SCHOOLED – DUELLED
A/N: Okay, folks. This is the second story in the "Schooled" series. There will be several others. It isn't as witty as the first (and wow, the response to "Schooled" was wonderful! Thank you all so very much.) Still, it has its moments and will gradually build, story upon story, to a happy conclusion.
I will probably be late in updates this week. I have pneumonia (yea, me!) and at the moment am writing with a fever of 102.6. Be impressed I can even formulate words into coherent sentences. (DLV666, your project is working, fyi.) This week has included the trauma of our family cat being attacked by a german shepherd. Tigger is now at the vet, and we don't know if we'll have to euthanize her or not; she's in spinal shock. My kids are crushed. Somebody, somewhere, better cut us a break soon, cuz damn this has been a hard month or two.
Howdy to hprareslashfan, Pikachumomma, MarksMom & slayer of destiny. Happy Reading. Blessed Be.
Albus Dumbledore looked up in surprise at the green flare from the fireplace, to see Professor Marvolo Slytherin step gracefully through into the Headmaster's Office.
"Thomas, my boy! To what do I owe the pleasure?" Predictably, Marvolo sneered in response. The younger wizard didn't bother correcting the old man; he knew full well that Dumbledore used his former name simply to annoy him. It was just one of many methods the Headmaster employed in order to manipulate the emotions of others. Dumbledore was very Slytherin in that way.
Bushy white eyebrows rose in query as Marvolo strode across the office, barely acknowledging the venerable old man's presence. A single, crimson-eyed glance was sent at the Headmaster before Marvolo plucked the dilapidated old Sorting Hat off of the bureau on which it rested. A quick "Nothing that concerns you, old man. I simply need to have a chat with the Hat." He then settled the Sorting Hat on his head, and, folding his arms, leaned back against the bureau to have a quiet discussion. Crossing one long leg over the other at the ankle, he looked the picture of powerful, handsome wizard.
An aged, male voice spoke within his mind. "Well, well, Marvolo. You came here just to speak with me? What can I do for you, Founder's Heir?"
Thomas smiled slightly and said, "I need to get a student resorted immediately. Hadrian Morgan – do you remember him? The seventh-year Ravenclaw who transferred in from muggle London?"
After a suspiciously long pause, the old hat said slowly, "Yes, of course I remember him. I remember every person I have ever sorted. Why do you want Mr. Morgan re-sorted?"
Well, that certainly confirmed his suspicions. With a mental smirk, Marvolo said meaningfully, "Because you put him in the wrong house the first time, didn't you, Tavin? Why? What happened, that you would put a boy who is clearly a Slytherin into another house?"
The hat seemed to be gathering its thoughts as it said carefully, "And what makes you think that, Professor?"
Marvolo's eyebrows drew together. The damn hat was stalling! He did not have time for this; he needed the boy re-sorted before Dumbledore could meddle again. There was simply no chance that Marvolo would allow young Hadrian to remain away from Slytherin House. That young man belonged in Marvolo's own House, regardless of his lack of wealth or status. "Enough of this, Tavin. Do I need to remind you of your purpose? Or perhaps I should simply employ the power of an Heir and order you to re-sort him. Either way, Hadrian Morgan will be in Slytherin House, where he belongs, by dinnertime tonight. Understood?" Marvolo's tone was uncompromising.
A drawn-out sigh sounded in his ear. "I warned the young man that you would catch him eventually."
This time, it was Marvolo's eyebrows that rose in surprise. "Explain."
Tavin grumbled a bit, giving Marvolo the impression that he was settling in to have a good, long chat. "When Mr. Morgan put me on, I told him that he could certainly fit well into Ravenclaw, but that …. some …. of his other attributes defined him as a Slytherin. He did not want to be put into your House, Marvolo. He argued with me until I finally gave in and placed him in Ravenclaw. As I understand it, he's doing well there."
Marvolo ignored the tone of chastisement . "Why didn't he want to be a Slytherin?" This made no sense; Hadrian was a pureblood, despite his unorthodox record of birth, and would excel in Marvolo's House.
"He didn't exactly say," the old hat rumbled. "He merely stated that his preference was to be a Ravenclaw. I got the impression that he had a plan of some sort, and that he was concealing vital information from me."
This time, Marvolo's eyebrows rose and stayed there. A seventh year student had concealed information from a Master Legilimens? How was that possible? Marvolo began to feel an increasing sense of urgency. "Tavin, I want that boy re-sorted into my House, now. No excuses or delays. And keep that meddling old politician out of it, understood?" As Founder's Heir, Marvolo Slytherin had considerably more power within Hogwarts than the Headmaster, a fact that irked the old man to no end.
The Hat seemed to be thinking. Marvolo allowed him a few moments, and was rewarded when the aged voice spoke again. "You're going to have to surprise him, Marvolo. You know that I cannot simply declare a person sorted or re-sorted; I have to be on their head to activate the charm. Otherwise, no matter where you relocate him, his belongings will continue to be returned to his original House."
Marvolo nodded thoughtfully. He had a fair idea how to go about ambushing young Mr. Morgan. "Fine. I'm taking you with me, Tavin. I will not accept failure in this."
Tavin seemed to be peering closely into Marvolo's mind as he asked with amusement, "Why are you so determined to do this, young Heir? There have been others in the past who would have done well in Slytherin but preferred other Houses. Why is Hadrian so vital to you?"
Marvolo guided the hat to the recent memory of Hadrian's remarkable performance in his class. He watched the memory with Tavin, enjoying it just as much the second time around. The sensation of laughter echoing in his head as the Hat played and replayed certain moments was distinctly odd, though not unpleasant. Marvolo reveled in the memory as he watched his little snake destroy sixteen Lions in one go. He also had the same physiological reaction, and had to shift slightly to hide his arousal from Albus, who was undoubtedly watching him closely. As Marvolo shifted, Tavin chuckled. "Ah. I see. And what does this mean, Lord Slytherin? Apart from the obvious, that is."
Marvolo merely smirked, not in the least embarrassed. It had been years since he had experienced such a strong reaction to anyone. He had enjoyed more than his fair share of affairs and beddings, but there was something about Hadrian that caused Marvolo's libido to purr for the young man. The fact that Marvolo had an intense desire to simply sit and talk with Hadrian, to get to know him personally, was somewhat unsettling. He could not recall ever wanting someone as badly as he wanted Hadrian Morgan.
"It means, old man, that I am claiming that boy as mine, whether he resists or not. In fact, given what I now know, I suspect he's going to lead me on a merry chase indeed. The first step is to get him into his true House. I think perhaps I'll see if I can arrange guardianship over him; that way, no one can send him back to that muggle hellhole he was in," Marvolo mused. It was criminal, how the Potter Family had abandoned the boy to the poverty and cruelty of a muggle orphanage. Marvolo made a mental note to look further into those circumstances. Standing upright, the Dark Arts professor said decisively, "You're coming with me, Tavin. The second we find Hadrian, re-sort him. Agreed?"
Satisfied with the old hat's rumble of agreement, Marvolo plucked the hat from his head and folded it, settling it within a pocket of his robes. Nodding briefly at Albus, he strode across the room and out the door, ignoring the annoying old man's questions as he left. Jumping onto the staircase, he rode the bottom step down and around before stepping lightly onto the floor below. Nodding to the gargoyle, he headed through the long, stone hallways of the beautiful old castle, off to ambush a truly fascinating young man.
The din of hundreds of students in the Great Hall seemed slightly louder than normal, a fact which the vastly amused Slytherin professors and students attributed to Hadrian's simply beautiful revenge against the shellshocked seventh year Gryffindors. The betting at the table of the snakes was hot and heavy, ranging from how soon James Potter or Sirius Black were going to fly into a rage to how long Parvati Patil would be allowed to remain in school once her father read her story and learned that the young woman had devoted herself to learning skills that had little chance of giving her gainful employment. Well, unless one took the phrase "blow job" literally.
The seventh-years' section of the Gryffindor table was much quieter than normal. Usually, the rowdy lions were the source of at least half of the noise in the Great Hall. Tonight, however, they seemed huddled in upon themselves, sitting in sullen silence and growing dread as they awaited the fallout from Hadrian Morgan's writing contest. Some of the Gryffs were resigned to their fate. Lavender Brown, for example, was certain that she deserved whatever was coming to her, having been one of the six Lions who instigated the prank and motivated the others to participate. She wasn't even sure now why she had felt so determined to humiliate Hadrian Morgan. He had never been anything but polite to her; it's just that he seemed so sly all the time! He would stand there in his ugly, secondhand clothes and look at her with his weird green eyes and …! Sighing in sudden self-disgust, Lavender realized why she had taken such a dislike to the Ravenclaw. She hated how the boy seemed unconcerned over his nasty clothes. No matter what Hadrian was wearing, he always seemed to be completely composed and unashamed of his appearance. It wasn't the fact that he was poor that bothered her; it was the fact he refused to care about it. She shook her head in irritation, and acknowledged to herself that her parents were right – she was shallow. Glancing around the Hall, she shrank back at the heated glares from Lucius Malfoy and Severus Prince. Oh, Merlin, she was doomed.
The Marauders, consisting of James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, sat together in morose silence. Remus had little to worry about; his parents couldn't care less about his activities, good or bad, at Hogwarts. All they cared about with regard to Remus was that he get good grades, so that he could get a good job despite his affliction and become self-sufficient, a goal that he held dear as well. He couldn't wait to be on his own. Looking up to study his friends, he sighed heavily. Typical. Peter was still sniffling, having cried all the way from the classroom up to the dorms to drop off their books and back down to the Great Hall for dinner. None of them could see why he was so upset; their own porn stories had been much more damaging than his! All Peter had written about was something involving the Giant Squid and him. Gross, yeah, but it's not like the Squid would care.
Sirius and James, as usual, were reacting to the whole thing with growing rage. They were furious that Hadrian hadn't simply rolled over and shown belly at their prank. They couldn't believe that he had retaliated as he had, much less wreaked as much havoc as he did. Remus had to admit to himself that Hadrian's revenge had been artwork; it was a thing of beauty. And, really, the boy had every right to fight back, especially considering the way the Marauders had made such a target of him this past year. Remus wasn't even sure why James and Sirius were so hateful to the small Ravenclaw, although he figured it was mostly because the boy had the unfortunate luck to be the child of Caleb Potter, James' uncle. Caleb was actually the elder brother to James' dad Charlus. The Lordship had gone to Charlus when Caleb died, thus making James the Potter Heir. But now that Hadrian had been found, there was a remote possibility that he could claim part of the Potter fortune. He couldn't really take back the Lordship, although he could take James to court when Charlus dies and fight for his right to be Lord Potter. Despite the boy's illegitimacy, his claim was valid, and he was a pureblood. In a way, Hadrian's blood was purer than James', because Rowena Morgan, Hadrian's mother, had been a distant relation to Rowena Ravenclaw. That meant that Hadrian had ties to Godric Gryffindor on his father's side, and Rowena Ravenclaw on his mother's. Of course, none of that was common knowledge; in fact, the Potter Lord had demanded Remus, Peter and Sirius make a Wizarding Oath that they would never reveal that information to anyone. Purely precautionary measures, of course.
Remus watched as Sirius raged and James fumed. This was not good. The two were planning more and more extravagant ways to get revenge on Hadrian. The boy would be lucky to get out of Hogwarts alive, based on the plans James and Sirius had for him. Remus leaned over to his friends and got their attention before saying quietly, "Look, we might as well enjoy dinner. The papers won't be out until tomorrow, so we should enjoy the peace while we can, you know?" The twin glares he got in reply were not encouraging.
James jabbed a fork toward Remus in emphasis as he hissed, "My father is reading that damn story right now – probably for the tenth time! And when he does, do you think he's going to let me wait until breakfast to kick my ass? NO! Old Red-Eyes is probably talking to his lawyer as we speak, and my father is going to kill me. And it's that fucking Morgan's fault!" Sirius nodded in emphasis with each word, dark rage on his face. Remus looked from one to the other, unsure what to say. He didn't want to get the two mad at him; he didn't have so many friends that he could afford to alienate his two best buddies. Sitting back, he sighed and kept his mouth shut. He just hoped Hadrian had liked the Hospital Wing last time James and Sirius pranked him, because Remus was pretty sure Hadrian was going to be spending a lot more time there.
As if his thoughts had conjured him up, the Ravenclaw in question walked through the doors of the Great Hall, headed directly to the Ravenclaw table. As always, he was dressed in secondhand robes. His trousers were shiny in places and faded in others, and his odd, muggle shoes had two different color laces. The boy's poverty was evident, and Remus felt a moment of shame as he glanced from James to Hadrian and registered the differences. James was dressed in the finest clothes the Wizarding World offered. He treated his belongings with casual disregard, always certain that his parents would buy him more if he lost or damaged something. Hadrian's clothes had probably been worn by at least two other people before the boy bought them. It was bad enough that Hadrian's poverty was so evident. It was worse that the boy shouldn't have been poverty-stricken to begin with, being a pureblood from the Potter family. But the absolute worst was that James mocked and humiliated Hadrian for his poverty every chance he got. Today was no exception.
Watching the small Ravenclaw walk past, James Potter abruptly stood up and seized the small boy's shoulder in a harsh grip. He watched with satisfaction as Hadrian winced in pain, tightening his fingers to dig deep and, he hoped, leave bruises. As the green-eyed boy turned to look at him, the similarities between the two were clear. Both had wild black hair and similar bone structure. They could have been brothers, rather than simply cousins. But where James was tall and somewhat muscled, Hadrian was petite and lithe. James' hazel eyes were framed in square glasses; but Hadrian's jewel-like green eyes were unadorned and shone in his face almost unnaturally. Of the two, Hadrian was the more striking, a fact that further incited James' ire.
James leaned down to glare intimidatingly into the smaller boy's face, and spat, "I suppose you think you're so fucking funny, don't you? You think I'm gonna let you get away with that? You're dead, you little prick. Dead!"
Hadrian sent a stinging hex at the hand that gripped his shoulder, smiling slightly at James' hiss of pain as the boy released his grip. Stepping back, the smaller boy ignored the Professors who were coming to his aid and said simply, "Another example of your excellent command of our language. Not a particularly original threat, but well-expressed all the same." He smiled again into the taller boy's glare and turned to move to his table. Hearing the whispered curse behind him, he barely managed to duck to the side in time, watching as the bombarda rolled past him and hit the floor, causing a small crack in the aged stone.
"Potter! Fifty points from Gryffindor and a week's detention with me!" Professor Tobias Prince snapped. "Is that the honor your father so likes to brag about? Cursing someone when their back is turned?" James Potter simply glared, his lips drawn into a snarl of fury. He wanted to kill the blight on their family tree. Bad enough the little fucker was born at all; the fact that he had come to James's own school and caused all the scandal was unacceptable. He should have stayed in the hole he crawled out of! Every time James saw the smaller boy, he was reminded of the shame brought upon his line when it was discovered that Uncle Caleb had sired and abandoned a pureblood child. Ever since Hadrian surfaced, every single day seemed to revolve around the boy. Hadrian this, and Hadrian that. James' father had been incensed that Hadrian had outperformed James in all of his grades and was already making a name for himself as a writer. What had James done in comparison? Got average grades, captained the Quidditch team, become an animagus (of course, they didn't know about that), and founded the Marauders. James was always being told that he had to best Hadrian in everything; that he had to prove to everyone that James deserved to be the Heir and future Lord of the Potter House. But after today, that was going to be a lot harder to prove, and it was All. Hadrian's. Fault!
"I challenge you to an honor duel!" James shouted. He blinked in shock, surprised. He hadn't even known he was going to say that. Still, as he heard himself, he realized that this was the perfect answer. He could salvage his honor and win his father's approbation. And no one would care about that stupid story about Slytherin, because James would have redeemed himself by being the heroic champion of a duel with the little bastard.
Had James owned any measure of self-preservation, he would have seen the satisfied gleam in the bright green eyes and recanted his challenge. But James was not known for logical thought. Hotheaded as ever, he glared at his bastard cousin, holding his wand out sideways in the manner of a formal challenge.
Hadrian studied his cousin carefully, glancing around to assess the positions and reactions of the people nearby. Professors Malfoy and Prince stood together, several feet away, observing but not interfering. A formal challenge to a duel was not to be taken lightly. Briefly, green eyes settled on an insanely grinning Sirius Black and a white-faced Remus Lupin. He swung his gaze back to James, taking in the smug look of triumph on the boy's face. Smiling slightly, Hadrian said evenly, "Do you understand the Formal Rules of Dueling, James Potter?"
James immediately glared as he hissed angrily, "Of course I do, cousin. What, are you afraid? Too cowardly to take me on man to man?"
Hadrian was unfazed. "James, I am perfectly willing to accept your challenge; however, I need to ensure that you know what this means. It isn't required of me, but my personal honor demands that I ensure you understand what you're getting into should you lose. Now, again, do you understand the Formal Rules of Dueling for those sharing the same blood? Do you know the consequences?"
James was irate by this time. The superior little prick! "First, you won't be winning; I'm the Dueling Club champion two years running, you little runt. Second, what do you think I am, an idiot? I knew more about the Rules of Dueling when I was three than you know now!"
Sirius laughed loudly, then flinched as he caught McGonogall's rigid glare. Hastily looking away, he barked, "He's just trying to get out of it, James. Wants to claim that he doesn't think you know enough and that his 'honor' won't let him fight you. He's not a Ravenclaw; he's a mouse!" Peter's indignant squeak was ignored.
Hadrian glanced around at all the silent, watching students, then said quietly, "Very well. I accept your challenge to duel, Blood to Blood. And for your sake, James, I am offering you one last chance to back out, no harm done." At James mocking scoff, he simply nodded and held out his wand in formal acceptance. "So mote it be."
James smirked. "Sirius is my Second. Who's yours? Do you even know anyone who's willing to stand at your side?"
At this, Hadrian paused a moment. It was true, he really didn't know who to ask; he wasn't the friendliest person around and his deep shyness kept him from most casual conversation with his peers. Spying movement to the side, he looked in surprise as he was joined by Neville Longbottom, who took a position at his right shoulder and said quietly, "I'm Hadrian's Second."
The shocked silence lasted long enough for Professor Slytherin to move more fully into the Great Hall, having watched the confrontation from his position at the massive entry doors. Hadrian and Neville exchanged inscrutable looks before Hadrian nodded his thanks and turned back to James Potter. "Last time, James. Are you certain you understand? If you wanted to take an hour and go review the Rules, I won't object."
James leaned down threateningly. "I won't be giving you time to run away, you little prick. Now get into position." He was irked at the fact that Hadrian merely nodded, uncowed. As people backed away and left a large, cleared space, the Slytherin professors erected a simple shield around the two, ensuring that no hexes or curses struck the observors. Neville and Sirius stepped to the side.
Marvolo was furious. If Potter hurt Hadrian, he would personally torture the boy. Nervous whispers and excited giggles were heard throughout the room. Somewhere, a camera flashed, capturing the proud, luxuriously dressed James as he towered over the petite, shabbily dressed Hadrian. James wore a look of contorted rage, while Hadrian watched dispassionately.
"Confringo! Bombarda! Expelliarmus!" James sent a string of strong, harmful hexes at his small cousin, and watched in disbelief as the boy simply stepped aside and let them pass harmlessly into the safety shield. "Bombarda! Bombarda! Tarantellegra! Confringo!"
Once again, Hadrian simply moved out of the way, gracefully bobbing and weaving as if dancing. He had yet to utter a word, but he was clearly winning.
White hot rage began to blank James' hearing as he watched his bastard cousin evade his curses as if they were thrown in slow motion. How the HELL was he doing that? "Fight back, you little prick! What, are you just going to dance all night? I thought this was a duel, not ballet class!" He conjured two heavy, wooden swords, the type used when training at swordplay. Keeping one in his left hand, he tossed the other at Hadrian's feet. "If you can't fight with magic, we'll fight with swords. Either way, I will be kicking your ass today. Now fight, you little coward!"
Sirius laughed loudly in support of James, his worried gray eyes belying his mocking expression. Hadrian was not behaving as he should be. Everyone knew that James Potter was the best dueller in the school. Hadrian should be terrified. Instead, he was completely unfazed, almost unconcerned – and still unhurt.
Marvolo watched Hadrian with delight. Once again, the young man was showing depths no one had suspected. The fact that James Potter was Hadrian's cousin was amazing; two people could not be less similar than James and Hadrian.
Hadrian cocked his head to the side, considering James' taunt, then said, "Very well." He held his left hand out to the side, extending his arm as far as it would go. James and Sirius focused on that hand, wondering what Hadrian was doing as he shook it and wiggled it in a most bizarre fashion. Weird; that looked like a rabbit. Now a bird. A dog? Just as James was about to demand to know what Hadrian was doing, James uttered a high-pitched shriek and recoiled in shock, dropping his wand as he raised his hands urgently to his face.
He forgot he was holding the sword.
Silence fell over the Great Hall as James Potter knocked himself out without Hadrian Morgan having voiced a single curse. Sirius stared openmouthed as his best friend hit the floor, heavy wooden sword clattering behind him and blood running from his broken nose. What the hell?
"Accio wand," Hadrian said quietly. James' wand slapped into Hadrian's still-outstretched hand.
Marvolo stood still, completely stunned at the elegant manner in which his new romantic interest had defeated the best dueller of Hogwarts. Gathering his thoughts, he called out, "Hadrian Morgan is the champion!" Ravenclaw House erupted into proud applause, joined by Slytherin and Neville Longbottom. Marvolo took down the shield and walked up to Hadrian, taking a deep breath in reaction as he was fixed in the bright, green gaze. Holding out his hand, he felt Hadrian's small hand close in his in a congratulatory shake, and held on tightly when the young man tried to let go. Catching the surprised look, he leaned down and asked, "How did you get him to do that?"
Hadrian grinned up at him, mischief hidden in the jade depths, and said somewhat impishly, "Distracted him with shadow puppets and sent a tickling charm up his nose."
Crimson eyes blinked down at the surprising little Ravenclaw. Brilliant.
A groan from the floor brought their attention back to James Potter. The Gryffindor was slumped against Sirius Black, blood running from his nose as he groggily pushed aside the conjured wooden sword and struggled to his feet. Blinking around in confusion, it took a moment for him to process what had happened. When it hit, he whirled around in rage and glared at his little bastard cousin, who for some reason was holding Professor Slytherin's hand. "YOU! You little cheater! I demand a rematch!"
Remus shook his head in dismay. Hadrian had won fair and square. James was just making things worse by behaving so immaturely. Charlus was going to kill him.
Hadrian simply raised one eyebrow, and into the listening quiet of the room, said, "Under the Rules of Dueling for members of the same blood, I lay claim to all of your possession within one mile of this location."
And as James gaped, his belongings began to flash into the room, piling up at and around the feet of his little bastard cousin. He jumped in shock as the robe he was wearing ripped itself off him and soared to Hadrian, followed by shirt, ties, trousers and boots. James was left standing the Great Hall wearing his glasses and a pair of bright red boxers with golden snitches. His thoughts moved sluggishly as he struggled to understand what was happening. A familiar, silvery cloak appearing in Hadrian's arms shocked James into full alertness as he leaped forward to retrieve the Potter Family Invisibility Cloak. "NO! Those are MY belongings! What the hell? Give them back! Thief!"
Marvolo simply gazed down at the petite boy whose hand he had not yet relinquished, despite the occasional tugging as Hadrian tried to retrieve it. He barely saw how James Potter was sent back to his original position by Abraxas and Tobias. He ignored James' ranting and Sirius' shouts when Abraxas cited chapter and verse of the Rules of Dueling, in which a duel held by people of the same blood resulted in the winner claiming all of the loser's belongings within a certain range. He ignored the manner in which James tried to claim unfairness, and how he was reminded of the extensive steps Hadrian had taken to ensure James knew the Rules. Instead, Marvolo simply watched his little Hadrian, enjoying the slight, happy smile as he examined his new belongings – including several new sets of clothing, a new trunk, books, a nice potions set, a luxurious comforter, a heavy money bag filled with galleons, the newest CleanSweep broom, a folded piece of parchment with an odd magical signature, several sets of dragonhide boots, a bewildered house elf and an extraordinary Invisibility Cloak. And he did not miss the subtle look of deep satisfaction in the green eyes.
When Hadrian tried again to retrieve his hand, Marvolo tightened his grip. Inquiring green eyes looked up at him, fearlessly meeting Marvolo's crimson gaze. Just as Hadrian opened his mouth to demand his hand back, Marvolo reached out and dropped the Sorting Hat atop the messy, black hair. He was rewarded with wide green eyes and a look of shock.