Illya was immediately on edge when she met Black Wing for the first time. It had nothing to do with his obviously inhumane nature, or the fact he was related to Zelretch.
No, it had everything to do with the fact that upon moments of meeting him, she was put at ease. Like she recognized him.
Then again, it was pretty damn obvious he was related to Medusa.
"I thought you were Zelretch's grandson?"
"I am," he replied.
"Then why in the name of the Root do you look like a younger Medusa?"
"Blood adoption with her two sisters, as well as Zelretch. So Gramps said you have a plan to gut Dumbledore's control?"
"I also fully plan to make Malfoy my bitch and punting toy," said Illya flatly.
Black Wing smirked.
"And just like that you have my help. I despise the Malfoys."
"I'm still withholding judgment on the father, but Narcissa from my reports seems like she might be salvageable," smirked Illya.
"Tell me what you've done so far to take control, and I'll help you refine where I can. Seeing Malfoy's face when he realizes he's at the bottom of the pure blood totem pole is something I'll enjoy."
"I'll have my Harry take pictures when he realizes all the so-called power the Malfoys have is now in my hands," said Illya smugly.
Black Wing's smirk was as predatory as Illya's was. She might act childish at home, but she would only allow her usual mask that hit the cold-hearted sadist within once she had her Berserker back.
"Did you just feel a chill run down your spine? Like a pair of evil masterminds just joined forces?" said Harry suddenly.
"I'm guessing this Illyasviel impressed my adorable grandson."
"Oh. Well that's alright then. For a minute I was worried it was an evil that thought it could compare to her," said Harry shrugging.
In Harry's mind, the only unacceptable evil was anyone stupid enough to cross Illya. She kept most of the idiots off him and allowed him to learn magic without having to worry about that Boy-Who-Lived crap. Not to mention she liberated him from the Dursleys.
He'd follow her anywhere, so long as she never betrayed him.
Zelretch grinned. He liked this kid.
"Say...how would you like your own version of a Kaleidostick?"
"It's not going to try and turn me into a magical girl is it?"
"As funny as that might be for short term, no. I'd rather enjoy the horrified and furious expression of Dumbledore when he realizes he'll never have you under his command."
"Emerald?" guessed Harry. There was Ruby and Sapphire. Emerald paid homage to his eye and House color.
"With dragon wings I suppose," nodded Zelretch. It would be an interesting challenge, calibrating a Kaleidostick to a male user.
"Mind if I join in?" said Kiritsugu.
"Ideas for what to add?"
"Among other things," agreed the former assassin.
"Why don't you go help Shirou with his wand work while we chat?" said Zelretch.
Considering Shirou still had to rely on a translation amulet to be understood by Harry, this would be an excellent time for him to practice English. On the plus side, his grades for that class had shot through the roof because of it.
It took Dumbledore a full two weeks before he found out Harry wasn't in England anymore. And he spent the week after trying to find out where the boy had vanished to.
He spent so much time trying to retrieve the boy and put him back with his maternal aunt, he completely missed the overseas application from Fuyuki, outside of stamping it in order to get more time to find Potter.
Dumbledore was in for a nasty surprise when the school year started. Especially since Illya's father had realized that since his children would likely be in the middle of the upcoming war, they would need more than a few summer's training.
And what better way to keep an eye on his daughter, son and apprentice than to take the post many considered cursed?
Even if he had to tweak the last name a bit to slide it past Dumbledore's notice.
"Okay, explain this one more time."
"If you're going to be Daddy's apprentice, then we need to find a role to suit you. Daddy made due with his skills that grandmother Natalie taught him, but you will have advantages he didn't."
"For starters, Status and wealth. Daddy comes from a magical line down to it's last members, namely the two of us plus Shirou. Any prestige it might have had disappeared after his father was caught and executed for researching vampirism. He barely had any of the family crest left after that mess. However the Potters are an established pure blood family, and the Blacks, who your great grandmother on your father's side belonged to, go back even further. So much so that it's an Ancient house, though the Noble part is mostly upheld thanks to the fact the Potters were well respected. That combined with the family wealth means you could easily fall into the niche called the gentleman's assassin. It gives you opportunity to scout out potential targets among the nobility without raising suspicion, and take out undesirable bloodlines."
Harry's eyes grew hard.
"Like the Malfoys."
"Among others. People like Daddy or even the Weasleys wouldn't get within ten feet of somewhere like the Malfoy Manor...but a Potter and a Black could walk right in, poison the host and walk out if he's smart. Of course that's considered very bad manners and there are easier ways to perform a mass extermination of a family line. Ironically that's part of the reason why Daddy's vault was so big... Right of Conquest is a forgotten law of magical societies that most people recognize, but aren't aware is still very much in effect. So long as there are no claimants to the gold within a year of the line ending, the goblins automatically award it to the one who ended the line provided they did it in an 'honorable' fashion and don't get arrested for being murderers."
Harry raised an eyebrow.
"How is shooting a rocket at a house 'honorable'?"
"I said they couldn't get caught and the deaths weren't considered 'messy'. So long as he's not a mass murderer and doesn't kill indiscriminately, it qualifies. He only killed those he needed, after all. It's no different than what the Danes did to the Saxons before England finally came under one banner," explained Illya.
Harry blinked, considered that, and nodded. That part he could understand.
"Which is why you'll need training on how to act in 'polite' society when not on the job. It will keep the amount of nonsense the Ministry throws at you to a minimum, especially if you marry into another more prominent established line of magical blood. Any child of that kind of union would automatically be considered 'pure blood'."
"But I don't care about that pure blood and first gen nonsense!"
"Neither do I, but these idiots do. At least until someone's able to properly revamp the entire magical society's structure into something more socially acceptable by even mundane standards. Magi have a reason for looking down on first gens, but they also acknowledge that allowing them to marry into the families can be a good thing. The wizards don't."
"So I don't have to believe their bullshit, I just have to play at being nice?" clarified Harry.
Illya smiled at him.
"Exactly! Well, that and learning this will be helpful later," said Illya.
Harry didn't seem too enthusiastic about the prospect of learning this, but he would put up with it to keep Illya happy. So instead he asked something that had been bugging him quite a bit.
"What's this betrothal thing about? I mean I know what the word means, but from the way your dad mentioned it..."
Illya thought of how to phrase this.
"It's like this. You know how the British are gaga about the fact you survived the Killing curse and took out the idiot known as Tom Riddle, right?"
"Well Dumbledore used his connections to illegally place a magical child into a known magic-hating household. Any of your mother's friends from school could have told him your aunt wanted nothing to do with magic after she lost her sister. Not to mention it likely went against whoever the Potters had set up as your guardians in the event of their death. Considering the climate, I find it highly unlikely they never wrote a will. Unfortunately as Dumbledore is head of the Wizangamot and de facto magical guardian of all war orphans in the event the godmother and godfather are unavailable, it's almost impossible to currently get the will read. And Dumbledore believes blood wards are a good reason to keep a child in an abusive and neglectful home."
Harry's face went dark. He hated Privet Drive, and it was clear that feeling was mutual.
"Which is why Daddy can go one of two routes to remove you from the home. One is magical adoption, but after consulting the goblins it's clear that would alert Dumbledore and he might try to remove you with an additive that we only interact at school. Not exactly something I want to happen."
"And the other?"
"Betrothal to the family. I'm from a well known and long line of magical blood, one that many would quite literally kill to get into. So you marrying into my line is perfectly acceptable. Now naturally that means you would have to learn how to use the family magics allowed to outsiders, and as Daddy has already filed the paperwork for apprenticeship here in Japan, it's acceptable for you to become his ward. So long as the betrothal isn't contested for a period of thirteen months, it becomes official. We've left a few loopholes in the event you don't want to marry me, but essentially you're now part of our family. And nothing Dumbledore says or does can break it once the thirteen months are up."
"So...basically if I'm betrothed to you, I get to stay here and never have to go back to Surrey ever again?"
"Not unless you want to watch the place burn, no," said Illya.
"...Where do I sign again?"
Illya beamed at him.
By the next morning, the paperwork was filed and the time limit was set. If no one contested the contract by Christmas of third year, it would be impossible to break by outside forces. And they had made sure to add a clause that in the event outside forces were suspected to influence either party, then the contract would stand in spite of it.
It was iron clad...if someone other than Harry or Illya wanted to break it.
Harry was in awe over the smaller version of the Einzbern castle. It was understandable really.
Hogwarts was big, but once you got over it, it was just a school that moved into an old castle and left a bunch of dusty old rooms that no one bothered with anymore.
But this... this was a castle meant to be lived in, and a single house elf wearing the Einzbern crest kept it clean. The food was only ever brought in once there was someone living there. Otherwise the kitchens would remain bare.
And no Einzbern would bother coming this way without alerting the elves first.
Twitchy merely had Illyasviel confirm her bloodline before he keyed her into the wards. After that it wasn't his problem, and she had already confirmed that she would be spending most of her time in Hogwarts, so he wouldn't be overly bothered.
Unless, of course, she called for him specifically by name. Then he would appear as any good house elf should to report. The Einzberns didn't abuse their house elves, and they didn't tolerate abuse of them either. The last idiot who tried got turned into potions ingredients.
Harry was astonished by them...right up until Illya tracked down the Potter mansion. Then he found himself the owner of no less than seven house elves, all very happy to be bonded to the proper heir again.
Harry made a point to learn each of their names and upgrade their wardrobe, which he called a uniform after the whole "clothes equals disgrace" was explained to him. House elves could live with having a uniform. Being given clothes was a sign that they weren't doing their job right...or were cracked in the head.
"I can't help but wonder how first gens take house elves."
"Oh most of them get used to it. But every so often there's an indignant one who gets it in their head that the elves are enslaved because they don't receive visible wages and are sometimes abused by the wrong families, and then they try to change things. It's silly really, because wizards are the ones who got things wrong."
Harry looked at her.
"House elves are brownies. Household fairies from the old country. Some idiot came up with the nickname 'household elves' as a joke because they originally looked like elves, and the name stuck. Brownies don't need money to survive, all they need is magic. Which is why there are certain rites to bind one and release one. It's a contract."
"So the blood circle is a binding ritual, to tell magic that you are accepting their service in exchange for your magical power, and the clothes signify a termination of the contract, which to them means they aren't doing their job," said Harry, going over what he had been told.
"Precisely. What use do fairies have for metal and paper, when iron burns them and paper only has meaning if people give it meaning?" said Illya.
"Whereas magical power is universal. Think Hermione might get upset if she found out that fairies are acting like maids?"
"Knowing her personality...and seeing it first hand thanks to Zelretch, yes. I better give her a book explaining the reality before she gets it into her head and gets into trouble."
"So what are we here for again?"
"Mostly to get keyed in early to the wards. And so I can get into the library," said Illya. She was not going to be bored to tears with the Hogwarts library. Never again. You would think they'd have some decent reading material, but no. All the interesting books were restricted or well hidden, and Illya had looked extensively for several hours.
Besides, she needed to have a decent library of books not related to schoolwork or she'd die of boredom.
Harry on the other hand...he seemed to have become absolutely fascinated with the old James Bond series. Though Illya threatened to hex him silly if he started trying to emulate the character too much.
Having a laugh at the expense of the infamous spy was one thing, trying to imitate him was another. Most people mocked any poor agent saddled with the 007 call sign.