I AM BACK! Hello peeps, it's been half a year, I know. But hey, on the bright side, it isn't a whole year! Unlike last year. And the year before that. And the year—
Once again, many thanks to all my readers who are still following this fic despite my very... infrequent... updates...
Unfortunately it's a slightly shorter chapter this time. Hope you'll enjoy it all the same and have a Happy New Year!
Warnings: Fem! MOD! Neutral/Dark! Harry (And don't ask me how powerful she is... at this point, I don't really know either, but she's over 200 years old and brought up by Gellert Grindelwald himself, so yeah) Time Travelling (of three characters), AU-ish... Possibly some crack idk... Honestly, this fic should not be taken seriously. Let me know if you feel like there should be other warnings included later on in the story.
Pairings: Hadria (FemHarry) x Tom Riddle, other pairings undecided. See A/N at the end of the chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter
Beta-ed by: Miso_sleepy
Chapter Nineteen: Be Prepared
"So prepare for the coup of the century, be prepared for the murkiest scam." — Be Prepared, The Lion King (Disney)
(A/N: Because this song was playing in my head and I was in the mood to use it instead of the usual latin quote.)
Everyone—and by everyone Hadria meant the whole Slytherin House—was understandably tense in the following days, not least because the end-of-year exams were upon them. Exams, as one particular fifth-year was saying, despite the fifth year being the O.W.L.s year, was hardly important in the face of the far more overwhelming threat of a Hooded Figure. It should also be noted that no one was really updating the List anymore-it had grown too long, even with some possibilities and tasks being crossed out ever so often.
"Alright, is everyone up to date on our Threat Watch status?" Gemma Farley said as she stood where Professor Snape would usually stand during Common Room Meetings. They were having a Common Room Meeting, just without their Head of House.
"'Threat Watch'?" Hadria whispered to Pansy, who shrugged.
"Someone used that name about a week ago and it stuck."
There were other whisperings as some students checked with their neighbours about the newest developments, which mainly consisted of the report that Draco and Hadria brought back regarding the presence of a Hooded Figure in the Forest, and the fact that it was consuming unicorn blood.
Of course, everyone calling it a Hooded Figure was being purposefully obtuse—except perhaps a small number of Slytherins like Crabbe and Goyle who were almost always obtuse. No one wanted to address the elephant in the room, especially not when they weren't even sure if it was an elephant, no matter how likely it was.
"Now, it appears that many of our questions have been answered by the presence of this Hooded Figure. Whatever our dear Headmaster is attempting to do with trolls and Cerberuses, it is highly certain that it also has to do with the Hooded Figure. Even if there is a slim chance that we're overthinking this, it is too dangerous to risk it," said Farley when everyone had caught up with the latest updates. "Hence, there will be a new set of Rules for this period of time until the crisis is solved or the school term ends, whichever comes first. House points will be deducted if anyone is caught breaking them."
"You'd think that another Wizarding War is upon us," Hadria commented later, when they had been dismissed and she'd finish reading the new Rules. Everyone had a copy which was once again disguised. The last thing they needed was the Hooded Figure getting its hands on one of these.
"Not really," said Blaise, taking a glance at his own copy of the Rules. "'All students must travel in groups of three or more. Each group must have at least one student that can cast the following set of spells…' Frankly, if a Wizarding War were upon us, I'm fairly certain each group would require at least a seventh-year with a track record of Es for their Defence. And we'd all have some sort of intense tutoring session."
Pansy clicked her tongue. "We should have intense tutoring sessions. Even with the prank wars, I don't think I've learnt quite as much as I should. Quirrell's class is abysmal."
"Next year," said Hadria, patting her on the back, but Pansy brushed her hand off with a frown.
"Don't say that," she huffed. "You make it sound as if we'll have another pathetic Professor next year."
Well. Hadria could only raise her brows and bit her lips to hide a smile. Then Blaise elbowed Draco, who had been studying his copy of the Rules with much seriousness.
"So, enlighten us, what wisdom have you acquired from your intense perusal of our new Rules."
Draco glanced at him, then at Hadria. His eyes flickered indecisively as Hadria imagined what must be a rapid process of countless words being chosen and discarded in his mind while he stayed silent.
When he finally spoke, he said, "We have Dumbledore the Most Feared and Hadria the Vanquisher in the same school. Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe I still need to revise for Charms."
Then he folded his Rules into a small rectangle, fished out a thick book from his bag, and stuffed the folded parchment into the book like a bookmark, before casually walking off.
Blaise stared after him before turning to his other two friends with a questioning look.
Pansy merely shrugged. "As oddly as he's behaving, he does have a point. Now that we know it's the Hooded Figure that's after Hadria, I'm actually quite relieved."
Except that Hadria was certain that Draco's increased faith in her had less to do with the change in opponent and more to do with what happened in the Unicorn Incident, which Blaise and Pansy weren't privy to. He hadn't brought it up at all, even though it's been a few days since she was discharged from the Hospital Wing. Which meant that she should confront him about it soon, before his imagination runs too wild.
Hadria did not manage to confront Draco about the Unicorn Incident before she found out that by some strange turn of events, despite the fact that it wasn't written in the Rules, every Slytherin student seemed to suddenly decide that the Hooded Figure did not exist, and the current version of the Forbidden Forest events that they had agreed on was rather abstract:
"They found a unicorn still alive. The End."
Mentioning anything related to it would result in a deflection, which was either rolled eyes and something along the lines of "I don't know what you're talking about", "Don't make things up", or a dead stare and straight up change in subject, like "Have you revised for Transfiguration yet?"
It was all very bewildering, but Hadria took it in stride and then relished the look on Hermione's face when she asked about their detention.
"That's all…? How can that be all?!"
Hadria merely blinked innocently back at her. "What did you expect to happen?"
"Well," said Hermione looking rather frazzled. It was probably the exam nerves. "It's you. I'd expect—" She waved her hands as she thought furiously. "—I don't know, the unicorns all unanimously appointing you as leader of the unicorns or something."
Hadria turned to Neville who was just watching from the side, looking decidedly amused. He caught her looking and shrugged.
"I suggested she needed a break, lest she burn herself out before the exam, which apparently meant looking for you, as you're likely to have a tale to tell."
"Ah," said Hadria, and gave Hermione a helpless smile. "I don't know what to tell you. It's true. Hagrid had us help him search for an injured and possibly dead unicorn, which we found, and is, fortunately, still alive. And we still are not certain what's been attacking them. What more do you want me to say?"
It wasn't a surprise that Hermione soon left in a huff.
"There is more," said Neville, after Hermione was out of earshot. "Isn't there?"
Sometimes, Hadria was still surprised by how astute Neville was. She shouldn't be, after so long, but she was. So, she put a finger to her smiling lips.
Hadria doesn't realise how this whole situation would shape Slytherin culture in the future, or how her mere presence influenced the way the House behaves. She couldn't know what Slytherins were really like, since she hadn't been one in her previous life, so she didn't really have anything to compare to anyway. Certainly, she neglected to consider how significant it was that in going with the flow, she did not have a proper talk with Draco about the Unicorn Incident—not that she had any idea about what she was going to say if she did, but that was a different problem altogether.
Thus, after all the distractions that the Slytherin House had cooked up over the past few days, Hadria finally recalled that she should be making a trip to the forbidden corridor before the exams began.
Fluffy appeared to have gained weight since the last time she met him, though that was to be expected, considering the lack of exercise. At least he would only have to stay there for another month or so, before he could return to his home in Greece.
The Self-Fertilising Fire Seedlings were growing very well and almost mature enough to start burning in a few more days, after which they will likely end up decimating what was left of the Devil's Snare that were still growing there, the ones that hadn't already been consumed by these greedy little plants. Hadria couldn't be sure, since this was a new hybrid and not fully researched, but she no matter how wrong it could go, it would certainly serve as a very good deterrence. She certainly hoped Quirrell would at least lose some skin and flesh on his way down.
Upon reaching the room of keys, Hadria swiftly caught the right key and dropped it into Noh's mouth, before moving straight on to the giant chess set, which needed no input from her, so she sneaked past it under Noh again. She did have the Invisibility Cloak with her this time, but using Noh worked just fine.
The room beyond was the one with a troll. Hadria was glad the inactive Flagrante curse was still there. She didn't know if anyone, such as Professor Dumbledore, had noticed the curse, because as skilled and experienced as she was at magic, she still had much to learn. Nonetheless, the curse had been left untouched, so she'd take that as tacit acceptance, if it had been noticed.
Hadria sneaked past the troll to the potions chamber, and promptly burned the piece of paper with the riddle on it. Then she took a moment to consider if having the right potions there were necessary, before deciding that since she didn't actually know how long or how much effort it would take for Professor Snape to brew them again, she let them be. Instead, she fished out several bottles of potion experiments from Noh's stomach and left them there with the other potions.
Although she could be certain, through her research and inference based on the potions these experiments were derived from, that they weren't lethal in any way, she had never dared to test them on anything living. Which meant that Quirrell might become her first… victim, if he was unlucky enough to choose one of them. And she had enough faith in Professor Snape's ability to identify the right potion should he need to. Hopefully, no other Professor would be coming by this way again, at least until Quirrell was done for.
Then, there was the last chamber. The one with the Mirror and the Stone.
Hadria took out a crystalline cube from Noh's maw, a cube that Gellert would've recognised as her Yule gift for him if he were there. Except it wasn't the same cube she had given him, but a similar one she kept for herself. Within the crystalline cube was a red stone, and their combined reflection and refraction of light made the entire cube glow with intriguing crimson radiance.
Hadria approached the Mirror and with a flick of her wrist, the red stone was smoothly ejected from the cube. Standing in front of the Mirror, she watched as her reflection grin back at her as it fished out a red Stone—the Philosopher's Stone—from its pocket, and played with it in its hands with the air of someone showing off, before it slipped it back into its pocket with a smug look.
And there was an extra weight in her pocket.
Grinning like her own reflection, Hadria reached out her hand—the one holding the copy of the Stone—to her reflection, and watched as her reflection did the same. Their hands met at the cool glass surface of the Mirror, and then with a slight push, the red stone passed through the Mirror and into the hand of her reflection. Exchange completed, her reflection waved at her with the stone in its hands as she turned and left the chamber.
On her way out, she took out the Philosopher's Stone from her pocket, checking to make sure it was the real deal, before keeping it in the crystalline cube that was originally used to keep the fake.
Job done, Hadria quickly made her way back up to the third-floor corridor and back to the Slytherin dormitory, before any of her Housemates discovered she was not in bed.
The exams passed in a flurry, with Hadria fairly certain that she'd ace them all… except perhaps History of Magic—she had almost fallen asleep halfway through that paper. One might expect History of Magic to be exciting, more so than ordinary history, but while there were many interesting parts (the Goblin Wars, Hadria found out, was a lot more appealing and informative when learning through self-study, as opposed to being taught by Professor Binns), they were being tested on the history of cauldron-design.
Hermione, naturally, thought differently. She found that paper ridiculously easy, having read up on nearly everything she could get her hands on, including the Second Year's syllabus. Hadria, however, had a tendency of reading only things that interested her. Cauldron design was not one of them.
"Will you please shut up, Granger! Some people are attempting to relax after a long and arduous—"
"Well, I, unlike some people, feel it beneficial to review—"
Hadria turned to Neville, choosing to ignore the argument exploding in her periphery.
"Let's make a run for it, while they're distracted."
"Count me in," said Blaise, sticking his head between them.
Neville looked at the both of them, then at the arguing pair, before he decided that the argument clearly wasn't going to resolve itself anytime soon, and staying any longer might get them caught in the crossfire.
Five minutes later, they were at Hagrid's (minus Pansy, who had stayed behind to watch the Post-Exam Debate), each enjoying a large mug of celebratory "pumpkin juice" that Hagrid had prepared for them.
Ten minutes later, the Weasley twins came bursting through the door, no doubt having found them gathered there with the help of their nifty Map.
"Fancy you lot celebrating the end of exams without us," said George, throwing himself into the chair beside Hadria.
"Seems ter have invited yerselves fine, haven' yeh?" Hagrid laughed as he came around to hand them drinks.
"I say—" Fred began, and took a large gulp out of his mug, before his eyebrows shot up.
"I say this isn't pumpkin juice!" George declared, staring at his own drink.
This was immediately followed by all round shushing by the other three.
"Prepare it myself," said Hagrid proudly. The twins answered by taking more large gulps.
Half an hour later, the remaining three members of Hadria's group showed up looking rather disgruntled. They were, however, quickly appeased by Hagrid's "pumpkin juice".
No one mentioned anything about the third-floor corridor, or the Hooded Figure (which does not exist), or anything concerning, really.
That night, there was another round of celebration in the Slytherin Common Room, the passing of the exams having done much to alleviate the worries of the Slytherin students.
(There was, however, a head count, at 8pm, two whole hours before Hogwarts' typical curfew, before the eating and drinking began, and then again, every hour after, but in the form of games that tested one's memory of their housemates' names.)
Only Hadria was aware of what was going to happen that night, when everyone had gone to bed. But it wasn't her business anymore. No one would know the Stone was with her, deep in the void of Noh's stomach. Not Dumbledore, not Quirrell, and definitely not Voldemort.
So, this is the second last chapter of Hogwarts Year One! Finally! Next chapter will wrap up the "Philosopher's Stone" arc. Hence, I'd like to ask for some opinions.
Do you guys think I should continue writing the rest of the arcs in the same fic, or separate them out?
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