Do I have university work? Should I be planning a 2D laser plan to make my model? Yes to both. But do I want to write? Also yes.
Humour aside (hem hem, 'humour'), I am very thankful for all your extremely kind encouragement. I really am loving reading your feedback - it was unexpected to still have so many readers after a full year away from this fanfiction. So thank you!
The moment the door opened, and the elegance that was Diana, entered, the room seemed to freeze. The servants in the main drawing room stopped what they were doing. Princess Margaret, who had since also arrived at Balmoral, and to whom Harry had really warmed up to pretty much instantly, dropped her newspaper an inch or two so as to be able to gaze at the new guest over the top.
Charles stood by the window, the only other Royal in the room. He was awkwardly attempting not to look in Diana's way. Harry had read up on the divorce and had asked one or two of the servants around. It seemed that it had ended in an ugly way.
"Harry!" Diana cried out, the moment she spotted him sitting in his armchair, Hedwig on his knee. The owl jumped up, not wanting to be squished between mother and son. Harry was pulled into the arms of a sobbing mother.
"Oh, uh, oh — hi." Harry bit his lip, as they pulled away from each other, confused as to how he should act around her.
"Oh Harry," she breathed out, and gave him another hug. When they separated again, she glanced at the owl.
"And who's this?"
"Hedwig, my best friend, really."
"Careful, don't say it too loudly, she'll get a big head," Harry said with a grin. The owl preened, Harry rolled his eyes.
"Well, as heartwarming as this is, I'd rather take my tea in silence," Margaret said dryly from her sofa. She looked rather elegant, sitting there with her cigarette hanging from her fingers, and a paper clutched in the other. Standing up, a servant instantly moved to take her gazette and she waved him off, getting smoke in his face.
She left the room, leaving Charles and Diana alone with Harry.
"Oh, Harry where have you been?" It was a rhetorical question, more than anything. But Harry answered it anyway, just wanting to be in conversation with his mother.
"My adoptive parents died when I was a year old. I was sent to live with my aunt and uncle. Petunia and Vernon. And their son Dudley. We lived in Surrey, in a suburban home."
"Without any of this?" Diana waved a hand at the general room. Harry guessed she was referring towards the actual institution more than anything.
"Without any of it…" Harry echoed. With just their gazes they seemed to agree on the ridiculousness of his circumstances. Hearing Charles's cough of annoyance, Harry hastened to correct his 'comment'.
"And without this as well," Harry said gesturing at her and Charles. "Without parents."
Diana smiled at that. Charles, also more sensitive man than his father gave a small nod of encouragement.
"So, is there any way we can spend the day together, Harry? Or will I be swallowed by protocol?" Diana asked, one arm still wrapped around his shoulders. He was taller than her, which made for a slightly awkward pose for both of them. Harry glanced at Charles and realised suddenly that she was the only person who actually called him by his preferred name. Another thing he realised very quickly was that he actually lived in a fish-bowl here — and he had to ask permission to be by his own. Oh the irony, him Harry Potter, having to live by the rules.
"Sure, I'm sure we can arrange that. How about a walk in the garden… Actually I'd like to tell you both something pretty serious."
The former couple exchanged a glance. Harry nervously gestured to the door that lead to the nearest exit. Once in the very private gardens, Harry clasped his hands, and began:
"My adoptive name is, as you know, Harry James Potter. What you don't know is that the couple who adopted me, were part of a society."
"A sect? My boy, you're in a sect?" Charles exclaimed very suddenly. Harry and Diana shot him twin looks of bemusement.
"Let your son speak, Charlie. Gosh."
"No, it wasn't a sect. Ehem, I don't know exactly how to put this without it, you know, seeming like I'm crazy, but actually I'm a wizard. I belong to a hidden society called the WIzarding World. It exists parallel to the muggle — the mundane — one, always there, but just out of reach for the non-magical."
Charles and Diana had stopped walking, and were staring at him with wide eyes. Harry blushed slightly.
"Hm, well. I guess you need proof." He pulled out his wand from his makeshift rubber-band wand-arm holster and presented it to his parents on his flat palm. The wand wasn't clean, or polished. It looked like a well-used tool. He couldn't exactly use spells outside of school without the Ministry knowing, and in turn the Death Eaters. Then again, what difference did it make whether the Death Eater's were informed, he'd just come out on all the main media stations and newspapers the other day, and declared himself the long-lost heir to the British monarchy. There was no way they didn't know already. Besides, it wasn't like he was going back to Hogwarts now, not with the hunt for the Hocruxes still on. And boy was that still on.
"Expecto Patronum!" He called out. A majestic stag sprung forth, and quickly gave a turn around the trio, head held high, alert, as he looked for dangers ahead. Seeing there were none, he pranced over to Harry and nudged his muzzle under the wizards palm.
"This is Prongs and this is a protective spell. It's sort of a representation of your happy memories," Harry said, smiling wistfully as the memory played out over and over again in his mind.
"I might just want to sit down," Charles said faintly. The corner of Harry's lip quirked up and he gave his hand a short wave. A bench from the gazebo close by zoomed at them, floating to a stop right behind Charles. The prince sat down unquestioningly, too shocked really, to resist any rationale that was telling him to avoid this strange new thing.
Diana supported herself by grabbing hold of Harry's arm. She looked very pale.
"Can anyone learn this?" Were the first words out of Diana's mouth. Then before Harry could answer, she took his worried and anxious expression into account and instantly pulled him into a hug.
"Oh, Harry. You needn't be worried. Regardless of who you are, what you do, we're your parents and we'll always love you."
She pulled away, tears prickling in her eyes. Harry gently let her sink into the bench next to Charles. He paced in front of them for a minute or two, letting them come to terms with what they had seen.
"James and Lily were involved in a civil war in our society, with two main fractions. The Dark and the Light. The Dark side was headed by an evil man named Tom Riddle — his name is an anagram for Lord Voldemort, which is what chooses to call himself. He heard a prophecy when Lily and James were supposedly expecting, telling him that his greatest enemy and threat would be born as 'the seventh month dies', to parents who had 'thrice defied him'. Only two couples fulfilled these requirements. One was Lily and James, the other were the Longbottoms. On Halloween night, Voldemort finally caught up to us, sending some of his lackeys after the other family, having planned on annihilating both of us.
"Lily and James didn't die in a car crash, they died when Voldemort broke into our home and murdered them. When he pointed his wand at me, his spell backfired him, banishing him from the mortal realm."
"Mortal realm?" Charles echoed faintly. Harry pursed his lips. They'd be here till evening if the two didn't get over their initial shock soon.
"He'd performed several obscure rituals by this point to tie his soul to the living, even after his body died. And so 13 years later, in my fourth year, Voldemort returned, with my blood in his veins. See he had a theory, that if I had defeated him once, being reborn with my blood, he'd null the protection. I got away. He's been hunting me ever since. Ah, also the civil war restarted about a year ago. People have been going missing left and right, raids day and night."
"This is a lot to take in, son," Charles murmured. He took Diana's hand, who didn't flinch at the contact. Harry was surprised at their civil behaviour towards one another. From what he'd been told about them, the divorce had been ugly.
"I can understand that. There's more though."
"More?" Diana said, swallowing and placing her free hand on Charles's. It seemed this act of intimacy was not directed at each other, definitely not, rather a reciprocal show support for one another.
"There is a prophecy, tying my fate to his. We're bound. He can only live if I die, and likewise. He marked me when he attempted to kill me as a boy." At this, Harry pushed his fringe to the side, revealing the jagged scar. "This means that he sees me as his arch-enemy, me specifically."
"Wait, wait," Diana began, shaking her head and blinking rapidly. "The prophecy declared that the baby who was born as the seventh month dies… You were born in August!"
Harry bit his lip for a second. He had realised this the very first day when he had been informed of his true identity. Regardless of this, it didn't change the fact that Voldemort had essentially marked him. Dread pooled at the bottom of his stomach, as he realised who was at the mercy of the prophecy now. Oh, poor Neville…
"I don't think it'll matter to Voldemort now. He's on a warpath now, very literally. My friend Neville, is the only other candidate, actually. Voldemort'll just try to kill us both."
"But how do you know of this prophecy?" Charles asked weakly. Harry pursed his lips.
"I broke into the magical parliament in my fifth year with a few friends after having a vision that Voldemort had captured my godfather and was interrogating him there to get his hands on the prophecy that was being held in the prophecy room. My headmaster ended up telling it to me," Harry said this all in one breath, so as to get it over with as quickly as he could.
His parents blinked at him, bemused.
"You broke into parliament?" Charles slowly said, mouth gaping. Diana nudged him with her elbow as though to say that this wasn't exactly the most important fact right now.
Harry nodded sheepishly, cheeks reddening.
"Do wizards have visions a lot?" Diana had now folded her hands on her lap and straightened her back in an effort to look more elegant and put together than she really was, in this moment.
"Uh, not that I know of. See, when Voldemort tried to murder me as a baby, something happened that night to link us. If I'm not actively trying, I sometimes slip into his mind during my sleep… and I experience what he's experiencing. Since my fifth year, we've been trying to shield ourselves from each other, he's obviously been unable to exploit this fact."
"Mindreading? Oh gosh." Charles' tone and expression were incredibly neutral. Then again, Harry supposed that he had been trained his entire life to keep as emotionless and unopinionated as possible whatever the situation. Made for a great prince, but a shitty father, Harry supposed. Then again, beggars couldn't be choosers.
"Sir! Sir!" This call came from far away. A few seconds later, from the thick trees beyond the hill, behind the gazebo, a figure emerged. The manservant rushed towards them. Panting, he arrived at their little group and frowned briefly as he looked from the bench to the gazebo and back to the bench.
"Yes Lancie?" Charles asked, getting to his feet. Diana gazed at the servant over her shoulder, still sitting.
"Her majesty as requested Prince Hadrian's immediate presence. A Mr. Kingsley Shacklebolt has arrived, and an urgent meeting has been called."
Harry arrived soon at the main drawing room of Balmoral castle. He had left his parents near the gazebo to talk. After all, it had seemed as though they had needed to go over a lot of things, and not just relating Harry.
The Queen was standing at the window, a teacup in hand. If there ever was a more British sight than that, Harry wasn't sure where he'd find it. Kingsley, as promised, was sitting in one of the many armchairs, gazing about with curiosity and looking entirely too comfortable. In his hand he held a familiar envelope.
"Harry!" Kingsley jumped to his feet upon seeing him. A servant or two frowned at the lack of protocol. Harry smiled and greeted the auror just as warmly, giving the man a confident hand-shake.
"How are things with the Order?"
"Moody's pissed," Kingsley said, that deep voice carrying through the entire room effortlessly. He seemed to have no qualms about cursing in front of the Queen. A servant coughed in discomfort.
"And this came for you — well, I thought I'd hand deliver it to you." Now slightly more subdued, the auror passed the letter to Harry. He took it with slightly trembling fingers. It revealed that which he had already suspected. He'd been expelled from Hogwarts for his second offence of magic use outside of the school. He sighed.
"I wasn't going back anyway, you know," Harry said quietly. "Dumbledore gave me a job to do, and I intend on finishing it."
Kingsley rubbed his jaw for a moment or two. "Just days before his death—"
"Murder, Kingsley, it was murder."
"—Murder, he told me and Remus that you were our best hope. He told us to follow you unquestioningly. That he had passed you some of the answers to questions we didn't even know we had."
"I appreciate that, thank you."
"Hem," came the small, yet interrupting cough from the window.
"Mr. Shacklebolt. I'm glad your promised kind relationship with prince Harry was indeed true. Upon your arrival our wards seemed to accept you, but we couldn't have been sure. Had it not been for Harry's brief mention of you, you would not have crossed the threshold."
"I thank you, your majesty," he said in his rumbling voice. The Queen gave a small, satisfied smile, then clasped her hands together.
"Very well, now that pleasantries are out of the way, shall we get to business?"
"Business?" Harry arched an eyebrow. The Queen gestured to the two sofas and armchair. As they all sunk into their places, she gave another gesture and all the servants cleared the room.
"Indeed. In recent years our roles as royals have been watered down to representative functions. We do not wage war, or command parliament. We serve as a neutral checks and balances system in which we consult, and never take sides. My dear Hadrian," the Queen took a step closer to him. He realised how much he had grown in the past few months — he towered over her.
"My dear Hadrian, Harry. I ask you as your Queen, and as your grandmother, to protect us. The mundane world from the wizarding, and the wizarding from itself. From what Mr. Shacklebolt has revealed to me, the state of your world is indeed dire straits and your position in it is central. You are almost seventeen, an adult. So I hereby ask you to form a military in my name, and revive a long-forgotten title. Perhaps the most important that you will have in your life as prince and then King. Prince Hadrian, do you accept?"
Harry licked his lips anxiously and he glanced at Kingsley who stood a few steps away, head bowed, and eyes lowered as he sought to internalise this private moment. Perhaps even to give them some privacy. The Queen spoke quite informally, and although this was a very important moment, it really did seem like she was simply a grandmother — albeit a very powerful one — asking her grandson to go to war for her.
Kingsley finally noticed someone was staring at him and glanced up. Their stares met, and the wizard gave a subtle nod, before placing a fist on his chest, giving a small bow. He was pledging his loyalty, Harry realised.
He straightened his back, realising fully the importance of his calling. Screw Voldemort, he had an army. "I would be honoured, your majesty. Yes, I accept."
I hope it's become clear what kind of story this'll become. Revenge, war, some love, some hatred, family. Essentially, it's reflection of the influence that the books I'm currently reading have on me (muddling my way through Moby Dick right now, so that's probably where revenge comes in haha).
In any case, next chapter: got a wedding and some backhanded dealing (thinking of the godfather right now tbh .. that scene in the beginning of part 1 hahah).