Chapter 16: Political Chess

Story selection
<Previous Next>

`Well trust my ass you old coot´ Sirius grinned inwardly before speaking loud.

“You know that the one who `adopted´ Harry was the one who hired Hardinger to get me out?”

Dumbledore nodded. “Yes he admitted that but wouldn’t tell anything more claiming that it was protected with a Fidelius Charm.”

Sirius furrowed his brows. “You don’t sound like you believe him…”

“That’s right. During the trial I was able to take a look into his mind and what I found there startled me. It showed him together with Harry and…I’m sorry, I don’t know what he did to him but Harry called him dad.”

That was no news to Sirius since Harry called Salazar dad in front of him to and to what he did to him, he gave him everything Dumbledore denied him on purpose. But that was nothing he would tell him so he showed concern.

“What? Do you think he keeps him under the Imperius Curse and lets Harry call him `dad´ as a crude joke?”

“It could be possible but I can’t say with certainty. He could also have brainwashed him or something like that. I would have to see the boy to tell. You said you might know where Harry is?”

“Yes and what you just told me would fit. Should Hardinger really be the one who has Harry I fear he brought him to America to get him out of reach while hiding behind their Ministry. What I don’t understand though is why he got me out of Azkaban. He should have known that I would try to find and get Harry back” he put on a thoughtful gaze.

It seemed that the longer he played that game of deception the easier it got to him. He hadn’t played it since school but it was like riding a broom, you would get rusty but you never really forgot how to do it.

“Perhaps he hopes that he can brainwash you to so that you would help him. I on the other hand don’t understand why he informs the press about all that. Why doesn’t he keep silence about it, hides and would never be seen again? Informing the press about it is a huge risk.”

“I don’t know about his motives concerning the press but should he really want me to help him couldn’t we use this to our advantage? I mean I could let him show me where Harry is and then report to you” Sirius proposed adding `as if´ in his mind.

“It is unlikely that he is so stupid not to instate several security measurements.  He is arrogant enough to brag in the press about his involvement. On the other hand you at least would be able to observe his and Harry’s movements and could tell me what he plans so that I can counter his plans. But you would have to be very careful that he doesn’t get you with the Imperius Curse or that you get brainwashed by him to.”

Now Sirius looked hurt. “I was an Auror for several years and I know what I do, thank you very much.”

“I trust you” he replied with a grandfatherly smile. “There is something else I have to discuss with you. You heard that there will be a vote of no confidence against Minister Bagnold tomorrow?”

Sirius flinched. “That was to be suspected with how he wiped the floor with her…why do you bring this up?”

“Well the problem is that I don’t have anyone capable to fill that post available at the moment…except one” Sirius rose an eyebrow. “You.”

This was the second time today that he looked like he was slapped with a fish repeatedly and he didn’t even need to fake his surprise. He didn’t doubt one second that his godson would he be here right now again would lie on the floor laughing about it.

“You…WHAT? You are crazy no one would elect me” was Dumbledore really that desperate?

“With my back up there should be enough votes for you. More than for anyone else I could propose.”

“But I have no idea what it needs to be the Minister not to mention that I have been in Azkaban not even a day ago. Everyone thought me a criminal of the worst kind and I doubt that it even with today’s article changed. Not so quickly…” he said with a sad face.

“Please let that be my problem. I will manage that” Dumbledore answered with his grandfatherly smile.

Sirius sighed. “’kay when you’re sure I’ll do it…though I doubt that it’ll work.”

“Trust me it will. Should there be nothing more I would leave now and prepare everything” Sirius nodded. “Please be careful when you meet with Hardinger. I don’t want to lose you as well.”

“I will…I will” he waved Dumbledore as a farewell.

Dumbledore went around the room divider but on his way he secretly drew his wand and silently casted a tracking and an eavesdropping charm on Sirius. He doubted that it would work but he had to try.

Sirius on the other hand could barely hold back the laugher that threatened to overwhelm him. He needed to talk to Salazar and quickly to inform him about this meeting. So he waited a few minutes before he deliberately dropped his glass which shattered into thousand pieces upon the impact on the floor. It took only a few seconds until Sylvia came running to see what happened.

“Mr. Black what happened? Is everything okay?” she asked with concern in her voice.

“Sorry, the glass slipped from my fingers” he said while grinning leeringly.

Sylvia eyed him while banishing the shards. “Why do I have the impression that this is only half true?”

“Perhaps I wanted to see the beautiful healer that cares for me again?”

“You should know that this isn’t working with me. Is there something else I can do for you?”

Sirius pouted upon hearing that but nodded. “Yeah actually it would be nice if you could bring me a quill and some parchment. I want to write to an old friend of mine.”

Sylvia nodded and left before she shortly after returned with the requested items. She was about to leave again when Sirius grabbed her wrist and indicated he that she should wait. He quickly tore of a part of the parchment and pinned down a quick note he gave to her. She read it before she nodded and left.

Sirius leaned back on his bed and started to set up the letter. It wasn’t a lie. Now that he was free he wanted to contact his old friend Remus.

It was shortly before two in the afternoon and Salazar sat in his study when someone knocked at the door.

“In” he called out.

The door opened and James entered followed by Ms. Bones and Ms. Longbottom.

“Sir, your visitors arrived” he said with a small bow. “I’ll leave and prepare some tea.”

“Ah Ms. Bones, Ms. Longbottom welcome” he greeted the two woman. “I’m glad you could make it.”

“Mr. Slytherin” Bones shook his hand. “I assume you wanted to see us because of the letter I wrote you this morning?”

Augusta repeated the greeting.

“Yes it’s because of the impending election of a new Minister I’m afraid. The thing is I have no idea who Dumbledore will nominate and I doubt that Cornelius Fudge will do any good should he get elected. I will be blunt, I wanted to ask whether one of you would run for this office.”

Both woman looked at him before they looked at each other. Finally Bones spoke up.

“I for my part am definitely not interested. Thanks to your actions I have to revise every case of the last ten years upon irregularities and I don’t want to leave this mess now and let someone else mangle with it. Who knows who of those damned Death Eaters will get out of Azkaban then” she replied. “And to be honest I’m happy with my job.”

“Yes I thought as much and I have to agree that it is better to not let anyone else get his fingers on this. Ms. Longbottom what do you say?”

Said woman leaned back with a thoughtful face.

“I have to admit that I never thought about taking the Minster job and I don’t know whether many would like that. As you know I’m well known for favouring nobody, not even you, and that I’m incorruptible.”

“Ms. Longbottom, I wouldn’t expect anything less and I think you would be a better choice than anyone Dumbledore could come up with or Merlin beware Fudge.”

James entered the study and brought the tea. He poured in a cup for everyone and just wanted to leave when Salazar stopped him.

“James please stay. This will be interesting for you to” the man nodded and stood next to the desk. “So Ms. Longbottom what do you say?”

Said woman sighed. “Since there is no one else capable of doing this job I’ll do it. Though I’m not confident that I get elected in the first place” she replied but Bones chuckled.

“I think that at the moment everything is possible even that tomorrow You-know-who shows up and claims the Minister post for himself” she joked.

“Highly improbable but unfortunately not impossible” Salazar mused.

Bones’ head snapped towards him. “What did you just say?”

Salazar looked at her confused when he caught what he just said. Then he flinched.

“I said that it’s not impossible that he might turn up only highly improbable” he repeated seeing the piercing look Bones shot him he clarified that point. “Do you know what a Horcrux is?”

Her eyes went wide in shock, yes in her function as head of the DMLE she knew about them. “You don’t think…”

“No I don’t think…I know because I found one through sheer luck and from the size of it he has at least five more…”

“So he is alive” she leaned back in her chair.

“Well that depends on how you define being alive. He is more of a shadow right now.”

Augusta looked confused from Salazar to Bones. “Might someone please explain what you’re talking about?”

Salazar looked at her. “Voldemort created six to seven Horcrux. In a nutshell he split his soul several times and hid the parts in objects in order to survive everything thrown at him…even the killing curse. But that is nothing we should worry about at the moment. We have more urgent problems to solve.”

“First you tell us that You-know-who is still alive and now we shouldn’t worry about it?” Bones shrieked.

“Ms. Bones, Voldemort is hiding somewhere nothing more than a shade, powerless and without anybody knowing about it. Dumbledore on the other hand will definitely be tomorrow at the meeting and depending who he nominates for the Minister post you might have an even larger problem with revising the cases than you already have. Not to mention that he then probably will start a manhunt upon me, you, the American Ministry and everyone else he thinks might have an inkling about Harry Potter’s whereabouts.

So yes I’m telling you to not worry about Voldemort because he at the moment isn’t a threat to anything or anyone. Not to mention that right at the moment someone I trust is researching this topic” he took a deep breath while rubbing his eyes. “I’m sorry I didn’t want to snap at you. It’s just that the last week was very exhausting and I found no time to rest. The thing is that we have no idea what object he chose for his Horcrux and starting to search for them blindly will achieve nothing but wasted time. I don’t say that you shouldn’t have an open eye for strange dark artefacts that might be a Horcrux but it shouldn’t distract us now.”

Bones sighed, she didn’t like being snapped at but she could see his remorse and so she left it be. “I think you’re right a blind search would do no good but never the less I’ll instruct my Department to keep an eye open. Back to our recent problem, how do you plan on nominating Ms. Longbottom?”

“Mr. Finnigan here will sit in as a substitute for the Potters and he also will be the one to nominate her” he answered.

“Do you think that this is wise? I mean some might fight his claim of being Harry’s substitute. That they didn’t question it yesterday might be because of the suddenness of the trial and him sitting in but tomorrow? I highly doubt that they would put up with it that easily” Bones claimed.

“Even if they tried there is nothing they can do. He has a signed paper signed with John Smith that gives him any needed right. Should they try something never the less…let’s see how good they know their own laws.”

Just at that time a buzzing went through the room that announced an impending floo call.

“Sir, I’ll see who this is” James said with a bow before leaving.

The two woman on the other hand were confused.

“What was that if I might ask?” Augusta asked.

“A ward set up to inform me of incoming floo calls.”

“I never heard of such a thing” Bones added.

“My research facility invented it a few months ago and it is in a test phase but up to now it is working perfectly fine. Perhaps it will be announced in another half a year. When it is finalized it also will be able to place a floo travel on hold so that one can check who wants to get through first and doesn’t have to give away the password.”

“You’re messing with the floo network without informing the ministry?” Bones scolded him.

Salazar started to laugh. “I wouldn’t dare doing such a thing. The alarm is the only thing installed and that doesn’t interact with the network directly. Everything else is tested in a closed off network so no need to worry.”

James entered the Study. “Sir, Ms. Pye contacted us to inform you that Mr. Black wants to meet you as quickly as possible. She said that Mr. Dumbledore seems to plan something but couldn’t give any more details.”

Salazar nodded. “Thank you. Ms. Bones, Ms. Longbottom, is there something else we need to discuss right now?”

Augusta shook her head.

Bones also shook her head before replying. “No I don’t think so. Though I would ask you to come to my office tomorrow at ten so that we can prepare for the meeting.”

“Sure, I’ll be there. James you know what to do tomorrow. Oh Ms. Longbottom, before you leave I wanted to ask you whether it would be okay that Hadrian visits Neville tomorrow morning again so that he isn’t alone while James and I are at the meeting.”

“This shouldn’t be a problem. Neville’s nanny will take care of them” the woman replied.

“Thank you.”

With that they stood up and Salazar lead them to the drawing room from where they flooed to their respective destinations.

Salazar walked down the corridor of St. Mungo’s straight to the bed Sirius laid in musing about why the man wanted to speak with him. Sylvia only told him that it was urgent. He rounded the room divider and found Sirius writing a letter.

“Ah Mr. Hardinger, what gives me the honour of your visit?”

Salazar rose an eyebrow but Sirius motioned him to play along and so he did. During that Sirius took one of the parchments and wrote down a note before giving it to him.

I think Dumbledore put a tracking and an eavesdropping charm on me. Don’t know why he thought I wouldn’t notice but since I have no wand at the moment…

“Mr. Black I wanted to discuss a few more things with you” Salazar picked up the quill.

Did you tell him anything about Harry?

“Since you are now acquitted all your rights and privileges have been restored. That means among other things that you are again allowed to carry a wand” he picked up the line.

He admitted that he took a look in your mind at the trial and now he assumes that you either have Harry under the Imperius or otherwise brainwashed. I also hinted that I might know where Harry is and pointe towards America since you’re American…kinda. He also thinks you want to brainwash me to help you and that you’re John Smith.

“I also took the liberty to inform Gringotts of your acquittal so that your access to your vaults is fully restored.”

America? I have an idea. Want to trick D.?

Sirius nodded and so he took a look around to make sure that no one was near when he found a strange beetle sitting on the other side of the room divider. He clearly felt the magic radiating it which indicated that it was not an ordinary beetle but an Animagus. This was even better since it couldn’t have seen what they were doing but clearly was in hearing range. So he picked up the parchment they used and put in his pocket before continuing.

“Now to something else. My client, Mr. Smith, asked me to deliver this message. Harry is with him at the moment and he wanted to know whether you might be willing to help him raising Harry.”

Sirius smiled knowing where that lead but he took his time to answer as if he was unsure.

“Well, I don’t really know this man and where is he even living?” he finally replied.

“Getting to know him might take its time but I think it would be worth it. He is living in a penthouse apartment in Manhattan – New York where he is at the moment. But he mentioned something about going on a vacation on Monday and that he would be glad to know whether you would attend or not. He would pay for all expenses. This would be the perfect opportunity for you to get to know him.”

Sirius hummed about that. “I think you’re right but I don’t know whether I will be out by then…”

“It shouldn’t be a problem to arrange something. You only…wait somethings strange here” Salazar pulled his wand and casted a quick revelation spell on Sirius.

“There is an eavesdropping spell on you…Dumbledore” he growled. “Damned…I have to inform my client.”

He quickly cancelled the spells on Sirius before rushing towards Sylvia’s office leaving a confused Sirius behind.

Dumbledore leaned back in his chair thinking about the conversation he just witnessed through the eavesdropping spell. So Sirius was right with his assumption that Harry was in America but it seemed that Hardinger and that ominous John Smith really were two different persons.

Thanks to this little trick he now knew where Harry was and he could get him. An apartment in New York but he would have to be quick because when what Hardinger said was right he would leave on Monday for a vacation. Even quicker since Hardinger just informed his client about the eavesdropping.

He opened a drawer, took out parchment and quill and quickly wrote a letter to the American liaison man at the Ministry in order to get to know the exact location of the flat Harry was hold at. Taking a brief pause he smiled.

This was the first lead on Harry’s whereabouts and he was confident that he soon would be in his care again.

When he was finished he also wrote several letters to different Order members to inform them about the development.

Salazar stood in Sylvia’s office waiting for a few minutes before glancing around the corner in Sirius direction. He casted a quick revelation charm in order to see whether the Animagus was still there. When it came out negative he walked back to Sirius who now was utterly confused. He threw up a few privacy charms and one that informed him should anything magical enter its vicinity.

“What was that about? I mean the conversation I understand but that was only an eavesdropping spell so why that act?”

Salazar chuckled. “When I looked around I found a small bug sitting on the other side of that screen there. It obviously was an Animagus and if I’m not mistaken a journalist so that’s why.”

“You couldn’t know whether she observed us so the play. Clever.”

“I do my best.”

“But what if she saw the parchment we used?”

“Possible but since her Animagus form is a bug that won’t be a problem. She would have to sit right on the parchment to be able to read what is written on it” he chuckled. Yes being a bug animagus had its perks but also its downsides like very bad eyesight.

Sirius grinned. “But there is something else I have to tell you about.”

“Is there more than that you sent Dumbledore on a wild goose chase through America?”

“Yes, he came to me with a proposal…” now Salazar rose an eyebrow. “He wants to nominate me for the Minister post when the vote of no confidence is brought through.”

Now it was upon Salazar to look dumbstruck.

“He WHAT?” he said before laughing like mad. “I hoped he would be desperate and caught off guard by this but that I would never have dreamt of.”

“Yeah I also told him that it was stupid and no one would vote in my favour but he didn’t listen and simply stated that he `would take care of it´” he stated imitating Dumbledore.

“I think you’re quite mistaken with this” Salazar replied still snickering. “The House of Black is very old and well known. You’re the recent Head of said house but the problem is that most of the time since you became Lord Black you were imprisoned and therefore weren’t able to form any connections or alliances with the other Houses. Sure you’re known as a follower of Dumbledore but I think quite a few will want to connect with the House of Black and the monetary and political power it holds. That will especially be the darker families.

Also others who were strict opponents of Ms. Bagnold might vote for you simply to insult her even more.

Then there is the faction that follows Dumbledore. When he tells them to vote for you they will, no questions asked.

I for my part plan to nominate Augusta Longbottom. She is well known in the neutral faction but the problem also is that she is known to take no side. So it will be hard to sway any of Dumbledore’s followers or from the darker families in her favour.

The third competitor will be Cornelius Fudge supported by Lucius Malfoy but he is known to be a brainless idiot who even needs assistance for binding his own shoes. I think that his nomination is also born out of desperation.

You see this entire thing is like a game of chess. It isn’t the person elected that is most capable and would suit it best but the one most parties think it would benefit them personally the most.”

Sirius shook his head in disbelieve. “Me…Minister…just a few days ago I could be happy to ever get out of that damned prison and now you tell me that there is quite the possibility for me becoming Minister” he grumbled a bit more when something crossed his mind. “But what about my health? I mean I feel quite good but I doubt that Ms. Pye would approve of me becoming Minister.”

“He is right” Salazar who muse over something looked at Sylvia who stood right next to him. “I just checked his last results and I have to admit that he is in quite a good condition putting into mind for how long he stayed at Azkaban. You will be exhausted quite quickly for some more time and you’ll have to take nutrition potions regularly for a week but despite that you’re okay.  But I would ask you to stay another night here to be sure.

To your conversation…Mr. Black you won’t be able to do any work for the next two weeks, or better you won’t be allowed to. You have to rest and regenerate and working at the Ministry wouldn’t help you with that. I even would recommend a longer period of time but two weeks is the minimum.”

“And that’s exactly what Dumbledore wants” Salazar added which earned him confused looks. “I wondered from the beginning why Dumbledore insisted to nominate you despite your health status but now I know. A law says that should a Minister being unable to perform his duty because of health problems he can nominate a substitute who will act in his name and with his authorisation for the time it takes to recover. I think he wants to use your situation to become Minister even if only as a substitute.”

“But why doesn’t he nominate himself? I know that he got offered the post in the past” Sylvia replied.

“For once his reputation received quite a dent recently because of the vanishing of Harry so it wouldn’t be sure that any other than his followers would vote for him and the second thing is that he hasn’t the time to be a fulltime Minister. At the moment are holidays at Hogwarts but from September on he has to fulfil his duties as headmaster again. To that adds his duties as Supreme Mugwump in the ICW and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot therefor he is quite occupied. To him those posts are more important than becoming Minister. I mean he has power and influence over the offspring of some of the oldest and most powerful families in Britain. His position in the ICW gives him more than enough power in the matters of other countries and with his position in the Wizengamot he can decide who gets punished and how hard not to mention new laws that need to be instated” Salazar explained. “And don’t forget that Ms. Bagnold was in his pocket. So he practically has influence over every critical point in this country.”

Sylvia went white while listening to Salazar’s explanation. Up to now she didn’t think about it but now she wondered how one person could gain so much power and thinking about what he could do with so much power…she wanted to vomit.

“That is far worse than what You-know-who ever could have done. He could overtake entire Britain within a week and no one would be able to do anything against it.

“You’re right he could but I doubt he would without a very good reason. He is more the player in the background. The one who pulls the strings but doesn’t do the work himself” Salazar shook his head.

“But why did he then gain so much power when he doesn’t want to use it?” Sirius was also a bit lost.

Salazar sighed. “He uses his power don’t be mistaken with that but he doesn’t want to get his own hands dirty or if a plan fails that it falls back onto him. Best example for that is the prophecy he forged in order to get rid of Voldemort.”

“Prophecy?” both asked simultaneously.

“Ah yes you don’t know about it yet. A few month before Harry was born Dumbledore forged a prophecy using a woman called Trelawney. It says that a child is born to those who defied Voldemort three times at the eve of July and that said child will vanquish the Dark Lord after he marked him as his equal.”

Now it was upon Sirius to go pale. “Harry…”

“Another reason why I wanted him out of Dumbledore’s clutches. But he isn’t the only one that would fit into the prophecy. Neville Longbottom also fits in. He is born one day before Harry and his parents also defied Voldemort three times. I’m glad that he and Harry seem to become friends, not that it was planned though.”

“I like Dumbledore less and less the more I hear about him” Sylvia growled.

“Did you think I tease him because I don’t like his nose? No, I let him do as he pleases for far too long now and pulling Harry into his games was the last straw. He will learn that he is not almighty” he took a quick glance at the clock, it was shortly after five in the afternoon. “I’m sorry but I have to leave now because I have an appointment at six. You said Sirius can leave tomorrow?”

Sylvia nodded. “When his tests tomorrow morning are without pathological findings he can leave but he should rest more never the less.”

Salazar saw Sirius flinching. “What’s the matter?”

“Ah nothing special” he replied but Salazar gave him a look that told him that he wanted to know. “Well it’s only that I don’t fancy returning to the house we have here in London. But I also don’t want to move into one of the mansions in the countryside so I can be closer to Harry” he shrugged helplessly.

Salazar thought about it for a few seconds when an idea struck him. “Why don’t you live at my house until you’re comfortable going back to your own house? I have more than enough space and you couldn’t get any closer to Harry.”

Sirius eyes went wide and his jaw nearly hit the floor. It seemed that the surprises wouldn’t cease these days.

“I…I can’t take that offer. You already did enough for me, more than I will ever be able to pay you back for.”

Salazar pinched the bridge of his nose. “Should you now start something about debts I really will have to reconsider whether getting you out was a good idea” he muttered under his breath which earned him a strange look from Sirius. “I didn’t do that for me or that you would owe me I did it for Harry. Though I should inform you that he decided to change his name when I adopted him. His name is now Hadrian Harry James Potter-Slytherin and he wants to be referred to as Hadrian not Harry anymore.”

“Why is that?”

“Well for once it seems that he did it as some kind of new start, you know to make a cut form what happened. The second reason might be that he doesn’t want to be seen as the boy who did something he hadn’t any influence over and is famous for it but as the boy he really is. I’m not entirely sure and I would ask you not to question him about it, at least not now. But I really have to go now. Please think about my offer until tomorrow. I’ll come back at about nine in the morning so that we can talk some further shouldn’t Dumbledore be here” he was about to go when he remembered something. “Oh and I will attend the Wizengamot meeting tomorrow as Jack Hardinger as a counsellor to Ms. Bones.”

He bid his farewell before he left to Sylvia’s office and flooed back home.

When Salazar reached home he had to hurry up because it was already half past five and he wanted to meet with his son in fifteen minutes. So he quickly went into his room took a short shower and got dressed. He chose a formal black robe with emerald green borders and silver trimming. It was just the right amount that he looked good but not overdressed. Contend with himself he left his room and went downstairs where his son was already waiting. He looked at him with wide eyes.

“I look silly I know…” Hadrian murmured while blushing furiously.

“Quite the opposite. You look astonishing” his father replied.

It seemed that the potions he had to take over the week were good for the boy. He now wasn’t too small and slender for his age but just the right height and had a good figure. Added to that he now wore a robe much like Salazar’s only that the colours were swapped around. Salazar didn’t doubt one second that he would grow into a handsome man admired by every woman. But it seemed that something bothered him.

“What’s the matter Hadrian? You know you can tell me everything” he asked while hunkering down in front of him.

“I-I just don’t know what to do. My uncle…he always hid me in the cupboard when he had visitors. I…” he didn’t know how to express himself but that wasn’t necessary because his father could clearly see where the problem laid.

“Hey Hadrian, don’t worry everything will be fine. Just be yourself okay?” Hadrian nodded slowly. “Good and should be something…anything at all don’t hesitate to tell me.”

He gave Hadrian a hug before he stood up and they both flooed to the Wizards and Dragons. They were a bit early but that suited Salazar because he hated being late.

Hadrian looked around in awe. The Leaky Cauldron was nothing compared to this. They stood in a large entrance hall with marble floor, a few sitting arrangements on both sides and a large reception desk at the end of it. Two large crystal chandeliers and quite a few smaller crystal lamps spent light. Would this be mundane Hadrian doubted that the Dursleys would ever be able to afford staying even one night.

Salazar waited a few metres further when he registered that he wasn’t following. It took a few minutes but finally Hadrian closed up.

“This is awesome. It must take a fortune to rent a room here” he stated.

“While it isn’t that cheap it is affordable for someone with a good steady income. You should know that a magical hotel isn’t as expensive like an equal mundane one. One reason for that is that for magical people it is far easier to craft certain things. Take this cupboard over there for example” he pointed at a richly ornamented wooden cupboard behind the reception desk.

“For a skilled mundane person it would take days if not weeks of hard work to craft such delicate handiwork. A wizard on the other hand while having to be skilled as well only needs a few flicks with his wand and he gets the same result. You see what I mean?” Hadrian nodded. “What makes such a piece expensive in our world are additional charms and spells like a locking charm for example.”

“But what if a wizard crafts such a cupboard without any charms and spells on it and sells it in the mundane world? He could make much more money in the same amount of time.”

He had to write quite a few assignments about work efficiency and how to maximise the profit for his uncle. It wasn’t that he understood everything about it but he understood enough to know that the less you had to work for the same amount of money the better and the more profit you made.

His father looked at him surprised. “You’re right but most wizards don’t bother to look past the magical world. Their fault for not looking beyond the end of their nose. I for my part use this little advantage in some of my business though I try to keep it to a minimum because otherwise I could ruin the economy of both the mundane and magical world. But now come on I don’t want to be late despite being early.”

Hadrian gave the cupboard one last glance before trailing behind his father. They passed the reception desk and went through a door on the right entering a nice little bar. The furniture was made out of dark red wood and in the background played some music. Hadrian wasn’t firm with music and so he had no idea what was played.

Salazar looked around when he saw the little woman sitting in a separated area. He walked up to her Hadrian closely following him.

“Ah Jack Hardinger or should I better say Salazar Slytherin?” She greeted him upon which Hadrian looked confused.

His father who saw that chuckled lowly. “I never outright told her who I am but I never doubted that she knew never the less. To be honest I would have been disappointed hadn’t she known” he explained before shaking Henrietta’s hand. “Henrietta nice to meet you.”

“And that must be your great grandson Harry Potter. Nice to finally meet you.”

“Hadrian Harry James Potter-Slytherin, ma’am, but I prefer Hadrian nice to meet you to” he replied while shaking her hand to.

“And so well-mannered that’s a rare quality these days” Hadrian blushed upon that. “Come on sit down. What do you want to drink boy?”

“A water” he answered sheepishly.

Henrietta rose an eyebrow while Salazar leaned down and whispered something in his ear. His son looked at him questioningly but nodded.

“Okay I take a Fey Nectar” he didn’t know what that was but when his father suggested it he would try it.

Henrietta snickered lowly while gesturing the waiter and giving up the order.

“You should be careful. When you go on like that he will be spoiled rotten in no time.”

“Rest assured that I will see that this won’t happen but for now I think he needs being spoiled a bit” Salazar replied with a smile.

The waiter returned with the drinks, a deep red wine for Salazar and Henrietta and the nectar for Hadrian. Hadrian eyed his drink critically because it had a strange green colour but he tried it never the less. What he tasted surprised him. It was somehow like the Elven Nectar he drank at Gringotts yet completely different. But not bad at all.

Salazar and Henrietta talked a bit while Hadrian only listened but after a while he overcame his shyness and also started to ask a few questions on his own. After the diner he even took part in the conversation.

That was when Salazar changed the topic to something more urgent.

“Before I forget it Henrietta I should warn you. Dumbledore might start poking around in America.”

“Why is that?”

“Sirius told him that John Smith, the name under which I adopted Hadrian, might live in America and when I got to know that Dumbledore put an eavesdropping charm on him in case I would tell him something…”

“You decided to take the same line and send him on a wild goose chase through America” Henrietta finished the sentence.

Salazar nodded. “I told that John Smith lives in an apartment in Manhattan. But there is something more…” Henrietta rose an eyebrow. “At that time a journalist disguised as an animagus was present to.”

“Great” she replied sarcastically. “As if our Ministry hasn’t enough to do we now have to keep every British idiot who wants to meet Harry Potter out. At least you have the decency to forewarn me. I’ll send a message later this evening.”

Suddenly Salazar tensed up before quickly drawing his wand and casting a glamour charm around him and Hadrian. Henrietta and his son looked strangely at him.

“What was that for?” she asked before turning around in order to see what startled Salazar.

What she saw let her pale slightly before anger took over. Hadrian on the other hand went pale and started to shiver but his father put a hand on his shoulder to calm him down.

“Keep calm, I won’t allow him to do anything to you” Salazar whispered and Hadrian nodded mechanically.

In the door stood Albus Dumbledore looking around. When his gaze fell upon the group he came over with wide determined strides. Hadrian thought that at the moment he had nothing in common with the grandfatherly man he saw in the book. His face was darkened and he could feel the anger radiating from him even if it only was a small amount.

<Previous Next>