The light and happy atmosphere that was abundant in Grimmauld Place was ruined by the arrival of the letter. Harry, Sirius, and Remus were quiet, barely partaking in conversations and making things rather awkward for the Slytherins. Alphard was having a hard time substituting for his uncle, a requirement since he was a Black. Even worse was the fact that Tom himself was in a foul mood.
Harry had holed himself up in the dueling room for the entirety of the previous afternoon. Anyone walking by could hear several loud crashes, angry yelling and a few curses. By the time Harry had come out of the room his entire appearance was ruffled, clothes rumpled, hair sticking up everywhere and his complexion pale from overuse of magic. Sirius dragged him to bed stating he was on strict bed rest for the rest of the day.
Tom had watched this all occur from afar, even at one point sitting in front of the dueling room, silently writing in his journal as he listened to Harry raging. There were quite a few interesting curses, and of course insight on the family dynamics. These would all be important for when he would be at Potter Manor; knowledge was power and the better he understood the Potters the more he could maneuver.
If Remus had seen Tom's actions he would have ripped the boy away from the room. His mood was already terrible due to having his cub manipulated, even if it failed, and now his privacy was being intruded. It was only luck that Remus was not there as Sirius had taken him to their room so he could properly calm down away from prying eyes.
At breakfast the tense atmosphere continued, and Alphard was at the end of his tether. This was not how he expected his holidays to go and last night he wasn't able to sleep properly due to stress and the fact he could feel his Lord's deteriorating mood.
"So, um what other places have you visited Mr. Lupin?" Alphard questioned, desperately trying to shatter the awkward atmosphere.
"France, the praise for their cuisine is not to be taken lightly. While not as experimental as Asian cuisine, their use of ingredients can be just as innovative. Although I do quite enjoy their form of hot chocolate, it is far more superior than what is done here." He said, less grumpy as the effects of the full moon were gone, but he was still irritable due to the letter.
"Why does that not surprise me? You seem to have an addiction towards chocolate Remus." Harry added, smiling just a bit. Hedwig had left him alone this morning, understanding that he wasn't in the best state at the moment.
"We should try and make it, see what all the hype is about. I've had enough of your grumbling whenever I make myself hot chocolate." Sirius added, the mood lightening up to Alphard's relief. Part of it was due to Sirius' assistance as he saw what his cousin was trying to do. It was also important to do as having the guests feel uncomfortable would look bad on them as the hosts.
"That's because you use cocoa powder and water to make it. That is not hot chocolate, you need actual chocolate and dairy to make the drink!" Remus countered.
Sirius sighed, putting on an act, "There he goes again about the drink! Last time he gave me a history about cocoa, you know. Your Uncle here is truly a chocolate addict, to know the history of cocoa itself!" He exclaimed, pleased when Harry's smile only widened.
"Now then! You guys can be in the library until lunch, but afterwards no more studying! These are the winter holidays and I did not renovate this entire place and create some fun additions to gather dust!" He concluded, eating his food with more enthusiasm.
"That's only because you want to show off the playroom." Harry countered, smirking as he had his tea, deciding to forgo coffee this time.
"Well of course I want to show it off, I've worked on it far too much for it to go to waste!"
"Playroom?" Cygnus questioned.
"A room where we have a variety of activities set up. Pool, darts, board games, cards, and there's even a bar where we've set up a few good drinks." Sirius explained, almost done with his meal.
"Of course it is inaccessible due to the protections we've placed. Only someone who's of age would be able to grab anything alcoholic, but there are also non alcoholic drinks stored there." Remus added, not wanting any of them to get any ideas. Tom decided to keep quiet about the fact that with him being a Lord the wards wouldn't work on him. Then again considering how intelligent these two were, they were no doubt aware of that tidbit.
"Yes, so remember after lunch we will be in the playroom, taking advantage of the games placed there. You all are focusing far too much on your studies and not enough on relaxing." Sirius told them as everyone finished their meals, once more disappearing with Remus to some other part of the place doing who knows what.
"He's not exactly how I expect a Lord to act." Abraxas muttered as they all made their way to the library.
"That's not surprising, he was always considered the oddball of the Black family. We have a few eccentric members of the family due to the Black madness, but he's far stranger than the ones who have the madness." Alphard informed them.
"That's only because of your perspective. Uncle Sirius is considered to be the strange one of the family due to not having the same views as everyone else. He is more open-minded than the others and he's not the first to go against the family traditions." Harry countered, reminding them all that there was a Black family member who married a muggleborn. She was kicked out, but once Sirius became the lord she was reinstated back into the family.
"Sirius, what are you doing now?" Remus questioned as he watched his mate going around and bringing out things.
"I promised that Harry would be having the best Yule ever, which means I can't have him being gloomy all because of that blasted letter. That bastard can't do anything if I want my godson for a week of the holidays. So it's even more important I make sure he has as much fun as possible now before he has to go there!" He cheered when he found the book he was looking for. A journal containing all the pranks and ideas they had during their time at Hogwarts.
"So you want us to prank our guests? Your reputation is going to take a hit you know," Remus said once he saw the book.
Sirius waved his hand, "That's not going to happen, it's clear that Harry's suitor wants him. Why else have they not left despite what happened yesterday? Besides you saw my cousin handling things when we weren't in the right state to do so. Anyways we need a bit of fun and laughter going on right now! They're all so focused on studying that it's making the winter holiday so dreary!"
"You mean seeing them be good students is making you feel gloomy." Remus countered with a smirk.
"Details, details, who needs them? Now come on! Help me brew a few potions for lunch! That's when the prank war is going to begin! My godson challenged me after all! The Marauder pride is on the line!" Remus shook his head, sighing as he made his way over. Sometimes he wondered why his wolf chose Sirius as his mate, but then there were moments like these that reminded him why.
"Finally, I thought I was going to have to use magic to bring you all out of the library." Sirius said as the group came into the dining room. Lunch was already laid out before them, fresh and shining under the light.
"Leave them be Sirius, they're all bookworms. You can't expect any of them to act like Gryffindors." Remus said, giving them all a smile as they sat down, "How did your progress with research go?"
"It went well, the discussion we had last time helped narrow down some things for me. I have an idea of which stones or gems would be best to use for my item now. Now it's just a matter of getting them so I can do some test runs." Harry explained, taking some of the prepared sandwiches. He didn't want to eat anything heavy since there was still the rest of the day to go through.
"That's good, you've made some decent progress then. Reaching the testing phase halfway through the year is always a good sign. The testing stage is always what takes the longest after all." Remus informed him before asking the others how their own progress went.
"The discussion we had yesterday, taking inspiration from other cultures' ways of magic helped me think in an unorthodox way. I've begun to compare the stasis and preservation charms now to see if there's a new spell that can be made. One that would extend the use of a potion once bottled." Zevi pitched in, and then came the discussion about spells and their history of development. A bunch of theories being made on how spells were made, along with how the first spell came to be. With everyone having taken Arithmancy and Ancient Runes it was an enjoyable conversation.
"Harry, aren't you going to have any of the pudding?" Sirius questioned. All of the dishes were cleared away and replaced with a small plate of pudding for each of them.
"I'll pass for today, I'm not in the mood to have anything heavy." Harry responded. He never liked to eat heavy for lunch and he had a lot of sandwiches in the first place.
"Just a few bites? I mean it's the holidays! Nothing wrong with having dessert or eating heavy everyday." He countered, urging him to eat it. Harry immediately felt a bit suspicious, but he couldn't refuse him in front of the guests. A bit hesitant he ate the food, deciding to have just a few bites of the food.
"After all this, let's go to the playroom and try out some of the group activities. There's a few interesting looking games I found meant to be played between five to six people." Right after Sirius said that pandemonium occurred.
Abraxas bursted into white feathers... no that wasn't the right way to explain it. There was a shower of white feathers and once that went away all that remained was a panicking albino peacock. In the midst of the panic the feathers were flared out, and then there were other bursts of fur, feather, and even scales.
"Hahaha!" Sirius erupted into laughter as the dining hall became a mess, the victims of his prank trying to gather themselves.
"I know Malfoys have a lot of pride, but to turn into a peacock of all things!" He said, bending over in his laughter. Alphard was a dog, scrambling in his seat for balance, barking out nonsense. Cygnus had become a swan, honking, Zevi was a black and grey owl, perched at the top of his chair.
Sirius laughed and turned in his chair - only to come face to face with a pair of large golden eyes.
"S-SNAKE!" Sirius shrieked, scrambling onto his seat almost falling back if it wasn't for his grip on Remus' arm. His face had become completely pale, almost ashen as he stared at the chair furthest from him. Tom was a massive serpent who had coiled around his chair, hissing furiously. His head rested on top of the chair as he stared at Sirius. Most definitely glaring.
"Of course he's a snake…" Sirius muttered, heart still hammering away but some of his composure back.
"Now where is Harry?" He questioned, Harry's seat was suspiciously empty until a very quiet meow was heard.
"Pup, did you just meow?" Hearing another meow his eyes lit up, "Remus! My godson is an adorable kitty! I can just imagine his tiny form, he's most likely a black cat!" He exclaimed, already thinking of several things to call his godson. That was until furry paws were on the edge of the table, claws coming out and scratching the wood. Shavings of the wood appearing as the paws lost their grip, panicked meowing being heard. The paws disappeared until the chair wobbled and the claws reappeared. With a visible struggle Harry reached the top of the table, glaring at Sirius, tail swishing furiously.
"T-That's not a kitty…" Sirius said in a daze. Harry's white spotted fur gleamed under the lighting, his size that of an adult cat.
"Remus… He's a snow leopard! HOW IS THAT CUTE?! LOOK AT HIS CLAWS!" Sirius exclaimed, not liking how his godson was looking at him. Harry flexed out his very sharp looking claws to prove his point, growling and crouching looking as if he was ready to pounce at any moment.
"Well, cub certainly suits him," Remus said before Sirius received a faceful of pudding courtesy of Harry. Remus chuckled at that, and once he saw everyone had somewhat gotten used to their new forms he explained, "It's a prank potion that links you to an animal form that best represents you. Similar to the animagi potion, but not exactly. It will only last for an hour and is completely harmless. I'll open the lounge so you can comfortably wait for it to wear off." Remus got up from his seat with Harry cradled in his arms as he ignored the unintentional scratches being made.
Around ten minutes later everyone had situated themselves in one way or another. Abraxas in true Malfoy fashion was observing his arrangement of feathers, opening and closing them, sometimes even preening. Cygnus was still adjusting to his own form, losing balance here and there. Alphard was rather comfortable, deciding to explore his new senses, especially his nose. Zevi was on the unfortunate side as Hedwig had found him. Somehow, she decided that he was an attractive owl and was now, to his horror, flirting with him. He did his best to avoid her advances, unable to retaliate as she was Hadrian's familiar.
Harry was not pleased, though at first he was fascinated by his new form. He was testing the limitations of his feline form, but it took some time to adjust to the whole tail thing. Once he had gotten used to it he was very agile, being able to get around a lot faster. He even got used to climbing onto surfaces, but then Tom Riddle had to do what he always did: ruin his experience. He was just relaxing on the couch from all the testing when he came circling around him, and before Harry knew it he was trapped.
"Get off!" he growled out, trying to squirm his way out from underneath Tom's heavy form. There was no need for him to put his scaly head on top of his, and this jerk was purposely putting his entire weight on him! Harry snarled in frustration disliking just how cute he sounded as a leopard cub. Hedwig wasn't even listening to him! Far too interested in Prince, though it was a bit strange and he'd have to apologize to him later. No doubt that was going to be a very traumatizing experience for him.
Unfortunately Harry couldn't get free no matter what he tried. If he was slipping out then all Tom had to do was shift a bit and he was trapped once more. Harry had no choice but to wait for the potion to wear off, while calling Tom many crude names. If Remus heard just a quarter of what he said his mouth would have been washed with soap.
The time limit on the transformations expired unexpectedly. Cygnus squawked and in a poof of feathers he was on the ground. Zevi fell down onto the floor with a thud, groaning in pain as he was in the midst of attempting to fly away from Hedwig.
Harry's relief as smoke covered his vision was short lived. Tom was crouched on top of him which trapped him even more, much to his annoyance. They were face to face transformed and were facing each other now. Tom was above him inches apart. He was close. Too close. Close enough that even though his glasses were crooked Harry could see those small red specks in Tom's eyes that were just that shade of burgundy that made them interesting to look at- he paused. The tips of his ears burned and he didn't know why. Why wasn't Tom getting off of him? He was still too close. Did they not transform back? His heart was pounding as if he had run a race and he still didn't understand what was happening!
"The time limit should be over by now." The moment Harry heard Remus' voice he freaked. Reflexively he kicked Tom off of him, ignoring the fact he landed on the ground with a muffled oof. Served him right for trapping him for an hour and then pinning him against the couch.
"Pup? Is everything alright, you look a little flushed..."
"I'm fine." Harry snapped, fixing his glasses before getting up and making his way to his room. He ignored just how warm his cheeks felt, or the fact that Tom Riddle was- no, no, he wasn't going to think about that!
Sirius blinked as he took in the sight of the Slytherins trying to get a hold of themselves. Why did he feel like he missed something that may have been important? It couldn't be too important, they were after all just kids still trying to get the hang of the world, even if they were more mature than other kids.
"Well it looks like there weren't any adverse effects to the potion. That's good, although it looks like Prince needs some healing," he commented once he noticed Zevi who slowly sat up wincing. Interestingly enough he was shifting as far away as possible from Hedwig, there must be a reason for that.
Unfortunately for Sirius after this whole prank none of them were in the mood for going to the playroom. Sirius caved in after seeing Cygnus stumble around trying to regain his balance. It seemed like shifting from animal to human was going to take them some time to adjust to. The effects were very similar to when he had successfully done the animagus transformation now that he thought about it. In the end Sirius decided to not push them, they could play the games he had in mind tomorrow.
"Why are you so insistent that we have this?" Harry questioned as everyone made themselves comfortable in the playroom. Remus, the Slytherins, and Harry were sitting on the large round table while Sirius brought out the deck of cards.
"Because I want to prove that I do have the best poker face!" Sirius declared, using his magic to bring forth the large basket that contained a variety of chocolates from Honeydukes.
"I even got the good stuff from Honeydukes! Whoever wins this tournament wins this basket." He said with a bright grin. Tom raised a brow, taking a look at the selection of chocolates in the basket. Orange flavored chocolate, milk chocolate, ice mice, sugar wands, liquorice wands…
"Is that why there's a lot of your favorites added in?" Remus questioned as he carefully dealt out the chips while Sirius shuffled the cards.
"Of course, I'm definitely going to be winning! This is just an added incentive. I made sure to add in the popular stuff, along with yours and Harry's favorites. So there's something for everyone!" Harry shook his head with a sigh,
"Alright, it's best we just go along with it or else he's going to bug us about it the entire time we're here." Ignoring Sirius' cheers he took his cards, "How are we doing this?"
"Everyone plays from the start, knock-out style to the last man standing. Doing a tournament style would take a while, and I don't have enough chips." Sirius explained. Harry wanted to point out that they were wizards, but decided to forget it. It was best to just let this happen instead of dragging it out for longer.
"Alright, time to start!" With a grin Sirius put some chips in the center. The Slytherins who were more on the sideline just went along with it, besides they were also amused by Sirius' antics. Spending a few days in Grimmauld Place made them gain an understanding of his personality and just how he went about things.
One game later….
"THERE WAS CHEATING INVOLVED!" Sirius exclaimed as everyone else collected their chips. Before him was nothing having lost all of his chips.
"You're pointing fingers." Remus countered, organizing his pile before shuffling the deck since it was clear Sirius wasn't going to do that.
"Moony! I shouldn't be the one who lost first when I've been playing this game since I was 15!" Granted he learned the game to get back at his parents since it was something Muggle, but still! He was good at it and he knew he hadn't lost his touch.
"Well it's your fault for deciding to play a game with Slytherins of all people." Alphard added in, grinning as he took his cards.
"It doesn't make sense! I get Moony cause he was always sneaky, but I have more experience than you all!" He complained. Everyone else had already begun to ignore him as they started the next game. Sirius grumbled, making his way to the bar so he could get himself a drink.
"I'd like some firewhiskey." Remus called out, "Raise by 100." Pushing in his chips in the center.
"Call," Harry added in his chips, "Butterbeer for me." Everyone else said the same as they added in their chips.
"What is this? Being reduced to a bartender?" Sirius grumbled out, but grabbed the drinks anyways.
"I didn't realize that Lord Black was such a sore loser," Tom said, smirking.
"YOU," Sirius turned to point accusingly at the Slytherin, "It's your fault! You Slytherins have an unfair advantage!"
"And yet you were the one dumb enough to challenge us to poker of all things." Abraxas countered, sniffing in disdain.
"DUMB?! I am not dumb! Moony here is also a Gryffindor!" Sirius gestured in Remus's general direction. He would not let his house be slandered!
"Actually the hat was stuck between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor for me." Remus corrected as he won the most recent round. Cygnus and Alphard had lost and were drinking their Butterbeer off to the side. Sirius looked at him aghast, unable to believe what was happening to him.
"What?" Remus looked up at him and raised a brow,
"Apparently I had the smarts and thirst for knowledge. I mean I enjoy teaching others, but since I had met you and the others on the train I decided on Gryffindor. I didn't want to lose the friends I had made." The last bit was rather sobering since it was clear as to why he was afraid of losing them.
"Fine! But I know that Harry isn't one!" Sirius said, looking onto his godson silently pleading with his eyes. Harry looked up and gave his dogfather the sweetest smile that rang alarm bells.
"The hat wanted me in Slytherin," Harry said innocently.
Everyone paused as if they couldn't believe what they were hearing. Tom especially needed a moment to understand.
"Wait, really?" Alphard questioned. He always had wondered ever since the prank where their lord became bald.
Harry blinked, wondering if it was that strange, "Yes? Said something about how I'd bring some much needed change in the house, or that the people could learn a thing or two from me. I told it that it was far more trouble than it was worth. Stupid hat argued with me until I threatened to set it on fire. It only sighed and said that proved it even more so before deciding on Ravenclaw because of my thirst for knowledge," he explained, arranging his chips, unaware of the looks being sent his way.
"I'm not surprised, you were always a bit more mischievous when you were younger." Remus said with a smile.
"I'VE BEEN BETRAYED!" Sirius wailed, his own mind finally catching up. Everyone winced at the rather high volume.
"My own godson! My own husband! Such horrific betrayal!" he added, loudly sobbing, even though it was clear it was fake.
"Now you're just being overdramatic," Harry replied, exasperated, and a bit embarrassed by his godfather's actions.
"OVERDRAMATIC?! I'LL SHOW YOU OVERDRAMATIC!" Sirius retorted, ready to pull out a massive act, until he found himself petrified, silenced, and bound to his chair.
"We're in the middle of a game, Sirius, be dramatic later," Remus told him as they began the next game. Sirius internally fumed, at least let him have his alcohol!
The next few games continued on in relative silence. A few snarky comments coming in from the sidelines courtesy of Sirius who was still bitter about being the first to lose. Alphard and Cygnus were betting on who would win each round until Abraxas lost, making him fifth place. Which left Remus, Zevi, Harry and Tom as the final four.
That's where the game became truly intense, Abraxas had joined in on the betting pool. Of course the currency was favors, money was useless when it came to Slytherins. Sirius was watching avidly, cheering on Remus to win the basket of chocolates.
"Shouldn't you be cheering on your godson?" Remus asked in amusement as Zevi ended up losing with his two pairs. Remus had the higher pair while Harry and Tom had three of a kind.
"No, I know my godson, he won't share anything in the basket. I know you will because you hate liquorice wands and ice mice," Sirius said offhandedly as he poured himself another cup of firewhiskey, Remus finally having relented and removing his husband's bindings a few hands ago.
Harry couldn't hold back the snort that came out, "Says the person who was crying about betrayal just a while ago," He muttered, gathering his winnings. Remus had the lowest amount, while Tom had the largest. He was going to have to play this next round carefully.
"You two are awfully good at this game." Remus commented, Sirius now acting as the dealer.
"Well when you're friends with the Weasley Twins you learn to get good at these kinds of games." Tom only hummed, his own circumstances self explanatory. There wasn't much conversation going on as everyone was focused on the game, despite it being only done for fun everyone had gotten invested midway.
"NO!" Sirius cried out when Remus lost the round, just a bit tipsy from the amount of alcohol he had, "My chocolates!" He cried out, looking at the basket pitfully.
"Maybe this'll teach you to not challenge those who obviously have an advantage in games." Remus commented, rather happy with how he did.
"I thought you would win cause you were the best back when we were in Hogwarts!" Sirius tried to defend himself. Abraxas had at one point taken the basket to prevent Sirius from running away with it. With how Lord Black had been acting he wouldn't put it beneath him.
"So divide the prize?" Remus questioned the last two standing.
Tom blinked, "I think we speak for both of us when I say that we're far too competitive to let things end here." Harry nodded in agreement, but he also secretly wanted to see Tom Riddle lose at something.
"You know you two fit really well together, I mean you both have similar mindsets." Sirius said out of nowhere. Harry looked at him as if he had gone crazy,
"If you say soulmates, I am going to hex you until the break is over."
"I was just stating something! I can make observations, all I'm saying is that you two seem compatible!" Harry narrowed his eyes, and when he noticed Tom smothering a smirk he growled.
Giving Riddle a look, Harry gritted out, "That doesn't mean anything."
Tom only smiled, "I believe it does mean something."
"It does not," Harry said, unwilling to budge as the cards were dealt. Everyone else forgot about the game and was watching the interaction.
"It does, he is acting as your guardian for this courtship." Tom reminded him, tossing aside one of his cards and taking a new one.
"I never said I agreed to the courtship." Harry retorted, discarding two of his cards.
"Yet." Raising the stakes up with 200 chips.
"What makes you think it'll happen?" The stakes rose by another 400.
"We've been courting for almost 4 months now and had our first outing? Anyone would assume that you enjoy my company." Checking his cards Tom folded, ignoring the glare Harry sent his way.
"I never said such a thing." Collecting his winnings, now having the larger pile between them. Remus automatically shuffled and dealt the cards once more.
"But it can be assumed." Tom said, clearly taunting him, finding this to be far more fun than the game. Putting in a quarter of his chips into the center.
"You're reading into things when there is nothing to read into." Harry declared angrily, putting in the same amount with an extra fifty. Tom only hummed as he matched once taking one card from the offered ones.
"Am I?" Sirius watched the back and forth that was happening between his godson and the one who was courting him. Despite how he had been acting during this entire holiday he did have a reason for inviting the Slytherins over. He wanted to see just what kind of person was the one who wanted to court his godson, along with the people he hung around with.
The brief time spent with the group of people was very telling. Remus' sharp instincts and with him being raised in a house of Slytherins meant that he wasn't as dense as he appeared. He knew that his behaviour wasn't very lord-like and so it threw the group off. Which meant he saw just a few snippets of them being unguarded, and those told him things that he could use to draw conclusions.
Tom Riddle being the leader of this entourage was a given, what was surprising was the respect he had in the eyes of the others. With Malfoy it seemed to be a grudging respect, but it spoke a lot considering that they were purebloods and Riddle was a halfblood. What was it that Riddle did to earn such respect? Slytherin's valued power, lineage, and cunning which tied in with intelligence.
Riddle had it all, that was clear to see, but that couldn't be the only thing. Other halfbloods had the same thing but never became the leader of the Slytherin house. Being the heir of Slytherin would play a part but not completely. He was missing something, something vital, something that would explain their- He paused, brows furrowing as he took note of the magic between the two.
As Lord of the house he was more sensitive to what happened in his home. The feeling was brief, but it stuck to him. Focusing even more he watched the two, the banter that was going on blurring into the background. His godson was being riled up if his irritated voice meant anything and the other was enjoying- There! Feeling the brief flare of magic Sirius focused on it further, observing the behaviour of said magic as it approached his godson, the way it curled and brushed against his…
Eyes snapping wide in realization Sirius jolted up in his seat, almost exclaiming in surprise but no sound came out of his mouth. Confused he tried to make a sound until he found Prince looking at him. Eyes full of seriousness as he subtly shook his head.
"Three of a kind." Forced out of his thoughts, he blinked and looked at the table. It seemed that they both had decided to go all in for the round, maybe all the rounds had gotten them tired? Harry smirked, showing his cards,
"Full house, I win." Still smirking he took the basket of chocolates, "Seems like someone isn't as Slytherin as they thought." He taunted.
Remus didn't know if he should say anything, because to him it was clear that Riddle should have won. In the argument that was going on between them he had discarded all of his good cards and picked the lower numbers. Did he let Harry win? That thought was soon pushed out of his mind when he noticed Sirius' troubled facial expression, had he missed something important?
Lord Black did not act how Tom expected, and it was mainly because of the fact the Blacks were Ancient and Noble. Of course he was well aware that the current Lord Black acted differently, but he didn't think it would be to the point of not being like a Lord of an Ancient and Noble house. Or was it better to say he didn't fit the mold of a Lord? He was far too laidback, bright and not so scheming despite having members of important houses as guests of his house.
Despite all of that, there was a spine of steel underneath. A glint in his eyes that made Tom wary, and it only appeared in two instances. The first when they found out they were in the territory of an Alpha werewolf. The second was with any interaction towards Hadrian. Sure he was urging his godson to be more social, but each time he did so he watched Tom and the other Slytherins closely.
"He's most likely taking the role of guardian that Lord Potter hasn't," Tom murmured to himself. The courtship may have been going on for a while, but Lord Black had not given his approval just yet. He was allowing the courtship to continue which Tom knew since he hadn't been called for a private meeting with him after the first two days.
"It seems I will just have to focus on gaining their approval and not the Potters. Unsurprising as the Potters will not give their approvals for as long as I am in a courtship with Hadrian. If I had chosen Rosemary I have no doubt that I would have reached the stage of planning the marriage with them. How boring." Sighing, he laid down on his bed.
For some unfathomable reason his mind was bringing up the scene back in the lounge. While the kick was fair, he hadn't meant to stare. Yes he had seen Hadrian in many ways that he didn't see in Hogwarts during this visit, but being that close to him… He frowned as his magic began acting strangely again, curling behind his ribs and then flaring out as if reaching. Whenever he thought of Hadrian it would be like this. It only started happening after the Halloween Ball, which was odd and discomfiting. He had to reserve all thoughts of Hadrian until he had complete privacy. Any research he did brought up no answers, he didn't even know where to begin as it was such a strange phenomenon. His thoughts were put to a halt as something poked his ribs. Frowning he picked up whatever it was that was annoying him.
A worn leather book stared back at him, the letters on the cover appearing faded. The pages were yellow with several creases here and there, a few of the pages have been doggy eared and still were. He smirked, putting the book on the night table before slipping under the covers.
"Of course you would forget." The lights of the room began to dim as he fell asleep. Right before it became completely dark the letters of the book shined.
"The basics of dueling and curses," by Henry Potter. An old memory came back to his mind, the dream that had always haunted him.
There we go chapter 11 all posted! A bit late to when I planned on posting this chapter, but here it is! We got mainly some cute scenes happening here, interactions between the Slytherins and the family. Please leave a review, I read every single one of them and it makes me feel immensely happy when I get a notification of a new review/comment! Hope everyone is having a good day and remember stay safe!