Chapter 8: The Circles
Slytherin and Potter?
By Rita Skeeter
I have fantastic news to tell you, my readers! The mystery of who exactly is courting Hadrian Potter has finally been answered! It is none other than the prestigious Tom Riddle, Lord of the Slytherin family! Shocking isn't it? I can tell you all that I was when I found out! Lord Slytherin has been well known for his lack of interest in courting and marriage affairs. His time of being single throughout his years at Hogwarts being proof of that.
So what is it that Hadrian Potter has that Lord Slytherin would start a courtship with him? Is it because of his intelligence? Hadrian is second after Tom himself in the Hogwarts Students rankings. Is it because of his family name, the Potter name? His looks? Hadrian is rather attractive, having Lady Potter's eyes, and Lord Potter's appearance. A possible hint of the Black lineage as well?
I know that the two of them have never interacted with each other before, some generous students having informed me of that. Despite their top rankings, the two were and still are not seen together. Their only known interaction was at the Masquerade Ball, but even then, Hadrian's identity was a secret. Although if one looked back after having this knowledge they'd see that it was quite obvious. Hadrian had worn his house colors and is known to have the nickname Prince of Ravenclaw. He definitely looked like a prince during the ball.
Why did Hadrian and the Potters keep the identity of the suitor a secret? It is a great honour to be courted by one of the most Noble and Ancient Houses. Another interesting question concerns the recent actions of Rosemary Potter, twin of Hadrian Potter. She had been spreading around rumours of infidelity to the population of Hogwarts, a rather serious allegation as a courtship is a sacred tradition in the Wizarding World. Before the revelation Rose had been saying that Hadrian was being courted by a female, something that's not viewed positively by the public. As we all know now, that is a lie, though we only found out about Tom being the suitor because he revealed it himself! Accusations were being thrown towards Hadrian as he went on the first outing of their courtship. Things went too far and Hadrian's reputation was ruined until Lord Slytherin intervened. No doubt this hearsay indirectly insulted Lord Slytherin as well as some of the rumours were related to the taste of Hadrian's suitor.
Why is Rosemary Potter spreading rumours? Why have Lord and Lady Potter not done anything against her actions? Considering her actions she is not presenting herself well as the Heir to the Potter Family line. Is there something more to this affair than we realize?
There are so many questions, and I, as your loyal reporter will find out the answers!
Once more Rita's article had caused a ruckus around the castle. This time Hadrian and Tom were the center of attention. Of course the position the two held within the school ensured they were left alone. The Slytherins kept to themselves as always, while the Ravenclaws let Hadrian be after one person was sent to the infirmary due to persistent questioning in what was considered private affairs. An unfortunate consequence was that those actions spurred more juicy gossip. Hadrian had come to the decision that this was going to be an ongoing cycle should he do anything more.
The questions Rita put in the paper made people wonder the same thing. Why exactly was Tom Riddle courting Hadrian Potter? He was the second born of the Potter Family when there was Rosemary Potter, a much more appealing option. Even the densest people knew she had a crush on Tom. The way she acted around him made it difficult to miss. So what was it that Hadrian Potter had that made Tom Riddle want to enter into a courtship with him? Most of the school had not even known who he was until the news of the courtship. They had labeled him as the quiet and studious Ravenclaw that had somehow become the leader of the house. It was a shock to the students that this leader was the younger twin sibling of Rose Potter, his name being previously unknown to most of the school population.
The intelligent students knew that there had to be more to Hadrian. Something more valuable than the Potter Fortune and their assets. The students who reached that conclusion were the ones that were more aware of the old traditions. Despite their knowledge they as well did not understand the reason for Tom's decision. The only exception to this confusion was Tom and his Inner Circle. Though their reasons were very different from each other.
"I'm surprised that he is taking things slow. Our lord isn't known to have much patience with these kinds of things. He's accustomed to people wanting to do things for him. Being in his presence and all, though that fault lies with the sheep." Alphard said, moving his knight across the board. He and Cygnus were in the middle of a chess match, a routine between the two of them.
"Keep in mind that this situation is different from all others. Our Lord is becoming more cautious and patient because of the stakes at risk. Even if he is unaware of what those stakes are, his magic does. Then there's that experience at the Masquerade Ball. A clear showing of what happens if he pushes too much." Zevi reminded them, reading a family potions journal. Everyone gave a small wince at that reminder. They didn't need to be told twice, that incident at the ball was horrendous. Feeling their Lord's magic coil around in anger, jealousy, and hate... They were tense throughout the entire evening. A very unpleasant feeling that they wished to never experience again. It was even more of a surprise when their Lord returned to the Slytherin dorms almost calm. His anger still lingered but was no longer heavy and oppressive. After that their Lord had become contemplative and calm, preoccupied with something. Becoming more cautious if one were to use Zevi's words.
"Then we should be grateful that there is no deadline for this kind of matter. Things would have taken a much worse turn if that were the case. Let our Lord do his business, he will be the one to decide. All we can do is hope that the worst-case scenario doesn't come to be." Abraxas finished, putting an end to the conversation. Slytherin was the house of ambition and to be the Prince of the house one would make some enemies. Talking about such things in the common room of all places wasn't wise. They wouldn't want their Lord's weak point to be found out. Not with Rita Skeeter running about. Even if said weak point could defend himself well. If Hadrian was put in danger, they were going to be the ones to receive his wrath.
"So the Prince of Snakes is rather attached to our Lord, Forge." George said to his brother. He added some sliced slugs to their bubbling cauldron.
"It would seem so Gred, and I don't like it. Snake Prince seems to be a bit too possessive of our Lord. You know how much our Lord loves his freedom," he said while measuring the amount of grounded moonstone needed as the potion book decreed.
"Raven Prince doesn't look too happy with the courtship."
"He's being forced." George declared, becoming more serious. Hadrian was their Lord, that meant they were to keep him safe. In return for all that he did for them. Fred nodded,
"I suspect it's not by the Snake Prince. We know how much his blood sister likes him, everyone does. With the Snake Prince's family name his parents would want the opportunity of having him in the family. But not through our lord, not while their precious daughter has a crush on him." George scowled at the reminder of their Lord's family situation. It was more than unpleasant, to treat a close family member in such a way…
"There is a bright side to this, we've gained ourselves new victims." Both of them shared a devious grin. Their minds filled with many possibilities of pranks now that there was a well meaning goal. This was going to be their most enjoyable and difficult set of pranks yet.
Muffling a yawn Sirius made his way to the kitchen for some food. His hair was a mess and if his mother could see the state of his clothes she'd start yelling. Most likely declare that his appearance wasn't fitting for a Lord, especially the House of Black. Thankfully with Remus's help they were able to take down the portrait in the main hall. A corrosive potion ate away the magic of the permanent charm that stuck the portrait to the wall. They moved the portrait to be with the others, where his mother could annoy them with her voice.
They had used the same potion in his room to get rid of the posters and pictures he had on his walls. Remus said that he had to be a good influence on Harry. If they wanted him to spend the summer holidays with them they had to change the look of what was going to be his room. Make it more suitable to his interests, and with this they started to change the decor of the entire house. Giving it a more welcoming look, but still maintaining the traditions of the Black family.
"What is it Moony? You've been staring at the paper since I came in." Sirius said as he grabbed himself a cup of coffee. He muffled another yawn that brought tears to his eyes, he wasn't a morning person. How Remus was able to get up at eight in the morning always baffled him. The heathen. Remus blinked out of his daze before tossing the paper over to him,
"It's better if you take a look at it, explaining would be too difficult." He told him before having some Yorkshire pudding. Sirius rubbed his eyes before looking at the paper, he gave a whistle,
"Rita's still writing about the courtship? Even bringing up more questions about the Potter family actions. I bet that's starting to irritate James like crazy." He said the last part with pleasure. Once he found out how his godson was treated their relationship with James had become more strained. Not that James had noticed. It was getting worse the longer James continued to act like this. At some point their years of friendship were going to be thrown out the window and Sirius, while upset, was fine with that.
One would think that with how long and close their friendship was, James parents having taken him in when he ran away that he would try to hold onto the friendship for longer. In another time that would be true, but Hadrian had changed that. After speaking to his godson Sirius realized just how much he had been neglecting his duties as a godfather. Never before had he noticed how isolated Hadrian was in his own home, being far too busy chatting with James and Lily. Now he saw and he did not like the similarities it had with his own home life. For his godson he was willing to be the support that the Potter family were once to him.
"Mmm… Still, how's she getting all this information is the question. Her articles are written in less than a day or a few days at the most. Few reporters could have such things coming out so fast, or gather all those small details she mentions." Remus commented.
"Well whatever her method may be, it's getting the Daily Prophet a lot of profit. Lord Slytherin is gaining a lot of attention for choosing Hadrian, I still wonder why though. He's not after the Potter fortune by picking Harry…" He mused, remembering the letters Harry sent him. "Harry would be happier to have this courtship gone. The Lord of Slytherin is annoying from what Harry says." He said with a chuckle, turning over the page to read the other news.
"I don't blame him, it's causing more trouble for him than it's worth. Harry has never shown interest in the Lord of Slytherin from what I remember." Remus commented before focusing on his lunch.
The Great Hall was rowdy with the chatter of the students as usual, Rita's article still on their minds. Her questions were reasonable, considering how a courtship was normally handled. Those who were unaware of the courtship laws asked those who were from old families to learn more and thus understand why the situation was so unusual. Why was the courtship kept a secret? The Slytherin House was prestigious, being much older than the other Ancient houses. Were it any other family placed in this courtship, it wouldn't have been a secret, so why? Was it because of Rosemary's feelings towards Tom Riddle? The Potters wouldn't do such a thing right? Many of them wondered, thinking of the family's pro light and muggle friendly views.
Those who were more aware of how the Potters truly acted had an inkling that was indeed the case. The Potters would stoop so low, wanting to combine the two families for more power. Considering that Hadrian would not be inheriting the family line it would have to be through Rosemary. A shame as many others agreed that Hadrian had shown himself to be the much more capable heir.
His grades, magical ability, and leadership qualities were ideal for one to be Head of house. He already had experience due to him being the Prince of Ravenclaw. Like learning how to manage the affairs of the house that would later become beneficial. Or how one had to portray themselves in public, while also being one step ahead of others. It was an exact simulation of what one had to deal with when being the Head of a Noble and Ancient House. Taking all this into consideration, it was clear what the Potters were doing. They were following the new trend where first-borns inherited everything, despite there being a more noteworthy option for the job. In a few years the Potters may no longer be considered an Ancient and Noble family. A true shame indeed...
Tom's circle was well informed in comparison to others. This was due to the duty given to them- to become closer with Hadrian's friends. Hadrian would in return spend more time around them and make things easier for Tom's courtship. Not that Tom expected things to be so simple, with Hadrian it never was. He had proven to be a worthy foe with more walls around him than Azkaban itself. True to his suspicions, it became difficult for his circle to approach the group of friends. The Weasley Twins disappeared into thin air without the help of magic. Luna Lovegood made them become lost in the twisty halls more often than not. Neville Longbottom seemed to be always surrounded by Slytherin hating Gryffindors.
"One would think that our Lord has chosen the Ravenclaw Prince due to how much attention it would gather. Allowing him to gain more followers when he makes his intentions more public." Cygnus commented, reading over the article briefly.
"We all know that if that were the case he wouldn't be putting this much effort into the courtship. Nor would he show such anger at that incident. This is a genuine courtship, and while we know why he's showing so much interest in Hadrian," Zevi mused, stirring his coffee after adding some cream, "I wonder when exactly did our Lord meet Hadrian? We would've known from the change in his magic."
"Which means that this meeting occurred before he became Prince of Slytherin and our Lord." Abraxas concluded. Alphard took some oatmeal.
"Which is fascinating in itself, because such a thing has never been heard of before. For that to have happened, our Lord would have been in the midst of becoming a Dark Lord," he added with a grin. Their Lord really was interesting, one of the main reasons why they followed him.
"Or he was feeling the strong hatred needed for one's magic to go in that direction." Zevi pointed out that other option, the more somber thought no one liked to think about.
"We all know how he was treated before he became Prince of Slytherin, much less our Lord. His last name made everyone think he was a mudblood and not the direct heir of Slytherin. This house doesn't think much of muggleborns and we all know why." He continued. The others looked down at their food, unable to counter his words for they were the truth. There was much hatred against the muggleborns amongst the purebloods. Their culture was being stripped away and insulted. How would anyone be able to stand such a thing?
"Let's move away from this heavy topic, it's all in the past." Cygnus told everyone, breaking the silence that had fallen over the group. They all nodded, looking at him briefly for a moment before pausing. Staring at him in surprise, noticing their looks he raised a brow,
"What is it?" He questioned them. Alphard shook his head before hesitantly pointing out what they all saw,
"Your nose is bleeding Cygnus." Shocked Cygnus brought his hand up to his nose, staring at the blood on his fingers. Zevi became more serious.
"It could be a side effect from the potions we brewed today. Those Gryffindors couldn't make the simplest potions with help," he told him, closing his book and gathering up his things,
"We best go to the infirmary in case there are any other unseen side effects." He told him, making Cygnus get up and walk with him. Tom quirked a brow at the sight of Cygnus and Zevi leaving the Great Hall as he entered. He had to speak with Professor Snape on a recent discovery of his. The conversation took much longer than expected, thus why he came late for lunch. Sitting down at his regular seat he opened up a journal of his and started writing. Abraxas came forward and explained the situation of what had just occurred.
Ancient Runes was a class that took place on the fourth floor and in one of the smallest classrooms. Mainly because of how little students chose to have this elective despite its uses.
Professor Freto kept the class simple, rows of desks that were large enough for two people to be seated. A massive two panel chalkboard was placed at the front. Charts and diagrams decorated the rest of the walls, speaking of famous theories. A wall of windows on the right stayed open for some fresh air and sunlight. This left a peaceful atmosphere for everyone to work in, essential for the class. Runes could become rather dangerous when not given one's complete attention and focus.
Hadrian was already at his seat, all his notes and books laid out. Today Professor Freto was going to give his students time to work on their project. He did this every week so if anyone required help they'd be able to have it. It also prevented anyone from slacking off. The others were avoiding Hadrian's table out of nervousness, they were all well aware of his temper. If they were to sit beside him then the others would pester them later for answers to their questions. Didn't matter if the person didn't ask any questions, thus it was best to avert the hassle.
Hadrian was content with ignoring the others in the room, he had much more important work to do. Last night he was able to test the results of his prototype. A simpler version of the Memoria that didn't need magic conductive gems. This was all to see if the theoretical part of his project held true. He had written basic notes then, and was now making a more in depth analysis of what had occurred. He was so focused on his work that he got lost in his own world until the whispers of those around him got too loud. Frowning in irritation he looked up, wondering what the whole commotion was about.
Tom had a plan in his mind as he made his way to the Runes classroom. Now that they had their first outing and it turned out spectacularly he wanted to move things along. Hadrian wasn't open to a romantic relationship, but that was fine. Tom would wait for Hadrian to become more comfortable around him. Grow a possible attraction towards him in the process as well. For that to happen they needed to interact more, which was why Tom came a bit late to Runes. He was still on time for class, but he entered much later than his normal time.
With the talk of the article going around this was the perfect opportunity. The sheep were wary of them both now and he was well aware of their habits. As he had expected the seat beside Hadrian was empty. Excellent. Making his way over he purposefully made his feet loud against the floor. Enough to bring Hadrian's attention towards him,
"Is this seat taken?" He questioned, giving his most charming smile. The whispers of the sheep around them only increased at Tom's actions. No doubt there'd be more gossip by the time dinner came around.
Hadrian wanted to tell Tom no, he had enough trouble as it was because of him. The article that Rita wrote had no doubt made his parents angry, they had wanted to keep the courtship a secret. Make it seem like Tom was courting Rose as that was considered more likely. With Tom being the one to let out the secret there was nothing they could do about it. Whatever Tom had planned in that mind of his, he wanted no part of it. Still, if he acted rude that would create more gossip and make his parents angry. If he agreed there would still be more gossip and the chance of his parents becoming angry. No way for him to win here, with a mental sigh and small glare at Tom he nodded his head. He shifted his things to the side.
"I don't see why not," he said softly, forcing himself to not sound irritated or angry. Tom Riddle had to be the most infuriating person he had ever met. All he wanted was a peaceful year and he wasn't granted even that. He tried to focus back on his work, but it seemed like whenever Tom Riddle was involved his focus was ruined. Sighing he decided that since he was in such a situation it was best to make conversation,
"How's the progress of your project?" He asked him, writing more theory in his analysis, including any changes that the magic conductive gems could make to the whole design. Other than reducing the amount of magic needed to use the device in the first place. The display of memories could become clearer as a side effect. The rune chain of detection could aid in finding traces of tampering. Making it appear more visible so to speak.
"It's going well now that I've passed through the first prototype test. Now I just need to devise a way for the combat system to be created in an easier way. More cost effective as the department wouldn't want to spend so much money on a few dummies." He explained, writing out several plans in his journal.
"What of your progress? Were you able to create a prototype without the use of gems?" Tom questioned, remembering their conversation at the Three Broomsticks. Hadrian hummed, drawing out a little diagram of his prototype. On the side he wrote little changes he could make to the next one that may be more effective.
"I have, and the results were better than I expected." He admitted, figuring that being vague wouldn't help him in the end. Tom had been able to solve an issue of his before, the same situation could happen again. Professor Freto walked into the class making the others take their seats. He placed a large stack of work that he needed to grade on his desk. He exploited this day of the week to get ahead on his marking. More often than not students didn't need his help, or thought they didn't need it.
"Good Afternoon, class! As always today will be spent working on your projects for this year. Though I've decided to do something a bit different today," he told them with a smile, rubbing his hands together. The words he had said had gotten everyone's attention, what would they be doing today?
"Now I believe most of you are midway into your projects, or at least I hope you are!" He declared with a little chuckle, some others following. Hadrian wished he would hurry up as they were losing precious time already.
"As I've stated when I handed out this project, you're all to have a journal recording your progress. The more detailed it is, the better as this is going to be a good portion of your project's grade. To ensure that everyone is doing a good job, today you will switch journals with your table partner! Read over each other's work, see how the other is thinking, how they have things laid out. It can tell you a lot about a person! At the last ten minutes of the class, write a report on the journal and give it to them. Constructive feedback. That doesn't mean you can't speak to each other as you look over each other's work, in fact I encourage it." This change up in class had others either excited or feeling dread to see other's work and what they planned on doing. Those who hadn't been diligent with the journal aspect were regretting their slacking off. Hadrian raised a brow before looking over to Tom, having his ink dry with a spell.
"There are perks to this arrangement, and we'd be able to see issues in each other's work." He commented. Tom nodded in agreement, understanding why the Professor decided to do this. He closed his own journal, placing it in front of Hadrian,
"I agree, although for us a single period may not be enough. I suggest having this be done for a bit longer, a form of studying by looking over the other's work." He told him, pleased with the idea as he'd get to spend more time with Hadrian. It was a logical solution and with them being in public there wouldn't be much need for escorts. Hadrian meanwhile was conflicted, like Tom he could see the advantage of doing this. It was the consequences of agreeing to such a thing that made him hesitant. Spending more time around Tom meant more headaches from him and his family.
"I'll need some time to think about it." He said in the end, putting his own journal in front of Tom. There, that was a compromise, he didn't reject the opportunity and gave himself more time to think about it. Tom while not happy with the answer couldn't argue, Hadrian could be busy with other things. Although he himself knew that this was a very good offer between them. They were the best students of the year and this class. Which meant they'd understand what the other was saying in their journal.
Things weren't turning out so well for the Slytherin Circle. After Cygnus's nose started bleeding the whole group seemed to be hit with a chain of bad luck. Alphard's bag was split open as he was making his way to Transfiguration. He was in the middle of switching staircases and so all of the contents spilled, some even went down a flight of stairs. Nothing was damaged thankfully, but it did take time for him to summon all of his possessions.
Zevi, to his unfortunate dismay, had no notes after Arithmancy class was over. He had used a dictation quill, but only realized that nothing was written once class was over. So he had to use the notes from Abraxas and they weren't up to his standards. This was excluding all the times they ended up late to class, hair or robes in different colours. At one point Abraxas started singing loud and raunchy sailor songs during dinner. Silencing and canceling charms did nothing while Alphard laughed at the hilarity of the situation. Like his cousin Sirius, he appreciated a good prank.
This chain of bad luck had the Slytherins and others wondering what happened for the group to be tormented so much. Many raised brows at the sight of Abraxas singing such songs when it was clear that he'd rather be dead than to be caught in such a position. It was an amusing sight nonetheless, one that wouldn't be forgotten for some time. Others were wondering who the culprits were as they had to be truly skilled to prank the top students of Slytherin. Plenty thought it was the Weasley Twins, as they were notorious for their pranks. Although most of the pranks required one to sneak into the Slytherin dormitories, something considered impossible as the Slytherins protected the location of their Common Room viciously.
"I still can't believe how strange these past few days have been!" Lavender told Parvati as the group sat near the fireplace. The girls were still angry at Rose for lying and making them act like fools when she clearly knew that Tom Riddle was courting her brother and not some girl. And because of their taunting and spreading rumours, their reputation had taken a hit. Right now they still hung around her, but were waiting for an apology from her for lying. If she didn't apologize then they'd leave her, well Lavender and Parvati would. No doubt Ginny and Hermione would stay for some unfathomable reason.
"I know! The entire Slytherin group got pranked! And oh, Merlin, what happened to Tom out of all of them!" Parvati exclaimed, her eyes shining with a mix of laughter, apprehension, and fear for whoever did that. The chain of bad luck the Slytherin Circle had been experiencing quickly became the main topic of the school. Especially with what hadn't happened today. The bad luck that the Slytherins had experienced seemed to be over as none of them had suspiciously experienced anything unfortunate for the entire day. .
At dinner the group seemed to be twitchy, checking their food, looking over their shoulders, and glaring at anyone they didn't know who approached them. Multiple safety precautions were taken, but by the time dessert rolled by they relaxed a bit. Until Tom Riddle's hair, well loved by many girls, vanished. The entire Great Hall seemed to hold their breath as they took in the sight of a bald Tom Riddle. His head shone eerily, but he continued to have his dinner like it was a normal occurrence. Everyone wondered what was going to happen as no one ever dared to prank Tom before, mainly because of the payback they'd receive. A collective shudder went through the Slytherins as they remembered his ascension to Prince.
"Whoever did that has a death wish, Tom is the best student of Sixth year. Maybe we'll finally find out who the culprit is. The twins don't have the guts to go that far." Ginny told them both, well aware of how her brothers thought. They would make someone become bald in the middle of a meal, but it would never be Tom Riddle of all people who'd be their victim.
"I still don't understand why the teachers didn't do anything, it was clearly harassment!" Hermione declared with a huff, setting her book down as she joined the conversation. Lavender rolled her eyes as she checked her nails.
"It was all in good fun Hermione, it's not like anyone got injured. A bit of embarrassment yes, but no actual trips to the infirmary," she said a bit testily, not liking how Hermione was taking away all the fun from this conversation.
"Yet right now you're all talking as if what happened to Tom was serious." She countered, not understanding how it was all harmless if they were talking about it in such a manner.
"That's because no one just pranks Tom! It's just not done!" Parvati announced as if it was obvious. Hermione's brows furrowed, not understanding how that explained everything.
"He's Tom Riddle! Prince of Slytherin House and is Lord Slytherin. Pranking him is like committing social suicide!" Lavender said, hoping that would make Hermione understand finally.
"So because of who he is, the pranks that you said were harmless before aren't harmless anymore?" She questioned still lost on the entire situation. The other three girls sighed at how hopeless Hermione was and didn't elaborate any further.
A shrill scream woke the residents of the Sixth year Slytherin dorm, most of them ready to murder someone for waking them up so rudely.
"My hair?!" Abraxas yelled out, looking over what was once his luscious blonde locks. Now they were a bright fiery red that only belonged to the Weasley family, he even had freckles on his face much to his growing horror. Zevi glared at him through his curtains; after Tom he was the one who hated to be woken so abruptly.
"You consider your hair to be of such importance to wake the rest of us up at this ungodly hour with your girlish shrieking?" Cygnus snarled, suddenly eager to try out some of the creative spells he had in his repertoire against him. In fact he may just do that now.
"You don't understand! My hair is red! Weasley red!" He wailed, the tone of his voice having gone several octaves higher than what it was originally. The feud between the two families was well known by everyone.
"I do not see the point Abraxas." Zevi countered, very close to throwing a borderline dark hex at him, "You are a wizard are you not? Reverse the damage! I better not hear you scream like some dunderheaded fool again at this hour!" He growled out before going back to bed.
"What in Merlin's beard happened to you?!" Alphard questioned Abraxas during breakfast. Abraxas's hair was not only a blinding Weasley red, but there were also freckles across his cheeks instead of only his nose, while his eyes seemed more blue. In other words he looked more like a Weasley than a Malfoy. Something that with no doubt irked him if his facial expression meant anything.
"Someone has pranked me and every reversing spell I do only makes it worse! And Zevi is unwilling to brew an antidote." Abraxas said moodily, stabbing his fruits viciously.
"Yes well, I was not the one to awaken others in the middle of the night with a girlish scream." Zevi bit right back, his mood also gloomy with the rude awakening, conveniently omitting the fact that Tom forbade him from brewing the antidote. It was their form of revenge for the terrible morning.
"It was not in the middle of the night, I get up at that time to prepare for the day!" Zevi ignored his words and poured himself another cup of black coffee. He'd be needing it if Abraxas was going to continue to whine like this for the entire day. Why they had to share a room with him of all people was something he had been wondering about since first year.
"So you admit that your scream was more on the girlish side." Alphard stated, a wide grin on his face. It was a long running joke amongst the group that Abraxas had the tendencies of a female in comparison to a male. The amount of effort he placed into his appearance, more specifically his hair, being one of the main reasons.
Abraxas, mood already being sour, gave Alphard a vicious glare before continuing on with his breakfast. He was in no mood to deal with Alphard's teasing. How a Black could act in such a manner baffled him, one would think he'd act with a bit more dignity. At least it was better than what Rosemary Potter did, now she was a complete and utter thoughtless Gryffindor.
The Hogwarts library was filled with a vast amount of books, those that were more delicate due to age were placed in a separate room under the careful eye of Madam Pince. The restricted section, while seeming to have very few protections, was under a heavy set of wards tied to the headmaster and the librarian. The only way for a student to access the books in that area was with a slip of paper that needed to be signed by a teacher under the approval of the headmaster. The slip itself had discreetly hidden charms connected to the librarian and headmaster, thus preventing any clever students from entering with a forgery as many had attempted in the past.
Despite there being a number of books not accessible to students, those that were available were more than enough for students to get Outstandings on their assignments. That is, if one was willing to put in the effort to search for these books. Hence why the library was mainly considered the domain of the Slytherins and Ravenclaws. It was normal to see students of the two houses intermingling when working on assignments or personal projects. No matter how normal it was, many would be taken aback by the sight of Hadrian Potter and Tom Riddle sitting together at a table. Rita's article was of course the main cause of gossip and whispers going around in the castle.
That was why, with much reluctance, Hadrian showed Tom his secret place in the library. A large circular table at the back, hidden behind some shelves. A few armchairs were at the side with plenty of light streaming through from two large windows. This area would be very popular with other students, but some silencing spells and a few notice-me-nots fixed that issue. Needless to say, Tom was very impressed and would've taken the spot completely if it hadn't already belonged to Hadrian. If it were any other person he would've borrowed it without a second thought, but due to the fact he was trying to be on Hadrian's good side he refrained himself. And he may be slightly impressed with the warding.
"I see that you researched my advice on making the rune chain go across the Memoria horizontally." Tom commented as he read the journal. In a separate journal Tom was writing his own critiques and notes about Hadrian's research. They had both reached an agreement that writing feedback on what the other thought about their inventions would improve the quality of the product itself. The more detailed the better and thus the need for new journals. Not as thick as the ones they were using for their projects, but large enough to do the job.
"Mmm, well considering how there was more I can add, I decided why not make the Memoria the best it can be? Even if it is more expensive, the things it can do in comparison to a Pensieve would entice departments to purchase them." Hadrian replied offhandedly, fascinated by what Tom had written. His way of thinking, as much as he loathed to admit it, was rather ingenious. The logical breakdown of the item and the reason for its use was something he was also going to include in his final paper of the Memoria. Logic was not something abundant in this world, but when used against other wizards it was very effective. What made it even better was that most wizards did not even know how to argue logically, so a well thought out explanation would turn down any protests.
"I see that you've begun testing on the compatibility of wood with magic when I suggested ways to make the battle figures move at a quicker rate. Any chance that you have been able to speak with a wandmaker for insight?" Hadrian questioned. As long as the meeting between them remained on the focus academics then it was something he could handle. If his sister or parents started to kick up a fuss he had an explanation against whatever they may say. Of course they would not believe him either way with how stubborn they were, but maybe they'd have seconds thoughts about making a bigger fuss since Tom had not sent confirmation on attending Potter Manor over the winter break.
There were no courtship rules being broken either as Hadrian had no doubt that Luna was somewhere nearby with her new friend. Said new friend being Tom's escort was something he didn't mention nor care about. Luna would have said something sooner if she was untrustworthy. Of course Hadrian also ignored all mentions of Tom being trustworthy from her as that was something he was unwilling to believe.
"Not as of yet, but I have only sent out the letter recently after conducting enough of my own research. I would like to give a week for a reply before discarding the option and trying some other alternative. I could use the bits of knowledge I gathered from research, but it is much better to have the say of someone who has expertise in this field." Tom responded, turning the page as he wrote out another bit of feedback once having finished a 'chapter' of the journal.
Hadrian hummed. It was very logical and most wandmakers very rarely interacted with others outside of their craft, much less spoke about the details of wand making with those not interested in an apprenticeship. The only way to learn the secrets was to be under the apprenticeship of a wandmaker. Even that was difficult to do as one required a specific talent to be considered suitable. What that talent was, however, was never stated.
The chances of Tom receiving a response was slim, almost null, but there was still a chance. Thus his reason for waiting a week for a response, and to increase those chances he even added in the details of the project.
"Ah, I can see how that would be quite the problem, what are the alternatives that you have thought about?" Hadrian asked..
"Well I have taken inspiration from your own project. Magic conducting gems would be far too expensive for what I am creating, as these battle figurines should be replaceable when far too damaged. Gems are minerals in their most basic form, and so there should be metals that are more receptive to magic. The family rings of Ancient and Noble houses are a very good example, they use both gems and metals. Since I hold access to the Slytherin Vaults I have no doubt that there are some precious metals there waiting to be used.
The reason why I am against using metal when I have the resources is due to cost and availability. There are many magical trees, while metals take years before they are considered magically conductive. Considering that, it means my battle figurines would not be cost effective. Which in return would make the Auror department reluctant to purchase them. It would be a heavy investment and with this being the prototype, they'd be even more wary," he informed. Hadrian listened with rapt attention and could understand where he was coming from.
All of the things Tom was speaking of were things he had also considered when it came to creating the Memoria. Since his item required both metal and gems, there were only a limited amount of Memoria that could be made. Of course one could find a way to create more gems and metals, but that kind of knowledge did not exist yet. There was no need for such a thing in the eyes of wizards. The Goblins however may know a thing or two, but he hadn't received a reply from them just yet.
"I see, well, have you considered using magical creature parts? Like how wands are made? Though I suppose trying to get that kind of knowledge would be more tricky as the wandmaker would have to teach you the intricacies…" He mused. The two of them continued to discuss back and forth until the sound of a large basket being placed onto the table caused Hadrian to jump. Hand over his heart he looked up at an unrepentant Luna who only smiled in return.
"I have brought snacks, after all dinner is some time away and you've both been working for a while. We wouldn't want any Wrackspurts filling your heads due to hunger," she told them, plopping down on a chair and bringing out her own work that needed to be completed. Hadrian sighed, having become well used to her antics and instead opened the basket. He smiled at the sight of treacle tart and a teapot along with some cups.
Tom raised a brow at the variety of snacks displayed. There were biscuits and a few small cakes, though nothing that was on the greatly sugary side except the sugar quills. What was even more curious was that among the pile were a few of his own personal favourites. Favourites that he had never mentioned to another, so how exactly did Lovegood know his preference? The cake could be excused due to the outing a week or so ago. But the rest? Hadrian's group of friends was becoming more and more interesting with each tidbit he learned of them.
"Food is not allowed in the library," he stated a well known rule that the librarian made sure they knew of. Luna giggled, having some carrot cake.
"Yes, but Madam Pince has been growing worried over Hadrian not eating these past few hours." The answer alone brought on more questions. Was Hadrian favoured by the librarian? How did he get into her good graces?
"Oh you will need to take a nap soon before she takes away the books." Luna told her brother, adding some cream into her tea. Hadrian hummed, internally a bit exasperated. Madam Pince and he had become very good friends over the years, but sometimes she became quite the mother hen.
"After I finish writing the essay for History of Magic." Still wondering, Tom served himself some tea with a few shortbread cookies.
"Well this quite the comfortable area, I'm surprised Granger hadn't found this place." Zevi commented as the group made their way over.
"-our Raven Prince here-"
"-is very territorial over what is his." The twins said as they appeared from behind some shelves, grinning at the sight of Abraxas's form.
"You two." Abraxas seethed, ready to hex them if Cygnus hadn't restrained him.
"My oh my, looks like there's a brother we didn't know about Forge!"
"Seems so dear brother, should we give him the ol' Weasley welcome, Gred?" Two mischievous grins appeared on their faces as they approached Abraxas who started to back away.
"You could do that, if you want Madam Pince to kick us all out for creating a ruckus. Well, everyone except Luna, Harry, and me," Neville told the twins as he set down a stack of books onto the table. That reminder made the twins stop and take their own seats at the table. It was a miracle that so many people were able to fit around such a large table.
"That's because you three are her favourites. Especially Harry, he could murder someone here and she'd probably help him hide the body." George commented.
"As long as Harry prevents getting blood on the books; everything else is easily replaceable." Fred added, bringing out his own work.
"Mmm, true that." The Slytherins were wondering just what exactly the group had done to gain such favouritism, but also pleased with the fact that they could finally become acquainted with them. No more of them slipping away when trying to speak with them.
"Reverse this!" Abraxas declared as he sat across from the twins. He despised having this curly red hair, it was like he had a bird nest on his head! He didn't know how Potter dealt with his own hair!
"Nope, besides how do you know that we were the ones to do such a prank?" Fred stated, enjoying far too much in seeing the normally stiff Malfoy so angered.
"Who else would it be?!" Abraxas retorted, gesturing to the curly hair, freckles, and his watery blue eyes.
"I didn't know you considered our skills in such high regard! To be great enough to sneak our way into the Slytherin rooms and place a potion into Occamy egg yolk shampoo." George sniffed, wiping away a mock tear.
"That's what I use!" The twins ignored him as Fred continued,
"It probably smelled like lilacs." Neville was having a difficult time hiding his laughter. Seeing the red haired Slytherin up close was vastly different from seeing him afar. The twins were mad geniuses.
"It was lilac scented!" Abraxas sputtered out, looking ready to strangle them.
"We feel so flattered!" The twins never knew that one could achieve a Weasley red on their cheeks, more specifically that Malfoy would be the one to do such a thing.
"Now the Slytherin Prince turning bald during dinner was fantastic!" Fred declared with a chortle, smirking at the Slytherins.
"You weren't the ones who did that?" Cygnus questioned. Everyone had been wondering who exactly was crazy enough to do such a thing. Then again the Weasley Twins were considered to be lacking in the sanity department.
"Actually, that one was me. A nice bit of revenge I would say for all the trouble." Tom looked to Hadrian in surprise, never had he suspected him to be the one for such a prank. There were no displays of his pranking tendencies in the past. Like everyone else, he had assumed that the twins were the ones that caused the prank. Only Luna and Neville were not surprised; Neville having helped gather the ingredients required, and brewing the potion with Hadrian as practice and Luna just by being Luna.
"WE ARE NOT WORTHY!" the twins yelled, bowing towards Hadrian. Madam Pince of course made her way over to see what the noise was about. Scolding the twins for disturbing the peace, while sternly telling the others to not make a mess. Hadrian simply went back to his work, a small smile on his lips as things seemed to have gone briefly back to the normality he desired before the courtship.
"JAMES!" Sirius hollered as he barged into Potter Manor. The letter he received from Hadrian had caused his mood to darken considerably. Remus stalked in behind him, it was clear he was also in a foul mood with how brightly his eyes were glowing. His wolf was close to the surface, a rarity outside of full moons.
"What is it, Sirius?" Lily asked. Her robes were more formal than what she would normally wear. No doubt she had recently gone to one of those tea parties Sirius's mother had attended plenty of times. When did she start going to them? He remembered when Lily would joke about those, saying she would never attend such a thing and would much rather do something productive. How much had changed without Remus and him ever realizing it?
"Where's James? I need to speak with him." He said curtly, wanting to get straight to the point. Which was his godson being forbidden to come home for what was supposed to be a family holiday.
"He should be coming home from work soon. Why? Is something the matter? What happened?" She questioned, looking between them. It was mostly James they had a falling out with, regardless if James acknowledged it or not, but that didn't mean they weren't disappointed in Lily as well. To treat her own child in such a terrible manner, it was shameful. For Sirius it brought up terrible memories of his own mother when he still lived at home. Granted, Lily would never be as bad as Walburga, but neglecting her son was already too much for him.
How their friends had changed so much over the years baffled him. He could still remember the day James and Lily found out they were having twins. They were so excited. They had promised to never favour one child over the other, but what had gone wrong over the years? Did the power that came with their family name go to their heads? The wealth? Or was it because Harry was the quieter child? Rose was more outgoing and charming compared to Hadrian. She was the one who dazzled everyone. He didn't know and he may never get an answer in the end.
"He better not be late, he has a lot to answer for." Sirius grumbled out. He wasn't the most patient out of all of them and every moment of waiting only made his temper rise.
"Lils! Lord Abbot is hosting a party next Wednesday and we've been invited-" James began before stopping at the sight of Remus and Sirius. Immediately the smile on his face disappeared and his back tensed, "Sirius, Remus, what are you doing here? Has that boy done something again?" He remembered explicitly stating that they weren't welcome anymore, although he hadn't locked them out of the wards yet due to his busy schedule.
"I'm here because I received a letter from MY godson saying how he was barred from spending Yule in his own home! You better give me a good explanation on why I shouldn't throw a few curses at you." Sirius yelled out, unable to hold back his anger any longer.
James' face grew dark, "So this is why you've barged into my home after I said you were unwelcome? All for a silly letter?!"
Remus growled, disliking what James was implying.
Lily looked between them all in concern, it felt like at any moment a large fight was going to break out. Quickly rushing to defuse the situation, Lily insisted, "Sirius, I'm sure you misread the letter-"
"I DID NOT MISREAD THE LETTER!" He screamed, glaring at her before turning back to James, "Now you! It's not some silly letter! I want to know who gave you the idea of forbidding your own son from coming home on a family holiday!"
"IT IS MY CHOICE AND I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE SUCH A DECISION!" James yelled right back.
Moony couldn't handle this any longer, rushing forward, he grabbed onto James' collar and slammed him back. The wooden stand beside them wobbled before a picture frame fell and broke. "YOU! You have no right to make such a decision. He is your flesh and blood! Your own son! He has the right to feel welcome in the home he grew up in!" Pack was the most important thing to him and Harry was who he considered his cub. To have his cub be treated in such a manner was despicable. The three of them continued to yell at each other, Lily trying to intervene but failing.
"HE IS NO SON OF MINE! HE IS ONLY A SPARE THAT SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN BORN!" James bellowed out, face bright red as he reached the limit of his restraint. His voice echoed in the shocked silence, everyone taking a moment to let those words sink in. Remus looked at James in disgust, Lily was conflicted, and Sirius was utterly infuriated.
Face pale, eyes glimmering with hatred and a bit of insanity, Sirius said, "If Aunt Euphemia was here, instead of France, she would be ashamed of you. Her own son rejected his blood all because he's born later… Fine! If you're not going to treat him as a son, then I will. I'm his godfather, and nothing you do will change that." Breaking the silence he stood straight and walked towards the entrance.
"Don't show your face here again Sirius, you're not welcomed here," James retorted.
Sirius paused, he looked back and sneered at him, "That's Lord Black to you Potter."
Hello! I know that it has been a long while since I have posted a fresh new chapter for All Fall Down! I have a wonderful new beta helping me get all of the chapters out to you! So shout out to Sapphira_Ruby on AO3! Please leave a review on what you think of this chapter, we put a lot of effort into it!