Notes: Thanks for all the really kind reviews I've gotten in the past three months since my last chapter update. You guys rock and I'm sorry it took me this long to get this out. Oh, and another Harry raises himself rec because a reviewer couldn't remember the name. A Second Chance by Tiro was the one you were looking for dear anon reviewer.
"At first I thought it was a joke, you know," Pomona stated.
"As did I, Pomona," Minerva replied. The staff meeting had not yet officially began, and so of course it was the perfect time for the professors to gossip on the thing that had been bothering some of them: how they could forget one of their students so completely.
Of the Hogwarts professors who'd taught when Marvolo Riddle had supposedly attended Hogwarts, only Minerva, Pomona Sprout, Filius Flitwick, and Septima Vector remained. Well, and Albus as the headmaster.
Minerva frowned, thinking of Albus, but pushed it aside.
"I have a suspicion," Filius stated in his squeaky voice. The other professors turned to the half-goblin.
"Filius?" Minerva asked.
"It would have been a powerful ritual indeed, but it is possible, I think, to have indeed erased all our memories of the boy." Filius sighed. "Even Horace doesn't remember the boy and you know Marvolo's father was one of his favorites in school."
Septima began murmuring to herself about the complications of such a ritual as Pomona gasped in dismay.
"But why?" Minerva asked. "Is there a way to be sure, Filius?"
Filius shook his head. "A ritual of such nature would be permanent. If indeed that is why we cannot remember this boy though the records say he was here… to be honest it is suspicious that only his Slytherin yearmates remember him."
"Not so suspicious," Severus said from the corner of the staff room.
Minerva turned to the Potions' professor and raised an eyebrow. He scowled.
"Think!" the man growled. "Who is this Marvolo's father?"
"Tom Riddle," Minerva stated. "We do know that Severus. I went to school with Tom, you know. We were Head Boy and Girl together. He was a delight to work with, truly the best of Slytherin." Minerva frowned. "The best of Slytherin…."
"I remember now," Filius said. "Those rumors, Minerva. That Tom was the Heir."
"He is an heir," Septima stated. "If we're to believe The Prophet."
"And who else was an heir?" Severus hissed.
Minerva paled. "Severus! You wouldn't dare instigate that Tom was—"
"No, no," Filius cut her off. "I see where Severus is coming from. For He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would have dearly like to pull young Marvolo into his services, wouldn't he have? I think, indeed, that is why Tom left the country."
"I would have left too," Pomona stated. "Rather than fight against an insane cousin like that."
Filius nodded. "Tom was always very powerful. He would have been able to do the ritual. Indeed, I imagine only Marvolo's closest friends remember him because of the nature of that friendship. It is not so easy to completely wipe seven years of memory from their minds, at least not permanently, but from ours…."
Minerva took a deep breath. "I don't think we can blame Tom for that, then." She ran a shaky hand over her smooth hair to her bun. "It does make too much sense."
"It does indeed," Pomona said, patting Minerva on the hand kindly.
Minerva noticed Severus retreat back into the corner just as Albus finally made his way into the room. Minerva drew herself up, composing her thoughts for the meeting.
Hadrian, Harry, Sirius, and Remus all flooed to the Burrow for Easter brunch. Molly met them immediately upon their arrival. She kissed Hadrian on the cheek, which was a bit surprising, but she hugged the other three. Hadrian could tell that Harry still wasn't used to such contact, but he hugged back much easier than Hadrian would have in his past life.
The table was already set up. It was outside, the weather nice and sunny. Molly led them to where Arthur and the Weasley children were playing in the garden, and then retreated back to the kitchen to finish cooking.
Hadrian pushed Harry to play with Ron and the twins. Ginny shyly kept a hold of her dad's hand as Arthur greeted Sirius and Remus like an old friend—which Hadrian supposed they were.
Charlie and Percy were degnoming the edge of the garden. Hadrian considered helping them—throwing gnomes was always fun—but then Bill approached him.
"How are you doing, Bill?" Hadrian asked.
"Really good, actually," Bill said. "I got a job at Gringotts."
"Did you! Cursebreaking?"
"Yeah." Bill smiled. "I'm leaving for Egypt next month for my first expedition."
"Make sure to brush up on your cooling charms," Hadrian suggested. "And sun protection. Still, that's very exciting."
Bill nodded. "Thank you for suggesting it. I don't know that I would have thought of it if you hadn't, but I really think it's going to be perfect for me."
"I'm sure you would have stumbled across the position somehow," Hadrian told him. He asked the new cursebreaker about the interview process and listened as Bill went on and on about the goblins until Molly called them all to the table.
The food was delicious as always at the Burrow and Hadrian made sure to tell Molly as much—though leaving out the part about having eaten at the Burrow before. Harry seemed to get along with Ron well enough, though he seemed more entertained by the twins.
Hadrian made sure to mention that Sirius and Remus were infamous pranksters at Hogwarts. The twins hadn't learned about the Marauders' yet, but that didn't stop them from being awe-struck by the stories they were soon told. Hadrian shared a grin with Arthur, though Molly seemed exasperated with the prank talking.
Hadrian and Harry stayed at the Burrow until around three in the afternoon. Sirius and Remus both opted to stay and continue talking about the old days with Molly and Remus as the two Nagas flooed back to the manor.
They changed into fancier robes fairly quickly. Harry put on dark green robes with white trim and Hadrian opted to wear silver-embroidered black robes that he knew made his more exotic features stand out.
They flooed to Greengrass Manor. No one was there to greet them immediately, but a house elf soon popped into the parlor and led them to where the rest of the guests were in the ballroom.
They'd missed the talking and lunch portion of the Greengrass event, but the dancing was going on right now. Dinner would be the last part of the evening. Hadrian had wondered initially why the dancing wasn't to happen after dinner, since that seemed more usual, but then he realized that the children wouldn't have been able to dance as long. Since Easter, often coinciding with the spring equinox, was a primarily children's holiday, it only made sense to cater some to them.
"Oh," Hadrian said as they arrived as the open double doors. He immediately felt the tantalizing aura of Marvolo. "Harry… I hadn't realized Lord Riddle would be here."
"He is?" Harry asked, suddenly going wide-eyed.
Hadrian nodded, finding the man on the dance floor. He was twirling a pretty witch Hadrian didn't recognized.
"I know I said you wouldn't have to meet him until you felt ready…." Hadrian began.
Harry shook his head. "It's fine."
Hadrian studied his ward for a second, before pulling him in for a side-hug. "You're a very brave boy, Harry, for facing your nervousness and fears."
Harry smiled. They pulled away from each other as Lorelle approached.
"I am pleased that you made it, Hadrian," she said. "And you too, Harry."
Harry blushed slightly under the beautiful woman's attention. Hadrian held back a chuckle. "We wouldn't have missed it, Lorelle," he told her. "And our thanks again for the invitation and understanding about our tardiness."
"Nonsense," Lorelle said. "Come now, Harry the other children are dancing on the far end of the floor."
Hadrian let Lorelle escort them both to that end. He watched as Harry was pulled into the fray by an excited Draco. The children had their own music to dance to, which was much more freestyle than the adults'. There were a couple coordinated dances thrown in, but Hadrian had made sure to teach most of them to Harry. If there were any the boy didn't know, Hadrian had no doubt the other children could help Harry out.
Lorelle led Hadrian back to the adults then. Hadrian made small talk with the Bulstrodes for a moment, before he felt that recognizably powerful aura come his way. He carefully did not stiffen, though he showed no surprise when Marvolo stepped up beside him. Instead, he bowed his head to the Bulstrodes and disengaged from them to turn his full attention to the Dark Lord.
"Hadrian," Marvolo greeted. He took Hadrian's hand and briefly brushed his lips to Hadrian's knuckles.
"Marvolo," Hadrian murmured.
Marvolo straightened, but didn't let go of Hadrian's hand. "May I have the pleasure of this dance?"
Hadrian nodded and Marvolo wasted no time in sweeping him onto the dance floor. They arrive just as one of the smoother waltzes began. Hadrian fell easily into the position of follower, though he'd been taught mostly how to lead. Marvolo was a fantastic dancer—elegant and deft in his movements. Hadrian found himself responding without much conscious thought.
He let his magic flare out slightly as they moved from one dance to the next without missing a step. Marvolo's magic brushed forward in response. Hadrian shivered and Marvolo's hands, one gently holding his and the other curled around his lower back, tightened their hold. Hadrian finally let himself meet Marvolo's gaze directly. Marvolo's eyes were dark with some deeper emotion. Hadrian felt almost overheated.
He knew what was happening. Marvolo was a manipulator to the core. The man was trying to use the lust that seemed to so easily spark between them as a way to gloss over the true lack of affection. Whether he wanted to own Hadrian, or just Hadrian's monetary and political value, was another matter entirely.
Hadrian swallowed. He thought it'd be easy, remaining clear-headed around Marvolo. He couldn't forget what Voldemort had done in his past life and even in this one… but it had been so many years and this man in front of his was not Voldemort.
That wasn't to say that Hadrian was going to make this little ploy of his easy. When the next dance ended, Hadrian stepped back and bowed—signaling an end to their dancing. Marvolo let nothing show on his face, so Hadrian wasn't sure if he was annoyed at being cut off or had expected it.
Hadrian didn't protest as Marvolo silently offered his arm and, once Hadrian had taken it, led them both to the refreshment table. Hadrian noticed the stares they were getting as they sipped their drinks. There were a number of Ministry employees and even a few discreet reporters among the crowd. Hadrian wanted to groan at the knowledge that their dancing would be all over the papers and general gossip by the end of tomorrow.
Hadrian looked at Marvolo. There was no mistaking the way Marvolo had held him during those dances. The man had wanted the word to get out then. Hadrian hadn't officially accepted, nor given the chance to accept or deny, the courtship Marvolo offered yet. He wouldn't be able to until he was given that first courtship gift.
"Clever," Hadrian murmured. Marvolo's red-brown eyes flickered toward him.
"I'm sure I don't know what you're referring to," Marvolo said smoothly.
"Of course." Hadrian looked away. By declaring his attentions to the world in such a public way during the dance, Marvolo was ensuring that Hadrian couldn't just reject the courtship immediately. People would wonder why. Surely, on paper, Marvolo and Hadrian seemed like such a perfect match for each other.
Hadrian wanted to be angry, but he found himself amused instead. He would let it play out, he decided—see what kind of courtship Marvolo was planning. If nothing else, it would be rather interesting.
"I would love to meet your ward, if you would allow it," Marvolo said as they finished their drinks. "I understand, of course, if you wouldn't."
Hadrian looked over to where Harry was talking animatedly with Draco and young Astoria. Judging by the hand waving, they were discussing quidditch. He looked back to Marvolo. "Briefly."
Marvolo nodded and followed Hadrian to where Harry stood.
"Would you mind leading young Miss Greengrass in a dance, Draco?" Hadrian asked as they stopped next to the group. "Just one should be fine."
Draco and Astoria needed no more encouragement than that to leave Harry alone with them. Harry scooted closer to Hadrian's side as he observed Marvolo silently.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter," Marvolo said smoothly. He knelt down, shocking Hadrian, so that he was eye-level with the boy. "I want to formally apologize for the death of your parents," he added very softly. "They were both brave and talented individuals." He stopped then, though a look of hesitation came across his face as if he almost wanted to say more.
Hadrian was shocked again when Harry reached forward and hugged Marvolo, just for a second. "It's okay," he heard Harry say. "I know you weren't you then."
"No," Marvolo agreed. "If I were, I doubt I would have hurt such a powerful magical family, even if they were on the opposite side of a war."
Hadrian didn't doubt that, actually. Harry seemed to believe it too. Still, Hadrian could tell his ward was at the edge of being really upset just by Marvolo's presence. Marvolo seemed to tell too, for he pulled away and stood.
"I hope we can learn to enjoy each other's presence, Harry," he said. "I hope to be seeing more of you in the future."
Harry nodded and fled to the dance floor. Hadrian let out a deep breath. Marvolo offered him his arm again and Hadrian took it. The man led them both out of the ballroom and to the couch in the adjacent parlor.
Hadrian sat down. Marvolo sat next to him and pulled from inside his robes a slender box. Hadrian accepted the courting gift with steady hands.
"I expected you to owl this to me," he murmured as he stroked the beautiful ribbon holding the box closed. It was silky, as if made from fairy wings. He carefully undid the knot.
"If possible, I believe I will always rather be able to see your face while you open my gifts to you," Marvolo answered.
"You seem to always know just what to say," Hadrian said. He pinned Marvolo with a steady look. "You must know I'm not fooled."
"As I told your fellows, I will marry only for love."
Marvolo seemed to consider him for a long moment and Hadrian let him. Finally, Marvolo sighed. "I was conceived with the use of a love potion," he admitted. "Love as you seek is something I may never be capable of."
Marvolo wasn't sure why he'd admitted that to Hadrian. There was something about Lord Naga that made him feel like a schoolboy again. He wanted to please, to impress, and ultimately he wanted to win Hadrian's favor. He wished he could convince himself that it was just because of his plans, but truthfully the real machination of said plans seemed to drain away upon his first meeting with Hadrian.
He didn't believe he would ever be able to fall in love with Hadrian. Children conceived under love potions rarely could fall in love. There was some suggestion that the ones that had were true fated pairings. Only such powerful magic could circumvent the negative effects of a love potion.
Marvolo didn't believe in soulmates, no did he believe he would have been able to love anyone even if his mother hadn't used a love potion on his father. His childhood had been so devoid of anything even remotely close to love that he didn't even know what a true loving relationship looked like. Nor did he want one. They seemed to be such a weakness he had worked his whole life to avoid.
Still, Hadrian was such an utterly fascinating individual and Marvolo found himself, for the first time since he could remember, almost willingly trapped in another's spell. The best part, the absolute best, was that Hadrian seemed so obviously suspicious of him.
Marvolo knew that if the man had fallen over him, he would have been disgusted. He would have thought himself, rightly, above the man. He would have used the resulting marriage as a means to an end.
He couldn't think like that. He knew enough of human nature to realize that Hadrian wouldn't be fooled by a mere act of love.
He told Hadrian that he was conceived under a love potion without truly thinking it through, but now that he was he realized it was the best move he could have taken. Hadrian would know now not to expect true love from Marvolo—and in the end Marvolo hoped that meant Hadrian would realize that gaining any sort of affection from him was equivalent. Marvolo thought he could learn to like Hadrian and that would have to be enough for marriage.
Hadrian reached forward and pressed his pale fingers against Marvolo's. He didn't look very surprised, but then Marvolo had found, in the short time he'd known him, that the man didn't show surprise often, if at all.
"What do you hope to gain from courting me, Marvolo?" Hadrian asked.
Marvolo considered for a moment the best thing he could say, and in the end he decided on the truth, or as close to it as he thought he would ever get. "You said yourself you wish for a husband to take on the political scene in your stead. You are intelligent, Hadrian, and I'm sure you already figured out this is why I started courting you."
"I would prefer to keep my seats empty than enter into a marriage devoid of affection."
"Then let us see if affection can develop. I will never be able to love you, not as you desire it, but I could come to cherish you." Marvolo smiled as the flicker of surprise Hadrian showed at his words. So he could still shock the man. "If you'll let us try?"
Hadrian let loose a short breath, as if deflating. "I can't very well say no to that, now can I?"
Marvolo held back his smirk. No, Hadrian couldn't. He'd manipulated Hadrian in more than one way so that there was no other answer Hadrian could give then to accept his courtship. The fact that Hadrian was aware of that maneuvering just made it all the sweeter.
He would have fun with this courtship. It was a game to be played between them, a game that would have to involve real feelings but then Marvolo was capable of manipulating even his own heart to get what he wanted. If he had to learn to like Hadrian, then he would. Because Marvolo didn't lose. And he would win in this.
Hadrian steadied his heavily beating heart. He was nervous, he realized. Marvolo had just declared war on, of all things, his heart and Hadrian wasn't sure he was ready to engage in such combat. He could have never predicted this when he'd come back in time.
He shook his head and turned his attention to the gift in his lap. "I suppose I should open this," he said somewhat inanely.
Marvolo made a noise of encouragement and so Hadrian carefully pulled the top off the slender box. Inside, nestled in dark silk, was a delicate-looking silver necklace. Hadrian nearly gasped.
"Lady Slytherin's necklace," Marvolo said, confirming Hadrian's suspicion.
Hadrian gently picked the necklace up. The end was clasped with a tiny silver snake, which started to move the minute it touched his skin. The snake had glowing eyes, so small they looked like little pinpricks of light. It stared up at Hadrian for a long moment and then Hadrian felt a pressure at his mental walls.
He didn't expect the magic of the snake to be able to breach, but surprisingly the walls Magic herself had given him let the snake in. He stiffened as the snake went through the essence of his being. It wasn't invasive, in fact it was quite gentle, but Hadrian was stunned.
He thought back to what the founders had said. No person could break through his walls, he supposed. Snake necklaces created by one of the founders' himself were apparently okay. It made Hadrian nervous, but he didn't think the necklace actually recorded anything it saw. In fact, Hadrian realized that it was scanning him for worthiness.
For a moment, he thought it was another test, another way for Marvolo to confirm Hadrian's worthiness for his goals. Except, no… he wasn't even sure Marvolo knew the snake would do this. The whole process only lasted a mere second.
The snake end of the necklace lowered back down, but Hadrian could still feel what seemed to be almost like a familiars' bond tugging at the edge of his magic. It was warm, protective even. He barely noticed himself moving the necklace to his neck and allowing the snake to clasp around it.
"The necklace has a number of protective charms laced within it," Marvolo said. "Among them is protection from unwanted physical contact and from a number of mental attacks. There are rumors that it was forged within Avalon."
Hadrian blinked and focused on Marvolo. "The way to Avalon has been lost."
"It has," Marvolo acknowledged. "Salazar Slytherin took the knowledge with him to his grave. I have spoken with his portrait, but it refuses to say how to return to the place of Magic's birth."
Marvolo reached forward as he spoke and gently stroked Hadrian's neck and the small snake charm on it. A flash of pure heat spread through Hadrian, though he wasn't sure if that was his own reaction or that of the necklace. "Salazar's wife was the last priestess of Avalon. She wore this necklace until the day she died. It was then passed on to their eldest son with instructions to give it to his wife, should the necklace accept her. From what I've been told, the necklace has only accepted three Slytherin consorts since Lady Slytherin's death."
"I… I had only heard about it in passing," Hadrian murmured. He reached up, lacing his fingers through Marvolo's so that they were both touching the necklace together. "It's so beautiful."
"May it serve you well," Marvolo murmured. "It is my first courtship gift to you, dear Hadrian."
"I accept your intentions, Lord Riddle," Hadrian said formally. "Truly, I didn't expect something so…." He let out a deep breath. "Thank you."
Marvolo smiled and pulled back. "Shall we?"
Hadrian nodded and let Marvolo lead him back to the dancing.
The front page of The Prophet the morning after the ball was, like Hadrian had predicted, a speculation on his and Marvolo's relationship. The picture they used, however, was not one of them dancing. Instead, it was a shot of Harry hugging a kneeling Marvolo while Hadrian smiled softly at the both of them.
Hadrian read through the article, seeing that the reporter had noted that Marvolo and he had left the ballroom for around ten minutes and when they'd returned, Hadrian had a new necklace around his neck. So far, it seemed no one had connected the necklace with the famous Lady Slytherin's necklace, but he supposed it was only a matter of time.
Both Sirius and Remus read the article after Hadrian. They gave it to Harry next. Hadrian calmly ate breakfast as he waited for his ward to finish it.
"I like the necklace," Harry said as he did. "It fits you."
Hadrian smiled. "Thank you, Harry."
"Is he courting you, then?" Sirius asked.
Hadrian nodded. "I didn't expect it and I don't know if it will continue on much longer, but as of now, he is."
Remus looked at Harry, as if expecting the boy to be upset. Hadrian knew Harry was conflicted, but his ward was doing a frankly amazing job of appearing nonchalant about the whole thing.
"As long as he makes you happy," Harry said and then stood from the table. "I'm going to go read my book."
Remus scratched his head and stood. "I have to head to the Ministry."
"Job interview with the Muggle Liaison Office, right?" Hadrian asked.
Remus nodded. "Arthur recommended me to them." He blushed a bit. "Said the office was pretty liberal, because they tend to have to be, so for the most part they wouldn't be bothered about my, uh, condition."
"Good luck, Moony," Sirius said. "I'm sure you'll get it."
Remus left then, leaving Sirius and Hadrian alone to finish their breakfasts.
"So, Hadrian," Sirius said. "I have a question."
"Hmm?" Hadrian asked.
"My house elf," Sirius said.
Hadrian grimaced. Sodder was truly an awful name. "I know. It's why I assigned him to you. Thought you might get a laugh out of it, to be honest." He sighed. "My family wasn't all perfect and I can't imagine they were all as conscious of house elf abuse as I try to be."
Sirius nodded sadly. "Do you think he'd like to be renamed?"
"I asked him, actually, and he said he would get too confused having to suddenly answer to a new name. If it makes you feel better, you could maybe call him Soddy. He said his former master used to do that."
"It's not that much better, but a little, I suppose." Sirius rubbed his chin. "At least you didn't give him to Harry."
Hadrian laughed. "I'm not that irresponsible a guardian. I may not watch my language as much as some, but I won't have Harry screaming 'Sodder' every time he needs his elf."
There was a pop and then the house elf in question appeared. "Master is calling Sodder?"
Hadrian shook his head, but Sirius stopped him before he could dismiss the house elf. "Hey, Sodder, do you mind if I call you Soddy from now on?"
"Sodder does not mind," the house elf said. "Is Master wanted Sodder to call himself Soddy too?"
"That'd probably be good, if you don't mind, Soddy," Harry said.
"I not mind. Is Master wanting anything else from Soddy?"
"No, thank you," Sirius said.
Soddy bowed and popped away.
"Well, now that that is taken care of," Hadrian said. "What are your thoughts on the potential locations for the orphanage?"
"Hogsmeade seems like a good choice," Sirius said. "The children would get introduced to Hogwarts early, at least the ones that didn't get adopted out immediately."
"But Hogsmeade isn't big enough to support the traffic of all the children and the people coming to adopt them," Hadrian pointed out. "I think somewhere a little more remote would be better. One of the old manor houses could easily be converted into an orphanage. It would have a high turnabout rate, but there would need to be a twenty-four-seven staff living there."
"True." Sirius frowned. "What ever happened to Potter Manor?"
"It burned down in the old war."
Hadrian sighed. "There was some suggestion about buying the old Dalle Manor. We should arrange a time for us all to go visit it and maybe a couple of the other empty manors for sale. Between the Black vaults you have, my money, the Malfoy fortune, the Greengrass accounts, and the Nott investments… we should have enough to buy whatever manor we think will fit the project best."
"Sounds like a plan," Sirius said. "Speaking of that, I really need to go talk to my goblin estate manager."
Hadrian nodded. "Now is as good a time as any. I'm going to go read in the library with Harry. There are a couple of new Defense journals from Bulgaria I want to look over."
They parted ways.
At dinner that night, Remus informed them all that he'd gotten the job at the Muggle Liaison office, including the three days around and of a full moon off every month. It meant he'd have to work more Saturdays, but he didn't sound too upset about that. Hadrian was happy for him and Sirius insisted they do something to celebrate.
So, they all changed into muggle clothes and trooped to the nearest muggle town. Harry had never been taken to the movies before with the Dursleys and Remus and Sirius had only gone once with James and Lily back when they graduated from Hogwarts. In the end, it was Hadrian who seemed to have the most experience with film, though he didn't have much.
They decided upon watching a movie called Beetlejuice that entertained all of them, even if Sirius and Remus complained after how unrealistic the ghosts were in the movie.
Hadrian took Harry up to sleep as soon as they got back, because it was later than he usually went to bed. The boy was still keyed up from the movie, though, so Hadrian sat with him in the bed and rubbed his back until he was feeling tired.
"Hey, Hadrian," Harry murmured.
"Yes, Harry?" he asked, continuing to rub circles into Harry's back.
"Why'd you accept Marvolo's courtship?"
Hadrian couldn't explain all the complications of it to Harry, so he settled with the simplest truth. "Everyone deserves a second chance, even if it doesn't always come in the way we're expecting."
Harry looked up at him and then nodded. "Okay. But if he hurts you, you'll let me set Kiran and Faeda on him, right?"
Hadrian chuckled. "He's a parselmouth himself, you know. I'm not sure Kiran or Faeda will be able to do much damage to him."
Harry shrugged. "I'll figure something out."
"If he hurts me," Hadrian said. "I'll help you figure something out."
Harry smiled. "Good." He turned over then and within a minute was fast asleep.
Hadrian watched his ward, his once younger self, for a long moment. And then he shook his head and stood. He had to let go of the past as much as he could, otherwise he'd go insane. Marvolo wasn't Voldemort, he wasn't Harry Potter, and young Harry wasn't who he had been at eight. Everyone was different—the Malfoys, the Weasleys, Sirius, Remus… and countless others affected in countless ways by Hadrian's arrival to the past.
It was amazing, but it was also scary. Hadrian couldn't predict much of anything anymore. He'd have to do like everyone else and just take each day as it happened.
Hadrian gently stroked the snake charm at the hallow of his throat. He could handle that, he figured. He had to. It was a challenge, but Hadrian had never been one, in either life, to back down from challenges.