- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Discussion - Domestic Violence
- Discussion - Murder
- No Beta
- Established Relationship
- Rule 63
Sirius rushes through the halls of Hogwarts, his head clenching like it hasn’t since that night.
Since that Halloween night where he gave in to his Mad Eye-trained paranoia and caught that Rat Bastard torturing his best friend. Lily upstairs, already dead. His baby girl-
No. No, he can’t go there. He needs, there she is. His little girl sitting on an infirmary bed, cuddled between Lavender and Hermione, with Minerva and Pomona standing sentinel on either side of the bed.
“Paddy!” She greets him as he pushes into the Infirmary. She’s in his arms before he can blink and her friends immediately move close to them, glaring over at the huddle of Weasleys.
Bill enters the Infirmary with Charlie and Arthur behind him. Sirius pointedly looks from Bill to group of his brothers a back to Bill. Bill nods, accepting the unspoken order, and heads over to investigate.
“Harry-girl, are you alright?” He leans back to get a good look at the girl he raised as his own.
Her eyes are shining like she’s in pain and the middle of her face is bruised from eyebrows to upper lip in a way that speaks to a recently broken nose plus some. “Has Madam Pomfrey seen to you?”
“Yeah,” She nods then winces and stops. “The spell has to set for two hours before we can apply bruise balm. Lav offered to charm me but you know how I hate makeup charms.”
He nods. His girl always complains that makeup charms make her magic feel funny, makes the charmed area itch. She has enough demands on her, he’s not going to add to her burden with something so common as vanity.
Lav’s and Hermione’s glares kick up a notch and Sirius turns to see the Weasleys approaching.
“What. Happened?” He snarls.
It’s midnight by the time they end up in front of the entire Wizengamot.
Dumbledore had tried to use his Ministerial powers to keep the DMLE from arresting Ronald Weasley so Sirius had no choice really.
They brought this shit on themselves.
Dumbledore, of course, being Albus fucking Dumbledore, tries to sit in judgment of the case.
“We are now in order! Emergency Session of the Wizengamot, 29 October 1993, the petition: Sirius Black versus Ronald Weasley-”
“Here, now! The petition is not valid!” Tiberius Ogden objects immediately, not even waiting for the Chief Warlock to finish or to himself be recognized but then it is midnight. “Ronald Weasley is a minor and cannot stand for himself before the Wizengamot! Furthermore, the Weasleys are not a Noble family and have no right to the attention of the Wizengamot on an emergency basis! You dragged us out of bed for no reason, Dumbledore!”
“Dumbledore is acting on the Weasley boy’s behalf,” Sirius advises his unlikely ally. “It is by his right we were called.”
“Is that true, Dumbledore?” The disgruntled Lord asks, finally pulling off his nightcap. When silence meets the question, the brewer of Ogden’s Finest blusters. “I won’t have it! This is entirely inappropriate! Step down! I move the Chief Warlock step down!”
Several other lords stand and start calling for Dumbledore to stand down. In the face of a majority, he has no choice but to concede and Lord Justice Marius Crane soon ascends to the Chief Warlock’s bench with great aplomb.
“Now, we are in order,” The Lord Justice announces. “Emergency Session of the Wizengamot, date 29 October 1993. The petition: His Grace Sirius Black, The Duke of Ravenclaw, versus Sir Albus Dumbledore, Order of Merlin, First Class” The mood of the entire Wizengamot changes with the use of the full, proper titles that Dumbledore’s never actually bothered with. It is a straight shot of perspective that a great many people in the room – Sirius included – need. “In the case of – Dumbledore your notes are completely illegible, what nonsense did you call us in for?”
Dumbledore frowns up at the Lord Justice but he answers. “Lord Black is attempting to have the DMLE arrest a young man in a case of marital discipline. It is a clear case of unlawful abuse of his ministerial powers.”
“Your Grace, what say you?”
“Sir Dumbledore is interfering in a private family matter. Ronald Weasley, who is not and never will be wedded to my ward, Her Grace Harriet Dorea Potter, The Duchess of Gryffindor, punched her in the face and broke her nose. The disagreement did take place at Hogwarts but the ramifications of violence against a young Peer are far reaching and Headmaster Dumbledore has no right to be involved.”
“I approve of the match between young Mr. Weasley and Miss Potter,” Dumbledore argues back before he is called upon. He pauses at the grumble of discontent it earns him from the seated lords. “Mr. Weasley is a pure-blood from a Light Family. Miss Potter is a half-blood from a neutral family. The match will strengthen her house for generations to come and the Weasley family magic will ensure a male heir to carry the line, as is appropriate.”
“Lady Potter,” The Lord Justice stresses. “Or Her Grace, The Duchess of Gryffindor is from a neutral family.
“Sir Dumbledore, by what right do you interfere with the private affairs of an Ancient and Noble House?”
“Pardon me?” Dumbledore has the gall to sound offended. “Her parents are dead, someone-”
“Yes, her parents are dead.” Crane interrupts. “And they left the young Duchess’s affairs in the hands of Lord Black. Or Lord and Lady Longbottom, should Lord Black prove incapable. So I ask again, by what right do you attempt to arrange the marriage of a young Peer?”
“I am the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, and the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
“And none of those titles give you the right to decide who my daughter – or any of our daughters! – marry. You are not a king, Dumbledore!” Sirius interrupts this time, over the jeers of several seated lords. “You work at a school full of dukes and marquises and earls but you aren’t one of those, either.
“We call you ‘lord’ in honor for the deeds you’ve done for the realm but you are a Knight, Sir, and it’s high time you remembered that.”
Several lords across all of the political spectrum burst out in applause
“It’s for the greater – I know what’s best!”
“You can know whatever you want, Sir Dumbledore.” The Lord Justice once more leans on the correct honorific, after he regains control of the irritated body. “Acting on it is the problem.
“I call for a vote. Yay or nay, Sir Albus Dumbledore has the right to interfere with Noble Protocols of Peers. What say you?”
Even with Sirius being forced to abstain because of his role as representative of a plaintiff, the vote is an overwhelming ‘nay’.
Now that we all agree the rules apply to Dumbledore, Sirius thinks with a small smirk. “I move that we allow the arrest and trial of Ronald Weasley to proceed in the due course of justice.” He doesn’t say ‘without the interference of Albus Dumbledore‘ but the looks and nods he gets from several different lords tells him that they hear it and agree with him anyway.
That vote is less overwhelming this time – probably because people don’t want to do this right now – but it still goes in his favor.
“Is there a representative of Ronald Weasley present?” Lord Justice Crane asks, looking up to the gallery. “Arthur Weasley? Will you represent your son?”
Arthur stands from his spot in the near-empty gallery. “Ronald is no son of mine.”
There is a moment of shocked silence. Several lords exchange glances, a Weasley giving up on family? It’s unheard-of.
“Very well,” Crane agrees and makes a mark on the parchment before him. “Have you filed the proper paperwork with the Family Affairs Office?”
“It will be filed the moment the Office is open, Lord Justice.” Arthur holds up a scroll for emphasis
“Very well,” Crane nods at Arthur who promptly sits down. “Is Ronald here to represent himself?”
“I’m afraid he is in Saint Mungo’s.” Dumbledore tells them all. “He is being treated for traumatic limb removal. They yet hope to salvage his wand arm.”
Justice Crane’s eyes go wide and he looks at Sirius.
“My daughter is under orders to ‘disarm with prejudice’ any man that lays hands on her. She is not yet acquainted with the disarming charm but the cutting curse did it’s job.”
There is another round of applause and verbal support for the lords present. Crane nods but doesn’t personally congratulate Sirius though he knows the older man would if he weren’t sitting as Chief Warlock. And, honestly, at this point, he’s not sure for himself if he should ground her or buy her something ridiculously expensive. On second thought, expensive is the order of the day. The Firebolt should be for sale to the public soon. Or there is always Christmas in Paris. Christmas in Paris is a treat for the whole family.
“Headmaster Dumbledore, are you prepared to stand as advocate for Ronald, the student attending your school?”
“Always. I am, in fact, here at his mother’s request.”
“Very well. Let’s hear from the victim, shall we? Lady Potter, will you take the stand?”
Harriet stands from her place in the Black Box and takes the truth spelled witness chair with great aplomb.
“Before we begin, I would like to apologize to this august body. House Potter and House Black intended to settle the matter privately but some old meddler got involved so we had to bring in the DMLE. Then he interfered again and now, here we are.”
“There is no need for you to apologize, your Grace,” Lord Justice Crane assures. “But we appreciate it all the same.”
Harry nods graciously. “Where would you like me to begin, Lord Crane?”
“At the early relevant moment before the disarming, if you please, Lady Potter.”
“Very well,” Harriet takes a moment to settle her mind before she speaks. “I was discussing our weekend plans in the Gryffindor Common Room with Hermione and Lavender – that is to say, Hermione Granger, my best friend, and Lord Black’s magical ward while she attends school. And Lavender Brown, the only daughter of the Brown Family, one of the vassal families to the House of Black, and my personal attendant – when Ronald formerly-named-Weasley came up and tried to order Miss Granger and Miss Brown away. I refused him the right to a private audience and he informed me that since he is a pure-blood, I didn’t have the right to deny him anything.
“I will admit, I laughed at him, but it was so ridiculous. I am a Duchess and in my own right, not through marriage. No one in his family has ever had a Peerage. Granted his grandfather is a baronet and I’m told he is religious in his duties to the lower house in our government, which I find admirable, but none of that puts Ronald in a place where he can just… boss me around.
“At that point, he informed me that because he had decided we would be getting married after Hogwarts, I would be going to Hogsmeade with him this weekend and if I was a good girl and bought him everything he wanted, he might allow me to keep my title after we marry.”
Several of the Lords in the room look at her in horror but several others seem to be considering it which makes her furious.
“At that point, I admit I laughed at him again and got up to leave as per Protocols it is my betrothed’s duty to address the little idiot’s misconception.
“Ronald responded by grabbing me, pulling me back, and punching me in the face.”
“And that is when you disarmed him?”
“Per my Lord Father’s orders,” She primly agrees.
“And, for the record, who is your betrothed and when was the betrothal arranged?”
Rather than answer immediately, Harry focuses on her Paddy. He holds her gaze for several moments before he finally huffs and nods. With an apologetic grin for her godfather, Harriet turns to focus on Lord Crane.
The man straightens, sets down his pen, and returns her focus.
“My birth father’s family was always blessed with various kinds of Sight. My grandfather Charlus, for example, was able to look at a bunch of disparate potions ingredients and See new, useful ways for them to be combined. It made him a gifted brewer and an intuitive potions inventor.”
“Yes,” Lord Crane nods. “His Sight was a blessing to your House and a gift to the entire magical world. Today we depend on and take for granted many potions he invented in his lifetime.”
“I agree, it is a gift and a blessing. I have a potions master in my service with five apprentices going through the notes he left behind after his death at my behest. So far three more potions he created have already been added to the Potter Foundation’s repertoire and we already had years of orders for them.
“Regardless, the point. My father, unlike his father but like one of his aunts and a grandfather before him, could spot a love match at twenty paces. Soul mates, that is, for himself and others.
“And while I have inherited my mother’s eyes, I have inherited my father’s Vision.” She smiles at the Lord Justice with a cheeky little wiggle of her glasses.
The man laughs and nods. “You’re saying you Saw your soul mate.”
“When I was seven, my father, Aunt Cissa, and Uncle Frank decided it was time for the boys – that is to say, Lord Malfoy and Heir Longbottom – and I to take up our heir rings and start fulfilling some small duties for ourselves.”
Lord Crane nods, it’s a fairly standard practice.
“I’ll admit it was my first trip to the Bank and I was terribly excited to meet a goblin. I had a whole list of questions for my Account Manager because he is paid to tell me the truth.” She nods once, echoing her childish earnestness and earning another small laugh from the Lord Justice. “When we entered the Bank, I’m afraid all thought of my questions fled my young mind quite suddenly. You see, my soul mate was standing there, not too far from the entrance talking with a pair of goblins and I knew in that moment I would never marry another. Being a responsible girl, I informed Lord Black immediately.
“He asked me if I was sure and if I wanted to meet him first? And I informed him that of course I was sure but I would love to meet him.
“My soul mate was Hogwarts-age so his father was with him. My father was familiar with his and conversation was easily initiated. After some time, when I didn’t change my mind, my father asked his for a private meeting where they began negotiations.
“After about six months of negotiation – and, let’s be honest, with Aunt Cissa involved there was a thorough investigation going on as well – it was decided that we would be betrothed and since he was born to a cadet line of the House of Black and obviously meets the House’s gender requirement for inheritance, he would ascend to Heir of House Black.”
She takes a moment to glare at Albus Dumbledore when he takes a breath to argue. “Ascension of the Heir is, of course, the House’s private business until it is finalized and announced before the Wizengamot.”
Dumbledore closes his mouth, glares at her Paddy for some insane reason, and leans away from his podium, silently conceding the point.
“You haven’t told us the name of your betrothed?” Crane asks to redirect.
“Oh, I do apologize.” She smiles brightly at the Lord Justice. “I am betrothed to William Black, the firstborn of Arthur Weasley.”
Crane blinks and frowns. “The Headmaster tried to give the Heir of House Black’s soul mate and betrothed to his biological brother?”
“The former Headmaster,” She agrees with a nod.
“Excuse me? Former?”
“You don’t honestly think I’m going to continue to employ a man that has made it clear to the DMLE, this body, and the world that he thinks it’s perfectly fine for a boy I don’t know, don’t like, and am not related to, to hit me in the face, do you?” She demands. “He is so completely fired that his long buried ancestors are going to feel it. At this rate, the entire Board of Governors for Hogwarts is fired too unless I get a heartfelt and meaningful apology for them allowing this man to remain inside my castle, much less leaving it in his stewardship for almost forty years!
“Even if you ignore the personal element, he’s been an educator longer than I’ve been alive. For longer than you’ve been alive, my lord. He holds pivotal positions in governments both here and abroad and he is advocating in favor of violence against women! It’s so far beyond the pale it makes me feel physically ill. I find him completely intolerable and you better believe I will be instructing my Wizengamot proxy to end his corrupt influence on our government and our world.”
“You can’t do that!” Dumbledore objects hotly.
Harriet raises both eyebrows at him. “I can do whatever I want with my school, organized by my ancestors, being run in my castle and held by teachers I pay. There is no law against it and no one here can or will do a damn thing about it.” Harry shifts in her seat. “The honesty hex on this thing is really something else.”
Crane nods. “More so because you are quite agitated by this whole affair.”
She nods back, briefly closes her eyes, and decides to embrace the honesty. “I imagine being handed out by a teacher like a piece of candy would agitate most reasoning beings.”
She doesn’t fight the loud, put upon sigh as Dumbledore recovers himself.
“Parents will complain!”
“They’ll remove their children from the school!”
“Well then, they can take their brats and go.”
Shocked silence meets her declaration so she carries on.
“Hogwarts is not the only school for magic in these islands, you know. They can find one that I don’t own fairly easily. The day schools will take a Hogwarts transfer student in a heartbeat but the boarding schools like Hogwarts will only accept transfers at the beginning of a semester, so there is that to consider.
“Though, if parents are thinking about taking their child abroad, they should know that I own Beauxbatons and Durmstrang as well so they needn’t bother applying.”
“And for the record, I have no objection to fewer students. That would mean smaller class sizes and as a student, I would prefer smaller class sizes, actually.
“Sirius, remind me to instigate intelligence and morality testing for new admissions. That would have kept the like of Ronald far from me.” She scrunches her nose. “And Ginny too, more than likely. Honestly, I don’t give a rat’s arse about your family’s politics but isn’t it against the law to stalk someone in their own bloody castle?
“Also, let’s see about opening enrollment beyond hereditary attendees. New blood would do the school a lot of good.”
“Of course, Lady Potter.” Paddy’s laughing at her. He’s enjoying the Wizengamot’s first view of the real Harry Potter much too much.
“Are we done?” Harriet asks as she checks her watch. “It’s almost time for my second treatment of bruise balm and I don’t need an audience for that.”
“You were bruised this badly after the first round of bruise balm?” Lord Crane demands with a soft menace.
“Yes, Madam Pomfrey figured I would need at least five rounds of bruise balm to make the bruising ‘manageable’ so I’d rather not mess up the timing, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course, one last question, then you’ll be dismissed. Who all witnessed your exchange with Ronald this evening?”
“Hermione Granger and Lavender Brown, of course. The sixth year Gryffindor prefects, they are the ones that got Ron to the Infirmary, for all the good that will do him. Most of the sixth and fourth years in Gryffindor though some of them went to bed when the second and firsties did.
“Draco was in the library with the NEWTs and OWLs students and Neville was in the shower or the little bastard would likely already be dead.” She has to clench her jaw to keep from continuing her lament directly to Paddy. Maybe embracing the honesty was not a great idea but, gods, they didn’t tell her brothers before they left the school!
Or her head vassal, Severus Snape.
Shit! Fuck! The whole meeting is going to be re-broadcasted on the morning wireless! They won’t even have to say anything and the McLaggens will know! She barely managed to convince Lady Deinara that she didn’t actually need to hold her grandson back a year to attend classes with her and now she’s been attacked in her own castle.
She’s going to end up with bodyguards, dammitall. Probably the twins so she won’t even be alone when she goes pee!
From the look Sirius sends her, he’s just realized their misstep too.
Dammit, she’d rather face another basilisk than the full force of her worrywart vassals. Maybe she should have waited to claim her title until she was out of Hogwarts.
This is the worst.
“I’ve made a terrible mistake,” He laments to his butterbeer.
His brother snorts unsympathetically. “You’ve made several, Albus. Do you need me to point them all out to you?”
Aberforth just sighs when his older brother gives him the Devastated Eyes. “You created the Harry Potter mythos. You played up and embellished every time she defeated the Dark Lord, starting with the first. You did it to your benefit, yes, but it’s her reputation and the only one that can use it now – especially now that she’s accepted her title – is her.
“You have no control over her or her situation. You might have been fooled into thinking you did because I’ll give it to him, Sirius Black is a clever bastard, but you really, truly don’t.
“You made her practically a demigod without her consent and now it’s time to pay the piper.”
There’s a thump and they both turn to see Albus’s travel trunk sitting at the end of the bar.
“You know I can’t let you work here.” Aberforth turns away from his brother, completely unsympathetic. “Lady Potter named you intolerable. Letting you work here would run me out of business within the week.”
They end up having to expand the meeting room in the Hogsmeade house for everyone that decides to attend their “family meeting” that Saturday.
She and her dad are there together, of course. They are sworn to never abandon each other on a battlefield and this counts. This definitely counts.
Hermione is with them and so is Hermione’s soul mate, Cedric.
Neville is there with Uncle Frank. A spot is left for Aunt Alice but no one has actually heard from her since the divorce, for which they are all grateful.
There’s Draco and Aunt Cissa with Uncle Remus hovering behind like a kicked dog.
Really, what happened with Ron wasn’t his fault but you can’t tell him that. While yes, he was in the castle to help protect her, he does have an actual paying job to do and the self-flagellation is getting a little old.
The allies her mother was never able to claim because she never checked to see if she had a blood inheritance are in one corner. A veritable coven of druids including Aunt Min, Professor Sprout with her sisters and all of their daughters, and about half of the McLaggens with Lady Deinara McLaggen sitting at their head.
The Black Vassals – the Browns, the Notts, and the Greengrasses are in another corner.
The Gryffindor vassals all died out in the first blood war but the one she’s sworn for herself, the House of Prince, fills in the divide. Really, Severus Snape is just waiting for the meeting to start but he is also glaring at them all like a stormcloud just waiting to unleash.
And then, most surprising, the delegation of Veela from France. Several women with the surname Krasiv, the leader of which – a woman named Aphrodite – claims allegiance to the Peverells, showed up at the Three Broomsticks within the hour of the Wizengamot Session’s re-broadcast. Intellectually, Harriet knew she was descended from the House of Peverell, through the primary line even. But, really? How could they have known anyone still held allegiance to that name? After all this time? Does that mean there are more vassals waiting to come out of the woodwork from names older still?
Honestly, she’s getting a bit tired of the Harry Potter Factor.
Bill slides in the back door with the twins and Charlie in his shadow and gives her a bare twist of a smile.
“Hey,” she steps in close as he stops. “Are you okay with all this? I haven’t gotten to read your last letter but I thought you weren’t ascending to heir until you were starting your Dueling Mastery, aren’t you doing that after your Warding Mastery?”
He smiles more sincerely at her and her stomach unclenches. “Yes, I’m fine. In my letter, I told you that when Sirius and I were negotiating my Warding Mastery, Master Bartok came in and told me he would teach me Goblin Combat Magic, if I was ready to start immediately. The offer was too good to pass up so we took it and did the Ascension Rite as soon as all the paperwork was signed.”
She just bet the offer was too good to pass up. Bartok is the best war mage in the Horde, and he hasn’t taken a goblin student in 300 years, much less a human one.
She glares a little, she doesn’t like it. “You think Ragnok put him up to it?”
“Probably,” he says agreeably. “He didn’t like us leaving the Black line of inheritance so unsettled but there’s nothing really he could do about that.”
“Except what he did.”
Bill nods. “Except what he did, assuming he did anything and his brother didn’t decide to do it on his own just to be contrary. They’re goblins and either way, we have to let them be goblins.”
“What’s a little manipulation between friends?”
“Exactly. It’s a sign they like us which is honestly a fantastic state of affairs for our Houses.
“Are you okay?” He asks, reaching out and almost touching her hair. “You were the one who was attacked.”
“And I’m the one that’s getting my privacy all kinds of invaded,” she agrees. He laughs and she play-glares. “Watch yourself or I’ll make them guard you, too.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” He darts in a kiss to her forehead. “I need to update Sirius, come with?”
“Of course, I’m surprised he hasn’t come to find me yet.”
They find her Paddy in the kitchen flirting with a young Mclaggen.
Harry rolls her eyes. “You know he’s like 10 years younger than you, right?”
“Ten years younger than me is still legal, sweetling. And if I’m sleeping with him, it’ll feel less like having a bodyguard.”
“If you’re sleeping with him then he’s not your bodyguard.” She frowns at the McLaggen until he escapes back to the front room with a much too cheerful smile.
Paddy laughs at her, the arse. “What did you two need?”
“I brought news from my birth father, if you’ve a moment.” Bill tries delicately.
“Go ahead and let’s have it, lad.” Sirius snorts at him. “There’s no use wondering off, they’re all just going to follow and eavesdrop anyway.”
Bill huffs but nods. “They were able to recover Ron’s wand arm. Not that it matters since his wand was immediately snapped and his core bound. As you know, he was sentenced him to 15 years in muggle prison but he’s a mouthy, racist little shite so I doubt he’ll live that long.” Bill frowns and shifts a bit. “I briefly considered relieving him of his wand arm again but then I realized that would just make more work for the muggles and they might even take steps to protect him from the general population, so I refrained.”
“That Black blood is really starting to show,” Sirius announces with a grin.
Bill smirks right back. “My father said to pass on that he is embarrassed by Ginny’s actions toward Harry. She has already been removed from the school and will be starting Beauxbatons in January, if she gets accepted.”
“They might scoot her back a year,” Harry warns. “The French school system is really much better than ours but, yeah. Tell your father I appreciate his actions on my behalf and I will call Madam Maxine’s attention to Ginny’s application at my next opportunity.”
“Perhaps the change in perspective will do her some good,” Sirius says by way of agreement. “Why’d you bring your brothers?”
“Mr. Weasley’s heir has a wergild to propose.” Because despite Ron’s being disowned from the family and punished by the Wizengamot, the family honor is still stained by the acts he committed as a Weasley.
Charlie Weasley steps forward. “Lord Black, Lady Potter, House Weasley recognizes that no material goods could pay for the damage and insult my brother did to you, Lady Potter, so we offer you something more meaningful. That is, magical twins to strengthen and enrich the magic of your family, Lord Black.”
Oh, that’s clever.
Magical twins are a magical boon because of how two bodies, two cores, with minds and souls so closely intertwined cause a feedback loop, boosting even the most anemic family magics considerably. On top of that, the Twins want to open their own business but with the stains the Weasley name now bears, no one would be willing to invest in or risk working with or for them
This solution solves multiple problems.
It’s much too clever to be an Arthur Weasley plot but too much of a sacrifice to be a Molly one.
“Percy came up with this?”
Charlie shrugs. “It’s the best we can offer and the Twins are willing to join the House of Black.”
“The problem with that is that the insult is to me so the debt is to me, not Paddy and not Bill.”
Charlie looks a question at the twins and they trade looks before speaking together. “We’re willing to become Potters.”
“No,” Harry shakes her head. “That will cause problems 20 years down the line when people forget reality and start asking what’s wrong with my older brothers that our family magic chose a woman instead.”
Knowing her so well, her Paddy asks. “What did you have in mind?”
“I induct them into my mother’s clan. Magically, they’ll become Lily’s brothers, my uncles, and the clan is matriarchal so no one will ever wonder what’s wrong with them. The clan’s magic is really weak because mom didn’t claim it before she died and there’s no Ancestral Stone yet, so they’d do the most magical good for me there, anyway.” She looks directly at the twins. “Mom was a redhead so, unlike Bill, you wouldn’t have any jarring physical changes. I mean, your eyes will probably go green? You might, maybe, become parselmouths?” Because they still haven’t figured out where that ability came from. “But that’s it.
“And the clan owns several premises on Diagon Alley. We can clear one out before you graduate Hogwarts and that will save you a huge expense when you start your shop.”
“What Name would we be working with?” Fred asks.
“My mother’s clan was McRae.”
“McRae Mischief Management,” George offers making Sirius bark in surprised laughter.
“We’ll take it.” The twins grin and say together.
“Alright, go report to Professor McGonagall.” The twins’ faces fall and Harry can’t help but grin. “She’s in the living room, she’ll introduce you to our clan allies.”
“Whew!” George theatrically wipes his forehead.
“I thought she was going to order us into detention!” Fred concurs before the two scoot off to follow her orders. “And we aren’t even in the clan yet!”
“That’ll probably settle the Life Debt, too, you realize?” She asks.
“It’s a hope.” Charlie answers. “But we’ll check on it in a year, once everything’s settled and get back to you.”
“Percy will get back to me?”
Charlie shakes his head. “It’s my duty as heir, I’ll do it.”
“Ah, well, your father is going to need a new heir.”
“What? Are you-?”
“You’re gay right? I mean, you like guys at least?”
Charlie looks at his brother who’s laughing silently against the cabinet and glares.
Bill clears his throat with a grin, “You’ve found his soulmate, haven’t you?”
“That’s what I do, isn’t it? Defeat Dark Lords, talk to snakes, and find soul mates.”
Charlie starts to ask but Bill interrupts him with a laugh. “Must be a young lord if Charlie has to give up being Dad’s heir. I wonder who it could be.”
“You take great pleasure in ruining my dramatic reveal.” She laments.
“I used to,” Bill agrees with a nod. “But now you plan for my straight man act. You wouldn’t know how to do this without me guessing any more.”
Refusing to comment, she huffs and focuses on Charlie. “Gay? Yes? No?”
“Uh, homo-flexible, I believe is the term. I’m a solid five on that one scale the muggles use?”
“Oh, good. Because your soul mate’s a total six. He would be a seven if the scale went that high. He’s like, the gayest gay to ever gay and he would probably be a little slutty with it if he wasn’t waiting for me to point him in your direction.”
There’s a scrape at the door and they all look over to see Draco standing there.
“Mine?” He asks.
“I didn’t call you,” She says, cross. “I didn’t even hint at your name.”
“You might as well have. You described me well enough my mother and Professor McGonagall ordered me in here.”
“Well you go back and tell them to at least pretend they aren’t eavesdropping. I’m not through negotiating.”
Draco rolls his eyes and leaves.
When she turns back to her previous conversation Charlie Weasley is smiling. “Negotiating?”
“If you think I’m letting you have my brother without setting down some ground rules, you are very mistaken.” She pauses but he nods his assent so she continues. “Like I was saying, gayest gay to ever gay. If you ever, in your life, pressure him to have sex with a woman I will end you, are we clear?
“Because if you force him to have sex with a woman in any way, he will come crying to me when it’s over and I will hear about every gory detail until I doubt the worth of my own genitalia. I promise you that I will take my self-doubt out of your hide until I feel better about the whole affair, capiche?”
“Capiche,” He nods. “What else?”
“Have you heard of the Dartmouth Dragons?”
He frowns at her, momentarily thrown. “The semi-professional quidditch team? I’ve heard they’re pretty good, why?”
“We went to one of their summer scrimmages a few months ago. They are amazing but they need a Seeker that can stand up to the rest of their line.”
He laughs at the not-so-subtle hint. “You could do it, I’ve heard you’re a badass.”
“Oh, I am.” He laughs at her again. “‘But I’m only 13 and I’m thinking about buying them and taking the professional. I can’t play on my own team, people will talk about how I had to buy my position and that would do terrible things to my social position.”
“With that kind of thinking, you won’t be able to play professionally at all after you buy the Dragons. If your team beats them, people will assume you bought the match and if your team loses they’ll assume you threw it for the Dragons.”
She shrugs. “I love the idea of playing professionally but I’m really looking forward to the whole being a mum thing. My mum was a total bad ass, you know? And I can’t wait to be just as amazing as she was but Sirius made me promise to at least one Mastery under my belt before I get Bill to knock me up, so no. I ain’t got time for Quidditch! But that doesn’t mean I can’t buy myself a team, go to all your games, and gloat when you kick all their asses.”
Charlie shrugs and nods, “Yeah, fair.”
“I don’t disapprove of your job, theoretically. And, honestly, it’s not my place to have an opinion on it one way or another but once the two of you start to bond, separation will be difficult. So, I thought I would warn you in advance and shamelessly plug the Dragons at the same time.”
“Alright.” He holds up his hands in surrender. “I will give it my consideration but I want to talk to Draco and my father first.”
“Yeah, fair,” she returns with a grin.
She starts to chivvy them all towards the meeting room for the, well, meeting but Bill puts a gentle hand on her arm. “Have you Seen any other soul mates, recently?”
“Uh,” she hesitates but doesn’t want to actually lie to her betrothed. “You know that friend of yours from work? The German one that looks like Sirius and Severus’s surprisingly attractive love child?”
“Deiter?” He asks, making Charlie laugh out loud. “Dieter Heinrich?”
“I see it! I see it!” Charlie assures her, “Love child, that’s great.”
“Go find Draco,” She shoos Charlie out the door before answering Bill. “His soul mate is in the other room… He likes girls, right?”
“He loves girls. And he’s coming to the Three Broomsticks for lunch later, just so you know.”
She grins up at him. “Awesome, we totally can introduce them on the sly.”
The whole room full of her various families’ allies bursts out laughing and she rolls her eyes. “They aren’t very good at pretending.”
“No, they aren’t. Let’s get in there so they can stop.”
They enter the much-expanded family room is full to the brim but thankfully expansion charms mean it isn’t standing room only. Of course, the normally two-couch room is full of a veritable army of tall-backed and painful looking wooden chairs that likely reflect Minerva McGonagall’s opinion on the whole affair.
Not willing to pick a fight with her Head of House over something minor, Harry wordlessly takes the tall pseudo-throne in front of the fireplace. Fred and George are flanking it when she enters but they move back to prop up the mantle so Sirius and Bill can take their places.
“You all know what happened.” She tells them without preamble. “You all heard the Wizengamot broadcast, I was very blunt about my feelings, and you heard Bill speak on the culprit’s fate. I am willing to hear your opinions and I am prepared to deal with reasonable precautions in the future but I will not entertain beratement.”
She turns first to Aunt Cissa and Uncle Frank who, as Lady Regent of Malfoy and Lord of Longbottom, are the closest people in the room to being her equals in station. Other than Sirius, of course.
Narcissa and Frank exchange a glance. She shrugs, he nods, and she stands to face Harry.
“You represented yourself well last night. You held up under Lord Crane’s honesty hex which is a horror all in its own even if you don’t consider everything else that happened. You were obviously irritated but it wasn’t inappropriate and you in no way came off as foul-tempered or hysterical. I’m certain many men in that room looked at you – a woman, a young woman – and saw an actual person for the first time in their lives.”
“Your magical aura is compelling.” Frank puts in from his seat.
“It is,” Narcissa agrees. “But we’ll want to moderate it to keep you from getting the reputation of a bully. We’ll need to start advancing your political agenda to maximize the momentum Dumbledore accidentally gave us.”
“It’s earlier than we expected but that’s no good reason to waste such an opportunity.” Harry agrees. “What about the Slytherin thing?”
“The Bank has verified the inheritance your blood test revealed with independent historical documentation.
“In fact, we’ve verified that you have the right to it several times over. Not only through conquest but the Peverell you are descendant from, Ignotus, is the culmination of the primary Slytherin line through his mother Belladonna and the Gryffindor primary line through his father Tiberius.
“Ignotus was the youngest of three sons and only one of Belladonna and Tiberius’s children to leave legitimate issue. And, like the Gryffindor Ducal Charter, the Slytherin Ducal Charter does not have a gender requirement for inheritance. The male line receives precedence but that is a social construct, not a legal one.
“Which is,“ Aunt Cissa huffs indignantly. “Belladonna was the older sister of the boy chosen as the Slytherin heir at the time.”
Harry laughs, “So I can inherit.”
“So you can inherit.” Narcissa agrees.
“Now, the second brother, Cadmus did father an illegitimate daughter before he died. That is the ancestor Tom Riddle received his claim to Slytherin heritage through. A female on the distaff side, making him ineligible for the duchy.”
Narcissa waits for Harry to nod her understanding before continuing.
“Ignotus’s granddaughter Iolanthe married Hardwin Potter, joining the Potter Earldom with the Gryffindor Duchy.”
“But it should have been the Gryffindor and Slytherin duchy?”
Narcissa shakes pale golden her head. “No. At that point, the primary male Slytherin line was still around but they did die out not long after. Most likely due to their frankly horrific, straight-line the family tree becomes around that point. That line’s death left Ignotus’s line the last Slytherin standing.
“Now, remember how Riddle’s claim was ineligible?”
“Yes,” Harry nods.
“Illegitimate or not, he still has the blood of Slytherin so, in theory, he could perform an assumption ritual and take over as head of the family. But.”
“But,” Narcissa smiles. “He would have to challenge the other living line or lines of his blood – Slytherin blood – and win against each and every one of them to even initiate the ritual but as we know-”
“The House of Potter kicked his arse. Three times.” Harry runs a hand over her face. “Wait, so Voldemort could have also taken the Duchy of Gryffindor? We’re descended from the same set of ancestors.”
“He could have,” Narcissa shrugged. “But would he even consider it?”
“Probably not. We are ‘blood traitors’, after all.
“How would formally accepting the Slytherin Duchy affect our strategy? Will the magic even allow it?”
“According to the goblins, the Slytherin Magic has been humming in the ancestral stone for months. Since you accepted the Gryffindor title so far as anyone can figure, so it should be rather simple.
“As for how it affects our strategy, that depends on how blatant you want to be about reshaping our world. Holding two of the four – three, with Sirius’s support – of the four magical duchies would mean no one could easily deny you. There are options, but I’m still researching several relevant angles.”
“Okay, keep me posted.” She looks up at her soul mate. “How do you feel about four kids?”
He rolls his eyes. “We could field a quidditch team, if you like. Though I’d prefer some of them be created in ritual rather than you carrying them all by yourself. For your health, if nothing else.”
“I’d prefer the Gryffindor line stay with a Duchess so we’ll probably need a ritual to make at least her, you Weasley.”
He laughs, “The McRae’s are matriarchal so maybe we’ll make it twins?”
Narcissa smiles at them kindly and sits down, indicating she’s done.
Next, Harry looks at her senior armsman.
Severus Snape stands. His glare would be enough to send any of his apprentices running. It’s a spirited effort, too bad she can’t even remember a time when he actually intimidated her. “My apprentices are packing up Raven’s Roost and we will be moving into the castle. Minerva will instruct the staff that any issue connected to you, no matter how tertiarily, will be referred to me immediately.”
“Looks like I showed up just in time,” the Dowager Lady Longbottom sweeps in, for once sans the vulture hat. “I have news from the Hogwarts Board of Governors.”
Harry gestures for her to continue.
“The four of us that realize you were completely sincere when you mentioned firing us met and voted to fire the other three.” She hands a scroll to Sirius. “The motion passed, obviously, but in the absence of a Headmaster, it requires your signed approval to be enacted.
“Without the blockading of the other three, we’ve passed the majority of the motions you requested though we do have some questions on the remaining items.
“The orders for new brooms have already been owled to Cleansweep and Nimbus.
“The new subjects will be available at the beginning of the January session. Drafts for the announcement and sign up letters have been written and are waiting for approval.” A folder, this time, gets handed to Sirius. “We approved the motion to provide class materials this time due to the short notice about the new classes since it will coincide with the holidays and the goblins assure us they will have the textbooks provided to us within a week of the final counts. We will be prepared to offer summer classes at the school for fourth year and above to allow them a stronger grasp of the new material before they leave school.”
“What about the staff issues?” Harry asks.
“The raises have been approved already and we are proposing additional loyalty bonuses for various different reasons.” She pulls out a second scroll and hands that too to Sirius. “Most of our questions are regarding the additional staff you requested but that can wait until we’re all together.
“It’s slightly more urgent to know if you were sincere about changing the Admissions policy?”
“I was. Can you lot research our options? Take a survey of how other schools do it or something? Because if we come up with something brilliant I’ll have to make Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, too.”
“Which would give us bragging rights,” Augusta smirks. “I’m sure Lord Zabini will jump on that, he’s the competitive sort.
“Finally, we have located a lovely young woman for the position of headmaster.”
“But?” Harry asks. “Because I hear a but.”
“But she is divorced and she is foreign. Peruvian, to be specific. She is a parselmouth and she has two smallish children that are also parselmouths.
“However, she has a Mastery in International Law and practiced for 10 years with the ICW before getting her Mastery in History as well as a muggle degree – in World History, I believe. She’s taught at her alma mater, Machu Picchu Academy of Magic, for three years now and she’s already offered to instruct you in parselmagic, if you should desire.”
“I do desire, actually, and I see no problem with anything you’ve said. I think her having equivalent magical and muggle degrees is fantastic but I would like to meet her before she’s officially hired.”
Augusta Longbottom nods once. “She will be here Monday and plans to stay the week. Should I take the liberty of arranging lodging at the Three Broomsticks for her and her children?”
Harry shakes her head, “There’s plenty of room in the castle, unless she objects for whatever reason.”
“Very well, your Grace. That is all of my current news.”
“Alright, Severus has just decided to move himself and his apprentices into my castle so he can pretend he’s the boss of me. Is his tower ready?”
“It should be. Minerva?” They both look to the deputy headmistress.
Minerva McGonagall stands. “The elves are putting the finishing touches on his potions labs after they finish removing Dumbledore’s things from the headmaster’s quarters but the sleeping quarters are already finished. It will all be done before the end of this meeting.”
“Great,” Harry smiles. “Madam Longbottom please feel free to join the rest of your family so you can report anything relevant to the rest of the Board.”
She waits for Madam Longbottom to be seated and turns to Severus.
He huffs at her. “We need to revisit the issue of your safety in the castle.”
Minerva McGonagall, Pomona Sprout, Lancaster Brown, and Deinara McLaggen immediately pop to their feet.
“It must be said!” He tells them. “I thought we were being overly paranoid before but a student struck her.”
“Quite right, Severus,” Lady McLaggen agrees. “I say my Cormac should be placed in all of her classes. Immediately.”
“Come on, no.” She whines and looks at Cormac. The fourth year boy’s face looks peaceful and blank but Harry can tell he’s not happy under the surface. “That’s not fair to him at all! He’s earned his place and he deserves to get it, as a prefect and on the quidditch team and anywhere else ”
“Then we will have to step up Lavender’s combat training,” Lancaster interjects.
Now, that’s not fair either. Lavender is no wilting flower but she’s certainly no combat witch.
“If anyone gets their combat training stepped up it should be me.” She pauses when several of the standing adults nod their agreement but still don’t look satisfied. “And if I’m going to have a bodyguard, don’t you think it should be a paid professional rather than a kid? There are all kinds of certifications a bodyguard needs, aren’t there?”
“She’s right,” Pomona Sprout says and shrugs when they all turn on her. “What if there is a fight? An ICW-certified Hit Witch cannot be prosecuted for protecting their charge and there are several in our company. Their employment contracts are supposed to allow for oath-required duties, so we wouldn’t have to rely on the good will and wisdom of the Hit Wizard Council in regard to who they assign for us.”
Fauna Sprout stands immediately, her twin Flora a beat behind. Fauna opens her mouth to speak but Snape’s glare cuts her off.
“I will take care of it.” He growls with a pointed glance at the Veela delegation.
The one called Aphrodite looks sincerely unimpressed. “Are you lot always so indiscreet?”
Harry raises both her eyebrows and does her best impression of Draco at his snottiest. “Due to our treaty with the Ministry, Hogwarts’ Board meeting minutes are a matter of public record. And all noble alliances and betrothals are all tracked by the Bank. Anyone can request that information for any reason from the Family Affairs Office at the Ministry. So how, exactly, have we been indiscreet?”
Aphrodite maintains her frown for a few moments before giving in and grinning. “I look forward to renegotiating the Peverell Treaty with the Veela Empire with you. Shall I and my sisters leave so that you may speak more freely?”
“Oh I’m totally fine with you staying so they think twice about trying to berate me.” Harry grins as Bill laughs. “It’s much more peaceful that way.
“But. Do you, in fact, have leave to negotiate on behalf of the whole Empire?”
“My mother is the current Empress and I am her Right Hand. I was her heir until my little brother bonded a Veela – a rather distant cousin. Now she is heir and the future of our dynasty is secure.”
“I heard Veela males were rare but I didn’t know they were rare enough to justify upsetting an established inheritance.”
Aphrodite shrugs. “I wouldn’t call it upsetting, per se. The arse on the throne doesn’t get to go on all the fun adventures.”
“I’ve noticed.” Harry laments and gestures dramatically at her various allies. “They would have me chained up in an ivory tower if they could but I’m just not that kind of girl.”
Harry and Aphrodite share a grin and she turns back to focus on Snape.
He frowns at them both. “The wards need updating.”
“Severus is right.” Bill immediately asserts before anyone can say anything. “That’s why Master Warder Dieter Heinrich is meeting us for lunch. The Goblins triple checked their records and the wards haven’t been renewed since Dumbledore became Headmaster. Well before that, actually. They are supposed to be renewed every 10 years and he became Headmaster the year before that was supposed to happen.”
“I can’t imagine my ancestors setting up wards that would allow a three-headed dog or a mountain troll within any sort of range of the students.” Harry agrees with a frown then she tilts her head when a thought hits her. “We should probably have him check Hogsmeade too. I’ve been buying properties really cheap for the project to grow Severus’s fussy plants on but there shouldn’t be this many properties to sell at one time in a single town, right? Do you think Dumbledore messed with the wards? Could he be running people off or something?”
All this reminds her, she still hasn’t gotten a good explanation for what that doddering old fool was thinking, putting something so tempting as a real Philosopher’s Stone in her school. Much less advertising it was there, she thinks with a scowl.
“There’s no telling what Dumbledore did to them.” Sirius puts in. “Proper wards would have definitely stopped Ginny Weasley’s little pawn shop find from entering the castle last year.”
That witch, Harry can’t help but scowl.
“On the bright side, we won’t have to house your guests at the Three Broomsticks,” Bill adds.
“I don’t think anyone would want to live in the houses where the plants are being grown other than their keepers. They aren’t huge or commercial operations.” In fact, it’s mostly about giving people homes and jobs and training and stuff. “But it’s not exactly safe.
“There is another house on this street that I was eventually going to make a boarding house for my vassals, if you want to use it while we negotiate.” She offers the Veela. “The first one I’ve bought is across the street while all the herbologists houses are two streets the other direction.
“Narcissa,” the Lady Regent stands. “I would like for you to reach out to the goblins and verify what kind of paperwork, zoning, warding, what have you is required to make the house across the street an official visitors to House Potter embassy kind of thing? Also see if you can find out all you can about the Peverell title – rank, holdings, allies, the works.”
The beautiful blonde nods and sits to take notes.
“And you might want to put it in Draco’s head about formalizing his alliance with Slytherin once I claim that title.”
Her aunt points the quill at her and gets back to writing.
“Sirius, we’re going to need to see about a new vassal house, maybe two? At least one on this street, please.”
“Of course,” He nods.
“Flora?” The young hit witch stands.
“Memphis,” the Potter Head Elf appears.
“If the two of you will show our guests to the house across the street so they may get settled. Memphis, I want two elves available to see to their needs.”
Nods and bows and she turns to the now standing Veela. “I will make myself available for negotiations later in the week. My solicitor Ms. Woods, Lord Black, and Lady Malfoy will be handling the initial negotiation on my side of things as I’m required to attend school.”
“Quite right,” Aphrodite says with a nod. “There is no reason to rush things but we don’t want to draw it out unnecessarily either. We appreciate your hospitality.”
The women all curtsey as they leave the room.
“I’m going to need a book on Veela etiquette.” She tells Aunt Cissa.
“That and I can tutor you before the formal meeting.”
“Fantastic, anything else?”
“The private research?” Pomona Sprout asks delicately.
“Ah, okay, yes. We should thin out the crowd a bit for that.” Harry visually evaluates the room. “The twins have to stick with me until we do the ritual and I need my Inner Circle here for the same reason. Severus will stick around for security.”
It’s not a question but the man nods like it was.
“Deputy Headmistress, I’m going to need permission for myself and the twins to remain out of school, likely until Monday morning.”
“Of course, Miss Brown and Miss Granger as well, I assume?”
“That would be best. If you could come up with something for Paddy to sign, maybe?”
The older woman nods and turns for the door. “I’ll notify the staff and bring an appropriate form with me to the ritual.”
“Thank you. Paddy?”
“Lord Greengrass needs to stay and Sir Lancaster Brown may but no, we don’t need anyone else here.”
Neville winks as he leads leads the rest out and Harry grins. He’s no doubt going to pull their brother’s tail.
Harry’s kind of sad she’s going to miss it.
Harry herself leads the now greatly reduced number into the dining room and sits at the head as the others sit themselves around the table. Bill raises the room’s privacy wards.
“Alright,” She begins. “We have relocated three mated pairs of werewolves with some herbology training to premises here in town with their children. We have room for three more families. Remus, you’re still working to fill these spots?”
“I am, your Grace. Our security requirements and my position at Hogwarts are causing some delay but we are still on schedule to have all six positions filled by the end of the school year.”
“Keep me posted.” She nods. “Perhaps, considering recent events, you should expand your wolf hunt outside of the UK?”
Remus frowns but nods and pulls out a notebook and pen.
“Madam Sprout? How comes the job training?”
“Very smoothly. My new apprentices are thirsty for knowledge and eager to prove the Duchess of Gryffindor’s faith in them. Thus far the theories we’ve held about the interaction between werewolves and certain magical plants have proven to be exceedingly fruitful. Severus will be most pleased when the time to harvest comes around.”
“Pardon me,” Lord Greengrass leans forward. “You’re employing werewolves? Why and why is this any of my business?”
Harry takes a moment to think it over before asking, “Have you heard the story of La Belle et La Bete?”
“It’s a true story, for the most part. Le Bete was a near-feral werewolf whose condition almost exposed Magical France and La Belle was a witch of Ravenclaw decent. La Belle created an amulet that helped La Bete master his wolf and become non-dangerous to muggles. He married her to protect her from the townspeople because not even those in a poor provincial town would dare challenge a Prince.
“She gave him two children and, fortunately, one of them was at Hogwarts when the Revolution changed the status quo and the family lost their heads.”
“How do you know this?” Sir Lancaster Brown asks, curious.
“I know this because Miss Granger is the product of that child. She did the blood inheritance tests at the bank when I did and we learned that the line fell to squibs but she is the first to have enough magic to train in a hundred years.”
“And you are carrying on her ancestors cause?”
“I don’t think my ancestor meant it as a cause so much as a curiosity but yes.” Hermione answers. “It felt like the right decision and the right partnership to reintroduce my house to magical Britain.”
“So you aren’t a princess or something in magical France?”
Hermione shrugs. “Perhaps. Of course, the laws regarding Muggleborn Ascension forbid discussion of my inheritance outside of very specific circumstances until I am of age, ascend, and the information becomes public.”
“I ask again, why does this apply to me?” Lord Greengrass asks, glaring at Sir Brown.
“It matters to you, Lord Greengrass, because your older brother is one of the first we brought into our employ.” Remus answers. “He is mated to Cedric’s uncle who has given him three children.
“It is the goal of Operation: Moon Howl to reintegrate werewolves to magical society. To that end, we are housing and employing werewolves that have been rejected by society so they may become re-accustomed to their humanity. We also want to see them receive the fullest magical education they can. To do this we have to make them safe to interact even with muggles. Severus?”
Severus nods once. “Years ago, I created the Wolfsbane Potion to help werewolves manage their transformation. Within Lord Charlus Potter’s notes I have found ideas for a similar potion and was able to refine my potion further, using Charlus Potter’s notes as my co-inventor. Mr. Lupin has been kind enough to test the new potion the last three months and we will be expanding that testing to the House of Potter’s other applicable employees.
“During her first year, Lady Potter reached out to an alchemist with questions and made a fortuitous connection. This connection is working on making an amulet that will expand the effects of the potion.”
“And that will do what?”
“Ease the monthly transformation, allow the werewolf to always maintain their conscious control no matter their mental or physical state, and limit the passing of the curse the the purposeful action of a werewolf alpha.”
“Will that endanger my claim on my title?”
Harry sits back, affronted. “Of course not but it could give you your brother back.”
“I have no brother,” The lord sneers and storms out.
Sirius gives her a wide-eyed look and blinks once to make his shock very clear before pushing away from the table to chase down his liegeman.
“Well,” Sir Lancaster Brown looks inappropriately amused. “I do have a question.”
Harry just raises both eyebrows at him.
“I thought werewolves couldn’t participate in ritual magic?” Harry nods. “So how did Mr. Diggory’s uncle provide Lord Greengrass’s brother with children?”
“Ah,” Harry hums to herself, considering. “Werewolves have more gender options than regular magicals, he bore the children just like your future wife would.”
Lancaster’s jaw drops a bit. “I see.
“What do you need from me?”
“My Aunt Petunia McRae will soon be opening a storefront in Diagon Alley, selling potions ingredients for the Gryffindor Foundation. She is a squib and her son is a squib, but her daughter is a witch and will be starting Hogwarts this coming September.
“I would appreciate it if you would help them settle in, make sure no one tries to abuse them in any way or for any reason, and handle ingredients deliveries from the Potter Foundation’s various farms to her store. There are many things I trust the elves with but somethings require a more personal touch.”
Sir Lancaster is frowning but he’s also nodding. “I would be honored to protect and guide your family, your Grace.”
“Thank you. My aunt has plans to expand her business. I don’t disagree with any of her plans so far, so if you would help her smooth her plans and implement them, I would appreciate it. Your family has owned and operated a number of magical businesses for centuries so obviously, you have more experience in this area than either of us. If you find any of her plans objectionable, please don’t hesitate to say so.”
“Of course, where can I find this Petunia McRae so that we may get started?
“She is living with her children at the Potter family property in Godric’s Hollow. Paddy will have to take you the first time.
“Shall I take my leave and go find him?”
“He’s probably lingering outside to tell you what you can talk about with who, if not he’ll be back soon so you might want to wait in the kitchen. Do remind him we’re going to need transport to the Hollow to do the ritual and no, the Knight Bus does not count.
Brown grins and gives her a snappy salute as he heads to the kitchen
“Lady Deinara, would you select the ritual we will do tonight to adopt my new uncles? I think I remember one that calls for the blood of three women in the family? With my aunt, my cousin, and I, we have that available.”
“I will look into it and send you a copy to memorize but now I believe you need to be at the Three Broomsticks.”
“Quite right, Fauna? Severus? Would you escort us?”
Fauna squeals and runs to get her cloak.
Harry shares a grin with Bill and an eye roll with Severus.
When they make it outside, Aphrodite and Fauna’s twin Flora are lingering by the gate to the visitor’s house. Aphrodite wordlessly falls into step at Harry’s side.
She waits for the older woman to say something. When she doesn’t after several minutes, Harry grins sideways up at Bill. “So Lord Justice Crane offered us a contract for his son last night.”
Bill laughs, startled. “What? After telling Dumbledore off for it?”
“Well,” she says leadingly. “Dumbledore didn’t offer us a contract, he tried to force a marriage on me.”
“Right, big difference.”
“Huge difference,” She agrees. “Apparently we’ve spent too much time on soul mate magic and haven’t looked into soul mate law. Did you know soul mates aren’t considered married in Magical Britain unless they take a spouse together?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“I double checked with Paddy, he said it’s true. I can see how that worked for my parents because they both wanted Paddy so the law allowed them to have him but I don’t know that I want to share?”
“Not long term, no,” Bill agrees. “I guess it make sense since, theoretically, we are one soul? What do we do? What do you want to do? Try to change the law or get married somewhere else? The House of Black has standing in France, we could marry there.”
Harry opens her mouth to respond but Aphrodite cuts her off, “You could get married in one of the Peverell States.”
That makes Harry have to physically stop. “The Peverell States?”
“You’ve never heard of them?” Aphrodite asks with patently feigned innocence. “Should I take it, from the conversation you held inside that you are unaware of your station outside of magical Britain?”
Harry would have thought that was fairly obvious so she just nods.
“Are you familiar with the International Statute of Secrecy?”
“Very good. It was made official in 1692 but about 100 years previous several magical countries saw the writing on the wall and decided to take their enclaves secret en masse. In France, this movement was lead by the the one of the princes de sang that was fully magical by the name Raphael. The king favored him and deeded him large swaths of France.
“Now to hide such large tracts of land requires a special magical ritual and accord with the Green, Blue, and Purple Dragons. Purple to establish the wards and create the secret, Blue to uphold the secret throughout time – past, present and future, and Green to maintain the spellwork in a healthy way with the magic and people of the land. The price of the ritual is the blood and magic of a family that bridges the three.”
“This Prince Raphael did it?”
“Correct and so he became the first magical king of magical France.
“Several other countries followed France’s example and to hide their magical communities wholesale.
“Britain is obviously an example of the opposite decision. The decision to hide in plain sight, as outside of Godric’s Hollow and Hogsmeade there are no British magical enclaves for their people to live.”
“Okay.” Harry has to wonder if that’s part of the reason for the isolationism. If you are isolated every day, in every way, would you really be interested in reaching outside of your country?
“Now, the secret of the ritual originated from the Peverells of Atlantis.”
“Right. Over the years the Peverells bred with the rulers of the various countries. Time passes as it does, people die like they do, and now all of that blood heritage rests in you. You are co-monarch of 13 magical independent countries, including Atlantis.”
“Oh,” she says again, intelligently, and leans into Bill. They don’t… cuddle. There isn’t a great deal of physical contact in their platonic soul bond but he brings his arm up around her like it’s the most natural thing in the world. “Is that why my magic is pressing on me to breed?”
Aphrodite gives her a startled look and then thinks about it and nods. “It’s a great burden for one person to bear. Fortunately, you have the magic of several families to prop you up. Black, Potter, Peverell, Slytherin, McRae, and all the families they came from.”
“Why hasn’t anyone said anything?” Bill asks. “If she’s co-monarch, shouldn’t the governments be reaching out to her for instruction or something? Do they not want her around? Are they a threat to her?”
“No! By the Seven, no! She is adored in the Peverell States and France. She’s practically holy to my people. People started rioting during the re-broadcast when they found out she’d been physically struck. If that waste of flesh hadn’t been sentenced to what many figure is a long, slow death, the States would be demanding he be turned over to them and Kissed. And there hasn’t been a single Dementor in the States in over 100 years!
“After the original broadcast, King Andre of France and the various Ministers of the Peverell States consulted and realized all of her international mail – every single thing sent from them – has been answered Albus Dumbledore. Mostly with instructions to leave you alone.”
“That goat fucking bastard!” Harry latches on her anger and uses it to pull herself out of her mind-numbing confusion. “He has no right to do that!
“Memphis!” Her Head Elf pops into place in front of her immediately. “Memphis, go to Griphook and find out why all my international mail is going to Albus fucking Dumbledore. No! No, go to Ms. Woods. Tell her to prepare charges against Dumbledore for interfering in a Noble’s rights and duties and fraud. International charges. Send her to talk to Griphook and Ragnok.”
“Yes, Lady Duchess!” The little elf pops away.
That pop is echoed by the pop of several magicals apparating into place a street away and worry stirs in her gut. Shouts and pointing and several Hogwarts students rushing off toward the landing area just makes it worse.
Without a word to her company, she heads round the building closest to them. There’s a crowd forming and in the middle of it is, “Paddy!”
The crowd parts easily for Severus and in moments she’s throwing herself into her Paddy’s arms.
“Sweetling,” He greets and kisses her forehead almost absently. There’s blood on his cheek and a body on the ground.
It’s Lord Greengrass.
“What happened?” She asks.
“That’s what I would like to know,” The head of the DMLE, Amelia Bones herself asks.
“We were having a meeting,” Sirius says to them all. “He was rude to my ward and I took the opportunity to remind him of his oaths to my family. He said he remembered but he thought my priorities were a waste and I was going to ruin our families. We argued. I informed him that if he said one more rude thing about my ward I would gut him like a fish. He responded by accusing me of being ‘pussy blinded’ by my 13-year-old daughter.”
The crowd gasps.
“I kept my promise.”
Daphne Greengrass takes that moment to dart forward and pull her father’s ring off his finger.
“I, Daphne Alistra Greengrass, solemnly swear on my life and my magic to guard my family magic, guide my family, build my family’s legacy, and honor my family’s allies in word, thought, and deed with integrity, strength, and cunning. By the Will of the Seven, so mote it be.” And then she jams her father’s ring on her right hand, blood and all.
There’s the ringing of bells and a flash of magic washes over the Third Year Slytherin.
When everyone sees her still standing and obviously accepted by her family magic, a sigh of relief runs through the crowd.
“Hail, Marchioness of Greengrass.” Sirius says with a small nod.
“Hail, Duke of Ravenclaw. By the Will of the Seven, may our families stand and prosper together until magic fades.”
“Until magic fades,” He agrees.
Daphne turns and focuses on Harry.
She raises a single eyebrow and opens the discussion with a, “Hail, Marchioness of Greengrass.”
“Hail, Duchess of Gryffindor. I humbly petition for placement within your coven for myself, my mother, and my sisters in perpetuity.”
“You ask such a boon of me when your father has insulted me so?”
“My father wronged your father and has paid the appropriate price. I ask for this, the most sacred of bonds between two witches, to seal the breach between our families and so that you may know the true state of my heart and family magic.”
Harry considers it. She has well more than the seven witches required in her coven but she can handle more, and more witches means more interesting and varied rituals. Something she might actually need to do now rather than just have around to honor that part of her Potter-Black family history.
She holds out her ring.
Daphne takes a deep breath and places her finger on it, granting Harry access to evaluate her mentally, emotionally, and magically.
Daphne is a cunning, clever witch with an intelligence fit to rival Hermione and a decidedly less kind worldview. She’s furious at the loss of her father. Not because of the man himself but because it damaged her house and it’s connection to stronger houses. Because it is forcing her to expose herself and how dangerous she really can be. Because her one absolutely ruthless goal is the protection of her little sister. It is her primary drive. Her first and last thought.
Lower. Under that. Squashed and denied but never truly uprooted Harry finds the deep and abiding desire for a friend. A hope so fervent but leashed so tightly and crushed so heartlessly, it makes Harry choke up.
Decision made, Harry blinks. She’s not remotely surprised to find Lavender standing on one side of her and Narcissa standing on the other.
She clears her throat. “I accept you, Marchioness Greengrass and your mother into my coven. Further, I grant your sister Astoria the rank of acolyte within my coven. Full membership for your sister will be granted upon her 17th year and her own freely made choice.
“Additionally, Daphne Alistra Greengrass, liegeman of my Father, I offer you the position of Lady-in-waiting to myself, Harriet Dorea Potter, the Duchess of Slytherin. What say you?”
Daphne hits her knees, eyes wide and overwhelmed, her finger still touching Harry’s ring. “I, Lady Daphne Alistra Greengrass, thank you, Harry, Duchess of Slytherin, for your faith in me. I will bear your burdens, keep your secrets, and give you the best advice and companionship I am able. I swear my service upon my life and my magic, from this day until my last day.”
“Very well. Rise and meet your sisters in service. Lady Narcissa Malfoy, Lady Regent of Malfoy and Lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Ravenclaw. And Lady Lavender Brown, sister of Lord Lancaster Brown and Lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Gryffindor.”
First Aunt Cissa, then Lav, catch Daphne up in hugs that leave her smiling and laughing and sniffling.
Daphne hugs Harry last and Harry holds on as she says, “I understand you have to see to your father but, if possible, I would like you and your mother to participate in the ritual my coven is doing tonight. As my Lady-in-waiting, you’re automatically in my inner circle but I understand if you cannot make it.”
“We wouldn’t miss it.” Daphne pulls back and looks her in the face. “Can we bring Astoria?”
“Sure, it’ll be a good ritual for her to watch and she can meet my cousin Daisy. They’ll be starting Hogwarts together next year and Daisy is also an acolyte of my coven. Maybe they’ll become friends.”
“One can never have too many friends,” Daphne says by way of agreement.
The swish of Narcissa’s wand pulls Harry’s attention.
“What just happened?” Madam Bones asks.
“It is a Lady-in-waiting’s place to anticipate her Mistress’s needs,” Narcissa tells the other woman, completely unrepentant.
“Quite so,” Daphne agrees, stepping up to face off with the head of the DMLE. “This is obviously a case of vow violation and correction by the senior house in a liege relationship. Lord Black didn’t do anything the White Dragon wouldn’t have done sooner or later and I as Marchioness of Greengrass say there has been no crime.
“I believe you have what you need to report this to the Family Affairs Office, isn’t that right?”
Bones looks like she wants to argue but, in the end, she nods.
“Jasper!” A house elf appears in front of Daphne. “Jasper, take my father’s body and prepare him for placement in the crypt tomorrow night. And tell my mother I require her and Astoria to come for discussion at-”
“The Three Broomsticks.” Narcissa supplies.
“The Three Broomsticks.” She finishes.
Narcissa clears her throat. Daphne blushes and adds, “Please and thank you.”
“Of course, Miss Milady.” The elf pops away.
As soon as the representatives from the DMLE follow, a cheerfully familiar German accent floats over the crowd, “The most interesting things happen around you, mate.”
Harry glances up to Bill and together they grin at Severus.
The Potions Master huffs at them, “I can’t tell if your imagination is more flattering or ridiculous.” Rolls his eyes and begins pushing their way through the crowd to the Three Broomsticks.