Author: Radaslab PM
His life was never normal, then it becomes truly abnormal. He must save a world he never cared for, but with others ... he can care. H/Hr and maybe others. Rated M to be safe.Rated: Fiction M - English - Humor/Adventure - Harry P. & Hermione G. - Chapters: 58 - Words: 525,901 - Reviews: 2,562 - Favs: 1,808 - Follows: 2,051 - Updated: 05-21-13 - Published: 07-04-11 - id: 7144149
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DISCLAIMER: That part of this world and those characters you've seen before belong to their Creator: JKR. The rest is mine - although I cannot quit my day job as I make no $$$
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE: FAMILY RELATIONS
TUESDAY, AUGUST 10th 1993
House Longbottom was shocked to say the least. Everyone in the Wizarding World believed that James and Lily Potter had died under the wand of the self proclaimed Lord Voldemort on Halloween night, 1981. Their funeral had been the closest thing to a State funeral in memory. Augusta was shocked to learn that the hallowed graves held the remains of two hogs although the younger people found humor in this. Yet the proof of the vast "prank" stood before them: Lily and James Potter were very much alive.
"How does this affect House Potter?" Neville asked. There was a sadness in his voice. After all, his friend Harry was no longer a true orphan. For all intents and purposes Neville was.
"The title has passed to the next generation," James said. "It passed when we were still in a sort of magical suspension – a state of magical nonexistence. Harry wears the ring as Head of House. As you are well aware, such rings recognize no one but their rightful masters in the eyes of the family magic. I suppose Lils and I are to be viewed as his Councilors. While we haven't used that old title, it is what we have discussed with Harry."
Sirius Black's presence did not shatter such long held beliefs. Aside from Augusta, none of the young people had ever heard of him prior to the moment he made the news as the first person ever to escape Azkaban and the paper had been silent as to his suspected intentions. Harry revealed that the Ministry and others believed that Black escaped with the intent to finish the job that Voldemort had attempted back in the autumn of 1981.
"He has been with us for a little over three weeks if one counts Time Compression," Harry said. "As he is recovering from his stay at that place, he resides on the guest floor at my house at the Farm. Obviously, he harbors no ill intent towards me."
"Can't say the same about some other people," Black almost growled. "Pettigrew is still out there and if I can't kill the rat, I want to see him given my former accommodations. And learning what I have about our beloved leader, Dumbledore…"
"We can discuss this in detail later," Madam Longbottom said. "As it is, we are forced to have a late lunch. We shall proceed to the Veranda, I should think. Likewise, as our talks may well exceed the time we've anticipated, I would recommend we activate our own Time Compression wards before the end of supper. Is that acceptable to House Potter?"
"We'll have our elves pack us some clothes," Harry nodded. "I would request that our elves remain with us to assist?"
"That would be acceptable. Might you introduce them?"
Harry nodded. There were soon eight elves present. "My Head Elf Dobby, formerly an elf of House Malfoy. We have yet to truly tap his knowledge in such regard. Head Elf of the Valley Albert the Younger – my parents' former private estate which is now part of the entire Potter Estate. Head of my House Staff and Butler Higgins. Head of my kitchens Staff Burt. And my wives' Handmaidens and Potter Housemaids Petal, Blossom, Flower, Marigold, and Sunshine." Harry turned to his elves. "Please pack bags with changes of clothes for all of us and yourselves. We will be staying here for a week." With that the elves bowed or curtseyed and popped away.
"We have two other guests joining us," Augusta said. "I'm sure they will agree to remain for the week."
"And I'm sure many of you have met them," Neville added as he then led the way to the Veranda.
They soon exited the House itself and stepped onto a vast veranda that looked over the fields of Neville's farm. Everyone who had met them recognized the guests.
"Grammy! Grampy!" Luna exclaimed and ran to the older couple.
"You're not going away today?" she asked desperately. "I will see you again before school, won't I?"
The older man laughed. "Of course, Little One. We did promise. And Mary and I have made a decision which everyone here should know. Now's a good time?" George Tennyson turned to ask his wife.
"We haven't worked out the full details yet," George said. "For the few here who have not met us, I am George Tennyson and this is my wife Mary. We became George and Mary in 1926 at age eleven, the same year that our prior incarnations, Philip and Charlotte Denson, then aged 95 are believed to have passed away. I was truly born in 1325 and my wife in 1330…"
"You're Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel!" Sirius Black said. "Harry's told us about you, but…"
"At your service," George bowed. "And yes, few would believe it. We seldom reveal ourselves by choice, but if Harry has revealed that much, then of course you know why we have decided to reveal ourselves to certain of our varyingly distant grandchildren at this time. It was our plan to pass from this life to our next incarnation at the end of this summer. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Upon further reflection and while it remains prudent that George and Mary should pass from the world, we believe it to be important that you not lose our experience what with all that you are facing and need to do in the years going forward.
"So to answer our Great-granddaughter's question, regretfully this will be the last time you will see us as George and Mary. Ordinarily, we return at the age to begin magical school…"
"We still can," Mary said.
"Did you the last time? The time we want to change?" Luna asked with fear in her voice.
They nodded. "We were sorted into Hufflepuff," George said.
"What's wrong, Little One?" Mary asked.
"I had a memory uncap about this year," she said. "The Ministry's going to post a bunch of Dementors around the school to try and catch Sirius Black. It won't work. He knows a way to avoid those things. That and things are already very different now since he's already with us and not on the run. But the Ministry doesn't know that and … and three students died. The first will be a girl – a girl who's on her first trip to Hogwarts when the train is stopped and those things are set loose. The other two will be Muggle Borns. I was just worried that…"
"Even as eleven year olds, we would retain all we know," George said, "or at least all we can remember and are quite capable of dealing with those things should they threaten us personally. Naturally, it would not be wise for two eleven year old Muggle Borns such as ourselves to let it become known we are truly capable of that. A direct attack can be written off as some form of accidental magic. Seeking out those things and dealing with them…"
"We're working on it," Harry said. "We're learning the Patronus Charm. If we were to increase the Time Compression to thirty days, most if not all of House Potter may well have it down before we get on that train."
"Can you teach it to us?" Tracy asked.
"What's a whatsit Charm?" Sally-Anne asked.
Harry described what the Charm was and what it could do.
"Useful if those things are gonna be about," Neville nodded. "We have more than enough charge time available. Thirty days it is then. After all, House Longbottom has always stood with House Potter in times of trouble such as what we're facing."
"Thanks Neville," Harry said appreciatively.
"So," Luna asked the Tennysons after a pause, "that means you'll be coming to school with us?"
"That was always the plan, Little One," Mary said. "The change will be you will know it's us…"
"One condition, though," George added. After Luna nodded he continued. "At least in front of anyone not present right now, you cannot call us 'Grammy' and 'Grampy.' Then again, that's easy enough."
"Fidelius Charm?" Hermione asked.
"That's what we're thinking. Even if Luna were to slip – and the charm prevents that – no one would realize it. When this visit is over, you will not see George and Mary again. You will meet whoever we become on the train ride to Hogwarts."
A tradition began at that lunch. On the veranda was a long table with chairs enough for everyone present. Harry and Neville refused to sit at the head and foot of the table as was general custom, choosing instead seats across the table from each other. The head and foot would be vacant, those chairs and settings moved to either side of the table and the rest of the families sat wherever they pleased. The two young "Lords" chose this arrangement so they could talk with each other over Lunch. They spent the lunch talking about their summer and at length about their farms. An outsider would have thought them farmers if it were not for the fact that there was little discussion about the weather. After all, so long as the magic in their trunks worked, the weather was perfect for their farms. It rained where needed, when needed and in the amount needed. They talked about their crops and their plans for expansion. Harry was at least five years away from being able to add to his estate, but he was already thinking about that. Neville, of course, had two additional trunks and was already at a point where he needed to seriously consider adding one of them and was inclined to add both. The one difference between the two farms was Neville had no livestock. Harry was just beginning to learn about that and what little he had learned was of interest to his fellow farmer. One would never suspect they had worries other than crops and what could be made from them and what they could sell them for.
"I'll have my elves bring a selection before we enter Compression," Harry said. He was talking about wines mainly. There would be other "adult beverages," but thus far all he had tried had been the wines. "They're pretty good, I think. Then again, I don't know wine at all. Had a fair few tastes in France and think Potter wines are at least comparable. Daphne, Luna and the Grangers are more familiar with such things and they all say it's good stuff."
"I'm sure Gran will appreciate it," Neville said. "We don't have an acre of vineyard here. Might be something I consider doing with the expansion."
"Takes a while before you're in production even with the initial set up," Harry said. "After all, while you can mature the vines that way, the wine itself takes some time to … well, to get good once it's in the casks and stuff."
Neville chuckled. "That much I do know. No worries there. Ten or a dozen years from now I should have something to show for it. Didn't know you were into plants."
Harry shrugged. "Been gardening since I was little. One of many chores my relatives set me to. Grew to like it 'cause they left me alone and there is a satisfaction to a healthy garden, don't you think?"
Neville nodded. "Plants can be tricky, so it can be a challenge. A lot of the stuff I work with isn't all that well known here so … Got an interesting set of cuttings from my Uncle Algie. He was going to get me some when I was older, but got it now when he learned of … well, all this. It's a magical plant called Mimbilus Mimiletona, native to Assyria or some such place in the East. Far as I know, no one here knows anything about it so figuring out how to plant and grow it and what can be done with it should be fun."
Lunch ended and there was a discussion about the similarities between the two Houses. Harry was certain that Dumbledore was messing with both Houses for some reason, but had no clear idea what that reason was. They would have thirty days here and he figured it would be a good idea to set his girls to the task with the help of the Tennysons and anyone else and asked that the elves bring his file with the contracts and such so they could be compared with the House Longbottom contracts to see if there was something that connected the two. He held off revealing the Prophecy. He knew it was important, but he felt they needed to look into this first and get a clearer picture before they changed plans. He was almost certain their plans had to be modified somewhat. They had made plans assuming only House Potter was in play and now it seemed that somehow House Longbottom was as well. There was one thing, however, he was willing to reveal now because it needed a plan as well. He left that to Sirius.
House Longbottom had gathered in a salon. House Potter already knew this so some of them were off getting their things unpacked, but Harry was here as well. Sirius stood before them.
"My guess is Lord Longbottom wanted to keep this quiet," he said. "Milord Potter feels we should discuss it, particularly in light of the fact that his parents are not nearly as dead as everyone thought."
This got a chuckle.
"It may also be true that Lord Longbottom's parents are not nearly as incapacitated as we are led to believe…"
"What?" Neville exclaimed.
"The Healers have tried everything!" Madam Longbottom added.
"I'm sure they have. But Frank and Alice may well be victims of House Magic – specifically House Black magic. Bellatrix LeStrange was, after all, raised a Black and her father and my mother were brother and sister. I know she had access to our libraries when she was younger and, having seen many of the tomes, I can assure you that the libraries have works on magic that … well, it's not about tickling charms. Vile stuff. Many of it designed not to respond to typical treatments.
"Trained as I was, what happened to Frank and Alice is not the result of overexposure to the Crutiatus Curse. My guess is you were told that 'cause the Healers have no better ideas. That curse either wears off in time – as in a few weeks at most – or it kills you. This is not what happened. Frank and Alice are the only people I've ever heard of to be … well, to have reacted that way to the curse. I won't say that curse wasn't used on them. Bella had a thing for that one. Never passed up an opportunity to play with it. But I think there was another curse involved. I think it was a Black invention and, if it's like many of my family's special spells, it has its own counter-curse, one that can only be found in the Black journals. Doubt Bella bothered with those. But those in my family who were into spell crafting usually came up with their own counters."
"So the answer's in the House Black library?" Augusta asked.
"It may be there. Without looking, I can't say it's there. But if there's an answer, it's the best place to look. Unfortunately, my current state is a problem."
"All of Wizarding Britain is after me. The Ministry has a price on my head that … well, it will inspire a fair few to seek me out who otherwise would never be bothered. We already know they are or will plan to post dementors at Hogwarts in their hopes to catch me and finish me off. Right now, the only place outside of Harry's farm and perhaps here where I am truly safe is Gringotts."
"You could floo from Gringotts…"
"No doubt the Black floos are being watched especially after what happened yesterday."
"What happened yesterday?" several voices asked.
"There was a bit in today's paper," Harry said. "It left out the good bits. But it was true that Sirius here was spotted at Gringotts and their speculation as to why he was there was spot on – he was claiming his titles and such. Didn't mention that a senior ministry official was thrown out of the place or that the Head of the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creature was killed…"
"WHAT?" several voices asked.
"… or that the Minister for Magic came very close to starting another Goblin War." After the shock wore off, Harry recounted what he had seen the day before.
"Never thought Fudge was bright," Augusta said, "but a Troll's not even that stupid."
"The point is Sirius was seen there. That means, Goblin wars aside, the Ministry is no doubt keeping a close eye on the Black properties or at the very least the suspected location of those properties. We're pretty sure that means the floos are being monitored as well. So long as he's a fugitive, it would be very difficult for him to get in or get out without winding up dead."
"And right now only I and perhaps a handful of others can access those properties," Sirius said. "When we talk of those I can trust that list is shorter. It's no more than one person and I haven't seen her in over fifteen years and have no idea if I can trust her. The only thing I can say with confidence about her is that she's as opposed to what my family stood for as I am.
"Believe me, I've given this some thought after Harry caught me…" Sirius then told the group how that had occurred and about the subsequent prank wherein he was led to believe he was either dead or had completely gone 'round the twist. He felt a lightening of the mood was in order and the story certainly worked. He then told them how he came to learn about Neville's parents. It had arisen when the Potters had told them how they avoided death that night and Harry had said how it was by pure chance in some ways he had even found them. Harry was quite pleased to have his parents back, even if they were still trying to get to know each other and figure out what their relationship should be. Daphne and Hannah had known from their parents about the Longbottoms as that had been in the papers back then and the families had known each other. Harry had felt guilty that he had his parents back and his friend Neville did not. When hearing of what the papers said about their condition, Sirius had known it was not as it appeared. His concern was it might have been a LeStrange spell, although he doubted it. The LeStrange brothers were brutes. Family spells required both skill and a fair bit of intelligence which were two things those men would never be accused of possessing. He suspected Bellatrix. That meant it was a Black spell, most likely because as a witch, her mother's family would most likely deny her access to their grimoirs. The same could be said for House LeStrange. Traditionalist families tended to be that way.
"The list of those who may be able to access the Black properties was short and now it's shorter," Sirius said. "At Gringotts when I assumed my Lordship, I was able to alter the wards. I could not add anyone to them, otherwise I would've added the Potters. James and Harry are members of House Black and as things now stand, James is Heir Apparent. But neither had been granted access beforehand and I'd have to be at one of the properties to grant permission. I just need the Signet Ring to deny permission. Right now, aside from myself the only persona alive who can access the Black properties is one of Bella's two sisters. I can't trust the other. That one's married to Lucius Malfoy…"
"How can you trust any of them?" Augusta asked.
"Bella was the oldest and Narcissa was the youngest. They were daughters of my Uncle Cygnus – who was a right bastard if you ask me. Cissa's two years older than me. In the middle is the one who might be trustworthy. She was betrothed to Lucius Malfoy. They were in the same year at school and the Christmas Hols after her sixteenth birthday they were to be married. Instead, she ran off with a Muggle Born and married in Scotland. Her parents and my parents claim to have disowned her but as I learned at Gringotts my Grandfather, who was Lord Black then and until he died a couple years ago, did not. I guess he felt too many of us were disowned, dead or in prison to go about cutting off another line. The cousin I'm speaking of was named Andromeda. Her friends called her Andi. According to Gringotts records, she married a Muggle Born named Ted Tonks who's a solicitor or some such…"
"Andi Tonks?" Augusta asked. "I know her! She's a Healer at St. Mungos! She's about the only one taking any real interest in trying to help Frank and Alice."
"Any chance she could…," Neville began.
"Have you activated…?"
"I was going to wait until after diner, Gran. I wanted to give our guests a chance to remember to get anything they forgot to get or their elves failed to bring."
"You're with me, Neville!" Augusta commanded.
"We're going to St. Mungos to invite my dear friend and her family to dinner. You did say knowledge of Sirius Black is under a Fidelius, Lord Harry?"
Harry nodded. "And my parents."
"Neville? I need you to come with me 'cause only you can grant access through the wards to the Farm."
"Oh, of course. Let's go then."
The two of them left the room as quickly as the older woman could walk. When they left, Padma stood.
"I think I speak for all of us," she said, "by that I mean Neville's wives. Thank you, Lord Black. This means a lot to our Neville and his Gran."
"Haven't done anything, yet," Sirius said.
"No. But you are trying. As we understand aside from that lone Healer at St. Mungo's, no one cares to try."
Nymphadora Tonks was nineteen years old. She was a little over a year out of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where she had been in Hufflepuff House. Two weeks after finishing school, she had entered Auror Training. Aside from one week at Christmas, she had not been home at all until just a little over a week ago. She was on a one month Holiday which she knew was called "Drop Month" at the Training Academy. For the better part of the last year she had gone through the most intensive training she could ever imagine and she had almost two more years of it in front of her. If she stayed with the program, she would complete training and be rated as an Apprentice Auror in May of 1995. This month off was called "Drop Month" because the vast majority of voluntary drops from the training occurred during this month away from the hell of the Academy. She had been told that as many two-thirds of her remaining class might fail to return come the first Monday in September. The vast majority who did would survive what was to come. Those who could not or would not willingly put up with almost two more years of this would never make it as an Auror and so they would not be missed by the instructors. She was determined to be one of the few who would return, but deep down wondered if they all thought that now.
She really had no plans for this month off. She had never bothered to make any. Some of her classmates had. It had been all they had been thinking about since their prior week off. She wondered whether any of those who had made plans would be back. For the last week, her time off had been spent watching the telly, reading books that had no real point to them and going to a couple of picture shows with her parents. She was certain that more than a few of the classmates were out spending their Auror pay at various clubs and bars, chasing members of the opposite sex (in most cases) and otherwise raising hell. All she wanted was quiet and no need to think or keep to a schedule. She had planned nothing more than reading her current trashy novel when her mother had come home from St. Mungo's early followed not long after by her father who was also home early.
Her mother told her to pack a bag for a week. They were "going on Holiday." This confused the girl. She had specifically asked her parents about their plans for this month when she had arrived home and they had not said anything about a trip anywhere. They would take some time off to spend with their only child, but not trips. What made this sudden change even more odd was that her parents never did anything on the spur of the moment, at least not anything like taking off for a week. Because of their jobs, such spontaneity was not possible. Her mother was a Healer and there never seemed to be enough of those, her mother had said. Her father was a solicitor who worked "both sides of the fence," meaning he practiced in both the Muggle and Magical worlds.
"What's going on?" she asked. She had a lot more questions, but this was as far as she got.
"And old friend of mine stopped by work," her mother replied. "She says she may have some information about a problem that I've been working for some years with no success. It's one I'm determined to resolve, but it's gone nowhere. She wouldn't say much more, just that I was invited over to her place for … for a week or so and, well why not bring the family as there are other friends there and such and some potential client for your father. So, seeing as you have no plans, get packed!"
"This makes no sense!" the Auror Trainee protested.
"You have better plans?"
"Then get packed. They expect us by floo in half an hour."
This was how Auror Trainee Nymphadora Tonks found herself stumbling out of a floo and into an entry hall lined with portraits of generations of witches and wizards. Silently she cursed herself as she regained her balance. This was clearly one of those Manors she had heard about since she was little. It was also clearly a very, very old family if the portraits were any indication. Before her stood a boy or young man. Clearly, he was not a boy but neither was he a man. He was shorter than she was, but not a midget like the Icle Firsties back at school. Definitely still a lower year however, she thought.
"Healer Tonks?" he asked. His voice was not the high pitched one of a Firstie, but clearly was not the mature one of an older student. Her mother answered briefly. The boy gave his mother an odd look before smiling. "Lord Longbottom," he said extending his right hand, "Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom. Welcome – however briefly – to my ancestral manor. This way, please."
"I was not aware there was an active Head of House Longbottom," her mother said.
"I received my Title about a month ago," the boy said. "We've chosen not to publicize yet. Seeing as I can't assume my full responsibilities for some years – and for other reasons – there's really not much point."
After a moment of silence where Nymphadora was sure her mother was sizing up this pint sized "Lord," she remembered her manners. "My husband Theodore," she began.
"Pleasure to meet you, Sir. We could use the advice of a good solicitor on some minor matters."
"I would…," her father began.
"We expect you to ask for a fee. No worries there."
"And my daughter Auror Trainee Nymphadora…"
"MOTHER!" Nymphadora whined.
"I do not see what your problem is with your name, Daughter! It is an old and proper name for a witch."
"Emphasis on old, Mother," Nymphadora replied. "You didn't have to live through the creative nicknames they came up with at school!"
"If I had named you something common, such as Anne, you would still have to live through a variation of that. I told you that when you were eleven and every year thereafter and surely you saw that…"
"Perhaps I should leave?" Neville suggested.
"I apologize, Milord," her mother began.
"Please. Neville is fine. Mr. Longbottom if such familiarity makes you uncomfortable. Once the forms are satisfied, I reserve the full formalities for people I don't like. This way please… We will be staying at the Farm."
"In a manner of speaking," the boy answered leading them into a large study. A large steamer trunk lay on the floor. He walked over to it and tapped it with his wand before opening the top. "This is the way to the Farm," he said. "Ladies first."
Nymphador went first. She looked into the trunk and saw a ladder extending down to another floor or something. She climbed down into a smaller and very plain room with two doors and not a stick of furniture. She was wondering what this was about as her parents and that pint sized Lord climbed down and the Lord closing the top behind him.
"Just so you know," Nymphadore said to Neville, "I would appreciate it if you didn't address me by that 'N' name."
"Is 'Hey You' fine?"
"NYMPHADORA!" her mother scolded.
"Tonks is fine," she said ignoring her mother.
"Very well, Tonksizfine," he replied. "I'll need a drop of your blood to key you through the wards."
"You do realize blood wards are…," Mr. Tonks began.
"Not if they're Goblin made," Neville finished. "There are many wards, but the command wards are Goblin made. Such wards are impossible to trick with any known magic."
"They're also ridiculously expensive," Mr. Tonks countered.
"Their cost is a function of warded volume, I'm told," Neville said. "I kind of understand what that means. The warded volume is that trunk you entered so it's not terribly expensive. Don't ask me to explain the volume beyond this door. I'd guess this room is an expansion charm, but it's the exterior volume that matters not an expanded interior. What's beyond this door, whatever and wherever it is, is still within the real world volume of the trunk for that is the only part of this estate that truly exists out there."
"And how large is this space beyond the door?"
"Sixty-two and a half square miles."
"Well, I haven't measured it. But I have no reason to doubt it. It's interconnected with three other trunks of similar size making a complete land – or whatever it is area of two hundred and fifty square miles. Just prick your fingers with this needle and when you're done, I can key you in."
"Ow!" Tonks said when she did so. She decided to tease this boy. "Will you kiss it and make it better?" she asked as she handed him the needle.
"Don't think my wives would appreciate that – kissing a strange girl I only just met…"
"Did you say wives?" Mrs. Tonks asked. "As in more than one?"
"Wives is more than one," he said. "Five actually. And a betrothed. So I'm definitely not looking to add on."
"Aren't you too young for even one?"
He shrugged. "Soul bonding with two of them."
"Not too young then," Mr. Tonks said. "If indeed there are two – and I'm not doubting you – that's a valid plural marriage which means he could have more than two even so young. There's no legal upper limit if it's a valid plural marriage."
Neville nodded. "It is valid. While there may not be a legal limit, I'd say there's a practical one."
"Wives cost money," Mr. Tonks nodded.
"Money is not the limiting thing."
"The sex?" Tonks asked.
"I'm a bit young for that, don't you think? There's more to being a husband than money and sex and it's that more that sets a limit unless I want to be a right bastard and not give a damn."
"Must make you rather unique. I mean being so young and married a few times and this place and all."
"Thought so too, 'til this morning," Neville replied. "A very good friend and dorm mate of mind is here with his family. We're almost the same age. I'm not quite three hours older than he is. He also has two bondmates. That and two other wives and a betrothed as well and he's recently taken up his title as Head of an Ancient an Noble House and has a few trunks like this one. So, I'm not all that unique at all, am I? Least I now have someone who can understand all this – what I'm going through that is even if he is as clueless about this as I am. This way," he finished leading them through the door into the house beyond.
"I've seen you," Tonks said just before she and her parents were properly introduced to the black haired boy with glasses standing before them. "You're Harry Potter."
Harry seemed to look away at someone and said to whomever it was: "A year of Auror training, huh?" He then looked at her. "I do hope, Cousin, that you never read or believed those ridiculous books supposedly about me…"
"You're Great-grandfather was Pollux Black, was he not."
She looked at her mother in some confusion and she nodded to her. "I suppose," she said. "We don't talk much about that side of the family."
Harry snorted. "Given the more commonly known ones, don't blame you. Pollux's younger sister Dorea was my Grandmother who was not a dark Black like he was. I think the only reason why she was not disowned as some Blood Traitor for breaking her betrothal agreement by marrying my Grandfather was he was Heir to another Ancient and Noble House. You're a solicitor, right Sir?" he asked turning to her father.
"I am. Ted Tonks is the name."
"Pleased to meet you, Sir. Among other things we may be asking your opinion about, I have an issue with these authors making tons of money writing lies about me. I mean, okay maybe they can. Who am I to say what they can and cannot write? But I think they should be paying me for that, don't you? Haven't seen a knut from them."
"I'm sure we'll have time to discuss that. I won't be able to give you a definitive answer, only a probable one and there's the issue of…"
"Fees? Not to worry."
"Um … well, if it's a question of litigation, the losing party pays all fees. I'd be reluctant to bring suit if the case seems questionable seeing as you'd be stuck paying the other side's solicitor as well and … well, if they knew of your probable finances they might work that much harder…"(A/N 1)
"What about getting them to stop?"
"That's a Chancery case. Different kettle of fish entirely. Different fee structure."
"I suppose," Harry replied. He really had no idea what the man was talking about.
"This is my wife Andromeda," Ted said realizing the legal stuff was over for now. Harry shook her hand as well.
"Manners," he said. "Keep forgetting that stuff. I am Lord Harry Potter, Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter and a bunch of other titles I can't do anything with yet."
"The Boy-Who-Lived," Tonks smirked.
"And one title I wish no one had ever thought of," Harry added acidly.
"And this is their daughter," Neville said with a mischievous grin. "She prefers to be called Tonkizfine."
"I do NOT!"
"You said you did."
"I prefer to be called Tonks as opposed to that other name."
"Bit of a mouthful, that," Neville said. "Tonks-as-opposed-to-that-other-name?"
"That's not what I meant! I meant I don't like being called by that other name!"
"Then why did you tell me you preferred Tonkizfine?" Neville asked.
"Oooh! If … if …."
"Neville, why are you…?" Harry asked.
"She doesn't like her given name for some reason. It's Nymphadora, by the way."
"Not common," Harry nodded. "But definitely better than Tonkizfine, I should think. Certainly easier to say than the other one."
"Amusing as this is," Andi said, "I think you should stop teasing my daughter even if her attitude and behavior has earned it."
"Yes Ma'am," Harry and Neville said.
"That was unexpected, Neville."
"Um … giving an Auror trainee the … um …"
"Yeah. Well, I got six girls who don't want me hiding behind whatever. They want the world to see how lucky they are and…"
"Know what you mean."
"Besides, she started it. Now before she has another go, don't you think we need Mrs. Tonks to meet the person who might have an idea how to help my parents?"
"Um… right," Harry said. He waived his hand and his parents, Sirius and Ginny came over.
"So," Andromeda said, "Augusta was rather vague. What is it I can learn here?"
"Here? Not much I'm afraid," Harry said. "This man," he continued indicating Sirius, "can allow you access to materials that might provide the answer. We can't say that they will, but nothing else has worked, has it?"
She shook her head. "So what do you think I've missed?"
"Black magic," Harry replied.
"I don't know any darker kind than an Unforgivable like the Cruciatus and I have researched other dark spells. Lord Longbottom's parents' situation cannot be explained by that Unforgivable. No one has ever had their reaction to it. Had it been only one of them, I might have agreed with my colleagues that it was anomalous. But two? With all the case studies we do have over the centuries? No one has ever exhibited their reaction which tells me it was something else."
"We agree," Sirius said.
"The problem is I've come across nothing in the literature that exhibits the same presentation. Moreover, everything we do have literature regarding can be countered eventually by known counter curses, potions and other spell damage treatment regimens. The Longbottoms do not respond to any known course of treatment and, as there is no real evidence of damage aside from their exhibited condition, I fear we're dealing with something either very unique, very new or both."
"Or very old and secret," Harry said.
"As I said, Black magic."
"We already talked about…"
"You misunderstand," Harry said calmly. "By Black magic I mean as in family magic."
"The Ancient and Noble House of Black, to be precise," Sirius said. "I know for a fact that your sister Bellatrix spent untold hours in that family library pouring through old family magical journals…"
"How…?" Andromeda asked. "Merlin! Why didn't I think of it?"
"Probably because that family all but forbade its members from revealing its private magic to outsiders and Bellatrix was not alone that day. The LeStrange brothers and that Crouch boy would be considered outsiders in the Black family. The fact that dear Bella was married to one of them does not change the family prohibition. But, as Bella proved, she was not loyal to her blood."
"There was that," she nodded. "Not that it mattered. I was cast out of that family. I could never have accessed those journals anyway."
"Were you?" Sirius asked with a smirk.
"Of course I was! My parents made it abundantly clear when they learned I eloped with Ted to avoid that marriage to Malfoy. And if that wasn't clear enough, my Aunt Walburga and Uncle Orion did the same thing."
"Magically speaking, they do not matter."
"Of course they … wait. Are you telling me …? Are you telling me that it was never ratified by Lord Arcturus?"
"It never was. My guess is … imagine the shame of an Ancient and Noble House ceasing to be because its Heads disinherited every possible heir and line of succession. House Black was dangerously close to doing that. I believe Lord Arcturus saw that, although it did not stop him from disinheriting our Uncle Alphard sometime later."
"There are a hundred and twelve living descendants of Lord Phineas Nigelus Black," Harry said. "Through disinheritance and disassociation, should Sirius Orion Black pass on without a child, there're only three in the line of succession. Death and a dearth of children have reduced several houses to a Head and maybe an heir and no others. House Black is close not for that reason, but for their inability to tolerate each other and insistence upon being good little inbred purebloods and Pureblood Supremacists. Rather pathetic, don't you think?"
"I'm not arguing," Andromeda said. "It has been a dysfunctional House ever since Phineas Nigelus became its Head."
"Doesn't help that it is believed or at least suspected that Phineas Nigelus was somehow responsible for the death of his older brother Sirius who died at the age of eight. Of course, Phineas was only six at the time, so one might discount that," Sirius said.
"Except he was a right piece of work his whole life right up to his murder in '25," Andromeda countered. "Or execution, depending upon your point of view. It's said he was killed by the father of a Muggle Born witch who was a student at the time because my ancestor as Head Master took her to his bed. Again, no proof. How do you know of this Mr…?"
"The same way I know that you, Mrs. Tonks, were never disowned and that there are spells in the Black journals that are virtually unheard of outside of the family. The same way I can list all the people today who can access the Black house in London or Black Manor and aside from the current Head of House, the only other person who may access those properties is you."
Harry made some signal and a red haired girl was standing next to him. The Tonks family had yet to be introduced to his family. Moments later, three blondes and a brunette were there as well. Tonks thought they were young, no older than Harry. "Mr. and Mrs. Tonks," Harry said, "I would like to introduce my wives." He did so formally, introducing the four girls by maiden name, then their married name and titles. This left the red head. "And this is my betrothed Ginny, the former Miss Ginevra Weasley and now Virginia Potter. Ginny?"
"Mr. and Mrs. Tonks," Ginny said. "The man standing next to Harry is his Godfather and he lives on the Potter Estate and is currently under the House Protection of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter…"
"And the Ancient and Noble House of Abbott," the girl named Hannah said. She had been introduced as Harry's wife by Line Continuation and the Regent of that House.
"And Longbottom," Neville added. "And I dare say before the evening is out maybe House Bones as well as the Regent of such House is my wife and Consort."
"Her Aunt's Head of DMLE," Regent Hannah Abbott said. "Susan may wait to get her Aunt to accept that position." Neville nodded.
"This is," Ginny continued, "Lord Sirius Orion Black, Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black."
Andi Tonks gasped but aside from what looked like tears forming, made no other reaction. Ted Tonks paled and stepped back a bit as if threatened. Nymphadora looked stunned for a second, then seemed to reach into a pocket for something. A look of determination was on her face as she drew a wand. That was as far as she got. Something picked her up and stuck her to the wall several feet behind her. Her parents looked on in surprise as Harry walked over followed by a House Elf.
"I hope you weren't thinking 'bout hexing my Godfather," Harry said in an even tone. "My Head Elf does not take kindly to people who threaten me or my family, especially in my presence. One couple who had made my life miserable for years had their bones broken and healed over and over again I'm told. He even stuck a beloved, long lost relation to the wall when the woman was angry with me and behaving in a threatening manner. Were you trying to harm my Godfather, Dora? You can let her talk, Dobby."
"He's … he's … He's a killer! And you're protecting him?"
"My Elf Dobby hasn't killed anyone, have you Dobby?"
"No, Great Harry Potter Sir. It not beings necessary yets."
"I meant that man!" Dora said indicating Sirius.
Harry shrugged. "I have no doubt he's killed in the line of duty. He was a Hit Wizard during the War. That's what they did!"
"But he betrayed your parents. They're dead because of him! And he killed their friend and a dozen Muggles and just yesterday a few more people including McFadden, Head of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at Gringotts!"
The young people laughed and Sirius Black looked confused.
"And who told you this?" Harry asked. "I know you were too young to have had anything to do with what happened back in '81. I was at Gringotts yesterday and saw everything that happened and you weren't there as I recall."
"Let me guess. You found out from your Auror friends?"
"I got a letter from the Department this morning about it."
"I see. From the Ministry then?"
"From the Training Academy. We were told to keep a look out for him while on Holiday and this letter added information to that including what he looked like and what he was wearing – and what he did at Gringotts." Harry then looked at the young people.
"Sounds like Fudge is trying to cover-up the fact he nearly started another Goblin War," the girl named Hannah said.
"And that he doesn't have the full support of the Departments," another red head said. "That would've been in the papers today unless a key department head seemed likely to publically refute the lie – such as my Auntie who you told us was there."
"Goblin war?" 'Dora' asked.
"Sirius was long gone when the Minister and his lot arrived including the dead idiot," Harry said. "This would not've happened at all if some idiot Senior Under-something of the Minister hadn't tried to hex Sirius in the back in the middle of the Grigotts Lobby. Needless to say, the Goblins were not amused. She was thrown out of the bank, barred from ever setting foot in it again under pain of death and had her vaults confiscated. It was sometime later our so called Minister showed up and made it worse. McFadden was shot by bank security – Goblins – when he tried to curse the Director and Head of the Goblin Clans of Greater Britannia…"
Dora gasped and visibly paled.
"And Fudge did nothing to stop the idiot, nor did he apologize. The only smart thing he did was leave after the damage was done but before the Goblins decided his actions meant war. Still, the Goblins are going to the I.C.W. with this."
"That's not good," Mr. Tonks said. "The Goblins have gone to war over less…"
"But… but Black was convicted," Dora said meekly as if hoping something was true.
"I was never even tried," Sirius said. "I had a brief talking to by the then Head of Magical Law Enforcement and was chucked into Prison. Never heard from anyone again that wasn't some guard bringing what they tried to pass off as food or dragging me of to be hosed down for my monthly – I suppose it was monthly – exercise and cleaning at least not until that Fudge fellow started stopping by to gloat I guess."
"Not that it matters," Harry said. "He couldn't be guilty of betraying my parents to their death if they never died, could he?"
"Everyone knows they're dead!" Dora said.
"Just like everyone knows Sirius is a Death Eater and killed all those Muggles? Just like they know that my magical Godfather betrayed my family? Just like many seem to know that the Ministry did nothing wrong at Gringotts yesterday? It seems to me that what 'everyone knows' is a pack of lies. Don't ask me who's lying or why. I don't know and in some cases I don't care. But the more I learn about it and the more I see of it, I don't think our government could function if it ever told the truth. It certainly wouldn't survive the fallout. For example, Ginny?"
Ginny then revealed the Secret about Harry's parents.
"I've come to the conclusion there are two rules that must be understood," Harry said after the shock wore off. "Rule One: our government lies. Rule Two: if you ever think it's telling the truth, refer back to Rule One. Basically, I will never believe anything they say unless I knew it to be true before I heard if from them or their Ministry of Lies and Propaganda otherwise known as the Daily Prophet."
"Wouldn't be surprised if that's what the Daily Prophet really is, now that you mention it," Hermione said.
"So if the Daily Prophet said that Minister Fudge does not bake Goblins into pies?" Luna asked.
"Right now, I'd see that as strongly suggesting the opposite is true," Hermione replied.
"So," Harry said to change the topic. "Do you think you can behave, Dora? Or do we have to take your wand for the remainder of your visit?"
"I'll … I'll behave. Or at least I won't do anything about…"
"Your Head of House?" Sirius asked. "The most wanted man in magical Britain and all that?" he added.
She nodded and with a nod from Harry, Dobby dispelled the magic that had pinned her to the wall.
"Now that we're all introduced, might I suggest dinner?" Neville finished.
"Harry?" Luna asked. She was in bed with Harry and Hermione as usual although the others were not with them. The bed was not nearly large enough for all of House Potter to share comfortably. "Are you asleep?"
"Not yet," Harry said. "Something wrong?"
"I don't know. But … well …"
"Are you okay Luna?" Hermione asked with concern.
"Memory uncaps are not a lot of fun, are they?" Luna replied. "I guess they might be if they were nice memories but if they were nice memories why would we bother to send them back?"
"Luna …?" Harry began.
"One of the girls who dies this year 'cause of the dementors is here, Harry," Luna said.
"I'd like to think that now that she's with Neville she's safe from that but I can't say."
"Sally-Anne. She died at the Quidditch Match going to the loo I suppose."
"Oh my!" Hermione exclaimed.
"We need to get rid of those things before the match between Slytherin and Ravenclaw," Luna continued. "That was when it happened and all I can remember is that it was later in the school year."
"You know our plan may well have those things gone much sooner than that."
"There's still the girl on the train, Harry."
"And we are working on that one."
"And the other girl on the Hogsmeade visit, but that's later too. I think we should bring the Longbottoms in on this…"
"Might not be a good thing to say that Sally-Anne dies," Hermione noted.
"I agree," Luna said. "She died in that other timeline and things have already changed so there's no reason to believe she is certain to die in this one. No point telling her she's going to die if it can't be avoided and no reason to worry her about it if it can be avoided."
"If the things are still about at that match, we can tell her then," Hermione suggested.
"Or once we get rid of them for good," Harry added.
A/N 1: In Britain, in civil cases for monetary damages the losing party is stuck paying all the lawyers in most instances.