocritical idiot? No, he is the son of a squib from the Gaunt line and a mundane. While it is true that the Gaunts boasted themselves being related to me it is not true.”
“How comes it then that he was a known parselmouth? I thought that this is a Slytherin family trait.”
“Well while speaking parseltoung definitely is one of the Slytherin traits which Harry inherited by the way there is one other line that inherits this special trait, the line of Herpo the Foul. Voldemort is related to him not to me. Okay there might be the possibility that I’m related to Herpo through one of my ancestors but I highly doubt it except you go back pretty far and I doubt even more that it would be enough to be considered related to Voldemort in any way or shape.”
Sirius thought that through. It was true Herpo the Foul was another well-known parseltoung since he was the first known person who successfully bread a basilisk. That was when his brain registered one of the information he just got.
“Wait did you just say that You-know-who was the half-blood of a squib and a muggle? The very same person who propagandized blood purity and slaughtered endless half-bloods and muggle born not to mention muggles in general?” he looked at Salazar wide eyed.
“Yes, as I said he was a hypocrite. But I think you didn’t want to talk about him but about Harry” Sirius nodded. “Well, you have to know that nothing of this was intended. A week ago the day after I got him out of Privet Drive I got him checked by Mr. Reichard. He is a specialist for spells and curses and I asked him whether he would lift any tracking or other spell on Harry. Ms. Pye was responsible for his health check because he was in a pretty bad shape at that time.
First thing is that Mr. Reichard found a magic dampening spell on him that cut of quit a large piece of his magical core. It could be lifted so no worry there. The more disturbing thing was what happened later during his medical examination” Salazar hold Hadrian a bit tighter when he remembered that day.
“It turned out that Voldemort’s attempt to kill Harry had a side effect. I don’t want to tell you details about that at the moment not here at the hospital anyway” Sirius nodded. “Upon hearing about that Harry started to panic and had a massive break out of accidental magic before falling into a state of mindlock.”
“Mindlock?” Sirius never heard about such a thing.
“It is when someone retreats within himself to protect his mind from damage and said person then is unable to come out by himself again. Reasons for a mindlock can for example be intense torture over some time without a break or like in Harry’s case panic induced. I assume that at that point it were too much for him and so he retreated himself into his mind to protect it from overloading.”
“But you got him out?”
“Yes, I had to enter his mind in a special fashion for that but finally I was able to get him back out of it. It was what I saw there that…to say it was disturbing would be a huge understatement” he shivered, thinking about it still was not easy.
“Can you show me like you did in Azkaban?” he needed to know.
“You’re sure about that? It really is not easy to take.”
Sirius gave him a gaze that clearly stated that he wasn’t joking and after sighing Salazar showed him what he saw in the mind of his son. It was a summary of it and not like he had shown Sylvia a light version but the full brunt of it. When he finished Sirius was pale as the sheets on his bed before turning red in anger.
“When I’m through with him Dumbledore will beg me to kill him” he growled while Salazar chuckled lowly.
“What do you think I’m planning to do? It is a long term plan because I want to do it properly and thoroughly but when I’m finished he will get to know that there are far worse fates than death.”
Suddenly Sirius had a maniac glee in his eyes his Black heritage clearly showing through. “Need help?”
“I hoped you would ask. You know I always wondered why you turned your back on your family and followed Dumbledore” it was a thing Salazar never understood.
“That had two reasons actually. First I disagreed with that blood purity shit like marrying your own relative my family proclaimed and second I didn’t want to have anything to do with You-know-who so I took the only other option available at that time and followed Dumbledore. Now it seems that it was a choice between two different evils. Despite that…it takes a real Slytherin for a snake to hide in the lion’s den” he grinned.
“You’re right marrying anyone blood related to you is a very bad idea…” he was just about to ramble about the aftereffects of inbreeding when suddenly Sylvia came running.
“Salazar, we have a problem. I told the security at the entrance to warn me when certain people enter the building…Dumbledore is on his way here and I fear they can’t stop him” she told them.
Salazar’s face visibly darkened. “Damned, I have to get Hadrian out of here. Sylvia can you delay him long enough?”
She nodded. “That should be no problem since he wants to get a hold on me ever since the article about Hadrian” she quickly left to catch the man early.
“Sirius do you think you can handle Dumbledore on your own? I can’t let him find Harry.”
“Sure, I’m a Black after all and now go before Dumbledore sees you or worse…Harry.”
He nodded before he left with Hadrian who still was asleep in his arms and went in the direction of Sylvia’s office.
He nearly reached it when he heard them. Dumbledore and Sylvia stood in the corridor right before her office discussing something.
“Mr. Dumbledore, as I told you my healer oath forbids me to tell you anything regarding any patient I treated and you are not directly related to or have any other form of guardianship over Harry Potter. You’re not his legal guardian anymore so you have no right to know the information you demand.”
“Ms. Pye, if I were you I would give me the information. Otherwise I can make your life hell if that’s what you wish.”
“Are you trying to blackmail me? What do you want to do? Get me sacked for doing my job? Trying to ruin me for not following you blindly like all the other sheep? You should be glad that I let you visit Mr. Black because he wants to see you to but don’t think that I won’t do anything necessary to protect my patients” there was a reason you should never get on the bad side of the healer that one day might decide over your life and death.
During the entire discussion Salazar quickly hid in the next room he could find. Unfortunately it was the cupboard where they stored their cleaning equipment so it was quite narrow.
“This isn’t over yet” Dumbledore growled while passing the cupboard Salazar was hiding in.
“I happen to know a very proficient lawyer and as I heard you already met Mr. Hardinger so try…” the last part Salazar couldn’t hear anymore because they were too far away now.
He waited for another minute or two before he carefully opened the door and looked outside. Dumbledore and Sylvia where nowhere seen so he quickly left, went to the office and flood back home.
“That was narrow” he growled.
James who just entered the drawing room looked at him confused.
“I nearly ran straight into Dumbledore. He came to visit Sirius and I had to hide in a broom cupboard to evade him…” James chuckled and first Salazar threw him a glare but in the end he had to laugh to. “If it ever comes out that Salazar Slytherin hid from Dumbledore in a cupboard…”
“Well luckily only we two know about it so there should be no threat to your reputation” James replied.
“You think so?” came it suddenly from Salazar’s neck with a giggle.
“Oh you’re awake.”
Hadrian nodded. “Have been since Sylvia came running telling that Dumbledore was on his way but I didn’t want to distract you so I pretended being asleep.”
That made Salazar smile while he put Hadrian down. “Come on, let’s go into the study and no word to anyone about that little excursion into the cupboard” it wasn’t that he cared what others thought about him but that was something not everyone needed to know.
“Hmm under one condition…I get an ice” he answered with a broad grin.
Salazar looked at him in disbelieve. “Are you trying to blackmail me?”
“No, surely not. Let’s call it a good investment into your and my future” the grin grew even wider.
“Why do I suddenly feel pity for you teachers when you finally go to Hogwarts?”
“Don’t know and as long as you don’t include Dumby…” Hadrian piped before bolting into the study and hopping onto the window sill where he made himself comfortable with his book.
Salazar laughed while shaking his head before giving James the sign to bring him the ice cream.
“Sirius, my old friend” Dumbledore greeted him.
“Dumbledore, what a…pleasure to meet you” he retorted coolly.
“Nah, nah, Sirius there is no reason to be hostile” Dumbledore scolded him with his grandfatherly smile as if he was a naughty child.
“Yeah because you gave me no reason to be hostile. Dumping Harry with the Dursleys? Really? You knew about the relationship between Lily and Petunia or the lack thereof. And what about Lily’s and James’ last will? They clearly stated that Harry should never be brought there.”
Dumbledore sighed. “I did what I thought was the best for the boy. You know what fame can do to an adult not to mention a small boy. I thought he was safe there” Sirius had to supress a scowl upon that blatant lie.
“Safe…sure…if he would have been safe there you wouldn’t have lost him. Merlin knows where the boy is right now and what he has to endure only because of your arrogance. Did you ever check on him once for a while or did you just drop him of and left?”
“One of the members of the Order lived in the neighbourhood to watch out for him…” he sighed. “Sirius, I’m truly sorry. I made a mistake and I can understand your feelings but I promise you that I will do everything to find him. Can you trust me once more and help me rescuing Harry from wherever he is now? I doubt you would find him on your own and I could use your help” he said his face showing remorse.
Sirius looked at him before his features softened. “You’re right, we should work together to find and get him back…and I just have an idea where to start.”