The Chaos of House Potter
Wanda: I don't know if you remember Lord and Lady of the Past and Future, but I ended up taking the story down because I found I had nowhere for it to go. But I really did want to work with the concepts of abusing a corrupt system to protect the innocent, along with secret magic countries. Now, I'd like to shout out thanks to garaa king of the sand, who is awesome to brainstorm ideas with and gave me this outline. This will be a multi pairing fic, there will be some surprises in there, and I hope you all find it interesting!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter
Chapter 1: Ginny – Guinevere
Ginny Weasley was bored, tapping her fingers against the wall of the Gryffindor Common Room. She had just been released from the Hospital Wing after two days, having finally been declared free of injury. Neville, Hermione and Ron were still there, though Luna had been released first since she had sustained the least number of injuries. Dumbledore had come in to visit them, intoning that now 'everything was in order...do not worry. I shall carry things from here'. Her mother had naturally sent a howler over her decision to help Harry with his vision of Sirius's death. Of course it hadn't ended up mattering, Ginny thought sadly. Sirius died anyway in the ambush. If only Dumbledore had shown up alongside the initial Order of the Phoenix drop. He probably could have ensured Sirius would have survived...
Harry was distraught, and beyond comfort. He hadn't spoken to any of his friends, and Ginny was willing to give him the space. She couldn't imagine loosing any of her brothers or her parents, and Sirius had been the only real parental influence Harry had ever had. The Dursleys had failed in that department in every way possible, Ginny thought darkly. Fred and George had told her all about that before her first year; the bars they had torn off his windows had still been in the trunk of the car when the twins landed it in their backyard. Harry had been spending most of his time in the very back of the library, or loitering about on the Quidditch pitch, avoiding anyone who attempted to speak to him and hitting Draco Malfoy with a hex when the boy confronted him over the imprisonment of his father Lucius.
Ginny sighed deeply and sat up, rubbing her eyes with tired irritation. She couldn't help but feel a sharp spark of anger towards Dumbledore. He could have done so much more. He was ignoring Harry every time he tried to call out for help. He never told Harry anything, and then this happened. She stood up and started to pace around her bed, stepping quietly so as not to awaken any of her dormmates. It was so flagrantly foolish, what had happened all this year, that it left her 'Weasley Temper' on a constant low burn – ready to erupt at too much pressure.
So the thought that entered her mind was a somewhat childish one, ruled by her indignation on Harry's behalf and anger over having had to suffer under Umbridge's rule this entire year. None of the teachers had even tried to stop her, not even McGonagall, who swore up and down that no one was allowed to hurt her lions. Ginny winced slightly and rubbed the back of her right hand. "I must not be so disruptive.", faded white scars proclaimed. They weren't as deep and noticeable as Harry's. But the pain had left a mark on her.
Dumbledore didn't want to tell them everything? Then she would just have to steal the information! They needed it, whether he liked it or not.
With that in mind, Ginny quietly slipped out of her dorm and made her way down the stairs. Fred and George had nurtured her liking for pranks. While her mother's disapproval kept her from having her own seat in detention like them, she had made a mark for herself among the teachers. Snape in particular always looked like he had a migraine whenever he saw her enter his class. Which was warranted, since Ginny liked to retaliate for all the cruel, undeserved remarks the dour old man liked to pile on students who weren't his precious Slytherins. She loved using fireworks.
I wish I could borrow Harry's invisibility cloak; but I don't want to use it without his permission, Ginny thought as she made her way down one of the secret passageways. Filch was still up and about, looking incredibly downcast that Umbridge's lifted bans on student punishments had been removed by Dumbledore upon his return. So Ginny took care to keep out of his way, just in case – he was bound to take his bad mood out on the first person he caught breaking curfew. Slowly she made her way to the gargoyle that sat outside the old man's office.
Fred and George had told her about Dumbledore's weakness for sweets. It only took her three guesses for the gargoyle to slide aside, admitting the stairwell. Ginny cast a quick glance over her shoulder to make sure that she hadn't been spotted or followed before cautiously starting into the office.
It was unnervingly quiet...hopefully that meant Fawkes the Phoenix was asleep as well. Ginny knew that Dumbledore had gone away to the Ministry, ostensibly to ensure that Umbridge was punished and Fudge resigned properly. But if he had left his bird behind, then she might have some trouble.
Fortunately for the redhead, when she peaked out from behind the Bannister Fawkes's perch was empty. Letting out a sigh of relief – quietly, still, since there were undoubtedly portraits further back in the room – Ginny climbed up into the room and began walking around, eyeing the stacks of books and papers with a critical eye.
"There's a lot of stuff here...how does an old man remember all of this?" Stepping over to Dumbledore's desk, Ginny bent over and started examining the papers.
"Reinstatement, signed by the Minister...heh, these are all those precious decrees. I hope Fawkes incinerates them in front of her eyes later..." Ginny mused as she shuffled through the pages. Her hand bumped against something cold. "Hello?"
Brushing aside some stray papers revealed a silver tray with a number of strange, delicately carved instruments on it. Curious, Ginny picked one up and held it in her hand. It was cool, and touching it made gave her an odd sense of deep sadness. The top was glowing blue. "I wonder what...?" A silver sheen emitted from the object, as if voice activated. Ginny dropped it with a curse, ready to flee, but paused when no outcry followed it. Instead, the silver shadow took the form of...
"Harry?" Ginny hissed in surprise. Sure enough, it was an image of Harry, hanging over a sink in one of the boy's bathroom. He was sobbing intensely, and as Ginny leaned forward, she heard him mutter 'Sirius...'. Her heart ached at the sight. "But...this follows him wherever he is?" She eyed the silver object with some new trepidation. "That's...kind of creepy, Headmaster."
Cautiously placing the instrument back and burying it under papers again – it wouldn't do for anyone to know she had been in here. Ginny shook her head. "So you've been following him even when he's outside school...? Sirius was his guardian. You're only the headmaster. You shouldn't have the legal ability to watch Harry all the time."
The creaking noise of scraping stone nearly caused Ginny to leap out of her skin. Spinning around, she pointed her wand at an emerging...pensieve? Lowering her arm, Ginny walked slowly towards it as the stone door fully disappeared into the wall. The bowl was full of memories – nearly sixty times as many as Arthur's, who had mainly kept it to be able to relieve his favorite memories. It made sense that Dumbledore would have more – he was a much older man – but...if there was going to be a place where Ginny could get to Dumbledore's secrets, it would be here.
Putting her arm way, Ginny slowly bent over it and placed her hands on the sides of the bowl, her fingers dipping into the cold water. The memories shivered, pulling older memories to the surface as though they were drawn to her presence. Ginny leaned forward just a bit more, and gasp as she mentally fell into the memory...a memory dating back to 1981.
**~1981, St Mugos~**
Ginny shook her head, blinking spots out of her eyes as the world came into focus. She looked around in surprise; this was the hospital she had visited not too long ago along with Hermione, Ron and Harry to visit Neville's parents – after all, Neville was a good friend of hers, though nothing more as they had discovered when they danced together at the Yule Ball and discovered there was no spark between them. She had wanted to be there for him.
But St Mugos looked different – she didn't recognize any of the Nurses, except for Andromeda Tonks. And it took her a moment to realize Andromeda looked much younger than when she'd last seen her – her face was free of many of the stress lines she had gained, making her look much younger than when she had first met the woman.
Ginny let out a small yelp as a nurse passed right through her without giving any sign she noticed her. Taking a deep breath, the redhead began walking forward, uncertain of what she was seeing. "St Mugo's seems fairly empty...that's weird." She muttered.
A scream split the air. Ginny jumped in surprised, staring down the hallway to a room to the only room with a door open. Two nurses were rushing towards it, one of them being Andromeda Tonks herself. Curious, Ginny started following after them and entered the room...and may have passed out if this wasn't a memory. Lying on a bed was a beautiful young woman with radiant red hair and green eyes, dressed in a red t shirt. She was screaming and thrashing in bed, her stomach heavy with child. Next to her was a young man with incredibly messy black hair, a pair of glasses over brown eyes, and wizard robes. He was holding the woman's hand, wincing every time she screamed and crushed his fingers in her grip. Standing next to the man was Sirius Black, looking healthier and happier than Ginny had ever seen him except maybe for when he was with Harry in Grimmauld Place. Andromeda Tonks was on the other side, flitting back and forth while keeping that person healthy. Dumbledore was standing in a corner, smiling his usual, somewhat unnerving placid smile with that twinkle in his eye.
"Lily, please! I can't feel my fingers!" The man begged.
"GO TO HELL, JAMES!" Lily Potter shrieked in response. "YOU DID THIS TO ME! I'M GONNA KILL YOU WHEN I CAN FINALLY STAND UP!"
"It's okay Lily!" Andromeda promised, putting a hand on her friend's shoulder and waving her wand again. "You're doing so well. The baby will be here soon!"
"FUCK THAT! THEY'RE YOUR CHILDREN, JAMES! THAT'S THE ONLY WAY I COULD BE GIVING BIRTH TO SUCH WILD BRATS WHO DON'T CARE FOR THEIR POOR MOTHER'S WELL BEING!" Lily yelled, kicking at the air.
"...Lily Potter...?" Ginny whispered, eyes widening. Slowly, she looked over to the man. "...James Potter...? ...This is...this must be...!"
Lily let out one final shriek, and her cries were joined by soft wailing. Andromeda gently raised up the baby in her arms, smiling. "It's a boy, Lily! You've got a son!"
Gasping, tears rolling down her cheeks, Lily stretched out her arms. "Give...give him to me..." When she was holding the boy, she laughed weakly. "Oh, look at him James..."
"Yeah, yeah...I see...I see..." James whispered, reaching out and brushing his fingers against the boy's cheeks. "So...Harry it is, huh?"
"Yeah. Harry James Potter." Lily responded between heavy breaths.
James gave his wife a small smile. He was crying too. "I'm surprised you wanted to name the boy so bad."
Lily snorted. "I did when I heard the name you were going to give him! Hadrian? Like the emperor? Really, James?"
"Can I hold him now?"
Ginny found herself in tears, along with most others in the room. I have to show Harry somehow, she thought as she watched the loving family celebrate together. If only they could have lived together their whole lives! Damn Voldemort! She brushed her tears away with one hand, only to find the image blurring over.
She just saw Dumbledore smile in a way that almost seemed like a smirk. He looked like he had just been handed exactly what he wanted after waiting for quite a while. It was only there for a moment, and the memory was fading, but Ginny was certain she had seen it.
Everything faded to white, and the memory ended...only to move on to another one.
**~1982, Godric's Hollow~**
Now Ginny found herself standing in a quiet little cottage. She recognized the place from many illustrations and descriptions that had been created for it in the aftermath of Voldemort's attack on the Potter family. She stood in a hallway, with some baby toys strewn across the floor. Harry must have gotten a bit older then...She thought, when a familiar scream split the air.
Ginny stepped into the room where the noise was coming from and saw Lily once again in the throes of childbirth. This time, Alice Longbottom was standing with Andromeda, helping her along. James, Sirius, and Dumbledore (the old man relegated to the corner) were the only other people there.
But this isn't possible! Ginny thought in shock. Harry doesn't have any brothers or sisters. Lily shouldn't be pregnant!
"Why does this hurt so much more than last time?!" Lily asked, terrified. "Alice, is something wrong with my baby?!"
"It must be because of the birth stalling potion," Alice said grimly. "We're doing everything we can Lily, just do everything I tell you-"
"DUMBLEDORE!" Lily shouted, glaring at the man. "IF MY BABY DIES BECAUSE OF YOUR CONCERNS I'LL BEAT YOU TO DEATH WITH A CURLING IRON!"
Ginny found herself both wincing and grinning. Lily Potter really did have spirit, just like her mother had always said. It was a privilege to get to see it. "Calm down, Lils, relax!" James said, hurrying to placate his wife while shooting Dumbledore a nervous look. The older man merely tipped his head.
"If the worst happens, I'll give you the chance," He said serenely. Ginny found herself shivering at those words. Somehow she didn't think he meant it, which unnerved her. This was Dumbledore, wasn't it? Why would he have delayed this second child's birth? That didn't sound healthy...or safe for Lily, for that matter.
Lily screamed, and blood spilled all over the bed-sheets as this child came free. Andromeda quickly took the baby – a girl – and held her while checking for injuries. Meanwhile, Alice rushed to heal Lily, who was bleeding everywhere while James shouted in panic. Ginny found herself looking away, feeling mildly sick to her stomach and unable to watch.
Dumbledore, meanwhile, just watched the scene unfolding with a carefully neutral expression, the twinkle in his eyes flickering. A flippant muggle/muggleborn might have described it as 'the Gendo Ikari' look in the not too distant future.
After a few tense minutes, Lily gasped and Alice let out a groan of relief. "It's okay, everyone...I've stopped the bleeding." James collapsed bonelessly against his chair, while Sirius finally stopped pacing and wilted, looking almost as haggard as the two parents.
"My baby?" Lily asked tentatively, looking up at her two Healers.
"She's right here. Healthy as can be," Andromeda said with a small smile, handing Lily the baby.
The moment she saw the child, Ginny felt like she had been hit by a lightning bolt – and every bit of her body was conducting static electricity. Slowly she walked towards the bed – sliding through James while she was at it – and stopped next to Lily.
Lily was holding a baby girl with brilliant brown eyes. While no hair had grown in yet, those brown eyes looked a lot like James Potters. But more importantly...
"So do I get to name her this time?"
Lily, tired but spirited, stuck her tongue out at her husband. "Since you asked so nicely."
Ginny had seen baby pictures of herself. Molly Weasley had dozens of pictures of each of her children and liked to show them off during family gatherings.
"Guinevere, then. Our little Princess. Guinevere Lillian Potter."
She was looking at herself.
**~Back in the Present~**
The shock of this discovery was so strong it broke the memory connection and sent Ginny stumbling backwards, clutching her chest and gasping for air. The redhead collapsed ungracefully to the floor, the shape of her face changing just enough that one who looked at her would comment how much she looked like Lily Evans/Potter at her age. She felt herself change; her heart soaring as if a secret burden had been lifted off it.
Guinevere Potter. Ginny Weasley.
"I'm their daughter." Ginny gasped. "I'm the daughter of Lily and James Potter."
The words fell upon her like a ton of falling stone, and suddenly and unexpectedly she burst into tears, wrapping her arms around her chest and curling up into a ball, leaning against the stone pensieve as she wept. Her world had shattered around her as if struck by a bombing raid, into millions of tiny fragments she had no hope of ever reconstructing. Initially she wanted to deny it – she was a Weasley, she was the youngest of seven and her parents were Arthur and Molly Weasley – but she had seen her baby face. They were in the memories of Dumbledore, who had known her parents ever since they were children. And most of all, her own magic had reacted to those memories. Had wanted her to realize the truth that had been staring her in the face. Now Ginny remembered her mo-Molly talking about how, after Ron had come into the world, she had despaired of her ability to make another child after a doctor had "erroneously" declared her barren. One of the reason she had so many children was that she had always wanted a daughter.
Lily hadn't given birth to her in St Mugos. She had given birth in Godric's Hollow...only a handful of people were there. It was possible that no one else had known about her – the Potters had been in hiding at the time.
But what about Sirius?! Ginny argued with herself. He was there, he would have known about me! But he treated me like a stranger! And Andromeda, she's supposedly my godmother, but she showed no signs of recognizing me...!
But people's memories could be changed. Erased. Sirius had been in Azkaban for twelve years. Andromeda...Ginny didn't know what had happened to her during the years between the birth and when she had met her this year.
And someone else was there, too. Dumbledore. Dumbledore, who had always been good with mental magic – a prodigy, Hermione always liked to point out. Dumbledore, who had apparently insisted on a birth stalling potion be used on Lily, even knowing it could be dangerous...
Ginny might have hyperventilated at that point, if she hadn't started banging her head against the pensieve stand causing some of the water to slosh over the side and hit her. The coldness, and the memory of where she was, shook her out of her panic somewhat.
I am Guinevere Potter, she thought, taking a deep breath, standing up and walking over to the large mirror Dumbledore left sitting on his desk. She stood there for a long moment, staring at her reflection. Molly had remarked – several people had, actually – that she looked a lot like Lily Potter. Now, with what she had seen, Ginny found herself agreeing. They had the same face, the same dark red hair. The brown eyes were different, but what she had once attributed to Molly she now saw as a reflection of James Potter – he had those exact same eyes, the same shape and colour, though Ginny still had no need for glasses.
It's like the opposite of Harry. He looks like Father with Mother's eyes, and I look like Mother with Father's eyes.
That thought brought her up short. And brought something rather unpleasant to her attention. I've had a nearly lifelong crush ON MY OLDER BROTHER.
Ginny slapped both hands over her mouth; the urge to wretch rose as suddenly as the realization hit her brain. Unable to stop it, she vomited on the Dumbledore's carefully maintained carpet, moaning and clutching her stomach. Oh god, and Mum-Molly-used to croon over how cute it was! Ginny thought blearily. Gagging, she pulled out her wand and vanished the mess, desperately wishing she had a mint on hand. She'd have to go bother the twins – the twins who were not her brothers – but were her brothers – she pressed a hand against her chest.
No. She couldn't get overwhelmed here. Shaking her head, Ginny staggered back to the peniseve. She stared down at it, thoughts whirling around her head.
Why was I separated from the Potters? Why had I grown up thinking I was Ginny Weasley, instead of staying with them? Had Lily and James given her up when they thought Voldemort was coming after them? I... she pressed her hands against her chest. Does that mean I'm not living with my-the family I thought I had? I-I love them... b-but did they know about this?
Ginny/Guinevere violently bit her bottom lip. No. I have to know. Dumbledore was there. If he's kept those memories, he must know what happened. And now I am going to know the truth.
Taking an deep breath, Ginny/Guinevere dove back down into the memories.
**~Unknown time and place~**
Dumbledore was talking to Trelawney, in a room in the Leaky Cauldron. "Thrice defied him...the power he knows not? You are certain?"
"I-I cannot be. I do not remember my prophecies when I give them," The psychic sputtered.
Dumbledore resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Sure, he had given her a drug that changed her memory – his father had taught him that the information that Seers brought to the world was not for everyone to hear, lest they destroy all that was important with their attempts to either follow it or change it. He had actively searched for prophecy, anything that could give him an edge in this conflict against Tom Riddle – that's why he had fired his former Seer, Pandora Lovegood, when she refused to tell him what she had seen in the future. To give him precedent to search for another with the Sight.
"What will you do if I tell you?" She had asked him with challenge in her eyes. When he wouldn't give her a straight answer, he eventually fired her in frustration.
But Trelawney should be able to remember something, unless her mind was more fragile than he had expected. "Y...Yes. That is it. Neither can live while the other survives."
"...I see. You have saved our future, miss. I have a post for you at my school, if you are interested..."
Dumbledore saw a shadow moving out of the corner of his eyes. "Severus?" He called out, hoping the student – if it was who he suspected it was – would stop, stop and listen to reason before delivering this news of potential salvation to Voldemort. But there was no sign of pause, and when Dumbledore stepped out into the hallway, Severus Snape was already gone.
"Twins?" Dumbledore mused, listening with one ear as James Potter ranted on and on about Lily's successful pregnancy. "That's strange...the prophecy referred to one child, not two."
The criteria list for those who had 'thrice defied the Dark Lord' was a thin one. Voldemort was viciously powerful, and he did not leave anyone whom he defeated in a duel to tell the tale. Several Order members had been lost taking him on in order to give their companions a chance to escape and regroup. However, now there were four people who fit that description – Alice and Frank Longbottom, and Lily and James Potter. Alice had just recently become pregnant as well, and she was confirmed to be having one child – a boy.
"But if they were both born on the same night...that must invalidate their candidacy." Dumbledore went on, knowing that no one was listening. Everyone was busy congratulating James, shouting and noise filling the room. "Then there would only be one who fits the prophecy...the Longbottom boy. No, that would not do. I cannot stake the future on a single boy...not until I'm certain he is the one."
Standing up, Dumbledore excused himself from the celebration and went to his books. He knew that it would be a bit difficult to procure what he was looking for, but as far as he could see it was necessary. There were ways of stalling a birth. But convincing Lily to take it, that would be another matter. How to do it without explaining the prophecy...or at least explaining just enough to get her to do this.
Ginny watched as Dumbledore was warned by alarm on his desk. Picking it up, he looked at the changing colours and sighed. "So Voldemort has completed his quest."
"You knew." Ginny said numbly. "You knew. You knew it would happen while it was happening?"
Dumbledore rose from his chair and walked over to the Floo place. Tossing in the powder, he spoke the name of the cottage and walked through the flames. Since he had been a privy to the 'secret', he easily bypassed the wards and stepped into the house. In the playroom were both Harry and Guinevere, crying in their beds, looking down at their mother. They didn't understand why she wasn't moving. Was she playing a game with them – she had to be. Right?
Dumbledore examined Harry, looking at the scar on his forehead. "And it is set into motion." He muttered. "So those sacrifices have paid off...good. They haven't died for nothing."
Then, without warning, he walked past Harry and took Guinevere from her crib, hidden behind a curtain, before striding back to the Floo. Ginny scrambled after him, and suddenly they were at the Weasley house.
Something was wrong with these memories...they were broken up. She wasn't hearing some of Dumbledore's words and what he was doing seemed fragmented and missing pieces. Dazed, Ginny struggled to see through it. Dumbledore had reached her house and was pointing his wand at Molly's head. Arthur was standing nearby, his expression blank.
Dumbledore's face was a mess of concentration. Memories that went back for months took quite some finesse to add in without making the victim suspicious. They had to be convincing. Molly had been devastated that she wouldn't be able to get the daughter she always wanted after she went barren after Ronald's birth. He didn't want to kill Guinevere – god no, not a child, perish the thought – but she didn't have a place in his grand plan...yet, at least. This would put her in a proper place for a pure blood girl, but comfortably out of the way.
"What name have you given your daughter, Molly?" The old man asked with a beign smile and his characteristic twinkle. Ginny felt a ferocious desire to rip his eyes out and stop them into mush under her heels.
"Ginerva Molly Weasley." Molly said eagerly. "Arthur and I agreed on that since when we first started having children."
"I'm happy for you both..."
**~Back in the Office~**
Ginny came out of the memories with a start. Looking down at them, she saw the strands she had been viewing had been damaged. Given the almost carefully made nicks in them, it could only have been done by a cautious hand. And that was likely a security measure...left by the only person who wouldn't want these memories shared.
"You stole my life," Ginny whispered, her fingers digging into the sides of the stone pensieve until they hurt. "You brainwashed the woman I called my mother into thinking she had a child when she didn't. You separated me from my brother. What gave you the right to do that?!"
The last question rose to a shriek, unmindful of the secrecy she had initially entered the building with. One of the nearby portraits groaned and woke slowly. "Headmaster Dumbledore...back already?" Dylis asked slowly.
Cursing at her stupidity, Ginny quickly abandoned the pensieve and ran across the room, desperately searching for a place to hide. Her eyes fell on an alcove under the stairwell up to Dumbledore's personal office and sleeping quarters, just big enough for her to squeeze into and heavily shadowed. Lying down on her stomach, Ginny rolled under just as the door opened and footsteps rang in the office itself. Scrambling into a sitting position, Ginny pressed her back against the far wall, straining her ears, praying she wouldn't be found.
"...thank you for joining me, Percy Weasley."
"Thank you, sir. I'm surprised to find myself here, after the events of this year. I can't believe Fudge was so incompetent, after the image he projected..."
Ginny let out a small hiss. She had liked Percy the least out of her thought-to-be-brothers, but what was he doing here? Now?
"How is your father?"
"Inexplicably ill. The doctors say he may not recover if he doesn't get a proper cure. With both Bill and Charlie overseas, that leaves me as Headship of a Family I thought was full of fools." Percy coughed. "Perhaps not quite so foolish – I saw Voldemort with my own eyes-"
"I haven't brought you here to speak of the past." Dumbledore interrupted, sounding gentle and friendly. It was the same way he had talked to Lily, James and Sirius. Once Ginny might have found that tone comforting. Now it made her reel with disgust and hatred. "I'd like to speak of the present, and the future."
"Sit down, Percy...one of the house elves shall bring us tea."
Ginny suppressed the urge to groan. How long were they going to be there?! The shocks of what she had learned had brought on exhaustion, and she wasn't sure how long her desire to learn the truth would keep her awake. If she fell asleep here she would definitely be caught. And more than that – why was Percy, who had betrayed their family-the Weasley family (it was hard, and hurt, to think like that) because of his distrust for Dumbledore now humouring a discussion with him?
Of course, the idea of Percy having headship over the Weasley Clan made Ginny almost grateful to discover that she was now a Potter.
"I know why you believed in Fudge." Dumbledore said, now with what Ginny recognized to be no small amount of condescension. "Your family hasn't had good money in seven generations. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be, to not have what you desire and scraping by to get what you need."
"What is it to you?" Percy asked sharply. "Are you offering me donations to get sucked into your power play against Voldemort? My family paid for sticking their neck out for you already..."
"I am sincerely sorry you're loosing your faith in me, my child. Perhaps I can restore it with a contract and a promise?"
"You're probably aware that Mr Potter has been struggling with life. There is a very real chance, with Voldemort seeking to destroy him personally, that he may not live much longer." Ginny sucked in a sharp breath. "I hear your little sister is quite fond of him...thus..."
There was a shifting of paper. "A Marriage Contract?" Percy asked.
The two men heard a small noise that sounded almost like something choking for a second. They both glanced around the room, but when nothing obvious presented itself as the source, they wrote it off as one of the sleeping portraits and returned to their discussion.
"Yes indeed. The Potters have a thriving business and have patented several often used potions, including the pepper up. They kept this information under their hats, but because of it they have amassed quite the amount of money over the years. I imagine your family will become quite better off with access to it."
"I...suppose so. Very well. Where do I sign?"
"Come up to my office. We'll knock out all the details there."
Ginny – no, Guinevere Potter - waited on baited breath as the two men walked up the stairwell and passed over her. Once she heard the door click shut behind them, she scrambled out of her hiding place and took off running, bolting towards the exit and leaving the office with speed that would have made Sonic the Hedgehog jealous.
I have to tell Harry. Guinevere thought grimly. She had enough training and knowledge of the pure blood system to know what they would have to do. We're going to need to have a very busy summer.
**~Two Weeks Later~**
**~At the Dusleys House~**
It was a week into summer vacation and Harry was loosing himself in the dull sense of loss, grief and anger. He was lying on his tiny cramped bed in the second bedroom of the Dursley Household, having already made dinner and of course not getting to eat anything. He had been to exhausted, emotionally and physically, to push the fact when normally that meant he could eat something he just didn't. Petunia seemed surprised by that, but pleased, because she didn't want even the threat of that freakish magic to be within her perfect home.
Dudley, oddly enough, seemed to be rather concerned about Harry. Every other day, he had come into Harry's room, bringing him snacks and books and trying to start a conversation with him. The experience with the Dementors had opened the young man's eyes to how he had behaved and how other people saw him, and being saved by Harry despite how he had treated him all these years had quite affected Dudley. So now he was attempting to befriend his cousin, defending him from his parent's verbal abuse and usually ensuring that Harry got to eat at least once. He kept encouraging Harry to get outside too.
If Harry had been in a different mood, he would have greatly appreciated it, but he was too wrapped up in his loss. He simply thanked Dudley for his time each moment, and went back to resting. Dudley seemed to understand a bit; he had taken bed rest of his own after his encounter with the Dementors and was willing to give Harry the space he needed, including doing chores for the first time in his life. Vernon looked like his head might explode when he spotted Dudley doing the lunch dishes without much fuss. After all, doing chores was meant for the 'freak', though after several massive fights between father and son that word was being used less frequently.
Few of his friends were sending him letters. While Harry didn't know it yet Dumbledore had imposed a communication blackout on him, saying that Harry needed time 'to sit with his grief and manage it'. However, Luna was speaking to him through muggle post, which he deeply appreciated. Luna spoke to him with candor and emotional intelligence. She had lost her mother Pandora when she was young, and she knew the pain of loosing a loved one. She was probably the reason that Harry wasn't suffering much more than he already was. He wished that he had met her before fifth year, because her support would have gotten him through the year after Cedric's death with more grace than how he had.
If he had been more emotionally balanced, maybe things would have been different. Harry was still cursing himself for not having ever looked at Sirius's present; the two way communication mirror would have rendered the need for a 'rescue' irrelevant. And all because the adults had insisted it would be a 'bad idea'. Hell even Hermione had condescendingly remarked several times that she didn't think Sirius's advice was 'very sound'.
Harry looked over his most recent letter from Luna when there was a caw at the window. Surprised, he looked up to see Pig, Ron's owl, sitting on the windowsill with a letter clamped in its beak. Curious, hoping that his friend was speaking with him again, Harry stood up and gently tugged the letter free, stroking Pig's feathers before sitting down again.
It was from Ginny; there was an ink splotch on the cover as though the letter had been written in a rush and under low light. Puzzled, Harry opened it and began reading.
I'm writing this to give you a bit of forewarning, and I hope that Pig isn't seen heading to your house. Thank goodness Luna knows a bit more about disillusionment magic. Anyway, the two of us are going to come to your house very soon; I decided on that last night. I've discovered some things about us that you absolutely need to know. It's all a bit hard to believe, so I had to, um, 'borrow' a pensieve from the house in order to keep some proof.
Expect to see us soon.
Harry blinked, staring at the letter. "That's odd...what would be so important that she can't tell anyone else?" He asked aloud. "She seems so worried..."
Shaking his head, he glanced out the window. "As soon as possible? I hope they don't get lost on the way here." Briefly Harry wondered how they planned to get here. Clearly Luna had the address of this place, but neither of them had been outside the Wizard world before, right?
His thoughts were interrupted by a light knock on the door. "Hey Harry. You have a moment?"
Harry folded the letter and placed it on his desk, swinging his feet over the side. "Yeah, sure Dudley. Come on in." If you had told him a few years earlier that he and Dudley could have been good friends, he would have punched you. If he hadn't died from laughing himself sick, anyway. But it was true! To think that Dementors were actually good for something.
The door creaked open and Dudley stepped inside with an uncertain smile. Harry nodded and returned it as best he could. It had been a year and Dudley looked significantly healthier than he ever had before. Both boxing and regular strength training had drained away all of the excess fat that had been fostered on him by a lifetime of being given anything he wanted. He had grown at least a foot taller as well, his body now leaner and rippling with muscles. While not quite young-Robert Redford competition, Dudley had grown into a rather handsome young man. Currently he was wearing a sleeveless white top with "Don't rush me, I get paid by the hour" written across it in black letters, grey and green gym shorts, and running shoes.
"What's up, Dudley? You look a little distracted," Harry noticed.
Dudley's fingers twitched self consciously. "Well...there's something I want a little help with. You know, just advice and stuff."
"W-well, you have some female friends at your boarding school, right?"
"Yeah..." It took a second for the obvious to hit Harry, but when it did, he laughed and grinned at his flustered cousin. "Is there somebody you've got your eye on? Lucky guy!"
Dudley smiled sheepishly, a distant look in his eyes. It was kind of cute, which was another word Harry would have never, ever associated with his cousin before the start of the summer. "Her name's Abigail. She's smart, she's sassy, and she loves her motorcycle. I have no idea how to approach her. I don't want to come across as just some dumb meathead. Can you help me?"
Harry pondered that for a moment before saying, "Well, don't act like you're something you're not. Don't go overboard with the swagger or act like you're Casanova reborn; that's more likely to annoy a girl than attract her, at least in my experience."
"Got it," Dudley said with a look of determination. "Anything else?"
"Ask her about her." Harry said simply. "Ask her about what she likes doing, or her history. See if you have any shared interests. She sounds like a tough girl from what I've heard, so you probably have a few things you can talk about."
Dudley smiled. "Thanks Harry."
"A bit more confident, huh?" Harry watched Dudley head towards the door. "Good luck!"
Dudley grinned. "Abigail runs the biker club around these parts. I'm thinking I might join; I've been saving my money and I've gotten a part time job to support it. Thanks; I'll do my best!" With that, his cousin left the room with a small skip in his step.
Harry chuckled and leaned back against his bed. "Young love, huh? What I wouldn't give for just a little of that..." He sighed. He did have female friends, and he understood them fairly well, but none of them inspired much romantic feelings in him. He didn't know Luna quite well enough, though he did quite like her and it was possible that could change. Hermione could get too bossy and overbearing. There was Ginny, too, and Harry liked her as well – but for some reason the idea of romance with her made his stomach twitch. He had a big brother sense around her.
And the chances of him just running into an Abigail, for lack of a better term, were of course threatened both by Dumbledore's insistence that he train alone, with would cause him to lie to said significant other a lot, and of course Voldemort would happily murder anyone who mattered to him. Sirius's death provided testament to that.
With nothing much else to do but wait for Ginny and Luna to arrive at the house, Harry lay back on his bed and eventually fell into a fitful sleep, plagued by bad dreams and regret.
~Later that Night~
The tapping interrupted Harry's latest nightmare regarding Sirius's death. It was quick, light and insistent. Slowly he raised his head, blinking to focus his eyes in the darkness. Standing carefully perched on his window was Ginny, a serious look on her face. She was carrying a gigantic package under her arm. Her hand was striking the window with obvious intent. Quickly Harry hurried over to the window and opened it as wide as it would go. Ginny climbed in first, then Luna, who had been balancing on the nearby tree branch.
"Hey girls." Harry said, startled. "What are you doing here? I have a sense that you're not supposed to be visiting me."
"To hell with Dumbledore's instructions." Ginny growled. "That old meddler has done enough."
Harry was shocked by her words. He had never heard a Weasley – or indeed anyone – talk about Dumbledore with contempt or anger.
Ginny's eyes flickered. "C'mon. I'll show you what's made me angry." Luna helped her unwrap the bag, revealing... "A pensieve?" Harry asked. The girl nodded slightly, before gesturing to its content. There were a couple memories floating around inside. "These are mine," Ginny explained, "From what I saw when I looked into Dumbledore's dark secrets."
"It's a long story. I was angry after Sirius died and I wanted some answers about why that prophecy had been so damn important. I ended up finding out."
Luna nodded. "She told me about it. I noticed the wackersprouts that hover around the Burrow have lightened up a bit. This is important, Harry."
Harry, not for the first time, wondered what that meant. Ginny gestured impatiently at the Pensieve, and finally he lowered his head and looked into the memories.
Harry emerged, gasping with tears at the edges of his eyes. Luna gently rubbed his shoulders while Ginny – Guinevere – sat there and stared back at him, waiting on baited breath for him to respond.
"Y-You're my sister." Harry stammered out at last. "You're my sister."
Ginny nodded, and gasped as Harry lunged forward and crushed her in a hug. She buried her head in his shoulders as he shivered, taking in what he now knew. "I had a sister all my life." Harry muttered. "I can't believe...how could Dumbledore never tell me? I could understand leaving you with another family for your protection, but how could he not tell me about you, or that you were alive? Why didn't Sirius tell me?"
"I wondered about that. He was at my birth. I think...I think he was made to forget about me." Ginny said. At Harry's expression, she pointed out, "He already separated us, Harry..."
"A Marriage contract," Harry sputtered, his face turning green as he released Ginny from his hug. "They're trying to marry me to my little sister!"
"Sometimes pure bloods do that," Luna noted softly. "The Black family was famous for it. 'Always Pure', they used to say."
Harry shook his head frantically. "I have to stop this somehow."
"The contract will be filed at Gringotts." Ginny said. "We need to be heading down there anyway; mom and dad's will is probably there as well. There will be a fee for all this, obviously, but the goblins aren't likely to give up classified information to anyone who comes snooping around."
"Good. Then let's go right now." Harry said darkly.
Man, Luna. You are a very fun character, but very hard to write! Well, to all those who point out that Ginny looks a lot like Lily and that's weird - well, there's a reason for that! Again, big thanks to garaa king of the sand, and if you enjoyed Lord and Lady, I'm sorry I took it down, and I hope you enjoy this story in its place!
Read and Review please!