Chapter 23: Into the Lion’s den

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The only mentionable thing that happened until then was that a few weeks before the boys’ birthdays the extended Wizengamot elected a new Minister of Magic. Augusta resigned at the end of her five years long term not wanting to go for another one recommending Sirius as a good successor with having the same goals, in the end Sirius won with a landslide victory. Because of that, Dumbledore was optimistic that he finally would be able to dictate politics again but Sirius quickly made clear that he would not have anything of this; he was neither buyable (he was one of the richest persons after all) nor reacted to blackmailing in any other way than redirecting it to the DMLE. Over the years, he also had distanced himself from the old man and nothing would change that in the near future, or anytime at all.

It was the morning of the 31st of July now and Hadrian’s eleventh birthday. Salazar precautionary put down the tracking-redirection wards the day before so that the Hogwarts letter could find his son undisturbedly. Neville already got his yesterday and now Hadrian was excitedly waiting for his own.

At about ten in the morning Hadrian was still asleep since he and Neville stayed up until after midnight to celebrate both birthdays, when a barn owl swooped in through the open window and landed on the back of a chair hooting lowly. Hedwig who sat on her perch next to the window looked at the other owl critically. She never liked having foreign owls in Hadrian’s room and only tolerated those she knew like the ones from Gringotts or family and friends, which showed up quite regularly; she was very protective about her territory. Once she had enough of the presence of the other owl and Hadrian showed no sign of waking up any time soon she swooped down onto the bed and started to nibble at his ear. A few moments later Hadrian started to wake up.

“Hedwig, whasup?” he mumbled. “’m tired. Le’ me sleep.”

The other owl hooted indignantly and once Hadrian saw the barn owl waiting on the chair, any tiredness vanished in an instant and he hopped out of his bed and ran over to get the letter. As soon as the owl was relieved from its burden, it launched into the air and flew back out of the window wanting to get away from the snowy owl. After untying the letter, he carefully looked at it. It was an envelope made out of parchment and the address written in emerald green ink, addressed to him.

Mr H. Potter
The bedroom on the right, 1st floor
Phoenix St. 6

Hadrian growled. He hated anyone addressing him with his old name; it brought too many bad memories with it. Over the time, he started to think of Harry Potter and Hadrian Slytherin as two different persons. He knew it was unfair towards his birth parents who gave him the name but it was his way to cope with what happened in those five years of his life; it gave him some distance to it while Hadrian Slytherin was the happy boy he was now. Then there was the problem that no one knew his change of name, not yet anyway, so how could he expect to be addresses any other than Harry Potter.

Turning around the letter to see who wrought him he found on the back of the envelope stamped into a blood red wax seal the crest of Hogwarts, a capital H in front of a quartered emblem each quarter showing a different animal, a lion, a snake, a badger and a raven. Therefore, this was his Hogwarts acceptance letter but he was careful never the less because something was wrong about it. He could not pinpoint it but there was some weird magic radiating from it hence why he decided to show the letter to his father first. Better be safe than sorry.

After a quick shower and getting dressed, he went downstairs. First, he dipped shortly into the kitchen but there were only the elves preparing the meal with a few presents lying on the counter.

After the second year he was with his father, he let the Prophet publish an article that stated how grateful he was but that he was well cared of and did not need so many presents. However if people wanted to make him a great gift they should send the presents to the Magical Orphanage the Department of Magical Child Care opened after his father suggested and financed it. It was not that they did not have the money to care properly for the children living there but not having to pay for the toys opened the possibility for other things like little trips for the children, which were twenty-three by now. They consisted of five war orphans and the rest were muggle-born that came from abusive families who were quite glad to get rid of the “freaks”. Once the paperwork was done and they made sure that the parents really did not want the children they oblivated them, it was safer for everyone involved.

However, the Department of Magical Child care not only successfully established the orphanage but also initiated a program to help mundane parents with magical children. They stocked up their personnel especially for that purpose to explain and guide the parents from the first moment on when their children showed magic. Another thing they offered were the possibility for those parents to meet and exchange in an environment that made sure that no one else got to know about the magical world and for the children a place getting to know others of their age that were like them. All that led to a decrease in Auror operations where they had to deal with hysteric parents and frightened children.

People again were quickly picking up on Hadrian’s behaviour, speaking in high terms about their saviour for how generous he was and that he cared more for others than for himself and surprisingly many sent presents to the orphanage instead of him ranging from money over sweets and toys to other things they might need. Getting to know about it, Harry thanked them profusely which resulted in praises from his father for how he handled this situation. However that didn’t save him form those who insisted in sending him presents on his birthday or other holidays but luckily those were only a few and mostly sent useful things like vouchers. Today it would prove bothersome since the tracking-redirection ward was down but it was necessary and he could not hide forever anyway.

So now, he went to his father’s study to show him the letter and knocked. Upon hearing a short, “Yes?” he entered.

“Morning dad” he greeted him with a hug.

“Good morning and Happy Birthday. I hope you slept well?”

“Kind of, got woken by Hedwig when an owl arrived. It had this letter with it” he replied handing over the letter.

“Ah, so your Hogwarts letter arrived. This was to be expected, but why didn’t you open it you were so excited about it yesterday?” Salazar now was curious. Yesterday he was envious because Neville already got his letter while he had to wait another day but now he first gave it to him? Something was wrong.

“There’s some strange magic radiating from it. It feels like the tracing charms you showed me but something is off with it” his father taught him to distinguish between certain spells from only feeling the magic over the years but there were still quite a few he couldn’t recognise when confronted with and that was one of those cases. He also learned some revealing spells but he had a feeling that they would not show what it was. Despite that, he wanted to be sure before attempting anything and he knew that his skills were far from good enough to detect properly what was wrong when it was Dumbledore tampering with it.

Salazar mused about what his son just told him. When Hadrian said something was off with it he believed him so he casted some complex revealing charms over the envelope.

“You’re right this isn’t normal. Typically, this letter should only have the standard tracing charm on it so that it finds the person addressed to, but it seems that into this one is a second charm imbedded but I cannot tell which. Wait a minute perhaps I can tell you more then.”

Salazar carefully started to deconstruct the spells on the letter when he suddenly flinched. “A loyalty charm? If this old fool thinks he can gain your favour through such means he is more senile than I thought.”

He cancelled the charms completely before giving the letter back to his son.

“So it’s now safe for you, but good that you came to me with it…”

“Sure, wouldn’t touch anything strange without asking you first. Despite that, what do you think about the addressing to my old name? Shall I tell them about the change or leave them in the dark for a bit longer?” he asked curiously.

Salazar hummed upon that. “I leave it up to you to decide that. They will find out sooner or later so only make sure that it is to your conditions and not theirs.”

His son nodded when suddenly a wicked grin appeared on his face. “I just thought about a good way to mess with them. If what you told me is correct, which I do not doubt, doing what I just thought about should prove to be highly amusing later when I arrive at Hogwarts. It also might drive them up the wall until then.”

“You surely spent too much time with Sirius and Remus…” his father muttered but smiled nonetheless which made Hadrian laugh.

“Anyway, where is mum?” at some point a few years ago he accidentally called Sylvia mum and since neither she nor his dad objected it stuck.

“At work but she only has the shift in the morning and will be back in the afternoon” his dad told him.

“Okay” he said while exiting the study to fetch some breakfast. “I’ll go and write a reply later,” he said in before leaving.

After a short breakfast and back in his room, he sat at the desk, took out some parchment, ink and a quill and wrote a reply to Professor McGonagall. When he was finished he folded the letter put it in an envelope and went over to Hedwig.

“Hey girl, would you mind taking that letter to Professor McGonagall at Hogwarts?”

The owl nibbled at his finger and Hadrian tied the letter to her leg with a smile.

“Thanks. I’d say you just leave it there and come back immediately, I fear they might do something with you should you stay to long, okay?” he did not put it beneath Dumbledore and try to lace his owl with tracking or other possibly harmful charms and spells.

Hedwig hooted in understanding and flew out through the open window happy to have something to do. Once his owl was out of sight he went back to his desk to write another letter to a person he wanted to make a proposal to, telling her to meet him at Potter manor the next day at ten if she wanted to make possibly the deal of her life. He also wrote to Griphook requesting a contract from him that would bind the one who signed it to his conditions. Oh yes, this would prove to be extremely fruitful. This letters he sent out with owls from their Owlery.

Once Hadrian sent out the letters, he went onwards with actually opening his Hogwarts acceptance letter. Inside he found first a short letter telling him that they accepted him at Hogwarts followed by the list of school supplies. He noticed that he already read the required books twice at least when he saw what book he would need for potions. His eyes went wide before he bolted from the room letting Shiyo who up to now lay on his bed dozing looking after him as if he went mad. Hadrian ran down the stairs skipping most of the steps before running into the drawing room, grabbing a pinch of floo powder before flooing to the Longbottom manor. There he ran straight to the sitting room knowing that it was the most likely place where he would find Neville at that time of the day, there or in one of the greenhouses. He burst into the room startling Alice and Frank.

“You couldn’t have told me?” he exclaimed without any greeting waiving the supply list around.

“Why? To spoil your fun of finding out yourself?” Neville snickered.

“You…” Hadrian growled walking over to his friend as if he wanted to strangle him.

Neville on the other hand having received the same education in melee fighting as Hadrian only grabbed his right wrist and with a strategic placing of his leg behind him quickly had Hadrian lying on the floor. Hadrian however not wanting his friend to get the better of him quickly had him right next to him before rolling around and placing himself over his friend. This was only of short success since Neville having other plans used Hadrian’s momentum to reverse the situation again. The two of them fought and rolled around none of them wanting to lose not even noticing that Salazar entered the room.

“Good morning, so that is where my son rushed to” he greeted Alice and Frank with a smile.

“Good morning to you to. Yes it seems that your son tries to strangulate our son for not informing him about something” Alice replied her amusement clearly shining through while Frank only nodded in greeting before resuming to his newspapers.

They were used to the two engaging themselves in an impromptu sparring since they regularly ambushed each other. The elves in great foresight had spelled everything the two could knock over with permanent sticking charms after having to repair something for the third time. Even windows weren’t save from the two when in the middle of the fight as Neville once proved when managing to throw Hadrian through the window in his room and over the balustrade of the balcony on the first floor. Not that Hadrian injured himself from the fall since he already learned how to cushion a fall from a relative low height at that time but Sylvia had do patch him up nonetheless because of the injuries he gained by flying through the window. After that, she also decided to teach Neville at least some basic healing spells so that he could treat injuries properly should she not be available, up to now he was at least able to put a broken arm or leg in splints and mend shallow cuts while bandaging anything more serious. That at least was enough to get to a proper healer without risking too much blood loss or worsening the injuries.

“I wonder what got him to rush here” Salazar mused when he noticed the school supply list lying abandoned on the floor. He picked it up and quickly scanned it, reaching the bottom he saw what obviously got his son to act as he did as the potions book listed was “Beginners Guide to Potions”, their book. He had to admit that Neville became quite good in hiding things because even he did not suspect a thing after the boy got his letter the day prior. Slowly but surely the scrambling of the two lessened until they both lay next to each other heavily panting.

“Jerk” Hadrian teased Neville after resuming his breathing to a normal level.

“Twit” Neville laughed. “You know I would never have dreamt that our book would become the Hogwarts first year’s potions book.”

“Me neither…me neither. What do you think; will the second one be as good as this one? I am worried that people might be disappointed after the first one obviously took off so well” Hadrian sighed. They started with a second following up book a few weeks prior and already had a few chapters written and the outline for some more. In foresight of having less time while at Hogwarts, they expected to finish it sometime around Christmas.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” Alice said softly with a smile. “As long as you give your best nothing can go wrong and I doubt that your second book will be less good than your first one.”

“Mum’s right, we shouldn’t worry about it and even if it isn’t as liked as our first…what eleven years old can say from themselves to have published a book that got Hogwarts standard?”

“Surely not many” that was when his stomach rumbled protesting about not getting enough to eat this day. “Ugh, I was so excited that I didn’t eat properly this morning.”

Alice chuckled lowly. “It is nearly lunch time anyway. Do you two want to accompany us?” she asked.

“If it isn’t too much trouble,” Salazar replied.

“Since when has it been any trouble at all?” Alice replied before calling for the house-elf to let it know that they had two guests. Salazar and Hadrian ate with them so often that the elves probably prepared more than enough in case they stayed, even Sirius and Ley stayed at least ones in a week.

Professor McGonagall sat in her office preparing for the new school year when suddenly a snowy owl landed right in front of her, a letter tied to her leg. She untied the letter and right after that the owl flew away as fast as she could. McGonagall looked confused after her but shrugged only and turned her attention towards the letter she just received. She had to read it several times not believing what it contained. Shaking her head, she stood up and went straight to Dumbledore’s office.

Arriving at the gargoyle that protected the headmaster’s office, she said “Lemon Sorbet” upon which the gargoyle gave free the path. She climbed the stairs and entered the office.

“Ah, Minerva what leads you to my office? Can I offer you something? Tea? Lemon drops?” Dumbledore asked with a grandfatherly smile but she only shook her head.

“I just received this letter from Mr. Potter. Read it for yourself” she laid the letter on Dumbledore’s desk with a scowl.

Dumbledore picked it up and read it. First, his eyes went wide before they narrowed. “Is this supposed to be a joke?” he asked a slight anger seeping through into his voice.

“Unfortunately I have no idea. The letter arrived half an hour ago with a snowy owl but I wasn’t able to get a closer look on the owl since it left instantly after I untied the letter” McGonagall admitted. “Though I can’t imagine it to be true.”

“No, surely not” Dumbledore said emphatically.

“So what shall I do?” the stern woman inquired.

“Ignore it. Raising to the bait would only lead to embarrassment. Whoever thought this a good joke will probably lose interest when we don’t react to it” Dumbledore mused.

“But what if it is real? What if Harry truly wrote this?” she was not fully convinced and should she be right she would insult the boy by ignoring it.

Dumbledore sighed. “Minerva, you know as well as I do that this letter is a hoax. Do you really want to make a fool out of yourself by answering to it?” he replied his grandfatherly smile firm in place.

Minerva thought about it before shaking her head. “You’re right, I’ll leave it be. Thank you for your time, Albus” she said before turning to leave the headmaster’s office.

“You’re welcome” Dumbledore nodded towards her before taking a lemon drop out of a bowl on his desk and popped it into his mouth.

The next morning shortly before ten Hadrian was sitting in one of the drawing rooms of the main Potter manor waiting for his guest to arrive. In the letter he sent the day prior, he asked her to come there at ten o’clock. He decided to use the Potter manor for this in order not to give away where he normally lived. It did not take long, the fire in the fireplace went green and a woman in the mid-thirties stepped out. Her nails polished perfectly in a bright red she wore a slight make up, bright red lipstick and her blond curly hair pinned up. Fittingly red glasses rounded off the picture.

“Ms. Skeeter, it’s a pleasure to meet you” he stood up and extracted his hand in greeting. He himself wore emerald green dressing robes with silver trimming radiating confidence, power and money.

“Mr. Potter, I have to admit that I was surprised to hear from you” she replied shaking his hand. “May I inquire what initiated this?”

“You may but please have a seat. Can I offer you anything? Tea? Coffee?” he asked politely.

“A tea would be nice” Hadrian called for an elf and asked him to bring them the tea and some small snacks. A few minutes later, the elf reappeared together with a tray laden with a teapot and a plate with small sandwiches.

“The reason for why I wanted to meet with you is that I want to make you a proposal,” he stated confidently. “I know about your writing style and while I have to admit that it is very good and would be useful for my plans I don’t want to end up on the wrong end of it. Therefore I would offer you that I would only go to you should I want to have information published in return for you only writing true and accurate facts about me. This would include that you send me a copy of any article you want to publish which contains information about me, or those I provide. You would also need my approval of revealing these information. In fact, you would become my solitary media correspondent for publishing only those information about me I want published, in a favourable manner. I would also provide you with other very intriguing and quite shocking revelations about certain people over time.

This is the contract you would have to sign should you agree,” he explained pushing the contract he got from Griphook towards her. He had to admit that the goblin did a good job setting it up; neither he nor his father had been able to find a loophole in it. In summary, it said what he just told the woman including that she could not redirect the information he gave her in any manner without his approval or speak about this arrangement.

Skeeter sat there a shell-shocked expression on her face. When she received the letter, she had wondered what the boy wanted but that she would never have thought of. Would she want it? Being the correspondent of the Boy-who-lived could prove very profitable but on the other hand, he could stop her from writing anything at all.

It was as if he read his mind when he spoke up again. “Should you worry that I would put a stop on every story you would want to write about me I can appease you. Quite the contrary actually, there are a lot of information I want to be revealed in the near future but I want it to happen to my conditions hence the proposal. I can also assure you that a few share of this information would shock the wizarding world pretty badly all the while being completely true. What do you say? Want to continue printing half-truth and more or less lies to impress your readers or would you want to do it with cold hard facts while having enough proof to attest your claims?”

Skeeter blinked a few times in surprise. Even if he had stories only half as good as he claimed for her to print, it would still be a gold mine. She had to admit that the boy intrigued her. As probably everyone else, she imagined the boy to be a Gryffindor through and through considering his behaviour that leaked out over the years. Sacrificing his own presents for orphaned children was a prime example for it, what sane Slytherin would sacrifice personal gain like that? Now on the other hand it looked like the boy was nothing but a Slytherin and this smug smirk he sported told her that he at least had a gist about what she thought and found pleasure in her confusion. So yes, she wanted in however she also did not sign anything without reading it properly so she picked up the contract and started to read.

“Take your time,” Hadrian said seeing what she did before picking up a book and starting to read himself.

The woman did as he said and read the contract three times but could not find any trap or such thing. In fact, the contract was something every reporter could dream of which again ignited her curiosity not being able to say whether the boy was more Gryffindor or Slytherin. Sure, she would have to ask for his consent before publishing anything about him, or whatever information he provided. Not to mention that it had to be the truth and accurate because otherwise she would lose her magic. On the other hand, she could keep any money she would gain from the articles even going so far as to give her a bonus of 100 Galleons per article should she do a good job. Yes, one could argue that with this, he could put a stop in everything she wrote about him but one did not go the length to set up such a contract only to want to stop someone. Therefore, she picked up the quill he provided and signed the contract.

“Very well, I have to admit that I’m quite glad that you approve of this proposal because I quite like your style and it would have been a shame had I to go to someone else. As I said I have a lot of information to share beginning with the fact that I don’t go by the name Harry Potter anymore,” he said with a smirk.

Skeeter who thought that she could not be more surprised than she already was looked at him with wide eyes. “But what name do you use then?” she inquired.

“Ever since I got adopted over five years ago my full name is Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin though I only go by the name of Hadrian Slytherin” his smirk became even broader when he saw that Skeeter’s eyes nearly bulged out upon that revelation. “However I have to ask you to not reveal this information before September the 2nd because it would interfere with my plans. Nonetheless, for now what do you think about a story of the `Harry Potter speaks up after five years´ kind or something the like? An article that would not only gives some insight about my life before I got adopted.”

That made the woman sit straighter. “Is it okay if I use my quick quote quill to take notes?” she asked.

“As long as the article contains the truth and is correct I do not care what means you use to take notes,” he simply stated.

After that, they talked about several topics Hadrian giving several information about himself that where save for revealing before Hogwarts started up. He didn’t doubt that Skeeter would make the best out of it.

The next day then Hadrian and Neville went shopping for their school supplies in Diagon Alley accompanied by their family except Sirius who unfortunately had to work. At first, they went to Gringotts to get some business done and to do the normal inheritance test every child of a wizarding family did at the age of eleven to determine of which lines they were the heirs.

Hadrian already did one when Salazar adopted him but the problem was that the heirship of certain lines only appeared when the tested person was eleven years or older. Therefore, it came to quite a surprise that Hadrian not only was the heir of one of the founders but two, Slytherin and Gryffindor. Salazar was quite shocked about his son being a descendant of Gryffindor until Griphook explained to him that Hadrian only became the heir of the Gryffindor line because the original heir died two years ago. Hadrian was the only other still living relative despite being of a side branch of the Gryffindor family and therefore not a direct descendant. The other surprise of that visit was that Neville was a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff, which at least Hadrian did not surprise in the slightest. With Neville’s attunement towards plants, he somehow suspected it already.

Once done at Gringotts they bought an entire new wardrobe to last them through until at last Christmas break since they would not be able to buy new things during term. Books they luckily did not need since they already had everyone from the list. Another shop they forwent was the owl’s emporium and the magical menagerie since both already owned one or in Hadrian’s case three familiars.

However, they made a stop at the cauldrons shop to buy pewter ones because the only ones they possessed were silver or in Hadrian’s case also various others in copper or gold. After that, they went to the apothecary to stock up on ingredients to last them for a few months. Both were more content with the ingredients being as fresh as possible hence why they opted only to buy as many as necessary for about five potions and owl order more during the term. Not many students did that because they didn’t think the subject important enough to waste more money than necessary on it but both Neville and especially Hadrian were well known in the apothecary and so the owned gladly made an exception for them supplying them regularly with fresh ingredients.

The next stop on their list were writing utensils including a few new journals for both where they could write down the results of their respective researches. Following that, they went buying a wand. Neither of the boys really needed one but it would be highly suspicious and attract unnecessary attention should they cast every spell not only successfully the first time but also without a wand. Up to now only the closest family members and friends knew about their ability to perform magic wandlessly and it would stay that way had they anything to say about it, no need to give away their true power without need. Therefore, they entered Ollivander’s for the long search for the right match, which proved to be more complicated than anticipated. For both together they needed over two hours of trying one wand after the other. At some point, Hadrian simply passed the wand he tried to Neville when it rejected him so that they would not have to go through the pile twice. In the end, Hadrian left with the twin wand of Voldemort, holly and phoenix feather, while Neville gained a cherry wood and unicorn hair one. Nonetheless, they would go to Gregorovitch within the next days to get wands as fitting as only a custom made one could achieve.

At last, they also went and bought a telescope something they did not need up to now because frankly spoken even Salazar had not figured out until now what that subject was good for. The only things you might remotely need it for is either ritual magic or to gather certain ingredients and brew certain potions but for all three you only need to know what the current moon phase was because that was the only extra-terrestrial object that had any influence on the planet, everyone who thought different was an idiot. Even for the possibility to foretell the future by looking at certain stars, he never found any evidence.

After having lunch at one of the restaurants in the alley they returned back home where a surprise waited for the two boys.

“Ah, I see my gift for you finally arrived. Originally I want give it to you for your birthdays but it took longer to craft them than anticipated,” Salazar said seeing two identical boxes standing in his study. He lifted the lid of one of them before handing it to Neville and the other one to his son.

Both instantly opened their respective box revealing two trunks, one in emerald green with black and silver ornaments having the initials H.S. engraved on a silver platter and one in a deep Bordeaux red with silver adornments having the initials N.L. on top, both were the family house colours.

“Thank you dad” Hadrian exclaimed while hugging him but his father only laughed.

“You think this was everything? Both trunks have seven compartments of which one is a library, one a small flat with everything needed to live in should the need arise, one wardrobe, two storage rooms and one empty that can be set up for trainings purpose. However, it is the last compartment that should be interesting for you. Who of you wants to see his first?” he explained.

Hadrian only shrugged so Neville placed his trunk on the floor and opened it at the last compartment. From outside he could not see much more than a ladder leading into a small corridor so he stepped into it and climbed down followed by Salazar and Hadrian. They found out that the corridor ended after a metre leading into a small room from which three doors went. Since Salazar obviously did not want to tell him which of the doors to open first Neville shrugged and chose the one opposite of him. Opening the door and stepping trough he found himself in a huge rectangular room with long tables at the sides and in the middle as well as a few shelves and containers. In an instant, he knew what that was; he was standing in a greenhouse completely with artificial sunlight, climate and irrigation. He spun on his heels embracing Salazar in a firm hug thanking him profusely.

“Behind the other two doors are also greenhouses like this one. Each regulated separately in regards of light, temperature, humidity and watering. I doubt that you would be able to grow any plants in here that are highly sensible to their surroundings but for most plants it should suffice” he again explained once Neville let go of him.

“I don’t know what to say…except thank you” the only other day they saw Neville’s face shine like that was when Salazar woke up his parents. It looked like they would not see him the next few days when he moved those plants in here he wanted to take with him.

“So now Hadrian’s trunk?” Salazar asked.

Both boys nodded. Hadrian had to admit that after seeing what Neville’s one contained, he pretty much knew what in his would be but he wanted to see it nonetheless and he was not disappointed. His trunk contained a fully equipped potions lab with everything he would need to continue his experiments including the equipment of a mundane chemical lab he also used quite often mostly to extract certain essences from plants. Several lamps lighted it brightly and it had ventilation charms to provide fresh air.

Once they sat back in the study Salazar spoke up again. “Both trunks can be secured with passwords which can be set overall or for every compartment separately. It also has the highest anti-theft charms available marking everyone who tries to get in without your consent so that you know exactly who tried to get in. Despite that they have security measurements imbedded port-keying you straight to St. Mungo’s and Sylvia should you fall unconscious inside of it for whatever reason.”

The two boys nodded in consent. They quickly went to work setting up the passwords in Old Norse so that it was unlikely that anyone other than them or Salazar would be able to get in. Both also knew the passwords of the respective other just in case that they might need it.

Two days later then Skeeter published the first article after Hadrian received a final draft of it the day prior and he gave his okay.

New evidence about crimes committed against Harry Potter – Dumbledore to blame?


The last years it grew very quiet around our dear saviour, so you dear readers might understand my surprise when I gained new until now unknown evidence about crimes committed against the Boy-who-lived.

While being appointed as his guardian Dumbledore removed not only money but also several items and books from Potter’s vaults without the knowledge or approval of the boy. Especially the books are worrisome since most of them were the books about his family history, ancestry and business. According to a Gringotts statement, he removed them one day after Harry Potter’s victory over You-know-who and were only given back upon insistence from the goblins. One has to wonder why Dumbledore removed them in the first place and whether he had the intention to ever give them back. Was it perhaps his intent to withhold the boy his legacy? At the moment we have no answer to these questions but this devoted reporter is poised to find out.

However, that was not even the worst crime Dumbledore committed. When we got to know that it was Dumbledore who left Harry Potter with his abusive family some already suspected that he knew about their character and what they would do to our saviour but now this devoted journalist gained prove of it. An anonymous source supplied me with a memory of a conversation that occurred shortly before Dumbledore left him at Privet Drive covered only in a thin blanket on a cold November night. Minerva McGonagall, Professor for transfiguration at Hogwarts, explicitly warned the headmaster that “they are the worst sort of muggles imaginable”. Though despite this clear warning he placed the boy with them worst of all not even giving Harry Potter directly to them but dumping him on their doorstep with a letter explaining the situation. Some of you might say now that the memory was a fake but I had it examined by specialists and he confirmed the authenticity. So why did Dumbledore just leave the boy on their doorstep and did not make sure that they would take him? Is the highly esteemed headmaster of Hogwarts really so cold hearted, to simply dump an one years old boy on the doorstep of his relatives not knowing whether they even wanted him?

We all can agree that this was an atrocious behaviour from Albus Dumbledore and one has to question himself if a person who commits such is really the best person to run a school. What however left this devoted journalist baffled was the statement from Harry Potter after asking him about those crimes Dumbledore committed against him.

“I hold no grudge against Dumbledore or against my relatives…not anymore. My life before the adoption is a chapter of my life I came to terms with and closed it. One could say I went onwards. To the things he retrieved from my vaults I can only say that he gave every single item back he took.”

After that, I asked him whether he thought badly about muggles in general after what he had to endure but he only laughed. “I cannot hold the entire mundane population responsible for what a selected few did. It would be as if I said that every witch and wizard is evil only because of the two Dark Lords. While I do not deny that what my relatives did were crimes beyond comprehension it was their crimes and theirs alone” he replied.

I think that we all can agree, dear readers, that this is another proof of Harry Potter’s magnanimity. Not many people would cease holding a grudge against the people who wronged them. One can only hope that Dumbledore takes this second chance to heart and rights his wrongs.


-Rita Skeeter-


For more on the events five years ago see page 2

For more on Harry Potter see page 3

For more on Albus Dumbledore see page 3

The public outcry that followed that article was immense. People knew that Dumbledore left Harry Potter with his relatives but that he did so knowing fully well what would happen was what only very few suspected. Not only was that bad but that the man had the gall to withhold the boy’s family history from him was the icing on the cake. Many called for justice but unfortunately, the man still was to well connected and therefore could escape it easing the rage of the people even if only slightly.

Harry Potter however they admired for overcoming his grudge and obviously forgiving Dumbledore for everything he did despite the severity of the man’s crimes. They were glad to have such a shining example to lead and inspire them.

Said boy on the other hand had a fit of laughter after reading the article. He had to admit that Skeeter was brilliant as long as she was on your side. It will be very interesting once he reaches Hogwarts and the next article comes out. The children belonging to light and neutral families will praise his name while the dark ones probably mark him as insane for his behaviour. Well, that is until they meet him. He did not doubt that he would have to show them that he was no one they could mess with but they should keep their quiet once he put them in place.

Within the next days, they also finally managed to go to Germany for their custom-made wands. This time Hadrian got a Cedar wand with Thestral hair, Dragon Heartstring and Horned Serpent Horn as a core. Neville on the other hand got a chestnut wand with Dragon Heartstring and the hair of a dryad as the core. Both also bought a wand holster each that could contain two wands that Salazar later would enchant so that only one of the wands would be visible and so that neither wand could be summoned remotely.

However, after practising with the wands they quickly met a problem. Both boys performed hardly any magic with the wands from Ollivander and far beneath their standard with the ones from Gregorovitch having to use more magic than when doing it without a wand. Ley came up with a solution completely by accident. She made a joke that they would be more likely gaining results when using simple twigs. Sirius who heard that quickly transfigured something into a resemblance of a wand before handing it to his godson asking him to try letting it appear as if it was a real wand. A few tries later it became obvious that this was the way to go because that way their magic behaved as if they cast wandlessly which in fact they did while letting it look like using an actual wand. One would only be able to tell the difference by examining the “wand”.

Upon Neville’s curious question about the reason, Salazar could only assume that the boys’ magic was to strong to properly flow through a normal wand resulting it in blocking their own magic instead of supporting it. It was like having to get a large amount of water through a small pipe, you can press all you like but the result would be the same in the worst case even destroying said pipe. Unfortunately, the wandmaker nowadays were not able to produce wands that would work properly with Neville and Hadrian anymore, another thing lost in time. In the end, they had to buy a second wand holster for their ankle where they could store the wand form Ollivander’s while having their fake wands in the wrist holster.

The last weeks flew by and it was September the 1st now. Hadrian and Neville accompanied by James who carried the trunks, Sirius, Ley, Sylvia, Remus, Alice and Frank now stood on platform 9 ¾ right next to the Hogwarts Express, Shiyo who wore a glamour to look like a cat for now was right next to Hadrian. It was quite early and therefore the platform not as full yet as it would be in half an hour shortly before the train was due to leave. The two boys looked astonishing, Neville wearing some casual robes in a deep blue while Hadrian already wore his Hogwarts robes. He had his long hair bound together loosely in his neck with an emerald ribbon. Both were holding themselves with confidence. Would someone have told them how they would be and look when they first met, they probably would have suggested the person to visit a mind healer but now it was an entirely different story.

“Hadrian, come here” Sirius said embracing him in a hug while Alice and Frank said good-bye to their son. “Promise me to write me at least once a week. I want to get detailed reports on any prank you play especially on Snape,” he said with a grin, which earned him a hit on the arm and a glare. Hadrian already told him what he thought about their “pranking” of Severus Snape and that he would never do such a thing especially since he loved potions too much to want to get on the professor’s bad side.

“Don’t listen to that idiot and do what you think is right” Remus joined the conversation earning a glare of mock betrayal from Sirius.

“I will.”

“Be careful you two and should anything be go to Madame Pomfrey. I already sent her your health reports” Sylvia added in her no nonsense voice.

“Mum, you know we always came to you or dad when we were hurt or something else was wrong” Hadrian replied indignantly.

“I know, but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry” Sylvia now smiled giving him a hug.

“Take care of Neville will you?” Alice said after walking over. “Even if you get sorted into different houses you’ll always be friends remember that.”

“Without Neville I would be stymied, who would supply me with potions ingredients then?” he joked.

“Ah, so you’re only my friend because I supply you? I will remember that” Neville said with a huff looking pointedly in another direction.

“Okay, you’re also good as a sparing partner but despite that…” Hadrian continued his taunting.

“You should be lucky that we’re in the middle of the platform or you would be lying on your backside right now” Neville retorted upon which Hadrian stuck out his tongue childishly. The adults laughed upon their antics.

“I think you two should get onto the train or the compartment you want will be taken” Ley spoke up in a soft voice leaning against Sirius who had an arm draped around her. She was a quiet woman but they all knew that she cared deeply for each of them especially Sirius. They all wondered when Sirius would finally make the next step.

*Take care of that idiot that calls himself my godfather or he might prank the entire wizarding population in England while I am away. Merlin knows he has the power now* Hadrian said in perfect Chinese, which made Ley snicker.

“Oi, I understood that and I’m not amused,” Sirius growled but Hadrian only smiled angelically. He knew very well that Sirius still had problems understanding Chinese when spoke quickly as he just did so it was unlikely that his godfather understood everything.

Once they said goodbye to everyone Neville and Hadrian went into the train to find an empty compartment hopefully at the far end of the train from where they could oversee the entire platform. Luckily, they were early enough so that the train was nearly empty and therefore had no problems to acquire the compartment they wanted. After hauling their trunks into the racks they sat down opposite of each other. Shiyo and Midnight who Neville let out of her cage hopped on the bench next to Hadrian and curled up around each other to sleep. Hedwig had opted to fly to Hogwarts because she still refused to go into any cage.

“You know I wonder why your father didn’t accompany us to say goodbye, I could have sworn that he wouldn’t want to miss you leaving to Hogwarts” Neville mused suddenly.

Hadrian snickered and pulled down the collar of his robes a bit to reveal a black snake curled around his shoulders sleeping deeply. At first Neville looked a bit confused before realisation his him.

“Oh…I thought that was Meiren. You know they are nearly identical except their eye colour” he snickered.

“Meiren is wrapped around my chest at the moment. She is far to large to fit on my shoulders anymore” Hadrian replied while putting the collar back up so that the snake could only be seen if one looked very carefully and knew what to look for. “He went to bed quite late…or early in the morning depends on how you see it hence why he is still sleeping. My father wanted to check a few things at Hogwarts and thus accompanies us for a few days before he goes back home.”

“I remember he said something about the wards and those blasted soul pieces…well we’ll see in time,” Neville said before pulling out a book from his bag and starting to read.

Hadrian on the other hand began to observe the platform to assess who was joining them at Hogwarts this year and who was in higher levels. While checking out a blond man with his son who he could clearly identify as Malfoys he pulled the ribbon from his hair to mess them up a bit, so that a few strand fell into his face as if he had to cover something and so that he had not that pureblood look anymore before binding them together again. Neville shot him a questioning glance upon that but only received a smirk he knew Hadrian tended to sport before an especially sly prank so he left it be.

Continuing to watch the people on the platform Hadrian spotted a horde of children with red hair accompanied by two adults. That were the Weasleys he mused, every single one sorted into Gryffindor. Yes, his father supplied him with very detailed information not only on the Professors but also on everyone who would attend Hogwarts, knowing someone was crucial in handling them correctly.

He watched as the platform filled up with more and more students and their parents. Some of whom he could identify from his spot were the Notts, Zabinis, Amelia and her niece Susan, the Abbott family and a few more. The clock ticked towards eleven and the later it got the more those students still standing on the platform hurried to get onto the train and find a compartment that hopefully was not full.

That was when they heard a knock on the door.

“Yes?” Hadrian exclaimed pulling his gaze from the platform looking at the door expectantly.

When it opened, they found Susan standing in the corridor.

“Hey, here you are Neville I just came to say hello. I’m sorry where are my manners, my name is Susan Bones and who are you?” she addressed Hadrian.

Hadrian on the other hand winced mentally. This might get complicated so he quickly erected a few privacy charms. “You know me…we already met several times actually…” he started but she interrupted him.

“Hardinger? But…but…” she was confused that he now looked so different.

Hadrian had to admit that she was as sharp-witted as her aunt was but then they met quite a few times over the years. Mainly on their birthday parties but also on some other occasions like Ministry festivities he went to with his father so it was not that surprising that she made the connection especially since he always accompanied Neville.

“Yes but I’d ask you to keep this a secret. I promise I’ll explain everything tomorrow morning” he replied.

“But…why?” she was utterly confused.

“Because I chose to take that name over the last years to hide from certain people…” he sighed telling her a half explanation.

“Why would you do that? I mean you’re not Potter…” she started before her eyes went wide. “You bloody are!” her aunt would be appalled by that choice of words but given the situation no one said anything. “Well…sure…I’ll keep quiet about it. I mean I can understand why you did it and I don’t doubt that my aunt would rip me apart shouldn’t I do so” she finally said. Her aunt told her a few things about Potter and that he had to be careful because some people wanted to either control or even kill him.

“Thank you, it means a lot to me” Hadrian smiled.

“No problem. I will be off again, should you want to pop in I am in the third wagon fourth compartment. We’ll see us in Hogwarts then” with that she left shaking her head and muttering something under her breath.

“Do you think that was wise?” Neville questioned once she had closed the compartment door again.

“She would have found out eventually and I don’t doubt that she will keep quiet about it. Despite that, it is better to give her the truth now before she blows a fuss later. I like her and I’m not one who makes a habit out of lying as you know” Hadrian replied before pulling out a book himself and starting to read on his own since the train left the station some time ago and therefore he had nothing to observe anymore.

A few minutes later the compartment door opened without the person knocking first and one of the Weasleys poked his head in, from the looks of it the youngest boy. To Hadrian who looked up to see who intruded their compartment in such a blunt manner it looked like the boy was disappointed, as if he was looking for someone but not having found him.

“Hi, may I sit with you? Everywhere else is full” he said shyly.

“Sure, suit yourself” Hadrian said before resuming to his book.

“I’m Ron, Ronald Weasley” the boy said rising an eyebrow upon seeing the two reading.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Neville Longbottom” Neville replied in greeting.

“My name’s Hadrian” Hadrian added observing the reaction to the missing last name over the edge of his book.

He had to hide a smile when he saw Ron staring at him in confusion. “Hadrian? No last name?” he asked bluntly.

Yes, this boy would end up in Gryffindor like all his brothers of this Hadrian was sure. For Slytherin he was far to blunt and Ravenclaw…well the boy’s reaction to them reading spoke volumes. Hufflepuff might be an option but he somehow could not see Ron as hard working.

“My last name is none of your concern” he simply replied.

“Fine” Ron drawled out and started to read a Quidditch magazine sulking over it.

The three of them sat in silence for quite some time each of them reading when the door opened again this time revealing Malfoy with two of his goons Hadrian recognised as Crabbe and Goyle, a stone had a higher IQ than the two and that was not an insult but the truth. Malfoy looked each of them up and down to asses who he had in front of himself. Hadrian he instantly dismissed with already wearing his school robes as if he had nothing else seeing the mundane black jeans and shoes he wore beneath it peeking out of it. Neville he dismissed because of the reputation they build up around him over the years and about the Weasley boy they did not need to say anything, he was a Weasley.

“Hello, I heard that Harry Potter was on this train and wanted to ask whether any of you knew where to find him” he simply stated in a manner that said he was much better than they were and Hadrian had to wonder whether the boy would really end up in Slytherin. On the other hand, Malfoy surely did his homework and therefore probably knew that the Weasley boy was going into Gryffindor and assumed that Neville would go there to or Hufflepuff hence why he adapted to the Gryffindorish way of bluntness.

“As if I would tell you even if I knew where to find him” Ron snapped upon which both Neville and Hadrian looked at him in surprise, antagonising a Malfoy was a particularly bad idea. It was one of the best-connected families within the wizarding world; they could make anyone’s life miserable should they decide to do so. You either had to be suicidal or higher in the food chain not to fear any retaliation upon such an act.

Before Malfoy could retort anything to that Neville spoke up. “For my part no one introduced himself to me with that name so how am I supposed to know?” that earned him a surprised look from Malfoy.

“I second that but I wonder why you are so desperate to meet the boy?” Hadrian added.

“My name’s Malfoy, Draco Malfoy” Ron snorted upon that. “Think my name is funny? For yours I don’t have to ask…red hair, dull eyes and worn clothes…probably a Weasley” the blond snapped back. “Anyway to your question, certain people like Potter should make the right friends and that’s why I’m poised to find him but I doubt that a mudblood like you knows anything about the wizarding world and which families are better than others. Sitting with a blood traitor and a squib…well, it was nice to meet you but I have to go and find Potter” with that he left the compartment.

“Do you think he will find him?” Ron spoke up.

“Doubtable” Neville replied before going back to reading.

“Though I have to admit that it went quite well” Hadrian said over his book.

That let Ron choke. “Quite well? Do you even know what mudblood means? It is the worst insult in the wizarding world” he exclaimed.

“He is right, it could have been worse.”

“You’re crazy…both of you” Ron said before leaving hearing Neville mutter something about Gryffindors under his breath before closing the door.

After that, the train ride was quiet and uneventful. Some time around noon, Salazar finally woke up and peeked out of Hadrian’s robes. Out of boredom and because he could not do much else, he started to read the book his son read.

For lunch, they ate the meal James prepared for them and put into boxes with preserving charms so that it was still hot, Hadrian sharing some of it with his father who he knew ate nothing for breakfast. The trolley they ignored completely each of them already having a stash of sweets that would last them until Christmas. James always saw to it that the two boys had everything they needed while not going overboard with it. He even sent elves with food and drinks to them when they shut themselves off in Hadrian’s room writing the book so they would not starve to death.

They were so enamoured in their respective reading material that they were surprised when the announcement came that they would reach the Hogsmead train station in five minutes. Neville quickly changed into his Hogwarts robes while Hadrian put Midnight and Shiyo into their transport boxes. Shiyo was highly peeved about it because he didn’t want to leave Hadrian’s side but Hadrian explained to him that he would like it if not everyone knew that they bonded right from the beginning so Shiyo even if reluctantly agreed.

Soon the train pulled into the station and everyone left. Hadrian and Neville stayed closely to each other so that they would not lose each other in the masses of students. A gigantic man whose name they knew was Hagrid, called for the first years over the heads of the students and so they made their way over to him. The man led them down to the edge of the black lake where a small armada of boats lay at the shore. Neville and Hadrian shared a boat together with two other boys they did not recognise and therefore assumed where mundane born. When they left the shore and rounded a corner the two boys got their first sight of Hogwarts. Hadrian had to admit that the castle was impressive with its many towers and lights behind probably every window. It looked inviting and gave the impression of home.

Salazar snickered lowly when seeing his sons look which earned him a growling.

A few minutes later, they pulled into a harbour in a cave beneath the castle where they left the boats. Hagrid led them up a flight of stairs where a stern looking woman waited for them slightly impatient thrumming with her fingers on the reeling.

“The firs’ years, Professor McGonagall” Hagrid’s loud voice boomed through the entrance hall.

“Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here” the woman, McGonagall, replied. Once everyone gathered, she spoke up again. “Welcome to Hogwarts. The start of term feast will start soon but before you will take your seat you will be sorted into your houses” she told them in a stern voice before holding a speech about the different houses, their qualities, that good behaviour earned you points and bad would result in a loss. In the end, the house with the most points would win the house cup.

“The sorting will take place in a few minutes and I would ask you to wait here while I check whether we are ready for you. I suggest that you all smarten yourself up a bit while you wait” she said with a pointed look on Ron who had dirt on his nose and Hadrian for how he wore his hair but he simply ignored her. With that, she left through the door to the great hall.

Hadrian heard Ron muttering something about battling a troll for the sorting and wondered about the stupidity of the boy. While that sounded like something Godric Gryffindor might have suggested he highly doubt that the other three founders would have allowed something that might endanger the students, least of all his father or Helga. He listened to the conversation of the others slightly bored when several ghosts floated through the wall into the room chattering animatedly as if there wasn’t a group of students they surprised and shocked with their behaviour. Hadrian had the distinct feeling that they did it on purpose every year to frighten the first years.

“Ghosts…”Neville muttered.

“Let them have their fun. I doubt they had much to do over the summer holidays with nearly no one around” Hadrian replied.

“Young man, don’t be mistaken we have many activities to entertain ourselves with” the fat friar who obviously heard his comment scolded him slightly.

“My apology, it wasn’t my intention to offend you by assuming how you spend your free time” he replied bowing his head respectfully.

“My, my, what a nice and well behaved young man you are and don’t worry no damage is done” a woman smiled who Hadrian knew was Helena Ravenclaw, daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw and house ghost of the same house.

“If I might be so bold, my Lady, I would ask you whether it would be possible to talk to you at a later point of time. I am highly intrigued with not only you, but also this castle and its history. Therefore, I would gladly learn everything that you might be able to teach me about it” he gave her his best smile and he was sure that were she alive she would have blushed.

“You’re fluttering me, I hope to see you in Ravenclaw and I would be glad to tell you everything I know” she replied when a coughing sounded from behind her that startled quite a few students who were listening to their conversation unashamedly. “It seems that the sorting is about to start. I wish you a farewell and hope to see you soon again” having said her part she and the other ghosts left through the next wall chattering excitedly about the “charming new boy”.

Hadrian saw that Draco threw him a curious glance while walking into the great hall together with the others. While the others stared around themselves gaping at the floating candles or the enchanted ceiling Hadrian took the chance to straighten out his hair again so that he looked properly for what was about to come without it being noticed already.

“You know Rowena would be affronted by your lack of reaction towards her `masterpiece´” Salazar hissed with a low snickering.

Hadrian knew exactly what his father meant. Some time ago, he found his diaries from the time he founded Hogwarts and to say that they were highly amusing and interesting would be an understatement. Once his father found out he read them he was not happy at all but he only stated that he shouldn’t have left them lying around in the library of the Russian mansion if he didn’t want them to be read. That was, when he heard a girl lecturing about the ceiling his father just talked about.

“It is bewitched to look like the sky outside, I read about it in Hogwarts: A History” she told no one certain.

“That would only partly be correct. It is not bewitched to look like the sky outside but spelled to be invisible. Rowena Ravenclaw herself with the help of Salazar Slytherin was the one to charm it weaving also spells into it that makes it seem as if snow and rain also falls inside the hall vanishing shortly before reaching the people within” Hadrian could not stop himself to add. The girl was obviously a bookworm and thought it adequate to rub it into every ones face that she knew more than them. Perhaps that would show her that this was not the case.

“How do you know that” the girl retorted for ones slightly angered that he just showed her up, but also astonished about what he knew.

“Hogwarts: Behind the Scenes” he answered with a grin. “Unfortunately a limited edition not for sale” he added when she looked like wanting to know where to get the book.

She just wanted to give him her piece of mind upon that when Professor McGonagall called them to order. Shortly after that, the hat came to life and sang a song about pretty much the same things the Professor told them earlier. Once the hat fell silent again and the applause died down, McGonagall spoke up.

“I will call out your name, then you come up here, sit down on the chair and I put the hat on your head. It then will sort you into your house. Abbott, Hannah” the girl in question did as Professor McGonagall told them to and the hat quickly sorted her into Hufflepuff.

Hadrian in the meantime let his gaze wandering over the head table to see who was sitting where. He recognised Professor Flitwick, which was not hard since the man was a half-goblin and had the stature of one, which could be quite deceiving in a battle but the man was duelling champion multiple times. Next to him, he saw Professor Sprout and someone he assumed was Professor Vector the Arithmancy teacher. Then there was of course the headmaster Albus Dumbledore with his white beard and hideous robes, today a baby blue. Next to the man was an empty chair where obviously Professor McGonagall would sit. On the other side then came three Professors he did not recognise because his father had no pictures of them and the description was also not very concrete.

Whom he recognised however was Professor Snape at the far end of the table sitting right next to Professor Quirrell. When their gazes met, he let a slight smile curl his lips that seemed to pique the Potions Master’s interest. The man looked at him intensely well hidden curiosity slightly shining through; Hadrian had to admit that the man was good. He however had spent hours and hours together with his father in a pensieve learning to read even the best-hidden hints of emotions. That was when he registered a slight shifting in his mind like a whisper but it was there.

“Well hello Professor Snape” he said mentally, upon which the man’s eyes widened slightly. “Don’t worry I have no problem with you performing Legilimency on me but I’d advice you to not go any deeper for you might find more than you were looking for.”

“And why is that?” a voice snarled through his mind.

“Let’s just say that the last person who tried to dig deeper was confined to bed for one week with a murderous headache” he snickered in reply. That had been the first and the last attempt of his father to teach his son Occlumency only to find out that the magical outburst and following mind lock of his son when he came to him had an interesting side effect. The dragon that protected him at that time seemingly never left and even gained company, very fierce one at that. It were only his fathers own strong barriers and quick thinking that nothing more serious happened, he didn’t pity Dumbledore should the man try anything like Legilimency on him.

“Is that so? Might I inquire who you are?” the hard edge in Snape’s voice had vanished and curiosity sneaked into it.

Hadrian laughed. “You’ll find out soon enough and I dare say it will be highly entertaining for you…except you like Dumbledore then probably not” Snape just wanted to reply something when he was gently thrown out because right at that moment Neville was called for sorting. Hadrian had to hide a smirk. True, he told his godfather that he would not prank the Potions Master but that did not mean that he would not mess with the man, just not the way the Marauders did during their school time.

Neville nodded towards him before walking up to the chair and sitting down. McGonagall sat the hat on his head and for a few moments, there was silence before the hat started to laugh so heavily that he actually fell of Neville’s head. Every single person in the great hall stared at him some in shock, some in disbelieve and some in curiosity. McGonagall threw Dumbledore a strange look but the old man only shrugged about the hat’s antics and motioned her to put it back on Neville’s head. It did not even touch it when calling out “Slytherin” with a chuckling.

Again, everybody stared at Neville in shock and surprise, which might be thanks to the reputation the boy had. They had decided to go with the notion of Neville’s uncle Algie and let it appear as if he was a near squib to everyone not family. This way everybody would underestimate and dismiss him leaving him more room to observe and manoeuvre, though now that the hat sorted him into Slytherin it might become quickly obvious that he was not a squib since the Slytherins were well-known for being highly observational.

Hadrian wondered why Neville got sorted into Slytherin in the first place. He knew that his father did not really care in which house they landed and he himself would have thought Neville in Hufflepuff. Not that he thought that Neville would not survive the manipulations in Slytherin; he got the same education as he himself after all. He sighed, there was no point in musing about it and he had to concentrate on the sorting because just at that moment McGonagall called out the next name.

“Potter, Harry” the old woman called out.

Instantly chattering arose in the hall asking whether it was “the Harry Potter” accompanied by people craning their necks in order to see who would step forward.

Hadrian had to keep himself from snorting. They behaved exactly as he predicted dismissing his letter as a joke or prank and continuing to call him by his old name. Well, should they think that he would play by their rules they would have something else coming so he completely ignored being called.

After a few moments in which no one came forward McGonagall called him out again but Hadrian behaved as everyone else did looking around as if searching for the Boy-who-lived. Quickly the awed muttering changed into wondering and worrying where the boy was. McGonagall looked at Dumbledore questioningly but the headmaster only motioned her to go on with the sorting.

Slowly but surely the sorting went on and one after the other the students were sent to their houses. At last, Blaise Zabini went to Slytherin and the only one still standing in front of McGonagall was Hadrian who now had his arms crossed behind his back radiating power and confidence looking at her in disapproval.

“And who are you?” she asked confused. If that was Potter then why did the boy not come forward when called out? He also did not look like James had his age, which confused her even more.

“My name is Hadrian Slytherin” he exclaimed in a low voice that carried through the entire hall nonetheless thanks to the utter silence of the students. “It is not my fault that you seem to be unable to comply with my wishes.”

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