A/N: Oh my god, are you guys surprised I actually updated when I said I would! I know I am! Who would've thought I would actually make a deadline haha. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this chapter! Next one should be up by Christmas! Happy Holidays everyone! Please review!
Riddle Manor [August 16th: 3AM]
Hadrian pounded his fists repeatedly on the door, refusing to stop his frenzied assault until Destiny opened it with an annoyed look on her face. She was wearing her usual silk pajamas and a fluffy robe, and it incensed him further that she had the audacity to sleep at a time like this.
She had barely opened her mouth to speak when Hadrian grabbed her shoulders and slammed her against the adjacent wall, pinning her in place with his furious stare. Destiny looked shocked at his actions, and she cowered against the wall in panic.
"Hadrian, what are you–"
"You. Knew." He stated quietly, barely hiding the rage that simmered behind his words. "You knew all along this would happen. You were expecting it. You knew something would happen to him, and you told no one."
Destiny's eyes widened and she had the decency to look down at the floor, her face coloring with shame. "I can explain," She began in a rush.
"What are you playing at?" He growled, pushing her against the wall roughly, "How long have you been working for the Order?"
Destiny's jaw dropped open in surprise, "How can you even think that? Hadrian–you–you and mother–you mean everything to me."
"You have a strange way of showing it," Hadrian sneered. He slammed his fist into the wall, making Destiny jump in alarm. "How long have you known about this?"
Destiny bit her lip, shaking her head forcefully, "Hadrian, you don't want me to answer that. Please, don't make me answer that."
"How long have you known?" Hadrian repeated slowly, his eyes flickering with an emotion so dark, even Destiny had never seen it. At least, not directed at her.
"Please, Hadrian no, I can't answer that," She begged, digging her nails into the wall behind her for support.
"Damn it, Destiny, answer the fucking question! How. Long. Have. You. Known?" He stressed each word, feeling the vein on his forehead begin to pulse in frustration.
"Since I met you. I've always known," Destiny blurted out, closing her eyes in resignation.
Hadrian nearly fell backwards in shock, feeling his stomach drop and his chest tighten considerably. He stared at his sister with wide, unblinking eyes.
"You were waiting for this for years," He whispered in disgust, "You wanted it–"
"I never wanted it!" Destiny shouted, feeling tears run down her face. She didn't even realize she'd been crying. "I never wanted any of this to happen! It wasn't my choice! This was the future!"
"You didn't put a stop to it," Hadrian hissed. He shook his head, "No, you deliberately sent him–sent all of us– into a death trap."
"No," Destiny disagreed vehemently, "I didn't–"
"Stop talking!" Hadrian roared.
Destiny whimpered as his harsh grip bruised her shoulders, and she began to shake in fear. She'd never seen Hadrian like this. He'd always treated her like she was his real sister, and he'd always been one of the few people to look out for her. She fought back tears as a thought occurred to her: what if she had lost him forever?
Hadrian was visibly trembling with rage, and his voice was cold as he spoke, "The Dark Lord, my father–"
"He's not your real father!" Destiny blurted out, interrupting him mid-sentence.
"What did you just say?" Hadrian clenched his jaw, daring her to speak further, "He's not my real father? Then who is, dear sister?" He paused and let out a derisive laugh, "James Potter?"
Destiny winced as she heard the years of resentment bleed into his tone.
"That man hasn't done a single thing for me in my entire life. As far as I'm concerned, he is nothing to me. The Dark Lord, on the other hand, saved me from that neglect and abandonment I suffered through under Potter's care. He gave me everything."
"Hadrian," She caught the murderous look that passed through his eyes and she quickly hurried to add, "He's only using you, Hadrian. The minute you became a burden, he would've killed you, with no regrets. I've seen it! You were always disposable to him!"
"Forgive me if I don't trust your visions anymore," Hadrian scoffed, "The Dark Lord is in some kind of sick, incorporeal form right now. Lucius told us looks like a dismembered Inferi. He could've died but thanks to some miracle, a part of his soul is still keeping him alive."
Destiny gulped, "You mean he didn't–"
"Oh, he's alive," Hadrian chuckled darkly, "Barely, but he's alive. I wonder what he'll say when he gets stronger and realizes what you've done. Even Bellatrix can't save you from his wrath."
"He can't be alive–" Destiny shook her head in disbelief, "I saw him–it's not possible."
Hadrian rolled his eyes, "Did you really think an insignificant little girl could cause the fall of the Dark Lord?"
"Hadrian," Destiny licked her lips and her eyes darted around in panic, "You must listen to me. I'm doing this for you. The Dark Lord's demise is necessary–"
"For what? Why do you want him gone, Destiny? He gave you a home, a place where you can belong. He gave you a mother who values your life more than she values her own. Why would you do this?" His voice cracked slightly as he added, "You had everything."
"I did it for you!" Destiny screamed, cradling her head in her hands. "I did everything for you! The Dark Lord has a regime built on blood and fear. Nothing good can ever come of it. I only stayed on his side for years because of you."
Hadrian faltered, "What are you saying?"
Destiny sighed heavily, "The Dark Lord's demise is followed by your rise to power. The Order runs on corruption, prejudice, and unabashed favoritism, but our side isn't much better! We steal, we cheat, we murder. Do you enjoy taking innocent lives, just to 'send a message'?"
Hadrian felt himself stiffen, "Did you ever ask me? Did you once consider asking to see if I even wanted this?"
Destiny gritted her teeth together, "It was too risky, Hadrian. And you don't have a choice, this is what is best for our world and this is what will happen, regardless of your thoughts on the matter," She paused and added firmly, "You have my word on that."
"No!" Hadrian exclaimed, "Have you gone mad? I don't want this! Not like this!"
Destiny's lips curved up into a ghost of a smile, "I'm so sorry, Hadrian. But the Dark Lord must die; his reign of terror must come to an end," She patted his cheek gently, "I'm sorry it has to be this way."
Hadrian grabbed her hand, squeezing it tightly until she began to wriggle uncomfortably in his grasp.
"Hadrian, stop, you're hurting me," Destiny gasped as he crushed her hand in his.
"No, Destiny," He smiled softly, "You're hurting me." He tightened his grip until she cried out in pain, until her tears ran freely down her flushed cheeks. "I don't care if he's the Dark Lord. I don't care if he burns the world down in his pursuit for power. He saved me, you know that. He made me into who I am today. Without him I would've been living a life as a pathetic muggle, or even dead. I owe everything to him. And if he wants to burn the world down, I'll light the match for him. I'd do anything for him."
"And that's what I'd do for you," Destiny sobbed, finally yanking her hand out of his pulverizing hold, "I'd do anything for you, Hadrian. Please, you have to understand. I did this all for you," Her eyes watered as she murmured, "You are our future. Not the Dark Lord. It's all you."
Hadrian visibly recoiled in horror at her words. He felt his throat tighten and he stared at Destiny in disbelief. Then he shook his head, a small smirk forming at his lips. "You promise to bring an end to the Dark Lord? Fine. But I promise to bring him back, every single time. I will lead his followers while he is unable to, and I will handle his affairs. I will do everything just as he used to do. I'll simply be a figurehead until I discover a way to bring him back to life. That is my promise, dear sister."
"What is going on here?" A voice called out, and Bellatrix stepped into her daughter's room, quickly trying to assess the situation. Hadrian was sure she was misinterpreting it highly as she demanded in a shrill voice, "What are you doing, Hadrian?"
"Haven't you heard," Hadrian gave her a mocking smile, ignoring Destiny's quiet pleas to not divulge her betrayal to her mother, "Your daughter is a traitor."
"What is the meaning of this, Hadrian?" Bellatrix sneered, "That is not a light accusation."
"Do you want to tell her, or should I?" Hadrian leered. He snorted, "You know what, you never gave me a choice, so you don't get one either. Guess what, Bella? Your precious daughter is the reason the Dark Lord got surrounded by those Aurors, she is the reason why the Dark Lord may never be whole again. She has waited years for the opportunity to get rid of my father once and for all."
Hadrian watched Bellatrix process his words as a wide range of emotions came over her face. Suddenly, he winced as a sharp sting spread across his cheek, and his entire head turned sideways at the force of Bellatrix's slap. He raised a hand to his cheek in shock, staring at Bellatrix with wide eyes.
"Heir of the Dark Lord or not, never try to pin an accusation like that on my daughter ever again," Bellatrix threatened, narrowing her eyes down at him. "She would never do anything like that."
Hadrian laughed bitterly, "Open your eyes, Bella. She confessed to everything. And on top of it all, she swears she would do it again if she had to."
Bellatrix felt her hands shake at her sides and she looked at her daughter for the answer, "Is this true?"
Destiny didn't respond, but her silent sobs had already answered her mother's question. Bellatrix cursed loudly, staggering backwards in shock until her back hit the opposite wall. She slid down slowly, holding her head in her hands in a position of clear distress.
"Mother, please, you have to understand, whatever I did, I only did for the greater good. It's in everyone's best interests. This simply must happen," Destiny tried to explain, running over and kneeling down to where her mother had crouched into a ball against the wall. "I didn't have a choice."
Bellatrix seemed to ignore her daughter completely, continuing to stare at the ceiling with a blank look on her face. Her lips were moving, but no words were coming out. She looked paralyzed in disbelief.
"Mother," Destiny wrung her hands together, "Please say something."
Bellatrix was silent for a few long minutes before looking at her daughter with a look so cold; it was as though she were looking at a complete stranger. She shook her head, sending her curls flying everywhere and choked out, "Why? Why would you do something like this? I gave you everything."
"It had to be done, mother. Please, you must understand," Destiny pleaded, grabbing her mother's hands in her own.
Bellatrix flinched, pulling her hands away from her daughter. She pretended to not see the hurt look on Destiny's face as she breathed out shakily, "I need time to think over everything. Right now, I can barely even stand to look at you."
Destiny nodded, "Take all the time you need."
Bellatrix leaned away from her daughter slightly, "Thank you," She took a deep breath and added, "And because of that, I must ask you to leave."
"What?" Destiny blinked, wetting her suddenly dry lips, "Leave?"
"Get out!" Bellatrix shouted. Her eyes widened at her unexpected outburst and she gritted her teeth together, "I can't look at you without thinking about what you did," She blurted out, "If you want me to process everything, I need you to leave. Get out of my face, get out of my house, I can't be around you without thinking of snapping your neck."
"Mother?" Destiny whispered, her voice cracking slightly, "Mum, please don't do this."
"I said get out!" Bellatrix shrieked, causing Destiny to fall back on her heels in fright. Destiny swallowed hard and quickly got up, running out of the room as she tried to fight back her tears.
Hadrian watched the scene with unblinking eyes, frankly not caring where his sister went. They had much bigger problems to deal with.
"What do we do? Father is alive, but he can't even stay upright on his own. He can bark a few commands, but he can't lead an entire army," Hadrian leaned against the wall, trying to force his mind to put Destiny's betrayal aside for now, "Not to mention, everyone else can't see him like this. They'll think he's incapable of leading them."
When Bellatrix didn't respond, Hadrian called her name out again.
"What?" She snapped, "I'm thinking."
"I asked what could we even do? The Aurors almost blasted him into pieces. They all think he's dead," Hadrian sighed, running a hand through his hair. "They saw him die."
"No," Bellatrix drawled out contemplatively, "The Dark Lord apparated back even after the Aurors hit him with their spells. They didn't see him dissolve into that ghastly looking thing. In the Aurors eyes, he's still alive."
"But he's barely breathing," Hadrian pointed out. "He certainly isn't in any shape to plan a raid or lead his followers."
"I suppose he can't," Bellatrix paused, a smile curling at her lips, "But you certainly can–under his name, of course."
Hadrian raised an eyebrow, "What do you mean?"
"Nobody ever has to know anything is amiss," Bellatrix's eyes lit up as she continued, "You will lead the Death Eaters under his commands, and we'll create the illusion that the Dark Lord is still well and stronger than ever. The Order can never learn of his current status, otherwise they might try to destroy us completely in our time of weakness. But if they believe he is still alive, they will not provoke us."
"You want me to pretend to be my father?" Hadrian repeated slowly, "Are you bloody insane? That will never work!"
"Think about it, the Dark Lord isn't much of a public figure. Even during raids, our lord doesn't fight on the front lines. He controls and leads everyone from the background. They don't need to see his face. They just need to believe–"
"That he's the one behind everything," Hadrian slowly finished for her.
"We don't tell anyone outside the inner circle of this. That's it. If we can keep his current condition a secret from even his own followers, then nobody else will find out. We can keep this charade up until we find a way to get his body back, and then he can rule his Death Eaters once more," Bellatrix rationalized.
"I don't even know if I can do this," Hadrian murmured, "It's one thing to be his heir, and it's another to actually be the Dark Lord, only if for the time being."
Bellatrix stood up, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. Hadrian stiffened, not used to this kind of physical affection from Bellatrix. She patted his head and hugged him tighter, whispering, "You've trained under him your entire life, Hadrian. Nobody knows him better than you."
He looked at Bellatrix solemnly, " I want to see him first. I need his permission before we proceed with this plan."
Bellatrix bit her lip and nodded, "He's downstairs."
He didn't know why he knocked. It was a force of habit, he supposed. Under normal circumstances, if he hadn't knocked, his father would've hexed him out of the door until he "learned some manners". It had already happened once, and Hadrian had quickly learned his lesson after that humiliating incident.
This time he didn't hear a foreboding voice say "Enter", nor did the doors slowly open by themselves to let him inside. Hadrian rested his hands on the wooden doors, hesitating for a moment. Then he steeled back his shoulders and with a bated breath, he pushed them open by himself.
The room looked nearly the same as it had been before they had left for their impossible mission. The books were still remarkably organized on their shelves. The large mahogany desk that dominated the entire space remained untouched. Hadrian swallowed hard as he saw the crystal tumbler of firewhisky his father had sipped from just a few hours ago still sitting on his desk. Everything remained still, as if no time had even passed.
The only thing different about the room was the man sitting behind the desk, Hadrian noticed. Despite the tension-filled atmosphere, his lips quirked up in amusement as he noticed the man had pushed a different chair next to where his father's usual chair stood. Out of courtesy or perhaps out of fear, the man had not dared to sit on his father's chair.
"Lucius," Hadrian spoke loudly, tipping his head at the blond behind the desk in a curt greeting, "Where is he?"
Lucius winced, and he shook his head slowly.
Hadrian's eyes widened.
"He's dead? Oh Merlin, what are we supposed to do now," He gasped, sinking down into the chair across the desk and running a hand through his hair.
Lucius gritted his teeth together, "No, you fool," He paused and gestured to the Dark Lord's chair, "He's right there."
Hadrian frowned, unable to see anyone sitting on the chair. He felt Lucius glaring at him, and so he leaned forward a bit in his chair, inch by inch, until he saw a small bundle wrapped in a frayed black cloak. Hadrian felt the bile rise in his throat as his eyes landed on the inhumane limb sticking out of the cloak. It seemed as if there was no flesh on the body anymore, only a sickly gray coating that covered the entire limb. He saw the raised bumps of vertebrae sticking out as he followed the exposed spine all the way up to the skull stretching through the greyish layer of decayed skin.
He opened his mouth, but found it difficult to speak. He pointed to the–the–thing currently in his father's chair and let out a strangled noise. Hadrian cleared his throat, "I–Is that him?"
"Clever as always," A raspy voice spoke in a tone quieter than a whisper.
Hadrian fell back into his seat in surprise, gripping the arm of the chair. He blinked. "Father? Was that you?"
Lucius glanced up sharply, "Listen, Hadrian. Your father has limited strength right now. Do not waste his time and breath by asking asinine questions."
"Right," Hadrian nodded. He glanced over at his father again, "C–Can he hear me?"
Lucius resisted the urge to roll his eyes, "Again with the stupid questions."
"I didn't know there were certain rules to this! He can hear me and can speak, but not too much. He can't stand and he can barely breathe, but he somehow has enough energy to insult me." Hadrian said hotly, "How am I supposed to know how to act?"
"Stop complaining. We need to focus on trying to restore him back to his original form," Lucius snapped. "He said something about a potion, a spell, there are hundreds of ideas."
"I didn't know this was a common problem, losing your body and turning into a sickly corpse thing," Hadrian muttered.
Lucius looked up at the ceiling, as though he were begging god for patience. He shot Hadrian a look dripping with so much derision, that Hadrian almost challenged the man to a duel right there.
"I said there were hundreds of ideas. We don't know if any of them actually work," Lucius explained.
"Then what are we waiting for?" Hadrian asked, "You have some work to do, Lucius. My father needs to be back in his original form again."
Lucius let out a dark chuckle, "Me? Oh no." He reached over to the side of the desk and slid a stack of books across the table in front of Hadrian. "He wants you to be the one to do the research."
Hadrian raised an eyebrow, "Father wants me to find a way to restore his body? Why me?"
Lucius gritted his teeth together, "Apparently, you are the only one he is willing to trust," He paused and muttered under his breath, "I've been loyal to him since I was of age and yet he leaves such an important matter for a schoolboy to handle."
"What did you say?" Hadrian frowned.
"Nothing," Lucius said quickly, picking up another book and adding it to the Hadrian's stack, "Your father has already suggested several titles for you to read through to start your research."
Hadrian stared at the pile of books in front of him in disbelief, "I have to read all of these by the end of the year?"
Lucius snorted–actually snorted– and said, "Oh no, these are just the ones you have to read by the end of this month."
Pushing aside the thought of his alarming pile of homework, Hadrian brought up the one thing that had been bothering him since he had walked inside, "And what of the missions and raids my father was going to lead this year? We can't just let the Order think they killed him!"
Lucius folded his hands atop the table, "We hadn't gotten to discussing that part yet. For the past few hours, we have been drawing up plans to restore the Dark Lord to his full power."
Hadrian nodded. "If I may, Bellatrix approached me with an idea. My father has never been one to be the center of attention during a raid–usually. Nobody even knows what he looks like–save for a few people and the Order. He usually controls everything from behind the scenes."
"Get to the point, Hadrian," Lucius drawled, tapping his fingers on the desk.
"Bella pointed out that father apparated away before anyone saw him dissolve into that thing. Furthermore, nobody outside the inner circle knows of father's current situation. To everyone's knowledge, the Dark Lord is perfectly fine."
"So why don't we keep up the illusion? Show them what they think they see. We simply pretend as though the dark lord is alive and capable of raising terror," Hadrian clarified.
"How are we going to do that?" Lucius sighed, "In case you haven't noticed, Hadrian, the Dark Lord is in no shape to lead his followers."
"So I'll do it," Hadrian said, "Most of the lower Death Eaters take their orders from me, anyways. Only the inner circle receives orders directly from my father. I can pretend to be my father."
The older man shook his head, "I doubt that will work Hadrian. You may be his heir, but the Dark Lord is ruthless and his mind is like no other. They'll see through this farce in an instant."
"Not if I'm getting my orders directly from father, they won't," Hadrian grinned, "It's simple, really. Father gives me orders, I give them to the inner circle, and the inner circle relays the necessary information to everyone else. Nobody has to know of the Dark Lord's condition."
"I have heard enough," His father spoke in the same strained whisper as before.
Hadrian glanced over at his father and waited, not sure how he would react. Even Lucius stayed silent as they both waited for the Dark Lord to speak.
"The boy is right," Voldemort murmured, "We do not have another choice."
"But my lord, despite all his training, he's only a boy. He's barely old enough to tie his own laces, let alone lead an entire army," Lucius pointed out, "He isn't ready."
"Then make him ready, Lucius," the Dark Lord hissed, "This is our only option at this time." There was a moment of silence before he asked, "What of Destiny?"
Hadrian swallowed uncomfortably, "She has been dealt with, my lord."
"Good," His father said quietly, "I will have Lucius inform you of the plans we have recently discussed."
Hadrian leaned back in his seat, glad to have discussed the matter. Now that his father had given permission, he had to focus on mimicking his father perfectly. There could be no room for error, for even the slightest mistake could create a ripple of doubt across not just his father's Death Eaters, but also the entire Wizarding community.
"Hadrian," Lucius Malfoy barked, "You are dismissed. The Dark Lord needs to rest and save his strength for tomorrow."
"Of course," He nodded, rising up from his chair. He muttered a quick goodbye as he walked over to the doors, not sure if his father could even hear him at that point.
When he exited the room, he went straight to the closest fireplace and grabbed a handful of floo powder. He didn't even realize his hands were shaking until he ducked his head to get inside the fireplace and threw the floo powder to the ground, shouting, "Malfoy Manor!"
He was enveloped in a flurry of green flames before he stepped out of the fireplace in Malfoy Manor, dusting off a bit off soot that had clung to his cloak. He had initially been worried about running into Destiny, but he doubted she would've come to Malfoy Manor when Bellatrix demanded she get out. He wasn't quite sure where she had fled to, but he was honestly too furious to care at this point.
He walked up the spiral staircase, briefly registering how eerie Malfoy Manor was when it was dark and empty. He walked down the east hallway and knocked on the second door from the right, knowing that's where Draco's room was. He didn't wait for a reply before he pushed it open and marched inside.
Draco was reading a quidditch magazine in his bed and he looked up when he heard the door open. He raised an eyebrow as he watched his best friend throw himself into an armchair by his desk and kick off his shoes.
"Please, make yourself at home," Draco remarked dryly, as he got out of his bed, trying to untwist the sheets around his torso, "I'll just ignore the fact that you broke into my house."
"The Dark Lord is dead."
Draco's eyes widened and he tripped over his sheets in shock, face-planting onto the floor with a loud thud. He grunted in pain but quickly scrambled to get himself up into a dignified position. He ran to the armchair that was opposite of Hadrian and froze.
"Did you just say the Dark Lord is–"
"Well, technically he isn't dead," Hadrian interrupted his friend, "He's in some kind of hideous corpse form and can barely speak and breathe."
Draco turned a shade paler–something that Hadrian didn't realize was even physically possible at this point. He looked as though he was about to hyperventilate, and Hadrian casually pushed Draco's frozen form into the armchair across from him so he was forced to sit down.
"I don't understand–Is he–What happened–I thought Destiny said–"
"Do not speak her name," Hadrian hissed, "She's a traitor."
"What do you mean?" Draco asked, cocking his head to the side in confusion.
"That little," Hadrian paused and took a calming breath, trying to control the rage that had crept back up at the sound of her name, "She knew this would happen. She knew the raid would nearly kill my father."
Draco shook his head, "That's not possible, she wouldn't do something like that."
Hadrian snorted, "That's what I thought. The worst part was, she didn't even admit she was doing it for her own benefit. She claimed she did this for me."
Draco looked contemplative, "Why would the Dark Lord's death help you?"
He waved his hand dismissively in response, "She thinks his demise will lead to my rise to power. But I don't trust her visions anymore, not after this."
Draco shrugged, seeming to finally get over his shock at hearing about the news of the Dark Lord's condition. "Maybe she's right, Hadrian," He offered, "Maybe she wasn't being selfish. There's nothing she could get from trying to sabotage our side."
Hadrian looked at his best friend as if he were insane, "I'm taking over simply because it is what is expected of me, not because I want to. I stand behind my father, and I would never intentionally take his throne away from him."
"Of course not," Draco hurried to reassure him. He suddenly looked at his friend in bewilderment, "Did you just say you are taking over now?"
Hadrian sunk deeper into his chair, "For the time being, I am to pretend to be my father. The rest of the Wizarding World doesn't know of his current condition, and we plan to keep it that way. If anyone found out, they could try to attack us while we're weak, or even start a revolt within our own ranks. Nobody outside the inner circle is to know of the Dark Lord's accident."
Draco blinked, "Why are you telling me, then?"
Hadrian smirked, "My father's right hand man was Lucius. I assumed if you were to be mine, I'd have to be honest with you first. Even though I don't want to be the Dark Lord, I still want to make sure I keep up father's standards for when he returns."
"But what if the Dark Lord was out of the question completely? Would you still turn away the power that's been given to you?" Draco questioned.
Hadrian shot him a warning look, "Careful, Draco. You're starting to sound just like Destiny. You don't want to suffer her fate, trust me."
Draco stiffened in his seat, "Did you kill her?"
"Oh god," Hadrian shook his head quickly, glaring at his best friend, "Of course I didn't kill her! Who do you think I am, Draco?"
His friend relaxed slightly in his seat, clearly relieved to hear his friend was still alive. He frowned, "I think you're the son of the Dark Lord. And now, you're the current Dark Lord! It was a perfectly reasonable question. And if you didn't kill her, then where is she?"
"Bellatrix threw her out. I'm sure she's found somewhere to stay by now. If not, I frankly don't care," Hadrian replied nonchalantly.
"She's your sister," Draco pointed out flatly, "I know that regardless of anything you say, in the end you still care about her, mate."
"No, I don't," Hadrian said forcefully, "She deserves to suffer for what she did."
Draco held up his hands in surrender at Hadrian's harsh tone, and he swallowed hard before asking, "So what now? Why are you here?"
"In the interest of staying transparent to my right hand man," Hadrian took a deep breath before saying, "I've decided to finally answer your questions from the end of last year. But whatever I reveal to you, you are not to tell anyone regardless of what happens."
Draco's jaw nearly unhinged at his words. "Are you telling me you are finally going to answer the questions I've been asking you all summer instead of brushing them off and threatening me to stay silent?"
Hadrian sighed heavily, "Yes, Draco."
"Are you a half-blood?" Draco demanded aggressively, as if he had been holding back that question for years. Knowing Draco, he probably had.
Hadrian averted his gaze, "Yes."
"Are you the Dark Lord's biological son?"
"No," Hadrian admitted, keeping his eyes glued to the floor.
"Who are your real parents?"
"Lily and James Potter."
"That's not possible," Draco choked out, "You're the same age as Alexander Potter–which would mean–" He froze suddenly as he uncovered the entire truth. "You're his twin," He gasped out. The blond ran his hands through his hair, clearly distressed by the information he had discovered, "I never thought the stories of the Chosen One's long lost twin were true, I thought he just died at a very early age like everyone said."
"I probably would've died," Hadrian confessed, "But the Dark Lord saved me from that particular fate."
"Tell me the entire story," Draco demanded, folding his arms across his chest in a position of what was supposed to be intimidation. Hadrian rolled his eyes but complied with his request. He told his best friend the true story, everything from how his entire childhood had been filled with neglect, how Dumbledore had declared his brother the "Chosen One", all the way to how his parents had dropped abandoned him in some random muggle town.
To his credit, Draco listened to everything without interrupting his friend even once. His face stayed blank, however, and for the first time in his life, Hadrian didn't have the slightest idea as to what his friend was thinking.
"So now you know I'm some half-blood, pathetic orphan who was abandoned by his own parents, I want to know if you still stand by me, after all of this. If not, you are free to leave. I won't stop you."
Draco nodded, staying silent in his seat for a while. Then abruptly, he stood up and walked towards the door, shaking his head the entire time.
Hadrian tried not to let his disappointment seep through onto his features, and he clamped down on the painful feeling that spread through his chest. He had already lost his sister, and he didn't realize how much it would hurt to also lose his best friend in the same day.
When Draco opened the door, he turned around and furrowed his eyebrows, "Well, aren't you coming? I need a drink after all this, and I think I can break into my father's liquor cabinet without him noticing. I've been practicing all summer."
Hadrian glanced up so fast, he thought he would break his neck. "What?" He asked dumbly.
Draco rolled his eyes, "Did you seriously think I would walk away from you simply because you're a half-blood son-of-the-light-bastard?"
Hadrian shrugged, "Kind of, yeah."
Draco held a hand over his heart in mock astonishment, "How dare you think that!"
Hadrian rolled his eyes, "Well, you are a publicly active blood supremacist. You hate Hermione because she's muggleborn."
"No," Draco drawled out, "I hate Granger because she's annoying and she has beaver teeth," He looked down at the floor, "I've gotten over the mud–muggleborn thing over the years. I've realized she's just irritating as a person, which is arguably worse. Now she can't blame her unappealing qualities on being a muggleborn–it's just her personality."
"Your feud with Granger aside," Hadrian said sarcastically, rising up to walk to the door, "You still want to stand by me? Why?"
"Well, you are the substitute Dark Lord, so that is a plus," Draco joked. He shifted uncomfortably under his friend's unwavering gaze and finally he sighed. "Do you remember that time in first year after you used your title to make me shut up in the library?"
Hadrian knitted his brows together as he tried to think about when that had happened, but he couldn't remember.
"Well, I never forgot that night. You said that regardless of your title or position, you'd always be my best friend before that," Draco recounted. His lips curved up into a shaky smile, "If you can put our friendship before being the fucking Dark Lord's heir, what kind of best friend would I be if I didn't stand by you just because of your heritage?"
Hadrian grinned, "We're in this together, then."
"I'm going to be honest, I don't think I could leave your side even if I wanted to, my lord." Draco confessed.
Hadrian clapped him on the back, "First of all, don't call me that, especially not in public. And all right, I get your point–you absolutely adore me. But you're laying it on a bit thick now."
"No really, I don't think I could physically ever betray you or leave your side," Draco clarified, "I signed a blood oath promising to be loyal to you, remember? I don't think you can break those things unless you want to die."