Author's Note: Yes, well...some sexual stuff happens. I do hope that it won't get me in trouble. I really wanted to speed things up and maybe conquer Hogwarts in this chapter but unfortunately it did not happen just yet.
You all remember when I asked if Sirius should be alive or not, right? Well...the thing is that I've decided to let him stay dead. But that doesn't mean he won't be around, even if he doesn't appeared in person. Someone else will be coming back though.
Chapter Eleven: Heart of the Lion
Three days had to go by for Harry to finally emerge from his bedroom. He ate breakfast and supper with Tom, but other than that he rarely left the bedroom Tom had given him upon his arrival weeks before. Hermione and the rest of his friends had tried to coax him to spend some time with them or even just talk but the green-eyed teen had stayed mostly unresponsive. But that did not sit well with the Dark Lord who had dragged Harry out.
Now, sitting in Tom's study, Harry felt a bit better about everything that had happened. The older man had heard everything from Severus and Lucius, after a few threats of course. He had been worried, something far too alien for him to process, but something heavy had settled into his chest upon seeing the wretched and confused look on the teen's face as he arrived back from Malfoy Manor. He would have cornered Severus right then and there had it not been for the sudden urge to just wrap the boy in his arms and take him somewhere safe. He had been dissatisfied with the teen's mumbled apology for staying too long but Harry had slipped away from him and hadn't slept in their bedroom that night which only served to irritate and worry the Dark Lord further.
"I want to go to Godric's Hollow." Harry's voice broke Tom's musings. The request left Tom somewhat wary. But the determination in his tone and the pleading look in his eyes did things to Tom, things that he wasn't aware could happen to him. He wanted to give this green-eyed wizard anything he asked. "Maybe there's something that could help me put all the pieces together, something that could help me find out more about what happened to Regulus."
Tom sighed, turning away from the window he had been gazing out just moments before. "I can't think of anything that would help you, even my best men couldn't find Regulus Black after his disappearance. It's as if he had not existed at all."
Harry snorted humourlessly. "Well, he did exist and something horrible happened to him. You know I won't stop looking even if you refuse to help me. I had a parent who wasn't taken from me by you, but by the very man who I trusted for years. I think I'm entitled to have some answers."
"Regulus was one of my most loyal, though he had his moments. He believed in my cause and he wanted to see it all come to pass, but he wasn't willing to go to the same lengths as his cousin. He wasn't weak by any means, but he had something many of my Death Eaters lack, a heart that didn't allow him to be cruel and ruthless. For you, Regulus would have abandoned our cause and my side. And he did, yet I can't fault him for leaving. I would not have been rational back then had he told me and I would have ordered him to get rid of his child. He made the right choice by leaving, the only choice he had in order to keep you safe." Tom explained. While some memories were lost to him, he did remember Regulus Black. "In fact, you remind me of him. The same unrestricted compassion that fills your heart also filled his. Back then, it annoyed me to no end and it annoys me now, the ability to see good in everyone."
With a raised brow, Harry said. "You speak fondly of him."
"As fondly as a Dark Lord can." Tom said pensively. "He was terribly young when he joined me and also full of life, he was eager to make a difference. Many joined for the sole reason of boosting their own image and with hopes of gaining power and wealth, but Regulus was one of the few who truly believed in what I was trying to accomplish. He didn't want anything in return, only to be a part of changing the wizarding world. I thought it was rare, someone so dedicated and selfless in my ranks. Despite his youth, he was very valuable and resourceful, he worked rather well with Severus. They were both meticulous in their ways and very well organized, both lacked the drive to cause unnecessary pain and always tried to be as undetectable as possible. Regulus would have matured into a great wizard."
"We'll never know, will we?" the teen muttered. "Narcissa said I should do some sort of test that would confirm my lineage. I'm not sure what she meant by that."
Tom hummed. "There is a spell which can verify your lineage, more specifically your parents but also any magical guardians or godparents. The spell requires a sheet of parchment and your blood. The spell never lies, everything it reveals is the truth. We can do it now if you wish."
Harry shook his head and said. "Not now, maybe later. My friends are coming over, they should be here any minute now."
"Harry, look at me."
The teen lifted his eyes from his lap and met the other's deep gaze. He felt exposed as he kept his eyes fixed on Tom's face, the other's hard lines melting into a bit softer expression. When Tom spoke, Harry watched his lips move and the tantalising picture it made. "I will help, you need only ask and I will do anything in my power to give you what you need."
"I want Remus, I need to tell him about this." Harry said with a pained sigh. He wasn't looking forward to it, but Remus had to know the truth. Harry just hoped that the man wouldn't abandon him. "We'll do the blood test tonight, but I want Narcissa to be there too. She's been kind to me and I can't expect you to hug me when the waterworks start."
"I will send for her and have Remus Lupin escorted to the manor." said the Dark Lord. "Anyone else?"
"I guess Sev can come, we have an understanding now." Harry smiled to himself. "We're frenemies."
Tom's expression didn't change as he stated unsmilingly, "I still owe him a Crucio for slinking away and not telling me about the incident sooner."
Harry stood from his seat and made his way over to the Dark Lord, who was still standing by the window. Wrapping his arms around Tom's middle, Harry said. "No torturing Snape, he was surprisingly nice to me after dragging my idiotic self inside."
Pulling the teen into his arms, Tom said. "You should have been the one to tell me, Harry."
"Well, I didn't." the teen mumbled. "You found out anyway, so why does it matter. Now you know that I wasn't the one you needed to kill."
"You are still the Boy-Who-Lived, regardless of what has come to light. I chose the path for us and I made you the Chosen One whether you were meant to be the prophecy child or not. Had I chosen someone else, you would have stayed an ordinary boy but because Dumbledore did everything in his power to make me take notice of your existence, I chose you to be the one to fulfil the prophecy. You and I would be nothing to each other had you lived with Regulus and not the Potters. We can never be sure that you weren't the boy in the prophecy, but I made it so by choosing you."
Harry didn't pull away from the man, only stood with motionlessly. "Neither of us can change the past. It happened and it was terrible, nothing will change that now. I just wish that there was a way for me to know Regulus, seeing his picture isn't quite the same."
Tom tilted Harry's head up and said with a small quirk to his lips. "Perhaps there is a way for you to get to know him. We can all give you our memories, place them in a Pensieve and show you."
Tom smirked at the eagerness in the teen's voice. "I'm sure everyone will agree to share some memories with you. Regulus was well loved among my Inner Circle, losing him did affect us in one way or another."
Harry hummed in response, happy that there was a way for him to get to know a bit more about the man who had given him life. The thought still overwhelmed him, scared him and elevated him at the same time. He still considered Lily to be his mother as well, she had love him as a son and died while trying to keep him safe. She must have been a wonderful mother, even though she had known about Harry's true parentage. Yet a considerable part of Harry was desperate to find out what had happened to Regulus Black. Pressing his face into the crook of Tom's neck, Harry asked. "Do you think he would have liked me?"
Tom was confused for a moment before he understood Harry's meaning. He frowned. "That's an odd question."
"I mean, would he like who I am now. The person I've become. I was raised by Muggles and manipulated and shaped by Dumbledore. I just feel that I would disappoint him, if he saw me now."
"I believe he would have been more disappointed had you stayed with Dumbledore's band of fools. You are where you belong, Harry. He would have wanted you to be here with us, home with your family. I never did doubt his loyalty, his defiance was not an act of treachery but an act of love. I do understand the sentiment, why he thought he was safer in hiding than in my ranks. I might have excused his delicate state, but not his choice in lover." Tom told the teen.
Harry sighed. "I still have trouble believing that James Potter was that lover. If people were to know the truth, all the lies Dumbledore told...nothing would stay the same."
"We will tear Dumbledore down from his pedestal and bury him so deep that his name will turn into ashes and become an insult. We can't make him pay in person, but we can ruin his legacy, uncover his true colours and turn his precious image into dirt." the Dark Lord smiled with malice, his arm tightening around Harry and pulling him closer. "We'll ruin them together, bring the Order to their knees."
Harry's lips mouthed kisses to his neck, the hand on his chest sliding upwards and toying with the buttons of his deep-coloured shirt. Harry's flimsy t-shirt was pulled taut around his body, the soft material twisting and bunching up under Tom's skilled fingers. Dark Lord or not, but something had coiled itself around his dust-filled heart and gnawed at his insides. It irritated him and he wanted to ignore it, but each time he had Harry in his arms or even in sight, it intensified and became almost unbearable. It was like he was an overflowing cup or bursting at the seams, he couldn't contain the warm and nauseating feeling of wanting Harry. Wanting the green-eyed teen to be closer, but closer never seemed close enough. He wasn't supposed to feel anything, let alone sentiments that left him feel hollow and aching. Jerking away from Harry's pliant form, Tom tried to shut out all the nonsense in his mind.
"What's wrong?" Harry worriedly asked, his green-eyed vibrant and troubled.
He was too earnest for Tom to handle and he found no other option than composing himself and stepping away from Harry altogether. "I have work to do, you're distracting me."
"Did I do something wrong?" the boy kept asking, obviously not satisfied with Tom's poor excuse. "Is it...Do you see me differently now that you know I'm not who you thought I was?"
With a forceful and probably too harsh tone, Tom hissed. "Not everything is about you, Harry."
Pulling back as if getting slapped, Harry retreated and with a wounded expression walked around the desk towards the door. He didn't look back nor did he speak, Tom only heard the door close with a soft and painful click. He hadn't expected to lose his temper, but he couldn't stand the look of sincerity and unbridled openness in Harry's eyes. It was pushing him even deeper into the pit that held his messy and tangled fragments of emotions. He cursed himself for even allowing the thought to slip past his walls.
When there was a knock on the door, Tom barked out of frustration. "What?"
Barty was brave enough to peek his head in and bow. "My Lord, I apologise for interrupting."
Tom pinched the bridge of his nose and waved the man in. "You interrupt nothing. Come in and speak."
Barty relaxed his shoulders as he stepped inside. "I brought the legislations you requested and the list of suitable candidates for the new Board of Governors, My Lord."
Having forgotten all about them, Tom sighed and gave a nod. "Let Lucius handle the Board of Governors, he knows what I want. I don't have the time nor the patience for it. Anything else?"
"Fenrir will be leaving tomorrow, the werewolf clan up north seems interested in working out a profitable bargain. He wants to take Lupin with him."
Tom shook his head as he seated himself behind the desk and held out his hand for the documents in Barty's hand. As he placed the stack on the desk, he said. "Lupin is to be escorted here, first thing tomorrow. Harry wishes to see him and I promised that he will be brought here. For a longer period, I would think."
The other wizard stood still, but Tom caught his slight fidgeting. Something was itching to come out but Barty didn't dare open his mouth.
"Out with it." Tom drawled. "If there is something you wish to say, feel free to speak."
"Is it true, My Lord?" Barty tentatively began. "About Potter being the son of Regulus Black? I don't want to appear overly prying, but Regulus was my friend, one of my closest friends really."
Tom knew the truth would surprise all of the members of his Inner Circle, they had been a close group ever since they joined, most of them did it together. Regulus and Barty had both joined when they were still in Hogwarts, perhaps too young but both still devoted and valuable. "Harry agreed to do a parentage spell tonight, but I believe it to be true."
That seemed to satisfy Barty and he simply gave a thankful nod. "I'll give the list to Lucius then, hopefully he isn't too busy to actually do something constructive."
Tom chuckled at the almost bitter pitch to Barty's voice, the man was obviously annoyed that the blonde hadn't been around for a few days. Tom had given Lucius a task to complete, but it was undisclosed for the time being, until they had Hogwarts. "See if you can find Mister Weasley for me."
"Which one, My Lord." Barty raised a brow. "The sensible one or the one walking around like a bear with a sore paw?"
"The sensible one." Tom hummed, referring to Bill Weasley who was clearly the only rational redhead. The twins were usually referred to as 'the twins', so it was fairly easy to distinguish all of them. "I take it the other Mister Weasley is still under the effects of Malfoy's allure?"
Barty snorted. "Like a victim of a bloody Veela, that one."
"They often are." Tom said with a half-smirk. "I almost lost Severus' favour when I ordered Lucius to get me Fudge, using whatever means possibly to ensure that he had Fudge eating out of his hand."
With a small laugh, the young wizard said. "Fudge was fawning over him like a hungry dog would encircle a piece of meat."
"That was the whole point, keeping him on a short leash but not letting him believe that he had no chance to begin with. He was relatively easy to keep in check and under my thumb."
Barty had heard it from Narcissa, the constant grumbling on Severus' part when Lucius had worked his charm on Fudge. He knew that the dark-eyed was insanely possessive and jealous but also the only one who could control the blonde. "It is a good thing the Ministry is ours, My Lord, I'm terrible at seducing and charming."
"Speaking of the Ministry, I want you to look into the Ministry's records on Dumbledore and also Harry. There must be something helpful there we can make use of. How far are we with Hogwarts?" Tom inquired.
"Lord Parkinson and Lord Greengrass will give us their full support as Governors and are in agreement with your plan to take the school peacefully. I have all the required paperwork ready and the Headmistress will have no choice but to allow the Minister and the Governors access and full control." Barty explained with a proud smile, after all, he had worked hard to get everything ready. "Once we have the school firmly under our control, it will be fairly easy for us to make the changes that are needed. The new term will start in three days, but I'm confident we will have it all done by then."
Tom mused. "Today, you will be named the Minister for Magic. Taking Hogwarts will be your first task. I have prepared all the required curriculum changes that I want to enforce, but I want to speak to the Headmistress personally. Harry is under the impression that she will listen if I talk to her."
"Perhaps he is right, My Lord. It is a perfect way to improve your image." Barty spoke. "Show them that you are a visionary not a murderer. The Order will soon find themselves in a hopeless situation, if you have the public's favour."
"I'll certainly consider it." Tom gave an amused half-smile. "Make sure Lucius gets the list and tell him to have the new Board of Governors up and running in two days time. That ought to keep him busy."
Barty have a small bow and said, "I'll get it done right away, My Lord."
As the younger wizard swept out of the study, Tom fell back into thought. He knew that he had to at least apologise for his outburst, but it was rather hard to get Harry to listen when he was in one of his moods. Apart from knowing that he felt a pull towards the teen, Tom wasn't sure about the reason behind it. Harry was his Horcrux, a piece of his soul was residing in the green-eyed wizard after all. Maybe he wasn't attracted to Harry the wizard, perhaps the soul piece was making him feel the attraction and the magnetic pull. Even as a Dark Lord, he was very much confused, but he didn't have anyone to confide in. While he treated his Death Eaters better than before and his Inner Circle members were his friends of some sort, he was hardly going to have a heart-to-heart with one of them.
As he was mulling over the thought of asking Narcissa some advice about sentiment, another thought pushed its way to the forefront. He had heard about Harry's true parentage from Severus and Lucius. He recalled that particular morning with vivid detail.
Tom had called in his two most trusted members of the Inner Circle for a brief update on the current situation and to give them both new tasks. He could practically feel them Apparate into the foyer, both had distinctive magical signatures that Tom knew well by now. Severus had a dark, sort of baleful sense about him that felt like danger and shadows. The blonde wizard was even more familiar to Tom, having spent some time teaching the blonde in his youth. Lucius' magic matched his nature; wicked and intoxicating, but deadly when approached without caution. Oddly enough, the two magical auras were closely entwined, like ivy would wrap itself around a tree. Thinking about it, Tom did not find it odd at all, considering the two wizards in question. He had always wanted to send them on a mission together, but that was just wishful thinking on his part.
Being the Dark Lord, the one and only Lord Voldemort, Tom knew immediately when something was going to make his day considerable less bright. Or if something was going to ruin it completely. But taking in the matching looks of unease tinted with fear, Tom was sure that his entire week was about to take a significant nosedive.
"It would be wise to speak before I decide to use Legilimency on both of you." Tom said seriously, his tone left no room for arguments. "After a well placed Cruciatus of course."
Severus seemed unaffected and unmoved by the not-so-veiled threats. He could already feel a slight brush against the barriers that protected his mind. He was an excellent Occlumens and could keep the Dark Lord out, but only for a while. He was more worried about his blonde counterpart, who was an average Occlumens and easy prey for the Dark Lord. Exchanging looks with the blonde wizard, Severus saw no point in staying in silence and tried to pick out words which would not aggravate their Lord any further.
But Lucius beat him to it and blurted out. "It's about Potter, My Lord."
Severus held back a groan because Lucius was infamous for speaking before thinking. With a lazy drawl, the dark-eyed wizard continued. "It would be best if the boy himself explains, My Lord. We are but unwilling spectators."
Tom was now extremely curious. Anything that involved Harry, also involved him. "Or I could just hear it from you. Better yet, I'll take a look around Lucius' head since he didn't bother to learn Occlumency."
The blonde wanted to look affronted but he did value his life and inched away a bit. He had wanted to learn it, but lessons with Severus always ended the same way. Bellatrix had giggled too much during that one time she had offered to help.
"Harry hasn't spoken to me since he arrived back from Malfoy Manor. Does it have something to do with last night? You were the one who escorted him back, instead of Rabastan." asked the Dark Lord with his eyes pinning Severus to the wall. "Perhaps you would like to explain the events of last night?"
"The boy was upset." Severus began. "After finding out a few things about his past."
"Now is not the time to speak in riddles." Lucius hissed low enough for only Severus to hear, or so he thought. He turned to Tom and spoke, "Potter found an incriminating photograph of his father and Regulus Black, along with some personal and quite intimate letters that James Potter and Regulus had exchanged. It would seem that the two were in a clandestine relationship after Regulus' graduation or possibly even before that. It looks as though Regulus' sudden disappearance wasn't as mysterious as we previously believed, he simply went into hiding."
Tom listened, his jaw clenching as he tried to make sense of the words coming from the blonde. James Potter and one of his most loyal followers, it was preposterous. Yet it wasn't absurd enough for Tom to doubt, Lucius wouldn't tell him utter nonsense just for laughs. Especially if it could get him a painful Cruciatus. He asked with a tone that promised pain. "Went into hiding? Just disappeared for a lark, without a word to anyone. "
"It appears that Regulus was pregnant and chose to protect his child." Severus provided the answer.
The Dark Lord remained stoic. "Both of you will choose your next words very carefully. You are implying that Regulus Black was disloyal to me."
"Regulus remained loyal, but his affair with James Potter left him in a delicate state and he believed that the only way for him to keep his child safe was to hide." Snape explained, his lips pressed in a thin line.
Both wizards could feel the Dark Lord's magic sizzling in the air around him. The look etched on his handsome face was cold and his shoulders were rigid. "James Potter fathered a child with one of my most trusted subordinates and no one knew about it. You are telling me that Harry has a half-sibling running around somewhere?"
"My Lord, I think it would be more practical if we put the memories into a Pensieve." Lucius said tentatively. He wanted to say more but stopped himself. The Dark Lord's Crucio was excruciatingly painful and he had no desire to experience it again.
Tom sensed the unspoken words and held his piercing gaze on the blonde. "Lucius, now is not the time to be modest. Speak, before you lose that particular ability."
Sharing a look with Severus, the blonde said. "The letters suggest that Potter is that child. Regulus was Harry's birth mother."
After he had banished the two from his office, Tom had been silent and nothing in him had moved. He had confronted Harry the same night, only to pull the truth out from Harry like one would pull teeth. Even now, he was surprised at how well he had taken the news. No one had died, he had been composed. But only on the outside, because the storm inside had been mightier than a roaring tempest. He detested Dumbledore now more than ever, knowing the true capacity of the man's deeds and delusions. Yet nothing he had learned changed the way he saw Harry and that made him uncomfortable because he didn't want to dwell on feelings and such nonsense. But he wanted Harry back in their bed, holding a pillow was desperately and terribly pitiable.
Harry had reached his room when it hit him. He should have stayed and confronted Tom for being a grumpy bastard. He hadn't done anything wrong, aside from walking away and letting Tom have the final say. But the initial shock of being verbally slapped had forced Harry to leave as quickly as he could. They had their witty banter and their teasing, but it had felt different to Harry this time around. It hurt him, it cut deeper than anything else Tom had said to him before. Usually, he just got angry or shot something back at the man, but this time he felt something heavy settle in the pit of his stomach. He had missed the man's surprisingly warm body next to him, his cruel yet mesmerizing eyes that would greet him in the morning. He even missed the way Tom's presence made him feel safe, even though he was technically sleeping with the enemy. Well, former enemy.
"Master Harry Sir, there be people here to see you. They be in the sitting room waiting."
Harry turned to the elf and gave a nod. "Thank you. I'll be right down."
The elf popped away and left the teen alone with his thoughts that were weighing him down. Now, he had to go downstairs and tell his friends that he wasn't the precious child of Lily and James Potter. He must have spent a good five minutes just staring out of the window, when the door was pushed open and a large amount of redheads came in and swarmed his bedroom. The elf just bounced up and down, ranting apologies.
"We got tired of waiting." Fred grinned.
"If Harry didn't come to the Weasleys, the Weasleys had to come to Harry." George added.
Ginny and Hermione immediately sank on the bed, one on Harry's left as the other stayed on his right. The twins jumped on the bed as well and only Bill and Charlie remained standing.
"We haven't heard from you for days, Harry. You can't blame us for hunting you down and demanding answers." Ginny said. "Hermione was worried too and she has her own room here."
Hermione offered a sympathetic look and said. "I didn't want to impose, you were clearly in need of some alone time."
"Well, you're here now." Harry said with a snort. "I guess I can't put off talking to the lot of you any longer."
"Whatever you want to talk about, we're here for you. You're not getting married to Voldy, are you? It's totally okay if you do, I just want a proper amount of time to get ready for it." Ginny said with a smile. "You're not pregnant, right?"
Harry snorted out a laugh. "No, I'm not. No wedding plans either."
"It's about the chest, the one that belonged to Regulus?" Hermione asked.
"What chest?" Fred asked with a frown.
Hermione explained. "When we were cleaning out Grimmauld Place, we found a hidden chest that had belonged to Regulus Black."
"He was my mum." the green-eyed teen blurted out, wincing as it came out. It still tasted strange on his tongue, but saying it out loud made it real and he needed that.
Hermione had already suspected and hearing it only confirmed what she already knew. Ginny had discussed it with the other girl and she too had her suspicions upon seeing that picture.
Fred looked thoughtful. "Come again? Who was your mum?"
"That Regulus bloke, you twat. Didn't you follow the story?"
Ginny smacked George's arm and said. "Be quiet."
Harry sighed and spoke. "Apparently, James Potter had an affair with Regulus Black, Siri's brother. They sent letters to each other, but then James married Lily and ended the relationship. Lily was never pregnant, they went into 'hiding' because they wanted to make people believe that they were expecting a child and it wasn't safe for them to appear in public. Regulus wasn't killed by anyone, he disappeared because he went into hiding as well. Then he sent my dad one last letter, saying that he was having his child, but James Potter wasn't interested. The picture that was in the chest had been a gift from Regulus to James, but James sent it back with his last letter, saying that he never meant for it to happen."
"What happened to him then, if he wasn't killed by Voldemort like the Order told everyone?" Charlie asked.
"Do you really have to ask?" Bill muttered.
Fred and George grimly echoed Bill's thoughts. "Dumbledore."
Harry nodded and continued. "Dumbledore had my dad under his thumb, he was the one who told James to end it with Regulus and marry Lily. Somehow, Dumbledore found out that Regulus was pregnant with James' son and that Lily wasn't. But then there was the prophecy and he needed Lily and James to be the parents of the Saviour."
"Do you think Dumblefuck killed Regulus?" Ginny asked.
"I ended up with James and Lily, something had to happen to him. What kind of mother would just give up their child, Dumbledore must have done something to Regulus. The man defied the Dark Lord for his child and went through a lot of trouble just to have me, I reckon he wouldn't have given up his son without a fight." said the green-eyed teen with a broken laugh. "I'm a Black and a Potter. Sirius was my uncle and I don't even know if he knew that or not."
With a contemplating look, Bill said. "You are Sirius' heir but Regulus Black was the heir to the Black legacy before he disappeared. As his son, you are the legal heir anyway, whether Sirius made you his heir or not."
"Do you think Dumbledore used the Imperious Curse on James and Lily? It is possible that he forced him to do all those things. The picture of the two of them together wasn't faked, they looked really happy and in love. I find it hard to believe that James would have just left him because the old goat said so. You don't just fall out of love with someone like that." Hermione said with a frown, she found it all to be absurd and not right at all. "And if James and Lily were the ones taking care of you, how come James didn't wonder what happened to Regulus? Nothing makes sense."
"I agree with Hermione." George said. "The Potters weren't bad people. But Dumbledore being a manipulative old git does sound about right."
"My real mum was a Death Eater. If that makes you see me differently, then I completely understand."
Ginny growled. "Harry James, did you just imply that we wouldn't want to be your friends anymore? Did you just imply that we're all a bunch of spineless twats who would just turn their backs on you just because you found out that your mother wasn't who you believed her to be? Because if you did, I might just hit you."
Hermione snorted as the twins said. "Rubbish. We'd all hit him."
"I just said that I wouldn't hold it against you if you did." Harry cowered a bit, seeing the furious face of Ginny.
"Stop saying stuff like that, you pillock." Ginny hit the back of his head. "So you're a child of a Death Eater. That doesn't mean we would suddenly stop being your friends. In case you haven't noticed, we're all here in Voldemort's manor and my brothers are calling Bellatrix Lestrange 'mum'. We wouldn't leave you even if you were the child of Professor Snape and a bloody Nargle."
Fred grimaced. "How is that even possible?"
"It's not, but I was trying to make a point. I'll change it to Malfoy then." Ginny huffed. "The point I was trying to make is that you're stuck with us."
Bill noticed the annoyed look on Charlie's face and made a mental note to ask about it later. He watched as his sister and Hermione wrapped Harry into a hug, four arms squeezing him. Fred and George threw themselves into the heap and declared their undying love.
"Okay, guys...I can't breathe. Could you move?" Harry groaned.
The twins removed themselves, but kept smirking and grinning. Ginny remained glued to Harry's side and said. "I'm not going to ask about the prophecy, but I am going to ask about what you're going to do about Dumbledore. I mean, he's dead and unfortunately you can't throw him in the dungeon for some torture practice later, but the man ruined so many lives. If he hadn't meddled, you would have had a different life, one with a mum and slightly crazy family that includes Draco Malfoy of all people."
"Tom thinks we should tear down his perfect imagine, make people see the man behind the nice grandfather mask. His name would be nothing more than dirt and it would ruin his legacy. People won't see him as the Leader of Light anymore, a figure of hope and fairness will turn into a pile of ash that will never amount to anything but a bad taste in one's mouth."
Hermione said. "You can count on us, Harry. Whatever you need, you just ask and we'll do our best to help."
Bill added. "I'll get Tonks and Moody to help as well. Would you like to tell them yourself or can I break the news myself?"
"You can tell them, I hardly think Moody will want to come over for tea and scones." Harry snorted and said with a slight grin. "I just realised that I'm related to Tonks. Her mum is my first cousin like Narcissa and Bellatrix."
"You know that being a Black makes you a pure-blood, since both of your parents were pure-bloods. Blacks are a part of the nine powerful families that can be dated back many centuries and carry the ancient strains of magic. That makes you quite magically potent. For example, Draco, comes from two powerful families, both the Black Family and the Malfoy Family are old and date back to the first spark of magic. With the right training and with time, he has the potential to become a proper wizard. It's not about how powerful you are, but how you can handle the raw magic and channel it into your spells. Draco doesn't know how to be subtle yet."
Harry raised a brow. "What prompted your 'Ode to Malfoys'?"
"Draco and I did some duelling the other day. He said that since you're not amusing him, I could provide temporary entertainment. Instead of just blasting each other with random spells, we discussed stuff and he showed me some really good spells for defence. He had some trouble with directing his magic into the spell and I taught him some ways to do that."
"What did you do with the real Hermione Granger?" Ginny asked with narrowed eyes.
The other girl shrugged. "It's not like we decided to be best friends. He's actually rather normal and smart, under the pretty boy exterior of course. And I see no reason to be uncivil with one another, I spend half of my days in Malfoy Manor doing extensive research and he's always around when Lucius teaches me."
Bill snorted rather loudly. "Whoa...Repeat the last part."
"I think Hermione just said that she gets private lessons from Professor Malfoy. How come you haven't strangled him yet?" Ginny asked with a curious and playful smirk.
"Why should I do that? He has been nothing but friendly towards me, I would even go as far as calling him nice." Hermione said.
Harry laughed. "What Hermione means it that after she verbally castrated him, Lucius has been reconsidering his priorities and has realised that Hermione is a capable, intelligent witch who can take on anyone. Besides, they are rather similar, don't you think?"
"Yes, I think I can see it." Ginny smirked. "Lucius Malfoy has taken Hermione under his pretty, protective wing. How sweet."
"We're likeminded individuals." Hermione stated. "And I happen to love his library."
Fred grinned. "Lovely place, isn't it? We especially like Draco's bedroom."
George matched his brother's grin and nodded along like a mischievous imp.
"Do I even want to know?" Ginny inquired.
"Well, if you want all the dirty details..." Fred piped in with a smirk.
Hermione groaned. "No details, not even a word."
"I propose getting drunk." said Charlie, his expression showed conviction and a need to get his hands on some Firewhiskey.
"No can do, brother dear." Fred said. "We have a shipment coming in, have to unpack it."
George was in agreement and both crawled closer to Harry and kissed his cheeks. The latter said, "Give that to Draco."
"You can keep mine." Fred grinned. "We'd marry you in a heartbeat, Harrykins. You know we love you."
"Draco doesn't seem the type to share, so I will regretfully have to decline." said Harry with a mock-sigh.
Hermione snorted to herself. "Does Draco actually know about your plans?"
"How do you think we know what his bedroom looks like?" Fred grinned and laughed when Hermione made a gagging noise. "The seduction has already started."
Bill grabbed the twins by their legs, pulling them away and said, "I'll come with you, I have to meet Tonks anyway."
"You can use the backroom." George told his brother. "Make sure she doesn't trip on stuff."
As Fred and George stood to leave, Ginny said. "I'm staying with Harry. He still owes me details about Voldemort and his abilities as a lover."
Hermione gave the green-eyed teen a brief hug and said. "I won't stick around for that. I still have to go over some things before I present them to the Dark Lord."
Harry turned to the girl and said. "You just called him the Dark Lord."
"I gave up on the confusing titles and decided to just call him 'the Dark Lord'." the girl shrugged nonchalantly.
In the end, only Ginny remained with Harry. She was casually lazing on his bed, snuggled close to the wizard's side. "How do you feel?"
"I missed breakfast, so a bit peckish."
"I wasn't asking about your stomach." the girl chuckled. "I mean, how does it make you feel, knowing that Lily wasn't your mum?"
Harry stared at the ceiling, putting together his jumbled thoughts. "Sad and angry. Mostly miserable. She was the mother I came to know, everyone told great thing about her and I loved her. I still love her a lot, that hasn't changed. I certainly don't hate her, quite the opposite really. She knew I was Regulus' child, yet that didn't stop her from loving me and protecting me until the very end. I feel angry because Dumbledore put her into that situation in the first place. I don't know if James really loved her at all, and I can't help thinking about how everything affected her."
"I think it's fair of you to not blame her." said Ginny. "James Potter on the other hand...I'm not sure about his motives."
"Hermione was right about one thing though, they did look happy on that picture and I think they really were in love. The letters that Regulus wrote were filled with adoration, at least the first ones were. The last few letters were just full of hurt. He kept asking what he had done wrong. I just hate thinking about it."
Ginny sat up and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "If it's true and Dumbledore did kill him...how will we ever know what happened all those years ago? The goat is dead and I doubt his portrait would just tell you if you asked. No one knew about you, about Regulus and James having a relationship or even being friends. Sure, you can prove that you are their child, but what good would that do you if no one knows the answers you seek."
"No one in the Order knew." Harry said, running his hand through his messy hair. "I think that Sirius knew, at least some of it, and that's why he sided with Dumbledore. Think about it, Gin. Perhaps Dumbledore used the information to blackmail Sirius into staying in the Order. If he did it to protect his brother, I think it would explain why he suddenly went Light and stopped talking to his cousin. Narcissa said that when Regulus disappeared, Sirius stopped coming around and then he cut ties completely. His stay in Azkaban was convenient for Dumbledore because after James and Lily died, Siri could have demanded custody over me. Especially if he knew that I was his nephew. I think Siri went along with Dumbledore's orders because only Dumbledore knew where Regulus really was and Sirius hoped to find out."
Ginny blew out a puff of air and grumbled. "That makes perfect sense. When Sirius started asking too many questions, he was whisked away to Azkaban without a trial and no one defended him either. You know, my dad always said that it was wrong of Dumbledore to allow Sirius to leave the house and come to our rescue. But no one contradicted the old fuck and Sirius didn't think about anything other than getting to you."
"When he escaped and came to Hogwarts, he told me that we could be a proper family now that he was free. I thought he meant as godson and godfather, but I think he meant as uncle and nephew. He had to know, Ginny."
"You always have a family in us, you're an honorary Weasley." the girl attempted to cheer Harry up a bit. She understood the boy's struggle, his anguish over losing his family all over again.
Harry did smile, albeit weakly, but it was still a smile that made the girl relax a little. They sat in silence for a few moments, but Harry ended it by saying, "I think I might be in love with the Dark Lord."
Ginny's eyes were round and a smile was tugging on her lips. "You mean you have all those mushy feelings for him but you're not sure if you're imagining them or if it's the real deal."
"I thought so." the girl sighed. "Well, you won't know for sure until you tell me. I'm an excellent advisor when it comes to things like this."
"I don't know...I just feel so confused. I never know what he really thinks or what he truly wants. He's mostly cold and overbearing, but then he isn't and I see something softer in about him, which is just fucking puzzling because he isn't just any wizard. Sometimes he's just nice to me, too nice which makes me think that it won't last because we are talking about Voldemort. I don't know how he feels about me."
Ginny looked thoughtful and asked. "Does he, I don't know...tell you nice things that may or may not sound romantic?"
Harry gave a slow, hesitant nod. "It has happened."
"Harry, since we are talking about You-Know-Who, Mouldy-Voldy, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and so forth, I think nothing can be taken at face value here. He's hardly going to give you flowers and sing you a serenade. Throw you over his shoulder and shag you until you can't walk straight, yes definitely, but I think he might be just a little emotionally constipated. I wouldn't expect a full-blown declaration of his undying love, I think it's in the little things and the way he says or does things. He's the brooding, intriguingly handsome male lead in your trashy romance novel. You're the adorable and pure-hearted hero, who will turn his menacing nature into something softer and then you kiss and he dips you before you ride into the sunset together."
The green-eyed wizard just blinked at the girl who was talking with her hands and with an animated expression on her face.
"Tonks borrowed you her Muggle books again, didn't she?"
Ginny laughed. "Might have. But you know everything I just said is the truth. You and Voldemort couldn't be more different from each other. You're compassionate and forgiving, while he's unkind and ruthless. But you make him a better person, or at least somewhat better. You changed him, Harry. I think he hates it and would rather torture Muggles than admit that you make him feel something."
"It was far less confusing when we were trying to kill each other." Harry sighed pitiably.
"All is fair in love and war." Ginny smiled. "If you keep tiptoeing around the issue, you won't get anywhere. I suggest making him face his demons, make him admit that losing you is the worst thing that could happen to him."
Frowning, Harry asked. "You mean I should make him jealous?"
"Not exactly, just flaunt what you have. Drive him crazy but don't let him touch the merchandise. Let him see the goods, but make sure he's a buyer not just a window-shopper."
Harry groaned. "One more analogy and I will lock you in the bathroom."
"Does it have a bathtub? Because I would love to have a soak in it."
"Yes, there's a rather large bathtub and you can soak all you want. Can I leave you here alone?"
Ginny gave a nod and rolled her eyes. "I promise to behave and not leave this room. Bring me some snacks, will you? I'm starving, all this advise giving made me hungry. And don't you think you're off the hook, we will finish this later."
Barty was accepting handshakes from other Death Eaters when Harry finally decided to come down and mingle. Hermione met him by the staircase. She was wearing a fitting red dress that ended just above her knees, her hair was done up in an elegant twist with two strands framing her face.
"You look great." Harry offered as he reached the bottom of the stairs. He had just gone with a deep blue dress-shirt and trousers.
Hermione smiled and gave the teen a twirl. "Ginny helped me with the dress."
"Well, I heard that Viktor Krum was going to be here tonight." teased the green-eyed teen.
"I heard that too, he is actually my date for the evening." Hermione said casually. "Stop dragging your feet and let's join the others. Draco has been asking for you."
The manor had a ballroom that was hardly used, but Barty becoming the new Minister was a small victory for the Dark and Tom. The Dark Lord in question was nowhere to be seen, even though the ballroom was already in celebration and the evening was in full swing. Harry saw various faces he didn't recognise, most likely supportive families not Death Eaters.
Fred and George were looking dashing and suave, even the green-eyed wizard had never seen the two looking so smart and proper. Bellatrix handed both of the them a glass of wine and patted their cheeks before walking away.
"They're trying to impress Draco." Hermione hummed.
"I'd say they're doing a great job." Harry nodded towards Draco who was standing by the window with Blaise and Theo, but secretly glancing at the twins. "He's going to make them chase after him."
Hermione snorted, "That could end badly for Draco, I doubt the twins will chase after him forever."
"Is that Fleur?" Harry asking as he noticed a beautiful witch in a flowing dress that left some witches in shame.
"Judging by the looks she is receiving right now, I would say people either appreciate her beauty or hate her for it." the girl mused. Drawing Harry's attention to group of middle-aged witches, she added. "Those two look ready to claw Fleur's eyes out."
Narcissa appeared from the doorway and almost glided into the room with such grace that it left people in a daze. Her blonde hair was neatly woven into a braid and then made into an elegant twist. The dress hugged her in all the right places and Hermione felt a tiny surge of envy. The witch was stunning and had the confidence to bask in the hungry looks she was getting from wizards and the slightly spiteful one's she got from their wives.
"I think she's enjoying it. The knowledge that she could snap her fingers and have wizards drop to their knees on command. It's sort of fascinating actually." the girl told Harry as they edged closer to the centre of the room. Both noticed Rabastan Lestrange standing with his back against the wall, a certain rigidness to his shoulder and a sort of upset expression on his face.
"He can hardly control himself." Harry smirked.
"It's an open secret among the Inner Circle that the Malfoys are only married for the sake of appearances. Theoretically, she could pursue a relationship with Rabastan and no one would even blink. Lucius isn't exactly subtle with his affairs, everyone here knows more about his private life than necessary and quite frankly more than it's considered appropriate."
Harry shrugged. "Pure-bloods are weird like that. She is a lady and it would cast bad light on both her and the entire Malfoy House if she had extramarital hanky-panky with Rab. No one cares what Lucius does or who for that matter."
"That's absurd, but also none of our business." Hermione stated. She changed the subject and asked. "Are you still planning to do the blood test tonight?"
"I'm not sure. Tom and I are not speaking at the moment. Well, I'm not speaking to him because he's a twat." Harry said. "But I'd like to do it, I need to know for sure. Narcissa will be there and Sev.
Hermione gave a nod, fully supporting Harry's decision.
"I think we ought to congratulate Barty." Harry said, trying to chase away the thoughts about the blood test. "He looks uncomfortable, don't you think?"
"Well, he is currently surrounded by witches who could match his father's age not his." Hermione chuckled. She pulled the teen along and said. "I guess being the Minister makes him a good catch."
Draco had missed half of Theo's story in favour of stealing glances at the horrible twosome. They were dressed in the finest of robes and Draco could trace every curve and line of their lithe bodies. Even from afar, the blonde could see their matching smirks and subtle smiles. It was infuriating and annoying, totally idiotic that he would consider their offer. Yet, he had thought about nothing else for the past two or three days. The twins were genuinely interested in him, not his name or inheritance. They wanted him, because for some absurd reason, they actually liked him and not just for his looks either.
"You'll crane your neck if you stare much longer." Blaise smirked teasingly. "Honestly, Draco... the Weasley twins? Menace, thy name is Fred and George Weasley."
"They do look rather fit and handsome in a freckled sort of way. And they are pure-bloods, blood-traitors but still not Mud-bloods."
Blaise cuffed Theo and said, "Oi, shut your mouth."
"Sorry, I meant Muggle-borns." Theo winced.
"I'm not, in any shape or form, attracted to those Weasley idiots." Draco sneered.
Zabini raised a brow. "Yes, and I'm the Queen of England. You've only been staring at them for the past hour. Admit it, you find them attractive and want to bend your little perk arse over for those two."
Draco swallowed the rest of his drink and stalked away, leaving his two smirking and sniggering friends behind. He almost bumped into the eldest Weasley son and his wife as he walked across the room.
"What's wrong, darling?" his mother's worried voice came from the behind. He managed a smile but that didn't convince Narcissa. "You know, both your father and I would accept your choice in husband...or husbands. I do have eyes, you know. It's fairly obvious that you like Bella's identical students. I'm sure they're fine lads."
Draco felt the urge to blush but still weakly denied it. "I'm not interested in them."
"Oh, I wouldn't have guessed, with all the heated stares and longing looks." Narcissa chuckled.
"I'm positive that I have no idea what you are implying, Mother. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I see Pansy calling me over."
Quickly setting a course away from his mum, Draco could almost feel her smile burning a hole into his back. He made a turn into the foyer and set out to find the nearest bathroom. There was one near the sitting room and the blonde immediately splashed some cold water against his cheeks. He had no reason to feel so flustered but he was having unbearable hot flashes and suddenly his tailored clothes were too tight and made it hard for him to breathe. He spent the next ten to fifteen minutes in the bathroom, but as he opened the door to leave, he practically ran into the arms of one of the twins.
"Where's the fire, gorgeous?"
George appeared behind the blonde and pressed himself against Draco's back. "Look what we caught for ourselves, Freddy. A delectable young wizard."
Trapped between the two, Draco sneered, though it was half-hearted. "Unhand me this instant."
"Well, lovely...that's certainly isn't your wand poking me in the thigh." Fred smiled and licked his lips.
Unable to hide his mortified expression, the blonde whined miserably. George pressed his hips tightly against Draco's arse and whispered lewdly. "And that's not a wand either."
Fred wasted no time and pressed his lips against Draco's, coaxing the blonde to open up for him. He slipped his tongue into the other's mouth, while George mouthed kisses on Draco's neck. The younger wizard bucked his hips and moaned when he felt Fred's stiffness brush against his own.
"We're hard to get rid of." George hummed and nipped Draco's ear.
Moaning something incoherent under his breath, Draco leaned into George's chest and panted heavily. His eyes were clouded and a mist of lust had descended over his brain.
"We'll take good care of you, baby." Fred said as he slid his hand over Draco's trouser-clad cock. He purred. "Give us a chance, Draco. Promise you'll like it, like us."
Draco's protest was weak, nonexistent even as George wrapped his arms around him and Fred stole another kiss. Fumbling with his buttons, the blonde half-growled and half-whimpered. "Fuck, I hate you two so much."
Fred started pushing the three of them towards the corridor, not really having any idea where he was leading them to. George took a few steps back until he collided with a wall. Fred stumbled forward and pressed Draco into George who groaned. Twisting the blonde around, George claimed his mouth and Fred had a chance to press his throbbing erection into Draco's back.
"There's an empty bedroom...second door to the left." the blonde panted. "I won't be...ah, fuck...I won't be molested in a corridor."
George grabbed Draco's thighs and hoisted him up. "Freddy, find that bedroom."
The other redhead grinned and disappeared for a moment, only to shout some seconds later. "Found it."
With a smirk, George carried the blonde into the corridor and attacked him with his mouth as soon as they made contact with another wall.
"Oi, leave some for me." Fred hollered and shed his robe and jacket in one go. Slamming the door shut, he watched his brother toss Draco on the bed and start tugging on his own robe. Fred went to kneel on the bed and got rid of his shirt. Flinging it across the room, he grinned as Draco sat up and pulled him into a rough kiss. George almost materialized behind Draco and hastily unbuttoned the blonde's half-open shirt.
"He's even more beautiful than we thought, Freddy." said the other redhead when he slipped Draco's shirt from his shoulders and revealed his pale skin and willowy but tone chest.
Fred offered the blonde a playful smirk before he kissed his way down to Draco's navel and slithered his hand into his trousers. Undoing the fly, Fred yanked at each trouser leg. The blonde was too wrapped up in George's addicting kisses to noticed that the other had banished his trousers and boxers. He groaned into George's mouth when Fred swiped his tongue over his hard length. Swallowing the blonde down to the hilt, Fred had the cheek to chuckle around the hardness in his mouth. George raked his hands up and down Draco's sides, every once in a while tweaking his nipples and making the blonde moan in sinful ways.
Suddenly Fred's mouth was gone and Draco almost whined at the loss of the redhead's perfectly wet and heated orifice. George's hands were gone too and for a moment Draco thought that none of it really happened. But then Fred came back in sight and the blonde could swear his mouth was actually watering at the sight. Both of the twins were tall and muscled without being too brawny. They were lithe yet strong, exactly how Draco had imagined them to be under those robes. And he had done that a lot.
With one swift move, Draco was on his knees on the mattress and planted kisses over the length of Fred's body. Dropping lower, Draco wrapped his fingers around the glorious cock and lifted his eyes. He could be mischievous too and gave Fred a wicked smirk before sucking the redhead down. Fred's low and throaty moan made Draco feel a bit victorious. When he felt two hands on his back, unmistakably sliding towards his arse, he pulled away long enough to see a grinning George behind him. "If that doesn't make a lovely sight, I don't know what does."
Fred chuckled. "You should see the view from here."
Instead of feeling like a piece of meat, Draco felt oddly worshipped. The touches were all gentle and loving. The fingers gliding into his hair were also tender and the blonde silently wished that Fred would pull just a bit harder. He groaned around the hard member lodged between his lips when he felt something wet and entirely pleasurable working him open.
"You're going to be the death of me." Draco heaved a sigh as he released Fred's cock with a pop and felt George's fingers breaching his opening. "Fuck, that feels amazing."
George laugh quietly. "It's about to get even better."
Fred grinned in agreement and said. "A whole lot better."
Draco could only yelp and draw in a sharp breath as George removed his fingers and replaced it with something much bigger. The blonde could feel his legs trembling and if Fred hadn't supported him, he would have ended up with his face pressed in the bed sheet. He could hardly remember his name after George gave a shallow thrust and turned Draco into putty.
"I'm not sure I want to listen any further."
Narcissa shushed her sister and smiled. "I want to know if my baby boy is happy. "
Bellatrix mused thoughtfully. "Happy isn't the word I would use. Unless you mean happily shagged into the bed."
With a frown, the younger witch said. "Maybe it's best if we give them some privacy."
The other witch giggled and beamed. "My boys tried so hard to get Drakey's attention."
"I just hope Luc will accept the twins. They are such lovely boys after all."
With a snort, Bella drawled as they walked away from the door. "You know Lucy will throw a hissy fit, he always does. Better tell Sev first."
Harry was starting to get upset when Tom didn't appear after an hour. Barty was already slightly wobbly on his feet and all the strange and unknown guests had already left after staying for a little while. Hermione was dancing with Viktor, the latter whispering something in her ear, making her laugh and blush. He also noticed Blaise glaring daggers at the Bulgarian Seeker. Bill and Fleur had found themselves in conversation with the Lestrange brothers. Downing his glass of bubbly, the green-eyed teen slumped into an armchair and just watched everyone else.
It was getting late when Harry finally cast a Tempus, the party in Barty's honour was slowly winding down and only the Inner Circle remained. Rabastan and Rodolphus were trying to get the hang of some old song but failing miserably as it sounded like a choir of cats. Bill and his wife had left after saying their goodbyes and the twins were missing, along with Draco who had disappeared some time before. Blaise and Theo had joined the Lestrange brothers and merrily chanted along to the song. Hermione was already upstairs and probably asleep, but not before having sent Viktor on his way with a kiss. Narcissa was sitting with her sister, their heads bent together as they spoke softly. Harry felt oddly alone, the feeling intensifying as he thought about Tom and his absence. No one but him missed his presence, as if they knew that their leader wasn't going to attend.
He was lost in thought when Narcissa appeared next to him with a slightly hesitant Bellatrix behind her. The teen looked up and saw the witch, her soft smile making Harry feel warm and welcomed. He threw a glance at Bella and was a bit surprised to see the witch look almost apprehensive and nervous.
"Harry dear, would you like to do the parentage spell now or would you prefer delaying it?" asked Narcissa, her tone kind.
"We can do it now, there's no point in waiting until tomorrow." the green-eyed teen said. He stood and asked Narcissa. "You told Bellatrix?"
Narcissa turned to look at her sister and sighed. "Regulus was very dear to us. Bella loved him like a sister would love her brother, Regulus was more than just a cousin to us."
Harry understood, he loved Hermione and Ginny like they were his sisters. With a resigned nod, the teen said. "Fine, she can come along. But she is freaking me out right now, with the sad and remorseful expression."
The smaller sitting room was closest to the ballroom. Harry took comfort in Narcissa's presence and strangely enough he didn't mind Bellatrix, who standing near the door. It was funny to see the witch uncomfortably lurking in the back.
"The Dark Lord gave me permission to cast the spell. He is indisposed at the moment." the witch said.
"Sev was supposed to be here." Harry muttered.
Bella sensed her opportunity to escape the awkwardness for a minute or two and piped in. "I'll go get him."
Harry didn't say anything, just accepted the witch's offer. Narcissa had produced a sheet of parchment and a fancy dagger.
"This parchment isn't ordinary parchment, it carries the Black Family seal. This way we know for sure that the parchment has not been tampered with. The spell requires no more than four drops of your blood. Since we are using the family parchment, the spell will show an extended family tree, not just the names of your parents."
Bella came into view again and said. "He's on his way."
Severus was indeed on his way and shortly after Bella's arrival, Snape appeared in the doorway and immediately understood what was going to take place.
"Whenever you're ready, Harry." the witch said with a comforting smile. Harry gave a sharp nod and Narcissa pointed her wand at the piece of parchment. The incantation wasn't long but Harry was captivated by the words and the way Narcissa said them. His attention was pulled from the spell to the parchment that glowed white for a moment. The witch held out the dagger and before Harry could get cold feet, pricked his finger. The blood tripped onto the sheet and disappeared, as if sinking into the parchment and leaving no visible trace behind.
"Is it supposed to take this long?" Harry leaned closer to Narcissa as he asked.
"It is a complicated enchantment, it usually takes a few minutes to appear." the witch assured.
Severus had taken a few steps closer and could see the beginnings of the family tree forming on the light-brown parchment.
Harry was unable to tear his eyes away. Two different family trees appeared, the Potter side joining with another. Harry could already see the Potter family forming. Soon another, much bigger tree formed and Harry was able to let go of the final piece that had been holding him back.
"Regulus Arcturus Black is the birth mother of one Harry James Potter."
It was what Harry needed, what he already knew in his heart but had stubbornly tried to push into the far-off corner of his mind.
Narcissa had a hold on Harry's hand, her thumb softly soothing the back of it. "You are truly a part of our family."
"Narcissa." Severus drew the witch's attention away from the teen. He gave a small, almost invisible nod towards the door, making the witch stand and follow Severus' lead. When they were out of Harry's hearing range, the man said. "There was no indication behind Regulus' name."
The woman was confused and didn't quite understand the man's meaning. Snape clarified with a low tone. "There was a marking behind Potter's name, indicating that he is no longer among the living. There was no such marking behind Regulus' name. Not a word."
With a sharp gasp, Narcissa covered her mouth with her hand and muttered. "The parchment never lies."
From the settee, Harry's voice carried around the room. "I don't mean to appear thick, but is it supposed to be like this?"
"What do you mean?" Snape inquired sharply.
"Well, it says that my dad is dead. Shouldn't it say the same about my mum?" Harry lifted his eyes and looked puzzled. The staring contest between Harry, Narcissa and Snape went on for a few silent moments.
"Yes, it should." Bella was the one who walked over and grabbed the parchment from the table. After scanning it with her hooded eyes, she emitted a strangled breath. "Reg isn't...but he can't be alive, can he?"