The silence carried on for a few minutes the twins openly staring at Salazar, while Hadrian leaned against the counter of the kitchen observing them closely. It was Fred who finally spoke up.
“We’re dreaming, aren’t we dear brother o’ mine?” he asked.
“I’m quite sure we’re not my beloved brother,” George replied.
“But this can’t be real, can it?”
“There is no other possibility, is there? We have seen it on the map with our own eyes, haven’t we?” George asked his brother
“But how is this possible?”
“I don’t know. Why haven’t we heard of it before?”
“He’s a Slytherin he surely knows how to prevent that,” Fred muttered.
“He is not a Slytherin, he is THE Slytherin. But how is he even alive?”
“That is a good question dear brother o’ mine,” Fred countered.
Salazar observed the conversation the twins had with interest his confusion rising with every reply the other twin gave. In the end, he looked at his son his face one of utter confusion not knowing what to think of those two. Hadrian who saw that started to howl with laugher, he found it hilarious to see his normally stoic father in this state.
“You know you two, it was worth it to introduce you to my father if only to get to see his face,” he finally brought out. “But yes, it is true; he is THE Salazar Slytherin, founder of this very school.”
Salazar shot his son a glare that would have any other run for the hills but Hadrian was completely unimpressed by it so instead he shot a low stinging hex at him. Though Hadrian just reflected it with a wave of his hand and a smile, sending it back to his father. However, Salazar not wanting to take the hit did the same and reflected it with a flick of his hand back to Hadrian. The twins watched the two reflecting the hex back and forth like a tennis match. That was until Hadrian had enough of it and shot the hex over his father’s right shoulder letting him think that he had missed and therefore not having him reflect it. The plan worked as his father smirked upon seeing that he had missed not anticipating that once the hex was behind him that his son would reflect it again sending it right in his back. Salazar inhaled sharply and closed his eyes as he rode out the stinging sensation before once again glaring at his son who only gave him a beaming smile in return. The byplay between father and son had managed to make the twins laugh.
“Did you already forget that you taught me to attack were my opponent is unprepared, old man?” Hadrian asked with a snicker.
“you could invent a sport like that,” the twins chuckled.
Salazar sighed deeply. “Could we please get back to the matter at hand? It is getting late after all and I don’t think that it would be a good idea for the Messrs Weasley to be out after curfew,” he said in the end.
“It would be far more suspicious if we weren’t,” Fred piped in earning a snicker from Hadrian and a raised eyebrow from Salazar.
“So, you’re really Salazar Slytherin? How are you even still alive?” an awed George asked.
They looked at Salazar questioningly, though it was Hadrian, who answered the questions. “That, my friends, is a question even I don’t know the answer to,” he replied shaking his head. “But perhaps we all should take a seat, standing the entire time will eventually become uncomfortable.”
“And he’s your father?” Fred asked wanting to know the answer while moving over to one of the chairs and sitting down.
“Adopted, but yes he is. Originally, he was my great-grandfather in 33rd generation but after he saved me from my other relatives he adopted me and became my father,” Hadrian explained. “I hope you have no problems with that.”
Now it was the twins turn to look confused.
“Should we?” George asked.
“We wouldn’t be here if we had any problems with it,” Fred added.
Hadrian looked back and forth between the twins surprised while his father observed everything with interest. It seemed to him that his son was right, not that he had ever doubted him. The twins were intelligent, resourceful, and seemingly did not judge people over stories they heard, but what they witnessed themselves.
“So, you don’t believe everything that others say?” Salazar questioned them.
“We never believed the pompous hero-worshiping crap that is told about Dumbledore so why would we believe that you are a muggle hating bastard without concrete proof,” George retorted when he recollected what he just said he apologised. “I’m sorry for those harsh words,” he said while blushing but Salazar waved him off with a smile knowing that it wasn’t meant as an insult.
“Actually, with what we know about Dumbledore it’s no wonder what he did to you Hadrian and so many others,” Fred explained before George took over.
“While we can’t change what happened in the past we’ll gladly help to change the future and prevent that anything like that from happening again if possible.”
“Especially when it’s to get rid of that manipulative old fool. While You-know-who was bad with the war and all, we believe that Dumbledore is far worse because he has the power to see his goals achieved without anyone interfering.”
“Well, until recently at least, it is good to see someone who finally stands up against him and shows him his boundaries. We know we don’t have much that we can offer but if there is anything we can do…anything at all to help you, don’t hesitate to let us know,” George finished having said everything they had to say on that topic, now it was up to their new allies to decide how it would go from here.
Salazar and Hadrian looked at each other but Salazar only motioned to his son that this would be his decision since they were still at Hogwarts and so they fell under his jurisdiction. Hadrian nodded before he turned back around to the twins.
“There are actually quite a few things you can do,” here the twins beamed at each other obviously having feared that they would be useless. “First, with the map in your very capable hands I’d ask you to keep an eye out, strange things…suspicious things or even evidence that might help in bringing the meddling old fool down, gather as much as you can but keep your heads down, I don’t want you to be caught,” Hadrian said
“We’re only ever caught when we want to be caught,” Fred snickered.
“So we can keep the map?” George asked in a hopeful voice.
“I have no use for it and it is a far more powerful tool in your hands, so yes you can keep it.”
“But how do you plan to get around the castle without being caught?” George asked curiously.
“Who said that I don’t want to be caught?” Hadrian replied with a smirk. “While you want to remain unseen to avoid punishment I…let’s just say that I expect a few school rules to be rewritten in the foreseeable future, not that it would stop me,” the twins chuckled while Salazar snickered. “But before we get into an in-depth discussion on how to avoid punishment I would ask you to wait here for a moment because I have something for you.”
The twins watched how Hadrian stood up and left through one of the doors before looking back at Salazar apprehensively. Salazar observed them for a moment before he chuckled lowly.
“Is something wrong?” he questioned them.
“No…no…it’s just…” George started but didn’t know how to express what he wanted to say.
“It simply isn’t an everyday occurrence that you meet a famous person that is presumed long dead, that’s all,” Fred finished his brother’s train of thought.
“And you have no idea how to behave around me,” the brothers nodded. “Don’t worry I’m a person like you or anyone else for that matter, only a bit older…” he said with a smile.
“If we might ask, why come out of hiding now? What changed?” George inquired.
“I have to admit that I didn’t plan any of this when I started to stalk Dumbledore. In my opinion, he and Riddle went too far and if they had both continued, I don’t doubt that the British magical community would be extinct by now. That was until I saw Hadrian close up for the first time, and after that…my purpose shifted to giving my son the life he deserved beginning with things like getting his godfather out of prison and ultimately ending with getting rid of the two men who were the reason for everything that happened to him,” Salazar patiently explained.
“But why are you here now? I mean, why risk being exposed?”
“I highly doubt that I would have been exposed hadn’t you looked at the map at the right time. As for why I’m here…” he fell silent for a moment contemplating whether to tell them or not when he came to a decision, they had sworn an oath to keep silent after all. So he reached into a pocket of his robe and pulled out a blood red stone before laying it on the table in front of him. “Do you know what that is?”
The twins looked at it in curiosity but they couldn’t tell what it was.
“Would we have to make a guess we’d say it is a large uncut ruby,” George spoke up.
That was the moment when Hadrian emerged from the room he had vanished into. While he was walking over to his chair, his gaze fell upon the stone on the table.
“What is a Philosopher’s stone doing here?” he asked confused.
“Philosopher’s stone?” the twins echoed in disbelieve.
“The Philosopher’s stone, or in America also known as the Sorcerer’s stone, is an alchemistic gem that can transform any metal into pure gold as well as produces the elixir of life that when consumed regularly prevents the person’s death of old age. The only known person capable of producing such a gem is Nicolas Flamel who is currently somewhere around 600 years old,” Hadrian explained thoughtfully. “I’d guess that this one is the one Flamel created but I wonder what it’s doing here.”
“You’d be right with your guess, this is truly Flamel’s it is radiating his magical signature and I found it down at the end of the currently forbidden third floor corridor,” he replied.
“The third floor corridor? You mean the one that is guarded by that three headed dog that leaves one wondering about the sanity of a certain old goat?” the disbelief in the twins rose even further.
“Do I even want to know how you learned about the dog?” Salazar now raised an eyebrow but only received matching mischievous smirks. “Don’t worry about it though, I removed the dog two days ago and heavily warded the area so that whatever other traps Dumbledore might have set up no student may fall victim to them. I don’t know what Dumbledore wanted to achieve with it or how he even got his hands on the stone, but I certainly will find out. Son, didn’t you want to give the twins something?” he changed the topic showing that he wouldn’t discuss the stone further by placing it back in his pocket knowing that from now on the twins would have an eye on the corridor without him having to tell them as much.
“Yes, you’re right,” with that, he threw George a little pouch, which he swiftly caught. He opened and looked into it before he stared at Hadrian with wide eyes. “Originally I wanted to wait a bit and observe you before giving it to you but since you want to help us this is as good a time as any other. In the pouch are 100 Galleons…,” he began but Fred interrupted him.
“You’re giving us 100 Galleons just like that? Where’s the catch to it?” he asked in disbelief and with quite a heavy amount of suspicion. This day truly was the most surreal they had ever lived through.
That made Hadrian laugh however. “Not just like that, no. Let’s call it a worthwhile long-term investment. I want you to buy new equipment with it, cauldrons, ingredients, scales, books…whatever you need because while I know how good you are with potions I also know that you could do better. If you want to withdraw some of it to support your family, I won’t object but keep in mind that this money is for your future. Dad are there any books in the library at the moment that contain something they can’t know?”
Salazar thought about it for a moment before he shook his head. “I would have to check but there shouldn’t be any family grimoires in any of these rooms at all,” he answered.
Hadrian nodded before turning back to the twins “Alright then, once you promise me to handle everything with utmost care, you can also use the library and the potions lab if you want to. Brewing potions in some abandoned classroom is not only dangerous but careless. I can set up the entrance through which we came to open up for you but don’t think that you would be able to bring anyone else here without my consent, the entrance is enchanted to only let those through who have permission,” he gave them a stern glare.
The twins looked at each other before one of them replied. “We would never dare to betray your trust in such a way. However, the question is why, what is in it for you?” George was baffled to put it mildly.
“I know what you plan on doing for an earning,” he replied with a smirk earning shocked looks.
“Neville is learning about curse breaking at Gringotts,” was his only reply. At first, the twins looked confused at that cryptic hint when they remembered that their brother worked there too. “I see you got the hint. While I have to admit that at first I didn’t think much of it until I witnessed your prank, you have potential, and if harnessed correctly you might get far with it but that is something we shouldn’t worry about now.”
“While this might be pocket money for you it really means a lot to us, so thank you and I hope we never disappoint you,” the twins inclined their heads towards Hadrian though they wondered why Salazar suddenly smirked mysteriously.
“If you hinted that the money came from the trust vault my birthparents set up for me before they died I have to disappoint you, I have never once touched that vault. Everything I buy or otherwise pay for, including the money I gave you, I worked for all by myself,” Hadrian now also smirked upon the thunderstruck faces of the twins.
“I…you…WHAT?” they brought out. “How did you get so much money then? We cannot accept the money, we…” they objected but Hadrian quickly interrupted them.
“Do you want to know something I don’t doubt Snape would love to learn?” the mischievous smile that now adorned his face told the twins that this must be something big so they nodded. “But you have to promise me that you do not spoil my fun and let him know,” he added and again completely forgetting that the twins could not talk about it anyway because of the oath, the twins nodded.
Instead of telling them he stood up and walked up to the shelf, where he had placed his school books and picked up a book before walking over to the twins and handing it to them. Fred took it and looked at it confused.
“The new first year potions book published by H.-” he started but stopped and you could see how he was thinking about it, connecting the dots before coming to the conclusion. “H.S. Solution – Hadrian Slytherin. YOU wrote and published that book?!”
“Oh, that is rich. This is the best and biggest prank of all, please promise us you’ll share the memory of the moment when Snape finds out,” George said while laughing his ass off.
“Should I be there when he finds out, sure why not?” he replied. “Though if I might give you an advice, you should stop messing around in his class and put more effort into it, you might be surprised by the result.”
“Why should we? He hates us anyway and would never grade us fair,” Fred asked wondering what that was about.
Hadrian on the other hand shook his head. “I have the feeling that he is more annoyed by you than anything else. You know that potions are a fickle topic, one mistake and the consequences can be quite severe, even deadly. Now imagine you have to teach that topic every day to children who do not care for the accuracy needed for that subject all the while having to make sure that no accident happens. Then in-between those, as Snape likes to call them, dunderheads he knows that some have the needed quiet and calmness to exceed in that subject but deliberately sabotage their own efforts…. Snape loves potions and everything that has to do with the subject and I think that if you stop messing around and show him that you take him and the subject seriously…as I said you might be surprised.”
The twins looked at each other having a silent conversation before both nodded. “We will heed your advice however we still doubt that it would change anything,” they replied.
“That is all I ask. There is something else I wanted to ask you though…you don’t happen to have seen a beige cat that’s quite large?” he questioned.
“Size of a fox with a bushy tail and honey coloured eyes?” Gorge specified.
“Yes, that’s Shiyo and he belongs to me, I wondered where he had wandered off to,” Hadrian nodded.
“He spends most of the time in the Gryffindor common room lying in a corner and observing everything. We wondered whom he belonged to because he doesn’t let anyone near him except us actually,” Fred mused.
“That’s no wonder, Neville and I are the only ones who can pet him, and even my father keeps his distance so it is quite surprising that he lets you close, or maybe not,” he said with a smile that told them he knew something but wasn’t going to share.
At that moment, Neville stepped through the entrance door looking surprised from the twins to Hadrian and Salazar who silently sat there observing the conversation between his son and the twins.
“Good evening,” he greeted everyone having a few smudges on his robes obviously having done some gardening. “I’m surprised, that you’re still here Messrs. Weasley, it is after ten o’clock after all.”
“Please it is Fred and George,” the twins replied while Hadrian looked on his watch before cursing lowly. Neville though curtly nodded towards the twins in acknowledgment before vanishing through the door to their bedroom to get a shower and prepare for bed.
Salazar coughed lowly upon his son’s language before he spoke up. “Messrs. Weasley, if you come by tomorrow afternoon once your classes ended I will set up the wards so that they will grant you entrance. I also want to perform a small ritual with you to determine where your natural magical inclination lies if you would like. I can promise you that the ritual is absolutely harmless and would only consist of meditation on your part so that I can get a read on your magical core.”
“That’s possible?” the twins chorused.
“Not only possible but that had also been the method how we determined where the students were sorted when we founded this school. It also tells you whether you have the magical predisposition to become animagi as well as other special traits,” he explained.
“Cool,” the smile that appeared on their faces was answer enough for Salazar. They stood up and George securely stored the pouch Hadrian had given them in his robe pocket. “But we better leave now before McGonagall gets a stroke because we’re not in the common room. Good evening!”
“Why do I have the feeling that I will regret showing you how to work the door,” he muttered before giving them a short introduction into how to operate the entrance door and where the different settings led.
Once he had seen the twins out with the agreement that they would come again at four in the afternoon the next day he went back over to his armchair and sat down.
“I have to admit that the twins are highly intriguing, but do you really think it wise to entrust so much money to them?” Salazar asked his son.
Hadrian hummed lowly on that question. “I know that I’ve known the two only for a couple of days now but…do you remember that feeling I had that day during our stay in the Russian mansion?” he asked and his dad nodded.
It had been two years ago and they had stayed over the summer in the Russian mansion, when one day Hadrian had had a bad feeling about that day. He had told his father about it but they both had dismissed it as irrelevant that was until they had gone on a trip to the local magical shopping area. It had been quite late and they had been back on their way to the mansion when they had a run into a rabid vampire. He had managed to grab Hadrian and had been shortly before biting him but fortunately, they could prevent it unfortunately having to kill the vampire. After that, Hadrian had sworn to never again ignore it when he had a feeling.
“Well, I had a similar feeling when I first met the twins when they stopped me because I was an accidental victim of one of their pranks though this time it was a positive one. That was also one of the reasons why I trusted them and introduced them to you instead of simply asking you to oblivate them,” he shrugged helplessly.
“Hadrian, son, you know that I trust you and I will always support you within reason,” Salazar said with a soft voice.
“I know dad, and I will always be grateful for everything you did for me. However, it is getting late and I’m tired so good night,” he had to stifle a yawn as he left.
“Goodnight,” Salazar smiled while watching his son leave.
Other parents probably would be horrified with how much freedom he granted his son but on the other hand, Hadrian had had to earn what others took for granted, like the money he gave the twins. He had to admit that it took a lot of trust to do so but he knew that his son had more than earned it. Hadrian was so much more mature than any other child his age was, and it still irked him something rotten where that had come from but at least his son had managed to turn something like that into something good and he was proud of his son.
With a smile on his lips he took the Philosopher’s stone out of his pocket again and looked at it lost in thought. He still wondered how Dumbledore had gotten his hands on it but he was sure that Nicolas would be able to shed some light on it, and he could only hope that his old friend hadn’t given it to the old fool for his machinations.
The next day Hadrian sat at breakfast together with Gillam and Neville wondering whether Dumbledore would apologize to him today or not. Not long later, the owls arrived delivering letters, packages and the morning edition of the newspaper. However, this morning should have a surprise ready for Hadrian when suddenly an entire flock of birds circled him trying to deliver their cargo or at least trying to find somewhere to land and wait until the recipient had the time to relieve them of it.
“What in the name of sanity is that?” he asked in disbelief and shock looking up and down the table where at least three dozen owls were waiting. At least he could not spot a howler, he was thankful for little mercies, though the entire hall was observing him with barely concealed interest.
“Could you please give me a hand and untie the letters and hand them to me?” he asked of his fellow Slytherins.
Not long later, every owl was relieved from the burden and the letters handed to Hadrian except those he had to untie himself because the owl would not let anyone else near them.
He looked at the seals on the letters and quickly divided them up into four piles, one for official post like Gringotts, which was admittedly the smallest pile, one for business letters of which most were from newspapers, one for family seals he recognised and then one for those he did not, or which had none at all. At last, he then had a small parcel with a letter attached, which was the one he opened first because he wanted to know whether the parcel contained something he needed to take care of, quickly skimming the letter he frowned and it deepened the further he read. In the end, he groaned and buried his face in his hands the letter resting in front of him.
Neville, wanting to know what all that was about picked it up and started to read it to though he had a hard time not to laugh upon his god-brother’s misery. The box, which seemingly would be quite large once the shrinking charm was lifted, contained another dozens of letters that people had sent to the daily prophet for him as a reaction to the article two days ago. He assumed that except the official letters the others had been sent in the same regards however in that case directly here to Hogwarts. It was fortunate that the Prophet already scanned the letters for harmful magic and that the wards around Hogwarts prevented such letters from reaching their destination.
“The burden of being well known,” Neville snickered picking up his cup to sip at it.
About a second later, he suddenly squealed in surprise, where earlier sat an eleven-year-old boy now sat a girl.
“What did you do?” Neville shot a glare at Hadrian who just in that moment also took a sip of his own tea and fell victim to the same prank that obviously was a gender switch potion.
“I have to tell you that this time I’m completely innocent,” he/she replied with a thoughtful face.
Neville looked at him surprised and confused before he/she took out his wand and tapped his head with it only to frown. After another try to cancel the potion his confusion only rose.
“Finite Incantatem,” he now tried it with actually saying the spell but the result stayed the same, or better the lack thereof. “Strange I cannot cancel the potion, what about you?”
Now it was Hadrian’s turn to try to cancel the potion but he also was unsuccessful, and he even tried parseltongue.
“Nope, nothing what I wonder about though is that I didn’t even sense a potion in my tea,” he tapped the cup with his wand casting a revealing spell but it came out negative. “Strange…really strange. Do you think it was a spell?”
Up to now, not only the Slytherins were wondering what happened, but also the rest of the hall as everyone slowly became aware of their situation and rumours were spreading like Fiendfyre. Hadrian took a piece of parchment and quickly wrote a note before tapping it with his wand. The parchment folded itself up into a bird and flew over to the twins at the Gryffindor table and a short amount later, they stood behind them critically eyed by the rest of the house.
“We swear on our pride as pranksters that we have nothing to do with what happened to you,” George instantly spoke up.
“We would never jeopardize what we gained yesterday,” Fred added seriously.
“I didn’t want to insinuate anything, I merely wanted to cover all our bases, especially since we seem to be unable to cancel it,” Hadrian appeased them.
“Wait, what? Does that mean you have to stay girls forever?” they asked in disbelief.
“Highly doubtable because nothing lasts forever,” Hadrian shook his head. “No I suspect that it should end in a week the very latest if we’re unable to reverse it.”
“Please tell me that you’re joking,” Neville groaned.
“Unfortunately not. I’ll go and talk to Professor Snape, perhaps he has an idea what to do,” he replied before standing up and walking over to their head of house watched by worried twins.
“Good morning Professor Snape,” she greeted the Potions Master.
“Good morning,” the man replied curtly.
“As you can see Neville and I found ourselves in an unusual predicament this morning we are unable to reverse on our own,” he told him.
With a flick of his wrist, Snape had his wand in his hand and directly pointed at Hadrian who did not as much as blink. “Finite Incantatem,” he enchanted but to his utter mystification, nothing happened.
“I even tried parseltongue and nothing happened,” Hadrian added.
Snape furrowed his brows before he started to chant under his breath but whatever spell he used it did not seem to deliver the wanted result. Now a clear frown adorned the man’s face while he continued chanting.
“This is completely impossible,” he growled.
“What is?” now Hadrian looked quite worried that Snape had reacted in such a way.
“According to the results there is no spell, curse or potion on or within you that I can detect and that would explain your sudden change of gender. Adding to this is that your gender reading is clearly telling me you’re male,” he explained in a clipped tone.
“That makes no sense whatsoever,” Hadrian muttered, either he, or was it she now, this was utterly confusing, was male and there had to be a spell, curse or potion, or he was female without none of the former. Frowning he decided that as long as their predicament was not solved he would go with female…less confusing.
“Indeed, you should visit Madam Pomfrey,” Snape replied before changing topic. “Care to explain what all the owls meant?”
“This evening, seven o’clock?” Snape nodded curtly. “I’ll go and contact my father over my current dilemma maybe he knows how to reverse it.”
At that moment, Dumbledore decided to come over obviously wanting to see what was going on.
“Good morning,” he greeted jovially. “Is something wrong?”
“Obviously. Your beloved Boy-who-lived recently became the Girl-who-lived,” Snape deadpanned and Hadrian had to hide a smirk.
“I beg your pardon?” it became obvious that Dumbledore had not witnessed what had happened not even ten minutes ago.
“Let’s just say I now have a valid reason for why I cannot become the cover-model for the next edition of Witch Weekly,” this time it was Snape who had to supress a smirk.
“Mr. Slytherin?” Dumbledore blinked a few times confusedly.
“Indeed,” Hadrian retorted and sounded suspiciously like a certain Potions Master with it. “You have ten hours and forty-seven minutes left, headmaster, time’s ticking.”
With that, he (currently she) turned around and walked back to Neville and the twins who were animatedly talking with each other.
“And?” Neville questioned.
“And nothing…Snape did a few revealing and diagnostic scans but the results have brought up more questions than answers. I intend to ask dad about it before the first lesson,” she threw Neville a questioning look upon which she stood up, and together, closely followed by the twins who were adamant about accompanying them, they went back to their quarters to see whether Salazar could do anything about their problem.
It turned out that even Salazar couldn’t say what was wrong but told them that if the problem did not solve itself within the next week they would have to investigate the matter more thoroughly, although for now it didn’t harm them physically. So for now they were stuck as girls.
The day went on and lunch came and went without Dumbledore apologizing. Though many students expressed their worry but both Hadrian and Neville made it clear that they neither have been harmed, nor were they troubled by what had happened to them. Both had been victim to gender switch potions several times over the years so that now it was more of a nuisance to them than anything worth worrying about.
However, what worried them was that even Salazar had not been able to find anything on them that might explain the sudden change. Not only that, Hadrian tried to counter it with a gender switch potion and absolutely nothing had happened. For now, they had agreed to observe their situation and only start to worry should it not change within the next week.
In the afternoon, the twins came by again and Salazar set up the wards so that they would be able to enter the quarters without having to speak parseltongue, however they would be unable to enter the bedroom. Once that was done, they continued with the Ritual of Insight.
Hadrian in the meantime went through the massive amount of letters she had received that morning. Many people were angry on her behalf that a man like Dumbledore accused her of line theft when she never had done anything wrong. Others, mostly those sickeningly loyal to Dumbledore, said that she was the next Dark Lord and that she should be imprisoned in Azkaban, Hadrian filed those letters away that contained threats to her wellbeing and would redirect those to Amelia Bones.
Then there were also those who offered their alliance to her, most prominent in that regard was Lord Malfoy who in a very lengthy letter explained that he would gladly offer his assistance and that he apologised for his son’s misbehaviour towards her. Those letters she also filed away, she would have to write an individual response to each letter and stay in contact with those who might prove to be valuable for her.
And lastly, there were also the letters from the newspapers who all wanted an interview with her now that she made an official appearance in public. Too bad for them that she already had a contract with Skeeter, she didn’t doubt that it would give a huge outcry in the media world when it got out that she had made one with the assumedly worst muckraker they had in their midst. However, that had exactly been what she had needed; someone who would not shy away from printing the worst and most destructive stories she had to share.
That was when her father and the twins entered through the entrance door having done the ritual in the Room of requirements since Dumbledore had abused the original ritual room for his scheming.
“Ah, welcome back. Did something interesting come up?” she asked them looking up from the letter, she was currently writing.
“Interesting indeed,” the twins replied handing her the parchment with their results.
Fred & George Weasley
Shadow Magic (light red)
Potions (middle red-orange)
Enchanting (light orange)
Spellcasting (light yellow-orange)
Runic and Ritual Magic (middle yellow)
Offensive/Defensive Magic (dark yellow-green)
Earth Magic – Plants (middle green)
Transfiguration (middle green-blue)
Blood Magic (dark blue-violet)
Special traits: Magical twins, Animagus
“Well, that certainly explains a lot, especially your habit of twin speech,” she snickered.
Magical twins were actually twins who shared one soul and magical core, two halves of the same, hence why their magical affinity was exactly the same. Magical twins were very rare and when one were born they most of the time were really powerful, they had to be to sustain the shared core. Should one of the twins die for whatever reason the other twin didn’t necessarily die too, though the surviving one would feel the hole that the other left for their entire remaining life, which rarely lead to the surviving twin not killing themselves in history.
“But shadow magic? This is the first time I’ve heard of it,” Hadrian mused.
“We haven’t heard of it either, and Mr. Slytherin didn’t want to explain it yet, though we wonder why you know about Enchanting,” the twins replied.
“Enchanting is a specialisation of what you probably call Charms, however it’s far more long-lasting. For example, you can charm something invisible and depending how good and powerful you are in that branch, it will last let us say a week. Enchanting something to be invisible would last far longer, decades even centuries before the enchantment fades; it is a quite powerful ability to have. Nonetheless, what is shadow magic?” she now looked expectedly at her father who just sat down after fetching something to drink from the kitchen.
“Shadow Magic is as the name indicates, the ability to wield, manipulate and utilise the shadows. One of the most known abilities of a Shadow Mage would be the Shadow Walk, the ability to walk within the shadows completely unseen. Once the realm of shadows is entered, the Mage can move freely within them and can exit them within any other shadow they want. Another ability would be to open up a direct gateway from one shadow to another ignoring most of the known wards,” Salazar explained.
The twins face lit up hearing that making Hadrian question whether she should laugh or pity the population of Hogwarts because she did not doubt that the twins would use those abilities for numerous pranks and other semi-illegal stuff.
“However, I would ask you to not attempt anything at first without supervision of another Shadow Mage because it is dangerous to do so alone, and should you get stuck only another Shadow Mage will be able to help you,” he warned them in a stern voice.
The twins looked at each other worriedly before looking at Salazar again. “Do you perhaps know someone who might teach us?”
“There is one actually teaching here at Hogwarts,” with how her father announced that Hadrian had actually a very bad feeling about what he would say next. “One Severus Snape.”
“I knew it,” she groaned.
“The man hates us,” the twins said at the same time.
“I told you that he is more irritated by you…” Hadrian retorted absently thinking the entire situation through.
“…well…you might be right,” Fred drawled out. “We actually had potions today and we heeded your advice.”
“He even gave us a compliment,” George mused.
“What passes as a compliment with him anyways,” Fred added.
That actually made Hadrian snicker. “You see? Perhaps you should talk to him, negotiate a truce with him…I don’t doubt that you’ll come up with something however I have to leave now if I want to get anything to eat before my meeting with Professor Snape,” she said while standing up and heading towards the door.
“Wait, I’ll accompany you,” his father called out to her before to the surprise and awe of the twins, shifted into his animagus form and slithered over to his daughter settling on her shoulders hidden beneath the collar of the robes and her long hair.
“Wow, can you teach us?” the asked unison getting a low hissing in return that sounded suspiciously amused to them. “What did he say?”
“Maybe,” now Hadrian snickered.
She left the quarters through the door followed by the twins who animatedly talked about what they learned that afternoon, and that it had been the best decision to help Hadrian and his father. Quite a few of the students they passed looked at them curiously, wondering what the Devils of Gryffindor were doing together with the young Slytherin but most simply shrugged it off as a mere coincidence.
Upon their entering the great hall, Snape raised an eyebrow wondering what Slytherin wanted from the twins, and he could only pray that it would not come to bite his backside later. However, he somehow doubted that Slytherin would let it come to that, the boy who still was a girl seemed to be adamant to better the reputation of the house and that wouldn’t happen should he allow the twins to work against it.
Hadrian walked up to the Slytherin table while the twins took their seat at their own house table.
Dinner was quiet and unspectacular making Hadrian wonder whether Dumbledore would be stupid enough to antagonise her further by ignoring her and not apologizing to her as she had told the man. She did not know whether it was unfortunate or not, but at just the moment Hadrian decided that the man indeed was an idiot and wanted to leave the hall, Dumbledore stood up and loudly cleared his throat. Hadrian who was already close to the door stopped in her tracks and turned around.
“Mr. Slytherin I have to admit, that I did you wrong and I hope that you accept my sincerest apology,” he said in a solemn voice loud enough to be heard in the entire hall without shouting.
Hadrian however wondered whether the old fool thought her stupid so she raised an eyebrow. “And what exactly are you apologizing for? I remember quite a few instances in which you did me wrong,” she raised her voice just above a whisper but as it had been during the sorting she was heard very well, even in the furthest corners of the Great Hall.
Dumbledore glared at her telling her clearly that she was pushing his patience but Hadrian didn’t care, she had told Dumbledore that he would have to apologize in front of the entire hall and if the man thought that she would accept some half-arsed apology, the man would have to bear the consequences.
“I accused you of line theft but obviously I have been wrong to do so,” Dumbledore admitted grudgingly.
Hadrian looked Dumbledore straight into the eyes as if he was contemplating whether to accept the apology or not before she slowly nodded.
“Very well, I accept your apology, good evening,” she said before turning around again and finally leaving the great hall towards the dungeons. Beneath her collar covered by her long hair, her father snickered lowly.
A few minutes later, she stood in front of Snape’s office door but did not receive an answer upon knocking. That was when said man rounded the corner.
“Mr. Slytherin, thank you for being so punctual,” he nodded towards her. “Still a girl I see.”
“Unfortunately yes, my father could also do nothing about it and I would be a hypocrite if I expect other people to be punctual without being punctual myself without a valid reason,” Hadrian replied with a small smile.
“Indeed,” Snape opened the door and motioned for her to go inside and take a seat. “So how may I be of help?”
“First I wanted to apologize to you sir for what happened during my first evening here, while I do not apologize for what I said it was the how I said it that was unnecessarily harsh, so I hope you can forgive me,” Snape dipped his head in acknowledgement. “And I can understand that you came to the conclusion that I would want to blackmail you with my knowledge though it was merely an attempt to stop you from doing something you might regret.”
“You know I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that someone would dismiss such powerful blackmailing material, especially a Slytherin,” here he raised an eyebrow but Hadrian started to chuckle lowly.
“The better question then, would be why I would waste it on something as minor as the room arrangement. Despite that, if I really wanted you to do my bidding I would call in the life debt of my father. No, in my eyes it’s resorting to forcing someone to do something they have no wish to do, a method for those idiots who don’t have the ability to convince the person to do it on their own free will. My father once said that true loyalty does not come by force, only voluntarily,” she now smiled.
“Then your father is a wise man,” Snape replied in a soft voice people rarely got to witness.
“Indeed, and perhaps one day you might learn the truth about him. However, this was not the only thing I wanted to talk about. The meeting with Dumbledore yesterday left me thinking, to me it seems that Dumbledore wants me to go wandering around the school after curfew,” she started.
“So, you saw it too,” Snape nodded with a thoughtful expression.
“I can only guess the reason but considering that suddenly the corridor on the third floor on the right hand is out of bounds to all who don’t want to die a very painful death…it seems that he wants me to explore what is hidden there,” Hadrian mused.
“I’d strongly advise against going there,” the Potions Master said in a stern voice.
Hadrian on the other hand looked at him contemplating whether she could trust the man or not. “Can I trust you not to tell Dumbledore about that conversation?” she finally asked.
“Dumbledore only gets to know what he needs to know. This conversation falls under the trust between a student and his head of the house so as long it does not contain information that would endanger others or the health of the student in a way I cannot deal with it is nothing he needs to be informed of,” the man curtly replied.
“Very well, it is the contrary actually, the danger on the third floor has been removed,” Hadrian replied with a smirk.
“I beg your pardon,” Snape was completely baffled.
“My father accompanied me to this school and when he heard Dumbledore’s little speech…well he couldn’t leave a danger such as a Cerberus in a school with only a simple door keeping students out. What if some nosy first year would have stumbled in there? The Alohomora charm is on the first year curriculum after all. Despite that, telling children that they are forbidden to go somewhere most of the time only piques their curiosity and therefore results in them going there…. However, the Cerberus is securely transported to a reservation in America und every entrance to that floor heavily warded now, Dumbledore will be in for a very nasty surprise should he want to try and get in there,” a snicker escaped her.
Snape hummed lowly upon that, he had to admit that it was a clever move to do, and indeed the Cerberus had been a serious danger to the students. Why Dumbledore thought it a good idea to place it there and then go so far as to tell everyone he probably would never understand. He told Dumbledore already that this was a particularly bad idea, but the old man had not listened to him and only said that he had everything under control. Now it seems that the man’s plans had backfired spectacularly, Hadrian’s father had removed the danger. Thinking about it, he had to admit that he would sleep better now knowing that no student would fall into the trap the old meddling fool had set up, probably as the boy had said, to lure him down there for whatever reason. That remind him, did he know what exactly was hidden down there?
“What has happened with the object Dumbledore hid down there?” he asked tentatively.
“Oh, that is also secured and well on its way back to its true owner, or rather will be once my father is done here. Don’t worry, my father has no need for the stone and is good friends with the Flamel’s, he wouldn’t dare to steal it,” she said to appease the worry she could clearly see in the Potions Master’s face.
“We’ll see,” was the man’s only reaction.
“We will. Though back to the original topic, Dumbledore obviously expects me to roam the halls of Hogwarts after curfew and at the moment I’m inclined to give him what he wants if only to keep him from realising what my true goals are. The problem though, is that I don’t want to lose too many house points over it if any at all, which would require a good plan,” she explained.
“Were it me to catch you out of bounds I could simply give you detention before reporting it back to the headmaster however should anyone else catch you…,” Snape replied with a thoughtful face.
“Well, with Filch I cannot tell yet, the other professors I should be able to convince not to be too harsh with their punishment. What can you tell me about Professor McGonagall?” he suddenly asked.
“Scottish, a stern woman, and quite hard when it comes to punishment but fair nonetheless. She is also very close to Dumbledore and probably takes everything he says for face value. Why do you ask?”
“Because I have my doubts that she is that far up Dumbledore’s backside as you might think,” upon the Potions Master’s questioning look she elaborated that statement. “I clearly remember the day Dumbledore dumped me with my relatives and I also clearly remember her telling him, that they are the worst kind of muggles and that it would be a bad idea to leave me with them, not only that, I also remember a cat that looked exactly like her coming by and observing the house. I have the feeling that she only did nothing because of the power Dumbledore holds over her. Then there is what she said to me when I attempted to leave Hogwarts during the sorting, she said that it had been Dumbledore who advised her to ignore my change of naming and that it wasn’t her choice as she was sorry for it,” she explained.
“Perhaps then I should have a closer watch on her,” Snape replied wondering when he decided to work for…with the boy. However, from what he could tell the boy was resourceful, skilful and most importantly, he was inconspicuous. Hadn’t he told him he highly doubted that he would have ever suspected him once he got to know not only about the removed Cerberus but also the warding of the area, and the missing stone? Also how he handled everything else, he didn’t order and force people to do his bidding as the Dark Lord had done, or manipulated one to do has he wanted expecting that one followed it. No, he seemingly expected nothing but was grateful when he gained help as the next words of the boy confirmed.
“Thank you Professor, every bit of helpful information is well received,” she said nodding towards him.
“You’re welcome. On an unrelated note, do I have to worry about the twins?” he now asked curiously.
“Should I be correct they should be less a bother too you though they soon might come by for a talk. I hope you give them the benefit of a doubt and hear them out,” Hadrian confirmed.
“Yes, I remember you saying that they are not bullies like a certain other group, I assume you referred to your birthfather and his merry band of…idiots,” Snape growled.
“Indeed, I am referring to them, and I have to admit that their deeds were atrocious, how Dumbledore could have covered up for them I probably will never understand. I actually had to throw out my godfather and refuse to talk to him for over a month to get that point through his head. However, the twins are different, they actually apologized when they hit me with their prank and even offered help to reverse it, so yes, I think that they are far better than the Marauders ever were,” she ground out. “And while I enjoy a good prank I would never allow them to become bullies.”
Snape looked at her for a few moments before he nodded curtly, he would have to see for himself before coming to a conclusion, although today in potions the twins had actually behaved and had done as well as he knew they could do. Should they truly continue like that he would have to admit that he looked forward to their work. He knew that they were pretty good in potions, better than any other he had watched over the years, well except Slytherin, but he doubted that anyone could reach him (yes even he himself as hard as it was to admit could not best the 11 year old boy), and he had hated to watch them throwing away their talent as they had. That was just another thing Slytherin had changed silently and without searching acknowledgment for it.
“Very well, was there anything else you wanted to discuss with me?” he finally asked.
“No, for now that was everything. Thank you for taking the time,” she said with a smile and a grateful nod.
“You’re welcome and should anything happen or you need me for some reason, you know where to find me,” Snape replied with a slight curling of his lips.
Hadrian bowed shortly before leaving the man’s office, this time to the Slytherin common room, she had to make an appearance there from time to time after all. So, she spent his evening there doing the homework of the day as well as socialising with her fellow house mates.
The next day luckily was the Saturday and therefore Hadrian had no classes to attend. That meant that she had all the time needed to attend when her father would look over the wards of Hogwarts. After breakfast they both made their way to the room where the warding stone was located, which was deep beneath the centre of Hogwarts with the only access being a hidden and extremely well warded door at the bottom of the grand staircase.
Making sure that no one was watching, Salazar shifted back from his animagus form before commanding the wards to let him through. Not much later, they made their way into the belly of Hogwarts until they reached a large, round room with a huge stone in the middle that glowed lowly in a light blue. It was covered over and over with runes of which even Hadrian didn’t understand some.
“Wow, the magic it radiates…it is truly awesome. Thank you for taking me here, dad,” Hadrian said in awe.
“It is breath-taking, but something is wrong, the stone should be charged more,” her father mused while circling the monolith.
However what her father did next really made her gasp, her father touched a row of runes when suddenly some kind of head up display made out of runes glowing in several shades of gold, red and blue appeared between the stone and her father. If she hadn’t known, what magic could do and with how it looked, Hadrian could have sworn that it was something out of the mundane science-fiction films.
Moving, shifting and touching certain runes, the frown on Salazar’s face deepened with every minute that passed.
“Dumbledore has established another warding stone that is supressing some of the original rune-wards all the while establishing other new ones that are also fighting the existing ones. It also seems that he had no idea what he was doing, which was a particularly bad thing because he could have brought down the entire wards protecting Hogwarts without any hope of restoring them,” he growled.
Hadrian walked around the monolith and up to her father to have a look on the runes. Sure, she had only basic knowledge of warding and her knowledge of ancient runes did not reach up to that of her father’s but she had a general gist of what the shown runes were doing.
“How do you know it was Dumbledore?” she questioned.
“Do you see those runes?” he nodded. “They show you how long this is going on now and it all started approximately two years after Dumbledore became headmaster of Hogwarts.”
“Can you restore the wards?”
“I could, yes, but that would alert Dumbledore that someone was down here and considering, that only the founders were ever able to enter this room he would instantly suspect you. However, I can weave in a few new wards to strengthen the security without alerting him,” Salazar mused.
That was then exactly what he did, he weaved a set of new runes into the ones that Dumbledore had established and that would not alert the old fool. He also added protective wards around the old ones so that even if Dumbledore attempted to mess with the wards they would not come down like a destabilised card house.
“So now to the second part,” he said once he was done with rearranging the wards.
He took out something that looked like a glass ball that glowed lowly. Again shifting the runes he touched one with the glass ball when suddenly the entire room started to glow lowly before a small three-dimensional replica of the castle made out of light appeared around them.
“The marauders map is nothing against this,” his daughter muttered.
All throughout the castle glowed little points indicating students that walked through the castle, professors sitting in their offices and magical pets roaming the corridors.
“This shows each and every magical signature in the castle as small as it may be, as long as the person or creature inherits some living magic it is displayed. But that is not, what I’m interested in,” Salazar explained.
Living or also called sentient magic, was magic that belonged to a sentient being instead of object magic, which was magic applied to an object. Though object magic could under the right circumstances become sentient magic as it has happened to Hogwarts in parts. So the wards, the enchantments, as well as all the magic that lingers in the air around the castle, combined with the fact that it was built on the junction of two ley-lines had resulted in the castle becoming sentient to a degree.
Touching a few more runes, the entire castle suddenly shifted until it showed a room on the seventh floor.
“I hoped it wouldn’t be the case, but it seems that there is a Horcrux hidden in Hogwarts, the Room of Requirements to be exact,” he mused stroking his chin, when the entire castle shifted again. “What?” was the only thing he could say to that.
“Could it be that there are two soul-shards here at Hogwarts?” his daughter questioned.
“Yes and no, this one seemingly has possessed a person, Quirrell. It looks like we just found the main soul part,” Salazar now snickered lowly.
“That also might explain the presence of the stone and Dumbledore’s announcement. He lured Riddle here and tried to pique my interest in the third floor corridor to get me to go down there and face that idiot to save the stone. Well, I’d say that his plan got ruined. What do you intend to do?” she looked curiously at her father.
“An anonymous hint to the DMLE should do the trick, but not yet. At the moment Riddle will be extremely cautious and probably flee should even the slightest hint show any danger to his position. This way Dumbledore will also think that everything is going according to plan,” Salazar told his daughter.
“Very well, then I’ll have an eye on him and alert you should something happen,” Hadrian said.
His father nodded in approval and with a few quick moves, he had the display shut down and they were on the way back to the castle. After sealing the entrance to the warding stone again, he shifted back into his animagus form and once he was firmly curled around the shoulders of his daughter they made their way out to the lake enjoying the sunny day.
The rest of the weekend and the beginning of the next week went by and Salazar went back home having to do his own business as well as deliver the Horcrux they found in the Room of Requirements to the Unspeakables, another relic of the founders saved from the unholy doings of Riddle. Then he would also visit his old friend Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle to give them back the stone, as well as having a talk with them over what Dumbledore had planned.
Hadrian and Neville who still were girls much to the irritation of everyone on the other hand had their flying lesson and so they were on their way to the large courtyard where the lesson would be hold. While Neville was more content with staying on the ground, both of them already knew how to fly and even knew what to do and how to stay on a broom, should they have the unfortunate luck to get into a storm. However, they had to attend this class and so there was no way around it.
When they arrived and Hadrian saw the state of the brooms she scowled, they were a catastrophe in waiting. All of them were ancient and most of them were only usable as firewood any more.
“I have a feeling that this won’t end well,” Hadrian muttered.
“Perhaps I should excuse myself from that lesson then,” Neville groaned.
Hadrian looked at her friend having to admit that it would be very good idea but she also knew that it would never work, so she accepted her fate and attended the lesson. She listened to Malfoy boasting about how good a flyer he was and that he had nearly crashed into a mundane helicopter once, when Madame Hooch finally arrived and told them to stand next to one of the brooms. Once they did, they were to sharply command the broom to come “up”. Hadrian’s did so instantly, while Neville’s firmly stayed on the ground, she looked at it contemplating knowing that it wasn’t the command. After a few more attempts, Neville also had hers firmly in her hand though she wanted to fly it less and less. Madame Hooch went around correcting their grip on the broom when she lectured Hadrian on the right way to grip it. Hadrian inwardly rolled his eyes knowing very well, that her grip was better than the one she deemed the right one but for now, she humoured her and changed it only to change it back once she wasn’t looking anymore.
Madame Hooch now stood at the front again holding her whistle up.
“When I blow the whistle push off the ground as hard as you can, hover a bit, lean forwards and land again. On my signal, three, two, one,” she called out.
However before she could even lift the whistle to her mouth, Neville’s broom suddenly jerked forwards and rose quite quickly preventing Neville from safely getting of it, before it shot off. Hadrian, who watched that with shock, jumped on her own broom landing in a position, where she had her feet crossed over the handle shortly before the bristles started and leaned flat over the handle to rapidly gain speed, shooting after her god-brother (technically sister now as they were both still girls) whose broom was completely out of control. It took a few attempts but finally she was able to grab Neville’s broom handle to let her broom fly parallel to it.
“Jump over here,” she called out while taking a sitting position to make space for Neville. “And please hurry up.”
They were both flying with high-speed straight towards a lead-glass window behind which Hadrian could clearly see someone sitting and when they didn’t hurry up they would crash right into it.