Chapter 1

"I'm afraid what you are asking is out of the question." Albus Dumbledore stated calmly, leaning back in his chair and folding his hands over his chest.

Narcissa Malfoy smiled coolly. "You really don't have any say in the matter Albus. Blood traitor or not, mass murderer or not, Sirius Black was Harry Potter's legal magical guardian. I am his next of kin by blood. Therefore, as the eldest of the remaining Black family, I inherit Black Manor, all relating properties, the family fortune…and Harry Potter. I am now the boy's legal guardian." She bared her teeth in a semblance of a grin. "And if that were not enough, it states quite plainly in both Lily's and James's wills that upon the unlikely event of Sirius's death, I am named godmother to Harry."

"His Muggle relatives—"

"Were more than happy to sign over any legal rights and obligations they had toward the boy. Of course, had they received some of the generous compensation the Weasleys have, they might not have been so eager to let the boy go." She watched the color drain from the elder wizard's face. "Harry doesn't know about that, does he?" She tsked. "I imagine he won't be so eager to run to the Weasleys once he finds out they've been essentially stealing from him for the past five years. Keep that in mind in case dear Molly suggests contesting my claim."

Dumbledore sighed heavily. "Narcissa—"

"You owe me," she hissed fiercely. "You owe me for James, and for Lily, and for Sirius. I played out your little game, and people I loved were killed for your version of the 'greater good'! You didn't hesitate to sacrifice James and Lily on a whim. Don't think for a second that I won't do the same if you try to stand in my way."

Dumbledore studied the proud woman in front of him for a long moment. She met his gaze fearlessly with her head held high, challenge in every line of her posture. "What about Draco?" He said quietly. He left the other half—what about Lucius, right hand to Lord Voldemort?—unsaid but it hung in the air between them.

Her eyes narrowed. "My son will be turning sixteen within the next month. It's time he had a little family history lesson. Hopefully it will enlighten him to a few things." She drew a breath. "As for Lucius, he is in Azkaban. The bonds he laid upon me are gone. I have no desire to return to them. The Malfoy fortune is tainted, as is the Mansion. I would be willing to sell the property, with all of the artifacts inside—for a price."

"The Ministry—"

"Would be absolutely ecstatic to gain entrance to Lucius's private study, I'm sure. I can practically hear your precious Aurors frothing at the mouth." Her smile hardened. "I want immunity, and I want Harry. He is blood of my blood, Albus, whether either of us likes it or not. You know where my loyalties lie. I will not betray him to the Dark Lord. At the very least, doing so would put myself and my son into possible danger, and I am too much of a Slytherin—and Ravenclaw—to do such a thing." She stood up and held out a sheaf of papers. "So, are you going to play nicely or not? I can do this with or without you."

He shuffled through the papers, mentally frantically searching for a loophole, but knew there wasn't one. She had done her work well.

"This isn't over Narcissa," he warned even as he signed the papers which would hand the Boy-Who-Lived over into the hands of the wife of a Death Eater.

One pale brow arched as she gathered up the papers and stepped over to his fireplace. "I'm counting on it." She stepped into the fire and was gone in a swirl of smoke.

"I'm WHAT?" Harry Potter exclaimed, staring at his relatives in stunned disbelief.

"You're leaving." Petunia Dursley repeated, a maliciously happy smirk on her face. "Seems that Dumbledore wasn't completely straight with you. Since that good for nothing convict godfather of yours is dead—" she ignored Harry's warning growl. "We assumed we were stuck with you for another year or so, until this lady came by the other day. She claimed to be your godmother, and announced that she would be happy to take you off of our hands and compensate us for the trouble, no less! Although why anyone would willingly want you is beyond—"

"What did this woman look like? What was her name?" Harry interrupted desperately, hoping beyond hope that his aunt didn't say 'Bella LeStrange'." The name that did come out of her mouth, however, made his heart drop to his toes.

"Tall, elegant blonde woman, looked like she was a high society lady. Don't know what she wants with the likes of you. Name of Narcissa Malfoy." Completely unaware that she had just brought one of his worse nightmares to life, his aunt shooed him away. "Get on with you! You need to pack! Don't leave anything behind, and I don't want to see a single owl feather or dropping in my house when you're done, you understand?"

"Yes, Aunt Petunia," he murmured automatically as his mind raced. Never mind that Hedwig was much cleaner than Dudley (and better company too). "Um, what time is Mrs. Malfoy—" the name stuck in his throat. "—coming to get me?"

She huffed, as if answering such a simple question wasn't worth her time. "Two o'clock. And I want this house spotless, top to bottom, inside and out, so you just finish with your room and come down here and help me. And lock that owl of yours up and put her in the cupboard until we're finished. I won't have you sending any last minute letters to any of your freaky friends to try to get out of this."

Well, there went that idea. Harry trudged dejectedly upstairs. "I can't bloody believe this!" He began throwing his stuff haphazardly into his trunk without really caring what went where. "Tonks just checked up on me, so the Order won't be back for another week or two. Can't call Hermione; no phone, and she's probably on vacation in France anyway. Dammit!" Hedwig hooted inquisitively from her cage, roused by her boy's agitated tone. "Sorry Hedwig," Harry apologized automatically. "After the past five years, I'm going to be stolen out from under the Order's nose by the wife of a Death Eater, and she's not going to even use magic! She's just going to stroll in here in broad daylight and take me away, and no one will ever know! Of course, if the bloody wards Dumbledore put up worked, then I wouldn't have to worry, except for the little loophole that says that a witch or wizard who does not intend me personal harm can enter the residence! She doesn't have any personal grudge against me, but I can think of a couple of acquaintances and relatives that do! Just bloody perfect!"

"BOY!" Petunia bellowed in a tone reminiscent of her husband's. "Quit dawdling and get down here before I hurry you up with a switch! Vernon and Dudley are due back at two thirty and I want you gone by then. And don't forget that bloody pigeon."

Stifling a groan, Harry hastily complied, knowing the truth behind her threat. He had called her bluff once when he was six, and had paid for it with the resulting welts on his backside and no dinner for three days. Shoving his trunk closed, he lugged it and Hedwig's cage downstairs, pausing to stow everything in his old cupboard under the stairs. "Sorry Hedwig," he whispered. "I'll get you out as soon as I can. Try to get some sleep—I may need you to make a break for it later tonight." She clicked her beak twice in the darkness, and he smiled wanly before closing the door.

When he returned to the living room where his aunt was waiting, she wordlessly handing him the cleaning bucket. "Start with Dudley's bathroom."

He grimaced and headed back up the stairs, wishing he could perform magic. He would give anything for a couple of quick cleaning charms—or a bubble head charm so he didn't have to breathe in the fumes left behind by his pungent cousin. After the bathroom was the kitchen, then the living room, his own small bedroom, the downstairs bathroom, and the kitchen nook. Everything was scrubbed under Petunia's relentless eye (worse than Mad-Eye Moody's, Harry thought). If he missed a speck of dust he was required to start completely over. By the time he was finished it was coming on one forty-five.

"Go take a shower," his aunt ordered finally. "Be sure you don't waste the hot water!"

Too exhausted to reply, he trudged back up the stairs for the last time. While in the shower he wondered morosely if he should just drown himself and be done with it, but then figured with his luck (and the damn prophecy) it wouldn't work anyway. He didn't have enough time either way; his aunt came pounding on the door in warning exactly three minutes after he had started the shower. Gritting his teeth against some choice responses, he toweled himself off and quickly dressed in his school clothes, leaving off his robes. Making sure his wand was in his wrist holster (courtesy of Mad Eye Moody after yet another lecture about losing a buttock for keeping it in his back pocket), he took a deep breath and walked slowly back down the stairs.