Chapter 24: For so long…Slytherin!

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While the hall was silent before said silence was now palpable. It was as if no one even dared to breathe after that simple statement, everyone was staring at him in shock and surprise. Even Professor Snape was not capable of hiding his emotions completely as he also blatantly stared at Hadrian.

After a few moments of this utter silence, the muttering of Professor McGonagall’s “Mr. Potter” echoed through the hall.

What followed, one could only describe as utter madness, because once the students processed this statement hell broke loose. Everyone talked with everyone questioning whether he really was Potter and how it came to be then that he changed his name to Hadrian Slytherin. Others worried that this meant that he was the next Dark Lord, while the Slytherins mainly wondered what that meant for them and whether he really was a descendant of Salazar Slytherin.

Hadrian let his gaze wander over to the head table again to see how the teachers had reacted upon this revelation. Most of them were the same as the students, mostly shocked and surprised, while the most interesting reactions were the ones Snape and Dumbledore showed. While Snape stared at him in open disbelief, Dumbledore mainly showed disapproval, betrayal and hatred. It looked like he would be under the scrutiny of the headmaster for the foreseeable future but he didn’t overly worry about it because he knew ways to work around that.

It took a few more minutes before Professor McGonagall came out of her stupor and called the hall to order again, which was easier said than done because no one listened to her. In the end, Dumbledore stood up and shouted “silence” without using a sonorous to silence the students effectively.

“Mr. Potter, if you think this a joke…” she started but was interrupted by Hadrian holding up a hand.

“Professor McGonagall, by no means is this a joke. As I wrote in my answer to your acceptance letter, I legally took up the name Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin shortly before my sixth birthday and went by Hadrian Slytherin ever since. Therefore, I would ask you to respect my choice of names since I will not respond to my old name anymore. If you insist upon calling me Potter you might also call me Potter-Slytherin but never under any circumstances simply Potter or Harry Potter” Hadrian explained in a soft voice. “Should you on the other hand be unable to comply with those wishes I fear that I will have to reject receiving any education here at Hogwarts and leave.”

Again, everyone stared at him when Dumbledore spoke up. “Mr. Potter, you cannot simply assume the name of an old wizarding line as you see fit. This is line theft and a very serious crime leading to a lifetime imprisonment in Azkaban. I know for a fact that you’re not related to the Slytherin line,” he stated slightly smug.

“Had you carefully read my letter you would know that this assumption is incorrect.” Hadrian replied. “My mother was the first witch in a long line of squibs descended from Salazar Slytherin himself and result of an accidentally broken oath of his grandson. However, this shows me that you are neither inclined to listen to anything I have to say nor respect my wishes. Therefore, I can do nothing more than leave because I will not allow you to treat me in such a way, least of all accusing me of line theft. Good evening, Headmaster, Professors,” he stated towards Dumbledore with a slight dipping of his head.

With that, he turned around and walked towards the entrance doors in a way that radiated power and determination without looking arrogant. “Accusing me of line theft, I can see the headline now Headmaster of Hogwarts insults Founder’s Heir. Perhaps I can still go to Durmstrang,” he muttered under his breath on his way out of the hall.

Shortly before he reached the doors, a small beetle crawled out from under his collar and unnoticed by everyone, flew down to the floor before flying back up to the head table. Hadrian reached the entrance doors of the great hall undisturbed with everyone just following him with his or her eyes and with one last look at Dumbledore, he left. Once outside he started to snicker lowly because he could hear the ruckus that echoed through the doors.

“That was brilliant,” came a hissing from his shoulder, it was his father in snake form poking his head out. “Showing up Dumbledore in such a way, and in front of the entire school at that…though I fear that he will be keeping a very close eye on you from now on.”

“As if that would have been any different had he found out on his own. You were the one who told me how he despises anything Slytherin after all,” Hadrian retorted while walking through the entrance hall and towards the door out of the castle. “What do you think, how far will I get before someone comes rushing after me?”

“Not far, you probably won’t even be able to leave the castle completely,” Salazar mused and was right with this assessment.

Hadrian was just halfway through the entrance hall when he heard the door opening behind him and someone coming after him at a quick pace.

“Mr. Slytherin” he heard Professor McGonagall say slightly out of breath. He turned around and raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Please wait. It was not my intention to insult you; the Headmaster was the one who advised me to ignore your letter. I am terribly sorry,” her voice became softer now and Hadrian nodded towards her in acknowledgment, nonetheless wondering about the transfiguration teacher going against the headmaster by giving him the blame. He was under the impression that she was a loyal follower of Dumbledore; it seems that he would have to re-evaluate that assessment. “I knew your parents so it was hard to believe it was true…however, the headmaster agreed to accept your change of name and wishes for you to come back.”

Hadrian simply stood there looking at the older woman as if weighing what to do before he slowly nodded. “I will come back under the condition that no one, at least the professors and staff calls me simply Potter again. Should, however, anyone fail to do so, I will be on my way back home and then no one can convince me to come back, did I make myself clear? I also expect the headmaster to openly apologize for accusing me of line theft.”

“Of course, Mr. Slytherin. The students though might need some time to get accustomed to it,” she replied worriedly, not wanting the boy to leave because of something the teachers had no influence over.

“That’s fine with me and I can handle it,” he told her and walked back up the stairs that led from the great hall to the main entrance doors.

Professor McGonagall led him back into the great hall and up to the head table. Hadrian looked first at Dumbledore seeing that the man was not amused about what happened but seemingly had no other way than to go with it, not wanting to lose Hadrian as a student. After that, he looked at Snape with an amused glint in his eyes and a slight smile curling around his lips. It seems to him that the Potions Master could not decide whether to be confused about the, for his image of a Potter, completely oppositional behaviour, or amused about how he had played the headmaster. McGonagall stepped up to the head table to exchange a few quick words with the Headmaster before said man looked him. He all the while stood at the foot of the pedestal on which the head table was placed, his arms crossed over his chest.

“Very well, the Professors may call you either Mr. Potter-Slytherin or Mr. Slytherin” he said in a grandfatherly voice before leaning back into his throne-like chair and falling silent.

“Headmaster, are you not forgetting something?” Hadrian asked in an expectant voice but Dumbledore only raised an eyebrow. They stared at each other Hadrian felt something stirring in his mind only for the headmaster’s face to fall and him make a hasty exit from Hadrian’s mind. Hadrian had to supress a smirk and sighed instead “Very well, let’s get the sorting over with.” he said while un-crossing his arms, Skeeter would surely have a field day with what had happened this evening.

“Mr. Slytherin” McGonagall called out and Hadrian walked up the stairs, sat down on the chair and got the hat placed on his head.

“Ah finally the boy himself. Once I saw in Mr. Longbottom’s head what was about to happen and who was gracing these halls again I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.” an amused voice echoed through his head.

“Yes, you shocked the entire hall with your behaviour, Pythagoras” Hadrian mentally snickered. “Though I wonder…why are you called Pythagoras?”

Now the hat snickered when he remembered that particular moment. “It was shortly after I was created. Your father and Rowena were discussing the mathematical theorem of that man and its applicability on magic giving me and my enchantments as an example when Godric dumbly asked whether my name was Pythagoras because that was the only word he understood of what they said, and hence the name stuck.” the hat gave him a mental shrug. “That reminds me, I have something to show you,” he said with the mental equivalent of an evil grin before showing him some mental pictures of his father.

Hadrian had a hard time not outright laughing upon seeing what the hat was showing him. “Remind me to never anger a woman,” he replied amusedly. That was when he heard a coughing sound coming from McGonagall, realising that everyone had started to worry about what was taking so long he told the hat “I think you should sort me, everyone’s starting to worry about why this is taking so long.”

“Yes, yes, go on spoiling my fun…I should sort you into Gryffindor for that,” Pythagoras huffed.

“Really? You’re a mad hat made by a mad hatter…” Hadrian retorted.

“You know that you just called your father mad? He actually created me as a retaliation prank. If I remember correctly, Godric had spelled the door to his chamber in the eastern tower to open only if he answered the riddle it spoke correctly. After a week, it annoyed him so much that he moved out of there and into the dungeons because Godric hated it there and never entered them, before enchanting me as retribution. Rowena on the other hand was so smitten by the riddle speaking door that she took that tower for the dormitories of her students,” the hat explained.

“I know what I did but my statement stands,” Hadrian snickered.

“Well…before anyone throws a fit I should probably sort you. Perhaps I can visit you and we could talk a bit more?” he asked hopefully.

“How are you supposed to get to me? I can hardly walk into the headmaster’s office stating that I want to exchange stories with you,” Hadrian replied with a mentally raised eyebrow.

“Don’t worry I’ll ask Fawkes to bring me to you. Goodbye for now though…SLYTHERIN” the hat exclaimed for everyone to hear.”

With a smile, Hadrian stood up after McGonagall took the hat off his head and walked with a determined pace towards the Slytherin table to sit down on Neville’s left side. The Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin tables erupted into applause while he did so. Gryffindor on the other hand looked shocked as if there had ever been the possibility of Hadrian being sorted somewhere else, which was also the reason for why everyone wondered, what took him so long.

“History lesson. Pythagoras told me a few interesting stories of the founder’s time,” he answered with a snicker. “Did you know that Ravenclaw tower wouldn’t be Ravenclaw tower today if Godric hadn’t enchanted the door to Salazar’s rooms in a prank to only let people enter if a riddle was answered correctly? Salazar obviously was so annoyed about it after a week that he decided to move into the dungeons because…and that is the real thing, Godric was frightened of darkness. Pythagoras was created as the retaliation prank.”

Quite a few students around him snickered upon hearing that, they could imagine that when someone spoke up. “Pythagoras?” a girl, Millicent Bullstrode, asked.

“The hat’s name. Salazar and Rowena argued about the adaptability of Pythagoras’ theorem, a mundane mathematician and philosopher, on magic with the hat as an example and Godric after hearing that only understood that word and thus called the hat Pythagoras.”

“Are we really supposed to believe that? As if Salazar Slytherin would prank anyone, not to mention discuss something a muggle came up with,” someone snapped.

Hadrian looked up to see who spoke up before a nasty grin appeared on his face. “Mr. Malfoy, was it? I’m sorry but I forgot that as a mudblood I have no idea about those things.” he sneered.

Malfoy on the other hand blanched. “You didn’t…did you?” Zabini asked when he saw the blonde’s face. “Merlin, you did.”

“He was already wearing his school robes not even ten minutes after the train left, not to mention muggle trousers and shoes. What were I supposed to think? Despite that, you two lied to me,” he tried to defend his actions before making counter accusations.

“Ah yes, Mr. Malfoy? Would you please enlighten me, at what point did I lie to you? Because I cannot remember of such an instance and in spite of that, I only lied once since my father adopted me. That one time taught me to never do it again,” he retorted in the sweetest voice that made Neville wince internally, it was a trap that promised nothing good for the person who stepped into it. Oh yes, Hadrian had once tried to lie to his father, it backfired so spectacularly when his father ripped the lie apart that he swore to himself to never do it again.

“I gladly help your memory. On the train, you and Longbottom told me that you have not seen Potter. How can you not have seen him when you are Potter?” Malfoy replied with a smug grin but everyone around them had the distinct feeling that it would not last long.

Hadrian proved them right when he started to laugh lowly. “It seems that you misunderstood us, Mr. Malfoy. Neville here stated that no one introduced himself to him with this name and he was correct. On the very first day we met, I introduced myself as Hadrian Slytherin to him and while he got to know that I am Harry Potter later on I never introduced myself to him with that name. I seconded that statement then and I don’t have to tell you how weird it would be to introduce me to myself,” he observed with satisfaction how Malfoy blanched even more.

“He is right I only got to know that he is in fact Harry Potter because he introduced himself with his full name to my granny,” Neville added.

The blonde boy swallowed before speaking up again. “I have to apologize, Heir Slytherin. My overhasty assumptions led to inappropriate comments on your blood status and ancestry. Please accept my sincere apology,” he said bowing his head lowly deciding that it was better to play nice with the heir to the founder of the very house he was in.

Hadrian doubted that the apology was truly sincere but that was not the point, it would prove to be more useful to not antagonise the boy and accept the apology, sincere or not. “As long as it doesn’t happen again no damage was done since I’m also not quite innocent by misleading your view on me with my choice of clothing. However, I would ask you not to call me Potter under any given circumstance. This actually goes for everyone” he now addressed the Slytherin table as a whole, noticing with approval that everyone nodded in understanding.

“May I ask you a question, Mr. Slytherin?” a brown-haired boy he knew was Theodore Nott asked.

“That was already a question Mr. Nott,” Hadrian snickered in reply. “But you may ask another one.”

Nott blushed slightly but questioned nonetheless. “So, you’re really the heir of the Slytherin line?”

“Proved by the goblins and through me wearing the name without repercussion,” he replied.

“It is true then? That your mother was a descendant of Salazar Slytherin?” Zabini inquired.

Hadrian quickly had to lean back because suddenly the feast appeared on the tables and he had leaned forwards to see Nott better. It seemed that during their conversation Dumbledore had held his speech without any of them listening.

“Yes, that is true. Salazar’s grandson Alaric Slytherin swore an oath which he then accidently broke rendering him a squib. He then later married a mundane and they had a child. The line continued down through the ages until my mother was born as the first witch,” Hadrian explained.

“But what about the Dark Lord’s claim to be the heir to the Slytherin line?” someone down the table Hadrian recognised as Daphne Greengrass asked.

“That son of Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Sr. is as close to the Slytherin line as you are hence why he was never able to claim the title or the vaults,” Hadrian snorted silencing the table and letting everyone save Neville stare at him.

“Then why is he a parseltongue?” Nott finally wanted to know what everyone else thought.

“He is a descendant of Herpo the Foul the first person who succeeded in breeding and controlling a Basilisk. It seems that people tend to forget he existed and was a parselmouth as well,” Hadrian replied while starting to pile food on his plate, James would throw a fit should he not eat properly not to mention his mother.

“But how do we know that it is the truth? I mean no offense, but it is quite hard to believe,” he pressed further.

“The simple fact that I’m the heir by birth should tell you that,” Hadrian retorted with a stern glare. “And that” with that he held up his left hand revealing the Heir Ring of Slytherin. His father gave it to him on his eleventh birthday as Neville also received his. This was another protection since every heirship ring was laced with ancient and extremely powerful protection charms that not only repelled minor hexes, but also any attempts to control an heir through means like potions since any mind-altering potions would not take hold. It also worked as an emergency portkey able to forgo any ward, and was activated by either freely given blood or their magic pressing into it.

Nearly everyone sitting at the table openly stared at the ring and one had to wonder what was with the Slytherin decorum, they could at least try to hide it. Hadrian on the other hand, continued eating as if nothing were wrong.

At the teacher’s table, sharp black eyes observed what was going on at the table of his Slytherin’s while the man was listening to the stuttering of Professor Quirrell who was going on about some creature he met. His thoughts on the other hand were at a completely different topic, Harry Bloody Potter or Hadrian Slytherin as it was now. He actually had no idea how to handle this situation and as it was, he still could not believe that Lily Potter née Evans, the very same woman who liked to tease him for being in Slytherin, was the direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself. Now the hat had sorted James’ brat who neither looked nor behaved anything like he had expected, into his house. Sure, one could say that he used his fame but Snape suspected that it was less due to being airheaded and attention seeking but more a tool to use to his advantage. In addition, the way he played Dumbledore, he truly knew what buttons to press to get the man to do as he wanted. Snape did not doubt that should the boy want it, he would have the entire staff wrapped around his finger in no time. Should the boy however, think that he would be an easy target and do as he wanted he would have another thing coming. For now, he would treat him like any other student in his house and see where it would lead him. Content that he had a plan he turned back around to the stuttering fool.

The feast continued while students were talking with each other and soon the main course vanished and the desert appeared. At some point during the feast, Hadrian heard a buzzing near his ear and after a curt nod, the bug left his shoulder and flew out through the next window. Neville and Hadrian indulged themselves in some sweets while Hadrian discussed potions with a fourth year girl and Neville talked with Zabini about the climate certain plants needed. It did not take long for the meal to end and the desert had vanished before Dumbledore stood up again.

“Now that we are all fed and watered a few more words before we go to bed. First, the forbidden forest is called that for a reason, it is forbidden. Some of the older students should remember that as well,” he addressed someone at the Gryffindor table obviously but Hadrian could not see whom. “Mr. Filch also asked me to remind you that no magic should be used in the corridors. Whoever is interested in playing Quidditch for their house team may contact Madam Hooch, the try outs will be held at the second week of term.”

Hearing that Neville looked at his friend. “You want to try?” he asked.

“I don’t know but probably not,” it was not that he did not like to fly or play but he was not an enthusiast like others.

Marcus Flint the captain of the Slytherin house team who heard that snorted. “As if a first year would play good enough to get on the team, we take only the best.”

Neville looked at the older boy but simply shrugged before listening to Dumbledore again.

“…third floor corridor on the right is out of bounds for everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death” the man said with a stern face.

Hadrian and Neville exchanged a quick glance knowing that they would talk about that later. In the meantime, Dumbledore obviously told the students to sing some song, which everyone did and to their own tune resulting in what one might simply call a terrible noise but what the old man referred to as music once everyone had finished singing. Dismissed the two stood up to follow the Slytherin prefects Armanda Roberts and Jonathan O’Connor to the Slytherin dorms.

Once they reached the Slytherin common room, the prefects told them to wait there because Professor Snape wanted to talk to them before they went to bed. Not much later said man rushed into the room his robes billowing behind him probably to intimidate the first years. Hadrian and Neville who both had witnessed what Salazar was like when enraged only were mildly impressed.

“You have all been sorted into the noble House of Slytherin” he started while still walking before he stopped and turned around to face them, his voice a mere whisper but it caught the attention of everyone with ease. “And that means following certain rules. For one, while you are in the common room you can act or fight with each other as you see fit, however once you step out of the common room and into the halls of Hogwarts, you will show unity. The house of Slytherin already has a bad standing with the other houses as it is and I will not tolerate you showing any weakness towards them. Second, whatever you do…do not get caught. Should any of you lose house points because said person thinks that school rules do not apply to him or her and is stupid enough to get caught for it said person will have to answer to me, is that clear?” he asked getting fearful nods in return. Only Hadrian, Neville and Malfoy nodded confidently. “Good. Should there be any problems, be it personal or with the curriculum do not hesitate to ask either the prefects or me. For questions of any kind, I will stay here in the common room from seven to eight in the evening and despite that is my door always open for you. Any more questions?” silence was the only response. “Very well, I advise you to go to your rooms and sleep because school will start up tomorrow morning. You will find the girl dormitories on the right and the boys on the left. Goodnight.”

With this clear dismissal, everyone set into motion to find out which room they got. Since the location of the Slytherin dorms was in the dungeons and therefore had enough space for it, only two students shared a room instead of everyone in the year as it was with Gryffindors. Hadrian and Neville walked through the left door hoping that they would share a dorm. They however quickly found out that this was not the case as Neville shared a room with Nott and Hadrian with Malfoy.

“Mr. Nott, might it perhaps be possible to switch rooms?” Hadrian politely asked the other boy.

“Why is that?” Nott asked a bit confused and surprised about the request.

“It is only that I know Neville since before we were even six and he is the only person I trust enough to share a room with,” he explained.

“What is going on here?” Snape’s low but demanding voice suddenly sounded from behind them, silencing everyone in the vicinity effectively.

“Professor, I merely asked Mr. Nott here whether it is possible to swap rooms,” Hadrian explained.

“Mr. Slytherin, you might be the heir to one of the founders of Hogwarts and this house, as well as famous for defeating a dark wizard but that does not automatically imply special treatment, do I make myself clear?” Snape snarled. “You may not switch rooms with Mr. Nott,” said boy looked apologetically at Hadrian.

Hadrian on the other hand looked at Snape in surprise before quickly erecting a few privacy wards so that no one except them and Neville could hear them or possibly lip-read what they were talking about; this was a private conversation, which not everyone in Slytherin needed to know about. “Professor, I can assure you that I didn’t expect any special treatment and my fame is only a necessary evil I use to my benefit. However, right now there are two extremely powerful wizards after me, of which one currently resides here at Hogwarts. One of them wants to kill me while the other thinks it apt to try to control me to kill the one who wants to kill me while probably expecting me to sacrifice myself on the way. Both have extremely good connections within the wizarding world hence why the only person currently residing at Hogwarts whom I trust is Neville. So, forgive me but I will not share a room with anyone other than him.”

“If you are not careful Mr. Slytherin, you might find a third person on that list of yours,” the man drawled out in a low voice.

“With all due respect, Sir, do you really want to go down that route without knowing all facts?” Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “You should know that I did my homework before coming to Hogwarts and therefore know certain things…” he now let his gaze shortly wander to the man’s left forearm before returning to his face, which caused the man to narrow his eyes.

“Are you attempting to blackmail me Mr. Slytherin? Because you may find out exactly what type of hell your life can be for these next seven years,” the Potions Master hissed lowly before Hadrian could finish.

“Far from it Professor, I actually don’t care for whom you work or to whom you’re loyal to. However, are you really dismissing a possible way out this easily? I am aware that you have no idea what my plans are or whether my words are only platitudes or not, but you can rest assured that they will fall…both of them. The only question is do you want to be caught in the crossfire or would you rather break your bonds and get what you truly want…freedom?”

For a few moments, Snape was silent before he laughed harshly. “What knowledge does an eleven year old boy have about such things? You defeating the Dark Lord was sheer dumb luck and nothing else, now stop this nonsense at once. You will share your room with Mr. Malfoy and this is my last word in this matter,” he looked at Hadrian as if daring him to object.

“What a pity, it seems that I have to find another place to sleep then. Nevertheless, I would ask you to think about what I said. I do not expect your answer soon but you probably know that this period of peace will not last forever. Goodnight, Professor,” with that he cancelled the privacy charms and stepped next to Neville. “Want to come with me? I’m about to find somewhere else to sleep,” he asked his friend already having an idea of where to go.

Neville looked from Hadrian to Snape who at this moment was sporting a murderous glare before looking back at Hadrian. “Sure, why not,” to be honest he was not comfortable with having to sleep together in one room with a person he did not know either, and while he didn’t fear their head of the house, he had to admit that he would be glad not to be somewhere where the man could reach them tonight.

Therefore, Hadrian walked down the corridor followed by Neville and turned around a corner out of sight of everyone else after giving a short nod towards a painting that showed his father followed by two cats. It took a few moments for Snape to come out of his stupor and follow the two only to find the corridor they went into deserted which was strange since said corridor was a dead end with no rooms going off from it. He looked at the painting of Salazar Slytherin expectantly for an explanation where they vanished to but only received a smirk in return before the man had the gall to walk out of the picture. Cursing under his breath he rushed back down the corridor to where the Slytherin students were still standing talking about what they just witnessed letting them step out of his way quickly to let him through.

Hadrian and Neville entered the room through the hidden door the painting of his father opened for them after feeling the family magic. Once properly in the room they stopped, staring at what they saw. They stood in a large room decorated in a dark reddish-black wood with beige, emerald green, and silver decorum. On their left separated by a high counter with high chairs at it, was a kitchen made in the same deep reddish-black wood, which Hadrian looked at with glee. He loved cooking and here he could cook for them whenever he wanted without making the house-elves sad by doing their job. In the back left there was a table with four chairs where they could sit and eat. On their right were several shelves laden with books in the front right next to a sitting group consisting of black leather couches around a coffee table in front of a huge fireplace. In the back four doors went off into other rooms. It was lit by a large chandelier hanging in the middle of the room where in small glass cups green fires burned.

Midnight instantly strode over to one of the couches, hopped on it and curled herself up quickly followed by Shiyo who first shook off the glamour

“Wow, this is…I don’t know what to say,” Neville exclaimed.

“Yes, my old rooms,” Salazar who had slithered down from his son’s shoulder and transformed back said. “So much time has passed since I was last here but everything still looks the same.”

Hadrian walked over to the bookshelves to look what reading material they provided. Finding out that about a quarter consisted of books, which were written in a language he did not understand and another quarter of those he had already read. However, the rest should last him for at least a week. Neville on the other hand wanted to know where the doors led to, opening the one on the left first only to find a storage room that was except for a bucket and mop empty. The next door turned out to be quite a large library.

“I think I have to spell this door shut or we won’t see Hadrian for the next few months,” he said half joking.

Salazar started to laugh when seeing his sons face after he walked over and looked into the library, it was as if Christmas came early. While Hadrian instantly vanished between the bookshelves, Neville examined what was behind door number three. It turned out to be a large potions lab.

“And the next room I should probably ward against Hadrian,” he snickered.

“Oi! Am I allowed anywhere in these rooms?” Hadrian’s voice echoed out of the library.

“Yes, the kitchen,” Neville deadpanned.

“Ah, so you’re only my friend because of the food I cook? I’ll remember that!” Hadrian retorted from right behind his friend.

“So, we can agree that we are only friends because we use and need each other…” Neville turned around with a grin.

“Each other? More likely because you need me” Hadrian teased with a grin.

“Oh Really? Who supplies you with fresh plant ingredients?”

“Only because you need the potions and fertilizer.”

“Boys, please. As much as I normally like your bantering, I think we have other more important things at hand. It is getting quite late and tomorrow school starts,” Salazar said looking pointedly at them.

“You’re right, dad” his son said draping an arm around his friend who in return placed his around Hadrian’s midsection.

Salazar smiled fondly at the two boys who walked past him to see where the last door lead. To an outsider it might look like the two were fighting but that could not be any further from the truth. Despite their teasing, bantering and fighting they were the closest friends, brothers in all but blood. Ripping himself from his musings, he followed them into what he knew was the bedroom only to find them staring. He could not help but snicker, the bedroom was a remarkable sight after all.

Two of the sides together with a part of the ceiling formed a dome of windows only interrupted by stone columns that ended in a ring in mid height showing that the room was actually located at a cliff under the lake so that you could look into it. At this moment it was nearly black because it was night but they did not doubt that they could see quite far once it was morning. In the middle of the dome stood a large bed with emerald green bedding. A beige carpet covered the entire floor so that it was not blank stone and you could walk around barefooted without worrying. On their right were two doors, one leading into a wardrobe and the other into a huge bathroom much like Hadrian’s at home.

“Okay, I take back anything about what I said earlier this is…there’s not even a word to describe it,” Hadrian rambled walking over to the windows to touch it only to find out that it was not actual glass was holding back the water but spells so that you could walk right into the lake if you desired to do so.

His father snickered again while levitating the bed to one side of the dome before duplicating it and placing the copy right opposite of it leaving a corridor in the middle. He then conjured a bedside table for each of them. Neville instantly claimed the right bed but Hadrian seemingly did not even notice what was going on completely enamoured with making the water ripple by touching it.

“Hadrian, I’m going to burn the library…” Neville teased him.

Ripped from his thoughts Hadrian turned around with a puzzled look. “Why would you do that?”

“To get you back to reality” he now laughed.

“Oh, ha…ha…ha…very funny,” Hadrian retorted. “I was just thinking about which spells were necessary to accomplish…that.”

“Something that you can do another day because I’m definitely not going to take notes for you during class,” Neville said while placing his trunk next to the bedside table and enlarging it. In forethought, they had shrunken them once they had learned they didn’t share a room and knowing that they might change it.

Hadrian followed his best friend’s example digging for his toiletry and bolting for the bathroom. “First” he laughed.

Salazar snickered while Neville just shook his head continuing to take out what he would need for the night before joining Hadrian in the bathroom.

Hadrian lingered in one of the couches in front of the fire staring into it lost in thought, his father and Neville were sitting in the other ones reading. None of them were tired enough to go to bed yet and since it was not even ten in the evening Salazar didn’t say anything about it, knowing that they were used to going to bed at ten.

“You know the day today made me wonder…” he suddenly said. “What happened to the Dursleys?”

His father sighed, he knew that Hadrian would ask that question someday but he had hoped it would take some more time. “I’m sorry, but I won’t tell you what happened to your aunt and uncle. You can rest assured that they got what they deserved though.”

“Fair enough, but what about Dudley? I mean he was five at that time…” he highly doubted that his father would do anything to a child.

“Oh, he’s doing fairly well actually. I took him to a boarding school in America that specialized in problematic children. He graduated their Elementary School last year and now is in the second year at the Middle School. It seems that once he accepted that they would not tend to his every whim and found a healthy way to release his aggressions his grades skyrocketed. I look in on him regularly and even offered him the choice to come back to England but he refused; he said `he’s happy where he is, having found good friends´ his words not mine” Salazar told him. “He also expressed the wish to meet you one day though I didn’t mention it until now not knowing how you would react or wanting to hurt you.”

“Perhaps one day…” Hadrian replied before falling silent again lost in thought. Would he want to meet his cousin again? It sounded like he became a decent boy. Well, right now he had other things to worry about, namely an insulting headmaster and an irritating Potions Master. However, the reaction of Snape he somehow predicted. It was hardly surprising with what his birthfather did to the man that he hated anything Potter but he was not a Potter anymore. Not only that, but he was the heir of the house the man was the head of so it was understandable that he did not know what to think about it. Only time will tell but Hadrian hoped that the man would overcome his school rivalry and see the opportunity for what it was…a way out.

Not much later Hadrian and Neville went to bed not wanting to be tired on their first day. Salazar on the other hand stayed up for a while longer before changing back into his animagus form and curling up in front of the fire next to Hadrian’s snake Meiren.

Snape paced his quarters furiously, a glass of whiskey in his hand; he only could describe the situation as a nightmare. Not only had Potter been sorted into his house (yes, the boy was a Potter no matter what he called himself now) but he also seemed to know that he had been a Death Eater. Sure, the boy said that it did not matter to him, but whom was he kidding? Was he truly a Slytherin by name and birth, something Snape still had his doubts about, he certainly had ulterior motives. No one in their right state of mind would ever dismiss this extremely powerful blackmailing material especially not a Slytherin. He had to get the situation back under control and quickly or he did not doubt that he was eventually going to be thrown out of his job, or in the worst case imprisoned in Azkaban for life. This time even Dumbledore would not be able to protect him.

The only problem was that he had no hold over the boy. Potter had been right he had gone down this road without knowing every fact, or any facts at all really, and the boy knew it. Over the last few years, the boy had hidden so well that no one knew more than what the media printed, and that was probably what the boy’s guardian wanted the people to know.

Luckily, he had the first year Gryffindor/Slytherin class tomorrow afternoon. That would give him plenty of opportunities to observe the brat, and perhaps gain something to hold over him.

The next morning the two boys went to breakfast quite early. They now sat at the centre of the Slytherin table with their backs to the wall eating. Not many students were up already, only seven were sitting at Slytherin table while three sat at the Hufflepuff table. The most sat at Ravenclaw, which was more than half of them. Gryffindor table however, was empty which was in all reality not that surprising since it was not even eight o’clock yet and they were known for sleeping in.

Only Snape and Dumbledore were already sitting up at the head table, Snape staring at Hadrian in disdain, which only served to amuse the boy.

“If you go on like that he will try to kill you before Christmas,” Neville chuckled.

Hadrian sighed. “Hopefully not,” he replied while looking at the man in question. “He’s a good man and a great Potions Master; I would hate to have him as an enemy.”

“Perhaps you should stop antagonising him then,” Neville suggested.

“Then he would see me as weak and that’s not something I want either. This is like walking a tightrope, one wrong move and everything was in vain,” he could only hope that what he did yesterday evening was the right thing.

They continued their breakfast talking about various things while more and more students filed into the hall. Several of the Slytherins threw him a strange or angry look upon seeing where they sat.

“Potter!” a boy suddenly snarled from behind Hadrian deliberately ignoring his wishes. “You’re sitting in my place.”

Hadrian however completely ignored him sipping his tea.

“Hey, I’m talking to you!” the boy now grabbed Hadrian’s shoulder and turned him around resulting in him nearly dousing himself with the hot tea.

“Be careful this tea is hot and I don’t want to bathe in it,” he said giving the older boy, Robert Gillam a glare.

“You’re sitting in my place,” the boy now hissed.

“And you called me Potter, so what? At least I’m not making such a fuss about it…you on the other hand are beginning to attract attention,” he now turned back around.

Gillam looked up and saw that indeed quite a few Ravenclaws who had the table right next to them looked at him puzzled. “If I were you I would be more careful who you antagonise. I can promise you that you don’t want me as an enemy.”

That statement made Hadrian chuckle lowly. “The highest you might climb on my enemy scale, Gillam, is that of a nuisance. Even the plants in Neville’s greenhouses are more intimidating than you.”

“You’re only digging your own grave, mark my words Potter!” with that, he turned around, stalked to the next empty place and sat down.

“Is it your goal to make an enemy out of every person at Hogwarts?” Neville questioned in disbelief. “If so, then please tell me now so that I can distance myself from you enough to not get hit by the backlash.”

“Please, have some faith in me Nev. Should this situation not resolve itself before the day ends I will gladly step back and let you deal with everything,” he said with a grin knowing how much Neville hated these games of power.

“For your sake, I hope you’re right because if not…well let’s just say I know a few nasty curses” he glared.

“Oh, I’m very much aware of that fact.”

At that moment, Snape went along the table and handed out the timetables. Hadrian took his with a polite “Thank you.” and saw that they had Herbology first, followed by Transfiguration, break and then double Potions, all in all not a bad day. The worst day however would be Wednesday when they had not only double History of Magic, but also Astronomy in the middle of the night. Not that Hadrian or Neville hated History, quite the contrary actually, but according to everyone of their family was Binns not only long dead but also taught them History in the most boring way that everyone had a very hard time not falling asleep.

After a few more minutes, Hadrian and Neville got up, picked up their bags and left the great hall and to walk over to the greenhouses outside. Approaching greenhouse number one they saw that they had the lesson together with the Hufflepuffs who eyed them warily. It seemed that they did not know what to make out of him. On the one hand, they knew what the media printed about him but then again, he was the Heir of Slytherin, and that overshadowed everything they knew.

“Good morning,” Hadrian greeted them with a smile. The Puffs exchanged looks before greeting back in a low voice. “Did I do something wrong?” Hadrian asked now confused.

The others were quick to negate that statement but nonetheless looked at them warily. Neville elbowed in the side.

“What was that for?” he asked his friend.

“You’re scaring them,” Neville gave him a pointed look.

“What?” Hadrian looked at him slightly confused. “I haven’t even done anything to them, I just greeted them,” with a flick of his wrist he had his wand in his hand and shot a spell at Neville that changed the boy’s hair black and blonde. “There, it fits you” he chuckled.

“Why, you…” Neville quickly retaliated.

About five minutes later the rest of the Slytherins arrived to find a bunch of laughing Hufflepuffs and two strange looking Slytherins.

“What in Salazar’s name is going on here,” Malfoy demanded to know.

Hadrian who was leaning against Neville turned around. “Hi, we were just entertaining ourselves while waiting for the lesson to begin,” he replied with a smile.

“Why do you look like you fell into a colour changing potion?” Malfoy raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow.

“As I said we entertained ourselves,” he waved his wand over Neville and himself cancelling the spells. “Better?”

“You let them curse you?” the blond growled which made a few of the Puffs flinch back.

“What? Oh no, that was Neville” Hadrian said with a slightly confused expression that quickly gave way to understanding. A few of the puffs snickered.

“I beg your pardon?” Malfoy had a hard time reigning in his anger. “I thought Professor Snape was clear with what he said yesterday.”

“You know I don’t particularly care about what the man says, especially when I want to become friends with a few Puffs, and neither will you.”

“Rest assured that he will learn of this,” Malfoy said with a threatening expression on his face

Luckily for Malfoy this was the moment when Professor Sprout opened the door to the greenhouse to let them all in. The first half of the lesson was going through theory before they were to repot the actual plants in the second half. Hadrian gave Neville a short nod before walking over to the professor.

“Professor Sprout, ma’am,” he said with a curt bowing of his head.

“Ah Mr. Slytherin, I have to admit that you have quite the vast knowledge about plants so what’s the matter?” she asked with a smile.

“I would like to talk to you for a short moment about wanting to ask you whether it would be possible that Neville and I could work together during the practical part of this subject. The thing is, that while I indeed have a vast theoretical knowledge of Herbology I’m quite bad when it comes to the practical part, probably ruining more plants than it’s worth,” he explained.

“Really?” she replied raising an eyebrow; somehow, she could not believe that.

“If it helps I can ask our tutor, a Master in Herbology himself to confirm this. Merlin knows that he threatened to throw me out of the greenhouses should I dare to touch any more plants,” he now chuckled lowly.

“Well if you’re sure… Nevertheless, I would need that statement from your tutor to confirm your claims. But for now you may work together.”

“Thank you,” Hadrian bowed before her, which made the witch blush before returning to Neville.

The rest of the lesson they worked together in perfect sync as they had always done in all those many hours in Neville’s own greenhouses. Sprout was practically cooing over them, especially Neville who managed to actually make the bouncing bulbs they were repotting do so voluntarily which was never heard of before. Normally the bulbs attacked anyone who came near them or tried to repot them.

“So, who needs whom?” Neville teased after casting a cleaning spell on himself once the lesson was over.

“The bouncing bulbs, they’re in love with you it seems” Hadrian laughed teasing his god-brother. This caused a few of the Hufflepuffs to laugh too, which earned them glares from the Slytherins.

“They practically jumped into their new pots by themselves,” Susan Bones chimed in. She had been a bit late for the lesson having helped a housemate to find the greenhouses, hence why she had not been there before the lesson. However, she seemed to have talked to the others because they were far less tense around Hadrian and Neville.

“That’s Neville for you…” Hadrian joked. “Well, we’ll see you later, we have Transfiguration now.”

“Remember, you still owe me an explanation!” Susan shouted after them earning a wink of understanding from the boys.

They walked together to Transfiguration arriving a few minutes early and taking a seat in the first row. On the teacher’s desk sat a tabby cat observing them with interest, when Weasley entered the room. Once he saw them sitting there he walked over wearing an expression of utter disgust. Neville groaned knowing what was to come.

“Oi Slytherin, you’re a disgrace for everything good and upright. To think that everyone celebrates you for defeating You-know-who. You probably only did it so that you could become the next Dark Lord” he sneered.

“Mr. Weasley, there is a difference between being dark and being evil. Only because I am dark does not mean that I am evil. In history, there were also light witches and wizards who were evil while dark ones were good. A prime example of this was Morgana Le Fay herself who despite being dark was a healer who saved countless lives. As to your accusation of me defeating the Dark Lord only to become one myself, I can only say that a one year old child hardly thinks farther than the next meal or nap,” he shook his head at such stupidity being displayed.

“Ha! You just confirmed it yourself! Only his followers call him `Dark Lord´!” he exclaimed.

Hadrian however, looked at the redhead in disbelief. “You know that that made no sense whatsoever? Not only did I defeat said man when I was one, and I will gladly repeat myself that at that age no one thinks any further than the next meal or nap. Despite that let us just assume that I somehow managed to become one of his followers at the age of one, wouldn’t it then be counterproductive when I kill him?”

Weasley just wanted to snap something back when McGonagall tapped on his shoulder with a scroll of parchment having turned back from her animagus form.

“Mr. Weasley, ten points from Gryffindor for verbally attacking another student, now sit down” she said in a stern voice giving him a glare when it became obvious that he wanted to complain.

After that, the lesson went on without a hitch. First, they once again went through the theory before doing the practical part. That was the part where Hadrian grew bored, because honestly, he could change a matchstick into a needle for three years now, even if his transfigurations only last half an hour at best. So now, he sat there prodding the matchstick with his fake wand when Professor McGonagall came around and looked at him disapprovingly.

“Mr. Slytherin, is there a problem?” she asked.

“Unfortunately, there is. You said you wanted us to transfigure the matchstick into a needle but you did not specify what kind of needle. Do you want a sewing needle?” with a flick of his wand he transfigured a perfect sewing needle but before McGonagall could say anything more he went on. “Or a curved surgical needle?” another flick and it transfigured into what he said. “Or a milliners needle?” but before he could give another flick with his wand McGonagall intervened.

“Alright, enough! I’ve understood your point, Mr. Slytherin. Take ten points for Slytherin for a perfect result, and since you’re done with today’s course load you can write me one foot on the different types of needles and what they are each used for” she said before going over to the next person helping them.

Hadrian started to rummage in his bag for some parchment, a quill, and ink, before getting to work on the assignment, smirking when he heard Neville mutter “show-off”.

“She asked and I gave her an answer. Not my fault when she gives unspecific instructions,” he snickered.

At the end of the lesson, Hadrian walked over to Professor McGonagall handing over his finished work on the different types of needles. The stern woman unrolled the scroll only to look at him in disbelief.

“If I remember correctly, Mr. Slytherin, I said something about one foot not” she did a quick measuring. “Five.”

“I have to apologize I must have misunderstood you and assumed that you meant one foot on each type,” he replied.

Professor McGonagall looked back at the parchment only to see that he was correct, having written exactly one foot on each type. She sighed. “You may go now, Mr. Slytherin.”

“Professor,” Hadrian said with a curt bow before turning around and walking up to Neville who had waited for him.

McGonagall looked after them as they left, listening amusedly to how Mr. Longbottom scolded his friend for deliberately misunderstanding her. She shook her head. When she first found out that the boy had changed his name she feared the worst, that probably a Death Eater had gotten a hold of him, but seeing him now she was relieved.

Hadrian and Neville entered the great hall for lunch still discussing how to interpret the instructions Professor McGonagall gave him when he had an idea. Waving Neville to follow him he walked over to where the fist-year Hufflepuffs sat.

“Hey, would you mind if we sat with you for lunch?” he asked them.

Some of them looked at each other in surprise before they nodded. The two sat down on the empty places and started to load their plates with food.

“So, how was your second lesson? What did you have?” Hadrian asked looking at them expectantly ignoring the confused looks of the older Puffs, not to mention the entire rest of the hall.

“We had Charms, and it was awesome!” one of the Puffs started to ramble. “We learned the theory behind the levitation charm.”

“Yeah, Flitwick is so cool! I think he’s part goblin,” another one added.

With that, there was no holding back and everyone wanted to add something to the conversation, or started to argue if said person thought differently on a certain topic. Lunch passed by quicker than they anticipated and they probably would have continued their conversation had the bell not reminded them that the afternoon lessons were due to begin.

“I’m sorry Susan, I promised you an explanation but now lunch is over and we still had no time to talk,” Hadrian said apologetically.

Susan laughed. “Don’t worry. I don’t really need an explanation anymore. It was only my fear that things might change…that you might change, but I just saw that you’re still the same and I understand why you didn’t tell me your name,” she waved him off. “Perhaps when there is enough time you might tell me everything but for now I’m just glad.”

“You truly went into the right house,” Hadrian smiled before leaving towards the dungeons for potions.

They arrived at the door to the potions classroom where Slytherins and Gryffindors alike were already waiting.

“You sure that your name is Slytherin and not Hufflepuff?” Weasley snapped.

“Quite…not that this is any of your concern. Though I have to wonder, this morning you accused me of being the next Dark Lord and now I am suddenly a Hufflepuff. Perhaps you should make up your mind,” he lifted an eyebrow.

Snape saved him from having to endure a retort by slamming the door open and ushering them in. Everyone took their seat, the Gryffindors on the right and the Slytherins on the left. Once everyone was seated, the Potions Master took roll, flinching when he reached Hadrian’s name. When he finished taking roll, he stood up stalking around his desk.

“You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion brewing,” he said in a voice barely above a whisper that nonetheless caught the attention of the students with ease.

“It seems he has the same ability as you,” Neville leaned against Hadrian and whispered, earning him a disbelieving glare. “I remember you catching the attention of the entire great hall the same manner.”

“Even the silence of a grave would have been louder than the great hall at that time so it was hardly a feat,” Hadrian retorted unfortunately loud enough for Snape to hear him.

“It seems that some of you deem themselves above paying attention” the man sneered crossing his arms. “Mr. Potter-Slytherin what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”

“Given the case that after doing so you stir twice clockwise before adding a sloth brain and Sopophorous Bean’s juice of twelve beans and stir seven times anti-clockwise you would get a sleeping potion so potent that it is called the Draught of Living Death, Sir. However, I can say out of personal experience that crushing the beans with a silver knife instead of chopping them up as it is said in the basic instruction textbook you will get far more juice out of the beans. Also, the instruction of using the juice of twelve beans can be subpar since the amount of juice you get from one bean depends on size and quality of the bean hence why I advise to use the juice of ten excellent to fifteen lesser beans. Another thing improving the potion is adding one stir clockwise after the seven times anti-clockwise,” he explained.

Snape raised an eyebrow. “Where would you look if I asked you to find me a bezoar?”

“That depends on the reason for why you ask, Sir. Are you asking because you were accidentally poisoned? If so I would instantly look into your ingredients cupboard since it cures most of the known poisons. Should you on the other hand ask because you ran out of it, the easiest thing would be to order new ones from the apothecary.

However, should this option not be available, the next step would be asking Hagrid whether he has any goats because a bezoar is the stone from the stomach of a goat. Despite that, the ones harvested from mountain goats are more potent than the ones from normal house goats because mountain goats feed mostly upon herbs instead of grass making the bezoar more effective,” he once again explained patiently.

That piqued the Potions Master’s interest, “What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?” he asked as he slowly uncrossed his arms from his chest.

Neville winced earning him a glare from the man. “Sir…how long do you want the explanation to this question be?” Hadrian asked carefully in reply.

“As detailed as possible” the man again rose an eyebrow. The boy was able to give detailed answers to the other two questions but he was not able to answer this? He would have to lie and say that he was not disappointed.

“Oh Merlin…no,” Neville groaned.

“Something the matter, Mr. Longbottom?” Snape sneered.

“You don’t know it, Sir, but asking him a question results in one of three different versions of an answer. The short version consisting of mostly one sentence. Then the reasonably long answer you just witnessed two times and the `why in the name of sanity did I even ask´ version…you just asked for the third option now,” now it was Neville giving the explanation.

“I fail to see how this is bad.”

“The last time I made this mistake he gave me a five-hour long monologue,” Neville winced again.

“Five? I could have sworn it was seven hours,” Hadrian mused.

“That’s probably because I tuned you out at some point and let you talk,” he retorted. “You see? You never, under any given circumstance, want the last version.”

“Just give me the reasonably long answer then…” Snape sighed looking at him expectantly ignoring the muttering of it being a good decision from Neville.

“Monkshood or better known as Aconitum napellus and Wolfsbane or known as Aconitum lycoctonum are two different species of the same plant genus known as Aconitum. They are therefore not the same plant as is often assumed, which especially shows through the different colour of the flowers…Yellow for Wolfsbane and Blue-Violet for the Monkshood; Aconitum napellus. However, there are right now thirteen different species of Monkshood known, all with a different flower colour including a yellow one, Aconitum anthora, which is known as both yellow Monkshood and healing-Wolfsbane. This is probably also the reason why many people think Wolfsbane and Monkshood are the same plant. One should use the scientific Latin names to distinguish between them because the several different species do not even have the same magical properties. So is the Aconitum anthora better used in healing potions, while the Aconitum lycoctonum, or Aconitum vulparia, are far more potent in the Wolfsbane potion; though every plant of the Aconitum Genus would do reasonably well in both kind of potions,” the entire class stared at him in utter disbelief upon that “reasonably long” answer.

Snape could now see how that boy was able to hold a five to seven hours long monologue about something. “Ten points to Slytherin for excellent answers,” he said once he found his voice. “You wouldn’t perhaps wish to take over the lesson?” he asked jokingly.

Hadrian looked at Neville in surprise who only shrugged. “Sir, if you are honestly asking me to do it I would gladly comply.”

Now it was Snape who blinked in surprise before pointing towards the front of the class with a flourish, not really expecting the boy to move. To his utter surprise, Hadrian shrugged, stood up and walked up to the front, leaning himself against the teacher’s desk.

“Okay…” he started sorting through his thoughts. “You should probably take a few notes on what I just explained as it could come in useful at a later date.”

“We’re supposed to remember everything?” Weasley gaped.

“Ten points from Gryffindor for shouting in class, now keep quiet!” Snape snapped from next to the entrance door where he was leaning against the wall observing the boy closely.

“No, you’re not supposed to remember everything that I said. What is important though, is that powdered root of asphodel and infusion of wormwood are two of the main ingredients used in the Draught of the Living Death,” he gave the other students a pointed glare upon which everyone hurried to search for a quill, ink and some parchment to write down what he was saying. “A bezoar is a potent antivenin against most known poisons found in the stomach of a goat,” he continued once the scratching stopped. “Lastly monkshood and wolfsbane are not the same plant but belong to the same genus Aconite, which is for now enough to know about them,” he again waited for everyone to finish.

“Now something which is extremely important in a potions lab, and around potions or potions ingredients in general, is that you never under any given circumstance use magic. Neville, would you please throw me one of the Sopophorous beans?” Neville threw him the requested ingredient, which he caught with ease. With a flick of his wrist, he had his wand out had thrown the bean into the air and shot a stunner at it, letting it explode like a firework with a crack. “What just looked and sounded like a firework could have been infinitely worse had I not used such a bean for an example but an asphodel root instead, thereby not only killing every single person in this room by the force of the explosion, but probably turning the entirety of Hogwarts castle into a smouldering crater. So, remember to keep spells as far away from anything having to do with potions as long as you are not absolutely sure nothing grave will happen,” he saw with approval that everyone bar Neville looked reasonably shocked about this revelation.

Once he was sure that he had the attention of the class again, he started to explain different ways of preparing ingredients and how each way changed the magical properties of certain ingredients. He lectured this way through the first period answering questions when they came up.

“Okay, let’s take a five-minute break before we continue with actually making the Boil Cure potion in the second period,” he said dismissing them while pushing of the desk. Instantly the room filled with excited chattering.

The bushy haired girl he remembered form the sorting came rushing to him. “Yes Ms. Granger?” he asked.

She looked a bit nervous. “Was what you said about the different species of Aconite correct?”

“It was, should you however look for a book describing the different magical properties I have to disappoint you because there is none.”

“How do you know about it then?” she was a bit confused.

“Part of it I learned from my father, but most of it I found out on my own through experimenting,” he replied.

“Would you mind telling me more about it?”

“Actually, yes I would. For one, this is nothing you actually need to know unless you want to become a Potions Mistress, and despite that, there are things you cannot learn through books but only through first-hand experience. If you want to know what a certain combination of ingredients does do not run into the library but try it out instead. History is a subject learned from books but potions you have to do yourself, experiment and make mistakes, or you will never be more than mediocre,” Hadrian explained.

Granger pouted and stalked back to her seat. Casting a quick tempus Hadrian cursed under his breath, the break was up.

“Okay, quiet please!” he called out waiting for the ruckus to die down. “Good. I want you to now begin to brew the Boil Cure Potion, as it is described on page forty-five of your book. Remember what I told you about the preparations of ingredients, and do not forget never add the porcupine quills while the cauldron is still on the fire. The Gryffindors go to the supply cupboard first, and no shoving! There is enough for everyone.”

While one side of the room walked over to the supply cupboard after coming out of their stupor of surprise, Hadrian walked over to his seat where his bag still stood and picked it up before walking back to the teacher’s desk. That was when he spotted green robes in between the red ones.

“Mr. Malfoy, I didn’t know that you suddenly became a Gryffindor?” he asked. “Get back to your seat, you’re going last today.”

“You’re not even our teacher! So why should I even listen to you?” the blond snarled.

Hadrian saw that Snape perked up upon hearing that, obviously wanting to know what he would do now. “That doesn’t mean I don’t know how to get you to comply,” with a flick of his wand he pulled the boy backwards by the collar of his robes before sitting him down on his seat and fixating him there with a sticking charm. “You may move again once everyone else has their ingredients, and Mr. Nott I know that you’re thinking about bringing Mr. Malfoy his supply but I would advise against it,” he said with a pointed look observing how Snape chuckled in the back of the class.

Once the Gryffindors were back in their seats he motioned for the Slytherins to go fetch their ingredients, watching as Nott threw Malfoy an apologetic look. He waited until everyone had sat back down before releasing Malfoy. “You may go now, Mr. Malfoy,” he motioned to him, earning himself a death glare in the process.

He started to pull out his own equipment while still watching the class as they went about preparing their own potions. Filling up his cauldron with water, he went to work on brewing his own Boil Cure potion when he saw Malfoy throwing something in the direction of the Gryffindors after some time. With a flick of his wand, he caught it mid-air and levitated it back to Malfoy’s cauldron.

“Mr. Malfoy, the next time you want to test out what happens when adding an Aconite flower to this particular potion please do so with your own potion, and not the one of your classmates. You probably hoped that I would follow my own advice and not perform any magic in this classroom, however, as my demonstration earlier this afternoon should have shown you, I know what I can or cannot do in a potions lab. Now I remember you wanted to know what happens when you put this particular ingredient in the potion…why don’t we find out?” Hadrian asked before cancelling the spell and letting the flower fall into Malfoy’s cauldron, which the boy watched with horror.

Shortly before it touched the potion, he cast a ward around the cauldron not wanting to hurt anyone after all. It did not even take seconds to turn the cauldron into a green bubbling mess safely contained.

“Too bad…it ruined the potion. Now Mr. Malfoy I do not know how Professor Snape handles such idiocy but I definitely do not tolerate messing around in a potions lab. Had this concoction hit anyone it would have brought the person to the infirmary for one night at least, which is in comparison quite harmless to what could potentially happen. Potions is a subject that requires precision and caution. In Charms one wrong move only results in something unwanted though mostly harmless, but here it can permanently harm, or in the worst case kill you. So, do us all a favour, stop messing around and start taking this seriously,” he gave everyone a stern glare before continuing in a softer voice. “I do not say that you cannot make mistakes. Everyone blows up their cauldron from time to time, even our Professor, or any other Potions Master is not safe from it, especially when someone tries to create something new or changes an existing potion. However, this subject is dangerous enough as it is, so it does not need any additional messing around with it only because you don’t like each other, keep that out of here,” the response was a collective nod from the class. “Good, now add the porcupine quills, stir five times clockwise and bottle up the result for Professor Snape to grade. Don’t forget to take the cauldron off the fire before you do so, Mr. Finnigan,” he said with a smile towards the boy who just wanted to drop the quills into his cauldron. Finnigan quickly drew back his hand looking around sheepishly.

“For next lesson, I want you to write two feet on the potion you brewed today and its use,” Snape snarled from the back of the class. Some actually jumped, having completely forgotten that the Potions Master still was in the room watching.

After Malfoy furiously put his things back into his back, he walked over to Hadrian. “You…my father will hear of this” he sneered.

“Be my guest and send him my best regards” he replied but Malfoy just turned around and walked straight out of the room after giving Snape a disapproving glare the Potions Master was completely unimpressed about.

Hadrian quickly finished his own potion before filling a sample into a vial and labelling it before starting to clean up his workstation while observing how one after the other brought their sample before leaving the classroom. Once he was done he and Neville left the room leaving the samples on Snape’s desk. They went straight to the great hall for dinner sitting at the same spot they occupied at breakfast.

Snape watched the two boys leave the potions classroom talking about the lesson. He did not know what to think about Harry Potter, or Hadrian Slytherin as his name was now, anymore. Before the term started, he thought the boy would be an exact copy of James Potter, attention seeking and basking in the light and glory of his fame.

Then there was the sorting when the boy did not even so much as twitch when Minerva called out his name. What a shock and surprise it had been when he told everyone his new name. The glorious golden boy, directly related to Salazar Slytherin himself, and sorted in his house. No wonder that quite a few were worried he might become the next Dark Lord, he highly doubted that though. He could not pinpoint it but the boy did not strike him as an evil mass murderer.

Sure, McGonagall had told him about the conversation she witnessed Slytherin had with the Weasley boy before her lesson, openly admitting that he was dark, but he had also seen him this afternoon at lunch sitting between the Hufflepuff first years joking and laughing. That reminded him about the homework he had assigned, he should probably tell the boy that he meant two feet in total and not for every part. He shook his head at remembering what Minerva had told him at lunch.

Wondering what Slytherin’s motives were, he walked over to where the potions waited for him to grade them. He picked up the one he knew was from the boy and looked at it lost in thoughts. Labelled with ornate writing it read Hadrian Slytherin. Uncorking the vial, he sniffed at it. The boy was an enigma and he had to admit that it piqued his interest. It was a long time ago now, that he had last had such an interesting person around him; actually, the last one had been the boy’s mother.

He was determined to find out what Slytherin was after and he would succeed. With a smile, he replaced the cork on the vial, turned around and walked out of the classroom. There were definitely interesting times ahead, and maybe…just maybe he might be able to survive the oncoming war.

Hadrian and Neville had left dinner early and now walked into their quarters to be greeted by Salazar sitting on a couch in front of the fire, some documents laying around him.

“Welcome back, how was your first day?” he asked.

“Very well, we had Herbology first where I made friends with a few Puffs. After that Transfiguration…I don’t know why but I have this feeling that McGonagall isn’t as deep in Dumbledore’s camp as we first assumed…” his son answered musing.

“Be careful with her nonetheless,” his father told him.

“I know…it’s just that I have a feeling that there’s more she doesn’t let on about. Time will tell, though I admitted in front of her and a Gryffindor that I am dark. I expect the rumour to spread like Fiendfyre,” he chuckled.

“Do you think that wise?”

“It doesn’t matter whether it is wise or not, people will find out sooner or later that I’m not as light as they want me to be, and it is as you said, better for it to be on my terms than theirs. At least I made it clear that dark is not automatically evil,” he shrugged. “However, I intend to poke the snakes a bit more this evening, want to watch?”

“You’re going to get yourself killed,” Neville muttered.

“What did you do?” now his father was clearly worried.

“Just antagonised the current ruler in the Slytherin house, Robert Gillam, by sitting in his place at the Slytherin table in the great hall this morning, telling him that I’m not impressed by him, and well…this evening I intend to dethrone him,” Hadrian chuckled. “Oh, come on, stop worrying, I know what I’m doing.”

Salazar looked at his son slightly worried still until realization hit him. “This should be interesting, I’m coming with you.”

With that, he shifted into his animagus form and curled himself around his son’s shoulders where he had sat at the welcoming feast.

“Good, then let’s get the ball rolling,” Hadrian said with a smirk and got up walking out through the hidden door and into the Slytherin common room.

There he sat down on the couch in front of the fire asking his father to curl up in his lap before taking out a book and starting to read. Neville followed him shaking his head and now sat to Hadrian’s right in another armchair before starting to read himself. Right now, they had the common room to themselves because everyone else still was in the great hall but that soon changed. Not even twenty minutes later, the first Slytherins entered the common room giving Hadrian and Neville a glare for they had dared to sit where the Slytherin ruler usually sat and held court. Another ten minutes later and Gillam finally arrived, anger filling him when he saw who sat in the couch he normally occupied.

“Potter! This is it! I’ve told you again and again to stay out of my way, but it seems that you haven’t learned anything, there’s only one way you will learn respect!” the older boy snapped walking over to them, but Hadrian once again ignored him. That was when he saw the snake sitting in the other boy’s lap and his eyes widened slightly. “You know that you’re only allowed to bring owls, cats or toads to Hogwarts?”

“That is wrong. While the Hogwarts letter indeed says that one should only bring one of those three, the Hogwarts charter tells you different. It allows a student to bring any pet he wants as long as it is no danger to any other student. As it is, Sal here is very well behaved and poses no threat whatsoever. Despite that I leave him in my room while I am at class so that he stays away from other students,” Hadrian finally said.

“Whatever…you’re sitting in my chair and I’m no longer tolerating your disrespect towards me!” Gillam snarled, angered that the boy had the gall not even to look up from his book.

“There is no rule telling me that I cannot sit here so where is your problem?”

“Enough is enough. I Robert Arian Gillam current leader of the Slytherin house hereby challenge you Hadrian James Potter-Slytherin to a wizarding duel, do you accept?” he snared his eyes crying bloody murder.

“Very well, if that is your wish I accept under one condition,” Hadrian replied in a bored tone before finally looking up. “I am to set the rules.”

“What? Are you afraid that you wouldn’t be able to defeat me without setting up some ridiculous rules?” Gillam taunted. “I accept your condition.”

Right at that moment Snape came rushing into the common room obviously having been informed by someone about what was going on. “What is the meaning of this?” he snapped. “Mr. Gillam, Mr. Slytherin, I expect an explanation.”

“Professor Snape, it just so happened that Mr. Gillam here is disgruntled with my behaviour towards him and therefore challenged me to a wizarding duel, accepting my condition that I’m to set up the rules for it,” Hadrian summarized the happenings of the last few minutes. “That brings me to an idea, Professor would you give us the honour of being our judge?”

Snape looked back and forth between Gillam and Hadrian not knowing whether Slytherin was either insane or suicidal, probably a mix of both. Gillam was the son of one of the best duellers in the ranks of the Dark Lord and in his sixth year at Hogwarts. The boy would rip him apart within seconds. He looked at Gillam for one last time before locking gazes with Slytherin, quickly slipping into his mind taking care to not go too deep, heeding the boy’s warning.

‘Are you bloody insane?! Gillam is the best dueller in this house! He will rip you apart in seconds!’ he snarled.

‘I doubt that he will be able to give me so much as a scratch,’ Hadrian mentally laughed.

‘This will be your funeral. I warn you now,’ he replied before leaving the mind of Slytherin.

“Very well I will be your judge,” he then said aloud. “What are your rules Mr. Slytherin.”

Upon hearing that, Hadrian started to grin deviously. “No rules. He can use whatever he fancies, even the Unforgivables, though I highly doubt that he is able to even cast one of them.”

Snape’s eyes widened slightly at hearing that. Slytherin surely was insane, this was a recipe for disaster, with a high certainty of being killed, but the rules had been said out loud for all to hear now and he could not change anything. “Your claim Mr. Gillam?”

“He will stop antagonising me and will do whatever I want, whenever I want,” Gillam replied with a smirk.

“Mr. Slytherin?” Snape now addressed Hadrian.

“The position of Leader of Slytherin will pass onto me and Gillam will be an outcast in this house,” Hadrian stated at which several people draw sharp breaths.

“Don’t you think that this is a bit much?” someone asked.

“He wants me to become his personal house-elf for life, so no I don’t think it’s a bit too much. Did you think I missed the fact that you gave no time limit in your claim?” he chuckled.

“With the rules and claims set,” Snape spoke up taking out his wand and was just beginning to make room for the duel, when Hadrian interrupted him.

“Duel here? Certainly not. I am not risking anyone’s health because a stray spell hits them. Follow me,” he said before walking over to the bookshelves and starting to wave his wand in an intricate pattern over them. After a few moments, the shelves moved to the side and gave way into a short hallway that ended up in a large room. At the side of the arena were rows of seats for spectators, while in the middle was a slightly sunken in duelling arena. “Welcome to the Slytherin duelling arena. Ancient wards protect the spectator seats effectively blocking everything that might fly their way as well as the judges stand.”

He walked over to Neville to hand over his father so that he was not in the way, before walking down into the duelling arena. Neville as well as everyone else filed into the spectator seats, Neville sitting somewhere to the side continuing to read.

Hadrian and Gillam took their places while Snape stepped into the judge’s stand. “I assume that you’re both versed in the duelling etiquette?” both boys nodded. “Then let the duel begin.”

With that, they both bowed before each other before walking to their positions and taking their stances. Once they stood, Hadrian simply rose his left empty hand a bit, which was the sign for Gillam to begin.

Gillam shot several pretty nasty curses in rapid succession at Hadrian who did nothing, not even stepping aside. The older boy quickly learned why when every single spell hit an invisible shield not even a few feet away from Hadrian. He briefly wondered when and how Potter had cast it, before shooting another barrage of spells, which also fizzled out without even touching the younger boy. Hadrian on the other hand was getting bored so he conjured himself a chair to sit down on and started to read.

“Are you taking this even seriously?” Gillam snapped in anger.

“You’re not even getting through my shield so why should I bother stressing myself to do anything?” Hadrian replied not even looking up from his book. “Despite that, I said no rules so I can read all I like during this duel.”

That angered Gillam even more, his assaults became more relentless and vicious, as well as slightly reckless. Blasting hexes, mixed with cutting curses, all while the spells slowly became darker and darker in nature, but everything he threw at Potter only hit the shield or bounced of it.

Snape watched with interest how Slytherin’s shield got hit by spell after spell without so much as wavering.

“You know my dad needed four absolutely overpowered Bombarda Maxima’s to get through this shield? I highly doubt that you’ll put so much as a scratch on it,” Hadrian laughed.

That was too much for Gillam who already was panting heavily because of all the magic he had used. “Crucio!” he all but screamed.

The bright red beam flew straight at Hadrian’s head only to be blocked by the shield. “Congratulations, you’re at least able to cast one of the Unforgivables but unfortunately that still is not enough,” Hadrian said in a bored voice before going back to his book and turning the page.

Rage and hatred boiling over to a critical point caused Gillam to snap and use the one curse he knew could not be blocked by anything. “Avada Kedavra” he screamed watching the green curse, which was so much like the boy’s eye colour, flying towards said boy when he realised what he just did. Sure, he was the son of a Death Eater and he had fought in countless duels before but never, in his sixteen years of life had he killed anyone. Horrified, he followed the curse with his eyes as it relentlessly made its way towards Slytherin who did not even move one inch, wishing with all his might that the curse might stop, or at least change direction, but he knew it was in vain. This curse could neither be stopped nor redirected and upon hitting its target killed it without fail. He Robert Arian Gillam had killed Hadrian Slytherin, the heir of the founder of this very house.

Everyone save Neville inhaled sharply, watching what was happening, no one dared to breathe while the curse crossed the duelling platform.

The very second Gillam spoke the curse Snape knew that this was it. He had failed spectacularly, he had failed Hadrian…failed Lily. Oh, if Lily could see this she would probably be throwing a fit about how he could have let this happen, how he could have let her only son die. Horror written on his face, he observed the killing curse fly towards the boy who did not even so much as twitch, as if the world was all right and he had nothing to worry about. Would Dumbledore not kill him for letting this happen tonight he would gladly do it himself. He thought about doing something…anything…but he knew it would be in vain, the curse was too far…too fast for him to intervene, and even if he had the time what could he do? Nothing could stop the curse, and he did not doubt that the boy knew that too, so why in the name of Salazar Slytherin did he do nothing? He could at least move out of the way instead of sitting there reading his damned book.

Hadrian looked up and straight into Snape’s eyes with a smirk before everything went dark for him.

“Idiot” Neville muttered before turning the page.

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