Albus Dumbledore was enjoying a quiet morning going through some reading that needed his attention for his duties in the Wizengamot. It was only a few days into the summer holidays and this time was always so nice and relaxing. In a few weeks he would grow bored and notice how the castle seemed to feel oddly empty, and a few weeks after that would be taken up with teachers hastily trying to get everything ready for the new term.
Yes, this was definitely his favourite part of summer, which is why he was surprised when Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape came bursting into his office, seemingly in the middle of an argument.
"Minerva, Severus, is there something I can help you with?" Both of his teachers looked up, as though only now realising they'd made it to his office already. Minerva pulled herself up straight.
"An Addams, Albus? In our school? What on Earth are you thinking?" She asked, looking at him like she thought he'd gone mad. It was a look he was used to seeing, but not from someone who knew him so well. He didn't have a chance to ask her what she meant before Snape spoke up.
"While I believe it would be an honour" he gave the witch a hard look, "to host and help educate an Addams child, I do have to agree that Hogwarts is not the most suited place for them, nor are we prepared to adequately… deal with one here." Albus just looked at the two for a moment? An Addams child?
"I'm afraid, my friends, I don't quite follow? An Addams you say?" Minerva took a piece of parchment from Snape's hands and slammed it down on the desk.
Albus took it and had to reread it three times before he could accept what it was telling him. The parchment was just the regular enrolment list for the incoming first years. He tried to ignore the blotted out name of 'Harry Potter' and instead zeroed in on one a few rows down: Herido Addams.
Dumbledore needed time to think about this. He looked up at Snape over his half-moon spectacles.
"And how did you come to be in possession of this list, Severus?" He asked, wanting to create a brief distraction. Too late he realised that it would be a distraction he didn't want to think about.
"How do you think, Albus?" Minerva snapped, obviously wanting to get back to the matter at hand. "He hasn't given up hope over the poor Potter boy…" her voice faded a little. The whole wizard world had felt the loss of Harry Potter, but she felt almost responsible. She hadn't wanted to leave him with the muggles after all.
"The circumstances around his disappearance…" Severus started.
"His death." Minerva interrupted with a little less conviction than she'd hoped.
"His death," Severus corrected, although it was obvious he didn't believe it. Minerva thought it was just wishful thinking on his part. Poor Severus. "The circumstances around his death are suspicious at best! I was just checking the list." Severus stopped himself. He knew the others wouldn't understand. He just couldn't accept that he'd failed Lilly so completely. It would destroy him.
"Severus," Albus sighed and suddenly felt ever year his age, "We searched for a year. Arabella reported that the boy had come down with a powerful flu a month before he died, and his aunt was quite clear that the boy had passed away." Snape scoffed to that.
"And you trust that women? The woman who had the child cremated and scattered before the wards fell? And why did it take so long for the wards to fall anyway? And where is her husband? I know there isn't even a whisper of the child in the dark circles, but there must be something we're missing. It simply doesn't add up!" He said. It was an old argument that they'd had many times over the years.
"Vernon Dursley left his family after the child's death. It's unfortunate, but it happens. The wards must have been too powerful and…" he trailed off. He couldn't explain why the wards and tracking charms had lasted three days beyond the child's death. It was something that had haunted him for years, but after finding no trace of the child and hearing nothing of him being kidnapped, he had to assume that it was simply one of those things he might never understand. He was currently investigating whether the curse scar might have confused the wards, or if they had temporarily transferred to Dudley somehow… He stopped himself at the sound of Minerva clearing her throat.
"Well, whatever the case may be, it was because of his diligence that Severus noticed the Addams on the list. What are we to do, Albus? Surely we can't take him?" She was disturbed at the idea. Like most people, she only knew of rumours concerning the Addams family, but if only a fraction of those rumours were true, they would be in trouble.
"And would you like to go to America and explain to his parents the reason you refuse to teach their son?" Snape scoffed. He knew that he most certainly would not.
"I'm afraid we have no choice." Albus said as he rubbed his temples. "Perhaps, Minerva, you could contact Ilvermorny to make sure this isn't just some mistake. But if the Addams' have indeed decided to send their son to our school, we must accept him. To do otherwise would surely escalate into an international incident with the Ministry and perhaps even retaliation from the family themselves! In my many years I have only seen tragedy befall those who insult the Addams family. That's the last thing we'll need in the upcoming years." Severus knew that he spoke of Voldemort, as they both knew he wasn't gone for good and would be back sooner or later. When that happened they really couldn't afford to be wasting time and effort fighting such a powerful and respected family, whether physically or politically.
"Well then! I suppose I will just have to hope that Ilvermorny will take him!" Minerva wrapped her cloak around herself in a laudably dignified manner as she left the office.
Both Severus and Albus remained quiet after she left. They were both considering the why. Why would the Addams children be attending public school and why Hogwarts? They could only hope that their imagination was worse than the truth.
Albus reassured himself that it would be fine. This Herido was just a child after all, and even if his parents could cause Albus a world of trouble, the child was an innocent. Well, he tried to reassure himself, but it wasn't quite working.
When a haggard looking barn owl arrived during breakfast, it had been ignored. The Addams family had at first assumed it was another letter from Ilvermorny.
Not long ago, Gomez and Morticia had been invited to Ilvermorny and had sat through a 45 minute monologue from the headmistress as to why it might be beneficial for the other Addams children to attend schools outside of America. She had nearly fainted from relief when Gomez had said that she had a point – and that besides, Herido wouldn't object to being sent to England and Wednesday had her heart set on Japan. Gomez and Morticia were simply glad to know that there were teachers that still cared; that could look beyond the benefits of having Herido and Wednesday attend their school and focus instead on what was best for the children!
The headmistress simply couldn't believe it had worked. She didn't imagine she would survive having two more of those devil children in her school.
Ever since that meeting, the parents had been receiving letters from the headmistress making sure that Herido was still going elsewhere and that no offence was taken and that she hadn't been misunderstood and… the letters seemed endless.
However the owl had persisted even after being shooed away and dropped its letter in front of Herido, not Gomez.
He flipped the envelope over and exclaimed "oh, it's my Hogwarts letter." And he set it aside to finish his breakfast. It didn't even occur to him that he might not have been accepted. All of the Addams children had been enrolled in every wizarding school in the world after their birth – or in Herido's case, after his adoption, and they had simply cancelled the enrolments at the other schools once it had been decided which one they were to attend It was tradition after all, to make sure the Addams' had every opportunity available to them, but this was the first time that the head of the family had enrolled his children in schools and none of the family could imagine any school being anything but thrilled to be taking an Addams child.
It had of course been a letter of acceptance. Although there had been a mad rush once Herido realised that Wednesday had gotten to the letter beforehand and sent a refusal with the fasted owl they owned. Thankfully she hadn't been able to recruit Pugsley's falcon which had managed to kill the other bird and retrieve the letter before it had left the state.
Heri couldn't hide his excitement. He would have preferred to attend Ilvermorny with Pugsley, but he was glad to have the opportunity to walk the same halls as so many witches and wizards from his past.
Everyone seemed to freeze in order to observe the strange family as they stepped into Diagon Alley. Those in the know couldn't believe their eyes.
As the family stopped to take in the alley, they made an almost regal tableau. At the centre stood a women who looked far too pale to be healthy, but had sharp features and held herself in a way that quickly reassured that she was from nobility. On her arm was a man who seemed almost European in his complexion and looked as though everything his eyes fell upon was the most fascinating thing he'd ever seen. Beside him stood a bald man, bouncing on his heels, who didn't look like he was supposed to be out in public without a handler. To the women's left was a an old woman that any muggle the world over would surely describe as a 'witch', and that the patrons of Diagon Alley would describe as either a Crone or a Hag, depending on their own leaning. In front of the adults stood three children, looking oddly pale and completely bored.
The expressions on the children's' faces were simply a mask. They were all quite looking forward to seeing what the English wizarding community looked like. Their initial impressions left much to be desired. The whole alley was filled with magical folk in brightly coloured robes and even the shops looked to be welcoming. Heri could only hope it was some strange English trend – like the ones they had in American wizarding communities – and that it would pass before he was expected to jump on the bandwagon. Not that he would.
At first they all ignored the stares, but by the time they were half way up the alley, Grandmamma cast a powerful notice-me-not spell and whole family bemoaned that the Addams charm was irresistible on any continent.
The first stop was Gringotts Bank to gather some British currency. Gomez could never remember which banks held parts of the Addams fortune, but surely they had money in England!
Once they'd entered the bank, the whole family moved to the most senior looking Goblin available. They did not wait until he acknowledged them; instead Gomez greeted the Goblin in perfect Gobbledegook, an action that earned the attention of said Goblin. Something about the man told the Goblin to listen and so he heeded the family's request and immediately arranged a meeting with the Head of the bank.
The Head Goblin seemed a little rude to Herido. That was until Gomez mentioned his friendship with Jareth, the Goblin King, and suddenly the Head Goblin treated the Addams' as though they were royalty themselves. An infinitesimal number of wizards even knew the goblins even had a king, so the fact that these wizards knew him personally spoke volumes. Heri understood the Goblin's fear. He had only met the Goblin King twice, but he was an exceptionally powerful being and even though he didn't like to directly interfere with affairs in the Aboveground, he was definitely a man that you didn't want to embarrass, and Heri could only imagine that his punishments were agonisingly beautiful.
It was to nobody's surprise when it turned out that the Addams had a huge fortune waiting for them in the London Branch of Gringotts.
Heri was however surprised to learn that he still had access to the fortune and rights belonging to House Potter. The Head Goblin patiently explained that although the Law recognised Harry Potter as dead, the system that Gringotts used to identify heirs recognised Herido Addams as a son of both the Addams and Potter legacy and that if he wished to Heri could assume the title of Lord Potter come his adulthood.
It was definitely something for Heri to consider. Pugsley would inherit the mantle of Head of House Addams, and Wednesday would eventually take up another name. Perhaps Herido could use his own progeny to continue the Potter line. Either way it was something to be dealt with at a much later date. For now, they simply withdrew funds from the Addams account. The Head Goblin insisted that the money they had taken was enough to equip a child for school eighteen times over, so Gomez had given the Goblin almost a quarter of it as a thank you and promised to send a first born or two to Jareth by the end of the day.
When they finally exited the bank, Heri read though his shopping list. It seemed odd that he owned almost nothing on the list. His mother was right when she said that most Wizards practiced a completely different type of magic. The only thing that Heri was even a little interested in purchasing was his wand. All the Addams adults knew how to use wand magic – after all, you never knew when any type of magic might come in handy. It was foolish to deny any power, just because it wasn't the one you were used to.
As they walked down the steps of the bank, Grandmamma noticed another Alley that looked much more promising and set off to investigate, taking the whole family with her and leaving Herido to navigate the obviously 'light' alley with just Lurch to guard him and carry his purchases. He grumbled a little about his family having fun without him. Grandmamma had at least promised to purchase his potions supplies, so that was one thing he didn't have to worry about. And besides, without the rest of his family around, Herido was able to move without most of the usual attention and scrutiny. This turned out to be a true blessing as word seemed to have spread quickly that the Addams family was here, and the crowds had increased, everyone looking around either nervously or with intrigue and excitement.
He'd spelled his fringe to remain in place over his scar. He did not want anyone knowing of his past. If he was sure of anything else in this life, he was sure of that. Harry Potter was indeed an important part of his past, but he knew that, that was all anyone else in this country would see if they knew the truth and he would prefer the past to stay in the past.
And so he set off to acquire his school supplies with the money his father had left him with.
He purchased the items on his list in the order they presented themselves as he strolled down the Alley, knowing that Lurch was more than capable of carrying the lot.
When he entered the book store Flourish and Blotts he ran into, or was run into, by a girl carrying a stack of books taller than her head. As the books fell to the floor in an unseemly mess, he was about to ignore the girl and simply step over the books until his habitual perusal of her power caught his attention and he paused to look at her. She was an inelegant creature, with large bushy hair and large front teeth and a magical core that was so conflicted that he took pity on her. This girl was lost at sea without a compass or a map.
Heri bent down to help the girl retrieve her books, taking notice of every title he gathered. She had the same school books that were on his list, so she was a first year, but she also had a considerable amount of background reading – a muggle-born then.
"I'm so sorry. I didn't see you walking there. Oh, no, you don't have to help me, it was my fault really. I just didn't want to forget any of the books I'd found and was trying to carry them all to the counter at once. I can't believe how much there is to learn about this world – my world, I suppose. Were you born into a muggle family? I'm the first witch in my family and it was such a surprise, although my parents are thrilled with the news, of course. It certainly explains a lot." Heri wondered whether it was still rude to interrupt someone if they never stopped for air. Surely it was acceptable to interrupt in order to save a life? "I can't wait to try some of the spells mentioned in these books. Spells! Can you imagine? I'm Hermione Granger, by the way. Thank you for helping me." It took a few seconds for Herido to be sure she had finished talking and to realise that they had made their way to the counter already.
"That's quite alright." He started, not entirely sure where to begin. "I'm from a wizarding family, but I only know how it feels to discover the wonders of magic."
"How can that be?" She questioned. "Surely you have been surrounded by magic your whole life."
"It's a long story." One that Herido did not want to tell, so he moved on quickly. "I imagine you can't wait to learn all you can?" He asked, gesturing to her pile of books.
"Of course. I imagine I'll be woefully behind the other student at Hogwarts, so it's only natural that I should learn as much as I can to catch up. And I'm known to be, well, I suppose you could say I'm a bit of a bookworm." As she admitted this she raised her chin, as though bolstering herself for an oncoming attack. Heri just smiled at her.
"That's a fine attitude to have, but you know these books only tell a fraction of what you need to know." Hermione's eyes narrowed immediately, so he continued, "I mean, you've heard the expression 'history is written by the victor'? Well books found in stores like this one are written by authors approved by the government of the day, and governments can change overnight." The suspicious look was replaced by one of intrigue. He didn't really know what he was doing, but he knew he had to do something. This girl had a magical core that was crying out to the dark, and she would be completely wasted if her whole education was nothing but the Hogwarts curriculum.
"The professor that came to tell me that I'm a witch mentioned that there was magic that was outlawed, but she said it was dark and dangerous." The way she spoke told Heri that she was challenging him to prove the professor wrong, that she just wanted to be told it was ok to study this knowledge that had been denied her.
"Well of course it is!" He replied and she looked initially defeated, until he continued. "What else would you expect a government to call magic it disagreed with?" He could see that she was still struggling to accept his words over those of the professor's. "Well anyhow," he tried for nonchalant, "I hope you enjoy the information in these books. I'm Herido Addams," he summoned a small piece of parchment and a quill from behind the counter, and took note of the interest burning in her eyes. He knew that after her reading, she would be desperate to question him over this rare use of magic. He quickly wrote out his address and cell number – information very rarely given out, "if you have any questions or you decide you would like any information not published in these books, or if you want to see what magic looks like in everyday wizard life, give me a call. I can guarantee that my family would be more than happy to have you stay over for a while, and America is much easier to get to if you use Wizard methods of travel." He looked up to see what were surely her parents approaching, likely to pay for her books. "Well, it was nice meeting you and if I don't hear from you beforehand, I'll see you at Hogwarts." He finished as they reached the counter.
"Oh, thank you!" Hermione countered. "I'm so pleased to meet you! Thank you, Herido!" He wondered if she realised she'd thanked him twice. If they were to be friends at school, he would have to get rid of that particular trait.
He left his wand for last, knowing it would keep him motivated to keep going through all the cheery crowds and obnoxiously light shops.
Herido once again asked Lurch to wait outside and entered Ollivander's with a sense of anticipation. The whole shop was filled with the strangest mix of magic. An old grey haired man with glassy eyes appeared out of nowhere, but Herido just gave him a hard look. It was a foolish or brave man that tried to sneak up on an Addams.
Ollivander looked a little taken aback.
"Here for a wand, I presume? Please forgive me, for a moment I thought you were… but no. What's your name, young man?" He didn't give one. This Mr Ollivander made him a little nervous. He couldn't possibly know of his old identity could he? The man was staring, unblinking at him. He let his magic flair for a moment, knowing that if this man had the magical sight, he would be unable to look upon the Addams' magic as it was too dark and powerful for the average wizard, even if he himself couldn't wield it all yet. Magical sight was rare, and he attributed his own ability to his Horcrux.
Ollivander did look away and eventually began asking him questions to do with his wand.
It took an awfully long time to find a wand that would accept him. Mr Ollivander was looking more pleased the longer it took, but Heri was starting to worry he wouldn't be able to get a wand at all. He wondered whether it was possible to have one custom made.
Eventually, Ollivander handed over a wand with obvious trepidation.
As soon as this wand was clasped in his palm, Herido knew it was his. It felt warm and pleasantly draining and when he drew his arm down it let out the most breath-taking array of black and silver sparks.
He actually heard Mr Ollivander gulp.
"What is it?" Heri asked.
"It's just very curious." The aged man replied, almost like he was muttering to himself. "Your wand is made from Holly, Eleven inches and… and its core is the tail feather of a phoenix. The phoenix who gave this feather, gave another – just one other. It's … curious that you should end up with this wand, when it brother… gave you your scar!" Heri immediately zeroed in on the old man and was gratified to see him pale dramatically. How could he have known? Would everyone be able to tell?
Ollivander felt as though the air around him had condensed. He could no longer feel his wands, all he could feel was the magic from the little boy before him, pressing against his body like a vice and so dark that he suddenly had a suspicion of where this boy had ended up. He spoke quickly. If he was right, then even if he was the only wand maker in England, his life would be forfeit in order to keep this secret. He might have been able to defeat the child, but in the end it would be suicide; that particular family looked after their own.
"I assure you I have no interest in your identity, beyond providing you with a wand." Heri's eye's narrowed. "Nor would I ever reveal a customer's identity. Although I must tell you that your new wand is registered with the Ministry of Magic and they will be able to monitor its use until you are seventeen…"
The man was rambling and Herido didn't have the patience for it.
He released the man and placed his seven galleons on the counter before thanking him and walking away. He'd tell his parents what had happened and let them decide whether it was a threat to him. At the moment he just wanted to get home so he could examine his new wand. A brother wand to Lord Voldemort! Suddenly, he couldn't wait to learn all about this new type of magic!