I came. I wrote. I suffered. Enjoy the blood sweat and tears guys!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own ideas
Warnings: brief mention of NON-CON! Lots of violence, and cursing. Slash in later chapters.
Thinking/Reading: 'This man must be insane'
Normal speech: "Ah, Evans, don't make me hex you."
Death speaking: "Will you not take my hand Master? Are you going to foolishly let yourself fade into the ether instead?"
June 23, 1940
Clothes still damp and clinging uncomfortably to every inch of his flesh, Tom fights not to squirm in his chair. That would be a sign of weakness, and he refuses to show any more, especially to this man.
Had there not been warming charms placed upon the ridiculously intricate tableware before them, he's sure that both of their dishes would have gone cold long ago. Neither of them have condescended to so much as nudge the silverware lest they become distracted and break the intense stare down they've engaged in, unwillingly submitting to their foe. It's been half an hour since Peverell left him alone with the man's cantankerous uncle at 'Elysium Delights', a highly praised eating establishment for the very upper crust of wizarding society.
Supposedly you have to make reservations three years in advance, but such things clearly didn't trouble Tom's new guardian. No, he'd simply waltzed inside the pristine ivory entryway trailing muddy boot prints with Tom still cradled in his arms, and the scowling uncle begrudgingly following. The maître d' had taken one look at the three of them, the sopping wet messes that they were, and he'd looked so scandalized Tom might have laughed if he weren't feeling so embarrassed.
Peverell hadn't missed the look, but rather than seeming embarrassed himself, he'd glided over to the man with a sneer of distaste upon his own lips and flashed the employee a very intricate looking azure ring. Said man had taken one look at the jewel and paled, immediately ushering them over to what looked like their best table, falling all over himself to soothe Peverell. He'd made sure they knew that they'd only have the best, and how honored they were to have the Lord visit their establishment.
Peverell had merely peered down at the man and informed him that he would be taking care of business elsewhere for the next few hours while his family remained to enjoy their services. It had been greatly implied that if Snape and Tom didn't enjoy their service that no one would be happy. The employee had gulped loudly, and shakily assured him that they'd have anything their hearts desired.
It felt like another new piece to the Peverell puzzle had slotted into place. His guardian's name was widely known and revered, to the point that people would do anything to please him. They didn't even know that Peverell had just wiped the floor with Gellert fucking Grindelwald, and yet they pandered to him! Tom wondered angrily why he'd never heard the name of such an imposing family before, even as he thanked Merlin for somehow allowing himself to become a part of it.
Determination filled every fiber of his being, the mystery of his guardian increasing the draw Tom felt. He would solve the riddle of Hadrian Peverell, he would know this man from the inside out, and use every bit of his power and knowledge to ensure that the man and his comforting warmth would stay with him -somehow.
After being assured that the staff would cater to their every whim, Peverell had settled Tom into his chair, told Severus to play nice, and then left them there. So here they are, staring one another down in some sort of ridiculous pissing contest that Tom has no interest in playing, and yet he can't seem to stop himself.
Merlin knows he'd rather be savoring what smells like it could be the most delicious meal he's ever had in his farce of a life outside of Hogwarts -but he can't look away. No, that tastes too much like defeat, and he's suffered enough of that for a lifetime. Snape is bloody well going to look away first or they'll sit here and starve like a couple of morons.
Tom hasn't even done anything to deserve the disparaging scowl being directed his way.
'Yet.' Tom thinks, sneering back at his greasy new relative and hating that he can't bring himself to be the more mature one and look away. He's starving three inches away from a heavenly smelling feast and it's grinding at his every last nerve. The elder man's only advantage here is that Tom is completely famished, and he's clearly just peckish.
"...Is the dish not to your liking sirs? I can have the chef prepare something else," the hesitant voice of their server pipes up from beside the silently dueling pair.
"That won't be necessary," Snape grits out, glaring daggers at Tom, neither of them deigning to look at their fretful attendant.
Inwardly groaning, Tom returns the look, hoping that Hadrian will be back soon. A small but growing part of him fears that the man won't return. Why would he, when in this scenario Tom is just as useless as Stubbs is to his own family? Surprisingly, Snape is the one thing keeping Tom from falling into blind panic at the idea of being abandoned. As long as the greasy haired git remains, Peverell will come back, because though it doesn't seem to be returned, he likes his uncle.
And so, despite a strange pain in his head, Tom glares harder into the eyes of the lank haired man who's unknowingly helping him cling to the pathetic hope he has that Peverell won't just leave him, and waits. Strangely, Snape's glare suddenly slips, and though Tom's not sure why, something in the man's countenance changes from unconcealed loathing to a very reluctant but grudging acceptance. Taking a deep breath, the elder forces himself into a less tense state, then looks Tom over. His eyes don't seem as harshly critical as they take all of him in, but they are clearly unhappy with something he sees.
Tom stiffens, hating how confusing the man is being, and not quite sure why the game seems to have changed. He won their little glare off, but something about the victory feels hollow, as if he's lost something instead. It's infuriating.
"Eat your food." Snape orders firmly, seemingly done assessing Tom. "You're far too thin for a twelve year old."
Tom sputters, and snaps, "I'm fourteen!" Snape scowls, looking him over once more, clearly even more displeased with everything about him.
"That's not a good thing Mr. Riddle. You'll need several potions to correct the malnutrition that has quite clearly stunted your growth. We'll have to stop by the apothecary before settling in to whatever lodgings Peverell acquires for us," Snape decides, exasperatedly rubbing his brow. Sighing, Snape then pulls his wand out and flicks it at Tom. Tensing, Tom waits for something terrible to happen, wishing he'd gotten his own wand out of the suitcase Peverell had taken with him, only to feel his clothes dry and become spotlessly clean. Blinking, Tom is left floundering with confusion. He wonders if glaring is the way this man shows that he cares, because otherwise this is in the complete opposite direction of where he thought their interaction would lead.
Eye twitching, Tom tries to understand how they got from deathly glares to caring about his health and fails to understand how point A correlates to point B.
'This man must be insane,' Tom decides, edging back in his chair to put some distance between himself and the loon. Scowling to make it clear that he's eating because he wants to, not because the man told him to, he picks up one of the many forks before him.
Snape snorts and picks up his own silverware, ignoring Tom to begin cutting into his meal. Looking down to his plate, he carefully picks off a piece of his own dinner: braised short ribs with Swiss chard and polenta. He'd had no idea what they were when he'd chosen them. All the menu had listed off were names of the selections, nothing more. He'd not wanted to look foolish by asking about each and every one, so he'd randomly selected one and hoped for the best.
Cautiously taking a bite of the tender dark meat, he barely manages to hold back a moan of delight. Closing his eyes, he keeps a voracious appetite at bay and makes himself go slow, savoring it as the morsel practically melts in his mouth. Idly he wonders how dessert will taste, even as he's filled with disbelief that his life has taken such a fantastic turn. Thoroughly distracted by the meal, he's able to enjoy himself despite the cantankerous company or any and all worries he had.
Neither he nor Snape speak a word more to one another, but it's a comfortable silence for the first time since they'd arrived. Sighing contently, Tom relaxes and settles more comfortably in his seat, waiting for Peverell to return.
Gently cupping the shrunken, deactivated mirror of Erised within his pocket, Hadrian Peverell -formerly known as Harry Potter, glides through the skewed main entrance of Gringotts.
'This has been one of the most disappointing and irritating days in my life," Hadrian grouses, magic flaring as he heads for the nearest available teller. This draws a shiver from the beings nearby as the room's temperature drops. One or two of the people affected by the chill must be very magically sensitive because they appear to have felt the subtle aggressive spike in Hadrian's power despite how tightly controlled it is. They seem pretty smart too because those who felt it are looking around apprehensively for the apex predator their instincts sense nearby.
None of them will ever connect Hadrian to the ominous flare up. Vast as his magic is, it's almost impossible for sensitives to locate him as the true wielder because even though his power is rarely felt, everyone within a ten-mile radius is drowning in it. That's just when he's pulling it in a bit. After unwillingly receiving Death's gifts his magic has been unparalleled. One might even say it's incomprehensible to the mere mortals he walks amongst.
It's enormous, but undetectable to most wizards. Only the top point-one percent of the most highly sensitive people can see his feather-light but deadly magic coiling around them with the disinterested malevolence of a satiated Basilisk -merely waiting to feel peckish before striking. Fewer still can then actually identify him as its source. He's only encountered a handful of witches and wizards who could truly see him in his miserably long life.
Luna had always known- he likes to think she'd been comforted by it, not that it'd done them any good back then. The others- well, that's another story. One he doesn't have time to waste dwelling on when he has so much that needs to be dealt with today. For instance, the fact that apparently he's managed to cock up the timeline in several completely irredeemable ways within the first hour of his arrival.
'That man,' Hadrian thinks angrily, licking slightly swollen lips, 'Of course that inbred Neanderthal would be Grindelwald. Now not only is this time line supremely fucked- I might as well say goodbye to all of those beautiful plans I had to remain anonymous for once in my accursed life! And that boy- I should have known he was Tom Riddle the moment I laid eyes on him…'
And yet he'd failed to make that connection. Perhaps because it's been so long since he's had to deal with Voldemort and because he's only seen the young Tom riddle briefly in old memories.
'Would knowing who he was have changed anything?' he wonders grimly, remembering the heart-wrenching scream Riddle had released that had drawn him in the first place. How could he have done anything less than come to the child's aid when his wailing had sounded so terribly familiar to Teddy's last cry? Then afterwards, when he'd seen the awful state the child was in; observed the fear and resignation in his eyes as Tom explained why he was trapped outside, and knowing he expected them to not care like everyone else and just leave him there...
Perhaps if he'd never heard that cry for help, or been reminded of the Dursley's casual cruelty upon seeing the boy look so battered and resigned, he could have returned the damned adoption papers upon hearing the name of his new charge. But he had seen the similarities. Many of them, and he'd become too furious to turn back. In that moment Hadrian had finally understood why a monster like Voldemort had come about. He couldn't even blame the boy; at the end of the day, Riddle had had no one to turn to but himself.
No. No, Hadrian could never have left him behind.
'But what on earth am I to do with him now?' he sighs, knowing that he'll be leaving this timeline eventually, even if it does take him another two hundred years. At the least he can try to be there for his charge until then, providing him with the comfort and support he never had before. At least up to the point that Hadrian finishes reconstructing the time turner so he can continue on his main mission in life. When that time comes he'll have to decide whether or not to take Riddle with him.
Knowing himself it's highly probable that he'll become attached to his charge, even with the possibility that the tormented child becomes Voldemort once more. He already feels a strange pull towards the boy, and has a few theories as to why, which he'll dwell on more later. In the meantime he needs to focus, because he's practically back to square one when it comes to retrieving his son, and it feels like all the hard work and sacrifices he's made up to this point have been worthless.
Sighing, Hadrian lightly squeezes the mirror, its weight feeling heavy in his palm. He hasn't felt regret over his decisions in a very long time, but today he's come pretty close. He wonders if killing all of those people had been worth it if he's just going to have to do it all over again now. Its not like it matters either way since they don't exist anymore and won't have to be sacrificed again if things go as planned. That was the logic he'd used to butcher those poor creatures in the first place.
It never happened so it doesn't matter right? Hadrian didn't really kill them because they never existed. He did it once before and then undid it all so he can do it again now… For Teddy. Always for his son, anything and everything no matter how much it hurts or how sick and twisted it makes him, because in the end he'll have his son back. That determination is all that keeps him from lying down to let the earth swallow him and time forget him on the worst of days.
Hadrian has come too far and fought too hard to stop at this point. Once upon a time he might have at least paused and wondered if he should draw a line for himself, but his name isn't the only thing that's changed since Teddy's brutal death. Mere decades ago in his time period, the wizarding world had been uncovered, and a 'Magical Purge' began. Magical London was one of the first wizarding cities to be brought down, but it didn't end there. The muggles continued their worldwide witch-hunt until all of the 'unnatural freaks' -as his uncle had once so lovingly called him and his kind, were gone.
The goblins remained unscathed because they were, and still are, extremely protective of their hoards. And because he can't die, which the muggles were glad to test the one time they'd managed to catch him, Hadrian has lived to receive the perks that come with being the last wizard standing. All wizards are inter-related in some way, so of course when you're the only one left, everything in Gringotts is placed into your vault.
The mirror of Erised had been amongst the various items he'd gained after he'd finally lost everyone he'd ever come to care for. He'd been so miserable back then. Day in and day out, he had languished in front of it, staring longingly into the smiling faces of his loved ones. They'd all gone off to a place he could never follow them to. One by one each boarded the train he'd refused in order to save them, even as he'd unknowingly damned himself. The world had left him behind to rot in a hell of his own making; an eternity alone with a silent reflection of his loved ones separated from him by cold unfeeling glass.
After far too long staring at the only things he'd ever truly desired, their once kind smiles began to look more like mocking taunts. It had incited such rage in him, up to the point that he couldn't take it anymore. His hand had been raised to cast an overcharged bombarda, when one by one the people had faded away until only Teddy remained. His son had smiled up at him from within, and mouthed a silent 'I love you'. He hasn't raised a hand to it since.
For centuries it became his only source of comfort. Day by day he'd work on the time turner, and then night after night he'd stare into the mirror and drink in the sight of Teddy; happy, healthy, and Merlin how Hadrian had missed him. When the turner was completed, it had seemed like the perfect place to store Teddy's soul, the son he desired to have back more than anything. And so he'd finished packing for the trip and prepared to make his son a horcrux.
A few days ago he'd removed all of his money and treasures from Gringotts, and put them into a bottomless bag, along with everything else he owned in preparation for the trip. Everything had been going so well. The time turner itself had been magnificent with its massive whirling hoops and powerful glyph inscribed cogs. Then one clumsy goblin ruined everything.
"BAKATH! LOOK OUT!" someone screams from above Hadrian where he's standing within the inhumanly glorious activated machine that's supposed to make all of his dreams possible. Tensing he looks upward just in time to see one of the many Goblins working on the platforms above fall down with a harsh splat upon the platform's golden edge. Perhaps if the Goblin had just lain there, screaming and gushing the amber colored blood of it's race down crisp gleaming steps, things would have gone according to plan.
This is not to be.
Howling out an agonized death knell, Bakath the Crafty seizes and rolls off solid ground into the whirling turner's cogs. Jamming up momentarily, the gleaming metal groans, wheels slowing ominously around Hadrian. The blood curdling screams reach an ear splitting pitch. All beings watching shield their ears, observing with bated breath and rising horror as the machine begins hissing and smoking.
Delicate, rune inscribed portions are irreparably damaged as the cogs push forth, shredding the poor shrieking Goblin into pieces as the wheels begin to spin around Hadrian once more. No longer do they flow in smooth circles, but in uncoordinated jerks, sparking and shrieking as warped metal parts scrape against one another. Filled with despair, he helplessly watches sparks catch, ushering the object of his painstaking labors to its inevitable conclusion.
The ground quakes and cracks as the time turner explodes with an earth-shattering blast. Most of the shrapnel is flung outwards, but a few small shards painfully imbed themselves deeply into his neck and chest. Then everything pauses.
Slowly at first, bits and pieces of the machine reverse in their outward arcs, moving back into the turner's original undamaged state- the shards in Hadrian strangely remain. Perhaps the anchoring spell he worked on himself is interfering with them? Either way, though he still has bits of metal in his flesh, the world around him begins moving in reverse with increasing speed.
That's when things take a turn for the unusual and the room begins to tilt sideways. This leaves him slipping and sliding towards a growing, sparking, black tear in reality opening up next to him.
"Oh you have got to be kidding me!" Hadrian howls with despair, sure that this is the end. To come so close and then fail so completely… if he hadn't been mad before, this surely would have pushed him over whatever precarious edge he'd been clinging to. Breath ragged from struggling against the increasing gravity and thick with grief, Hadrian feels himself slipping into the pit and apologizes to the person he's failed most of all, "I'm so sorry Teddy…"
Without using magic, resisting the pull is useless. Yanked downward by something centered around the pieces in his bleeding chest, he falls through. Flashes of light and hazy scenes fly by as his surroundings become an unfathomable mess of high contrast color.
There are a few brief things he can make out, flashes of his life in reverse and a few things he's never personally seen, only heard of:
Stormy polluted skies swirl overhead.
Masses kneel before him begging for forgiveness.
Pale sorrowful eyes that have seen too much plead with him.
A middle-aged Hermione lands a heavy blow to his younger self's falsely lined visage.
Ron appears out of thin air, drunk, distraught and with a massive hole in his chest from leaving a rather important part of himself behind. He has a moment to meet Hadrian's own petrified eyes before he drops to the ground dead.
Teddy begs for death as Hadrian listens over his own shoulder.
The muggle who just bludgeoned his younger self, stares at him in shock.
An unexpected yank from whatever force pulled him into free fall yanks him sideways where he falls upon solid white ground in a familiar white train station.
With another harsh jerk he's helplessly dragged across more solid ground. Flipping onto his stomach he tries once more to cling to reality, chest leaving red streaks as he goes. Growling with determined rage, he's about to sink his animagus form's claws in and hope for the best, when he's dragged past a sight that freezes him in his tracks.
Staring deep into an identical pair of stunned green eyes on a much younger and less haunted face, he roars, "What the bloody hell are you just standing there for?! Get on that train you moron! There's nothing left for you out there that you won't ruin in the end!" Standing over the little Potter's shoulder, the reaper's hollow eyes stare irritatedly into Hadrian's own.
"What have you done you foolish mortal? This realm is collapsing in on itself!" it demands, scowling at him.
"This is why you shouldn't have taken Teddy!" Hadrian snarls, pleased at the idea that if he's going down at least he's taking everyone who helped ruin his life with him. Suddenly the ground beneath him splinters, fissures spreading like an icy lake in spring. Empty sockets widen, and Death moves to the edge of realities crumbling surface. As Hadrian gropes for something solid to cling to, the reaper reaches a skeletal hand out to him, which he vehemently ignores.
"Will you not take my hand Master? Are you going to foolishly let yourself fade into the ether instead?" Death hisses, reaching out yet further in an attempt to just grab him.
Hadrian is yanked downward before he can reply, landing solidly for the moment behind Harry who is waiting for Voldemort to kill him. The old snake face looks so eager and gleeful that Hadrian can't help but want to ruin the cheerful arse's day before he disappears again.
It's not even a challenge really. All Hadrian has to do is glide up behind his unsuspecting younger body as he becomes more corporeal, and condescendingly query, "You do know that Harry here is one of your last two horcruxes right?"
All heads and wands whip over Harry's shoulder, none daring to fire lest they ruin the Dark Lord's 'victory'. Blood red eyes meet killing curse green and fill with shocked recognition.
"…Potter?!" Voldemort irately demands, wand hovering between Hadrian and his statuesque younger self with confusion.
"Ah, no. Stopped going by that ridiculous name ages ago, Peverell has a much nicer ring to it -but that's beside the point," Hadrian insists. Leaning in to Potter's personal space he rests his arm on the boy's frozen shorter shoulder and taunts, "Can you not feel them Tom? Have you pulled yourself into such miniscule pieces that you're unable to sense a part of you so near? Or maybe you can't tell how precious Harry is to you because there's so little of you left at all… Can you really afford to lose another one?"
With a gentle brush of his index finger, Hadrian moves Harry's bangs away so Voldemort can see the legendary scar clearly. Understanding what Hadrian is implying now, the Dark Lord's red orbs bore into Harry's dismayed emerald for a long moment, probably seeking the truth from the boy's weakly shielded younger mind. He finds it and assigns blame appropriately.
"DUMBLEDORE!" the Dark Lord rages, wild magic rapidly raising the temperature throughout the clearing.
"Bingo." Hadrian deadpans. He knows better than most the kind of man Dumbledore really was, although he learned the truth far too late for it to matter. Voldemort's eyes narrow to slits, eyeing him up curiously, an unknown emotion glinting in his reptilian gaze.
"Are you mine as well then?" he asks, appearing oddly eager for such a confirmation.
Empty grin stretching his lips, Hadrian sneers mockingly, "No," then pats Potter on the back with a glowing green hand. His younger self drops to the ground, a puppet whose strings have been unexpectedly severed.
Hadrian has a moment to see a lovely mix of turbulent rage and despair swirling in red eyes before he's falling again. He 'lands' floating on what feels like solid ground a foot above the actual floor. He's standing off to the side of two arguing men in a cluttered office he knows belongs to the puppeteer who played his poor little strings oh so well.
"I have spied for you, and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter –," taut pale lips spit with indignant rage, limp black locks framing Severus' gaunt face. Dumbledore's old eyes twinkle even as he maintains a somber face, no doubt secretly enjoying the suffering of his spy.
Hadrian can't help the dark hysterical laughter that bursts from him at hearing such concern from his cantankerous old instructor. Both men whirl towards him, wands at the ready. Upon seeing him, an inhumanly perfect version of their golden boy in all his demented, blood spattered glory, they both freeze. Their wide eyes clearly depict that they have no idea what to make of him.
"How touching Professor. I didn't think you cared," Hadrian wheezes through the madness that seems to have more firmly settled in his heart. The 'ground' he stands on remains firm as he approaches the bewildered duo. "But not to worry, I can't actually die. You can thank our esteemed Headmaster for that."
Pausing as he joins their little gaggle where he towers above the professors, he continues, rage coating every falsely chipper word he utters, "However, 'thank you' isn't the term I'd like to use here. No, I think 'fuck you Albus' has a much better ring to it don't you gentleman?" Neither of the two offers up a single protest for his blatant malignance to Dumbledore's character. For a moment he doesn't understand why, but then he sees it, carved into every facet of their stony countenances.
They're terrified, and he has one very good guess as to why.
Grin splintering across his darkly amused lips, he coos softly, "Can you see it? You can, can't you…? Is it frightening? Knowing that you're drowning in it all?" The old goat is definitely quaking, but Severus remains determinedly stiff, both fully aware that they are the potential prey of a force neither have any hope of stopping. Such is one of the usual reactions he's observed from the lucky few who can see to the source of his power -besides Luna of course.
"Harry?" Dumbledore squeaks fearfully, elder wand still pointed at Hadrian. Thoughtlessly, he reaches out towards it, and barely has his finger brushed the wand when it crumbles to dust. Dumbledore stares at the remains in anguish -it's quite satisfying, though he didn't intend to do it.
Sneering, he retracts his limb and declares, "It's Lord Peverell or Master of Death to you."
The room around them cracks in half. On one side it continues to be Dumbledore's office, Snape and Dumbledore shaken by the sudden split in reality but otherwise unaffected. The other half however…
"Filthy, freaky little bastard!" Vernon roars, completely unaware that he's no longer alone as he continues on his merry way. Stomping down the hall, pictures rattle and tilt as the whale of a man storms towards the cupboard. In his wake he drags the unconscious, black and blue body of a nine-year-old Harry potter. The marks have very obviously been made with the wrong end of his uncle's belt- the usual punishment for his 'freakiness'.
Uncaring of any further injuries it might cause, Vernon rips the cupboard door open, flings the tiny child inside, and slams the door shut- locking it from the outside.
"No food for a week!" Vernon huffs. Still not seeing the silent audience to his merciless cruelty, the man happily makes his way to the living room, probably to loaf around on his fat arse and watch the telly. Harry could have died in that closet and the fat fuck wouldn't have felt a moment of regret- the Dursleys probably would have celebrated.
"…Oh Harry." Albus chokes, unable to tear his eyes from the scene, Severus in a similar state, "I never-!"
Hadrian ignores them both, eyes only for the unknowing muggle who's just become a homing beacon for his wrath. Magic thickening until even someone as magically deficient as Vernon Dursely can feel his rage, he forgets to hold back and stalks forth full of malicious intent. Years of suffering under this man- this monster that got away, and now he has a chance to repay his 'kindness'.
Dursley has only just whirled around fearfully when Hadrian rips off the arms of the man who had so loved to rain rage filled blows down upon him. Vernon's screams are music to his ears, a symphony of sound he didn't know he was missing until the notes soothe a few fragmented pieces of his soul. Dumbledore and Snape have gone completely silent behind him, but he doesn't spare a moment to dwell on such things.
"I've dreamed of this moment. Pondered it fondly in my free time," Hadrian sighs wistfully, absently using his magic to ensure the lard doesn't bleed out just yet. "I didn't realize how satisfying this would be in real life. Such a shame that I let you and your brood go so easily last time- don't worry though. This is a golden opportunity to make up for lost time that I don't intend to waste."
Wet reddened eyes gaze fearfully up at him from the disgustingly blubbering splotchy face, Vernon pleading for mercy. Hadrian ignores it easily.
"I never understood the games other children played thanks to your family isolating me from all other human beings. I think I finally get what's so amusing about a very specific one however so lets play," Hadrian declares. Using magic to control Vernon's severed limbs, he makes one punch the man in his own face. Tauntingly he asks Dursley, "Why are you hitting yourself?"
Rinse and repeat. Definitely more amusing than he'd thought it was as a child.
"VERNON!" Petunia shrieks shrilly, foolishly rushing towards her fallen husband. Power lashing out without a thought, he shoves a bolt of ice into her chest that begins freezing her from the inside out. It spreads rapidly, back and blue patches of frostbite moving over her quivering limbs.
"You look a little chilled Tooney. Must be all that ice inside your soul," he jeers, shoving her so she falls onto her crippled lump of a husband, who's nubs give a massive spurt of blood as pressure is applied. Vernon gives one last gurgle before perishing.
"You're a m-m-m-monster!" Petunia sobs, helplessly cleaving to her dead husbands still warm form as her skin hardens, pieces of her cracking off as she shakes.
"I am what the world has made of me," Hadrian tells her solemnly. Eyes glinting with steel, he takes in her suffering and basks in it, assuring her, "What you people made me." Truth rings in his words and Petunia cringes from it, perhaps feeling some guilt for once in her life. He doesn't care.
When she has become more ice that actual flesh, he summons the frying pan she so loved to strike him with and returns the favor in excess. Gripping the handle tightly he swings at her with all his might. She shatters; crumbling to glittering pieces within a pool of Vernon's blood- it's beautiful in a way.
Blinking, Hadrian remembers that he has an audience- two very powerful individuals who have remained strangely silent. Or so he might think if he couldn't tell that his magic had reacted very strongly to the idea of not being interrupted and petrified the men behind him. He's just let go of his hold on the duo, when a thought strikes him.
Slowly tilting his head to the side, he meets Dumbledore's disappointed gaze and chuckles.
"You know, I always so conveniently forgot about the loyal squib you had watching me from across the street all those years ago… To think that I never once realized in all the time you lived that you knew. Tell me, did you approve of my treatment?" he wonders aloud, watching with some amusement as Snape stealthily inches away from the old coot. Dumbledore opens his mouth to deny it, but Hadrian is quick to cut him off, "No no, don't protest I know you did. You definitely appreciated the results of my abuse. How eternally grateful I was to you, unquestioning of my 'savior'. The submissiveness, the disregard I held for my own well-being, the distrust in all adults besides yourself…"
He laughs hollowly because otherwise he might cry. How embarrassing… to think he can still be affected by the old man's betrayal after all this time.
"Harry please- you have to believe me! I-," Dumbledore pleads, stopping himself when he sees that there is not to be an ounce of forgiveness or understanding from Hadrian. Sweating and pale the old man tries another route, eyes un-twinkling he lectures, "No matter what the Dursley's did to you, surely this madness was uncalled for!" Off to the side, Snape cringes as far from Dumbledore as he can.
"Uncalled for." Hadrian drolls. Weighing the words in his mind, he wonders how the old goat came to such a conclusion after seeing all of this.
The old man takes his statement as a question and insists, "Completely uncalled for and unnecessarily cruel. You were meant to be the better man Harry! This is just sinking down to their depths. No, worse. Doing things like this makes you no better than Voldemort! Surely you understand this." Silence reins, and Dumbledore sees it as an opportunity to continue his ridiculous tirade. "And what madness have you wrought upon us now boy? I know you are not from our time, nor this one- Meddling with time is forbidden for a reason. You may have destroyed us all!"
Hadrian has had enough.
"If I have destroyed the entirety of the shit hole lifetime you used to manipulate me into the half-life I live now, then so be it. My life was hell –is hell. This 'madness' around us is the last attempt of a desperate man trying to save the only thing that bloody matters to me in this miserable world. And yes, I failed. And yes, things are looking grim, but you of all people have no right to judge me," he sneers. "You've been sitting up on your high horse for far too long and I'm sick of it. How does Grindelwald's lover, his right hand man and the true creator of Voldemort think he can preach about right and wrong to me? You hate muggles as much as I do."
Dumbledore gapes at him, not a word of protest to the claims. Severus stares at the old man in shock, never having suspected such things.
"But it was all-!"
"For the greater good? Yes you did so love saying that. I'm sure what you really meant was 'a little evil, for the greater good'. What does one boy's suffering matter if it's for the greater good- your own greater good that is. Felt wonderful having all those people look at you like a hero when all you ever did was for yourself hm?" Hadrian sneers in Dumbledore's stricken face.
Pulling his shoulders back so he towers even more above the old man he says softly, eagerly, "Today things are going to change. In exchange for all those times I suffered for your 'greater good', you're going to do something for my greater good. Nothing can truly take away the pain I've suffered, but it will make me feel better."
"What?" Dumbledore whispers fearfully.
"Scream for me," he hisses in parseltongue. Flexing his magic where it's suffocating the old man's own, he twists and warps Dumbledore's core until it no longer recognizes it's wielder. When Dumbledore's magic begins violently forcing it's way out of a body it no longer identifies with, the man does indeed scream. He dies quickly.
"…I misjudged you Potter. I'm more sorry than you'll ever know for that," a quiet but determined voice rings out.
High fading, Hadrian feels as hollow as ever when he turns to Snape and insists, "Yeah, well, I'm sorry that I looked in your pensive all those years ago." Snape looks shocked to be getting an apology, but Hadrian doesn't let that stop him. Continuing, he insists, "It was an awful thing to do and I deeply regretted it. You're a decent bloke and you didn't deserve that even if you acted like a git to me."
"You reminded me of him- not so much anymore," Snape says, eyes looking at Hadrian's more androgynous features sadly, no doubt seeing more of lily in his face.
Remembering the cruel debt James had held over Severus head to ensure his silence, Hadrian offers, "Not that it matters now, but as far as I'm concerned whatever life debt you owed to the arse who sired me has been repaid in full many times over. You might not have yet, but in the future you gave your life for mine- I owe you Professor. You're free to leave if you can."
Snape scoffs at him, any remaining wariness fading at his words, and retorts, "That debt was paid in full years ago. The magical oath I swore to Dumbledore to protect Lily's son for the rest of his life however, will never be finished."
"Damn." Hadrian frowns, knowing there's nothing he can do to help.
"So, seeing as we're stuck here until time unravels around us, would you care to explain how all this came to be?" Snape inquires, staring at Harry's locked cupboard with a pained expression. The words come easily to him as Hadrian bitterly summarizes everything that's happened to lead them to this point to Snape's attentive ears. He tells the dour man everything, all the trials and rare tribulations he's lived through to get to this point.
He explains his first death, how he met the reaper and then gave up an afterlife to save the world. Clenches his fists as he talks about losing the only woman he'd ever loved, and how he hadn't wanted to continue after that. He probably would have given up on life if his godson Teddy hadn't been given to him, and sometimes he wishes he had because he feels like his son would have had a normal life with literally anyone else. Instead his son had lived to be mauled by werewolves at five, and Hadrian had missed out on most of his son's childhood years because he'd felt forced to make a cure on his own.
He'd actually done it, but it had been a short lived victory that had cost him his son's life when Greyback had received the cure and been less than pleased. Hadrian then briefly explains the miserable two centuries afterwards in which he'd searched for a way to get back his son. He'd survived through society turning on him, the muggles bombing wizards out of existence, and post apocalyptic monsters. When he'd finally built a way to get to what he needed with the help of goblin allies, things had once more taken a turn for the worse. This appears to be the default state of his life now.
Mentally exhausted, he concludes his bitter tale, "Now I'm falling through time and I have no idea how to stop. Merlin knows I'm hoping to land in the right place, but I ceased being so foolishly optimistic a dark age ago."
Snape scowls at him exasperatedly, looking aged by having heard Hadrian's story. Confidently the man asserts, "Knowing your ridiculous luck you'll be just fine." Sighing he suggests, "If I were you Potter, I'd make the best of wherever you end up. If you actually meant what you said about owing me, I personally, would appreciate it if you prevented a repeat of my death."
Hadrian is about to promise Snape that he'll do his best, when he feels the 'floor' begin to shift once more and an absolutely brilliant idea hits him. Manic smile growing on his face, he reaches forth and grips Snape's shoulder tightly. In a moment of reckless whimsy, he uses his magic to latch onto Snape's magical oath to Dumbledore and anchors the man to him. He's had so few second chances, and even fewer people he feels he can trust, that Snape's mere presence has improved his mood a bit. Though it will take more time to construct another time turner, he's glad to have the opportunity to save the potions master. He never got to thank the man who died for him, secretly loyal to only Harry because he loved Lily so much.
"Call me Hadrian -or Peverell, I'm not picky, but times are ever changing sir and where we're headed calling me Potter might not be wise!" he cackles, truly amused at the confused and angry look Snape directs at him.
"What are you doing?!" Severus snaps, indignantly trying to free himself from Hadrian's icy hold.
"Saving your ungrateful life of course," he replies, continuing to smirk at the struggling professor. While not the same as making Snape his horcrux, something as binding as a magical oath should be able to tether the man to him. Feeling the floor drop away entirely, he grips onto Snape's robes with the hand not already latched onto his shoulder, and pulls him off the edge and into freefall with him. He can hear his favorite dungeon bat cursing at him the entire time they slip and slide down through the streams of time.
Perhaps it's because he's clutching Snape that more and more of the memories Hadrian sees fly by are from the older man and the people he knew growing up. Severus completely freezes when Lily's face crops up and ceases to protest further as they both watch her through their descent.
"Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!"
"Stand aside, you silly girl… stand aside now." A shocked look flickers briefly over Snape's face, then grows as Voldemort continues to try to get Lily to move without killing her.
"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead-"
"This is my last warning-"
"Not Harry! Please… have mercy… have mercy… Not Harry! Not Harry! Please- I'll do anything- "
"Stand aside. Stand aside, girl!"
Seemingly having had enough, the Dark lord raises his wand. Green light flashes around the room and Lily drops to the ground as a watery-eyed Snape and somber Hadrian begin drifting down again.
"-And the dark lord shall mark him as his equal…"
Lily coos love and affection into Harry's fluffy hair.
Voldemort sneers and crucios a follower who has failed him.
Lily is visiting with Petunia, or rather trying to. James continues to be extremely rude and obnoxious towards the Dursleys until he and Vernon are screaming about how much better they are compared to the other. Vernon kicks the couple out, where James then begins yelling at Lily over her disgusting family making both her and baby Harry cry. Snape looks pissed. So is Hadrian.
What they next witness destroys whatever little respect Hadrian may have had for James. Lily is making breakfast, a look of slight confusion on her face as she stares at James. The doorbell rings and while she's going to answer it, James pulls out a vial full of potion with an unforgettable mother of pearl sheen and pours it into Lily's glass.
"No…" Snape begs, a look of terrible understanding dawning on him as he and Hadrian watch Lily return. All odd looks fall from her as she drinks her juice; completely oblivious to the triumphant leer on James smug face as she drinks the amortentia laced liquid. Powerless tears in his eyes Severus vomits and curses Potter to the lowest pits of hell, begging Lily for forgiveness for failing her so. Hadrian doesn't blame him, he feels sickened himself knowing his father is not only a bully, but also a rapist.
They drift again to see Severus hung upside down and Lily demanding Potter to put her friend down.
"Ah, Evans, don't make me hex you," James says earnestly. It's disgusting. That tone, those words… his father is disgusting.
A young Severus curls away from his drunken muggle father's fists. Hadrian doesn't offer any words of sympathy to Snape, as he knows from experience that they aren't always appreciated.
The next time they fall, it's much further down through an electric green beam. They touch down with a massive boom that he manages to protect Snape from at the last instant. Both the blood and golden shards from the turner are gone from him, and Hadrian feels no more pull at all. Wherever they are, this must be it- the last stop.
'Things could have gone much worse though…' Hadrian notes, relieved that he still has a son to worry about. If the portal had failed to send them through time, they could have been stuck in some small pocket outside of reality for all eternity. Him and his son simply ceasing to exist was also an entirely plausible scenario.
Just by going back in time Hadrian has changed things, so if his anchoring spell had failed to tie his and Teddy's souls into this new time line, they could have simply faded from existence. If his spell is working as it should be -despite the date being incorrect, then now even if Hadrian kills one of their own descendants, Teddy, Severus and himself will remain unaffected.
"H-how can I be of assistance sir?" A fretful croaky voice inquires. Blinking, Hadrian drifts from staring into the abyss to meet the wide-eyed goblin's gaze across the counter from him. Whereas only point one percent of the wizarding world can see his massive power and that he himself is the source, almost all other magical beings can tell with one look that he is not something to be trifled with. They all either fear, loath, or revere him on sight.
Perhaps the goblins would fear his presence too, if they didn't idolize him. They'd never quite divulged why, but after he'd changed his name to Hadrian Peverell there had been a dramatic shift in their attitude towards him.
"I'd like to reopen the level one hundred Peverell deep vault," he declares, waiting for the being to gain hold of its nerves. Gringotts contains a total of one hundred floor levels, one being the floor for the smallest, least protected vaults that are kept closest to the surface, and one hundred being the lowest, most dangerous level, opened only for the wealthiest of magicals. Only three pureblood families have vaults within the lowest level, the descendants of Merlin, the descendants of Le Fey, and the Peverells.
All three of the vaults have been sealed, remaining that way until their lines finally die off, or the true heir comes to claim one for themselves. There haven't been any such heirs to Merlin or Le Fey in ages, and the same could be said for the Peverells -until now. Hadrian already knows that this will work, because he's had his blood tested for inheritances before, and somehow through Lily's side of the family, he's the one true Peverell heir. Apparently his mother had been adopted making him entirely unrelated to the Dursleys –thank Merlin.
For reasons unknown, her real father and mother hadn't stuck around. The blood tests had revealed their names to him, but that didn't make it any easier to hunt them down. His grandmother's name was a too common muggle name, and his grandfather's had appeared in a foreign language Hadrian had never been able to hunt down the origin of. The point is that he knows he's the Peverell heir, but he still doesn't understand his own origins; why his grandparents gave up his mother, or where they went.
It plagues his mind when he has the time to dwell on it, but knowing more about his family won't help him get his son back. Which of course makes that information irrelevant.
"Peverell?" The goblin asks, shaky voice full of incredulity as he looks over Hadrian's bedraggled robes.
"Hadrian Peverell," he reveals, looking down at the quivering man with a distasteful sneer of his own. The being still looks doubtful, so Hadrian brushes some rubble off a shoulder absentmindedly, and banishes all the mud and blood from his person while also mending all the damage done to his robes. When he has been returned to his usual pristine state -besides his bitten lip, he places his hand delicately upon the countertop, showcasing his lordship ring. By that time he can practically feel everyone within range sneaking peeks at him from their own counters or shamelessly raking their eyes over him as they listen in.
Claiming his title in the open like this is going to have the locals in a frenzy, but that will happen within the next few hours regardless of what he does. Once word gets out that Grindelwald has been beaten –and it won't be long now if those Aurors decide to spread the good word, the world will want to know who did it.
Holding back a sigh of irritation he smiles without warmth and says, "I will of course be happy to submit to an inheritance test to prove my claim, but I'd prefer to conduct those tests and the rest of this conversation in a more private setting."
Gasping, the goblin leans in for a closer look, inspecting the jewel with a well-trained eye to affirm authenticity, paling when he realizes Hadrian isn't joking. Hadrian controls the urge to roll his eyes at the goblin, which if he leaned any closer, would probably fall off the front of his desk. Before that can happen he quickly straightens his spine.
Eyeballing Hadrian eagerly, he demands, "You said your name is Hadrian Peverell?" Sighing, Hadrian nods. The goblin swiftly climbs down from his desk, and demands, "If you would follow me, I'll escort you to our head goblin's office."
Inclining his head, Hadrian sets a slow pace besides the shorter being and allows himself to be led out of the main room. They walk down a long hall to a gilded office door. "Please wait here for one moment," the goblin requests, cracking the door and slipping inside.
Seconds later Hadrian takes an instinctive step aside as the goblin he'd followed bursts from the office, ducking an axe flung by someone within.
"The next time you make a guest as honored as this one 'wait' outside my door it'll be your last Nornak!" Bellows a gruff voice from within. An older goblin peers around the door to look at Hadrian, eagerly gesturing for him to enter. "Lord Peverell! It's an honor to make your acquaintance. My name is Ragnok, head goblin of these vaults, and I am most eager to help you set up your vault –you are prepared to take the necessary tests? We can't afford to do away with such formalities, but I'm sure you understand how important they are when we protect so many treasures..." Grinning at Hadrian with a smile of teeth sharp enough to make a shark jealous, he asks, "You did say your name is Hadrian Peverell?"
Having spent decades living amongst goblins, Hadrian knows to flash his own demented grin. Teeth shifting and sharpening to reveal a set of razor sharp pearly whites, he flashes as many of them as possible in response to the goblin's subtle challenge. Not many wizards have spent enough time with goblins to understand that they don't smile, and that when they show teeth it's either an insult or a challenge. Hadrian loves it, and long ago adopted the tradition as one of his own –a secret threat he could give that everyone but a goblin would take as a positive gesture.
Ragnok definitely gets that he's not actually smiling at him. He looks shocked, and then horrified- probably because he didn't expect for Hadrian to get that he was being mocked.
Speaking coldly through still sharpened fangs, he steps by the head goblin and into the room as he retorts, "Why yes, yes I do believe that is who I am. And yes, the usual tests will be fine, although I'm not certain if I feel comfortable continuing to do business here after being treated thusly… Perhaps once I have access to my vaults I'll be taking my business elsewhere. And to think, I was considering making an overwhelmingly large deposit here."
"Now now, lets not be hasty sir! I… apologize if I've offended you. I wasn't aware that you understood our customs and I'm deeply sorry for directing such rudeness towards you. It's just that we've been expecting a Hadrian Peverell for… a very long time, and while you are indeed a very imposing man, you're a little early, and quite different than what we expected," Ragnok admits looking as flustered as a goblin can. Continuing in a regretful manner he apologizes, "Not that that excuses my actions. I assure you I'll be doing everything in my power to earn your forgiveness after the tests if you are indeed who you claim to be."
Hearing the doubt still in the shorter being's voice, he considers just taking his hoard to another bank, but he'd have to make trips out of the country, and he really can't be bothered to put his valuable time into yet another frustrating bank venture. He really hates having to attend to menial tasks like this when there are far better uses of his time elsewhere, but he does need to get this done.
Pushing his distaste and frustration aside, he moves to the main desk and immediately takes the blood quill when it's offered. Unlike the one he'd been forced to use during his formative years, this one won't leave a scar, and only makes his fingertips sting slightly as he signs his legal name in blood upon crisp white parchment. As he finishes scrawling the last L in his name, the blood flashes and glows a dark blue, confirming to the goblin skeptics once and for all that he truly is whom he's claimed to be.
Ragnok's sunken orbs bulge to the point that he wonders how much wider they can get before his eyeballs just pop out of their sockets. The goblin opens its mouth, no doubt to begin uttering more useless apologies and platitudes, but Hadrian isn't at all interested in wasting time listening to them.
"Satisfied? Good. Now let's get down to business," he asserts, reaching within his robes to pull out a magically binding contract, "If you'll sign here, this is simply to confirm that nothing that I reveal to you or anyone else you wish to assist us today gets out. I'm a very private person Mr. Ragnok, and have many affairs which I don't want to be meddled in."
Mouth still opening and closing as if not sure whether to continue apologizing or not, the goblin takes the papers and nervously shuffles through them, scrutinizing each one as intently as he can in as little time as possible lest he further insult Hadrian. Towards the end, the goblin pauses and looks at him with disbelief and grudging respect.
"The consequence for breaking this contract is an agonizing death?" Ragnok asks, eyebrows raised.
"It shouldn't be a problem for you unless -do you not respect your clients confidentiality?" he drawls, reconsidering whether or not he should continue to deal with these goblins. They may be related to the ones he'd had an amicable relationship with, but they clearly aren't the same. As if sensing his waning interest, an offended looking Ragnok speedily scrawls his name upon the papers and hands them back to him.
"I assure you our clients affairs are handled with the utmost care and confidentiality," Ragnok grits out as Hadrian flips through the papers. "To imply otherwise is highly offensive my Lord."
When he's made sure that every one of them has been signed, he allows a smirk to grow on his face and pulls out his bottomless bag.
"I'm happy to hear that Mr. Ragnok. I'd have hated to have had to lug all this elsewhere," Hadrian says in a far more pleasant tone as he carefully upends the bag and allows his shrunken treasure trove to spill out upon the table. Salivating almost to the point of drooling, the head goblin's eager eyes take in what amounts to a world's worth of gold and precious items. Pressing a button beneath his desk, Ragnok calls in a team of goblins to begin counting the gold and sorting through his valuables.
Looking the pile over with greedy awe, Ragnok utters, "This is… We are honored indeed that you would trust us with such-"
Waving a dismissive hand Hadrian cuts him off and says, "Those aren't what I treasure. What I'd like for you to keep safe if all else fails are these…" reaching into his robes he pulls out a second, far more warded bottomless bag, and begins removing the contents one by one. An old and worn marauders map, a cracked lens from a pair of spectrespecs, a pile of broken horcruxes, one unblemished goblet with a badger engraved on it, his scrapbook, and a handful of gleaming red feathers are the first of many precious bits and bobbles that he places upon the table.
"Since you signed the non-disclosure contract, there is something else I'd greatly appreciate your assistance with," Hadrian begins, casually brushing his fingers over the relics of his old life. Ragnok tears his gaze from the hoard his men are sorting through, looking at him with almost manic determination and awe.
"Anything for you my Lord," the goblin vehemently assures him.
"I'm in a rather troubling position. There was an… accident, and all of my family's papers; birth certificates, degrees, certifications, and the like, were all erased," he cautiously reveals. Goblins don't just deal in gold, they're in charge of all wizarding accounts and records, including the ones kept in the Ministry. In order to craft his false life here, he'll need their help. "You're aware that I am who I say I am, but proof of my existence is a bit -ah, non-existent at the moment. I'd like for you to help me remedy the troubling position I've found myself in."
"Would you prefer a minimal portfolio of yourself, or an extensive, in-depth history?" Ragnok inquires, blatantly undaunted by his request and already opening his desk drawers to pull out a sheaf of blank legal documents.
'Looks like there are more shady characters out and about than I expected at this point in time,' he thinks, amused by the lack of reaction and wary of yet more potential complications he's likely to come across. Comparing the two piles of paperwork he's being offered, he decides to go with, "Extensive. I need them to be able to withstand intense scrutiny by the public as I'm to be in the limelight any moment now."
Something as significant as taking down the resident Dark Lord wouldn't be kept from the public for anymore than an hour. As soon as the Aurors decide to start bragging, the story will be all over Diagon, his name on the lips of every last resident, whether as a curse or a praise. He has very little time to falsify a life for himself before the ministry start digging for records of their mystifying hero and either come up empty, or find his finished background documents. He might only have until they finish processing Grindelwald.
Luckily he already has some rough drafts drawn up for himself and Teddy thanks to the goblins from his time. Had he reached the correct time period, he'd have used them there, so at least they're serving a purpose here. Reaching into his breast pocket, he pulls out a parchment with some general background information on his life and hands it over. Accepting it, Ragnok quickly begins filling in the blank official documents with the information he's provided.
People reading it will believe him to be a young, widowed thirty-two year old with a severely unwell son. Severus will be seen as his well-meaning uncle, who wasn't aware of him until years after his parent's deaths. The moment he'd discovered his orphaned nephew, he'd taken Hadrian in. They'll also see that for the last few years he's been travelling with Hadrian in order to help him care for his ailing child, as both Snape and himself will be listed as accredited Potions Masters and Dark Arts experts.
"What school did you earn your mastery from?" Ragnok inquires, not looking up from the papers.
"...How about you pick one for me?" Hadrian suggests, not knowing what institutes are running or who's running them at this point. Ragnok can't tell anyone anything he reveals here anyway.
"Hmm… Very well then, your Uncle was once apprenticed to Professor Swoopstikes –the recently passed away former Hogwarts Potions Master. You on the other-hand, having been traumatized by the people at the muggle orphanage you were left in, couldn't be around groups of strangers without having bouts of wild magic. You were homeschooled and privately tutored, and then tested out of classes at a young age because you were a prodigy. You then went ahead and took the Mastery tests," the goblin suggests, waiting for his nod of approval. He inclines his head and they continue to hash his story out.
The rest is fairly simple, although it takes Ragnok a while to choose two deceased wizards one related to the Lupins and another to the Blacks who would fit as Teddy's birth parents. Hadrian had blood adopted his son early on so that if anything happened to him, his son would rightfully inherit everything he owned –this was back when he'd still thought he could die. Now he knows it wasn't really necessary, but he'd have done it anyway to see Teddy beam at him the way he had back then. He'd been so happy to have that kind of connection to Hadrian, and he himself had felt the same way.
That connection is what had helped him make a horcux with Teddy. Blood bonds are powerful things indeed. The point is that legally, he will always be seen as Teddy's father, but a simple blood test could reveal that they aren't actually related. If he somehow manages to get Teddy his own body rather than having to leap through time again, then he'll need their background to be uncontestable. Which is why Teddy actually gets his own back-story even though he might never interact with anyone else in this era.
When they've gotten almost everything Severus, Teddy and himself will need paperwork wise drawn up and squared away, he remembers the newest member he now has to account for. Once more shuffling through his breast pocket, he pulls out Tom's adoption papers and has Ragnok go ahead and file those as well. While he's at it, he sets up accounts for them all in case he's ever indisposed or unavailable for any length of time. It's happened before, it could always happen again, and he wants to assure that everyone will thrive no matter where he is or what state he's in.
For Severus he designates enough funds that the man can afford his various ingredients, and anything else he might desire to pursue in his free time here. To Tom he sets up an account that will let the boy have a certain amount to do whatever he wants with each month, and then a larger account that he'll have total access to as an adult. Lastly, for Teddy he leaves anything and everything he owns open for his son to have should he ever want for anything. A world's worth of treasure, and all he wants is his son to be whole and happy… the one thing he doesn't have.
But by Merlin, he's going to.
"What should I put as your current address?"
Signing off Teddy as his heir, Hadrian passes the paper to Ragnok and reveals, "I don't own any residences at the moment but I planned to purchase a lot to construct one on. I'm very particular about my living arrangements, and have found that it's easier to build something from the ground up than settle for something less than satisfactory." After the muggles had bombed Grimmauld he'd had to improvise when it came to living arrangements, and the ones he made himself were always more durable and secure than the average magical dwelling.
"We have several places close to Diagon Alley-," Ragnok starts to suggest, once more poking around in his desk.
"I'd prefer somewhere more private. Perhaps somewhere near Hogwarts so I can be closer to my new ward," Hadrian interrupts, watching as the other goblins in the room sort through his gold with ill-disguised glee. In reality, he holds great fondness for the old castle, and would enjoy living close enough to see it standing whole and unblemished once more. Being close enough to monitor Riddle is just a plus.
"Well we do have a very large section of private land available near Hogsmead… But I doubt you'd be interested in the forbidden forest-"
"How much land?" Hadrian asks, loving the idea of living in a zone where other beings fear to tread.
"…All of it if you want it," Ragnok says staring blankly back, clearly surprised by his enthusiastic query. "The centaurs won't be too happy if you want their territory but-"
"I'll take everything besides their section of the forest," Hadrian decides, pleased that one of the bigger things on his list to get done gets to be checked off so soon, "Who do you know around here that I can pay to draw up some basic blueprints so I can begin building?"
"Don't worry about that, we'll take care of everything," the head goblin insists. "What exactly are you wanting from your new home?"
For a long moment he stares down at Ragnok, debating whether or not he feels like arguing with the goblin, but then decides it isn't worth it when he has so much else he needs to do. Hadrian could resist more, but this day has already worn him down to his bones and it's not even over yet. He's exhausted, disappointed, and frankly just burnt out at this point. He's in dire need of the silence that he's grown so accustomed to over these many, many years alone. Merlin, he hasn't even been to the Ministry yet.
Eyes narrowing he holds back a sigh of frustration as he lists everything he wants, "For starters I'd like there to be four main bedrooms, a family room, a kitchen, a dining room –you've seen how many books I have," Hadrian pauses, pointing to the tiny shrunken towers of them, "I'm going to need a library big enough for all of those, and then a hidden room for the books and items I don't want my kids or any future guests to get hold of. I'll also need three potions labs -one for my kids, one for my uncle, and another for myself. A greenhouse would be nice, a garden…"
Remembering his son's love of seeking he adds, "And I'll need room for a Quidditch pitch."
"Anything else?" Ragnok asks jotting his requests down.
He's about to reply in the negative, when he thinks about what Tom might want and decides, "Actually yes. I'd like a dueling room equipped with self-repairing dummies as well. Oh –and under no circumstances is there to be a fireplace anywhere. Can you manage that?"
"Of course! Nothing but the best for the esteemed Lord Peverell," the goblin guarantees, even going so far as to give a shallow bow. They must really want his gold…
"Very well. Now, I do have business elsewhere that I need to attend to today –will you be able to sort out the rest of this without me here or do you need me for anything else?" Hadrian asks, hoping that they'll let him go so he can look into more temporary housing before he heads to the ministry. He's also going to need a secretary to handle the public and a wardrobe technician. He prefers to have other people around to help with the tasks he finds tedious and a waste of time but are necessary in order to show the world a certain front.
Appearing powerful and well groomed not only opens doors, it keeps away most common irritants, ones that are useless to his main goals.
"Oh no, we have everything handled here," the goblin assures him, standing to lead him from the room. "But you said you have no current lodgings, and haven't been in town for long?" Reluctantly Hadrian nods, sensing what's about to go down. "Then you wouldn't know which residences provide the most pleasing services. I highly recommend Zenith –hands down the best hotel in all of magical London. Several of the people there are good associates of mine, so I know for certain that they'll be thrilled to entertain you at their establishment. And very accommodating if you'd like your rooms set up a specific way; no fireplaces, for example."
Seeing the conflicted look on Hadrian's face as he thinks it over, Ragnok pushes the idea further, "How about I just go ahead and let them know you'll be coming and have them prepare a room for you and your family hm? That way you can go ahead with the rest of your busy day, and not have to worry about it. You just leave it to me, I'll take care of everything!"
Not wanting to argue when the goblin is actually making his workload for the day lighter, Hadrian sighs and accepts, "That would be wonderful, thank you."
The goblin lights up at his acquiescence, and gushes, "Excellent! You just leave it to us; we'll take good care of you my lord. Is there anything else we can do for you today?"
Slowing as they approach the end of the hallway to the main room, Hadrian turns to Ragnok with a piercing glare and, cursing his impulsive bleeding heart says, "Actually, there is one last thing you can do for me…"
After getting directions from a giggly Ministry receptionist, Hadrian strides down one familiar winding hall after another for his meeting with Auror Abbott. Coming to a halt, he knocks on the office door he's been directed to.
"Enter," calls a feminine voice, rough with age. Abbott eagerly pulls the door open, urging Hadrian to come in. It appears as if he's interrupted some sort of meeting. Obviously an important one seeing as no one looks too pleased to see him -besides Abbott of course. Hadrian is sure that that will change in a moment.
Seven well-dressed people sit around a table set for fifteen, leaving the chairs closest to the doorway empty. A stately aged woman with large curling silver bangs sits at the head, most likely the same woman who bade him to enter. She peers down her long nose at Hadrian, beady dark eyes clearly telling him with one look that whatever he has to say had better be important.
"Minister Gafrond, this is the man I told you about –the one responsible for wandlessly defeating the Dark Lord Grindelwald!" Abbott blurts excitedly, pointing at Hadrian. Complete and utter silence fills the room as the minister and department heads stare at Hadrian with disbelief. Gafrond unwittingly quirks her lips in response to Abbott's enthusiasm, before reverting to her more serious face and looking to Hadrian.
"Wandlessly you say? That's a new one. Quite an impressive ability to have, especially for someone as young as yourself -and to have taken out Gellert Grindelwald, my word! That kind of talent is front page worthy, but I can't say I've ever seen your face around -what was your name again?" Gafrond inquires seeming intrigued.
"You flatter me Minister Gafrond," Hadrian demurs, politely inclining his head, "I'm not sure if Mr. Abbott has introduced me yet, but I am Lord Hadrian Peverell of the ancient and most powerful house of Peverell."
"Ogs wash. There asn't been a Pev'rell Lord in London for centries," sneers a tan blonde man with a heavy foreign accent.
"There is one now," Hadrian coolly informs the man, casually lifting his hand to show off his Lordship ring. Only a true Peverell Lord can wear it without being cursed, and the blonde knows it judging by how his eyes widen with fear and awe. He isn't alone in his reverence.
"I'm sure my coworker Mr. Yaxley meant no disrespect. You have to admit that what you're telling us sounds quite unbelievable Lord Peverell," a pale blond with familiar features soothes, an intrigued glint to his eyes. Rising, he rounds the table to stand before Hadrian. Offering his hand, which Hadrian politely shakes, he introduces himself, "Artemis Malfoy. It's an honor meeting the savior of the wizarding world, and a Peverell Lord, my, my… I hope you'll forgive us all for any unintended rudeness, you have given us a bit of a shock today."
Malfoy looks more happily surprised than shocked to Hadrian, which doesn't bode well for him knowing his history with the Malfoy's.
"I'll say," Yaxley grumbles, embarrassed. Gafrond coughs gaining Yaxley's attention and sends him a warning look. He grumbles, quieting down.
"It does sound a little farfetched," Hadrian acknowledges. Yaxley huffs loudly, but he ignores it and admits, "I actually wasn't supposed to be in London today, but the long distance transportation spell I've been working on got botched up."
"Where were you attempting to go?" A bespectacled man inquires.
"I was trying to get to Gringotts. This is my first day in London and I had some items that I needed to get locked up safely while I finish transitioning," Hadrian smoothly explains.
"You plan on being here for some time then. Wonderful," Gafrond declares, grinning at him. "We still need a statement from you along with a pensive memory of your fight with Grindelwald. Also Miss Nott is going to want an interview with you after we finish up here, but then you are free to go about your business," Gafrond says, pointing to a bookish looking brunette who has been writing quietly but furiously throughout their entire discussion. Hadrian inwardly groans; he hates dealing with the press.
"Oh, and I'm certain that within the week the ministry will be holding a ball in honor of you and the war ending, which you simply must attend since you are our hero," Malfoy insists, engaging in a brief staring contest with Hadrian, who after a moment of internal debate nods in agreement. He never thought the day would come when he'd be forced to agree to a Malfoy's demands.
If there's one thing Hadrian hates more than conversing with people of no importance to him it's having to attend social gatherings with said individuals. He hadn't enjoyed it in his youth and he certainly isn't enthused about it now. The world seems to be against him today.
"Excellent. I'll send you a letter when the date is decided. Is there another Lord or Lady Peverell that I should include in the invitation?" Malfoy probes.
"I don't know if my uncle will want to attend, but it wouldn't hurt to include him and the newest addition to our family, my adopted son Tom. I would bring my other son, but he's in very poor health so he can't attend it with us," Hadrian says tersely, mood souring as he wonders again how long it will take him to redo all of his painstaking work to make another leap through time.
"How dreadful. I'm so sorry to hear that Lord Peverell," Malfoy says somberly, sympathy filling his eyes, and the eyes of a few others in the room.
"That's actually why we're settling down here," Hadrian sighs, weariness creeping in.
"I'm sure your spouse would have been very proud of what you've done today Lord Peverell. If there's anything, anything at all that we can do to help you or your son, please don't hesitate to let us know. The Wizarding world owes you greatly," Gafrond offers, eyes promising the Ministry's assistance.
Hadrian swallows down an angry retort that no one could possibly help them, and instead offers a small falsely grateful smile, nodding.
Gafrond sighs, somehow sensing that he won't be asking for help anytime soon, and then begins questioning him over everything that happened in London. Hadrian spends the next hour answering each of her questions as swiftly and accurately as he can, beyond relieved once they're done. Well, almost.
"Melanie Nott with the Daily Prophet, pleased to meet you Lord Peverell," the bookish brunette from earlier introduces herself, eagerly leading him into an adjoining room. Hadrian is beyond fed up with pretending that he actually gives a damn when people introduce themselves. It's not like he's going to stick to this time period forever.
"I think I speak for all of us here when I say that we can't thank you enough for what you've done today," Melanie declares directing a flashy smile at him.
"You are most welcome, but I'm sure if I hadn't stepped in today someone else would have," Hadrian demurs, offering his most charming smile while wishing that he could just leave and avoid this situation altogether. It's been a long day and he still has so much to do.
Flushing, the reporter insists, "As the only man to ever go against the unbeatable Grindelwald and his men, then live to tell the tale -wandlessly no less, I assure you that no other wizard I know of could have done what you did today." Pulling out a camera, Miss Nott coyly asks, "Might I have the honor of taking your picture Lord Peverell? Everyone will want to see just who saved us all. Especially when our hero has a face as lovely as yours." Hadrian grits his teeth, but his smile remains the same as he nods and allows her to take the first of many photos, soon to be on thousands of papers.
He isn't really surprised that miss Nott finds his looks appealing. His transition to being the Master of Death healed him and revealed him to be a very striking man when properly nourished. He's not sure whether to curse or thank the Dursleys', because the attention people gave him had doubled after he'd changed and that's saying something.
Hadrian's Avada Kedavra green eyes now stand out brightly against his glossy raven hair and milky pale skin. When combined with his long lashes, and full lips currently pulled up in a false but no less pleasing smile, he is stunning and he knows it. Handsome or beautiful would be apt descriptors, though he dislikes being called pretty. He's had more than a hundred years to grow comfortable and confident with his improved looks.
They've been useful on many occasions, and they're about to prove useful once more.
"My apologies, but I really must go now," Hadrian sighs softly, a small frown gracing his lips. "I have several appointments set up today, and then I really must get back to my family. My ailing eldest son gets lonely when I'm gone for too long."
"Oh, yes of course!" Miss Nott coos, gazing at him with a fond look, "My notes from the meeting should be enough for a good article, you go take care of your sons. They are so lucky to have a father like you." Her words pierce him like daggers, but Hadrian keeps smiling until after they've said their goodbyes and she's disappeared back into the room.
Face falling, Hadrian silently broods, 'Oh how I wish that were true…' Shunting the pain away as he always does, Hadrian turns and makes his out of the Ministry.
Riddle me this, Riddle me that -here's the altered chapter, what did you think of that? ;)