Title: Children of the Ancients
Author: Anthea Davis
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: ~23,000
Primary Pairings/Characters: Future Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Content/Warnings: Canon level violence, language, discussion of abuse with the Dursleys
Summary: Following the events of the TriWizard Tournament, Harry is left angry and to his own devices for the summer. A chance discovery of the manipulations around him led to a few changes in Harry’s life and a new plan for the future.
Beta: None. Just a casual spell check. No bitching.
Harry Potter was not a happy young man.
It had been two weeks since he had left Hogwarts and returned to Privet Drive and in that time nothing had happened. And that was almost a problem.
While he didn’t necessarily want something bad to happen, the anticipation was almost worse.
Voldemort was back. Back as in, he was out there right now, potentially terrorising the Magical World as Harry thought about it. But there had been no news. Each night he had attempted to listen to the evening news report, and the first few nights he had gotten away with it. But then Vernon had taken notice of the fact that he was watching, and for whatever reason, the large man had thought up, he thought that it was wrong that Harry wanted to watch the news. The nights after that had gotten progressively worse as the man had gotten aggravated with Harry’s attempts to watch the news.
Harry had taken to hiding around corners, getting into the lounge room before his Aunt and Uncle entered and hiding behind the sofa. So far, all of these had eventually failed. So now he was hiding underneath the open window in the flower bed, hidden behind the begonia bush straining to listen to the TV.
But after all that, there was still nothing to report on strange attacks, or unknown deaths or anything that might point to Voldemort.
The newspapers in the neighbourhood hadn’t been any better. Even pages deep, there was nothing to hint at any strange activity.
The Daily Prophet was the worst, however, as there was nothing reported there either. Absolutely nothing. And that made Harry very angry.
He didn’t dream it. He didn’t hallucinate the whole TriWizard Tournament and betrayal of the supposed Mad-Eye Moody. There was seemingly nothing to report, except for how barmy both he and Professor Dumbledore were. There was a ridiculous amount of tripe about how crazy they were and opinion pieces that spoke of how they shouldn’t be in positions of power or be led credence to anything they said.
That just made him even more annoyed that they weren’t going to listen to the fact that Voldemort was back, and instead, they were going to call him a liar.
That was something he very much wanted to remedy. Though he wasn’t sure how he was going to manage that.
For now, however, there was nothing of note on tonight’s news report, so he crawled carefully, quietly from the garden bed and to the back of the house. The relief he felt was only temporary. It would be back, later on tonight when his dreams would remind him again of everything wrong with the magical world once more.
And when they weren’t full of doom and gloom, they were filled with strange, dark hallways leading to somewhere he didn’t know.
He didn’t need Trelawney to interpret that one either.
The next night was much the same. He managed to crawl soundlessly to his position in the garden bed and waited for the tell-tale jingle that signified the start of the news report.
It was wasted of course, and once again he was crawling soundlessly as possible out of the garden bed. But it was as he was coming in through the back door that he realised his error when Vernon walked into the kitchen, and his face turned the strange purple-red it did when he entered an instant rage zone.
“Were you listening to the news again, you useless shit?”
“No, Uncle. I was outside.” Harry removed his shoes and picked them up to take up to his room.
“Rolling in the bleeding dirt too. You’ll clean up this mess right now before your Aunt sees it, or there will be hell.” Vernon stormed out, missing Harry’s eye roll.
Of course, he forgot to shake off any dirt before walking inside. Two minutes later, the dustpan and broom were put back away, and he escaped upstairs.
Hedwig’s cage was still empty, but he wasn’t surprised by that. She had taken to coming back after it was dark and leaving before dawn. At least that way she was out of sight of the Dursley’s. They had yet to ‘comment’ on her this summer which Harry considered a win.
When it finally did turn dark, also signalled by the very noisy return of Dudley, Hedwig returned carrying two letters. After a quick affectionate nip, Harry left her to her drink and rest while he perused the letters she had brought.
One from Sirius. One from Hermione.
He opened the one from his Godfather first, almost eager to hear from the only ‘family’ that he really had. There was no way that he would consider the Dursley’s family. That was just ridiculous.
I hope you are doing ok. It can’t be easy being where you are after everything that’s happened. But you’ve got to stay strong and muddle through. I understand that you’re probably angry and I would be too, but try not to take it out on the Dursley’s. Keep your nose clean, stay out of trouble. Hopefully, you’ll be with us before you know it.
Harry read the letter again in slight confusion. Was the trickiest Marauder actually telling him to stay out of trouble? Had hell frozen over when he hadn’t noticed?
Shaking his head, he turned to Hermione’s letter and hoped for some better news.
I’m sorry that I don’t bring any news for you. I can only imagine how frustrated you must be with all the radio silence about Voldemort. There still hasn’t been anything announced, and there haven’t been any attacks. I spoke with Mr Weasley this morning at breakfast, and there seems to be something going on at the ministry to discredit you and the Headmaster. It seems to be succeeding, going by the Daily Prophet.
Don’t lose hope, the truth will come out and then we can start preparing everyone. It won’t be like this forever. Hopefully, we’ll see you soon.
Harry growled to himself in annoyance as he threw the letter back on the desk. He wasn’t actually sure why she had written him if that was all the letter was going to be. He already knew everything she had ‘reported’ bar the fact it seemed she had already arrived at the Burrow to stay with the Weasley’s. And like normal, there was no mention of when he would be able to leave this hell hole. Frustrated wasn’t a strong enough word for what he thought of it.
The next morning, after yet another terrible sleep filled with killing spares and dark, long corridors, Harry left the Dursley’s house early to avoid everyone. He had taken to walking the streets a bit. Though it did his St Brutus reputation no good, he couldn’t just sit idly by the Dursley’s house and wait. He needed to move, and this movement was as good as any.
At this time of the morning, the park and playground were empty and the equipment not yet too hot to touch. The ridiculous summer heat made it next to impossible for anyone to enjoy the playground. Sitting on the swing, he let his mind wander again. A dangerous thing to be sure considering the dark thoughts that had started to creep into his mind over the last few days.
Harry spun around, surprised that anyone would call his attention.
“Mrs Figg. Is everything alright?”
“It’s going to be another hot day, come get a cup of tea with me. Give me an excuse to put the air conditioner on. Come on.”
Harry sighed, but acquiesced, following along half a step behind her. It wasn’t his favourite place to be, all the cats around the place giving him judgment faces wasn’t exactly pleasant. But as she said, it was to be another hot day and at least at Mrs Figg’s there would be no Dudley and his gang.
Ten minutes later Mrs Figg was prodding him through the front door and down to the sitting room.
“Would you like some iced tea?” she called back through the house from the kitchen.
“Thank you, that would be great,” Harry called back, already getting the evil eye from three of the four cats in the room. He had no idea what he had ever done to deserve their judgement.
Harry looked around nervously as he waited for the woman to return for another awkward morning. She never had much to say to him, nor he much to say to her. He wasn’t entirely sure why he kept accepting her invitations for tea, apart from the fact that it would be rude.
He wasn’t sure where those manners came from, it certainly wasn’t from the Dursley’s.
Looking around as he waited, it was then that he saw movement in one of the papers. At first, he thought it was a figment of his imagination from the corner of his eye, but when he looked again, no it was an article clipped out from the Daily Prophet. Before he knew it, he was striding over to the clipping and pulling it out of a pile of other clippings.
“Oh.” Mrs Figg stood with a contrite look on her face, still holding the tray with a pitcher of iced tea and some delicate glass tea cups.
“Did you… Are you…” Harry stuttered to a stop, looking down at the clipping again.
“I’m a squib. Born that way. Dumbledore asked me to move here. Keep an eye on you seeing as I live like a muggle for the most part.”
She finally moved into the room, placing the tea tray on a side table and taking her seat.
“Dumbledore sent you? How long have you been watching?” Harry asked, not sure if he was horrified or not. Just how much did she know?
The older woman sighed, not looking up from her wringing hands, “A few days after you were dropped off as a baby.”
“So you….” Harry stopped, not sure if he wanted to touch that kettle of fish. If she knew all that he had suffered, if she knew and didn’t tell anyone…. worse she did tell someone, that someone being Dumbledore, and he did nothing? No, he wasn’t going to go down that path. That path would lead to a rage he wasn’t sure he could contain.
“So, I’m not going insane. There really has been no news about Voldemort?”
Mrs Figg shuddered at the mention of the Dark Lords name, “No, not insane.” She smiled briefly. “There’s been no mention of him through the Order either. No one knows what happened since the night of the tournament.”
“And instead they’re taking the time to discredit the Headmaster and me instead?” Harry growled.
The older woman shrugged her shoulders, seeming to shrink in on herself. “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t get told much of anything.”
“I’m sorry, I’m not angry at you.” Harry struggled to reign his emotions in.
“No, I understand.” Instead of saying more, she poured the tea for the both of them.
“And Headmaster Dumbledore, do you hear from him at all?”
“Hardly ever. He’s never been here if that’s what you’re asking.”
Harry sighed, enough of his suspicions confirmed.
He spent the rest of the time thinking in silence as he sipped at his iced tea. When he did finish, he thanked Mrs Figg for the visit and the drink. He had half a plan, and he was going to make it happen.
Avoiding the Dursley’s was something Harry normally excelled at. But for whatever reason, the gods were not smiling on him this day. Not only was his Aunt at home like normal, but it also seemed Vernon had decided to take a mental health day and stay at home in the air conditioning too. To make matters even better, Dudley had yet to leave.
And all this he hadn’t realised until he had already stepped into the house and it was too late.
After being berated for where he was all morning and for not telling them where he was, which kind of confused Harry as he was sure that they didn’t want him around, Vernon proceeded to give Harry a chores list as long as his forearm and commanded they be done by sunset. Luckily the man didn’t stick around long enough again to see Harry roll his eyes and trudge upstairs to his room.
Unfortunately, it was the work of only ten minutes to pack up his things and be ready to leave. However, he still had more than nine hours until it would be dark enough to even contemplate starting his plan. Looking back over the chores list, he decided that it would give him something to do.
For the remainder of the day, he worked in the shaded parts of the garden plucking weeds and doing a general tidy up. It was by no means close to the whole list that Dursley had provided, but it at least gave him time to think and plan. He wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing in the great scheme of things, as his anger certainly hadn’t abated any.
When it finally did come time to put things away and head inside, he was angrier than ever. The sky was just starting to dim with the sunset, and he could hear Dudley making yet another ruckus as he arrived home from wherever he had been that day.
Before going inside, he made sure to brush himself down and wash his hands with the hot garden hose, perhaps Vernon wouldn’t have a go at him tonight for it. He could only dream.
Inside it was just as bad as he thought, Dudley had another self-satisfied grin on his face, meaning he had probably beat up yet another kid in the neighbourhood that was half his size and half his age. Especially after that ten-year-old last time, Harry could only shake his head. Petunia was fussing over him like normal as she prepared dinner and Vernon was yelling from the lounge room, though Harry didn’t pay attention to just what he was saying. There had been no news again on the news report earlier, and he hadn’t been caught listening, so hopefully, it had nothing to do with him.
Upstairs he washed up for dinner before coming back down, setting the table and bringing everything over for his aunt. The dinner itself was the normal quietly disgusting affair as both Vernon and Dudley stuffed their faces in an even more disgusting display than Ron had ever managed. It was only as Harry was starting to clear up that Vernon turned his attention to Harry.
“So, did you get your chores done today?” The oaf-like man growled, the violent glimmer in his eye seemed eager.
“No, Uncle Vernon. There are a few things still left to do,” Harry replied mildly, though he knew it was going to be of little use.
“No, eh? Do you want to be punished? I told you, you were to get them all done today.”
Harry could see he was just eager to pick a fight, so he changed the subject.
“I’ll be leaving tonight. Just so you are aware.”
He turned away and continued to put the dishes in the sink and started the tap to wash up.
“I thought you would be happy to know: I’ll be leaving tonight.”
“Are those freaks of yours picking you up again?”
“No. I’ll be leaving by myself.”
“Now just you wait a minute. That is not how things are done around here! You don’t get to just decide what you’re doing around here. You aren’t the adult around here. I am, and you’ll be staying here and finishing your chores, and that is final. “
The obese man’s face had turned a ghastly red again in his anger and had stood up to tower over Harry in his anger.
“I’ll be leaving tonight once its dark. You’ll not be stopping me.”
“Now see here, boy,”
“No. I’m leaving once I’ve finished your dishes.”
Harry turned back to the sink and added the dishwashing detergent to the warm water.
There was a tell-tale sound of movement, but Harry ignored it, more than used to it by now. The slap to the back of his head was a glancing one, and it barely shook him.
“Do NOT turn your back on me boy, you will show me the respect that I deserve in my own house.”
In the background, Harry could hear Dudley jeering.
“I’m showing you the respect you deserve. Not once have you said a kind word to me, in fact, you’ve gone out of your way to ensure any word you’ve spoken in my direction has been the nastiest, hate-filled words you could project at me. You have put a roof over my head, yes, but not once have you cared about me, or my welfare. The only reason I have clothes and food is that you’re worried what the neighbours would think. Even then, you do the bare minimum to cover that. Well, I’ve had enough. I’ll be fifteen soon, and I think that will be old enough to emancipate myself or something. You’ll not have to worry about me anymore. I’ll make sure of that.”
“Then you make sure to never darken our doorstep again. You leave now, we’ll never take you back again, regardless of what that oaf or that crack-pot magician of a headmaster of yours says. Never come back here again.”
“Believe me, I would never return here of my own volition. You can be sure I never will again.”
“Then hurry up and get out of here! You have half an hour.”
Vernon sat back down at the dining table with a malevolent smirk on his face. It was almost gleeful. “You have any desert prepped, Pet? I think this calls for a celebration, don’t you think?”
Harry ignored what was happening behind him to calm himself down. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do, now that he was suddenly leaving or that he had basically gotten himself kicked out. The plans that he had made hadn’t actually had that taken into consideration. But he supposed, like second year, he could use The Leaky Cauldron as a temporary home.
Before long the dishes were done and he was wiping his hands on his pants to dry them.
“Uncle Vernon, I’ll need you to unlock the door to the cupboard under the stairs so I can get my trunk out.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll do it in a minute.” Vernon dismissed, stuffing himself with a pie that his Aunt Petunia had retrieved from the Fridge.
Nodding to himself, he went upstairs and took another look around the room to make sure he had everything. Now that it was dark, Hedwig had also returned so he could make sure to send her off safely.
Five minutes later he was standing at the bottom of the stairs, bag packed with everything he was taking, waiting for his uncle to unlock the door for him to finish his packing in his trunk.
It was another ten minutes later that Vernon finally got off his arse and stomped his way through the house to the cupboard under the stairs. He took the key from his pocket and unlocked the door with a nasty smirk.
He stepped back and watched Harry struggle to lift the trunk and open it. But Harry ignored that and made sure that he had everything safely stowed away before locking the trunk back up and pulling it out towards the front door. Behind Vernon, Harry could see Dudley and Petunia watching him, Dudley just as viciously gleeful as Vernon was. Petunia had a pinched look on her face that Harry wasn’t sure he could make out.
But it didn’t matter anymore. Soon enough he would never see them again, and that was all that mattered to him right now. Once outside, Vernon took pleasure in seeing him struggle and did nothing to help him. Once he was almost to the kerb did he finally say anything.
“You make sure you never come back here again, you here? Never again. And make sure the neighbours don’t see you either!” With that, he turned around and stalked inside.
Petunia stayed at the door for a little longer, watching him with the same pinched look on her face. When he finally made it to the kerb, he was sweating in the still decent heat of the day. He dug into his pocket to take out his wand. He was about to stick his arm out and summon the Knight Bus when she finally spoke.
“Take care alright. Make sure you get rid of that Moldymort business or whatever it is. We don’t need that kind of thing bleeding into the normal world.”
“Yes, Aunt Petunia.” Harry sighed, not really needing the reminder.
“Yes. Well. Hmm… have a good life.”
She abruptly turned around again and shut the door before he could say anything further.
Harry just shook his head and wondered what world he lived in that his Aunt Petunia actually wished him a good life. There had to be something wrong.
But it had nothing to do with him anymore, and so he didn’t care anymore. He stuck his wand out, and a few moments later the loud bang of the Knight Bus arrived in quick succession. Stan Shunpike was at the door waiting for him again.
“Eh, Neville, ain’t it?”
“Um, yeah,” Harry said nervously, not sure what else to say. He was fairly certain that Stan knew he was actually Harry Potter.
“Good t’ah see you again. Where can we take you this time?”
“The Leaky Cauldron, please. And would you be able to help me with my trunk again? It’s a bit too heavy today. I think the charm on it has gone again.” Harry dragged the trunk closer, and Stan took out his wand, sending a feather-light spell and a levitation charm at it to get it on the bus.
Once on the bus and settled in one of the crazy rolling four-poster beds, Stan came back to him once they were back on the road again, “You want a Hot Chocolate, or somfin?”
“I’m fine, thanks, Stan.” He pulled out the money pouch from his trunk and paid the conductor for his fare.
“Righty o, Mr Neville. We got a couple of stops before we make London again, shouldn’t be too long.”
Harry smiled as the Conductor walked off, easily traversing the rocking and rolling of the crazy bus to get back up to the front where Ernie the driver was.
Harry took a deep breath, looking out the darkened window and the start of this new journey. He was nervous, he would admit, and not a little bit afraid. It would be all too easy for something to happen, someone to recognise him and tip off the Death Eaters. He couldn’t help but think that perhaps there was somewhere else he should go than straight into the middle of Magical London, but he reasoned that Magical London would be filled with more people than anywhere else, so he could be lost in a crowd. He also had his invisibility cloak which should help matters.
Twenty minutes later, they popped into the street outside the Leaky Cauldron, and Stan once again helped him with his trunk to the door of the pub.
“You take care, Mr Neville.” The pimply faced young man winked.
“Thanks, Stan.” Harry smiled, still not entirely certain but happy just the same.
Moments later there was another bang, and the Knight bus was gone again.
Harry grabbed the handle of his now much lighter if still ungainly trunk and pulled it into the pub’s door. Luckily at that time of night, it was one of their quieter times, and there weren’t anywhere near as many people that could potentially recognise him.
Upon sighting a customer, Tom the barkeep himself came out from behind the bar to help him. “Evenin’ young sir. How can we help you tonight?”
“I was hoping to take one of your rooms for a few nights,” Harry replied, not really certain just how long he was going to be staying here. In fact, all his plans were just that little less concrete now that he was finally acting on them.
“Of course, Mr …” Tom trailed off in question.
“Ah. About that, I was wondering if we might be able to speak in private.”
Tom looked at him suspiciously for a moment but nodded his head and led Harry and his trunk into a private side room.
“Now young man, if you’ve run away from home, I’m going to have to Floo your… parents…” Tom stuttered to a stop as Harry pulled his fringe out of the way so that his scar could be seen.
“I’ve had to leave the home I’ve been staying it. They’re intensely anti-magic and said they refuse to take me back. I just need somewhere to stay until I can find somewhere safe to go to,” Harry explained, scrubbing his fringe back over his forehead.
“I can get Professor Dumbledore on the Floo if you like?”
“NO!” Harry coughed, embarrassed at how vehement that had come out. “No, not just yet, please. I can’t guarantee that he won’t just send me back. And that is a really bad idea.”
“Very well, Mr Potter, I’ll look after you for a few days. But only a few, mind you. It’s not safe for any child to stay in a pub all by himself, let alone you. Okay? So you make sure you find somewhere quick smart. I’ll put you on our top floor, for now. Hopefully, people won’t notice you too much up there. And I’ll bring your meals there too so they can’t see you down here in the main room.” Tom sighed, thinking aloud. “Are you sure there isn’t anyone I can call for you right now?”
Harry shook his head seriously. He truly wasn’t sure who to trust at the moment, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to get in touch with Ron and Hermione. His plans were the complete opposite of what Sirius had told him to do, so that wasn’t a viable option either. Not that he knew where Sirius even was. True the last few letters he had received all came from Hedwig or other non-descript owls, instead of the exotic birds he had been getting to begin with, but that could just mean he was being serious about his safety and was still hidden away on some island somewhere.
Harry shook his head, now wasn’t the time to think about them anyway.
“Alright. Come along, Mr Potter. We’ll keep your secret for now.”
The room he was shown to was a plain but comfortable one with a large four poster bed, a tall chest of drawers and an adjoining bathroom. Underneath the window was a medium sized desk, large enough for him to put some books on and still have room to spread out and do his homework.
“We’ll keep you safe here, for now, Mr Potter. I’ll bring Breakfast at 7.30 if that’s alright with you. We can make arrangements from then on.” Tom gave him a small smile. “Is there anything I can get you now?”
“Just some water would be good, thank you. And thank you for taking me in. I know it’s not something you would normally agree to.”
“Well, you’re not a normal young man, now are you, Mr Potter?”
Harry blushed, and Tom clapped him on the shoulder.
“You have a good night now, and I’ll see you in the morning.”
Harry waved as the door closed after the barman, settling into the quiet room. Opening the window, he let a cool breeze in and with it Hedwig came too.
Harry could only laugh that she had found him already.
He decided to turn in early and get a decent sleep before the next day came and all the drama that he was planning to incite.
The next morning he woke with the sun, and therefore entirely too early in the morning. He had time to see Hedwig off for the day and get showered and dressed before Tom came in with a tray at 7.30 on the dot. After his breakfast of toast and eggs with juice, he left the tray for one of the elves to collect and dug through his trunk to look for the one article that would help him stay secret and safe. Pulling the Invisibility Cloak out, he shook it to get rid of any wrinkles and swung it around his shoulders. Underneath he made sure to have his backpack on and his wand in his pocket before pulling the hood up over his head and venturing out into the pub downstairs.
The pub was surprisingly busy for 8.30am, but then with the almost continuous roaring of the Floo, he assumed it must be a regular spot for everyone to Floo through to, to get to Diagon Alley.
Harry drew the hood up tighter around himself as he stepped onto the main floor proper, carefully dodging patrons left and right until he could make it out to the entrance of the Alleyway. Luckily it was almost completely always open with the sheer traffic coming and going through it, so it was no trouble for Harry to duck his way through.
Out in the Alley, he took a moment to gain his bearings and figure out where his first stop was going to be. He went to the first café he saw and checked the Daily Prophet just to see if anything new had been reported. As per normal, it hadn’t.
His fist clenched at his side, he wanted to punch something. To do that, however, would reveal his presence and that was not a very good idea right now. Instead, he wandered his way to the offices of the Daily Prophet (down an alleyway and tucked around a corner) so that he might instead go to the so-called horse’s mouth and find out just what was going on.
“Emeranda, have you got that new opinion piece on Potter yet? I need it immediately for the next print run.”
“Yeah, it’s coming off the print now, I’ll have it for you shortly. Where did we get this source anyway? It sounds pretty hokey.”
“Doesn’t matter. It’s what the people want to hear about.”
“The people want to hear about Potter’s sordid affair with Cedric before he died? Is this even true?”
“Doesn’t matter. It’s what the Chief asked us to find, and that’s what we’re going to provide if we want to keep our jobs.”
Harry had only stood in the doorway for a few minutes, the offices and desks right there in front of him. He wanted to be surprised, but he wasn’t. He knew deep down that there had to be something like this in the works for all the crap stories that had been printed about him. It just really annoyed him that it seemed people’s jobs were on the line to make up shit about him.
Growling to himself, Harry left the way he came, kicking random stones and scaring the odd person with their movement. He didn’t know what to do. He honestly felt at loose ends and wasn’t sure if there even was anything he could do. He was not even fifteen years old, what recourse did he have?
He spent the rest of the day mulling it all over and getting himself thoroughly depressed. In the late afternoon he made his way back to the Leaky Cauldron and back up to his room, depression setting in as the futility dawned on him.
He collapsed back on the bed, content to stare sightlessly at the ceiling for an undetermined time, but for the crinkling, he heard as he lay back. Sitting back up again, he picked up what it was that he had laid on only to find some letters had been delivered by Hedwig.
Looking them over, he was confused as to where they had come from, as it seemed that they weren’t senders he had received from before.
Picking up the first one, the seal on the back was that of a logo, but he couldn’t make it out properly. Opening it up revealed a letterhead announcing it was from Lexicor Pax, Barristers and Solicitors. He’d never received a letter from a lawyer before.
Dear Mr Potter, (or Guardian Thereof)
We at Lexicor Pax hope this letter finds you in good spirits and good health.
We write to you as the Firm which has been employed by the Potter Family for the last several generations to oversee all legal matters that impact upon said family.
We have information which we believe would be in your best interests being apprised of and therefore extend an invitation to approach our offices, send contact via post, or Floo us at your earliest convenience to arrange a meeting.
We hope to see you soon
Blah, blah certs
Harry frowned down at the letter, confused on why a Lawyer would want to speak with him, and what they could possibly have to impart to him.
Dismissing it for now, Harry instead picked up the next letter, the crest on this one he did recognise. However, he still didn’t know why Gringotts would be trying to contact him.
Dear Mr Potter,
Please find enclosed your monthly statement for the below vaults:
Potter Ancestral Vault
Potter Ancestral Vault #2
Potter Ancestral Vault #3
J & L Potter Vault
Harry James Potter – Trust Fund Vault
P & V Dursley Vault
We thank you for your business and wish you great fortune.
Harry looked through the paperwork even more confused than before. He had no idea where all these vaults had come from, no idea they existed except perhaps a periphery view that some of them must have because his parents must have had accounts with them and such. But he had never really thought about it.
Now, he had lots of accounts and going by the end figures, a lot more money than he ever thought he had.
The fact that there was an account for the Dursley’s confused him. And he had no idea how that one could have been started. There were just too many questions, and it seemed that he was going to have to go to the bank to get his answers. Hopefully, they actually gave him some, and not just demanded his guardian. But then again, they hadn’t seemed like that previously, though every time he had been, he had been accompanied by an adult.
He would just have to try tomorrow.
A knock at the door surprised him as a moment later Tom walked in with another tray with what looked like some dinner on it.
“Thank you very much, Tom.” Harry smiled, one of the first ones today.
“You’re welcome, Mr Potter. I noticed you left today, but I didn’t see you leave. I hope you took every precaution to keep safe.”
“Yes, I have an Invisibility cloak, inherited from my father. It’s kept me safe for a little while now.” Harry patted the cloak fondly.
“I’m glad you’ve got something then. Did you have any luck today finding somewhere to stay?”
“Not yet. But I received a letter from a Lexicor Pax lawyer, so I think I’ll see him tomorrow and find out my options there. It seems like there’s a lot of things I don’t know. A lot of things that have been kept from me.” Harry frowned.
“It’s a hard one if you don’t mind my saying. You’re still a child, you shouldn’t have to think about these kinds of things,” Tom motioned to the letter in his hand. “But at the same time, being who you are, I can’t say for certain there would be anyone who could do right by you and not just what was best for them.”
“I think you’re right,” Harry sighed, looking back down at the letters again.
“Leave it aside for tonight, Mr Potter. Sleep on it and speak with your lawyer tomorrow and get your answers then. Eat up while it’s still warm. Is there anything else I can get for you now, though?”
“No, I think I’m alright for now, thank you. I’ll get some homework done ready for when school starts and get an early night I think.”
“Good plan, you be having a good night. Call Mipsy, the elf for this room, if you need any help or need anything, okay?”
“Yeah, good night to you too, Tom. Thanks again.” Harry waved as the man closed the door behind himself.
Looking at the letters again, he decided to follow the advice given and put them away for the night as he would only think himself into a corner and get himself worked up. Then there would be no sleeping tonight.
He put the letters in his bag ready for the next day and took out his charms homework and started reading.
The Corridor was long and dark, he could make out the occasional shadowy doorway but nothing else until the door at the end, that door was cracked open, and there was what looked like firelight spilling out a small way into the corridor.
Then he heard something, a slithering sound. He tried to turn and find what it was but couldn’t, he was stuck facing forward moving closer to the door.
He woke suddenly to a worried little elf rocking at his shoulder pleading for him to wake up.
He sat up blearily and looked around the room. It looked like a bomb had gone off. The elf, Mipsy he assumed, had tears running down her face as she clutched at his shirt sleeve.
“Is Master Mr Potter awakeses now?”
“Yes, I’m so sorry,” Harry frowned, patting the elf on the shoulder, “I had no idea that would happen.”
“Mipsy tried to keep everything where it goes, but Master Mr Potter move them in his sleep. Was bad sleep Mipsy thinks, bad dreams.”
“Yeah, bad dreams Mipsy. I’m so sorry. Are you okay? Are you hurt at all?”
“No Mipsy fine. Just worried for Master Mr Potter.”
“I’ll be okay. I think I might need to see a healer tomorrow too. I wouldn’t like something like this to happen again to you.”
Mipsy gave a watery smile. “Master Mr Potter is very kind to think of Mipsy. But Mipsy be fine. Will you try sleep again?”
“What’s the time?”
“Is still 3.30am.”
Harry groaned, wiping a tired hand over his face. He had barely got four hours’ sleep.
“I’ll rest, but I don’t think I’ll sleep Mipsy. And when you see Tom in the morning, tell him I’m very sorry.”
Mipsy smiled again. “I tells him. You get good rest.”
She popped away then, but a moment later a hot chocolate appeared on his bedside, making Harry smile.
The next morning, he was bone weary tired, cranky and still angry with the world. He did his best to bury it down deep, and by the time Tom came by in the morning with breakfast he had almost got it down pat.
“Mipsy said you had trouble through the night,” Tom asked, concern marring his face.
“Yeah, a nightmare. Seems I levitated some things in my dream as well, she was worried. I’m sorry if I damaged anything. I’ll pay for any cost there might be.”
“Never you mind that lad. Did you get much sleep?”
“Not really, not after the dream. I think I’ll make an appointment with a healer today too. They’ve been going on for a while now, it’s the first time I’ve lost control of my magic while they happened.”
“It’s nothing unusual, especially when you have particularly nasty dreams. But it wouldn’t hurt the case seeing one anyway. Besides, you’re much too thin.”
“Yeah,” Harry blushed. “Didn’t get a whole lot of food growing up.”
Tom frowned but didn’t comment. “Well, the lawyer types usually open around 8.30 down on the Alley, so you might want to get a move on if you want to get all that you want done today.”
“Thanks. You don’t know where they might be, do you?”
“Mipsy can fetch you a map of the Alley after you finish up breakfast. I’m sorry I didn’t think to give you one yesterday.”
“Thanks. And sorry again if I’ve damaged anything.”
Tom shook his head fondly, “Don’t think on it. It’s forgotten.”
Harry mechanically ate his breakfast, taking the letters out again and reading through them briefly again. He decided taking some notes wouldn’t be a bad idea, and grabbed out some parchment and a quill so that he could write down some of his questions, so he didn’t forget.
By the time he had finished breakfast he had half a page written and a heavy heart. He just knew that this day was going to shake his worldview.
The offices of Lexicor Pax Barrister and Solicitors was in a nice alleyway directly off Diagon Alley and had a few cafes littered down it that gave a nice atmosphere. The office itself opened into a professional, tidy and airy reception area with a middle-aged witch behind the counter.
Seeing nobody else around, he took the invisibility cloak off, scaring the receptionist.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” Harry grimaced, not having even though the witch was paying attention to the room.
“As well you should. Scared me half to death. What are you doing here? A lawyer’s office isn’t the place for children to play!“ she frowned at him, shuffling her paperwork. “Go outside to the Alley proper and play out there,” She said dismissively.
“I’m sorry. I’m actually here to see Mr Lexicor.”
“I hardly think so. Besides. You’ll need to get your parents to make an appointment if that is actually the case.”
“Well, you see,” Harry started, but she cut him off.
“Run along young man.” She stood and stepped around the counter to shuffle him out.
“Excuse me, Madam,” Harry returned a bit more forcefully than he usually spoke to other adults around him. “I have this letter from Mr Lexicor requesting my presence at these offices, and I would like to make an appointment with him, if I may.”
The woman held her hands out imperiously for the letter. Harry took a small amount of joy as he watched the woman pale as she sighted the professional letter on proper stationery that she probably penned herself.
“Mr Potter, please forgive me. I’ll just, I’ll get Mr Lexicor for you now,” she almost stumbled in her haste to leave the room.
Harry shook his head as he sat in one of the chairs provided in the waiting area. He had barely crossed his feet in front of him before a senior man with white close-cropped hair and short white beard entered the room.
“Mr Potter, a pleasure to finally meet you.” The man greeted him cordially, hand out to shake.
“Mr Lexicor, a pleasure to meet you as well. I didn’t mean to take you away from your work. I just wanted to make an appointment.” Harry grimaced, noting the woman slink back to her desk.
“Never mind lad, she was under instruction to interrupt me no matter when you come in. It’s been a trifle hard getting in contact with you, though, we’ve been sending you letters for years hoping you would visit us.” Mr Lexicor motioned for Harry to follow him down a short corridor into a well-appointed office that had a lovely view of the alleyway.
“You have?” Harry queried, taking a seat in front of the large ornate wooden desk. “This was the first I’ve ever received, and I only got it last night.”
Taking a seat behind the desk, Mr Lexicor picked the letter up and perused down to the bottom, “Ah yes, see down here.” He pointed to the very last line of the letter. “This was the 523 letter we had sent you. Most of them have been this exact letter in the hopes that you would one-day reply. We sent one per week as we’ve always worried that the matter was urgent.”
“Urgent? I wasn’t aware there were any legal issues I would be involved in.”
“Oh! No, nothing of that sort I assure you. You’re in no trouble. The trouble, however, is for other people who may have done you a disservice by ignoring your parent’s Will. When the matter was discovered, we resolved to ensure you or your guardians were made aware of it as soon as possible.”
“I’m sorry that this is the first I’ve heard of it then. That’s going to be something I’ll have to look into, I think. I received my first Gringotts statement last night too.”
“Well, that isn’t right. Mail tampering is a serious offence, especially financials. But that is something we can delve into later if you wish to keep us employed as your legal representatives.
“The most pressing matter at hand is, of course, the Will reading. The executor of the will was to be Sirius Black in the first instance. As he has been imprisoned in Azkaban since that fateful night, he, of course, has been unable to fulfil this duty. The next person in line for the duty is Albus Dumbledore, and we have sent him many letters over the years to execute the Reading, but he has ignored us up to this point. As the legal and living heir to the Will owners, you do have the ability to surpass Albus Dumbledore and have the Will read and executed by us, if that is your choice.”
“Wow. So, he hasn’t done anything about it?” Harry honestly wasn’t surprised.
The more that he was learning about Albus Dumbledore’s role in events over the last few years, the more he was starting to think about shifting the blame he felt. Every time it seemed like he had gotten to the bottom of whatever snafu had recently come up, there was another one just around the corner to remind him that no, it could get worse.
“Okay. What do I need to do to get the ball rolling in that respect then?”
Mr Lexicor smiled sadly at him. “I’m sorry that it has had to come to this for you. Mentor’s should be the ones who we can look up to and trust. I don’t know what reasons he has for withholding the Will Reading, but it wasn’t his choice to make. And no executor can know all the ways not having a Will read can impact on things.”
The lawyer cleared his throat, sitting back up in his chair straight, he took out a folder of documents from a draw at his left and opened them up.
“There are some documents that we will need to get you to sign on, and a few that you should particularly read before going any further. I can show you to a reading room if you like so you can read in privacy. We can have some tea sent in as well if you like. ”
“Yes, I think that would be a good idea.” Harry grimaced at the pile of documents that encompassed the folder, he was going to be here a while.
Two and a half hours later, he turned the page of the last document and sat back in his chair. He drained the last of the tea from his third cup of the delicious brew (the matronly secretary was probably trying to make it up to him to bring out the good stuff) and sat back to take in what he had just read.
Dumbledore would be notified that his role had been usurped. That was something that couldn’t be ignored. He only hoped that it meant that there was something in the Will that provided for him a different means of accommodation. He couldn’t help but wonder just what Dumbledore might do to ensure that he stayed at the Dursley’s and their apparently precious blood wards.
Not that they properly worked anymore, considering his own blood now ran through Voldemort’s veins after the fiasco that was two months ago.
No, it was best that he was out from that house. He deserved better, which was a new way of thinking but there you go.
He finally stood up and grimaced at the way his body protested the movement after sitting still for so long.
He wandered back out into the entryway again and looked around. Curiously, and not to mention worryingly, he was surprised to find Draco Malfoy sitting in the waiting room looking around, bored.
Unfortunately, it was too late to avoid being noticed, and he internally grimaced at what was about to start. But thankfully that wasn’t to be the case as Malfoy merely looked him over with a mild sneer before offering an almost nod and looking away again.
Harry was very confused, but he wasn’t about to stir the pot.
“Mr Potter, Mr Lexicor advised me to let him know when you were done. Shall I fetch him?” the receptionist broke the silence.
“Thank you, yes.” Harry smiled at the now polite witch. He sat down in the waiting room in the furthest chair from Malfoy and studiously looked in the opposite direction.
“I’m glad to see you’re finally doing something about your reputation. If it were myself, I’d have done something about it as soon as the first article came out.” The blond said imperiously to the window.
“Doing something about my reputation? What do you mean?” Harry wondered turning to face the Slytherin.
“The slander in the papers, you’re not here to sue them for defamation?”
“Uh, no that hadn’t been my intention for being here. I can do that?” Harry asked, mind running a mile a minute as to how he could fit this into his plans.
“Honestly Potter. Are you really that dull?”
“No, just uneducated. I grew up with Muggles, remember. Ones that weren’t particularly fond of me either so I’ve not exactly had a rounded education.” Harry rolled his eyes.
“Hah. Muggles are useless. Can’t even give a proper education,” he snorted, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I didn’t mean all muggles are like that. Just the ones I’ve grown up with. You can’t say Hermione is uneducated, can you?” Harry reasoned.
“Hmm. I suppose,” Malfoy said reluctantly. “But whatever other reason you’re here, make sure to say something about the defamation thing. Can’t have someone of your Family’s standing not doing something about it. Might make them think they can take on other Ancient and Noble Houses.”
“Is that a thing, Ancient or Noble Houses?”
“Merlin Potter, it was like you were raised by wolves. No wonder you didn’t know better in first year.” Draco shook his head. “Ancient and Noble houses are Magical houses that have fifteen or more successive generations of magical lineage. I believe you’re the twenty-third generation of Potter. Someone needs to educate you properly about the Magical world.”
Draco sneered, looking back out the window again.
“Um. Who would you recommend? Or is there something I can read?”
“Merlin Potter,” Draco said, exasperated. However, Harry could see it was only partially an act. Something he saw in Draco said that he was quite curious as well now. “You’re able to receive owls, right? That’s something you can do in the muggle realm, right?”
“Yeah, of course. Muggles don’t even see them.” Harry nodded
“I will write you a list of books to read this summer, then I’ll arrange something for you in the meantime. Honestly, it galls me that no one has educated you. Not even the Weasel Family, what good it could have done them.”
“Uh, thanks, Malfoy.”
“Yes well, someone has to do it, show you the importance of integrating into our society instead of running roughshod over our traditions and values.” Draco sniffed at the window.
“Mr Malfoy, Mr Lexicor will see you now. Mr Potter, Mr Lexicor will be with you as soon as he can.”
“No that’s okay, Potter may join me for my meeting. He may learn something.” Draco announced, standing up and urging Harry to do the same.
“Quickly Potter, we haven’t all day.”
Draco prodded Harry down the hallway in front of him, the receptionist could only look on in bewilderment.
“Mr Malfoy, a pleasure to see you. And, uh, Mr Potter are you joining us as well?” Mr Lexicor looked at them in surprise.
“Yes, he will be joining me for our meeting. He is woefully uneducated about a lot of matters, I’m finding, not the least of which legal matters, he’s legal rights in relation to defamation being my most primary concern. He was completely unaware he had recourse. How come you have yet to broach this issue with him?”
“Mr Potter has not yet affirmed we will be his legal counsel. We are only in the preliminary stages of establishing the relationship we will be sharing. He is here on matters to do with his parents. Any further, I cannot discuss with you of course, as you can understand.”
“Well then. Make sure it is something that is given early attention then. I wish to speak with you today regards my emancipation from my Parents.”
Harry could only stare in shock, not that Mr Lexicor was doing much better.
There was silence for another few moments where the lawyer seemed to open and close his mouth with no words exiting.
“Yes, my emancipation. I am finding my home life intolerable and believe my welfare to be in jeopardy in the coming months. Most certainly by the end of the next school year. They are urging me quite adamantly to join a community that I do not believe will be to my benefit, and will possibly even see my death.”
Harry kept his mouth shut, hardly daring to believe that Draco was almost saying he didn’t wish to join the Death Eaters. Five years of established history was falling down around his ears.
“Ah, yes. Very well then,” the lawyer nodded to himself, pulling a book from behind him from a large wall cabinet full of books. “We have grounds for emancipation if you believe your life could be in danger. However, someone from child services would have to investigate. Your parent’s affiliations would be revealed, and there is the possibility that they would be sent to Azkaban,” Mr Lexicor said seriously.
“It’s something that I have considered. And I believe that it may be the safest course of action, both for myself as well as the greater Magical population. I might also be persuaded to give names of other members should the situation arise, and the Malfoy name might benefit. With His return, I think it would be a civic duty, no matter how much I may agree with his beliefs, his practice both before and potentially now leave much to be desired. I do not wish to taint my magic any more than it already has with what my parents have taught me.
“Potter, make a note, that is something else I will need to teach you about. Magic wells.” Draco turned back to the lawyer. “Woefully uneducated, and Hogwarts is really woefully understaffed for the education of Muggleborns in our society.”
“Very well then. If you wouldn’t mind, I would prefer to read up a bit more on the emancipation rituals and clauses that might affect you and your family before I advise you any further. Can we make another appointment for later in the week?”
“That is acceptable. I’ll make an appointment with Margarite on my way out. Potter, I’ll be waiting for you out front. There is much we must discuss.”
“Uh, I’m not sure how long I’ll be.” Harry looked to the lawyer for advice.
“We should be perhaps another half an hour to conclude today’s business,” the lawyer supplied.
“Very well. Thank you for your time today, Mr Lexicor.” Draco gave a nod of his head before exiting the room in his usual imperious manner.
“Wow,” Harry said into the ensuing silence once the door had been closed after the blonde. “I had no idea that was going to happen.”
“Indeed, if you hadn’t been here today, I’m not entirely sure it would have either. That is the third appointment he has made with me and subsequently cancelled or spoken of trifling matters.”
Harry could only shake his head in amazement.
“Now, the paperwork I sent you off with, did you read it all?”
They spent the next twenty minutes going through the documents and going through Harry’s concerns. In the end, the documents were all settled and letters arranged to be sent for a Will Reading to be done on the following Monday, giving the beneficiaries enough time to make arrangements to attend. Also, to let Dumbledore know, but there wasn’t much that could be done about that.
“Now, as to the other matter that Mr Malfoy raised, the defamation suit is something that I can’t exactly encourage, conflict of interest as I could potentially be representing you, but it’s something I encourage you to speak with Mr Malfoy about. There is much that we can do to rectify the situation, but that is something that you should decide yourself if that is the best course of action for yourself. I’d be more than happy to help you if that is your choice and you wish to employ us as your legal counsel.”
“Thank you, I’ll certainly think about it. It has been bugging me quite a bit actually, and from an outside perspective, I find it quite amazing that the media and the Ministry would bury their heads in the sand about You Know Who’s return. No one has offered to view my memories or give me Veritaserum. Surely either of those options would prove it within moments.” Harry frowned.
“People are afraid of times they have only just managed to forget about. No one wants to remember, let alone live, in a time of fear of You Know Who.” Mr Lexicor frowned. “Very well, my lad. I believe that is the half an hour up, I don’t want you to keep Mr Malfoy waiting. He can be quite put out when he’s been made to wait longer than he has to.” The man smirked at him as he stood to show him to the door.
“If you wish to discuss the defamation suit or any other issue, please Floo call or drop in and we can arrange the time.”
“Thank you again for your time today. I’m sorry if I’ve put you out at all.” Harry smiled chagrined, imagining the people waiting in the front room waiting impatiently.
“Not at all, lad, not at all. I’m just glad we can have the matter resolved, as it has been sitting on my mind for some time now.”
“Oh, there was one last thing I wanted to ask you, a favour actually. Would you be able to cast a few disillusionment spells on me so that I’ll not be mobbed in the street, especially if I’m going to be going anywhere with Malfoy.”
“Not all. How about a different colour hair and I’ll hide the scar? Do you think that will be enough?”
“That would be great.”
“Okay then.” A couple of wand movements later, he now had dirty blonde hair with brown eyes. “There, now keep an eye on that. I can’t guarantee how long those will last.”
“Thank you again. See you next week, if not before.” Harry waved as he left for the front waiting room to find only Draco waiting impatiently.
“Good idea, Potter. Though really, you should have your eyes charmed properly and get rid of those ghastly glasses.” Draco sniffed derisively.
“They can do that? Correct my eyesight so I won’t have to wear glasses?”
Draco just stared at him unimpressed, the ‘Merlin Potter’ going unsaid but still clearly heard.
“Sorry. I’ve never had a proper chance to explore the Alley, or anywhere else for that matter. I don’t know what technologies and improvements the magical world has compared to the muggle world.”
“Yes, but for the Weasels and Dumbledore to have not said anything, especially after all the trouble you manage to land yourself in, let alone last year. It’s almost reprehensible.”
Harry sighed, taking the time to actually think about it. They all knew the issues he’s had with his glasses. Hell, he should have at least had his prescription checked, not that the Dursley’s ever did that either.
“Would you mind showing me where an eye healer would be? That would be at least one thing off my list.”
“Very well. Do you have sufficient money on you? Have you been to Gringotts about your missing mail yet?” Draco stopped in the middle of the Alley, forcing people to walk around them.
“No. That was to be my next stop, getting all that sorted.”
“Hmm. That will probably take a few hours. Very well. I shall have to meet with you again tomorrow.” Draco drawled, professing to be put out.
“You don’t have to-“
“Yes, yes I do, Potter, as it is evidenced that no one else will. Meet me at Baxter’s, the café just there,” Draco pointed to one of the al fresco cafes that was a few buildings up from where they stood, “at ten o’clock. We shall see how much we can accomplish and whether we will have to make plans for Friday as well. Very well. Until then.” Draco nodded to him formally before turning and walking away.
Harry was left to watch in bemusement at the way that the Blonde seemed to be taking control of his life. He was certainly paranoid, he hadn’t lost all sense of self-preservation, but so far Draco was interested in showing him the magical world and educating him in it. Like he had said, this was the first time someone was actually taking the time to do this. It made him wonder just what kind of life expectancy people thought he had that they weren’t taking the time to do it themselves. But that was too depressing a thought to pursue.
Instead, he resolved to be cautiously optimistic that Draco might be able to help him navigate the magical world properly, independently. Now that he thought of it, Molly had been getting his books and supplies for him the last few years. He hadn’t actually been to the alley since second year. He shook his head. No more.
For now, he headed to the Goblin bank to carry out the next phase of his plan. Inside the grand marble building, he approached one of the tellers when it was his turn and produced the letter. “I was wondering if I might speak to someone about my accounts, please.”
The goblin stared at him sharply a moment before pressing at a few runes on the side of the counter. Moments later another goblin appeared behind the teller, looking at him sharply as well.
“And you are?”
“I’m Harry Potter. Excuse me, but I have some glamours on to hide my appearance. I’d be more than happy to have them taken off in privacy if someone could reapply them afterwards. I’m still underage to do magic myself.” Harry explained, figuring politeness will hopefully go a bit further. He didn’t imagine they received much from the wizarding public.
The new goblin grunted non-committal, staring at him a moment longer before pointing further into the bank. “Follow me to one of the meeting rooms.”
A few minutes later, after a few twists and turns later, they were in a nondescript office that held a desk and three chairs, two on one side, one on the other. The goblin sat on the far side with the single chair and motioned for Harry to sit in one of the remaining ones.
“How can we help you today, Mr Potter?” the Goblin growled, or at least Harry thought he did. It was hard to tell how gruff the goblin was to begin with.
“I wanted to inquire about the accounts that I have. This is the first statement that I’ve ever received, and I was under the impression that I only had the single vault which I think is labelled on the letter as my trust fund vault.”
The goblin looked away, tapping at some runes carved into the desk. Seconds later a large tome appeared just above the table from thin air and plopped on the table with a resounding bang. The goblin pulled the text in front of him, opening the cover and looking over a few pages.
“Statements have been sent monthly to your nominated address for the last thirteen years. They were addressed to a Mr HJ Potter, charmed only to be opened by him. None have been returned undelivered. Are you alleging this has not been the case?”
“Unfortunately, yes I am. Yesterday was the first one I received, and that was at the Leaky Cauldron.”
“Has any other mail to your knowledge been subverted?”
“Yes, I discovered today that mail from Lexicor Pax has also been going missing. They advised they’ve been sending letters for approximately the same time, to my knowledge also not returned undelivered.”
“If it is your wish, we will have the matter investigated and a report prepared for you.” The goblin advised with a dark gleam in his eye that didn’t bode well for the person or persons who had been tampering with his mail.
“That would be appreciated thank you. Compensation will be deducted from my accounts?”
“It is not required in this instance though we appreciate your intention. Is there any business we can help you with today?”
“Yes, I would like someone to go through my accounts with me, explain where these accounts have come from, what they mean. Unfortunately, I have no one I know that is knowledgeable that I trust to tell me what I need to know.” Harry sighed, hating to appear oblivious, but not knowing what else to do.
“No one has…” the Goblin looked away with a clenched fist for a moment before turning back, Harry could see he was forcing himself to calm down. “Very well.”
“I do apologise for my lack of knowledge and any insult I’ve caused. It is my intention to attend Flourish and Blotts as soon as possible. I may very well buy them out judging by how much I’m lacking. Are there any texts you would recommend?”
The goblin nodded. “I will owl you a list that will be to your advantage. There should be tomes within the Potter Ancestral Vaults that may suit your needs. I will also supply you today with a catalogue of your holdings, both land holdings and property in the vaults. Included will be the archival trunks for the combined libraries that are stored in the vaults. Might I also suggest the Potter Keep library as a resource.”
“Thank you,” Harry smiled, glad that he wouldn’t have to take stocks out in the local bookshop just to sate his need for education.
“Very good. To begin, the Potter family is the leading patriarchal family of the Potter House, of which you will be head and Lord upon your maturation. Currently, you are the only member of the Potter Family, with several distantly related families falling under your direct control. Your magical guardian has controlled this on your behalf and will continue to do so until your maturation and the conferring of your title. Albus Dumbledore is recorded as being your Magical Guardian, though this has never been legally affirmed. This is why correspondence is still sent to you as the account holder.”
“I was advised today that the Will for my Parents has never been executed, also by Albus Dumbledore. I believe you should have that resolved on Monday when the Will will be executed.” Harry grinned, satisfied that he might just be able to get one up on Dumbledore.
“A summons has already been received.” The goblin acknowledged. “As your Account Manager, I will be attending.”
“Great! You must be Slyhammer.” Harry was glad to put a face to a name.
“I am.” The Goblin nodded. “Very well. Here is the master key for all the vaults listed in your portfolio. If there is nothing further today, shall we make a time next week after the Will Reading to go over the holdings as they will stand?”
“Yeah, that would be a better idea. That should also give me some time to get some studying in. I apologise again for not knowing any better.” Harry couldn’t seem to stop apologising. He just knew that he had already offended them somehow and they were too proper to call him on it, probably due to all the ignorant witches and wizards that were their normal patrons.
“It is forgotten, Mr Potter. I will owl you shortly with the list of books I recommend. I will also take the liberty of seeing the Potter Grimoire is also delivered to you so you might begin to learn of your forebears.” The goblin stood with Harry following suit shortly after. “I will make an appointment for you for the day following the Reading if that is amenable.”
“That should be great. Thank you Slyhammer.” Harry almost stuck his hand out to shake, as that seemed the kind of thing people did at the end of business meetings, but Slyhammer wasn’t a human, and he didn’t think he would appreciate the gesture. Instead, Harry tried to emulate the nod that Draco had done a few times that day. Hopefully, he succeeded, and at least the goblin didn’t look any further offended. “Thank you for your time today. I’ll see you on Monday.”
Harry was left to find his own way out of the maze that was Gringotts. Luckily, he made it back out into the main floor a few minutes later. After stopping at the teller again, he withdrew a decent amount of Galleons ready for the next day.
Back in his room at the Leaky Cauldron, he found a few packages sent by Slyhammer already delivered. He resolved to spend the evening reading up on his legacy.
Just before ten the next morning Harry arrived at the café and ordered a tea as he waited for Draco to arrive. He hadn’t even sat down to wait for his order before the blonde Slytherin walked into the café dressed in immaculate forest green robes edged in black. Harry looked down at the ratty jeans and hand me down shirt that he wore, feeling his cheeks flame in embarrassment.
“Morning Potter,” Malfoy said dismissively, walking past him to the counter to make his own order.
Once they sat down with their drink orders, there was silence as they both enjoyed their brew. Draco groaned as his first mouthful, relaxing back in his seat.
“Late night?” Harry asked, noticing the barely perceptible bags underneath the blonde’s eyes.
Draco hummed non-committedly, taking another sip. Harry took a sip of his own, knowing that would be the only answered that he would receive.
“I’ve been thinking,” Draco began staring into his cup. “Today’s venture will need to be more than just my showing you the eye specialist and anything that catches my fancy. You will need to be groomed for the position that you may soon be holding. You will need to look and act the part before that day comes.”
“Understandable.” Harry acknowledged. “Another thing on my to-do list was to get a proper wardrobe, so I should soon at least look the part if you’d be able to help me with the required fashions.” Harry frowned at the last, knowing it to be a necessary evil.
Draco sighed with relief, “I hoped you’d say that. Couldn’t be sure you dressed like that because you wanted to or not.”
“No, these are my obese cousin’s cast-offs, they will all be burnt to ashes as soon as I’ve sourced a new wardrobe,” Harry grinned.
“I do like a good bonfire,” Draco smirked. “Very good. That shall be our first stop. From there, we will attend the eye healer I mentioned.”
“Actually, I was wondering if you could recommend or show me a GP. Uh, Muggle’s call them a General Practioner, a family healer I suppose you could say. My upbringing hasn’t been the healthiest.”
Draco narrowed his eyes at Harry, confused, “The muggles mistreated you that much?”
Harry snorted mirthlessly, “You have no idea.” Harry left it at that, he had no interest in dredging up his sordid past, not that he trusted Draco with the truth of it yet anyway.
“Very well, I shall take you to the Malfoy family healer. I’m not certain if there is one for the Potter family, nor how I could find out.”
Obviously, that became a priority as that was the first stop that Draco led him to once they had finished their drinks.
It was down yet another off-shooting alleyway from Diagon Alley, this one with large trees packed with dense green foliage that created a lovely shade for them to walk under. The summer heat had yet to abate, and Harry, who had grown quite used to spending a good portion of the year in the far north of Scotland, was beginning to have quite enough of the summer weather.
The office itself was another pleasant looking building, there was only the four-seater lounge setting in the waiting room with the fireplace and mantle dominating the room otherwise. The room was currently empty of patients which was lucky for the two boys.
Healer Havisham was an almost geriatric man who wore a monocle that rested in his breast pocket. The detail stuck with Harry as the man withdrew it from the pocket and put it on to look at him.
“Not what I expected, Mr Potter. Not what I expected at all,” the healer said gravely once they entered the healer’s office, his gaze focused on Harry in such a way as to almost make him uncomfortable.
“Um, what was it exactly that you were looking for?” Harry asked, resisting crossing his arms over his chest in defence.
“Your aura does not paint a healthy picture. Not that I think you are surprised,” the man looked at him critically. He pulled his wand from the holster on his arm and cast several diagnostic charms that spewed out several rolls of parchment for the healer’s perusal. “Mr Malfoy, I will supply you a list for your Godfather for potions that will need to be made. Several will need to be tailored to your situation, Mr Potter. There is much neglect we will need to rectify if you are to grow into a healthy man. Luckily, you’ve not reached your magical maturation so we have some time to get as much fixed as we can. I don’t believe there will be much in the way of repercussions, if any, you will face as an adult.”
“Heh, thank Merlin for that. It’s something that I’ve worried about for a while now.” Harry admitted, his legs swinging from atop the exam table he was perched upon.
“Yes, well, that isn’t to say that it will be an easy feat. You have several uncomfortable months ahead of you as we set you to rights. The long list of broken bones and fractures has me concerned,” the man looked up from the parchment, “a case could be made for your removal from your current guardians.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Harry assured. “It’s already in the process of being taken care of.”
“In that case, I can forward my notes and document my findings for you, should you need it in the future.”
“That would be appreciated, thank you.”
“Very well. I’ll suggest starting you on a regimen of nutrient potions and health shoring potions to build your system back up to scratch, then we can begin work on some of the organ damage. I’ll also put together a dietary recommendation to help build up your weight to a healthy range, the elves at Hogwarts should easily be able to accommodate that for you. I’ll send a packet out to you in the next few days detailing what will be happening and what will be expected of you. I recommend Potion’s Master Snape for your potions, as I’ve always found his quality of potions to be a cut above the rest, but that can be your choice after you’ve finished this first round. I’ll include the suggested potions list and a timetable with your packet. I would recommend monthly check-ups so I can closely monitor your progress. I’ll be happy to attend Hogwarts for those as well if you’re unable to get away to London.”
“That would be excellent, thank you, Healer Havisham.”
“We’ll set you to rights soon, Mr Potter. See Miss Greenwith on the way out, she can set up an account for you and arrange your appointment schedule.”
Draco was curiously quiet as they exited the Healers office and walked back out into the alley. Harry imagined it was because Draco didn’t expect Harry’s health to be in that bad a condition.
Harry sighed in relief as they finally exited the tailor’s shop and he could finally be free of the madness that the man had inflicted on him. He wasn’t too happy with Draco either, but the blonde hardly cared about that. Draco had been on a mission that day, they had visited many shops, and Harry felt like his brain was going to explode from all that had been drilled into his brain. He was sure that he would just hire a tailor next time, possibly from Draco’s suggestion, and commission a wardrobe befitting him, instead of the two hours and forty-five minutes he had just suffered looking at various patterns and fabrics.
“I can safely say I never want to do that ever again,” Harry grumbled as Draco led him down the Alley.
“You did very well, Potter.” Draco placated sarcastically. “How about an ice cream for being such a good boy today.”
“Ha Ha. Thank you so much,” Harry snipped in return, hitching the bag higher up on his shoulder. “Actually, I could go some ice cream right now. We could go to that bag shop you mentioned afterwards so I can finally retire this crappy old thing.
“Hmm. Very well. Ice Cream does sound appealing. The cooling charms on these robes are starting to wear out dealing with this heat.”
They turned to make their way for Florean Fortescue’s when suddenly Harry felt all the heat that they had just been complaining about vanish leaving him feeling freezing inside and out. He had barely started to hear his mother’s screams inside his mind when he had already pulled out his wand at the ready.
Screams started for real when the people in the Alley started to scream as two Dementors swooped into the shopping district heading straight towards himself and Draco.
Harry did the only thing he could do, as no one else around them seemed to be doing anything. Conjuring up his happiest memory he cast the Patronus charm, directing Prongs to attack the closest dementor.
The near corporeal deer charged the dementor, flinging it aside with its horns and charging for the other on the other side of the Alley. All too soon the first dementor was back up again and heading straight towards him again. He grabbed at Draco’s sleeve and yanked him back and away, urging him to run. The fear on Draco’s face urged him to go faster, his mother’s screams echoing in his mind as he struggled to push it back.
Knowing he wouldn’t be able to support two Patronus’, he sent another burst of magic at the deer, enough that it renewed its efforts so that when it charged the dementor the next time, instead of just flinging it into the air away, the antlers went straight through the dementor, impaling it. The Dementor screamed an unearthly sound that vibrated through his bones, before being torn to shreds and whisping away.
Another minute later the other Dementor met a similar fate and Harry breathed a sigh of relief, shaking as the effects started to dissipate and the shock and adrenalin started setting in.
He turned to look at Draco, who looked in a similar state.
Around them, the Alley started to revive, and the noise level grew. Sudden pops heralded the arrival of the Aurors. That wasn’t good, Harry thought.
“You need to go! You can’t be seen with me, not yet. Go!” Harry urged, pushing at Draco’s shoulder.
“Fuck. I need to go. I’ll owl you. Eat chocolate!” Draco commanded shakily as he got back up to his feet and started skirting the public and away down another alley.
“Fuck,” Harry echoed, slumping back against the wall of whatever shop he had been outside when everything had gone to hell.
He watched as the Aurors quickly scanned the street for any further danger, then started taking statements. Harry remained seated where he was, waiting for the energy to come back to him to stand.
All too soon the Aurors had made their way to him, “Sir, can you tell me what happened? Do you need a Healer?”
“No, just some chocolate should be good,” Harry replied, eagerly taking the large piece from the dark-skinned Auror. “There were two Dementors, they were heading down the Alley towards me. I’m not sure who they were looking for if they were looking for anyone.”
“There was another young man with you, with blonde hair. Where is he?”
“Gone to throw up, I think. He looked pretty green.” Harry replied quickly.
“Alright, take it easy young man. Go to St Mungo’s if you are still feeling cold and shaky tonight.” The Auror said, quickly moving on to the next victim.
Not taking the chance, Harry quickly pushed himself up and slowly made his way back to the Leaky Cauldron and back towards his bed. He was met just inside the doorway by Tom who seemed to recognise him straight away. “Mr Potter, are you alright? What happened? I’ve heard rumours of Dementor’s in the Alley.”
“There were. Two of them.” Harry pushed his way in and made way to the nearest seat.
“Merlin and Morgana,” Tom swore some more as he quickly made his way behind the bar, coming back moments later with a large mug of hot chocolate. “Do you need a healer? Have you had any chocolate yet?”
“No, I’ll be fine. The Auror that interviewed me gave me some chocolate. Another mug of this later and a good sleep and I’ll be fine.” Harry smiled wanly into the mug he held tightly to his chest, the warmth slowly seeping back into him.
“Well, I think an early night might be a good idea for you. As soon as you finish that mug, I’ll help you up to your room.”
“Thanks, Tom,” Harry smiled at the barkeep, knowing the man felt uncomfortable having a child in his care. But the reading was another few days away, so hopefully, there would be resolution after that.
Ten minutes later he knocked back the last of the now lukewarm drink, as soon as he put the mug down it vanished and moments later Tom was back at his side.
Five minutes later he was back in the security of his room, the curtains were drawn, and the fire was roaring merrily in the grate. Tom had just left, and he was about to see himself to bed when there was a tapping at the window.
He opened it for the owl to fly in and deposit its letter. It flew straight back out again, obviously not needing a reply.
Sighing in annoyance, Harry sat at the desk and opened the letter, thinking to get it out of the way before he could relax to his nap.
Instead, he was left feeling cold all over again in a whole new way as he read through the contents.
Underage magical decree. Summons to court. Expulsion from Hogwarts. His wand to be snapped.
There was no way he was going to be able to relax now, he shook in rage at the whole situation.
The next day he was at Mr Lexicor’s office as soon as it opened, the office had been closed early due to the attack the night beforehand.
Margarite served him a cup of tea as soon as he sat down, waiting for Mr Lexicor to call him.
He didn’t have to wait but a minute before he was led into the office, almost mute in rage.
“Mr Potter, I didn’t expect to see you before Monday. How can I help you?” The man said with an open expression, he could see the young man was very angry.
Harry said nothing, merely handed over the letter for the lawyer to read.
Another minute later the man put it down with a serious expression and his hand steepled in front of himself.
“This occurred yesterday. May I ask what spell you used?”
The lawyer seemed to roll his eyes. “You were involved in the Dementor attack in Diagon Alley yesterday, you were defending yourself, correct?”
“Yes.” Harry took a deep breath and released it slowly.
Mr Lexicor rolled his eyes again, “Do you wish me to defend you for the court session on Wednesday?”
“Thank you, I would.” He said shortly, restraining himself from clenching and unclenching his fists.
“You are more than welcome, Mr Potter. We shall have the matter sorted very quickly. May I have a copy of the memory so I might prepare?”
“Sure, though I’m not sure how to do that.”
Mr Lexicor walked him through the procedure quickly, helping to edit out Draco’s presence once Harry had explained the situation.
“Try and have a good day Harry. Put it out of your mind, I’ll have everything sorted for Wednesday. There will be no issue.”
Harry nodded in acknowledgement, not yet up to smiling as the rage and betrayal sang underneath his skin. He wanted to tear into something, but there was no outlet right now, so he kept a tight hold on it and buried it deep.
The day of the Will Reading dawned entirely too early in Harry’s opinion, nerves and paranoia keeping him awake a good portion of the night, strange dreams meaning it wasn’t a restful sleep when he finally did succumb.
Tom greeted him at the usual time, wishing him luck for the day. Harry wasn’t sure what luck what have to do with anything today, but he took the wishes politely, wishing the bartender a good day as well.
The message he had received from Draco weighed heavily in his pocket as he dressed quickly and left the Leaky Cauldron. He was tempted to invite the blonde Slytherin to join him today, even had his invisibility cloak that he could use to remain hidden. He wanted the support, Harry admitted, as he pulled the invisibility cloak tighter around himself like a shield. He wasn’t sure when he stopped trusting Ron and Hermione to be that support. Perhaps he still did, but they were so far removed from the situation, and he had still to even hear anything from them. He was still angry at them; it was like they had forgotten what had happened to him only a few weeks ago. Surely someone should have insisted he see a mind healer, assuming they had them in the wizarding world, considering he had seen someone killed, a fellow student, right in front of his eyes.
Instead, he had been put back in his box for the summer until Dumbledore was ready to play with him again in the coming school year.
Harry bristled at the thought, shaking his head to dispel it. He wasn’t sure he would be able to keep his temper in check around the Headmaster if he indulged in thinking such things.
Instead, he quickened his pace through the Alley, making his way to Mr Lexicor’s offices in preparation for the day’s events. He had received a letter from the Lawyer advising him to meet there this morning as he would be taking care of their travel arrangements for the Will Reading.
As it was, they ended up Flooing into a Receival room at Gringotts at ten minutes to ten o’clock, early enough to ensure all was as it should be, but not too early to be potentially drawn into any discussions or dramas as the Headmaster was want to do. Harry worried that Dumbledore would attempt some kind of stunt, or manipulate the situation in some fashion that would mean all that he had done and planned this past week would be for nought. Not to mention he would be landed back at the Dursley’s.
As it was, Mr Lexicor came to his rescue, a protective hand landing on his right shoulder, leading him away from the Headmaster and further into the bank towards the meeting rooms.
Harry was surprised, and not, by the people who had been summoned to the reading. He had a feeling one person was absent who should be here, being his Godfather. There was no way that the man wouldn’t have been included in the Will. He supposed Pettigrew would also have been included, but he hardly cared about that.
That Molly Weasley was there confused him as he didn’t believe his parents would have had much to do with the woman or her family but for their work with Dumbledore during the last war. If there was any relationship there, it had certainly not been mentioned to him, which kind of ticked him off a little more. Either that or Dumbledore had brought the woman to in some way handle him.
That thought did more than tick him off.
He took the seat that Mr Lexicor pointed out to him, the lawyer taking the one beside him. On his other side was an empty chair which everyone steered clear of for some reason. Harry was just happy no one was trying to influence him for once.
At ten o’clock precisely, the doors to the room opened once more and the Potter Account Manager, Slyhammer, entered the room carrying a small ornately carved chest accompanied by five other goblins. Slyhammer took the seat next to Harry while the other goblins, who looked more like warriors than bankers, took up posts by the doors and behind himself and Slyhammer.
Harry smirked to himself at the look on Dumbledore’s face at their presence.
“We are here today to see to the very overdue reading of the Last Will and Testament of the late Mr and Mrs James and Lily Potter, nee Evans. Everyone take their seats,” Slyhammer called to the room, his tone brooking no arguments or backchat. The glare he threw Dumbledore’s way was just icing in Harry’s opinion.
“Due to the officially noted Executor’s absence in duty, Harry Potter, only child and heir of the Deceased has called for the forced Reading of the Potter Will. Those here today are those mentioned in the Will. Madam Weasley, you are not mentioned, and as such you will remove yourself from these chambers.” The Goblin looked at the Weasley Matriarch as if scolding a recalcitrant child.
“I’m here as support for Harry. No one here has done that for him. Let me stay to comfort him.” Mrs Weasley pleaded with watery eyes that spoke of manipulation.
“As per Mr Potter’s wishes,” Mr Lexicor stood up, “he has stated he wishes to see this through on his own terms. Though he thanks you for your intentions.”
Molly looked directly at him, affecting a heartbroken stare. Harry schooled his face to a sport a small smile, and he nodded to her as she was prodded out by one of the goblin guards.
“That was unkind, Harry,” Dumbledore spoke up, giving Harry a disappointed frown.
Harry barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes at the headmaster.
“It was very unkind of you to bring someone into these chambers whom you knew would be removed, all in an attempt to manipulate my client,” Mr Lexicor stated mildly in return, not even deigning to look at Dumbledore.
“If we may begin, gentlemen,” Slyhammer smirked at the lawyer as he placed the wooden chest on the table in front of Harry. “To override the Executor seals, we will need a blood sample.” Mr Lexicor produced the athame he had shown Harry earlier that morning, and doing as he had been instructed, he winced as he sliced his index finger open on the razor-sharp blade. As the blood welled, he quickly pushed the finger onto the carved knot in the centre of the chest’s lid. The blood was absorbed into the wood, and with a muted flash the chest cracked open. Harry pulled his hand back to see his finger had also been healed of any trace of the cut.
Mr Lexicor took the athame back, casting a heavy duty Scorgify to remove any trace of his blood. It paid to be careful with anyone’s blood.
Slyhammer lifted the chests lid open and removed the handful of letters and documents that were bound by a single black ribbon. The first and thickest document was the will, Harry could see, and it was that one that Slyhammer opened and began.
“These are the last words, the Will and Testament of James and Lily Potter, Baron and Baroness de Colvill.”
The legalese confused Harry, and he only kept half an ear listening as it droned on for what seemed an hour or more. He would have to have Mr Lexicor explain it to him later. It was only as they came to the division of assets that Harry perked up again, listening as the people in attendance were awarded mementoes and bequests.
“To our beloved son Harry, we leave all that we have to our name and all the love we can give you. Know that we will always love you and be proud of you no matter what you choose. Should our death precede your coming of age, the choice and order of guardians are as follows: in the first instance we chose to have Frank and Alice Longbottom, should they be unable, next should be Sirius Black. Should he also be unavailable, Minerva McGonagall is our choice. Under no circumstances should Harry be placed with Petunia and Vernon Dursley.”
Harry almost choked at the last line, the knowledge that his parents knew and didn’t trust the Dursley’s was a hard truth to take. That Professor McGonagall was to be his guardian filled him with hope and sadness. Had she refused him, all those years ago?
No, judging by the shock on her face and her pale as a ghost expression, she had not even been aware of the responsibility. He watched in amusement however as the witch quickly turned an alarming shade of red as she rounded on the Headmaster. “What have you done to me?” she growled, barely keeping her seat. “Why do I only remember them asking me now. Did you memory charm me?” she demanded.
It was at this stage that Amelia Bones straightened in her chair and focused on the interaction between Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress.
“We can discuss this upon our return to Hogwarts.” Harry heard Dumbledore murmur, the attempt at subtleness was wasted as everyone in the room was now listening.
“We will not. You will answer me right now. Did you or did you not charm me to forget my responsibilities to Mr Potter? And if I hear so much as the beginnings of your saying it was for the ‘Greater Good’ I will hex you where you sit.”
“At the time we were still at war. I had to consider the safety of the child in light of that magical war.”
“No Albus Dumbledore,” Mr Lexicor fixed Albus Dumbledore with a scathing glare, “you did not have to consider such things. You did not have to consider such things as you had no right to do so. You had nothing to do with it. None of your titles or duties gave you the authority to act in this situation. What gave you the right to interfere in the custody of a one-year-old child? What gave you the authority to impede the legal rights of this child and to ignore his parent’s wishes and legal instructions, of which you were entrusted to carry out?”
The silence was almost deafening, the occupants of the room hardly daring to breathe lest they miss something.
“Voldemort is out there as we speak, Harry is in danger as long as he is still alive. The-“
“I will ask you again, Mr Dumbledore, what gave you the right to interfere in a matter that has nothing to do with you? Not legally, not through your role as a Headmaster of Hogwarts, not through your role as the Head Mugwump of the Wizengamont, and not as a member of the ICW. What gave you the right?”
“James and Lily trusted me to-“
“You were not mentioned in the Will as an option for Guardian. Nor anywhere else but for a bequeathed Gringotts vault and your role as Executor of the will.”
“In the final days of the war, they requested of me to keep them safe. The Fidelius charm was used, I cast it myself, though they were unfortunate in their choice of Secret Keeper.” Dumbledore frowned sadly. “There were more discussions and contingencies that they confided in me, they must not have been able to update their Will.”
“We have no way to prove what you say is true,” The lawyer crossed his arms resolutely, “which is why we will follow their request to the letter in the last legal Will they made and updated. You have overstepped your authority, and due to your lack of care, you have seen to it that Harry Potter is ill-prepared for his life amongst his magical peers, and is in fact not of sound health due to your lack of regard. Did you even once check on the boy to check his health?”
Harry shrunk in on himself, this was the part he was not looking forward to.
“I have devices in my office that monitored his health and his safety,” Dumbledore said primly, perfectly confident in his response.
“In your office? Where you spend how much of your time, considering your responsibilities to the Wizengamont and the ICW. No, your lack of monitoring has seen great injustice done against my client, but that will have to be resolved another day and within a courtroom. For now, I would like to see to the removal of my client from the so-called guardians you have placed him with, Petunia and Vernon Dursley, of which the Potter’s Will expressly forbid.”
There was much grumbling in the room as that revelation was revealed. People were starting to give Dumbledore the stink eye.
“Now that I am once more aware of my duty, I would be more than happy to welcome Harry into my home and protection,” Professor McGonagall said warmly, not without throwing another glare at Dumbledore in the meantime.
“I’m sure that will be fine Minerva, but I’ll have to insist that the Child Welfare office will need to be called in to make sure everything goes smoothly,” Amelia stated, quill and parchment already out as she wrote down some notes. “Hopefully we can get that all squared away today, as long as Harry is happy with that?”
The head of the DMLE finally turned to Harry to get his bead on things. Harry was just happy that someone actually remembered he was in the room and old enough to have an opinion.
“I think I’d like that,” Harry smiled at McGonagall, he had to admit, out of all the people he would have picked, he hadn’t actually thought of her. He kicked himself for it now as he could see that she could potentially be an excellent choice for a guardian, if not for her being incredibly strict.
“Harry, remember what we’ve talked about. The blood protections at the Dursley’s have been the only thing keeping you and your family safe. They need to be recharged each year, or you’ll all be in danger.” Dumbledore implored of him.
“Did you forget that Voldemort took my blood that night?” Harry asked rudely, frown marring his face. “Those blood wards are useless now that he has my blood running through his veins. Besides, frankly, I’m tired of the abuse I’ve received from the Dursleys, not that you’ve ever cared about that. I’m sure Madame Pomfrey told you all about it. But it was funny, after the first time I was in the Infirmary, it was like she forgot all about it.”
Amelia’s expression seemed to grow even stormier as she took more notes as quick as she could.
“No. I’ll not go back to the Dursley’s. I haven’t even been there this whole week, not that you’ve noticed. I’d much rather a guardian who actually cares about my wellbeing. I’m sure Professor McGonagall is more than capable of protecting me, not that I’ve exactly needed it before this as Voldemort hasn’t actually had a body or been active.” Harry huffed, sitting back down again. He wasn’t even sure when he stood.
Mr Lexicor patted him on the shoulder consolingly. “Master Slyhammer, is there anything further that needs to be discussed in regards to the Will?”
It was another half an hour later before the Will reading was finally over and all the attendees began dispersing with their letters and mementoes.
Dumbledore was shuffled out by the guards without the chance to approach Slyhammer, the lawyer or Harry, for which Harry was very grateful.
Amelia and McGonagall were the last remaining attendees in the room, and they approached once the room was emptied.
“If I may, Master Slyhammer, I’ll need to have this posted as soon as possible so we can resolve Mr Potter’s guardian arrangement.”
“Of course, Madam Bones.” Slyhammer nodded for one of the guards to take it. It was handed to another waiting goblin outside who would see it owled away.
“Mr Potter,” McGonagall asked hesitantly, the first time Harry had ever seen her not act like the confident and strong witch that she was. “Can you forgive me for not taking you in when I should have?”
“I hardly see how it is your fault, Professor. You were blocked from the truth just as everyone else has been. The fact that you were so quick to take me in now is a relief, actually.”
“Of course I would, Mr Potter. Please, call me Minerva, or Aunt Min if you like. It was what your father was trying to teach you to call me when I visited.” Minerva smiled at the memory.
“Please call me Harry,” Harry returned.
“Of course, Harry. I shall have to get used to that,” she smiled at him, “We’ll make some kind of arrangement for when school resumes. Hopefully, that won’t confuse the issue too much more.”
“I’m sure it will.” Harry laughed. “But we’ll get there.”
They were interrupted from going any further by the arrival of another witch in plain brown robes, flyaway dark hair and glasses who carried an armful of folders and parchments.
“Mr Potter, Madame McGonagall, may I introduce Ms Amberley from Wizarding Child Services.” Amelia did the introductions.
Slyhammer motioned them to take a seat once more at the large conference table, taking a seat himself next to Harry again. Just before the doors closed again, all but one guard left the room, the last guarding the door.
“Thank you for meeting us so quickly, Ms Amberley.” McGonagall acknowledged pleasantly.
“It’s a pleasure to see you again, Professor.” The woman smiled in return. “Mr Potter, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Harry smiled, not sure what else to say.
“There shouldn’t be too much of a hold up with transferring custody. I couldn’t find any documentation showing Mr Potter’s case file or original transfer to the Dursley’s custody. It will be a part of the investigation if Professor Dumbledore actually lodged any. In any case, the files we need to be filled out are here. From there it will be a matter of inspecting the expected home for Mr Potter. Mr Lexicor, with your client’s permission we would also like a copy of the medical files so that we can investigate charging the Dursley’s.”
At Harry’s nod, the lawyer agreed that his assistant would send the appropriate documents.
“Will you intend to press charges yourselves against Professor Dumbledore? Or the Dursley’s?”
Both Mr Leixcor and Minerva looked to Harry to gauge his response.
“I’m not too fussed about the Dursley’s. Their only goal in life is to be normal, as normal as muggles can be and I upset that balance for them. Dudley is a nasty boy, and I imagine he will get his comeuppance in the near future. I’ll admit at one time to being very interested in the idea of revenge on them, but now, I just want to forget they exist.
“Dumbledore, I do. But I also know it will be infinitely harder, seeing as he’s so fond of his machinations and manipulations. That’s something I’ll be discussing with Minerva and Mr Lexicor in the very near future.” Yes, Harry had plans for Dumbledore.
“Feel free to include the Wizarding Child Welfare department in any action you take now and in the future, we’ll be more than happy to aid you.”
The next few minutes saw a ridiculous amount of paperwork shuffled around the large table as everyone read and signed the various documents for the custody. When that was finally done Harry was grateful to stand and stretch his legs.
“If you don’t mind, the last thing we’ll need to do today will be to inspect the home for suitability.” Ms Amberley stood with her satchel packed once more and a clipboard now in her hands.
“Mr Potter, if you won’t be needing me any longer, I’ll be getting back to the offices. I’ll look into that matter for you. Floo the office when you wish to make an appointment.” The lawyer also stood, his briefcase packed.
“Yes, thank you for all your help, Mr Lexicor. I’ll be sure to see you soon.” Harry acknowledged, shaking the man’s hand.
“You are very welcome, Mr Potter. Good luck in your new home.” The man saw himself out, leaving just Slyhammer with them.
“Thank you for your time today, Master Slyhammer. My guardian and I will be in contact soon to go through the estate properly. Is tomorrow still suitable?” Harry asked, a quick glance at the Professor confirming the next day would be okay.
“Tomorrow morning will be amenable. We thank you for your patronage.” Slyhammer gave them a slight nod before leading them out the meeting room and back towards the Floo room they had entered through. “You are more than welcome to use our Floo, as I understand secrecy is still a concern, Mr Potter.”
“Thank you. We appreciate it. Until tomorrow.” The Goblin nodded again and left them to it.
“After you,” Ms Amberley motioned, and Harry waited for his new guardian to pick up the Floo Powder and give the address.
For a split moment, Harry had the justified fear that she was about to call out Hogwarts, but he was relieved to hear her call something different.
They soon all traipsed through the Floo and out the other side to a beautiful room that reminded him of Hogwarts castle, but it had a very different air to it. It didn’t feel anywhere as ancient as Hogwarts did with all its ambient magic. Instead, it had the feel of a very old castle rich with heritage.
“Welcome to Castle Holm, Harry. I hope you like your new home.”
“Thank you, Pro- Uh, Minerva. I’m sure I’ll be very happy here with you.”
“Professor, I understand you weren’t aware you would be taking Harry in today, so I understand you will not have anything prepared as of yet.”
“Correct, but I already have a room in mind for Harry.”
“Carry on then, please professor, ignore that I’m here. I’m sure everything will be fine, and I’ll be out of here before you know it.” Ms Amberley said with a nervous smile.
“Very well,” Minerva frowned a moment but shook her head and resolved to do as the woman suggested.
“Welcome home, Mistress.” A squeaky voice said, the female little house elf stood proudly in a clean and well-kept green tartan pillowcase. “Can Pippy do anything for Mistress’ guests?”
“Thank you Pippy, but young Harry will not be a guest, he will be my ward.” McGonagall had knelt down to speak with the elf.
“Pippy understands, Mistress. Pippy and all the elves with follow Master Harry’s orders as if they was yours. Pippy is very glad Master Harry comes. Mistress’ castle is so quiet; Master Harry will cheer all the elves.”
“I’m glad you understand. I’m sure Mr Potter will create lots of mischief to keep you busy if he’s anything like his father.” McGonagall smirked over at Harry, who blushed.
“You know I don’t mean to, Professor. Trouble just keeps finding me.” Harry rubbed the back of his head nervously.
“I am fully aware, Harry. And I’m sure the Headmaster has had his share of stirring that particular cauldron, so I in no way think it is your fault or blame you.”
Harry smiled, relieved that someone in the world actually believed him.
“Now, how about we show Harry to his bedroom. I think the one across from my own should be quite suitable.” Minerva stood up again and led Harry and Ms Amberley out of the Floo room and through the sizeable castle. Harry felt like he was walking through Gryffindor tower with how warm and welcoming the castle was, the corridors filled with plush rugs, paintings and tapestries showing colourful battles and beautiful countryside. The lower floor opened into a large entryway with gigantic double doors leading outside. The sweeping grand staircase led up to the second and third floors, from what he could see. Minerva led them to the second floor and down a large wide corridor. Pippy was already standing in front of the open doorway.
“This is my room,” Minerva pointed to the doorway behind them. “You may enter anytime you wish, though calling Pippy will probably be quicker to find me.”
She stood back and motioned for Harry to precede her into the open room, the two ladies standing back and allowing Harry to explore for himself.
The room was three times as large as the second bedroom at the Dursley’s and Dudley’s room put together. The bed was a large four poster, even bigger than the one he slept on in the dorm. The large windows overlooked the rolling countryside and coast, making that Harry’s favourite feature so far. Luckily the room wasn’t dressed in the typical gold and maroon of Gryffindor tower. Instead, it had some blues and greens mixed with the gold that Harry was very pleased with. Two doorways led into a bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, both ridiculously large and what he imagined expensive hotels to look like.
“This is amazing,” Harry said with wonder.
“I hope you like it. You can change anything you wish.” Minerva said, the ghost of a smile on her face.
“It’s perfect as it is,” Harry smiled brightly back. It was finally space that was given to him freely, not a room he was shoved into as the burden that he was. It was his and therefore perfect as it was.
“Good, I hope you’ll be happy here.” Minerva smiled in return, relieved. “Pocky!”
A small elf popped quietly into the room in front of the Professor. She looked quite young, in comparison to some of the other elves that he had seen, but he could see a resemblance to Pippy and had to wonder.
“How may Pocky be helping, Mistress?” The small elf squeaked.
“Pocky, I was wondering, with your mother’s permission,” Minerva looked to Pippy who saw she had tears running down her face as her smile beamed uncontrollably, “if you would be willing to serve as Master Harry’s private elf.”
The elf’s eyes seemed to bulge in shock, tears coming to her eyes. “Pocky would like that very very very much, Mistress. Very much indeed.”
“Very well, Harry, may I introduce Pocky, who shall be your personal elf.” Minerva barely kept the tears from her own eyes as she watched Harry and the elf acquaint themselves with each other.
“Hi Pocky,” Harry knelt down in front of the elf.
“It’s a pleasure to serve you, Master Harry.” The elf fairly beamed in happiness as she looked up adoringly at her new Master. “Is there anything Pocky can do for her Master?”
“I’m sorry. Not at the moment. But I will soon. I’ll need to get my things from where I have been staying.”
“Yes, we should see your relatives and advise them of the changes.” Minerva surmised, thinking of the arrangement that would need to be made.
“Uh, no. I’ve not actually been staying with them for more than a week,” Harry advised, an embarrassed flush to his cheeks as he knew the Professor would not be impressed. He wasn’t surprised.
“And just where have you been staying, Mr Potter, if not with your previous legal guardians.” Minerva almost growled.
“At the Leaky Cauldron. I had an arrangement with Tom there. He has been keeping an eye on me.”
“Hmm.” Was all that Minerva said, her displeasure still evident on her face. “Very well, we shall collect your things from The Leaky Cauldron, and I shall have a word with Mr Tom.”
“To be fair, I made a very convincing case. I really did not want to go back to the Dursley’s. I’m not sure what my uncle would have done if I had been sent back here again.”
McGonagall observed him for a moment, her mind going twenty to the dozen. “Have you been to a Healer during your time staying in Diagon Alley?”
“Yes, I did. I have the results in my trunk and a copy with Mr Lexicor.”
“Will you permit me to view these results?”
“Yeah, if you like.” Harry blushed again.
“I plan to take my duty seriously, Mr Potter,” Minerva stated; it was something she wanted him to know as fact.
“I know, it’s just strange for someone to take that kind of interest in me,” Harry explained.
Minerva’s heart broke at that statement as she could see that Harry believed it too. “Well, get used to it quickly, Harry. It shan’t be changing in the future. You may be over two hundred years of age, and I shall still be taking that interest in you.” She said brusquely, casting a quick tempus to check the time.
“Shall we go there now and retrieve your things?”
Minerva led them back through the castle to the Floo room where Ms Amberley advised she had completed the check and would be returning to the office to file the paperwork. Once the young woman had stepped through the fire Minerva stepped up to the Floo, enunciating clearly the directions to the Pub, they stepped out moments later into the bustling floor room of the Leaky Cauldron.
Minerva cut a swathe through the room, people easily getting out of her way as she walked up to the bar to speak with the barkeep.
“Harry!” Tom smiled cheerfully at him, “How did the reading go?”
“Well, thank you, Tom. I’m glad to say that I’ll be out of your hair now so you can relax.”
“Thank Merlin for that. It was giving me an ulcer, worrying about you staying here by your lonesome.” The barman looked to Minerva, “A pleasure to see you, Professor. Are you here to take Harry to his new guardians?”
“I am his new guardian,” She said proudly, sending a fond smile to Harry.
“I am right glad to hear that. You’ll be in safe and loving hands staying with the professor, Harry.” Tom cheered. “So, you’re here to check out then?”
“Yes, thank you we are.”
“Righty-oh. Well, you go on up and pack, I’ll get your bill all squared away.”
“Thanks, Tom,” Harry waved as he headed upstairs, Minerva following, and into the room he had stayed in.
It only took the work of a few minutes to pack the few things that had been kept out and used from his trunk. With Minerva’s help, he shrunk down Hedwig’s perch and placed it in the trunk. A quick call to Pocky had the trunk removed and sent to his new home. Harry and Minerva returned to the bar and settled the bill with Tom, and made to leave the Tavern.
“Is there anything you would like or need to do while we are here?” the Professor asked, strolling down the Alley with Harry as her side.
“Uh, I had wanted to replace my backpack with a magical one. I meant to do that the other day, before the attack.”
“The Dementor attack in the Alley,” she asked sharply.
“Yeah, they attacked Draco and me.” Harry sighed. “I have a hearing on Wednesday, I would appreciate it if you came. They said that I was expelled.”
“Poppycock.” She snorted, “No that shall not be the case. You have spoken to Mr Lexicor about this already, haven’t you?”
“Yes, I have an appointment with him tomorrow afternoon to go through the details.”
“Excellent. Then there is no need to worry about it further. All has been sorted. What kind of bag were you thinking of?”
An hour later, they left the Magical Luggage shop in possession of a new trunk and a new satchel both with permanent Feather Weight charms and magical expansion that would make even Hermione jealous. Pocky once again was on hand to see that they were returned to the castle. They wandered a little longer, stopping into the magical menagerie and topping up on some treats for Hedwig before resolving to head home again.
That night, for his first dinner at the castle and his new home, the house elves went all out and made a magnificent feast that was entirely way too much food for just the two of them. Harry invited the elves to join them in their meal, much to the nervous excitement of the elves, all twenty-three of them. Minerva could only sit back in amusement as she watched her new charge interact and spellbind all the elves, following his every move and word. Already she could see that they loved and adored him, something that she could see happening wherever Harry went. A marvellous and perfect mix of both his father’s charm and his mother’s care.
Already she could see the man that he was growing up to be, and she couldn’t be prouder.
“I have reviewed the information you gave me, Mr Potter, as well as the letter and case as it stands. There isn’t very much that needs discussing before tomorrow, your memories were very self-explanatory. This is supposedly your second infraction; might I ask what the first was?”
Harry could only roll his eyes with a huff. “That wasn’t actually me. Dobby the house elf, one of Lord Malfoy’s then elves tried to warn me from attending my second year at Hogwarts and sought to garner my promise while holding hostage a cake my aunt had made up in the air.”
“So, in that case, it was simply magic done within the household that was attributed to you.”
“Was anything further done about the instance?”
“Not to my knowledge, no.” Harry looked to Minerva, but she shook her head as well, not knowing.
“Not to worry. We can ascertain that tomorrow.” Mr Lexicor stroked his chin as though a beard were still there. “I will need you to be ready tomorrow to be asked a lot of silly questions. From what I’ve heard through the grapevine, Fudge himself will be presiding over the trial, and that it will be conducted in Courtroom Ten.”
Minerva snorted inelegantly, “Does he really mean to create such a spectacle?”
“I believe it might pertain to a greater goal, Madame McGonagall. It has come to my knowledge that the current media smear campaign against Mr Potter seems to be sanctioned by Fudge. He may attempt to use this opportunity to publicly discredit Mr Potter, to what end, I do not know.” Mr Lexicor shrugged unhappily.
“I can tell you right now why. He refuses to believe that Voldemort has returned. He would have the public uninformed and under protected.”
“I see,” the Lawyer appeared thoughtful, leaning back in his chair. “As this is something you feel quite passionately about as well, perhaps we can spin this farce of a trial to our advantage and manipulate the proceedings to validate your statement.”
Harry sat up in attention, this was exactly what he had wanted to do. “Do you think we can?”
“Leave it all up to me.”
A few more memories were deposited before Harry and Minerva exited the office. In the waiting room, Harry was surprised to see Draco seated there looking out the window.
“Draco!” Harry rushed over to the young man, sitting next to him. “How are you after the attack?”
“I’m fine, Potter. Nothing to worry about.”
“And you weren’t seen? It didn’t get back to your parents?”
“No, they were completely unaware I had left the Manor. No Aurors have come to question me, so we seemed to have dodged that hex.” Draco flicked a glance up and down at him, “And you are well I see.”
“Mr Malfoy, a pleasure to see you.” Minerva greeted them, quite curious.
“Professor McGonagall, a pleasure to see you also.” Draco gave a courteous nod.
“Are you here to see Mr Lexicor?” Harry queried.
“No, to make an appointment. Which I have done. I was waiting on you.” Draco stood up, brushing off invisible lint from his robes.
“We were heading to Gringotts next, Mr Malfoy, if you wished to join us,” Minerva advised, keeping her shock to herself as much as she could.
“Thank you, Professor, but I believe I should not be seen in your and Potter’s company until my business with Mr Lexicor has been concluded,” Draco said evasively.
“Of course, Mr Malfoy,” Minerva nodded, not surprised.
“I take it you will be speaking with Gringotts about your Estate and Title?”
“I believe so.”
“The Professor should be a more than able teacher for your deportment and estate. You are more than welcome to owl me of course.”
“Hmm. Good day, Professor, Potter.” Draco gave a short bow to them both before leaving out the door before them.
“Good day, Slyhammer. May your Gold flow freely.” Harry gave the proper greeting, holding eye contact and not bowing. He had been reading.
“Good day to you, Mr Potter. May our business be profitable.” The Goblin didn’t mention it, but Harry could tell that he was proud of the young man’s conduct.
“May I introduce my guardian, Lady Minerva McGonagall.”
“May your gold flow like the river Nile.” Minerva greeted the goblin, hand over her chest.
“And may your vaults overflow.” Slyhammer returned, “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
“Thank you for seeing us so quickly. I’m sorry we’ve manipulated all your time over the last week.” Harry sat in the waiting chair and poured the tea from the awaiting tea set.
Minerva raised her eyebrow at that but said nothing.
“Not at all, Mr Potter. Having someone interested in the affairs of their accounts will be a blessing, we can finally, properly, invest as I have been without direction for too long, and unable to make any changes as the market has changed.”
“My apologies, if I had known sooner,” Harry trailed off, handing the tea out.
“It is past. We can look forward to a prosperous and profitable future. The first matter that I bring to your attention is, of course, the matter of your succession as the patriarch of the Potter Family. We will perform an inheritance test that should clearly state what you stand to inherit and any estate that you can claim. To do this, we will need your blood on this parchment.”
Slyhammer produced the parchment and passed it across the desk towards Harry. Minerva produced a charmed, intricately carved athame from a pocket belt at her hip. Considering the pocket on the outside looked to be only three inches by three, Harry discovered something new that he decided he would like very much.
Nicking his finger, he held the bloody digit over the parchment and allowed the blood to drip down onto it. Five drops had fallen before his finger healed over, magically, and the parchment started drawing on itself.
They all three watched it avidly as an ornately cursive script began writing. It was a few minutes before it finally stopped. Harry looked to the adults in the room to actually explain just what it was that he was reading.
Minerva sat shocked as she read over the parchment, she was sure one or two of those titles had been thought extinct even for the Magical world.
Slyhammer cleared his throat, picking up the parchment he began, “Titles that your blood will be able to claim are the Ancient and Noble House of Potter, the Ancient and Noble House of Peverell, the Ancient and Noble House de Colville, and the Noble House of Partridge.”
Harry frowned, “But I’m a Potter, where did the other houses come from?”
“It might be that your magic is strong enough to claim them, that you would be the first in some time to claim some of these. Your ancestors may have originally been from these other houses and married into each other, and when that occurred their children had the opportunity to claim them, if they were able. Some of these houses were thought extinct,” Slyhammer looked over the list thoughtfully. “Luckily for you, a House must be extinct for over fifteen hundred years before the vault is closed and the contents absorbed by Gringotts. Most of these houses should have only gone extinct in the last few centuries, a millennium at most.”
“Okay,” Harry said uncertainly. “What does that actually mean, though?”
“A great many things, Mr Potter, however, my most pressing concern is of course that most of these houses are written in red ink, meaning that you are able to claim them, but a condition must be met. I shall procure the necessary paperwork to see it being resolved.”
Harry and Minerva looked at each other in confusion as the Goblin left the room and them to themselves.
“I will admit, Harry. This is highly irregular. I had no idea that some of these houses could even be claimed. It shall be very interesting indeed.”
“But what about the conditions, that sounds a little strange, doesn’t it?” Harry scratched at his pants.
“It is very strange.” Minerva frowned. “But we shall have it resolved in due course. Slyhammer is a very respected and hardworking Goblin, I believe we can trust him and his judgement.”
“Yes, of course, I just wonder what I need to do. Do you know of any conditions for these kinds of things?”
“I imagine being male,” she snorted, “is usually one such condition. Titles are usually past through the males in a family. It seems being of a certain magical strength is another such condition.”
“I guess so,” Harry conceded that that was logical.
Slyhammer returned a few minutes later, two more Goblins following him into the room.
“Mr Potter, Lady McGonagall, may I introduce Ragnarok, the leader of the Horde, and the Director of Gringotts.”
Harry immediately stood, along with Minerva, fist pressed to their chest. “It is an honour to meet you, Ragnarok. May your vaults overflow.”
Minerva echoed as they kept their eyes averted, the one time when it actually appropriate to show difference.
“Mr Potter, Lady McGonagall, may your profits ever increase,” Ragnarok said gruffly as he conjured a seat for himself and took a seat.
“And may I also introduce Sharpfang, a Healer of the horde of great reputation.”
They echoed the appropriate greetings and were soon all seated.
“May I ask why you’ve brought a healer back with you?” Minerva worried her bottom lip, her hands fidgeting. “Is there something wrong?”
“Indeed, it seems like there might be,” Ragnarok replied looking directly at Harry, “Mr Potter when was the last time you attended a healer.”
“Ah, only last week. It was the first time I had ever attended one, except for the infirmary at Hogwarts, but I’m sure Dumbledore charmed the Mediwitch there, so she kept forgetting if there was anything to report about my health.”
Minerva clenched her fist at the reminder. There was much she would be visiting on Dumbledore, and this was one of the first items on her agenda.
“And this healer you saw; do you know what kind of diagnostics he cast on you?”
“No, unfortunately, I don’t. I have the report from him here in my bag if you would like to see it.”
“That will be unnecessary.” Slyhammer waived it away.
“The healer we have today is one which deals primarily with the mind arts.”
Minerva frowned again.
“You would liken them to a mind healer, Lady McGonagall. There will be no harm done here today.”
“Then what is it you think you shall find,” she demanded.
“Pardon me,” She spat, almost leaving her chair in indignation.
“Ragnarok is quite correct, Lady McGonagall. There is reason to believe one exists, and considering Mr Potter’s scar and the fact that it has hardly healed since it was first inflicted, I am likely to think it is located there.”
Minerva sat back in her chair, shell-shocked. “Dear Merlin and Morgana.”
“A Horcrux? What is that?” Harry queried, wondering why everyone was so aghast.
“A Horcrux is a portion of a soul which has been ritually severed and placed in a vessel, most normally an inanimate object. A mortal price is paid for this severance.”
“And you think there’s one in my head?” Harry frowned, thinking about it. “First year, whenever Quirrell’s back faced me I would get a pain in my scar. For the longest time, I thought it was because of Professor Snape. But it was Voldemort attached to the back of his head that was doing it.”
“I had no idea you were in such a position,” Minerva placed a hand on his shoulder. “I want to say I wish you would have told me.”
Harry just gave a small smile in return.
“The next thing we must arrange before anything else can be done is to arrange for its removal.”
“It can be removed then? I’m afraid I have little knowledge on the subject,” Minerva admitted.
“Do you think Dumbledore knew?” Harry asked with all the appearance of innocence, except for the fact it wasn’t.
Minerva growled to herself, the thought now in her mind, she was sure that he was aware of it.
“Yes. I’m not sure for wizarding magic, but Goblin magic has managed this feat before. We can have a circle gathered this afternoon and have this taken care of as soon as possible. I would prefer that we not wait any further, now that Voldemort is now corporeal and returned.”
“Thank you very much for this service,” Minerva said earnestly.
“You are welcome. In the meantime, I suggest you ritually cleanse yourself in preparation for the ritual.” The Healer left the room, leaving Ragnarok and Slyhammer still in the room.
“As to the matter of your potential accounts, I will be working directly with Ragnarok once they have been claimed and help oversee your investments.”
“Thank you for your personal attention.”
“Yes well, you will hold three of the largest vaults that Gringott’s has, I’m making it my business that our strongest client remains as such. And I find myself curious what you will do young man. The Wizards aren’t the only ones that have made prophecies about you, young man.”
“There are prophecies about me?” Harry felt like he just kept repeating what everyone said in the form of a question, there was just so much that he didn’t know.
“Yes, I am aware there are several about yourself and potentially those around you if you hold much stock in such things.”
“And you do,” Harry pressed.
“I find myself in a position that means I must.” Ragnarok evaded with a smirk that looked more like a snarl.
“We can attend the Ministry and look into this Harry,” Minerva advised, quite curious herself. She knew there was more to Dumbledore’s plans than just guesswork.
“Slyhammer will show you to Gringott’s ritual baths in preparation for the ritual. We will conclude our business after Mr Potter has recovered.”
After washing in a rose quartz bath, he was handed a plain white cotton robe that was thankfully thick enough that it couldn’t be seen through. He was led out into a massive cavern, the size of a football field, that was ringed in concentric circles by large stone pillars in various forms of quartz. He was led to the very centre where an enormous altar of clear quartz crystal sat surrounded by the goblin conclave who were already chanting.
The Goblin healer led him up and to lay on the altar, and then the ritual began. After the fact, he could barely remember any of what happened and the battle that was found within his head. Only at the time did it feel like the pain and the war would never end. Four hours later he was released from the ritual circle, cold, shaking and exhausted.
Minerva was there outside the circle ready with a warm blanket that she wrapped around his shoulders and sent a few heating charms on top of that.
Back in Slyhammer’s office he was bundled up on a conjured settee and plied with various restorative potions. He was barely awake when Ragnarok came back in, but he made an effort to sit at attention and listen to as much as he could.
“I understand from your guardian that you have a Ministry hearing in the morning, so I apologise that we must continue our business now, instead of a later time,” Ragnarok advised.
“Yeah, probably a good idea. I have no idea what ridiculous crap they might throw at me, but it’s better that I be as prepared as I can be.”
“My thoughts exactly,” Ragnarok replied, Minerva nodded as well. “Very well, we will need another Inheritance test to make sure that all the conditions have been met and cleared.”
Harry took the athame from Minerva again and gave his five drops of blood over the parchment. As before, there were a few minutes while it drew itself before the ornate cursive began.
This time there were seven titles.
The Ancient and Noble House of Gryffindor, and the Ancient and Noble House of Slytherin.
Minerva looked as if she might faint when Ragnarok read out the two new names, nestled at the top in bold black writing.
Ragnarok seemed to hide his shock well, but Slyhammer almost seemed to start rocking in his chair with glee at the accounts that would soon come under his purview.
“So,” Ragnarok cleared his throat, “the most senior account and the first I recommend you claim would be the Most Ancient and Noble House of Peverell.”
“I’ve never heard of it,” Harry admitted.
“Unfortunately, every magical child who grew up in the magical world probably does. It’s possibly a better known name than yours, Harry,” Minerva explained. “It’s a children’s tale about three brothers who cheated death for a time. This might be the most contested title of all,” Minerva said to Ragnarok.
“They will have no recourse for contention. If the magic settles, then it is final.”
“As you say,” Minerva sighed.
Ragnarok wrote a note and placed it on one of the Runes on the desk. A second later it vanished, replaced a few moments later by a small plain chest that fairly dripped in magic. Harry watched as the chest was moved to sit in front of him.
“The chest will only open for the Patriarch of the Peverell family. Place your index finger on the coat of arms, and it will open if you can claim the title at this time.” Ragnarok instructed, sitting back to watch.
At Harry’s touch the room seemed to ripple with a wave of magic that was released, the lid raising with a creak. Harry reached inside and pulled a box out, the first thing his hand encountered.
Opening the plain black hand sized box, it revealed a simple mariner chain bracelet in a strange pinkish type metal. Picking it up out of the box, he could feel the magic that was imbued in it.
“Several thousand years ago, rings were not so common as symbols of nobility or patriarchy. Instead, some of the earliest houses had war bracelets, unable to be removed unless willingly done by the wearer and can only be worn by those deemed acceptable to the family magic. One of the reasons rings I believe were made and worn over the last millennia or so, as they were not created with pure family magic and therefore don’t have the same constraints,” Ragnarok explained as Harry looked over the bracelet.
“A war bracelet?” Harry prodded, more curious about that side of the explanation.
“Well, only the strongest families with the strongest magics were able to create them, and in that time, warfare was much more prevalent. The bracelet could communicate to and command the entire family, any member that had access to the family’s magical well, to do the wearer’s bidding. Something that could only marginally be replicated in the family rings. It is also a magical store, as in the earliest days, there weren’t agreements between wizarding folk and the Goblin Nation, and Gringotts had not yet been established. They were used to store heirlooms and items of value to the family and the user.”
“What kind of metal is that,” Minerva asked, as the pinkish metal was something she had never seen before.
“An ancient ore that was mined by some of the first people on earth. It is orichalcum. An extremely rare metal that was prized above gold and even mithril. It was mined heavily by these people and there is little to no natural deposits left and most of it has been used in one manner or another in their craft.”
Harry knew there had to be more to the story than what Ragnarok was saying, or what he was carefully not saying. But a large yawn interrupted any further thought.
“So, I just put it on then,” Harry confirmed, undoing the clasp.
“Just so.” Ragnarok nodded.
As soon as the clasp was closed he felt an invisible pressure on him, like he was being held down in the chair. He breathed deeply through it, feeling the magic become more apparent as it started to search him, mind, body and soul. A few moments later, the magic settled and seemed to sink into him instead of press on him. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes, not remembering when he closed them.
“The magic has accepted you, Duke Peverell,” Ragnarok gave a feral grin. “Next, de Colville.”
Three rings and two more bracelets later, all of which condensed down to a single platinum ring and platinum bracelet, Harry was now extremely exhausted and barely staying awake. With the bare minimum done to accept the titles, they were handed several chests filled with artefacts and documentation. Beyond the Titles was more information which demonstrated the genealogy of his claim to the Title, which magically expanded the parchment to accommodate that. Harry glanced over the information, seeing that it passed many, many generations before settling on him. He imagined the different coloured text meant something as it had earlier, for why they weren’t chosen by the family magic.
Business done for now, Minerva chivvied him out of the office and allowed to use the Bank’s Floo to return home. As soon as Harry and Minerva arrived back at the castle, Pocky was there at the hearth ready to lead Harry to go directly to bed. Minerva followed them to make sure Harry didn’t stumble and actually got to his room safely.
Once the door was closed, Harry stumbled over to the bed, plonking himself down, blankets and all. He wanted to roll straight into his pillows and sleep but knew he should change his clothes. He warred with himself for nearly a minute before Pocky made the decision for him, snapping her fingers and his clothes were magically swapped for his night clothes.
Seconds later he was out cold.