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Unchained

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Malfoy Manor in Wiltshire, England was a testament to the old Powers. Home of the ever-pure Malfoy family since they had left their native France, it had passed down the line father to son, occasionally father to daughter until it came into the hands of what many purebloods thought was its greatest Lord, Lucius, son of Abraxas. Abraxas had been a powerful old Lord as well, tempered however with signs of madness.

Madness that had restricted the Malfoy line down to one living male heir, not a situation most Lords wished to be in. Most of the Old Blood planned for at least two children (hopefully sons), an heir and a spare, to put it bluntly. Wars, disease or old feuds often claimed the life of an heir before they were able to inherit, if not then the second child was provided for with as much dignity as the first, though not with the same wealth, naturally. Second sons often proved to be a credit to their lines, rising beyond that of the heir through hard work, guile and plenty of motivation.

However, there was only one heir to the Malfoy line, that he was alive at all was a credit to the Lady Malfoy, Narcissa Druella Malfoy nee Black. The loveliest of the late Cygnus Black’s daughters, the match was one that had the Old Blood families salivating as they anticipated the next generation, along with the match of the rich Old Blood Black family to House Lestrange, considered the last of the top tier families, though that had been for naught.

The horror that had run through the Old Blood society at hearing that Bellatrix Black was not only insane due to her Aunt the Lady Walburga but barren as well had nearly been compounded as the elite society held its breath upon hearing rumours that Abraxas Malfoy had hit his daughter-in-law, pregnant no less, with a Cruciatus Curse, starting early labor. The collective sigh of relief when the papers announced the early arrival of a healthy male Heir was complicated with slight fears that perhaps the Malfoy line was going to die out. Whispers had begun to be circulated that according to Healers, Narcissa would not be able to carry another child thanks to her father-in-law.

The Old Blood had celebrated when the Malfoy Heir reached his first year and was introduced to the public, a miniature of his proud sire with the mercurial grey eyes of the Black family. Little Draco was watched and admired from afar even as shrewd Lords only gifted with daughters began to imagine betrothal contracts, ready to offer them to Lucius when Draco was five, as was customary. With the loss of the Lord, Lady and Spare to the Black family Draco became more precious, an Heir to the Blacks as well, the tempestuous Heir Black sentenced to Azkaban for life for some truly heinous crimes.

Draco was watched with pride from afar by the Old Blood society he was born into as he started Hogwarts, sorted into Slytherin naturally like the vast majority of his family. His pride and elegance admired, his composure complimented even as his youthful antics were waved off with indulgent chuckles, for whom among the Old Blood could say that they had not gotten into a few mishaps in their childhood years?

Draco was well known to be the only Heir to two Old Blood lines, thus the confusion when word came that the Malfoys were putting out feelers for marriage contracts. Draco had been betrothed at five as was the norm to either of the Lord Greengrass’ daughters, a coup indeed considering how many of the Old Blood had sent potential contracts to the Lord Malfoy. So, another contract being sought was confusing indeed, polyamorous relationships were not the done thing and the wording of the Malfoy’s missive made clear that it was not for Draco, their son and Heir.

And then word began to spread at the end of Draco’s sixth year. Rumor gained swift wings and spread amongst the Old Blood and hesitant hope began to rise again. A pureblood Heir. A male pureblood heir, rich in family magics. A Black Heir, of the direct line. Legitimate no less, not a bastard. An Old Ways bonding kept private for safety, resulting in a richly gifted, powerful son.

Around the British Isles word spread, whispers reached farther than any paper. Many eyes focused on Malfoy Manor, hope arising once again. Hope and curiosity, centered around one thought. Who?

*

Narcissa Black stood proudly in the public parlor of her elegant old home, hands clasped lightly together in front of her. Her long, fine hair fell over her left shoulder in an elegant twist, appearance as refined as always in a feminine black and silver houndstooth A-line skirt and silver blouse with a tailored black suit jacket. Any member of the Old Blood would immediately recognize the colors alone, for they were the Black Family’s and none but a Black would wear just black and silver. It was just not done.

Her husband stood next to her in cream summer-weight cotton slacks and a blue silk shirt with solitaire diamond cufflinks. As Lord of House Malfoy he would be here to witness the coming meeting, as her husband he wouldn’t have been anywhere else. The barest edge of a faint silvery mark could be seen on her husband’s forearm, causing a triumphant feeling to well up once again in Narcissa’s heart.

The Dark Lord was dead. Against all odds, all expectations to the contrary, Harry Potter had indeed been the one to best the Dark Lord. In front of a crowd of witnesses including the now former Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. The untrained sixteen-year-old wizard had somehow managed to throw the Dark Lord out of his mind and follow him into his own, destroying him from the inside out and reducing him to fragments of pure magic. The sheer power necessary, from one who hadn’t even reached his majority yet!

All of the Old Blood families who had relatives sworn into the madman’s service by their ancestors breathed a great sigh of relief as clean-up began. Restoring family wealth and social status as well as beginning the long haul of repairing their family image in the eyes of the general public. The Old Blood had been dealt a great service by Harry Potter, whether he knew it or not they owed him debts to varying degrees. As he was a half-blood, none were obligated to tell him so.

Their public Floo flared to life, Narcissa flicking her eyes to the massive mahogany grandfather clock ticking in the corner. 5 minutes to the 11th hour, on the dot. Their guests were nothing if not punctual, a tick in their favor. The meeting had been arranged for eleven, but to arrive at the hour would be uncouth, social greetings would take at least five minutes. As their guests were from yet another Old Blood family the social niceties were as ingrained into them as it was into Lucius and Narcissa, they would do nothing less.

First to exit the Floo was a man with rich gold-brown eyes and brown hair, looking much improved over the last time Narcissa had seen him. He had slightly more raw-looking features then the refined elegance of Lucius and Narcissa, his blood full of tribal kings and mingled Roman descendants. He stepped forward without so much as a moment of hesitation from the Floo, reaching out to clasp Lucius’ forearm and greeting him warmly.

He turned to Narcissa, a glimmer of amusement in his eyes and bowed gracefully, taking her proffered hand and kissing the back of it in a refined motion. “Lady Malfoy, thank you for being so gracious as to open your home for our meeting.”

“You are most welcome, Rabastan,” Narcissa replied, remaining as refined and poised as always. For her companion was none other than Rabastan Aurelius Lestrange, younger son of Janus Aurelius Lestrange, peer to the late, unmissed Abraxas Malfoy and still the Lord of House Lestrange, despite his advancing age.

The Floo, still active, flared again, admitting the man Narcissa had just been thinking about. Despite being well past seventy winters, Lord Janus Lestrange was still a distractingly-handsome man, rich gold-brown eyes he shared with his younger son crowned with dark silver hair that had been a rich black in his youth. He, along with his peers Abraxas Malfoy and Orion Black had been the talk of Old Blood society in his youth, many a marriage contract had been sent their way and graciously turned down.

Abraxas Malfoy had settled on refined, beautiful Belladonna Elpis Delacroix as his bride, going back to the Malfoy’s native France for his marriage. Orion Black had been pushed, pulled and finally forced by his controlling sire Antares to take his second cousin, Walburga Black as his bride, a marriage that had not been a pleasant one from the start.

Janus Lestrange had found his bride while serving in the International Confederation of Wizards at nearly age forty, something that had given the Old Blood of England and across the world fits of worry as he was yet another Heir and then Lord without a sibling in case of something happening. That his bride was a beautiful, elegant pureblood woman of Italy named Ceres Alagona was a salve to their anxious nerves that was only calmed with the birth of his Heir as a peer to Orion Black’s eldest son instead of Lucius Malfoy if his father had married younger as expected.

Orion Black’s Heir had been born late in his marriage, a topic of gossip amongst Old Blood families. Gossip had been confirmed by the new Lord Black himself. In revenge for forcing his marriage to a woman he detested, Orion had delayed siring an Heir until his own Sire had died, denying the man the honor of seeing the future generation of the Black line. That he had bothered with lying with the woman again, siring his spare as was expected gained him much respect amongst the Old Blood. Only he and Janus Lestrange had spares in a time which was tempestuous indeed.

Janus had just finished warmly greeting Narcissa when the Floo flared once more and revealed a single figure, the flames dying to regular colors and he exited the Floo, flicking non-existent ash from an open wool outer-robe. Rodolphus Janus Lestrange, Heir to House Lestrange, widowed as of June when Narcissa’s late cousin Sirius Orion had dragged her psychopathic sister through the mysterious Veil in the Department of Mysteries. Narcissa had grieved as expected, but for the girl Bellatrix had once been, not the insane woman she had become. She had breathed a sigh of relief to have Bella away from her son and had held a heartfelt ritual for her late cousin, Heir to House Black.

Rodolphus looked well, healthy even. Narcissa approved of his much-improved body and bearing. Lord Lestrange had spared no expense to make sure both of his sons recovered from their time spent in Azkaban prison. Rodolphus had his sire’s rich black hair which fell in slightly waved strands around his face to just below his ears. His eyes were a rich, unusual violet-blue color gifted by his late mother; Ceres Lestrange having passed soon after the birth of her younger son to a virulent fever.

Rodolphus pressed a kiss to the back of her hand before straightening, the habitual half-smirk falling back onto his generous mouth once social greetings had been observed. He was distractingly good looking and he knew it, taking more of his Italian mother’s aquiline Roman features than Rabastan as well as a more olive skin tone that tanned with ease. Rumor placed the Lestrange’s as heirs to King Arthur and one could believe it looking at the aristocratic features of Rodolphus Lestrange, a clear blend of raw tribal Britannic kings and Roman refinement.

As they all took seats, Narcissa noted how well the three men across from her wore variations of their family colors, peacock blue and bronze. Vaguely reminiscent of the colors Rowena Ravenclaw had used to represent her house, though she had used sky blue and a more golden shade of bronze than the rusty shade of House Lestrange. Hands folded primly in her lap, she let her husband begin the conversation.

“Thank you, gentlemen, for your interest and willingness to meet with us here at House Malfoy, I know the curtains of privacy drawn across this contract search has confused and rebuffed many Houses. We assure you that all the privacy and secrecy predating this meeting has been necessary and are not wasting your time.”

Janus’ shrewd gaze matched Lucius’ level one as he said mildly, “Had it been any other House than Malfoy acting as a go-between for House Black, we would have joined many of our fellow Houses in denying this meeting. However, House Malfoy would have had a vested interest in remaining in control of House Black with your more-than-suitable Heir. So needless to say I am intrigued to hear what and who this Betrothal Contract is about.”

“Accurately summed, Lord Lestrange,” Narcissa replied, not taking offense, “and your honest opinion of such manners is respected and observed. As the Black representative for my cousin’s Contract, I assure you this is worth your time. Before I begin, know that all of this has been proven, no matter how outrageous and impossible it may seem. I wouldn’t have accepted anything less than Gringotts and Old Blood provided proof of my cousin’s claims.”

Rodolphus spoke for the first time outside of the formal greetings. “Certainly not, Narcissa, nor would we have expected anything else of you. For all that you are the Lady Malfoy and an exemplary one at that, you are first and foremost a Black. Considering your birth-family’s heritage, standing and wealth, it is only right that you would have a vested interest in protecting it from any pretenders.”

Narcissa inclined her head elegantly in thanks and took a steadying breath. “With your agreement, I would begin with explaining something of my cousin’s parentage, it is a tale all in its own, one I had not believed for a second until I saw the proof myself.”

“Explain as you see fit, Lady Malfoy,” Janus nodded.

“Even if I should wish for Draco to maintain control over the Black estate, it would be impossible with my cousin alive and now acknowledged. He is from the direct line, the firstborn and only child of my late cousin, Sirius Orion Black, Heir of House Black.”

Rodolphus cocked an eyebrow, both of Rabastan’s shot into his hairline and Janus blinked. Tilting his chin just a bit to the side in his only obvious sign of confusion he said, “That is surprising indeed, Narcissa. From what I remember of my few meetings with your late cousin, he did not strike me as the type to possess such guile as to hide a child from anyone, let alone his family.”

“I do not believe he actually did hide it from his sire, Lord Orion,” Narcissa said softly. “I do not know if any of you remember the memorial service my Lord Uncle held for his younger son Regulus, but Sirius was present. Walburga screamed at him after for defiling her perfect son’s funeral, but Orion cut her off and sent her home.”

“I remember that portion anyway,” Rabastan commented. “It impressed me that he would stand and take that kind of vitriol without losing his temper.”

“Afterwards Orion departed with my cousin, Apparating to some unknown location. They did not go to Grimmauld Place, Walburga was spitting her rages at the idea of Orion deigning to speak with Sirius at all. Orion returned to Grimmauld by himself sometime later, spent a brief moment in the tapestry room and then sequestered himself in his office.”

“Less than a month later, he had restored Sirius Orion Black as Heir to the Lordship of House Black and none of my Lady Aunt’s screaming rages would change his mind.”

Janus contemplated that for a moment and said, “You believe he told his sire about his Heir, perhaps introduced the babe to Orion even.”

“With the knowledge that Sirius had a son at all, that is what makes sense for a series of actions that baffled most of the Black family at the time,” Narcissa nodded. “Orion may have been disappointed in his son for running away, but he never formally disowned his eldest and was first and foremost a member of the Old Blood and the Sacred Twenty-Eight. He realized that Sirius’ son, his grandson, was the only future for a direct line of House Black.”

Rodolphus couldn’t help a slight snigger, which he was swift to explain. “Sirius was considered a blight upon his family by his mother and a giant upset for the Old Blood families for both his Sorting and his famous temper, but it appears he may have been the most cunning Black in his direct family after all.”

“With knowledge of my cousin’s birth and all of the paperwork we have been unearthing from a secret Vault Sirius owned at Gringotts, it can safely be said that Sirius Orion was the most cunning member of the Black Line, no debating necessary. Had he not died just a few weeks ago he would have been a force of magic indeed,” Lucius commented, shaking his head slightly.

At the curious looks from the Lestranges he continued, “I have been sorting through all of the paperwork he left behind in a vault under an alias at Gringotts and the sheer amount of work, foresight and ambition he displays through it all is remarkable. His Heir’s validity can’t be doubted in the slightest, there’s a paper trail going all the way back to when the pregnancy was first confirmed.”

“As well,” Narcissa said, with a voice full of admiration for the sheer cunning of her cousin, “as two witnesses to the legality of his marriage and three living witnesses to the birth and confirmation of his Heir. It’s quite incredible.”

“Sirius Black; the ultimate in pureblood preparation and Old Blood cunning,” Rodolphus quipped, before snorting incredulously. “He played everyone, including that old goat.”

“Indeed,” Lucius replied, giving Narcissa a moment to center herself at the mention of Albus Too-Many-Names Dumbledore. The depths of that man’s depravity weren’t widely known, but they would be soon enough.

“The two witnesses we mentioned previously were present at the formal Old Ways bonding ceremony performed 1st of May, 1979 between Sirius and his beloved, the Heir Consort Black.”

Narcissa dropped that bombshell on the Lestranges without so much as smirk, Lucius’ blue eyes dancing in amusement as he watched them process it and their shock as a result of it. After all, had it been a woman as they were expecting, she would have said Heir Lady Black. As she had said Heir Consort, it meant her cousin Sirius had married another man.

Janus sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head in rueful amusement. With everything else that had been revealed about Sirius Orion Black, this should not have been a surprise.

“He was bisexual,” Rabastan said, firmly. “That’s the only explanation for it, I remember how much he chased the female populace at Hogwarts, I was two years younger after all.”

Janus sighed. “With everything else we’ve learned about the late Heir Black I would say that was deliberate, throwing suspicion away from him even being attracted to men. Merlin only knows how Walburga and some of the ancient-minded Blacks would have reacted to him finding his own gender attractive. For one of the oldest of the Sacred Twenty-Eight they certainly had their faults, one of which was blatant prejudice, which was rich considering their habit of inbreeding amongst their own family.”

Looking at Narcissa, Janus said shrewdly, “His spouse was not a Black, was it?”

Narcissa smirked. “No, he was not. Pureblood, Old Blood, there is some Black in his line but he wasn’t closely related to Sirius. Apparently, my cousin didn’t just take Muggle Studies to irritate his mother, he was actually paying attention. Muggles have proven amongst dogs, horses and people that close inbreeding amongst related family members weakens future generations, producing less and less talent. He correctly realized that this likely applied to Magic as well and married a man with generous helpings of outside Blood. His Heir as a result was born an exceptionally powerful individual, showing first signs of accidental magic at only several months of age.”

All three Lestrange’s sucked in a breath in surprise as Janus breathed, “The power in that child!”

 “Indeed, and he still is a remarkably powerful individual for all his youth. It will be interesting to see when he reaches his Majority in August,” Lucius commented.

Janus appeared to be thinking, gold-brown eyes dark in concentration. Narcissa watched the brilliant older Lord’s eyes practically whirl with color and intelligence as he sorted through what they had been already told. If in a moment he didn’t outright say the name Narcissa hadn’t mentioned yet she would be very surprised. A bit longer of a pause and a sudden sharp inhale of breath had both Rodolphus and Rabastan turning to look at their father, obviously caught off-guard by the shocked realization in his eyes.

“Harry Potter,” he said, with alarming firmness, “Harry Potter is actually Sirius Orion Black’s son, his spouse was James Charlus Potter.”

Rodolphus and Rabastan’s eyes widened in surprise and they turned to Narcissa, still sitting poised and elegant in her chair. A chuckle caught them off-guard and they looked to their friend, spotting Lucius giving his wife a small smile, rich blue eyes warm with amusement. “It seems, darling, I owe you that dinner and play after all. I had thought it would take Janus a few more hints to get to the truth.”

“Harry Potter, the one who defeated the Dark Lord the same day his Father died, was born Harrigan Orion Black, son of Heir Lord Sirius Orion Black and his much beloved Heir Consort James Charlus Potter-Black on 1st August, 1980,” Narcissa said softly in lieu of agreeing.

“He has been controlled and manipulated most of his life by Albus Dumbledore ever since the original downfall of the Dark Lord in 1981, my cousin illegally and without trial imprisoned in Azkaban and unable to do a thing to protect his son from the manipulations of an old man.”

“He had been communicating with his son for the past two years however, ever since the Dark Lord recovered corporeal form at the end of the Triwizard Tournament. Harrigan is grief-stricken, angry and out for revenge. He wants away from Albus Dumbledore and knows, thanks to his sire’s covert education of the Old Blood and Wizarding Law, that the best option for immediate removal from his current situation is marriage. He requested that I represent his interests and seek out male Old Blood Lords or Heirs that would desire a male Black Consort.”

“He currently is in Muggle London, forced there by Dumbledore for his ‘protection’, despite the fact that he isn’t actually related to Lily Evans’ family. We will be retrieving him soon and escorting him to Gringotts, where he will be able to take control of his estates since he was legally emancipated by our former Minister and the Headmaster as of the Triwizard Tournament. Should you consider the idea of a Black spouse palatable still, it would be ideal for you to meet us at Gringotts,” Lucius said.

“Should you be interested in enacting a formal Betrothal Contract with Heir Lord Harrigan Orion Potter-Black, which of you would be willing to enter the contract?”

There was only a moment’s pause, a couple of heartbeats before Rodolphus’ habitual half-smirk evolved into a full one and his unusual eyes glinted as he said, “I would, and I think I speak for my father as well when we say we are very interested.”

Chapter Text

Two weeks later and approximately 80 miles from Wiltshire, a black-haired teenager sat in a slowly darkening room. He was far thinner than anyone of his 5’ 7” should be, but that had long been his norm and he’d begun to think that people believed he was that way on purpose. Far from the truth, that was how he’d been for a majority of his life and then summers after age eleven due to not receiving three proper meals a day. He didn’t care, not this summer.

Nothing mattered this summer. Not the days full of ridiculous chores, the slow starvation, the denial of basic rights. He’d not counted on the family removing his sole cheap lightbulb, deciding that he was the cause of their enormous power bill and not the brand-new gaming system and enormous TV his cousin had received as a present for good grades. He’d packed a few candles into the emergency pack that had remained on his person when he’d arrived home for the summer, but he’d not anticipated being denied power at all during what had been one of the hottest summers on record.

No, none of this mattered. He sat on the edge of his skinny child-sized bed, normally wild hair lanky due to lack of showers, vibrant green eyes dull as he stared out at the setting sun. In his hands on his lap was a silver hand-mirror the size of a dinner plate with finely gilded edges and a family crest on the back. Without looking down at the mirror his fingers trace a well-worn path over the gilding on the back to the chevron crest framed with a pair of dogs. His fingers traced the entire crest without wavering, dropping lower to run over the calligraphic letters of the motto Toujours Pur.

The child (no, young man) known still publicly as Harry Potter sat holding one of a pair of silver mirrors as if his life depended on it, letting out a wavering sigh as unbidden tears welled in his eyes before spilling over. He stared unseeing out at the sunset as his mind seemed to run and re-run over what had happened just the month before. Closing his eyes Harry bitterly thought, yet again, I am such a fool.

After two years of planning, Voldemort had finally decided to go after the Prophecy in the Department of Mysteries. Harry wasn’t supposed to know about it, but Sirius had realized how foolish the Order was being and thought it better if Harry was informed. None of the Order consciously knew that he didn’t fit the Prophecy anyway, so he was still Dumbledore’s little pawn to their eyes. Harry had known though. He’d been told by Sirius, his father.

When Sirius had carefully taken Harry aside and they’d gone to the attic, Harry hadn’t been expecting much. He certainly hadn’t been expecting for Sirius to claim to be his father. He hadn’t believed him at first, pointing out how much he looked like a mix of James Potter and Lily Evans-Potter. Then Sirius had sat him down, asked for Harry to trust him and performed a spell with Harry’s blood on a piece of spare parchment. Blood magic was illegal in the eyes of the Ministry, Sirius explained, even though it had been part of Pureblood society for longer than there had been a Ministry.

The spell had shown just a portion of his family tree, proving Sirius’ words beyond a doubt. Sirius Orion Black and James Charlus Potter had been linked and a single name below, Harrigan Orion Potter-Black had been listed as his name. Timidly, not wanting to upset Sirius since he hadn’t had the best track record with adults, Harry had asked why he was only telling him now.

Sirius’ answer had been shocking. He’d told Harry honestly that he and James had hidden their marriage in hopes of keeping each other safe and alive through the building darkness of Voldemort’s first campaign. There was a complex paper trail in a secret vault under the name Frances Blanc, covering their marriage and Harry’s pregnancy and birth, but they had been doing their very best to protect each other and then baby Harry. To the point that they’d involved Lily Evans, she’d agreed to a farce marriage certificate and presenting Harry as hers and James’ with Glamorie and a false birth certificate.

Their actual witnesses and Harry’s godparents were Remus Lupin and Andromeda Tonks nee Black, Sirius’ favorite cousin. Sirius theorized that they had been hit with very powerful spells either blocking or erasing their memories of Sirius and James after the night of October 31st, 1981. Two days later, just before Sirius had been taken to Azkaban prison, Dumbledore had done the same thing to him, hitting him with an enormously powerful Obliviate.

Something had happened though, starting in Azkaban prison. While Dumbledore had removed the memories, he’d been unable to remove the powerful emotions that had gone with them and once Sirius had begun building enough of a resistance to the Dementors to transform into his Animagus form in the cell, certain things had started to come back. With the return of certain emotions and fragments of memories had come the Old Ways tattoo of his wedding band, Old Magic that Dumbledore hadn’t been able to prevent.

He’d been able to break out due to the strength of the emotions associated to Harry’s name and photograph in the papers. He’d not figured it out still at the end of Harry’s third year so he hadn’t said anything, trying to break the barriers around his mind had been exhausting, even for one not affected by Dementors it was a difficult branch of magic to work with.

It had all come down in one spectacular moment at the end of Harry’s fourth year, the moment Sirius had stepped into his childhood home. The Black family magics had apparently felt the blocks and modifications on his mind and had brutally torn them down, rendering Sirius temporarily unconscious. Once he’d woken up and dealt with the headache and bloody nose associated with forced Legilimency he’d started to wonder why and the memories had all come flooding back.

His father admitted he hadn’t taken it well, destroying a good portion of the things that had been stored in the sitting room at the time with his still fairly-wild magic outburst. But then logic and ingrained cunning had taken over, reminding him brutally that his son was in a home with Muggles under the control of a manipulative, powerful old wizard and he would need to be cautious. But then, at the beginning of his fifth year when he’d been transferred to Grimmauld Place for his safety had been the best chance Sirius would get.

He’d made discrete overtures to both Remus and Andromeda, confirming that whatever Dumbledore had done to them was still active. He’d told Harry his suspicions as to why Dumbledore had gone after them like that, the only boy who had matched the Prophecy was Neville Longbottom and he hadn’t yet shown any sign of accidental magic, while Harrigan had shown his first signs at four months of age, which was very early by wizarding standards. Sirius theorized that Dumbledore had somehow found out about his and James’ bonding and Harry’s true heritage and somehow manipulated the events of that night, as Peter had been far too cowed by both Sirius and James’ abilities to ever directly go against them.

Once Harry had accepted the fact that he had a living parent and the Prophecy didn’t even refer to him, he had launched with fervor into Sirius’ lessons. His father had been thorough, covering everything from wizarding law and Old Blood traditions to oddball topics like dancing and practical ones in dueling, Occlumency and the useful healing spells Sirius had picked up over the years. Though he’d held some obvious disdain for the subject, Sirius had sat him down with the appropriate materials and spent about a week discussing the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black, listed as a member of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, the first and most influential families in Wizarding Britain. Theirs was a long and storied history, with Ministers of Magic and the most disliked Headmaster of Hogwarts and everything in between. Sirius was technically Sirius the Third, explaining that while there were many named stars in the skies, most were not very palatable for given names.

With the house elf Winky happily sworn into service of House Black, they’d retrieved the Potter family history from its place in Gringotts and Sirius had also discussed James’ family, with much more enthusiasm than his own. It was Harry’s grandfather Fleamont Potter who had developed the well-known Sleek-eazy Potion for hair, though it rarely worked on the Potter’s untamable mop, Sirius admitted in amusement. It had been fifty-fifty whether it would work or not for James when he’d tried to straighten his hair for official functions.

All of his lessons had been in the few hours a day Sirius and Harry could get to themselves, either secreted away in the Black Library which only family members could access or in his grandsire Orion’s old office. Harry had been introduced to his paternal grandsire in a slightly tense moment, or more re-introduced as he’d met him when he was a little over a month old apparently. Orion Black had been an intimidating man, but his smile was gentle.

They’d continued Harry’s lessons on weekends once he’d returned to Hogwarts for his fifth year, using the pair of gilded silver communication mirrors now in Harry’s possession. They were apparently family heirlooms that Sirius had managed to sneak out of the house in his third year and given one to James so they could communicate when they had separate detentions, usually using the time to plan the next great prank. Sirius had matured quite a bit since that time, using the same mirrors to educate his only child and make sure he knew enough to protect himself in the dangerous world they lived in.                              

It had been a close call when Sirius had contacted him after one of his three-hour detentions with Umbridge and had caught sight of the bleeding words etched into the back of his son’s hand. Harry had managed to convince his dad not to storm up to Hogwarts and give that woman a piece of his mind, but it had been a near thing and Harry had seen up close the famous rages the Blacks were capable of.  

The summer before sixth year had passed much the same, only without being face-to-face as Dumbledore had chosen to leave Harry at Number 4 the entire summer, only fetching him through the Weasleys on August 31st to stay the night at the Leaky Cauldron. The communication mirrors had seen a lot of use that summer as Harry’s book knowledge, etiquette and spell pronunciation had gotten a lot of work, his dueling and practical spells falling behind due to being unable to practice. Once he’d started his sixth year at Hogwarts Sirius had once again risked being caught by the Ministry and travelled to Hogwarts grounds every weekend to see his son and help Harry practice his dueling and spellwork. His marks had steadily improved as a result of the teaching, as had his penmanship, Sirius teaching him the finer points no one had bothered to point out in using a quill and parchment.

And then he’d gotten one of his visions of Voldemort’s activities through his much improved Occlumency shields and he’d panicked. After staying quiet almost his entire fifth and most of his sixth year, Voldemort was active again and finally ready to go after the Prophecy. Harry feared the moment the Dark Lord heard the Prophecy and equated it to Neville instead of himself. Neville, his quiet, unassuming friend who was a marvel with plants and all growing things though he’d recently proven to be no slouch with spells either.

Panicky, he’d contacted his dad and when unable to get a hold of him, even through the communication Mirror, he’d made the rash decision to go to the Ministry himself and smash the Prophecy, negating the problem as a smashed Prophecy wouldn’t reform. He’d made up his reasons to Ron and Hermione, not expecting them to go with him as they’d been angry with him for distancing himself over the past two years. To his private dismay, not only had they agreed to go with him, but so had Luna Lovegood, a sweet and eccentric friend since 5th year, but Neville.

Ginny Weasley had come as well, to his private exasperation. The girl was good with spells, she’d been part of the DA the year previously, (no it did not stand for Dumbledore’s Army, no matter what some thought). Harry had been giving her increasingly blatant hints that he wasn’t interested in her, nor women for that matter. She still seemed to think that one day he’d fall madly in love with her and make her Mrs. Ginny Potter, wife of the famous Boy-Who-Defeated. No thank you.

The first part of his reckless mission had gone better than he’d thought. They’d beaten whatever assigned Death Eaters to the unguarded door of the Department of Mysteries, somehow making their way inside to the Prophecy room. The moment they reached the aisle the Prophecy was on; however, they’d been surrounded by Death Eaters. At the point was Bellatrix Black-Lestrange, her husband and his brother conspicuous in their absence. With the crazy woman had been Rowle, MacNair, Crabbe and Goyle Sr. and the incestuous Carrow twins.

Harry had recognized all of them from his dad’s descriptions and their photos in the Daily Prophet, heart sinking steadily. He’d picked up the Prophecy as directed by Bellatrix, noting both his and Neville’s initials on it. Then Ginny had cast a powerful Reducto at a supporting beam, causing a domino effect on several shelves’ worth of Prophecy orbs. Harry and his group had run as fast as possible away from the Death Eaters, avoiding falling orbs and cascading glass shards.

They had come out in what Harry now knew was called the Death Chamber, with an eerie veil shifting in its own breeze under an archway. Harry had taken aim at one of the stone supports of the archway and had pegged the Prophecy, hard. Several Death Eaters had attempted to summon it, only to be blocked by Harry and his fellow students. The Prophecy had hit the archway and shattered, the sight simultaneous with Bellatrix’s enraged, insane scream.

Taking leave of what little sanity she possessed, Bellatrix had thrown a Killing Curse at Harry, which he’d narrowly dodged. Then he’d put all of his dad’s lessons in dueling to the test. He had been holding his own against the deranged witch despite her experience gained with age and the repertoire of dark spells she’d gained over the years. He’d been doing well too, despite being only sixteen. Furious, she’d thrown another Killing Curse, or started to.

His dad had tackled her, hard, from the left side. They’d both crashed to the ground and lost their wands, separating and retrieving them at near the exact same moment, Bellatrix having to cast a hasty Shield Charm against the hex Sirius had shot at her. He’d swiftly gotten to his feet and moved in front of Harry, smiling grimly and telling him he was proud of Harry for holding his own and he’d handle it now.

Harry had still needed to fight, against Alecto Carrow, but after fighting Bellatrix the crazy twin was far from a difficult fight. He’d been able to watch his father in his element, moving as gracefully as if he were dancing as he dodged and weaved Bellatrix’s spells, not perturbed in the slightest by the witch. He’d been doing fine, fighting without a care and Harry had turned away, paying attention to his own fight for a moment or so. He’d looked at his father again at just the right moment, or the wrong one depending on how one looked at it.

Sirius had been distracted for just one moment, but it had been enough. Bellatrix’s red curse had hit him in the chest, tearing open his shirt and opening a deep, fatal gash from shoulder to hip. His father’s face had paled and he’d staggered back a step, now just in front of the sinister looking archway. He’d looked, just for a moment, to Harry. Regret, love, pride had flashed through his grey eyes and then he’d raised his wand and croaked, “Carpe Retractum!”

The non-combative spell had hit Bellatrix and pulled her across the distance to her cousin. Sirius had wrapped an arm around his cousin’s neck to her shriek of rage and fear and had staggered back, falling through the misty curtains. All of this had happened in just a split moment and Harry had screamed and tried to launch himself to his father, only to be stopped by Lupin. Remus had pulled him out of the Chamber, struggling to keep his arms around the distraught teen. In the Atrium he’d been forced to let Harry go, because Voldemort had chosen to show his face finally.

Harry still wasn’t sure how he’d been able to use his Occlumency lessons from his dad aggressively, but the next thing he knew Voldemort had disintegrated in front of a large audience, including a pale, stuttering Cornelius Fudge. The last days of his sixth year had passed in a daze. So far, his summer had been too, aside from one sneaky trip to send a letter to Narcissa Malfoy, as well as a following visit to Hampton Court to meet Narcissa and her husband Lucius. The pair had promised to get him out of the Dursley household, giving him a two-way journal to communicate. Three weeks after his father had died, Harry snapped out of his haze of grief and anger long enough to communicate his desire to enter a Betrothal Contract. After that and his Majority he would be safe to reveal who he really was to the world, as well as the man Dumbledore was.

But really, none of it mattered yet, it was all just what his father had planned ahead for. Harry was going through with it to honor his father and bearer mainly; he still had no reason to care himself other than to finally be out from under Dumbledore’s thumb. He just wished it hadn’t come at such a high price.

He took another deep shuddering breath as with the setting of the sun he felt the presence of two magical beings. The Black family had always been sensitive to the presence of witches and wizards, they could taste magic of a sort. He listened, hearing the front door open and then close quietly. He didn’t even have his Order guards this year, Dumbledore pulling them for whatever reason. With how cold and pragmatic the man was, it was most likely because Harry had done his job and Dumbledore had no need of him anymore. He would have gone to greet his rescuers, but the Dursleys had resumed locking him in his room when out and about after Dumbledore had informed them that his godfather was dead.

Harry stood, waiting as he heard the rattle of the chains on the door followed by the rhythmic clunk as one by one seven padlocks fell to the floor. The door opened to reveal Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, his rescuers and the only reason for his sanity this summer. They looked out of place in the trashy attempt for class that Petunia had always tried to emulate, radiating true class and aristocratic grace. Narcissa’s blue eyes flashed in subdued anger, no doubt from the stark contrast of his room to the rest of the house as well as the way the door had been locked.

“Are you ready to leave, Harrigan?” She asked softly, “We need to make sure we are gone before the people that live here return.”

“They won’t be back for at least another day,” Harry informed her with a wry smile. “I paid the Goblins to send them a very official looking letter to a non-existing Gala for Influential Members of Surrey Society in Shropshire.”

Harry’s smile was just a bit vindictive, enjoying the mental image of the Dursleys being tricked yet again and the money they’d wasted on gas and a hotel as Shropshire was almost 180 miles from Surrey.

Lucius snorted and said, “Definitely your father’s son, both of them would have gotten a kick out of that.”

Harry just gave a slightly closed-off, sad smile at that and said, “My things are downstairs, locked in the cupboard under the front stairway.”

Lucius gave a nod and turned, making his way back down the stairs to retrieve said items. Narcissa gave him a sympathetic smile and closed the distance between them, drawing Harry into a gentle hug. She kissed his forehead and said softly, “Ready to leave these people behind? We have a meeting at Gringotts.”

Harry nodded, assuming it was about the Betrothal Contract. He grimaced slightly at his appearance and said quietly, “Is there a way I can clean up and get into proper clothes before we go to the meeting?”

She smiled and said, “We’ve arranged a room at the Leaky Cauldron for the next half-hour so that you can make yourself presentable. I know you said they liked to deny you basic things, I didn’t quite realize how awful it was. Now that I have, I’m going to have to insist on that visit to a specialized Healer. Magic can fix many things, but only if it’s done in time.”

Harry nodded, not willing to argue with Narcissa. “Who took the Contract? Was it the Lestrange family as you suspected?”

As they walked down the stairs she said, “Yes, it was. It’s the elder son and Heir as proper. Your father wouldn’t have approved of anything less considering you are the Heir yourself to two Houses. Rodolphus Lestrange, tricked by my conniving father Cygnus and his sister Walburga into an unhappy marriage with Bellatrix who was madly in love with the Dark Lord. He does not hold any resentment towards you and if it were not against proper manners would likely have thanked your father for getting rid of her.”

“The Lestranges have also made headway on their own to repairing their public reputation since it is known that neither of Janus Lestrange’s sons were at the Ministry in June. They both also confessed under Veritaserum to not being involved in the torture of Frank and Alice Longbottom,” Lucius commented, easily guessing their conversation.

“Not to mention that the Lestranges are independently wealthy according to my father’s teachings on the Noble Houses, which means they aren’t after my family wealth. I did not anticipate Betrothal and marriage at seventeen, but at least this sounds like it may be the best of a bad situation. Possibly even tolerable if we can come to respect each other. I know I cannot force anyone to love me, but if he can become at least a companion it would be nice,” Harry sighed.

Lucius shook his head and said with a small chuckle, “I forget that under that brash exterior you actually are a young pureblood Heir who has done very well in a crash course of our lifestyle over a short period of time. It’s amazing really how good of actors you and your father are.”

Were. Harry just gave a tight smile and exited Number 4 for the last time, not even turning around as the door closed behind one of the elder Malfoy’s. He stared around at the Muggle neighborhood that had made his childhood hell for a long moment, staring into the flickering gas lamps as if it held his future. Then he gave a soft sigh and turned to Lucius and Narcissa, who held out a small gold chain, clearly a Portkey. He reached out and grasped it, bidding a silent good riddance to the place that had never felt like home and now never would be.

Chapter Text

Rodolphus Lestrange smoothed down his silk robes over dragonhide leather trousers in his family colors, following his sire and brother into Gringotts. The importance of the following meeting could not be understated and he gave a quiet prayer to the Goddess as they approached an open Goblin and Janus said respectfully, “We are here for a meeting with the Malfoys in another half-hour.”

The Goblin nodded and said in a gravelly voice, “We are aware of the meeting.”

He summoned another Goblin to escort them to a beautiful office of etched stone, a mahogany desk the centerpiece as well as a slim table between six chairs. The Lestranges seated themselves at the table on the left side, Janus closest to the desk and Rabastan farthest. Then they waited, knowing that Malfoys were nothing but prompt and would likely be here soon as well, with the young Heir Potter-Black.

Rodolphus Lestrange had spent the rest of yesterday and this morning marveling at the set of circumstances that led to this upcoming meeting. By the Goddess it would have been interesting if Sirius Orion hadn’t died, he would have enjoyed crossing wits with the man who had deceived almost all the Old Blood families for most of his life! Somehow, he had the feeling they would come across more of the late Heir Black’s preparations today, there was no way a man who had prepared as thoroughly as he apparently had would not have made provisions for what he expected to be in his only child’s Contract.

First to enter the room from the Malfoy party was Lucius, dressed in the violet and silver that was the Malfoy family colors. He greeted the trio and sat himself elegantly in the last chair, across from Rabastan. Nonverbally this let the Lestrange trio know that he was here once again as an observer and impartial witness, not a participant. Narcissa was next, dressed once again in the black and silver of her birth family in a split color gown, an amethyst necklace at her throat set in silver the only nod to her married name and status. She sat closest to the desk across from Janus, hands folded in her lap.

The last figure to enter the room caused a sharp inhale of breath from his brother and a faint noise of surprise from his father, Rodolphus not paying attention enough to note whether the sound of surprised appreciation he made actually was noticeable. Goddess the young man across from them was stunning. He had obviously removed the Glamorie James Potter-Black had placed on him by Lily Evans. Muggleborn though she may have been, if she had not died protecting this young man, she would have been a formidable Charms Mistress.

Under Lily Evans’ complicated spellwork was a vision. Harrigan Potter-Black stood at a respectable 5’ 9”, his body lithe but deceptively strong. Slim shoulders were held elegantly straight, his posture looked effortless. His skin had gone the alabaster shade of the Black family, hair darker than a raven’s wing and falling in soft waves to his shoulders. His very slimness and the shape of his chin, mouth and eyes were Potter features, but the high cheekbones, forehead and sharply arched eyebrows were all Black features.

His eyes though. Somehow, they were just as stunning now as they had been with the fake emerald color the same shade as the Killing Curse. Now Harrigan’s dark, thick lashes framed eyes the same rich dark silver as his father Sirius had possessed, with flecks of rich brown and a ring of the same color around his pupils. He no longer wore his glasses, making his eyes seem all the more stunning. He wore black dragonhide trousers tucked into ankle-high boots, a rich silver silk shirt and a closed black silk robe with the Black family crest finely embossed in silver thread. Over this he’d worn a plain black hooded traveling cloak, which he removed and handed off to a house elf that had appeared to take the garment.

He’d paused just a beat in the doorway, eyes flicking through the room as he clearly took in both his surroundings and companions, the motion done with the ease of ingrained instinct. That he’d had to be so wary all his life caused a pang of sympathy in Rodolphus for the teenager in front of them who clearly had not had the chance to really be a child. Satisfied, he walked over, greeted them quietly and slipped smoothly into his seat.

Rodolphus hesitated a moment, wanting to take the young man’s hand into his own for this small conversation, but he didn’t know if it would be welcome. Instead he placed his hand on the table, a respectable distance across the surface and said quietly, “I want to extend my condolences, Heir Potter-Black. I cannot imagine how difficult this must be to you, to lose someone as important as your father a couple of years after relearning about your relationship.”

Harrigan hesitated and then briefly reached out and touched Rodolphus’ hand, the man savoring the brief feel of soft skin. “Thank you, I know coming from you and your family that it is not false platitudes. It has been difficult, but I will carry on, my father expected me to live my life I know.”

Conversation finished, both males sat back, aware of the eyes on them from both sides of the table. Just in time, as the door swung open once more, admitting a finely dressed goblin with a just-shy of obscene amount of gold adornments and curved claws made of iron over the finger that was the equivalent of a human thumb. He made his way to the desk and sat down, stating, “Lord and Lady Malfoy, you called for this private meeting, requiring the official goblin for both the Black and Potter accounts. That would be myself, my name is Ironclaw. What can I do for you today?”

Narcissa spoke up, “We are here today on the behalf of House Potter-Black to draw a Betrothal Contract between my cousin Harrigan Orion Potter-Black, Heir to House Potter and House Black and Rodolphus Janus Lestrange, Heir to House Lestrange.”

Had the goblin been less restrained, Rodolphus reflected wryly, the creature would likely be salivating at the prospect of joining the three listed Houses (and their accounts). Instead near-black eyes widened slightly and he said, “I see. An auspicious occasion indeed. I shall draw a blank Contract if the pair involved wouldn’t mind placing three drops of blood onto these parchments to confirm their names and status.”

Harrigan had clearly been warned that this would be part of the Contract write-up, as he looked calm despite the fact that blood would be involved. As the older of the pair (and the dominant in the Contract), Rodolphus went first, taking the delicate silver dagger his father produced and pressing it to his thumb with a slight twist. He winced slightly at the blade’s bite and dropped the required amount of blood, handing the blade back to his father.

The three drops glowed on the parchment for a few moments before swiftly writing out:

Name: Rodolphus Janus Lestrange
Birth: 5th May, 1960
Father: Janus Aurelius Lestrange
Mother: Ceres Lamia Alagona
Heir to: Most Noble and Ancient House of Lestrange
Status: Pureblood
Relationship status: Widow (Bellatrix Amalthea Black DOD 12th June 1997)

Despite their small conversation and the fact that the woman was dead, Rodolphus could still see the small tightening of the jaw that gave away Harrigan’s anger spotting Bellatrix’s name.

As a result, when he used the small blade Narcissa offered it bit a touch deeper than it needed to, though it drew no reaction whatsoever from his future Promised. Rodolphus frowned inwardly, wondering at his lack of reaction to the pain. Narcissa made a soft sound and healed his finger once he’d dropped the blood onto his own parchment, finishing just as the results began to display.

Name: Harrigan Orion Potter-Black
Father: Sirius Orion Black
Bearer: James Charlus Potter
Heir to: Noble House of Potter, Most Noble and Ancient House of Black
Status: Pureblood
Relationship status: untouched Single

A charming flush warmed high cheekbone as Harrigan’s eyes found the word untouched. He’d clearly not expected it to go into detail. Private amusement warred with aggressive pride at the idea that his soon-to-be Promised was not the type to sleep around, despite his sire’s reported behavior in school. It boded well for their future Bonding and life together.

Meanwhile, Ironclaw had drawn a piece of faintly golden parchment and a silver-tipped quill, putting in the official birth names listed without paying much attention to the small sparks the quill produced. It was the norm for the quills used for official Contracts, after all. Harrigan’s eyes were faintly surprised and curious as he watched the quill flick small sparks.

Once finished writing their names, Ironclaw looked up and said, “As House Black has called the meeting, would their representative please list terms first?”

Narcissa nodded, tapping the table in front of her to produce, via house-elf, a simple silver folder closed with black wax imprinted with the Black family crest. “Amongst my cousins’ paperwork in his private vault was this folder, containing just a few, non-negotiable items to be added to his Heir’s Contract if he was unable to be here himself."

In front of them she broke the wax seal and opened the heavy parchment folder, revealing a single sheet of parchment with neat calligraphic handwriting suited to an Old Blood Heir. At the base in another blob of black wax was the signet of the Black Heir ring next to the signature, bearing little flourish, of one Sirius Orion Black. Rodolphus almost snickered in amusement at the confirmation of his private theory. His father Janus giving a small shake of his head in wry acknowledgement that yes, Sirius Black had known how to plan. Narcissa politely cleared her throat and read in a firm voice,

I, Sirius Orion Black, Heir to House Black, have written this paper of sound mind and body, listing those qualities that I require to be present on any Contract presented to my son and heir, Harrigan Orion Potter-Black. Should I not be present to list these items myself, I require a member of House Black to represent his interests in my stead with this list of non-negotiable requirements.”

“One, my son will retain the titles of both the Noble House of Potter and the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black. Whether he is granted additional titles by his spouse’s House is up to their discretion, but my son has been educated on both of his family lines and they will remain in his possession until he chooses to pass them on to his own offspring.”

“Two, a fidelity clause will be required. I am not accusing any Noble or Most Noble and Ancient House of loose behavior, but my son is far too trusting on occasion and I will not see him betrayed by his spouse. This should not be unexpected to any other House.”

“Three, as my son inherits two Houses and will be marrying into at least one more, a minimum of three children will be required. Should my son and his Bonded be blessed with more that is up to the Goddess, but three is a minimal amount. House Potter has had female Heads in the past, but the Black Line has always passed through the sons. Should my son bear only one or two sons, it is amicable of House Black to remain conjoined in title with House Potter, so long as the new Heir’s spouse take the name as it is now, Potter-Black, not Black-Potter. My Heir Consort submitted to House Black taking foremost position as it is due through sheer age, it will not be modified.”

“Four, upon completion and signing of the Betrothal Contract, my son shall take up the Lordship of House Potter-Black, assigning proxy at his own discretion. The Houses have languished long enough, though the goblins have had their instructions on how to maintain the two accounts. This shall offer him additional protections against the current Supreme Mugwump, Albus Dumbledore, who is no friend of House Potter-Black.”

“Five, once the Betrothal Contract goes into effect the Bonding between my son and his Promised shall take place no later than seven months after. I do not place any timeline upon the birth of the first Heir, wizards do not dictate when the Goddess chooses to bless a line.”

“Thus have been listed the non-negotiable parts of my son’s Betrothal Contract on his behalf. I list these as Sirius Orion Black, Heir to the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black, Officiator of the Noble House of Potter and sire to the listed Heir, Harrigan Orion Potter-Black.”

“Signed into effect at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, London Branch, 1st August 1996, by Sirius Orion Black, Heir to the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black and Officiator of the Noble House of Potter.”

While listening carefully to the words written by the late Heir Black, Rodolphus was watching the current Heir’s reactions to his father’s words. He had opened his mouth briefly to protest the necessity of the fidelity clause, only to blush slightly at his father’s slight chastising that followed. That blush had deepened prettily as it had gone on to list a minimum of three children, unique eyes dropping to the table to avoid catching anyone’s gaze.

His father Janus sighed and smiled, catching Harrigan’s eyes and saying ruefully, “Your father clearly knew how to catch people off guard, as well as plan!”

Turning to Narcissa he said, “All of the late Heir Lord Black’s requirements are more than reasonable and shall be listed verbatim on the Contract as approved by House Lestrange. We have only a few of our own to add to those already listed.”

At her elegant nod he said, “The Most Noble and Ancient House Lestrange offers the use of our solicitor to take control of what the media has the right to print about Heir Lord Potter-Black, we have noticed that the media has had far to free a range to talk about the Heir Lord. House Lestrange requires at least two public joint appearances per six months for the sake of improving the images of both House Lestrange and House Potter-Black. While not required, House Lestrange does request communication on political agendas and campaigns intended by House Potter-Black as to avoid coming into contention with their Bonded House. House Lestrange requires shared bedchambers for the Bonded pair for the first two years, after which split rooms can be discussed.”

“All perfectly understandable and reasonable requests by the Noble and Ancient House of Lestrange,” Narcissa nodded. “As was done with House Potter-Black, list them verbatim as a sign of our agreement.”

Ironclaw finished scripting the two House’s requirements (three actually) and said, “All that is left now to make this official is the two Promised signatures, performed with a blood quill as witnessed by Rabastan Aurelius Lestrange and Lord Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, Lord to the Ancient and Noble House of Malfoy.”

Harrigan gave a distinct grimace at the sight of the Blood Quill, otherwise showing no reaction whatsoever. Rodolphus signed, ignoring the faint sting on the back of his hand as he did so. He passed the quill politely to Harrigan as well as the contract, the teen signing the parchment with every evidence of distaste for the unique Quill evident on his face. He then spun the parchment so the signatures faced the goblin and slid it lightly across the table.

At the nod from Ironclaw Janus produced a small jeweler’s box, handing it to his eldest. Having guessed where this was leading, Harrigan had extended his left hand, resting his wrist and the tips of his fingers in near the exact middle of the table. His fingers were long and slim, nails short and clean. Taking a steadying breath, Rodolphus opened the box and removed the ring with their family crest, sliding it carefully onto Harrigan’s fourth finger. As soon as the ring rested in place and resized to fit his finger, the Betrothal Contract flashed bright gold and sealed itself, a gold wax seal of Gringotts in the middle.

It was done. Harrigan Orion Potter-Black, hidden Heir to two Noble Houses, was now his Promised.

What a day it has been already, Rodolphus reflected.

*

Harry took the items he’d retrieved from his trunk and slipped into a pair of sandals, heading down the main staircase of Malfoy Manor. It had been a long day, after the meeting with the Lestranges he’d taken control of his two titles. He had named Lucius Malfoy as temporary proxy to both House Black and House Potter until it was safe for him to come out as the very young Lord of two Houses. With the information that had been gathered by his father and organized by a team of solicitors Dumbledore would be losing his title as Supreme Mugwump very soon. Harry had vowed to be there on that day to see the look in the man’s eyes as he realized how badly he had underestimated Sirius Orion Black.

He took a deep, calming breath, exiting the staircase and heading for the huge double glass doors that opened onto the gardens. Narcissa and Lucius were still up, he noted with little surprise. Narcissa was studying the social pages of today’s Prophet and Lucius reading some folio or other with a pair of silver reading glasses perched on his nose. The sight of Lucius Malfoy with reading glasses was vaguely amusing, the man admitting that he needed them more and more often with the tiny print on his business paperwork.

Draco had, thankfully, retired to his quarters. He had not initially taken Harry’s revealed heritage or position well; Harry had made sure he was armed whenever around the other teen. He had thawed somewhat, a reaction to Harry looking up and using a formal apology from a Pureblood etiquette pamphlet he’d been given by his father. While Draco’s initial introduction in first year had left much to be desired, Harry’s response very well could have initiated a blood feud.

It was what had happened between the Weasley family and the Malfoys. Almost a hundred years ago a Weasley daughter had broken off her betrothal to a Malfoy second son and had run away with a Muggle man. The second son had been left literally at the altar by his bride, the incident as well as the Weasley position of defending the wayward girl had invoked a blood feud. Their continuing refusal to disown the girl as well as their open hatred for their own culture and beliefs had led most of the Old Blood to declare them blood traitors.

The Black family had not intermarried with the Malfoys before a besotted Lucius had sought Narcissa’s hand and betrothal, but they were a proud family and the Weasley’s behavior had been repugnant. To the day he had died Sirius had not been very fond of most the Weasley family. The only members he’d treated with some respect were those that had tried to repair their family’s standing, not that they could without Old Blood help.

The Weasley family magics had been dying out as a result. Muggle-loving Arthur would deny it to his dying breath, but his family’s defiance was going to cost them their magic and their name if they kept it up. Bill, Charlie and the Twins had decent cores, but the rest were dismal compared to children their age. Ron and Ginevra were smarter about it than the rest, conserving their magics and relying more on stealth and cunning. Ron was a brilliant strategist and an average wizard, if he could put his cunning mind to the problem, he would no doubt come into his own.

Harry’s internal musings on the Weasley family and the intricacies of pureblood culture had carried him to the glass doors. He opened one of them, stepping out onto the patio. It was a late July evening, the weather balmy for England and the skies brilliantly clear. Harry turned to close the patio door to find Narcissa already there, stepping through and closing the door behind her. She stared out at the gardens; eyes distant. After a moment’s contemplation she turned to Harry, blue eyes clear and bright.

“Would you like me to accompany you, Harrigan?”

“Not tonight, cousin,” he said softly, politely. “Thank you for the offer though, I appreciate it. Thank you for offering me the location I needed.”

“Of course,” she answered, a sad smile curving her lips. A little older than his father, Narcissa was still a strikingly beautiful woman. She was so unlike her two sisters that it made Harry marvel sometimes. Pale where her sisters were golden, icy blonde hair a rich contrast to their deep black.

“Perhaps the anniversary?” She ventured; tone hesitant. From such a strong woman it gave him pause, making him feel slightly guilty. Sirius was after all her cousin and they had been close after a sort when younger.

“I would be glad for your company then,” he answered. She smiled in response and then said, “Good evening, Harrigan.”

“Good evening, Narcissa. Pleasant dreams.”

Conversation complete, Harry turned to the patio stairs and descended them rapidly, walking at a steady pace out into the gardens. Pausing as the dark of the trees wrapped around him, he flicked his wand and conjured a small glowing orb of light that bobbed just ahead of him, shining faintly blue in the night. The light glinted off the two rings on his right hand. The Potter signet of yellow gold with an emerald inset with the Potter crest of a leaping stag on his fourth finger matched well with the Black signet on his second finger.

The ring his father had never worn was made of polished titanium, with small princess cut diamonds surrounding an oval onyx the size of his thumb with a filigree letter ‘B’ embossed on the stone. Cut into the inside of the band in a manner that meant Harry could feel it against his skin was the motto ‘Toujours Pur’. Always Pure, the Blacks. To a slightly obsessive and incestuous point at times. His father had admitted more than once that he preferred the Potter’s simple ‘Loyalty, Honor, Bravery’.

Then there was the one he’d been staring at the most recently. The betrothal/engagement ring on his left hand gifted by House Lestrange. It was made of white gold with a yin-yang symbol made up of a sapphire and topaz, the family’s colors being peacock blue and bronze. A single larger diamond sprouted from the middle of the symbol and the delicate band rested easily on his finger, weighing far less than the signets for all it’s weight in his recent thoughts. He’d stared at the ring for a long time, reflecting on the Lestrange Family Motto, ‘Toujours Fidele’ or ‘Always Faithful’. Faithful to what was the question that rang strongest in his mind.

His steady, slow pace brought Harry through the trees to a small clearing. His breath caught in surprise at the perfection of the place Narcissa had suggested. It was a small clearing, open to the moon and stars with a small clear pond. Flowers bloomed in small pots or raised beds the like of which Harry had never seen before in his life. A permanent circle in silver was etched into the grass, surrounding the small pond and a generous portion of the flowers and grass around it. It was perfect.

The very last place he’d wanted to hold his father’s dedication ritual had been Surrey, or Grimmauld Place. He’d wanted to do it in a place of magic, an open place free of boundaries and restrictions that would appeal to his father’s wild spirit. He hadn’t been able to do it at Hogwarts, no one knew that Sirius was his father and he’d been hiding still. Not to mention that at that stage he’d still be lost in numb grief and furious self-deprecation.

Surrey was just no; in any case he’d been confined to his room in Number 4 since Dumbledore had dropped him off and let the Dursleys know his godfather had passed away. On purpose, no doubt. He knew the only reason why the Dursleys had left him alone after third year was the threat of an escaped convict lingering over their heads. Harry shook himself; he was free of that place and soon to be free of all Dumbledore’s manipulations.

He kicked off his sandals and stepped into the circle with just his wand and the tall dark silver pillar candle he’d been carrying the entire time. Dressed in a simple dark silver robe with nothing else on him other than his rings, he made his way to the small pond and set the candle onto a large flat stone placed in front of the water. There was evidence of melted wax from many other candles over the years, in many colors and shades.

Silver for mourning, white for blessing, red for love/marriage, green for fertility, black for initiations. Color had far more impact on ritual Wizarding life than many knew. Harry stared at the silver candle in front of him, square with runes for grief, life, death and release carved along the edges and his father’s name in runes on each side. Narcissa had commissioned it for him at the same time as her own, understanding that Harry would be unable to purchase the specialized candle.

He lit the candle with a whispered spell and then set his wand on the rock as well, folding his hands in his lap and sitting still on his knees. He closed his eyes and reached into his magical core, letting his magic flow outward and touch the silver ring. Eyes closed still, he felt the moment the magic touched the ring and it flared with light and power. Harry took a deep breath and began to speak.

“Goddess, I come before you as a child with your gift of magic, open to your direction and guidance. Please grace me with your presence as I celebrate one who loved you as a Mother, one whom has been taken from this plane of existence and now belongs wholly to you again. Blessed be.”

Harry took a deep breath, swallowing back the lump of emotion in his throat. “Sirius Orion Black was a son of the Goddess, a believer tried and true his entire life. He had a wild spirit and heart but was fiercely loyal and loved without hesitation or reservation. He was a Father as well, beloved and treasured more than he ever realized."

Harry swallowed again, tears gathering in his closed eyes. “Dad, I’m sorry. The guilt I feel for your death weighs heavy on my heart and soul even now, even as I know you are safe with the goddess and my bearer James. You were a constant presence in my life for four years and while we both regretted not having more time together, I know we both cherished what we had. I will do my best to uphold our Family, both of them. I love you, Dad.”

He knelt in silence for what could have been easily a few moments or a few hours, reflecting on the time he had been given with his father. Memories flashed before his eyes, both of them serious and concentrating on one of his lessons. Sirius roaring with laughter as Harry described some of the twins’ antics during school. Waking from one of his horrible visions before he’d learned Occlumency to the sensation of being held, comforted. The raging protectiveness in his father’s eyes and face when he’d seen the words Umbridge had made him carve into his skin. The gentle love and potent grief on his face as he described James to their son, reminiscing about the Potter’s and how welcoming they had always been.

Into the perfectly still night a sudden breeze kicked up, tickling Harry’s skin and whispering through his hair. Harry was suddenly drenched in the presence of his father’s magic, gasping in surprise at the weight of it. It was all sensation, love, pride, forgiveness. Just as it had come the magic left without a trace, only a faint sound that reminded Harry of his father’s warm laughter. Harry opened his eyes, feeling bereft. The candle had blown itself out, reduced to a small square of silver wax.

Harry stood slowly, cautious of the pins and needles feeling in his legs that implied he’d been kneeling for some time. He picked up his wand and the small square of wax, flipping it over. On the bottom of the candle was his father’s name in elegant calligraphy and the Black Family Crest. He would save this part of the candle, putting it away with the one he and Sirius had done for James one summer night.

Harry slipped into his sandals and padded his way back to the Manor, shivering a little in the cool night air. Once back on the patio he turned, eyes tilting back to stare into the night sky. He found the constellation of Orion with ease and then the smaller, brilliant star that was his father’s namesake.

“Good night, Dad.”

With a small smile on his face and the first inklings of peace and hope in his heart, he let himself in through the glass doors and made his way to his bed. He may be on his own far sooner than he had hoped, but at least he now knew his father was at peace.

Chapter Text

 

Harry rose slowly, sleep lingering in his body and mind. At the reminder of what was going to happen today he smiled grimly. Today he was going to go into the public eye for the first time since putting aside the glamours and secrecy that had been his life for the past two years. It was time for the yearly shopping trip in Diagon Alley, the last one where he would be a student. As much as he was looking forward to his seventh year, it was a sad fact that he was looking forward to the end of it more than anything.

He had become disillusioned to the magic of Hogwarts over the years, his gaze steeped in the bitter truth of the school. It had long since stopped being one of the premier schools of magic, now it was an old man’s playground to meddle with and shape future generations according to his ideals. As long as Albus Dumbledore remained Headmaster of Hogwarts, the school was going to continue degrading.

Now that he knew the truth of Albus’ multi-faceted meddling, Harry wasn’t surprised to learn how far magical Britain had fallen in the eyes of the international community. With a twinkly-eyed old man in his garish robes and patronizing behavior as their representative, Harry was surprised some of the other countries hadn’t declared outright war or boycotts against them.

Compared to Britain’s illustrious past under the guidance of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, they were the international court’s jester. As an outsider looking in, Harry hadn’t understood the actions and conduct of the Old Blood, seeing it as superior prejudice and arrogance. He had been so blind. Educated by his father in wizarding history, he now knew why the Old Blood reacted the way they did to Muggleborns who entered their world and promptly ignored all of its rules and history.

They accepted the magic easily enough, it made them special. But the traditions, culture and responsibility that came with it? Pfft. Those raised with magic being a part of everyday life were called backwards, prejudiced, lazy. Granted there were ways the wizarding world could move forward, even replacing quills with fountain pens would be a small enough thing. But thanking magic for Her gift? Celebrating the traditional holidays? Those who had no previous understanding of magic came into their world and spat Dark Arts with pointed fingers.

There were exceptions of course, some Muggleborns came into this world with open eyes and an open heart, willing to listen. Lily Evans had been one such witch. Raised in a very traditional muggle home, she had entered the magical world with wide-eyed wonder, taking in everything that she saw with amazed, thrilled eyes. At Hogwarts she’d befriended two traditionally raised witches, Alice Maddox and Marlene McKinnon. The two girls had introduced wizarding tradition to her in their second year.

Initially Lily hadn’t taken it well, shocked that the two girls she shared a dorm with were pagan basically. Marlene had taken Lily’s hands in hers and said a very basic Blessing, welcoming Lily to magic. According to the journals Lily had left behind, the presence of Her had been shocking to the young witch. The undeniable presence of something old, something sentient had shocked her into silence.

She’d studied magic after that encounter with a tenacity that had shocked her friends, diving into old texts that covered magical faith and history with relish. A constant companion in the library with her had been shy, quiet Remus Lupin. Remus had confused Lily, he was smart and witty, doing well in all of his classes. Yet he was completely self-effacing and reclusive, seemingly dragged into mischievous chaos by his friends, Sirius Black and James Potter.

Lily had recounted each and every one of James Potter’s initial attempts to ask her out with a sort of exasperated amusement, noting how much her other friend ‘Sev’ appeared to dislike Potter’s behavior. The revelation that Severus Snape had been Lily’s childhood friend and likely had wanted to be more than her friend suddenly made the man’s behavior toward Harry blatantly obvious. He resented Harry for being the child another man had with the woman he’d desired, or so he thought.

Eventually, late sixth year Lily and James had begun dating. It was weird reading her journals with the hindsight that she hadn’t ended up with James, wondering at his father’s thoughts through all of this. They had parted amicably in the middle of their seventh year, deciding they were better off friends. Reading Lily’s thoughts and day to day life, Harry had been almost convinced that she had a crush on Remus, she mentioned him a lot.

He’d confirmed it sometime after their graduation, when Lily mentioned off-hand that she was going to dinner with Remus. Harry had marveled at how open-minded Lily had been, reading about how his dads had admitted their relationship to Remus and Lily somewhere in their late teens by the date. It had surprised her, but she had remarked in her journals with a maturity beyond her years that sexuality wasn’t something that could be controlled and she was glad they had found love.

She had been present at their Old Ways bonding, remarking on how stunning it had been to see one of the more intimate ceremonies done according to tradition. Reading third-hand about their announcement of James’ pregnancy with him and his father’s forward-minded planning was a strange experience, but Harry was glad she had documented everything so thoroughly. She had described them falsifying records that she had married James in secret to cover his birth, then with a quiet sort of awe describing meeting a newborn Harry and how happy his parents had been. Remus had apparently cried when his friends asked him to be their son’s godfather, exceptionally touched.

Her journal entries had cut off abruptly just after his first birthday, Harry realizing that it was likely because his parents had gone into hiding at that time and she had put her journals into the vault his father had opened. Harry couldn’t imagine the rest of her life, the cautious hope that everything would be okay and she and Remus could resume what had sounded like a very loving relationship based on mutual respect. He couldn’t imagine the pain one Samhain had wrought upon his father and Remus; the two survivors left of what had been a close-knit group.

As much as Harry knew he wanted to help Remus remember if he could, he could also privately admit that perhaps it was a bit selfish, because remembering Harry for who he was would also mean remembering what the man had and had lost with Lily Evans. The subconscious pain he was probably in was no doubt suffocating. It made Harry incredibly furious, remembering Severus’ snide, hateful behavior towards Remus in his third year. He was pathetic, holding a grudge against a man who couldn’t even remember why.

Someday, perhaps someday soon, Harry was going to stand face to face with Severus Snape and tell him how he felt about the man’s behavior. He was going to throw the man’s bitter grudges and childish sulking in his face, he was going to break him. It was nothing less than he deserved.

Harry’s ruthlessness would have surprised many of his fellow Gryffindors, but those that knew him best… Ron had commented quietly to Harry after the Second Task that he had been surprised to be chosen as Harry’s hostage. When Harry had asked him in curious, injured indignation why, Ron’s reply had surprised him. “I remember how you were when you thought Sirius had actually betrayed your parents. Hermione many not agree with me, but I know you would have killed him. There’s a reason why you were almost sorted into Slytherin, Harry.

Harry had been surprised by Ron’s insight and just a bit wary. After all, he’d just gotten past being on edge with Ron after his betrayal, he still wasn’t entirely trusting him again. “Why aren’t you throwing a fit about me being like a ‘dirty snake’ then? I know how much you hate Slytherin.”

“Because I’m not stupid, if I betray you again, I’ll never get the chance to make it up to you. I’m not about to do the same thing in a couple of months. And maybe I’m ready to admit that Slytherins aren’t all that bad. You don’t think a sixth son gets anywhere in life without a little ambition, right? Besides, I picked you as a friend before I knew you were a shot for Slytherin, I’m not turning my back on you now.

Because of this Harry had hope that his real parentage wouldn’t be such a bad thing to Ron, nor would his attempts to connect to his father’s culture. His marriage? That would take some smoothing over most likely. Harry had requested to Floo into Diagon Alley alone, a little ahead of when the Malfoys would be arriving. He wanted the chance to speak to Ron and Hermione before they began their shopping.

He dressed in crisp black slacks and a deep red sleeveless shirt under an open black robe, making sure his attire was suitable and his hygienic needs taken care of before heading downstairs. With a nervous breath he cast a temporary glamour so he looked like ‘Harry Potter’ before picking up some Floo Powder and saying crisply, “Leaky Cauldron, London!”

He kept his eyes open, taking a step forward as soon as his feet hit the exit grate, staying on his feet with just a bobble. Flooing was still one of the methods of wizarding travel he liked least, but at least now he could stay on his feet. He’d practiced it a few times with Sirius, his father getting a laugh out of his horrible sense of balance when he wasn’t flying. At least until he’d learned there was a medical reason for it, then Sirius had been angry to say the least.

Pushing aside past memories for the moment, Harry looked around the pub as he exited, quickly finding Ron’s ginger hair. He’d gotten even taller over the summer somehow, the top of Harry’s un-glamoured height of 5’9” would reach his shoulders maybe. Honestly though, with the way Ron gorged down food at every meal he wasn’t surprised. Despite all he ate, he never gained so much as a stone, all of his food fueling his rapid height-gain and the beginnings of muscle-mass.

Hermione had matured over the years as well, her bushy hair settling down to merely curly and her warm brown eyes gaining a honey shade. She was a fairly attractive young witch, Harry knew there were probably many more open-minded half-bloods and purebloods that would be interested in a marriage contract with her, especially when paired with her incredible intelligence and thirst for knowledge.

“Harry!” Ron exclaimed, “You finally got here, we’ve been waiting.”

Harry gave his friend a hug and said, “Nice to see you too, Ron.”

Hermione’s eyes were a bit closed-off and she said tightly, “Where have you been, Harry?”

“I’m sorry I’m a bit late, it took a moment to get here,” Harry replied, cautious.

“I mean all summer, Harry. Dumbledore got a really angry letter from your uncle, it said you had tricked them into driving all the way to Shropshire for nothing and when they got back you were gone. It’s been two weeks since then, where have you been?”

“I wasn’t aware that Dumbledore had any control on me during the summers, Hermione,” Harry said evenly, fighting back anger at the man’s name. “He’s just the Headmaster when we’re in school. I’m seventeen, an adult by wizarding standards. Besides, two weeks is hardly all summer.”

Ron snorted. “So you’re not denying sending the Dursleys to Shropshire for some celebratory gala?”

“Paid the goblins to make it look official,” Harry said off-handedly, making Ron burst into roaring guffaws of laughter.

Hermione looked incredibly disapproving. Harry was fighting a growing feeling of dread; he had worried something like this would happen. Despite everything they had been through in the past six years, Hermione still thought that the sun rose and fell at Dumbledore’s command. Harry could feel her sliding through his grasp more with every word he said.

“Dumbledore’s not just the Headmaster,” she answered, once Ron had begun to calm down. “He’s also head of the Order of the Phoenix and as such—”

“Has no control over me, nor either of you since we haven’t been allowed to join the Order,” Harry interrupted.

Hermione’s eyes narrowed. “Since when did you care about your appearance?”

“What?”

“Your clothes,” she said bluntly. “They look expensive, not to mention well-coordinated and you’re wearing traditional wizarding attire outside of school. I mean a robe, Harry? One that has a Twilfit and Tatting’s logo on the inside of the left edge of the collar?”

“What are you on about Hermione? Is it against the rules for Harry to buy himself some new clothes? I mean he’s a skinny shrimp but he had to grow eventually,” Ron teased Harry, earning a huffy laugh from Harry.

“What’s with the interrogation, Hermione? I’m heir to a pureblood family and I’ve got money in my trust vault that’s meant for me to use, so why not use it? Also I don’t like how every retort you’ve given me so far starts with ‘Dumbledore’. After all he’s put us through maybe I don’t trust him as blindly as you seem to.”

“You never cared about being a pureblood heir before, Harry. Besides it makes you a hypocrite, you’re a half-blood. All of this backwards nonsense doesn’t suit you,” Hermione huffed.

“Hey now,” Ron frowned, staring at Hermione. “What are you implying? Besides, you seem to forget that I’m a pureblood and you’ve happily been hanging out with me for the last six years. I know my family is far from the best off or the most highly regarded, but we still care about our blood and our heritage.”

Hermione flushed. “You’ve never cared about it before, Ron. I mean, purebloods are all stuffy and posh in their manners and can practically recite spells by the time they get to Hogwarts. Your manners are atrocious and you didn’t know a thing about magic when I met you. I mean, you thought that joke Fred and George gave you was a real spell!”

“So because I’m a bit lax with table manners and don’t know as much as you I’m not a proper Pureblood? That’s more than a bit insulting, Hermione. I don’t judge you based on your inability to use makeup and control your hair,” Ron responded, making her turn red.

“That’s not what I mean,” she hissed. “I was just giving examples. I mean, you are friends with me, for Pete’s sake.”

Harry frowned, eyes narrowing. “So you’re saying that if Ron was a proper Pureblood he wouldn’t have been friends with you for the past six years? You think all Old Blood believe that Muggleborns are bad? That’s about as prejudiced as anything I’ve heard the Slytherins spout over the years.”

Hermione’s smile was triumphant, vindicated. “Old Blood? Where did that come from, Harry? You’ve never referred to Purebloods as Old Blood before.”

Harry resisted the urge the close his eyes, mentally berating himself. With a sigh he braced himself, saying, “My dad.”

Hermione looked confused, as did Ron. Hermione hissed, “James Potter? He’s dead Harry, you have no way of communicating with him.”

“I’m well aware of that Hermione, thank you,” Harry said sharply. “Besides, I didn’t mean James Potter, I meant Sirius Black.”

“Sirius is your godfather, Harry,” Hermione rolled her eyes. “Besides, he’s dead as well.”

Harry resisted the urge to clench his hands into fists and said coldly, “I’m well aware he was murdered, Hermione, I was there. And just because you don’t know all the facts doesn’t mean you can disrespect him to me. As it turns out, Sirius Black is my father, James Potter was the one who bore me. Lily Evans was my godmother, she agreed to a fake marriage to James to protect me.”

As Ron practically gaped at Harry, Hermione scoffed. “I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, but they’re touched in the head and so are you. Dumbledore said your parents were married and Lily Evans was your mother, which is why she sacrificed her life for yours. And basic biology dictates men can’t have kids.”

“You’re being really rude, Hermione,” Ron frowned. “Plus you’re actually wrong. Men can have kids in the magical world, it’s why we don’t have any problems with homosexual relationships. I think I have a relative somewhere in my ancestry that was gay, he’s like my third-removed uncle or something.”

Hermione looked aghast. She turned to Harry and demanded, “Who did you talk to that told you this? Some Death Eater? Who has turned you against us over one summer?”

Harry let his anger seep into his voice, “Sirius did, actually. I’ve been learning about my family for the past two years, since I first arrived at Grimmauld Place after fourth year. I’d think you’d be happy for me, Hermione, I had a parent that I could actually talk to for a while. I’m a pureblood, Lily Evans is not my mother. My name is Harrigan Orion Black, I was put under a glamour to protect me from people that would hurt me.”

He took his wand out and flicked it, more of a jerk since he was angry with Hermione. The expressions on their faces were amusing, really. Especially at the change in his eyes, the dark rich grey of Sirius’ combining with flecks of James’ gold-brown. He tucked some of his tamer locks behind his ear, realizing as Hermione’s eyes narrowed on his hands that he’d accidentally revealed his rings. Crap.

“What are those?” She demanded.

“Lordship rings,” Harry answered coolly, “for the Noble House of Potter and the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black. I am Lord Potter-Black, after all.”

Hermione’s eyes had narrowed onto his left hand though and the betrothal/engagement ring on that finger.

“That’s the finger an engagement ring goes on,” she said huffily. “You might want to remove it; it gives people the wrong impression.”

“As that is a betrothal ring, it’s in the right spot then,” Harry said, sounding sarcastic.

“You’re not betrothed,” Hermione demanded, “that’s Pureblood crap hardly anyone follows anymore. Besides, Dumbledore didn’t sign off on one, certainly not one where it implies you’re the bride.

Harry’s hands clenched in anger, his magic leaking out from under his tight control. Eyes going cold and voice hard, he said, “I am betrothed, to another man no less as I happen to be gay. I am a Pureblood and I follow many of our traditions by choice, something you don’t seem to understand. More than that, Hermione, Sirius is my father and Dumbledore has nothing to do with my life and happiness. The official term for a male spouse, by the way, is Consort Lord, not a bride.”

“I don’t like what you’re becoming, Harry,” Hermione spat. “What you have become over one summer. Next thing you’re going to do is tell me you’re marrying a Death Eater. You’ve gone Dark.

A closed-off, sad expression crossed Harry’s face. He stepped back, away from Hermione and said, “Mother Magic, bind this woman’s tongue to the facts I have told her today. Keep her from giving the word by any means from those that would do me harm. I ask this as a Child of Magic. So mote it be.”

A swirl of magic curled in front of the trio, in front of a rapidly retreating Hermione. Before she could react, it struck her in the chest and she gasped, glaring at Harry.

“Goodbye Hermione Jean Granger,” Harry whispered, a tear tracking down his face. “I’m sorry it came to this, I had hoped after six years of friendship you would choose me, not the Headmaster. Have a good life, but you are no longer my friend.”

Hermione glared at Harry and Ron, anger in her eyes. When Ron remained standing next to Harry, she swirled on her heel and ran back out the door onto Charing Cross Road. Harry let out a shaky breath and turned to Ron, his face guarded. The confrontation with Hermione had hurt, he didn’t want to have to do it again.

“Who’d have thought that Hermione would be so closed-minded? It’s weird, I know I’m not as smart as her but I can’t connect the jump from you having Sirius and James as parents and being a pureblood to suddenly being Dark. She’s bloody insane,” Ron said.

Seeing the open, relaxed and friendly expression on Ron’s face gave Harry more relief than he cared to admit. “This wasn’t how I wanted to tell you about my parents and everything,” he said.

“I guessed not,” Ron said. “That’s insane, Sirius was your dad? Why’d you hide it?”

Taking a deep breath, Harry said, “Let me tell you something about Dumbledore…”        

Chapter Text

 

Talking with Ron had gone better than Harry could have ever hoped. He hadn’t revealed everything, his betrothal to Rodolphus Lestrange for one, but what he had revealed had gone fairly well. Ron, Fred, George and Bill had been taking steps over the past couple of years trying to repair the Weasley name in the eyes of the Old Blood. When they had finally found out why there was such intense hate and loathing between the Malfoy’s and the Weasley’s, they had been shocked. After the shock had worn off, they were absolutely disgusted. A great deal of the Old Blood were married in arranged marriages, some didn’t go well and ended in mutual separation. Those that actually tried to make it work often ended up doing well, lasting far longer than ones based on a fickle emotion like love or more likely lust.

The fact that the Weasley family had stood behind Seraphina Weasley and supported her marriage to a boy who professed love over a well-matched setting like Aurelius Malfoy, well it made the Malfoy’s point of view suddenly far more understandable. They had been doing their best to repair the family’s name and reputation, but it was far too damaged. With Harry’s new knowledge of the situation and his father’s teachings, he planned to advise them to take steps to leave the name Weasley behind, perhaps appealing to the Prewetts.

After shopping for his school supplies Harry had gone back to Malfoy Manor to drop them off and have lunch with the Malfoys, ignoring Draco’s frigid behavior. Now he was back in Diagon, waiting. He was tense, this upcoming meeting was far more important to him than even meeting with Ron. He was meeting Remus and Andromeda at Gringotts, hoping that Goblin magic would undo the bonds on their memories. He felt selfish, especially with Remus’ relationship with Lily, but he wanted his godparents to remember him.

Especially after losing his dad. It had been painful before, yes, but his father’s presence mitigated the hurt of being seen but not recognized by those his parents had entrusted him to. Now that his father was gone, he wanted them back. He wanted someone else that knew his grief, someone who knew his dad and could tell him stories about him. There was so much of his father’s life he didn’t know. What had he been like as an eleven-year-old boy, attending Hogwarts the first time? Or as a teenager, pulling pranks on fellow students and teachers alike?

And Andromeda had known him growing up, she’d known him far longer than Remus. What had he been like as a child, growing up in the House of Black? What had his grandsire been like, or goddess forbid, his granddam? He didn’t think Walburga had changed much over the years, but you never know. Or his uncle, Regulus, who had died at nineteen?

He wanted to know, he wanted to share. That’s ultimately why he was here, really. He wanted to experience what it was like to have a family who loved him without reservations. He’d had stolen glimpses of it with his father, moments that he held close and treasured when things got rough, but he wanted more.

“Harry?” A low, warm voice said. He looked up, once again wearing his glamour. Remus stood in front of him, warm amber eyes concerned and relieved to see him. “How are you, we’ve been worried?”

“I’m fine Remus,” Harry said, smiling. “Really. I wanted to see you, that’s why I had Ron ask you to meet me here. There’s something I wanted to talk to you about actually, that’s why we’re meeting here,” he gestured to their surroundings, the massive marble lobby of Gringotts.

He stood. “Andromeda Tonks is waiting for us,” Harry explained, walking forward.

He passed the goblins, turning left. He entered the second office to the right, smiling at Andromeda. “I hope you haven’t been waiting long,” Harry said, “I was making sure Remus found us, this place is a bit of a maze.”

The woman smiled at him. She was much prettier than her late sister Bellatrix, her hair fell in organized waves and not a tangled, curly mess. Her eyes weren’t as heavily-lidded nor as dark, her smile warm. She reminded him in small, fundamental ways of his father so much his heart temporarily seized in agony. He took a deep breath and said to them both, “I’m glad you came. There’s a reason why we are in Gringotts you see. The Goblin Nation has some of the best people in ritual magics and undoing damage caused by wizards. I know it’s hard to believe, but both of you have had your minds messed with, rather extensively.”

Both looked surprised, but it was Andromeda who spoke up first, voice sharp. “I don’t know where you got your information from, young man, but that’s very unlikely. I’m not only a trained Healer but a Black, we’re drummed in how to protect our minds extensively from childhood.”

Harry ignored her sharp voice and tone towards him. He knew she had no idea who he was, he wouldn’t hold it against her. Still, seeing the suspicion in the eyes of a woman who could have raised him did hurt a bit. Instead he took a calming breath and said logically,

“I know, it’s also unlikely because Remus is a werewolf, his Alpha would be throwing fits at the idea of someone messing with his mind. But there is this, Andromeda, both of you know who I am, not just Harry James Potter. Both of you know me far better, more extensively. And why would I say something like this without knowing it to be true?”

“Harry, I don’t know what you mean, but I trust you. If it is as you say and there’s something I’m missing, I want to know,” Remus’ warm amber eyes locked on Harry’s, truth radiating from him.

“I don’t know how what you speak of could be possible, but I’ll agree to it as well. It won’t harm us if there’s nothing to remove, will it?” Andromeda flicked sharp eyes at the waiting goblin.

“No, nothing the Goblin Nation does is permanently harmful. This is benign if there is nothing to remove.”

Both Andromeda and Remus were directed to sit in chairs surrounded by a runic circle. The goblin gave them both something to drink and then began to chant in their native language, phrases falling swiftly from his tongue. The runes briefly lit up and then there was a flash of blinding light and both Andromeda and Remus cried out, before falling unconscious.

Harry freed his wand from the holster on his arm and directed them both to a pair of couches, then turned to the goblin. “They are unharmed?”

“They are,” the goblin confirmed. “The blocks removed were extensive, that’s why they passed out. They should be fine, expect them both to wake in a few minutes at the most. There are headache potions and pain potions for them both, included in the cost of the ritual.”

“My thanks, may the rest of your day be profitable.”

“And yours,” the goblin bowed and then left the office.

Andromeda stirred first, waking with a groan. She sat up, taking the potions Harry proffered with his explanations as to what they were. She looked at him, likely to berate him and gasped. He had taken his glamour down, revealing his birth features to them both. The sight of him apparently unlocked the memories for Andromeda, she rocked forward and whispered, “Sirius.”

Harry swallowed softly, understanding her pain. That was her cousin, she’d seen his wedding and been the one to take care of James through his pregnancy and the delivery of Harry. She’d seen so much of her cousin’s life, only to have it locked away. She looked up at him, tears in her eyes. “Harrigan? Oh sweetheart, I’m so sorry.”

He smiled, shakily. “It’s okay, Aunt. I mean, not really, but it’s getting better.”

“Did your father know before he died?” She whispered.

“He did,” Harry smiled. “Grimmauld brought down his blocks pretty violently at the end of my fourth year, we’d been in touch since then. He was teaching me about the Old Blood and my family history, I learned a lot in two years.”

“You’re so handsome,” she said with a smile, raising a hand to cup his face. “Course you were a stunning little baby too, but to see you grown,” she shook her head, “your dad had reason to be so smug.”

Harry rolled his eyes, “That sounds like dad.”

She laughed softly, sadly. Looking at Remus she went a bit pale and breathed, “Oh no, Lily.”

Harry shakily breathed out, drawing her gaze. “I know,” he said guiltily. “It was selfish of me maybe to drop that on him again, but I wanted you guys back.”

“Never be sorry about undoing Dumbledore’s meddling, sweetheart. It’s just going to be a bit of a severe shock for him.”

Remus woke slowly, groaning in pain. He’d been out longer, Dumbledore had to meddle with memories going way back, to when he’d begun dating Lily after her and James had split up. Harry hesitated, letting Andromeda go to him with the potions. He fiddled with his fingers, waiting for the first sign that he was remembering. It reached him a moment later, a shocked sob of grief and a breathless sound that may have been a name.

Harry cringed, hearing the blatant grief in the man’s voice. He felt horrible for restoring Remus’ memories, maybe ignorance had been kinder? Clearly by the way he was reacting the pair had been very much in love. He looked up, almost at the same moment that Remus did. Amber eyes met silvery ones and Remus froze. Breathing hard, he said after a moment, “Harrigan? Cub?”

Harry gave a weak smile. “That’s me,” he tried for cheery, but his voice was a bit strained.

He was suddenly wrapped in a strong embrace that smelled of parchment and something wild, pine maybe. He froze a brief minute before wrapping his own arms desperately around his godfather’s waist, stunned and relieved at the man’s reaction.

I can’t believe, I’m so sorry…” Remus’ whisper reached his ears.

“Don’t,” Harry said firmly, his voice muffled. “You haven’t even known who I was for the past 16 or so years, don’t apologize Remus. If anything, I should be, you lost more than me after all.”

Remus snorted, the sound a bit choked with emotion. “Lily would smack me for saying that ignorance was better, cub. Besides, I’d rather remember her and who you are to me than go the rest of my life wondering why I feel so empty, like I did before that ritual.”

“So you’re not angry at me for being selfish?” Harry said softly.

Remus glowered at him, arms simultaneously tightening around his waist. “Don’t you dare say you’re selfish, cub. I don’t regret it, I swear.”

“However,” he said, a deep growl rumbling in his voice, “I am having to convince my Alpha that it’s a bad idea to tear that fucker Dumbledore to shreds.”

Andromeda snorted in laughter at Harry’s surprised expression. “It always sounds so weird when you swear, Remus. You’re far too proper, you enunciate too clearly.”

Remus loosened his grip slightly on Harry, rolling his eyes at Andromeda. “Sirius always got a laugh out it as well,” he said, voice a bit strained.

“He discreetly tried talking to both of you, Remus,” Harry said. “Dad, I mean. He realized your blocks were still in place and didn’t want to do anything until we’d made certain moves. I think he was hoping to tell you this summer, actually.”

Remus smiled sadly. “That must have been hard on him. He knew though? About you and what happened to us?”

“Azkaban prison started loosening his blocks and the outright chunks Dumbledore tried to Obliviate,” Harry explained. “When he entered Grimmauld the family magics ripped it all down pretty violently. He said he didn’t react very well.”

Remus snorted. “I bet not.”

“I take it moves have been made to ensure your safety and getting you out from under Dumbledore’s control?” Andromeda asked.

Harry nodded. “I learned a lot my fifth and sixth years from Dad, I know the best way for me to get out from under his thumb is marriage. I’ve been betrothed to a pureblood Heir Lord and as a result of my Dad’s requirements on a Contract I’ve taken control of the family estates and Lordships. I’m currently living with the Malfoys.”

Remus snorted. “Sounds like more of Sirius’ planning. Honestly his brain for planning and contingency plans was rather scary. He was great at chess too, unsurprisingly. He acted like a goofball in school, but he was very smart. Lily, James and I all had to study somewhat for tests, he just skated through, the jerk.”

Harry snickered at the mental image. “I’m looking forward to the expression on Dumbledore’s face when we confront him in the Wizengamot.”

Remus growled, “So am I.”

Harry suddenly smirked and said slyly, “How would you like to teach Defense again? Lucius is on the Board of Governors and he has two more seats thanks to me, I’m sure we could get you back in Hogwarts with some safety provisions.”

Remus gave a vicious grin. “Seems like your Dad wasn’t the only clever one, cub.”

They spent the rest of the afternoon plotting. Or bonding, if you prefer. But definitely plotting. Harry smiled to himself, it had been a good afternoon. Dumbledore’s days however, were about to go sharply downhill.

Harry couldn’t wait.

Chapter Text

 

At the conclusion of his meeting with Andromeda and Remus, Harry had told them both who his betrothed was. He wasn’t going to hold that kind of information from them, they were the ones his father would have trusted to raise him if things had gone even more south than they had and Sirius had died as well as James. While obviously concerned about the identity of his betrothed, both had admitted there were few that would be able to protect him from Dumbledore and support him against the old man like one of the other foremost Old Blood families.

Both Rabastan and Rodolphus had confessed under Veritaserum to not even being present at the Ministry in June. They had also confessed to not being involved in the torture of Frank and Alice Longbottom, apparently dear old Bella had convinced two of the lower ranked Death Eaters to Polyjuice as the pair, she had argued with Rodolphus over her infidelity and wanted revenge. They had been Death Eaters, they weren’t denying that, but they hadn’t done the thing that put them in Azkaban, much like Harry’s father.

Today he was at the Manor, sitting with Narcissa and Lucius as he worked on his last summer assignments. The Lestranges were here as well, Rodolphus offering helpful pointers on his Ancient Runes assignment. He anticipated a fierce argument with Hermione over this subject, after all he hadn’t taken it for three years previously like her. Still, he had sat testing a week ago on Arithmancy and Ancient Runes, being placed into the seventh-year curriculum despite having only self-study in the past.

It had been one of Sirius’ things that he’d taken care of once he’d revealed his status to Harry. He’d looked over Harry’s marks from years previous and his chosen electives. While very appreciative of the marks Harry had received despite how difficult his school life had been, he was firm on a few things. History of Magic, he’d told Harry, he was better off self-study. Binns was ancient, he’d been teaching when Harry’s grandsire Orion had been in school. He hadn’t budged off of the goblin wars since his death, since at that time it had been a fairly recent event.

He’d been quietly blunt about Harry’s chosen electives as well, pointing out that with Divinations and Care of Magical Creatures his field of study after school would be severely limited. Even if he wanted to just be a pureblood spouse and raise his children, he would be better off with Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. That way he could make sure his children’s educations were well-rounded before they attended school themselves. There was no such thing as a primary school for wizarding children, all their basic education came from their parents.

Sirius had been very angry to notice the distinct lack of one class. Tightly he’d explained that for all students who were raised by or in the Muggle world there was a semester-long class in first year on Wizarding Culture, a way to introduce students to the world they were now part of. It was supposed to be mandatory. As well as the wizarding version of sexual education in third year, which Harry had no clue of either.

It had made his father very angry to see how blatantly Dumbledore had tried to keep him ignorant of his rights and heritage. He would have learned in his first year of the Noble Houses, for instance. Even not knowing that he was part of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, the Potters still would have been mentioned as a Noble House. It wouldn’t have suited Dumbledore for Harry to learn that he was heir to an estate and family heritage that was part of the magical world, he’d wanted Harry to remain sympathetic to the Muggleborn side of the blood conflict only.

As for the sexual education bit… They could only guess, but Sirius was pretty sure that Dumbledore wanted him to remain ignorant to how meaningful sex was in the wizarding world, or to the idea that homosexuality was openly accepted and that gay/lesbian couples could have children. One’s magic literally joined briefly with their partner’s during intercourse, it was a very intimate thing and often left traces of the other’s magic behind, it was why those in the magical world were so careful about their partners. Most of those who were even vaguely sensitive to magical traces could tell if their partner had cheated, for example.  And of course Dumbledore would have wanted to steer Harry clear of the idea that children between gays were even possible, just in case he had doubts about his own parentage somewhere down the line.

 It had been a fairly embarrassing conversation on both their parts, but his father had made sure to rectify his ignorance on the subject and then started tutoring him in both Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. He’d told Harry that he’d taken Muggle Studies for two years, before adding on Arithmancy in his fifth year, having self-studied and tested at the Ministry to join his classmates. He’d already learned everything he wanted to know about the Muggle world, much of it had been severely outdated and he’d learned a bit more from Lily.

Harry had spoken to Lucius on getting Remus reinstated as the Defense Professor, the man was all but certain he could do it, making sure there were a few extra provisions in place to prevent any accidents. Looking at his third year objectively made Harry realize that they hadn’t really been ‘accidents’ after all, that had been the first year Dumbledore had been more blatant about his manipulations. After all, he’d sent two thirteen-year-old students into the past to rescue a hippogriff and a wrongly convicted man he himself easily could have freed.

How easily Dumbledore could have freed his father if he’d wanted to was still a source of immense anger and rage in Harry. With everything he’d read about wizarding law, he knew now that as Supreme Mugwump of the Wizengamot Dumbledore could have called for a re-trial for his father at any time due to circumstantial evidence. Aside from the Minister of Magic, the Supreme Mugwump was the elected official with the most power in the Wizengamot. The helpless rage his father had felt at his own circumstances was only too understandable. At the same time that he’d seemed so concerned about Sirius’ safety, he’d never done a thing to get him freed.

He set aside his Ancient Runes assignment and said politely to Lucius, “Lucius, if you wouldn’t mind, when you get the chance would you please look over my Potions essay? It’s sitting on the top of the pile of my completed summer work.”

Lucius looked up, surprised. He was deep in business portfolios, the only sound disturbing his intense reading over the past couple of hours had been the gentle scratch of a quill as he’d made notes for later. After he registered Harry’s request he smiled and said, “I’ll look over it now if that’s all right with you. I could use a break from business finances. May I ask why you want someone else to look over it?”

“That’s fine,” Harry replied. “As for why I want you to look it over, Potions has never been my strongest suit and I always ask for a second pair of eyes. Also, I like a second pair of eyes to look over my work since my Potions essays will never rate me above an ‘Acceptable’ to Professor Snape. I want to backup my work with another so that when I pass my NEWTs and he accuses me of cheating I have a record. I’ve kept every essay I’ve written for potions since fourth year on my father’s suggestion.”

Lucius frowned. “Is he really that blatantly prejudiced against you?”

Harry arched an eyebrow. “I was once deducted 50 points in the hallway for breathing too loudly. He has let Slytherin students actively sabotage my potions for the past six years, giving me negative marks for the day and vanishing my potions instead of letting me try and salvage it. He has actively tried to get me expelled from the school or thrown out of his classes every chance he gets. He threatened me with Veritaserum when I was fourteen because he thought I was getting into his potions stores. He repeated invaded my mind in the guise of teaching me Occlumency, leaving me with pounding migraines and shattered defenses. I believe it is safe to say that he really is that blatantly prejudiced against me.”

What?” snarled Janus Lestrange, looking infuriated. “It is illegal to use Veritaserum on a student without parental permission. Not to mention it’s illegal to use Legilimency on a student at all.

“Dumbledore gave him permission to do it to try and teach me how to block visions from him. He never explained what Occlumency even was or how to ‘clear my mind’. Thankfully I was already learning it from my father and I was able to block him from reaching my lessons. The number of migraines and nosebleeds I still suffered from his attacks over one term were excessive.”

“Tell me that is documented for your eventual suit against Dumbledore,” Rodolphus said, gritting his teeth. “As my father said, it’s illegal to use on a student, permission or no.”

“It is,” Harry said softly. “My father was thorough, he got me to a specialist Healer the last time I left school grounds and she inspected my shields. She was horrified at the damage he’d caused. It’s in the suit against Dumbledore and the smaller one against Severus Snape himself for his abusive behavior towards a minor.”

“Good,” Lucius said, looking angry himself. “I wouldn’t have thought Severus capable of that kind of behavior, he was bullied himself I know, but taking it out on an innocent child is pathetic.”

“That was amongst the choice words my father had once he realized how bad Snape’s behavior toward me is. Most are not repeatable in polite company,” Harry said wryly.

Narcissa gave a small snort. She’d been reading an issue of one of her magazines, it was now sitting on her lap. Her grip on it had been a bit tight as Harry had been recounting Snape’s behavior over the past six years. “I imagine not,” she said with a small smile. “Sirius had a problem with remaining polite when he was angry about anything. His language was usually creative to say the least.”

“That sounds like my dad,” Harry said, smiling. He pulled a small file towards him, staring at his dad’s familiar handwriting in contemplation.

“What file is that to get such a thoughtful expression from you?” Rodolphus asked, tone politely curious. “It’s got your father’s handwriting, so I take it it’s more of his preparations, but not one that others could have done for you, which is why your name is on the cover.”

Looking at his betrothed in amusement Harry said lightly, “You wouldn’t happen to have been a Ravenclaw, would you?”

Rabastan laughed as a spot of color appeared on Rodolphus’ cheeks. “He was a Slytherin like most of us in this room, but he could have been in Ravenclaw. That was his other choice as well as mine.”

Harry smiled at the little insight into the powerful Pureblood he was betrothed to. “My first shot was actually Slytherin, but the first person I’d met was Draco Malfoy and his horrid behavior made me argue with the hat. I couldn’t imagine spending seven years in his presence. That and my escort was Rubeus Hagrid, more of Dumbledore’s manipulations at work since he was blatantly anti-Slytherin. It’s not his fault, when the Dark Lord was at Hogwarts he got Hagrid expelled for something he had done.”

“You could have been in Slytherin?” Lucius said curiously.

Harry nodded. “I told my father about it and he was fine, because of course the majority of the Blacks for the past hundred years or so were Slytherins. It just made him upset that I’d been manipulated even at eleven to fit Dumbledore’s image of his precious little Savior.”

“Would you like to be re-Sorted? Since you are going back to Hogwarts as Harrigan Potter-Black it’s within your rights to Sort as a new student,” Lucius said.

Harry didn’t immediately speak. He hadn’t realized that by going to Hogwarts under his birth name it wiped his records clear, so to speak. It would mean putting himself under Severus Snape as a Head of House and dealing with Draco for an entire term, but it appealed to him. He’d been hiding core parts of himself for so long, it would be nice to let them out to play. And he was a Pureblood so he wouldn’t be putting himself at risk in his new House.

“Please,” he finally said, very softly. Lucius still heard him and nodded.

“So what is that paper?” Narcissa asked.

“It’s the document to reinstate Andromeda Tonks nee Black as a daughter of the Black line and release her dowry from Walburga Black’s accounts as well as a dowry for her daughter Nymphadora. There’s also one to strike Bellatrix Druella from the Black line,” Harry said quietly, matter-of-fact.

“Ah,” Narcissa said. “I knew Sirius always intended to bring Andromeda back into the fold, it was one of his more well-known goals. I think Uncle Orion was thinking about it, he heard that Andromeda’s daughter was a Metamorphagus. It’s a Black trait but it hasn’t shown up in generations. I didn’t know he intended to release Andromeda’s dowry and give her daughter one from Walburga’s accounts, but it suits the contentious relationship he had with his mother.”

“Why was she so foul? Her portrait is in Grimmauld still and she’s a horrible old harridan.” Harry frowned.

“I’m not surprised. Walburga was never the most stable member of the Black family,” Narcissa said wryly. “As for why she’s such a foul old woman, it’s an old story in the Blacks, your father probably never got around to telling you. You see, Walburga Black was the sister of my father Cygnus. Even though my father was younger than Orion, he always felt that he would be better off as Lord Black, Orion had a contentious relationship with his parents and fought with them over numerous things. When Arcturus named Orion as Heir, he was very angry, he got even more so when my grandsire Pollux and Arcturus got together and betrothed Walburga to Orion. Walburga was the elder of the two but we are pretty sure there was a borderline incestuous relationship going on between them. That’s one of the reasons why the betrothal and marriage happened so fast, Arcturus and Pollux didn’t want any rumors going around.”

“So Walburga still thought her brother deserved to be Lord Black and resented her parents for forcing her to marry him?”

“Pretty much,” Narcissa said. “She was a foul woman all her life, my father was so disappointed he only had daughters. We hardly ever saw our mother, but he gave Walburga free rein over us. I’m pretty sure that’s why Bella deteriorated so quickly, Walburga was pretty curse happy with all of us but she was always especially rough on Bella.”

Harry crinkled his nose. “No wonder my father ran away as a teenager.”

“He and Andromeda were the bravest and boldest of us, for sure,” Narcissa said softly. “No matter how bad it got none of the rest of us ever tried to leave. The day Sirius ran from Grimmauld was terrible. I’d never heard anyone talk to her that way before or since.”

Harry looked back to his papers. With no remaining hesitation he authorized both. Andromeda Tonks was once again a member of the Blacks and the late Bellatrix was no longer a Black. She was just a foul, mentally unstable woman who had gone the same way as her precious Lord.

Fitting.