"Weasley! Keep your mouth shut for a moment, will you?" Ernie began. "This is a serious issue and we have all been guilty." McMillian had not really thought about his responsibilities up to this point. There was no reason to, Potter, or Black had not been around to remind them of the protocol covenants required in being an ally of the House of Potter or Black. He realized times had changed and his free ride was over.
Ernie McMillian stood up, followed by many others. If one would count, there were over twenty people now standing on their feet, looking down in shame.
"You people! You also joined that bloody dark wizard?" Ron yelled, much to the astonishment of his sister and his brothers. There was a limit to foolishness for every person, but Ron seemed to be an exception.
Ares smirked as he simply stalked out of the Great Hall.
Chaos erupted as Ares turned the corner, the din following him, although fading, as he walked further on down the hallway.
"You are right. Parselmouth or not, my house is allied with House Potter. My grandfather would not like it if the Noble House of Brown loses its sponsorship and its chance to become an Ancient and Noble House." Lavender quipped from a side. She too realized that she had to write a letter post haste to her grandfather Lord Brown before the night was through, hoping it was not too late to fix this. Perhaps there was time to get a small note in the Prophet about their alliance and a public apology if necessary. Maybe a letter to Lord Black was in order, she did not really understand all of this business stuff yet, but it seemed she would be learning fast now with this coming up.
There were a couple of murmurs and whispers of acknowledgement. Ron's face reddened and he bawled out. "You too Lavender? You are a black spot on Gryffindor House if you are supporting that dark wizard?"
Little did he know, that it was the other way around. Without the funds helping some of the businesses in Diagon Alley that came from the Potter and Black houses after the war, some of those businesses would have been closed for good. Yes, the businesses were doing well, but the kind of destruction that came during the war did not just disappear overnight and the Goblins knew what they were doing. They invested and used the monies well that were available. The Potters died heroes, why would you not want to ally yourself with the savior of the Wizarding World. Therefore, the contracts were signed. Alliances were made! Sirius Black was Harry's Godfather, and the both of them were in hiding. No problems were foreseen.
However, even before that, many light families were aligned with the Potters and there were many aligned with the Blacks. There were going to be more problems with the Black aligned families having to back Sirius than the light families back Potter or Ares Black. For now, Ares Black needed support and was demanding it. Calling out for his support in this manner would have the owls working hard tonight. The twenty or so families represented here was just a small portion of the support that he could demand from Magical Britain.
"Weasley?" A sharp female voice rose up among the crowd. It was Susan Bones. The redheaded Hufflepuff was a rather introverted person most of the time, although people who knew her; personally knew her, were sensible enough to skip out when she was angry. The girl's ire was quite scary, and once a person faced an angry Susan Bones, they understood why her aunt was the Head of the DMLE.
"Weasley!" The irate girl repeated. "Do me a favor and just Shut Your Obnoxious Mouth." she enunciated each word succinctly to get her point across. "Light family or not, YOUR family has been labeled a blood traitor to the Ancient and Noble Houses for a long time. Your actions clearly remind us why the House of Weasley was banished from its stature to being a lowly commoner. Now unless you have something worthwhile to speak, I suggest you kindly SHUT UP."
That shut everybody up.
Okay perhaps not everybody, just everyone except the one person it was intended. The dimwit began to say something but a sudden flash of crimson flared and Weasley fell down, right into the pudding he had been demolishing before the commotion started. Everyone saw the youngest Weasley putting her wand back into her robes. Ginevra Weasley, or as she was famously known as, Ginny Weasley, simply let out a sigh and stomped off the Great Hall.
"And that is why we never try our pranks on her." Fred murmured- much to everyone's chucking.
"Too right, twin of mine." George supplied.
Susan let out a long-suffering sigh. Things had progressed to a level she had not anticipated nor wanted. Whatever the situation might have been, it had been her fault to forget the fact that the Houses of Bones and Potter were Allies after all. Just because the Potter seat had been dormant for a decade, it was no excuse for completely ignoring the family treaties. She wondered what her aunt would say. Perhaps she should meet and openly apologize to Potter for her actions. Potter- no, Black, Ares Black, she corrected herself, could be a good ally. He was shit-arse powerful, the demonstration with that black lion animagus had been more than enough; and importantly, he seemed to be quite charming. Daphne Greengrass was his girlfriend, as was apparent. Nevertheless, who knew, perhaps she could cultivate a friendship and then a matrimonial alliance with Black. After all, she was the future Lady Bones and her family was matrilineal after all.
She would have to find Ares Black. Perhaps talking to Daphne might be a good way to make a start. After all, there was a reason that the Hat gave her a second preference for Slytherin House.
Albus Dumbledore loathed not knowing things. It was a pathological need in him; one could even call it a burning desire. He would get desperate when somebody hid something from him. A very similar psychological fact about him was that while he hated not knowing; he also hated sharing his secrets. A habit that had been greatly enhanced by the events of his life. He always had a deep seeded need to know everyone's secrets and to keep them and his close to his chest locked up tight so only he could play with the chess pieces and know the outcome.
He had served as an apprentice to Nicholas Flamel in the field of Alchemy for over two decades, before turning in to fulfill his desire of becoming a teacher in his favorite subject; Transfiguration. Few people knew it, but Albus Dumbledore was the youngest person in six hundred years to get a mastery in battle-transfiguration and alchemy. He was also a member of the Transfiguration Masters guild for quite some time. Nevertheless, he had found his life's worth in educating future generations and contributing to the society.
Then, the war with Grindelwald began.
A war, which had truly begun some twenty years ago, when he had fought with his best friend and lover, for the first time. The fight that had destroyed Dumbledore's family apart. The fight that had Ariana killed. The fight, which gave him the true dose of reality. The fight that showed him what Gellert Grindelwald truly was...
Moreover, to think that he had aided him in making his plans...
Albus had busied himself away from the frontlines of the uprising that Gellert was causing. Perhaps it was his shame, his guilt, his inner hypocrisy, he did not what; but something always managed to convince him to stay away. While Albus busied himself in research and acquiring his mastery, Europe was burning. It was facing the wrath of Gellert Grindelwald. A wizard, who was simply unstoppable.
Albus had run out of excuses now. The world was being destroyed, and he had to act. Grindelwald was bent on obliterating the world.
Albus Dumbledore entered the war.
He and his newly formed Order of the Phoenix, made great strides and pushed the Reapers back. Grindelwald and his reapers fought furiously but finally, it was a one-on-one fight between two old friends.
Albus Dumbledore faced Gellert Grindelwald.
After a fight that continued over five hours, Grindelwald lay defeated and Albus had won the battle. Won back the future of Europe.
He had won the Elder Wand. The wand of Death. The Deathstick. The wand of Destiny.
The wand of Antioch Peverell.
The first of the Deathly Hallows.
Then, he went right back to teaching without comment.
The world was overwhelmed. It was in ruins and there was a man up there. A man who, if he wanted, could obliterate the world and rule over it. They were afraid. Afraid that Dumbledore would become a tyranny. Therefore, they decided to please him.
In less than a week, Dumbledore was awarded ceremoniously with the position of the Supreme Mugwump of the ICW, The Chief Warlock of theWizengamot and the title of Grand Sorcerer. Later when Dippet retired after a year, he was quickly elevated to the position of the Hogwarts Headmaster.
The war had shocked him. The blood, the deaths, everything shocked him to his core. Dumbledore became a full-fledged follower of non-violence. Some could even say that he became excessively puritanical and fanatic about the abolishment of the darker realms of magic. Dumbledore had firsthand knowledge about the destructive powers of those magicks, and thus he did not waste any time banning them off the Hogwarts Library. Instead, he placed those tomes right amongst his own private collection. The masses had begun to see him as their savior, their educator, one who would hold their hand and teach them the truth of life. Soon even Dumbledore himself begun to think that as true.
After all, he was the Headmaster. If not him, then who?
Then, there was his deepest secret. The secret of why Albus Dumbledore had deserted Gellert Grindelwald.
Gellert had never understood. There was nothing to gain by waging wars. The best battles were always fought in the meeting rooms, the political arenas. Dumbledore did not even need to shed any blood, and yet, the world was delivered to his feet. People were conquered by discussion and smooth logic, not by the brawn activities like wars.
Then, Voldemort entered the power struggle. Albus straight away refused to fight him. While his ideals of non-violence were good and all, it did not work on the psychopath that was the dark lord Voldemort. The ministry forces were being squashed and the Auror forces were being decimated. Dumbledore himself came to their rescue, but never himself sought a one-on-one fight with Voldemort.
Had he introspected it, he would have found the answer in the depths of his heart.
He was afraid he would lose. Moreover, if he lost it, then Voldemort would gain mastery of the elder wand.
That was simply inconceivable.
Then, a miracle happened.
One night, he was delivered a Prophecy! A Prophecy that marked a name for the end of Voldemort!
Two babies! Neville Longbottom! Harry Potter! Moreover, one of them prophesized to vanquish the monster...
It was a clean chit! Moreover, he would not have any more blood at his hands! Ariana would have been proud!
Then, the night of Halloween, 1981.
A friend's betrayal, a couple's death, a killing curse, a child orphaned, a miracle created, the monster vanquished.
Harry Potter had changed the course of the war...
Then, something unexpected happened.
Sirius Black had taken Harry Potter away. Away from Britain. Away from him. It did not go according to his plans.
Voldemort had been vanquished. Not killed. Just vanquished and thus young Harry Potter would have to rise up to the challenge again. He needed to be kept safe. Away from the wizarding populous, somewhere where he would grow up as a normal child. Then, Dumbledore could subtly mold him to become the fighter for the Light—under his command. At least until the Greater Good demanded it.
However, Sirius Black had spoiled it all.
The man had not only taken away the baby Potter; he had also taken custody of the boy, and if his sources were correct, he had even performed an adoption ritual and adopted the baby Potter into the Black Family.
The family that had always been a predominantly dark one.
The prophesized child, all that power, and growing up as a scion of a dark family.
It was an outrage.
He could not let that happen.
He had tried. He had explored all possible venues, and despite all his efforts, the Black scion had been able to avoid being caught. The trial of Regulus Black was one of his attempts. It had taken quite a bit of skilled Legilimency on his part to actively invade into Regulus' mind and bring out the inner feelings of hatred that the younger Black held for his elder brother, during some time in his youth. It had taken quite an effort to confound him and bring those nasty feelings at the surface. Then after that, it was ridiculously easy to implant a suggestion that proclaiming Sirius to be an agent of Voldemort during the trial. It was not right, but sacrifices had to be made for the Greater Good. Besides, that proclamation would not be enough for the court to try Sirius. Just enough to take Harry away from him.
It was for the Greater Good, after all.
Sirius Black had once again, spoiled it all. He had hidden under the Fidelius, and there was nothing, that Dumbledore could have done to capture him. There was no legal way to get a warrant, after all Sirius was a scion of an Ancient and Noble House. That being so, Dumbledore had resorted to play his trump card.
The werewolf was one of his trump cards. It had been an excellent foresight to have a werewolf to get educated at Hogwarts. What with him being Headmaster and the cruelty meted out to werewolves, Dumbledore had simply achieved a blind follower for life.
He had called Remus Lupin back to England.
Explaining the entire process was a bit difficult; but with the right combination of compulsion charms mixed with some skilled Legilimency, he was able to instill negative feelings about Sirius in Remus's mind. The fact that Lupin worshiped him like a deity also added to it. Since Sirius' departure had been quite sudden, coupled with Regulus' statement, it had been quite easy to convince the werewolf to help him get back Harry Potter. After all, Harry was the last of the Potters, and Lupin's only source of family.
He had toiled; it was hard but he had been diligent. Finally, after almost a year of work, he had finally done it. A ritual, which invoked the magic parallel but opposite to that of the Fidelius. It was tricky but it was the best option available. The entire ritual had comprised of three specific steps.
First, Remus would have to get Sirius' secret (the location of his residence) out of him. It was easily done, since Sirius and Remus were old friends.
Next, Remus had to enter that specific location, yet confront the host (Sirius), and openly claim that he would betray the secret. The intent for this had to be specific and focused. Remus would have to mean it, when he would claim that he would betray the host by spilling out the secret.
Finally, he would have to remain within the warded property for some more time- even if that required him to fight for his life. The more time he stood his ground, the more chances the ritual would have of breaking the Fidelius.
It was complicated. There was a high chance of failure, but it was their only option.
Remus had done as told. He had openly confronted Sirius. Being quite skilled in the arts of dueling, Remus had quickly engaged Sirius and let the ritual begin with full vigor. For fifteen minutes, the ritual had worked perfectly but then suddenly, there was a sudden intrusion of foreign magic and Remus' magical force had weakened. Later on, he learnt that it had been Harry's accidental magic, which stopped the ritual from being a success. It was something that annoyed him to no end.
Even then, the ritual was working, the Fidelius was just about to break, when in one single moment, something happened and the ritual-stone broke down. The implication had been clear as a crystal. Remus Lupin had been forcibly removed from the warded property. It had been a matter of just three seconds.
Three seconds. The difference between success and failure.
Three damned seconds.
He had half destroyed his office in anger. It was a good thing that he had his artifacts charmed unbreakable.
After that incident, he had stopped searching for Sirius. Knowing that the Black scion would have increased the protections even more than before. He had henceforth, decided to put that plan down and begun working on the plan that was to be executed when Harry Potter would return to Hogwarts.
How foolish he was!
The boy had not returned to Hogwarts. If anything, his tuition for seven years, something that James had paid for, in advance, had been taken back. Harry Potter was not coming to Hogwarts.
It was so frustrating.
It had taken him great strides to get that law passed. The one law that had been instrumental in getting Harry Potter return to his homeland. A Law that stated that every Lord/Lady of an Ancient and Noble House would have to pass his OWLS and NEWTS from Hogwarts in order to claim his/her Wizengamot seats.
A law that had proved to be useful when all his magic, his planning and his resources had not. It was the war with Grindelwald all over again. Smooth thinking and political arenas had won him a fight that he had lost previously.
Finally, Harry Potter had returned to Hogwarts.
The problem was- it was not a Harry Potter, but rather one Ares James Black that had returned to magical Britain. A pureblood lord, one who was as charming as James was, as intelligent as Lily and as cunning as Sirius- all three in one person. It drove him mad.
Now, the boy was creating chaos at Hogwarts faster than any one of his parents could have ever imagined. It was the marauders all over again times three.
Ever since Harry Potter, no, Ares James Black had returned to Hogwarts, he had been hell bent to turning his nose up at Dumbledore's authority. It had started from his sorting to Slytherin. How the son of two Gryffindors had turned into a Slytherin, he could never imagine. Then, in less than a day, he had proved himself a powerful, cunning and resourceful wizard, someone of the likes of a boy that had entered the very realms of his school around sixty years ago. Just as powerful, just as resourceful and cunning, and just as charismatic. Moreover, that with a being a dual Lord to boot.
Sirius Black had done his worst to train him. That much was true. However, there was one thing that worried Dumbledore. Moreover, Harry was a descendant of the Peverells. With his power and his resourcefulness, it would not have taken long for the boy to gain the allegiance of the Hallows.
It was that thought, more than anything else, which gave him nightmares.
The master of Death!
It would destroy everything. The end of his dreams of constructing the perfect wizarding world.
Was any more justification required as to why he had kept the cloak away? He had taken the cloak from James and recognized it instantly. The cloak, so old, and yet, providing impenetrable invisibility- the likes of which Dumbledore had never seen. It was a blessing in disguise that the Potters had been dead. Now, no one knew the whereabouts of the cloak.
Had things turned out the way they were supposed to, Harry would have been sent to live with his muggle relatives, and would be magically stunted. Dumbledore would have gladly given him the cloak; well knowing that a magically stunted individual could never become worthy of a Hallow. Now though, the thing was different, and he would have to hide the Hallow away from him.
Then, there was the elder wand. There was no way he would let it out that he held the allegiance of the elder wand. It was simply the reason why he had never sought an open battle with Voldemort, and it was the same reason why he would not try overpowering Harry. It was simply too risky.
Now, the latest discovery. Harry Potter was a parselmouth. It simply gave more credibility to Dumbledore's theory. Something had happened during the night of Halloween 1981. Something had happened. After all, there was just no way that the killing curse was simply repelled back to the caster. There was a lot of raw energy circulating in the room. Dumbledore had personally sensed him. Something ancient, something dangerous had emerged into the world, during that night.
It had something to do with Harry Potter, the last of the Peverells.
Susan Bones walked around to the Arithmancy classroom, knowing that Daphne would be there. She had huge expectations on this meeting. She had barely talked to the black-haired girl before, but she knew that the girl put a cold-hearted mask to protect her from others. Ever since Ares Black had entered the halls of Hogwarts, Daphne Greengrass had become much livelier. She would even laugh sometimes now; something that was completely new to that emotionless façade.
Entering the classroom, she spotted Daphne easily. She was sitting with her best friend Tracy Davis. Apparently, the Black heir did not take Arithmancy. Susan strode up to Daphne and stood beside her.
"Miss Greengrass? Might I have a moment to speak with you? It is a bit private." her expression one of earnest honesty.
Daphne stared at the redhead for a couple of seconds, and then nodded. Professor Vector was still not there in the class yet. She stood up and followed the redhead out of the door. Entering the deserted classroom next door, she cast a privacy ward.
Susan took a deep breath and thought her words out. "The house of Bones has always been an ally of House Potter. After the Potter family died and Harry Potter was taken away, the seats of House Black and Potter were rendered inactive. One thing led to another, and newer alliances took over. Now that House Potter is back, the old treaties are back, although it has been an overlook on my part to completely forget the fact. I am the Bones heiress, and that being such, I do not want to be the cause of the treaty being broken."
"So, you want me to help you gain his trust, back?" Daphne interrupted, raising an eyebrow.
"And also, to be his friend. You know..." she shrugged.
"You are interested in him." Daphne countered. It was not an accusation or a question, just a fact.
"I am." Susan replied. There was no point denying it anyway. "The Bones Family is matrilineal. Sometime in my future, I will need to get married to someone and be his second-wife, since I cannot take his family name. Ares Black is a good option.
"I am not sure how he would feel about it." Daphne countered. Her pureblood tutelage told her that whatever Susan was talking about made sense, but she could not help but feel a sense of insecurity at the fact that the redhead was interested in her boyfriend.
"At least you could introduce me to him." Susan almost pleaded. Almost.
Daphne sighed. "I will see what I can do."
#### This chapter has been beta'd by Lady Edgecombe. If you like the chapter, please follow, favorite and review.