A Jaded Family
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to J.K. Rowling while Katekyo Hitman Reborn! belongs to the genius of Akira Amano. I make no claim to ownership on either of them.
A/N: This is the acceptance of Lighted Candle's 'Reborn's Grandson challenge'. This amazing author should be congratulated on the idea, and my thanks for letting me play with it. With Lighted Candle's permission Harry has been genderbended.
Requirements of the challenge:
Harry is Reborn's grandson - Accepted
Harry is a sky, even if his flames are an injured mess or inactive - Accepted
Optional: Harry harmonizes with Shamal – Accepted
A/N: Chapter has been edited.
In which Harriet Potter is scary. No one should touch what she claims as hers and won't be a stupid thing like politic or her conscience to stop her from get it back.
28th May 1998 – British Ministry of Magic, London
Wizards' aging was bloody weird. And creepy.
It was a fact.
Depending on the person's magical ability, middle-aged people could easily have twice as many years and no one would realize it. Biologically speaking, all came down to one thing, their magical core; once it stabilized, their aging started to crawl like a snail, turning decades in a mere handful of years. Ergo the more powerful the wizard was, the slower he aged and their vitality greatly improved.
However, Kingsley Shacklebolt, the newly appointed 'State of Emergency Minister', was feeling like his fifty-three years of age suddenly doubled instead of halved. And the one to blame was the barely of age slip of a girl that was hissing and ranting on the other side of his office desk.
"What do you mean you can't?!"
The Minister rubbed slowly his pounding temples and dropped heavily against the back of his overly comfortable chair, trying to stave off a massive headache that was brewing under his eyelids. Between the pressure of the witch's boiling magic and the gaudy colors of the exotic furniture that he inhered from the previous mandates -and he didn't have yet the time to incinerate- he felt like his brain was slowly melting out of his ears.
He applied more pressure, breathing deeply. Nothing worked.
He took one look at the blazing green eyes of the furious witch in front of him and repressed the involuntary shudder that ran down his back. He never feared her, Harriet was usually a reserved and sweet girl, yet the pure wrath that she projected reminded him why, exactly, the Girl-Who-Lived became the Woman-Who-Conquered. He mentally swore. He knew, he just knew, one day he would regret the moment he accepted the post of Minister, still– damn! He never thought it would happen before the second week of his mandate was over.
"Potter, as I have already explained to you," he spelled it out slowly, slowly and carefully. "I don't have any free personnel. The few Aurors I do have are already pulling double shifts. There was a reason I asked you and the DA members to hunt down the remnants of Riddle's Death Eaters. We have to give the people a resemblance of order!"
He winced as his brain computed the last part of his speech, admitting that it was very Fudge-like and clearly inappropriate despite its veracity. As expected, her appearance became even more troublingly. Harry's expression closed off and her chapped lips thinned, resembling more a battered doll than a human being, as her magic sparkled menacingly around her. Her knuckles cracked as they slowly turning white with the pressure of her rage. "So… you are not going to help me?"
Despite her best intentions, the light trembling of her voice was unmistakable to the finely tuned ears of the ex-Auror and his dark eyes couldn't help but soften slightly. "Give me a couple of weeks Harry…" He muttered in desolation, putting both hand flat on the numerous stacks of files scattered all over the table. "When things are less chaotic, you can take a team for your search. But right now, I can't let you run around as you please. More so, with that price still hanging over your head."
"Kingsley," she stressed his name, ignoring his poorly masked effort of showing her his, admittedly, numerous duties as head of government. "Teddy might not have a couple of weeks!" She growled out, emphasizing each word. Her little godson didn't have time! She knew the statistics, she had worked with the official Aurors to know them: kidnapped children had to be found in 24 hours, 48 at most, before they were considered lost forever. And she was losing precious time! Who cared for her still-standing Wanted status in the Muggle world?! It wouldn't be the first time she traveled around Britain while being hunted like an animal. What was important was finding Teddy and she told him so. Vehemently.
"Damn it, Potter! We are talking about Remus and Tonks' son! Do you really think I don't want to find him too?!" He snarled, slamming his hands against the mahogany desk, frustration finally emerging from the wizard too. "With the mess Voldemort left behind, the communications with the Muggle world are at zero! And Merlin only knows when the ICW will give us the authorization to produce international passports again! He is way too young to interest that kind of kidnappers and, for all we know, Teddy could already be out of the country!"
At the implied notion that the child could already be beyond her reach, her countenance crumbled, shoulders hunched with hopelessness and lids lowered on pain-filled eyes. A tear rolled down her cheek and splashed soundlessly on the marble floor.
Seeing Harry's expression, Kingsley could only sigh as he pressed his face into his hands in frustration, reeling in his emotions. He had been an Auror for most of his life, he had seen and experienced that feeling of helplessness enough on his life that he couldn't fault the Potter. He knew how important the Metamorphmagus was for the girl; he was easily the only thing that could make her get up in the morning instead of waste away in depression in a dark corner of Grimmauld Place. Slowly, he stood up and moved in front of Harry, gently taking her hands into his, he squeezed them once in encouragement. "The only thing we can do is to catch the Death Eaters still at large and hope the ICW stops our forced isolation." He whispered softly.
His only response was a suppressed sob.
For the first time since she entered his office, Kingsley took a good, thorough look at the one known as the Defeater of Voldemort and he didn't like what he saw. It had only been three weeks since the Final Battle and Harry - like many others - still displayed marks from the fight. Scratches marred her slim face and a still unsealed cut mark followed her hairline, proving that the crusade she and her Defence Association undertook against Riddle's remaining Death Eaters wasn't ended yet.
'She is exhausted…' He thought dejected, focusing on the bruising purple bags under her normally bright eyes. They now seemed to have become dull in color, allowing the world to know that nightmares still plagued her dreams and wouldn't stop anytime soon. Taking a hold of her thin elbows, he slowly spun her on the spot and noticed how her already slim body had yet again lost weight. In his mind, he cursed Dumbledore, Snape, himself and the rest of the Wizarding Britain for forcing a child to bear the weight of their world's survival on her minute shoulders.
"Take some time for yourself, Harriet," he told her as his usual gruff tone softened further. "Knowing you, you haven't slept in months."
She shrugged, almost lost in thought but still accepted his help in putting on her blue cloak and let him show her to the door. Holding the handle, she stiffly turned and trained her bright green eyes in the man's brown ones. Under the amber lights of the chandelier, they almost glowed a captivating orange. "I'm not a patient girl, Kingsley. Don't take your sweet time," she stated calmly, her resolve cemented.
The Minister of Magic took a breath and, with the most reassuring smile he could manage, said, "As soon as I get something from the ICW, I'll let you know." Harry stared at him for a few seconds, an indecipherable look in her eyes, then she nodded and exited the Minister's office.
Shacklebolt leaned against the door, the gold inlay on the wood scratched against his forehead. He sighed heavily, feeling that the fine hair on the back of his head had yet to get down. Few people could be as intimidating as Harriet Lily Potter and right now, she was pissed. He just hoped they would survive her ire.
Harry's arrival through the chimney of Grimmauld Place was performed with her usual floo-induced grace. Meaning none. She automatically accepted Kreacher's hand, as she allowed the old house elf to help pull her up. Absent-mindedly cleaning the soot from her robes, she handed him with her cloak, completely disregarding his usual grumble against the Muggle jeans and tee-shirt she wore underneath.
"Thank you, Kreacher," she said lightly, ignoring the stink eye he sent her. "Andromeda?" she asked.
The servant pointed to the stairs, his eyes dark and dejected, "Mistress 'Dromeda be in Little Master's room. Mistress refuses to come out since Mistress Harry left."
Biting her lower lip, Harry closed her eyes in thought as she murmured, "Maybe it's better if I check on her…"
Going up to the second floor of the gloomy house, Harry glanced at the many doors still adorned with the names of their previous owners. Some, like Walburga Black's, had been sealed, while others, like Sirius's bedroom, had been redecorated according to the taste of their new user. And as much as she adored her godfather's style, she couldn't sleep with the provocative posters of Muggle girls in bikini surrounding her bed.
She entered Regulus Black's old room -now Edward Lupin's nursery- briefly overlooking the room, before she turned to Andromeda. The woman was slowly swaying back and forth in the rocking chair by the now empty cradle. The last year had been one heartbreak after another for the disowned Pureblood. Her beautiful pale face was now marred by a light web of lines and her dark brown hair was sprinkled with silver. It was a sad fact that the stress of the war, especially her husband and daughter's deaths, had aged her past her years. Carefully, Harry knocked on the doorway, drawing the attention of the other witch on her.
"I tried every single spell I could think of… Even the family's old rituals I had once sworn to myself that I would never use. The result is always the same," Andromeda said soulfully, her tearful silver eyes glued stubbornly at the baby's cradle. As if Teddy would be back sleeping safely in it through sheer willpower.
Harry nodded, "I know. It's like something is cloaking him," she spoke barely above a whisper, trying to restrain her own emotions.
Andromeda sighed and finally turned completely towards the teenager. Harry cringed slightly before she could stop herself and had to repress the urge to not stare. Whoever had kidnapped Teddy, had done a real number on Andromeda's right side. A vicious burn marked her pale skin, starting from her cheekbone and continuing down the side of her neck and her arm, all the way to the tip of her fingers. They had been brutal, but the woman had not gone down without a fight, and a prisoner.
Even now, three hours after the attack, covered by a thick layer of bandages and doused by the strongest pain-relieving potions, she was trying everything to find her grandson. Harry had never respected the woman more. She never wanted to be the one to give Andromeda bad news, not after Remus and Tonks. Turning her eyes to the soft yellow of the nursery walls, she stared, as if she were trying to burn a hole through the wallpaper and for it to reveal the right words to say. In the end, she sighed and ran a hand through her short ebony hair in frustration knowing she was stalling. "I just went to Shacklebolt," she stated, sarcasm dripping from her every following word. "… He said there is nothing he can do."
Andromeda's eyes jumped to her, leaving the toy wolf she had on her lap to fall on the carpeted floor. "What?!" She hissed, uninjured hand curling frantically in her hospital gown. "Have you told him–"
Harry stopped her tirade, shaking her head and curling on the floor at the woman's feet. She delicately uncurled the wounded grandmother's hand, rubbing the marks that her nails had left on the palm. "He didn't even let me finish talking. When he heard the word 'Auror', he shut me up and sent me on my way…"
Andromeda thinned her lips, scowling fiercely at an imaginary Minister of Magic. As it came, her ferocity retracted as self-deprecation bled its way in her stormy grey irises. "I just can't believe a couple of Muggles were able to take my grandson from under my nose!"
Lightly Harry put her hand on Andromeda's good arm, "It's not your fault Andy and I can assure you they weren't normal Muggles. Shooting blue flames from the hands is anything but normal."
"I shouldn't have taken Teddy to the park…" Andromeda whispered, trying to hold back a cry and failing horribly.
Biting her lips, Harry closed her eyes and felt the tears running down her hurting cheeks. No one could have imagined it. After Voldemort's fall, the Muggle world should have been safe… Or safer than the Wizardry world. That was the reason Harry and Andromeda had decided to live in Grimmauld Place, even if it wasn't exactly what one would call habitable.
It had strong wards and was located in Muggle London. No annoying paparazzi who wanted a scoop on the Woman-who-Conquered, no crazy fans who camped outside her door and no Death Eaters' attacks! It was supposed to be safe… That's why she never had a problem with Andromeda taking Teddy to the park before. The almost two months old boy did not need to be cooped up in the gloomy house all the time. And the park was on the other side of the street for Merlin's sake!
Who could have imagined that Teddy would have used his Metamorphmagus talent? Especially in the exact moment in which he would knock off his hat? The very same moment in which Andromeda had glanced away to pack up his baby bag?
Certainly not Harry.
Who could have imagined that the Muggles who saw Teddy's colorful miracle, would have some strange fire abilities and would trounce Andromeda before she could even Obliviate them?
What she certainly could imagine was what the Muggles would do to her sweet, cute godson to discover the full potential of his skills, and it was not good!
'Merlin, why this is happening?!' Harry couldn't help but ask herself. Teddy was Andromeda's grandson and Harry's godson. That made them part family now.
To them, it had no importance if she was the next messiah or the girl next door. Teddy was just too young and Andromeda... Andromeda had been hurt well before meeting Harry. By being disowned by her family and by being rejected by her pureblood friends. Let's not talk about living under the Light families' eternal suspicion that she was more of a Black than by birth alone. Her love for Ted Tonks did not give her an easy life. Andromeda now wanted to be free from everything and Harry more than liked her idea.
The sad part was that the only person who could truly relate to her was a woman more than twice her age. It was no secret that Harry didn't have a lot of friends beyond her numerous acquaintances. During her Hogwarts years, too many times the students turned their back on her and accused her with no evidence. Even her own best friends had doubted her more than once and often Harriet Potter had been more important than just Harry.
Thinking about Ron and Hermione, Harry sighed for what felt like the hundredth time that day. The couple had left for Australia a week after the last of the funerals for the victims in the Battle of Hogwarts, searching for Hermione's parents. The fact that they hadn't asked Harry to go with them, even if she was still the only Wanted one of the trio, said a lot about the two. The fact that it was almost a month from the last time she had heard from the Weasley family said even more.
She knew they didn't fault her for Fred's death, the Weasley family fought against the Dark Lord well before her birth. Still, they weren't ready to see her... And if she wanted to be honest with herself, she wasn't ready to see them either.
The noise of Kreacher popping into the room cut off her train of thought, and unconsciously had her drawing her wand, war habits still plaguing her every instinct. Inclining her head in a question, the girl was taken aback by the house elf enthusiasm. Despite the initial reservation, Kreacher learned to love Teddy as much as Regulus and took great pride in raise a child once more. The magical creature jumped up and down in anticipation, bat-like ears trembling in excitement while a maniac smile curled its decrepit face as he shrieked breathlessly, "Mistresses! Filthy Muggle stopped creating blue fire!"
It took a second for them to compute what he said. In the following moment, the two women's eyes met, green and silver clashing and shimmering with the same desperation. The same fear. The same resolve.
Harry jumped up on her feet, adrenaline shooting in her system and heightening her perceptions as her heart pumped furiously in her chest. Andromeda seized her arm in a punishing grip, leaving what she was sure would be another set of bruises. She almost didn't feel it, her entire concentration focused on the last disowned Black.
"Discover where Teddy is," the Pureblood ordered, gritting her teeth and shaking Harry's arm while her whole injured body trembled with anticipation. Giving one last glance at the toy on the floor, the teen just nodded her head and hurried down into the basement, wand clutched in her hand. Kreacher followed faithfully behind her.
She would have rather have left the job to a trained Auror. But if she had learned something in all those years, it was to be resourceful. She was sure she would feel like a monster in the end. But she had no choice... This was her family and if she had to stain her soul to keep it safe–
So be it.