A/N: Hi everyone! Surprise! I updated super early because I was so excited about the new sequel! I hope you guys enjoy this chapter and are looking forward to "The Sealed Kingdom"! TSK will have around 20 chapters, and updates should be once a month as usual! Although I do have more time on my hands this year, so hopefully they might even be more often, fingers crossed!
Also, shameless plug: If you guys are sick of waiting for the new update to come out (I know it sucks I'm sorry I'm such a slow writer haha), you can always check out the new original story I started on Wattpad called "The Dollmaker. It's under the same name "LoveMyRomance" and the link is on my Tumblr page (or you can Google lol). There's a full summary posted on my Tumblr, but I'll tell you it's a bit of a sci-fi thriller/mystery type, if you're into that! I would really appreciate if you checked it out, as this is something, I'm thinking of actually publishing some day!
PLEASE NOTE: THE SEALED KINGDOM IS RATED M. The past two have been rated T, but the final installment of this series is rating M (just in case).
Also, quick reminder my dad reads my reviews so pls keep them PG-13 or I'll die of embarrassment and you wouldn't want that, right?
Enjoy! Please let me know what you think in the reviews
Undisclosed Location [June 20th]
Albus Dumbledore stared at the heavy wooden table he was seated at, his gaze fixated on the large scratch that ran across the ancient-looking wood. It had been four hours since he had arrived, and they had yet to come up with a solution that everyone could agree on.
Well, He thought to himself cynically, Agreement was asking too much. Perhaps he should aim for mere tolerance, that would be difficult to attain in itself.
He closed his eyes as the voices around him continued to get louder and louder. He wasn't sure if it was the age finally catching up to him, or if it was the never-ending circular argument he had been dragged into–but he simply didn't have the patience for this any longer.
He slammed his fist on the table, causing it to shake unsteadily from the sheer force behind his hand. The petty commotion ceased immediately, and when Dumbledore opened his eyes again, he saw everyone staring back at him in surprise.
Albus clasped his hands over the table. "I hope you can forgive me for startling you," He murmured quietly, fully aware that everyone had to lean forward just to hear him. "But I needed to get your attention."
"Well, now you have it," Severus Snape bit out, studying his meticulously groomed nails with disinterest. "What ridiculous self-righteous rubbish do you intend on adding to this spat?"
He sighed, "Severus–"
"Shut up, Snivellus," James Potter snapped at the same time. "Nobody asked you to come."
"Actually, I requested Severus to attend this meeting," Dumbledore revealed, glancing sternly at his favorite former student, "Though I appreciate your loyalty, James, I must ask that you set your personal concerns aside for the sake of cooperation."
"He shouldn't be here," James insisted, stubbornly folding his arms across his chest, "He's a Death Eater. Anything we discuss will go straight into the ears of his precious Master."
"You shouldn't speak on matters you know nothing about, Potter," Snape glared.
"Matters I know nothing about?" James repeated in a deceptively calm tone. His eyes flashed as he shouted, "My son is the Chosen One."
"I'm painfully aware," Snape rolled his eyes. "Merlin, help us all."
"Severus," Albus interrupted what was sure to be a long, petty argument between the two former classmates, "Let us try to keep this discussion limited to the adults."
"That's the problem," Snape sneered, narrowing his eyes at the fellow Order members around the table. "You've been focusing on the wrong things for far too long, Albus. The Chosen One is the only wizard that is prophesized to defeat him. But Alexander Potter is practically about to be an adult, and his magical abilities are barely those of a fourth-year student. If we send him out to fight the Dark Lord, not only will he get himself killed, he'll ruin our chances at winning the war."
"Don't you fucking dare speak about my son– "
"Or what, Potter?" The potions professor smirked. "If I were in your position– "
"Oh, you would've liked that, wouldn't you?" James snickered at him. "I'm sure you would've loved to come home to Lily every night and play the part of a doting husband," His voice dropped to a whisper as he leered. "You can have her, if you want. After she went insane and tried to murder me, she doesn't seem to quite satisfy me the same way. I'm sure she'd let you finally have a go now. You know, if you're into crazy bints."
Snape clenched his hand into a fist underneath the table, refusing to rise to the bait. He gritted his teeth together and kept his voice remarkably controlled as he said, "Perhaps you displeased her when you sent off your other child to a certain death at the hands of her sister."
"Enough about him!" James roared, rising up from his seat abruptly and almost knocking over his chair, "I have heard enough!"
"James," Dumbledore began curiously, "What else have you heard about…your other son?"
James groaned loudly and rubbed a tired hand over his face, "Alexander seems to think Harry is still alive," He hesitated for a moment before reluctantly adding, "He thinks he saw Harry at the Department of Mysteries skirmish. He thinks Harry was one of the Death Eaters."
"That certainly is a complication," Dumbledore inhaled sharply at his words.
"Complication?" James frowned. "Why would it be a complication? Harry is dead, is he not?"
Albus Dumbledore's eyes hardened, and James felt his shoulders tense from the mere change in his expression.
"I–I also thought I saw Harry," Remus Lupin spoke up for the first time that night, keeping his gaze fixed on the hands in his lap. "I swear it was him that I saw that night in the forbidden forest, about two years ago."
"Remus, you were pretty beat up in your werewolf form," James pointed out, waving his hand unconcernedly. "My son had also sustained many injuries and even had a concussion when he claimed he saw his brother. Clearly, you must have imagined it all because Harry is dead."
There was a moment of heavy silence before Albus Dumbledore cleared his throat, "I'm afraid I might have made a mistake in withholding some information from you all."
James froze. "W-What are you saying, Albus?"
Severus Snape raised an eyebrow. "I think he's saying your son is still alive, Potter."
"No," Dumbledore said sharply, "I'm simply admitting that there may be a very small possibility Harry Potter may not be dead."
"Start from the beginning, Albus," James Potter barked, feeling his heart beat faster in his chest. Could Lily have been right all along? He thought miserably.
"Over ten years ago, I first noticed that Harry Potter's name had been erased from the book of magical students that would receive an admission to Hogwarts upon their 11th birthday," Dumbledore divulged. "In the past, this usually meant the child has unfortunately passed away."
"Usually?" James repeated, "What else could it mean?"
"His body," Severus Snape said quietly, only repeating himself when he was prompted by Dumbledore. "Did you ever see the child's body?"
Dumbledore closed his eyes for a second. "No," He admitted. "I did not want to alarm James and Lily at the time. Alexander was still just a small child and I didn't want the death of his brother to affect his training."
"You-You didn't investigate Harry's death because…," Remus paused and took a deep breath, as if he were trying to calm himself. Despite this, his voice raised as he shouted, "You didn't want to disrupt Alexander's training?!"
"I'll admit, I made an error in judgement, but when I eventually attempted to look into the incident a few years later, Lily's sister was incredibly unhelpful," Dumbledore pursed his thin lips. "She refused to even admit to his death, claiming he simply disappeared."
"Disappeared," Snape echoed, "Not dead."
"So he –he could actually be alive?" James felt his jaw drop, "How can that be possible. Did he change his identity? Choose a different name?"
"The Ministry would have a record of it," Arthur Weasley offered from further down the table, "If he was taken in by another family, they would be required to disclose it."
"Unless they didn't," Snape snorted. "Plenty of families bypass Ministry laws on a daily basis. The public thinks the regulations from the Ministry are far too demanding."
"The rules are there for a reason," Dumbledore said evenly. "We cannot change the past."
"If Harry's still alive," Remus gaped openly at his former professor, "That means Lily wasn't crazy. That means I've been right all along. Harry could still be out there; he could be anyone!"
"I am not about to accost every child at Hogwarts that is Alexander's age and ask if he is my long-lost son," James scowled. "This is ridiculous! Even if Harry is still alive, that wouldn't change anything."
Snape stiffened in his seat, "Are you dense, Potter?"
"Shut up you horrible– "
"It would change everything," Snape argued. "It would mean your son is fighting on the other side of this war. How angry do you think he would be with your family?" He paused as he let the thought sink in, "Angry enough to make it his life's mission to destroy you, probably."
"Lily was right," Remus breathed. "She always claimed her son was still alive and she was right after all this time," His eyes widened, "We have to get her out of Azkaban! She's not–"
"Absolutely not," James cut off his friend. "She is in prison because she tried to poison me, or do you not remember that part?"
"I don't blame her," Snape drawled.
"She is not leaving that cell," James gritted his teeth together, "She can rot away forever behind those bars for all I care. I'm not letting her out just to hear her stupid hallucinations about that child."
"Lily–Lily saw him?" Arthur Weasley knitted his brows together.
"All she saw were her own stupid hallucinations," James maintained. "She's insane."
"But," Remus raised an eyebrow, "What if she's not?"
Riddle Manor [June 20th]
When Daphne Greengrass opened her eyes, she was surprised to see it was still dark outside. The moonlight shone through the large floor to ceiling windows in her room and illuminated the paleness of her skin in the night. She yawned softly, turning onto her side and instinctively reaching her arm out towards the other side of the bed. When her fingers brushed against the cold sheets instead of the warm body she was expecting, she stiffened and immediately sat up.
Daphne groaned inaudibly as the sudden movement made the blood rush to her head and the feeling of dizziness slammed into her at full force. She massaged her temples, frowning as she noticed the other half of the bed remained perfectly made, and the sheets were just as untouched as they had been the night before.
She felt her breathing begin to quicken, and she forced herself to stay calm as she turned her gaze to the rest of the room. Although the lights had been turned off, the fireplace had been lit for some reason and the flames flickered away quite brightly, bringing an unnatural warmth to the room. Despite the heat, Daphne pulled the sheets closer to her body, feeling on edge all of a sudden.
She continued to scan the unusually large room, and she almost let out a sigh of relief when she caught sight of the familiar silhouette facing the window. Though the shadows concealed his face, Daphne could still recognize him by his broad shoulders and the sharp outline of his jaw. Her tight grip on the silk comforter slackened a bit as she watched him for a secret moment.
He was staring rather intensely out the huge window, only blinking when he brought a crystal tumbler of what she assumed to be firewhisky to his lips. He took a slow sip out of the glass, and Daphne found herself half-entranced as his Adam's apple dipped slightly when he swallowed. Her eyes traced a slow path across his strong shoulders, down to where the hard planes of his bare torso met the silk pajama pants that hung low on his hips.
Quietly, as if not to disturb him, Daphne pushed aside the sheets that had wrapped around her body and slid out of bed. She took a moment to steady herself and push down the sensation of lightheadedness before she tiptoed across the cold marble floor. She hesitated for a brief second, but then stepped closer to him, wrapping her arms around his trim waist and resting her cheek against his shoulder.
If he was startled by her sudden presence, he didn't show it. His voice was low and measured as he simply stated, "You're awake."
"I couldn't sleep any longer," Daphne whispered, his skin feeling warm underneath her touch. "What time is it?"
"It's only three in the morning," He replied. She felt his shoulders tense as he added, "You've barely gotten five hours of sleep. You should go back to bed."
She brushed her lips against his ear teasingly, "Will you be joining me this time?"
He shook his head. "I'm afraid I still have some work to do," He apologized, stepping away from her and unwrapping her arms from his body.
Daphne blinked. A flicker of annoyance flashed through her at his abrupt dismissal and she crossed her arms across her chest, "What could you possibly have to do at three in the morning, Hadrian?"
"I have some new plans to draw up and another directive to send out," He said vaguely as he continued to avoid her gaze and stare outside. He took a small sip of his drink and set it back down on the small table by the window. "Come on, I'll help you back to bed."
She took a step backwards and frowned at him, "No, I don't want to go back to sleep."
He turned around to face her and his brows knitted together in concern, "You're exhausted, Daphne. You need some rest."
"I'm not tired," She insisted. "You don't know what I need."
Hadrian pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed as he reached for her arm, "Daphne, don't be childish. You're not feeling well."
Daphne yanked her arm out of his grip and shot him an affronted look, "What's wrong with you? Why are you trying to push me away, again?" Her eyes hardened, "I thought we were past this."
He pursed his lips into a thin line. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm only trying to make sure you heal properly–you got hurt pretty badly, remember?"
She felt herself stiffen at his words. "I should've known that's why you're acting so strange," She chuckled bitterly. Her gaze dropped down to where she could still feel the dull soreness from the massive scar that stretched across her torso. Even though the pain had all but faded away, the dark red mark still puckered at her skin and made her grimace in disgust. Her voice broke faintly as she stated, "You can't stand the scar."
His expression remained shuttered and the resulting silence was deafening to her.
She closed her eyes, swallowing hard. "I see," She murmured. Her eyes began to sting, and she looked up quickly at towards the ceiling, refusing to cry. She would not to cry right then. She couldn't.
But despite herself, Daphne found her throat was heavy with emotion as she began to ramble, "I-I'm sorry, Hadrian. I know it's not the most appealing but–but maybe it will fade with time? I can read up on it, I'm sure there's some kind of dark magic that gets rid of scars like this. There has to be. I'll start researching right away and maybe–"
"Daphne," He cut her off sharply, "Stop talking."
"No!" She snapped. She took a deep breath and glared at him, "It's just a scar, why does it bother you so much?" An altogether different kind of pain twisted her pretty features into a scowl, "I-I thought I meant more to you than that."
"You can't just push me away because of a scar!" She furrowed her brows, "It wasn't my fault!"
"No, you know what? You don't get to do that to me. You don't get to walk away because you're afraid. Not this time."
"What?" She finally cried out, glancing up at him with a hurt look in her stormy blue eyes. "What could you possibly have to say to me, Hadrian?"
He stared at her darkly, remaining silent as he waited for her to calm down. When the angry flush slowly faded from her skin and her frenzied breathing returned to a normal pace, he stepped forward. He stepped closer and closer to her until she felt her heart nearly skip a beat at his proximity.
Her words caught in her throat as he fixed his intense gaze on her and gently brushed his fingers over where the top of her scar peeked out of the loose t-shirt of his she wore. Her lids fluttered at the almost ticklish sensation as his thumb stroked over her collarbone. His hand slowly wound itself around the back of her neck and his fingers loosely tangled themselves in her long, golden hair.
Suddenly, he pulled her roughly against his chest and she gasped.
He was so close that her body molded perfectly against him, and she couldn't quite tell when hers stopped and his began. She stared at him with uncertain eyes as he cupped her face with both his hands and peered down at her with an unfamiliar look on his face.
Before she could even blink or utter another word, he leaned down and kissed her. Softly, at first, but then with a startling gradual intensity that made her dig her fingers into the back of his arms as she desperately tried to pull him closer. She could taste the faint trace of firewhisky on his tongue as his insistent mouth parted her lips, making her cling to him while a dizzying feeling clouded her head. He deepened the kiss even as his hands felt unbearably light on her face, sending shivers down her spine.
A low groan escaped his throat and he pulled away abruptly, causing Daphne to almost topple right into him. Her heart felt close to bursting out of chest and she had to take a deep breath to steady herself.
He traced her cheekbone with the pad of his thumb and breathed, "Never say that."
"Say…what?" She repeated in confusion, completely forgetting what they had been talking about earlier.
He dropped his hand to delicately brush over the raised scar below her collarbone, "Never apologize for this. Never think that this scar makes you anything less in my eyes, Daphne," His voice was shaky as he whispered, "This mark is just another reminder of your loyalty. It shows how far you were willing to go for me."
Hadrian tenderly tucked a loose piece of golden hair behind her ear and gave her a soft smile, "If anything, that scar makes you even more beautiful to me now. No one has ever cared about me this much."
Daphne swallowed hard at his words. She bit her lip and hesitantly reached up to caress his sharp jawline, "If it doesn't bother you, then why are you still so upset about the scar, Hadrian?"
"Because you shouldn't have it in the first place. You shouldn't have been in that kind of danger." He sighed, stepping away from her. He ran a tired hand through his hair and walked back to the window, picking up his glass of firewhisky. "I shouldn't have put you in that kind of danger. Everything is my fault. I'm the reason you have that scar. I'm the reason you were in so much pain." He winced, "I'm the reason why Destiny was on the brink of death earlier this morning. I'm the reason half of our people are in Azkaban right now."
His lips curled into a sneer and added so quietly that she had to strain her ears to hear him, "I'm the reason Sirius is dead."
Daphne tripped over her own feet at his words. Her head shot up and she looked at him in shock, "Lord Black…he's dead?" She quickly rushed over to him and pulled his hand in hers, "Oh, Hadrian, you must be so upset."
Hadrian snorted. "I probably would have been," He mused out loud, taking a sip of his drink, "You know, if it weren't for the fact that I was the one who killed him."
Daphne, to her credit, barely faltered at the revelation. She squeezed his hand lightly and frowned, "I don't understand…you loved Sirius. He was like an uncle to you and Draco. What happened?"
Hadrian shrugged and his tone was unbelievably controlled as he gritted out, "It turns out, he's the one who called the Aurors. He–He was never on our side. I thought–" He averted his gaze and bitterly forced out, "I thought he was there for me."
He shook his head and tipped the rest of his drink into his mouth, swallowing hard. His voice was hoarse as he whispered, "I trusted him. After everything, he promised he would stand by our side. But then he just–" He paused and sighed heavily, "He was never on our side. I was too blinded by the fact that someone from my past actually cared for me to see through his deception. He never cared for me."
"Hadrian," Daphne said softly, "He did care for you. He loved you very much. But you have to remember he was a broken man. He was just so torn between his past and his future that he couldn't see how much he was hurting you."
"I killed him," Hadrian blinked, as if it had just occurred to him. His grip tightened around his glass and he repeated, "I killed him without a second thought."
Daphne felt her chest tighten at the sight of the pained expression that appeared on his face and she gently placed her hand on his back in silent comfort.
"He was the only person from my past life that I welcomed. That I cared for. I-I know he had his own ghosts haunting him, but he stood by me for almost three years. That's practically the same amount of time I spent with the Potters. And I still killed him," Hadrian choked out. "I-I just killed him."
She sighed, "He betrayed you, Hadrian. He hurt you. When it mattered the most, he turned his back on you. You can't blame yourself for his actions. It's not your fault."
He swung around to face her, and she was struck by the heart-wrenching look on his sharp features. He suddenly raised his arm and hurled his glass into the open fireplace, barely flinching as the flames roared in response.
Daphne recoiled and attempted to take a half step back, but he grabbed her arms and yanked her closer to him. His fingertips bruised her pale skin, but she still resisted the urge to squirm in his harsh grip, refusing to look away from the wild look in his eyes.
"Hadrian," She tried to placate him, "Please– "
"Why do you do this, Daphne?" He demanded to know. He shook her in his arms and repeated, "Why do you keep making excuses for me?"
She raised an eyebrow at him, "What do you mean?"
He laughed darkly, "Why do you keep defending me? I'm not a good person. Even the people who were supposed to support me unconditionally didn't want anything to do with me. Why do you keep doing this?"
"I'm a murderer, you know," He reminded her, watching with almost sick amusement as she stiffened. "I've killed not just the innocent or the guilty, but even the people who I loved at one point."
She whimpered as his grip tightened on her arms.
"I've tortured, just for sport. I've hurt people for my own selfish gains. Why are you still here? Why are you–" He abruptly let go of her as if she had burned him. His hands were shaking as he turned away from her and whispered, "How can you even touch me?"
Daphne stared at him silently for a long, excruciating moment. "Are you serious?" She eventually spoke, shaking her head in disbelief. "Is–Is it not obvious?"
"Why are you still here?" He repeated his question, ignoring the anger that flickered across her pretty features. "It doesn't make sense. You shouldn't–"
"Because I'm in love with you, you idiot!" Daphne shouted at him, feeling the dull rush of blood begin to pound in her ears. "Because every time I'm not by your side, all I can do is think of you. Because every time I even see you, the rest of the world literally fades away. I-I thought I was going crazy," She pushed back a loose tendril of hair that fell into her eyes, "I thought I was insane feeling my heart nearly rip out of my chest every time you even smiled at me."
She grabbed his hand and forced him to turn and look at her, "Do you even know how awful of a feeling that was?" She snapped. "I thought I was mental at one point. I'm not like Pansy. I don't melt every time some boy looks at me," She scoffed.
"But you–you literally turned me into a fool. And the worst part is," She sighed as her shoulders sagged in reluctant acceptance, "I don't even know how it happened so fast."
He stood frozen during her entire rant, only moving when he felt her wrap her arms around his waist. He instinctively drew her closer, tilting her face up to look at her reddened eyes. He carefully wiped a small tear away from her cheek and shook his head, "Why, Daphne? There are probably five hundred other blokes out there who would die for you in a heartbeat if you even gave them a second glance. Why me?"
"I don't want someone who'll die for me," Daphne blinked slowly, as if she had only come to the realization just then. She leaned her head against his chest, looking up at him underneath dark lashes, "I want someone who would kill for me." She kissed the side of his jaw, "I want someone who would damn their entire soul, just for me."
His eyes darkened as she teasingly brushed her lips over his before pressing them to his ear. "Don't you see, darling? It's far too easy to have someone die for you. I want someone who wouldn't even let death tear us apart," She whispered, stepping out of his arms.
She gracefully settled herself into the plush armchair by the window, crossing her long legs with the poise of a queen as she smirked, "Now, do you think you can meet my demands?"
He hesitated for a second, holding her challenging gaze even as he settled down in front of her chair. His voice was rough as he promised, "I think I can manage."
Daphne tilted her head as he began to lightly caress her leg, "Is that so?" She murmured, regarding him with half-lidded eyes. "Why don't you prove it?"
Hadrian glanced up sharply at her words and just barely caught the provoking glint in her stormy blue stare. His lips quirked up into a ghost of a smile as he slowly began to lean towards her, only to be startled as she pressed her hand against his chest and lightly pushed him back.
"I said…" Daphne began, trailing her fingers down his body at an excruciatingly slow pace. Her words laced with a hidden meaning as she watched him intently, "Prove it."
St. Mungos [June 20th]
"To be fair," Ronald Weasley began as he shoved a spoonful of chocolate pudding in his mouth, "Harry is a very common name."
"That's what my father said," Alexander sighed, flipping through the newspaper in his lap. The press had directed their full attention on the Death Eater attack in the Department of Mysteries and all the resulting damage that had occurred. He had already skimmed through it earlier, just to make sure they hadn't printed anything too bad about himself. Thankfully, the media had focused on the Ministry's response and the Death Eaters involved, rather than him.
He frowned as he noticed that his name was barely mentioned. He wondered if his father deliberately paid someone off again to keep his name out of the headlines, or whether the public genuinely didn't care about his presence at the scene.
"Mate, those prophecies rained down on us pretty hard. Not to mention, we were rather banged up before that entire incident," Ron pointed out, "Are you sure you there isn't a chance you hallucinated and just imagined the conversation? I didn't hear anything."
"That's because you passed out, Ron," Alexander muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose to stave off the headache he knew was coming. "I bet you didn't even remember that there was another Death Eater there."
"There were two?" Ron gaped at him.
Alexander waved his hand, as if proving his point. "Well," He amended after a beat of silence, "Technically, there were three if you count Sirius Black."
"And one of these Death Eaters was apparently Harry," Ron raised an eyebrow. "Even though they all were wearing masks and you were barely conscious. And," He gestured to the thick bandage wrapping around his friend's head, "You also had a concussion."
"His voice was familiar," Alexander added feebly, knowing he was grasping for straws at this point. "I felt like I'd heard it before."
"Right," Ron drew out the word, staring at him with blatant skepticism written over his features, "You somehow managed to identify this man's voice–even though the last time you saw Harry was, what? Ten whole years ago?" He pretended to think, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think voices can change a lot in ten years."
Alexander gritted his teeth and leaned back into his fluffed pillows with a huff. He knew it sounded ridiculous when someone said it out loud, but he was sure that the Death Eater he had faced off two days ago had been his brother. There was something eerily strange about the entire encounter and he knew it would drive him insane if he didn't figure it out.
He pressed his eyes shut as he tried to clear his mind and recollect his thoughts. He was sure that he was finally going in the right direction, but there had to be something he was missing. There had to be something that could help him put together the pieces of this puzzle.
"I don't understand why you can't just ask your mum," Ron interrupted, fixing him with a curious look. "She's the one who claimed he was at Hogwarts, right? Why can't we just ask her who he is?"
Alexander rolled his eyes, "My father would never let me see her. He's already angrier than a hippogriff that we broke into the Department of Mysteries. He went ballistic when I claimed Harry was still alive. He'd probably disown me if I tried to see my Mum again."
Ron shrugged, "Hey, at least his Auror forces were able to arrest a couple of Death Eaters. So, in a way, we helped him out!"
He snorted. "I don't think he sees it that way, Ron."
"Come on," Ron grinned, "They caught Malfoy's dad at the scene. Isn't that brilliant!" He leaned back against the uncomfortable hospital couch and kicked his feet onto the coffee table. "Oh, I can't wait to see the little blighter at school and rub it in his stupid pointy face."
"Do you think he'll have the nerve to show his face at school?"
"Of course, he will," The redhead scoffed. "I'll bet his Mum will force him, just to keep their rubbish pureblood royalty farce up," He lowered his voice, even though nobody else was in the room, "My dad told me that's how Lucius Malfoy escaped the Kiss the first time he got caught. They kept pushing their 'I-am-but-a-simple-aristocrat' front and it worked. The Wizgamont let him off without even a stint in Azkaban."
Alexander cocked his head to the side, "I thought he avoided his sentence because he claimed to be imperiused."
"That too," Ron agreed. "But this time, we caught him in action. There's no way he can avoid his sentence now." He rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation, "Draco Malfoy better watch out this year. Finally, the rest of the school will realize the evil tricks him and his Slytherin gang have been up to."
"Ron," Alexander's eyes widened, "That's it!"
"Malfoy is a Slytherin," Alexander hurried to say.
"So? That's not breaking news, mate."
"No, I mean he's a Slytherin. And Slytherins are Death Eaters," The Chosen One sat up straighter in his bed as a new idea raced into his mind. "And Harry is a Death Eater."
Ron groaned, "Oh no," He shook his head. "I went along with your barmy theories up to this point but if you're about to tell me that you think Draco-bloody-Malfoy is secretly your brother, I'm going to admit you to the psychiatric ward."
"I wasn't going to say that," Alexander scowled. "But I think one of the other Slytherins might be."
His best friend blinked at him and let out a dramatic sigh, "Alright, suppose we assume you're correct. If your brother is a Death Eater like you think, then he's probably in Slytherin. In our year, there's only a handful of blokes in Slytherin," Ron knit his brows together has he struggled to think of their names. "It's not Malfoy, obviously. And unless your mum is hiding another secret, it can't be Zabini. That leaves us with Neville, that tall kid, and Riddle himself."
"Nott," Alexander piped up, "He's the prefect."
"It could be him," Ron admitted, "It would certainly make more sense than Riddle or Neville. I heard his father was also suspected to be a Death Eater."
"I doubt it," Alexander pursed his lips. "The Notts are too prideful of their pure bloodline, and Harry would be a half-blood, like me. They wouldn't have taken in a half-blood child."
"Then we're stuck between Neville or Riddle," Ron concluded. "It can't be Neville. Even though he's a slimy Slytherin now, it doesn't change the fact that we grew up with him. I don't think your parents would've sent Harry away, only for us to have playdates with him disguised as someone else just two weeks later. Which means the only person that's left is the devil incarnate himself."
"Hadrian Riddle," Alexander breathed. "He's always had it out for me."
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean he's your brother," Ron cautioned him. "Besides, he's been raised by the Malfoys so he's definitely a pureblood. If the Notts wouldn't take in a half-blood, I don't think the Malfoys would either."
"Which brings us back to square one again," His friend groaned miserably. "It could be bloody anyone at this point!"
"Well, you know it's not me at least," The redhead joked, attempting to lighten the mood.
"What am I going to do? My mum's in prison, my dad's tired of even looking at me, my long-lost twin brother could be walking through Hogwarts right beside me–oh, and he could also apparently be a Death Eater!"
Ron took a deep breath and raised a hand to attempt to placate his friend. "Alright, let's just try to stay calm. It wouldn't hurt to do a little bit of digging because who knows? Maybe you are right. Maybe Harry is at Hogwarts and maybe he is a Death Eater."
"He is, I'm not crazy," Alexander insisted.
Ron shrugged, "If you say so. I say the minute we get back to school, hell, even while we're on the train–we're going to do some digging into this entire situation. I think we might as well start with Nott or Riddle," His lips curved up into a small grin as he asked, "After all, what have we got to lose?"
Neville knocked again on the large double doors that led to Hadrian's room, watching Draco suspiciously out of the corner of his eye. They had been waiting outside his room for almost five minutes now, and they had yet to hear anyone even stirring in response inside.
He leaned his ear against the door once more to hear if anyone was even awake, when suddenly the door jerked open, just barely enough for Hadrian to stick only his head out and scowl at them.
"What?" He demanded to know. "Why exactly have you been pounding on my door so loudly?"
"Ha!" Neville cried out, startling a bleary-eyed Draco, "I knew you could hear us."
"Of course, I could hear you," Hadrian rolled his eyes, "I reckon the entire Manor could hear you."
"Yes, well, usually when people knock on your door so urgently, it means you should open it," Draco snarked, rubbing a tired hand over his face.
"What is so important you had to bother me this early in the morning for? The sun is barely up."
"Sorry we disturbed your beauty rest," Neville snickered, "But there's someone here to see you."
"Who is it?" Hadrian frowned.
"You'll find out," Neville grinned, "Trust me, you'll want to come downstairs for this."
Hadrian glowered at them for a moment before he finally cursed quietly and sighed, "Fine, give me a minute. I need to change first."
"Oh, don't spend too long fluffing your hair, dearest," Neville batted his eyes, only to have the door slammed in his face again. He turned to Draco with mock sadness, "He's so moody sometimes."
"I've slept a total of four hours," Draco yawned, as if to prove his point. "Please don't make me hex you this early in the morning, Neville. Why are you so cheerful, anyways?"
"I don't know," Neville pretended to think. "Perhaps I just got more rest than you did? Perhaps it's because my girlfriend isn't dead in the middle of a sitting room? Or maybe it's because I finally got the blessing of one Bellatrix Lestrange."
Draco's jaw dropped open in surprise. "You're kidding," He sputtered. "Aunt Bella hates you," He breathed. "She seriously, really hates you. Like she would throw you off a cliff without blinking hates you. Like she would string you from the rafters by your carotid artery hates you– "
"I get your point, Draco," Neville grimaced at the visual. "But you're wrong. She changed her mind about me because I saved Destiny's life, remember?"
"Yeah, yeah, you're her knight in shining armor and all that," Draco waved his hand uncaringly, "But that doesn't mean she approves. Aunt Bella is so protective of Destiny. She once magically tied me to a tree for six hours because I pulled Destiny's pigtails when I was nine."
"I suppose she didn't say she approves in those exact words," Neville hedged, reddening slightly under Draco's unconvinced look, "But she did say she no longer wants to murder me."
"Aiming high, then," The blond muttered under his breath.
They both turned to face the door as it opened just a crack, once again just barely wide enough for Hadrian to slip out of his room. He stepped into the hallway and closed the door behind him, staring at his friends expectedly in a fresh set of new robes, although his messy hair was a lost cause at this point.
"Is Daphne not coming?" Neville asked, glancing curiously at the closed door. "She might want to know about– "
"No," Hadrian said nonchalantly, trying hard to fight the grin on his face, "She's tired."
"Oh, of course," Draco shook his head, "She's probably still recovering from the attack. She did lose a lot of blood and my mum was working on her almost as long as Destiny–"
Neville studied his friend's smug expression and groaned, cutting off Draco rather abruptly, "That's not why, you idiot."
Draco frowned, confusion creeping into his sharp features. "Why else would she be tired–" He paused as he took in his best friend's messy raven hair and the lazy, self-satisfied smile on his face. "Oh. Oh, no. Tell me you didn't."
"I don't understand why you get to shack up with your girlfriend and the rest of us are stuck in our own separate rooms, all alone," Neville complained. "Why can't I do that?"
"Because I'm the Dark Lord," Hadrian retorted, narrowing his eyes at his friend even as he began to walk towards the stairs, "And you're dating my sister so don't even think about it."
"My mother is going to kill you," Draco informed him, very matter-of-factly.
"We've been dating since the end of first year," Neville pointed out, talking over the blond as they walked, "We have a whole four years over you and Daphne."
"When my mother finds out, she's going to be so angry with you two–"
"Draco, how would she even find out?" Hadrian interrupted. He arched his brow, "Are you going to tell her?"
Draco made a face, "Of course not, I don't have a death wish." He shook his head at his best friend, walking ahead him towards the main staircase and adding, "Oh, by the way, your pants are unzipped."
Hadrian flushed, turning around quickly to fix his pants while Neville just laughed outright and pushed past him. Once he had checked to make sure he looked decent, Hadrian hurried after his friends.
He almost toppled right into Draco's frozen form, nearly sending them both tumbling down the flight of marble stairs. Hadrian glared at his friend, carefully stepping around him on the steps to see what had caused the blond to freeze in shock.
"Theo?" Hadrian groaned as he caught sight of his classmate standing in his foyer. He turned to sneer at Neville, "You woke me up to come see Theo?"
"Hey!" Theodore Nott protested, gesturing to the stack of trunks behind him. "I brought down all the shite you lot left behind. The least you could do is say thank you."
"Actually," A familiar voice called out, stepping into view. "I think Neville called you down because of me."
Hadrian's eyes widened as he saw the petite figure of Hermione Granger, looking severely out of place in his home.
"Granger," He breathed, unconvinced she was actually standing before them.
"Hi," She said lamely, staring up at them with a soft smile, "I hope this isn't a bad time."