AN/ The characters in this story are the intellectual and legal property of JK Rowling and her assigns.
My attempt at a slightly manipulative Dumbledore and a super power Harry. There are also clear homosexual overtones but no pairings. You have been warned.
Also this will not be updated very often since I am trying to complete my two older till ongoing stories.
There are only three days to go until his birthday and it has already been a very long summer for Harry. With even less to do then normal, there is nothing for the grieving young wizard to do but think. And thinking is the one thing he definitely does not want to do. So Harry sits on his bed contemplating a spider busily spinning a web across his window. Not the most exciting subject matter but it is better than his other choices; Umbridge, Snape, the Department of Mysteries, Sirius, Voldemort, Dumbledore, or the prophecy. Yes the spider is much easier to think about, a classic case of avoidance but it isn't like Harry doesn't have plenty of time. He has to stay at the Dursley's until Dumbledore is satisfied that the wards are recharged, he isn't even allowed mail or the Daily Prophet. After the Orders little meeting with his relatives they locked him in again, but at least this time he is getting three decent meals a day plus a little extra for Hedwig if they were both quiet.
Two almost simultaneous pops behind him, distracting from his new past time of spider watching, cause Harry to whirl and draw his wand on the intruders. What Harry sees, when he focuses fully on those who have so abruptly invaded his room, leaves him staring incredulously unable to rectify the disparity in appearances. Two houses elves, dressed in glaring opposite manners are staring right back at him.
"Hello, what are your names and what do you need?" Harry asks the two of them.
One house elf is dressed neatly in a combination of tailored suit and dragonhide armor with the Gringotts seal clearly visible on his left shoulder. The other elf is covered head to foot in a insane get up consisting of an overly large wide brimmed wizard's hat and long tunic, open fronted robe, and a cloak. All of which were made up of irregularly shaped swatches of the loudest wizard fabrics Harry has ever seen, each with wildly moving animations giving the overall impression of complete insanity. Harry can guess who the elf belongs to as he had seen some of the fabrics on a normal set of robes before today.
The wildly dressed elf bounces around wildly yelling loudly. "Sirs is a good wizard Master Dumbly wants a letter delivered right now. Needs nice master to send letter back. Master saying it is very important."
Harry quickly takes the proffered letter and turns to the other elf that holds out another envelope. "Gringotts respectfully wishes to inform you of an official summons." Harry takes this letter as well and settles down at his desk to read them.
This missive is in regards to the will of Sirius Orion Black, Duke of the most ancient house of Black. You are requested to attend the will reading on July 29, 12 o'clock noon in the inner inheritance room at Gringotts. Your cooperation is appreciated.
With Regards Gringotts
I thought you might be anxious for a bit of news so I sent my own house elf with a letter knowing he could reach you safely. First I hope you are having a relaxing summer and are studying for the upcoming year. Voldemort has been fairly quiet after the Azkaban breakout, only conducting a few minor raids just to keep the ministry off balance. I want to assure that all your friends and classmates are just fine.
Now on to a more serious matter, what happened in the ministry foyer can not be allowed to happen again, so Professor Snape will be arriving August 1st to resume occlumency lessons. Please try a bit harder not to antagonize him this time, no matter your personal feeling about him.
I am sure you have noticed that you have received no letters prior to this, I thought it was for the best that owl wards be placed around your home. I am currently holding all your mail for you, you will receive it after it is thoroughly checked when we pick you up in late August. I know you were hoping to get out of your home sooner but your family needs the protection of those wards as much as you do.
Also it is my duty to inform that Sirius left a will at Gringotts that I was unaware of. I am sorry Harry but due to security concerns you simply can not be seen in Diagon alley. I realize that this might benefit the Black cousins but there is nothing we can do about it at this time, please stay where you are. I will endeavor to talk to the goblins to see if I or someone else in the Order can stand in for you but on such short notice it will be difficult.
Sincerely Albus Dumbledore
P.S. Please call my elf, his name is Dwizzy, if you need to report your scar hurting in any way.
'No, absolutely positively not.' The headmaster has just asked one thing to many of Harry, he is already stressed beyond what could conceivably be consider normal. Harry grabs two pieces of parchment and hastily writes his answers to each party in what promises to be a pivotal experience in Harry's life.
I will only say this once, so please listen carefully. Do not send that man to this house, I refuse call this my home because it never has been. I am not asking, it is non-negotiable. If you insist in following your own misguided counsel in your extracurricular dealings with me it will not help in any way except to continue undermining what minimal trust I have left in you.
Mr. H. J. Potter
P.S. I respectfully report that I have had no visions or pain from my scar. I would also like to bring to your attention that Mr. Vernon Dursley has added two deadbolts, an industrial strength padlock, a magnetic security plate, and a floor to ceiling slide bolt to my bedroom door. These along with the previous eight locks are all fastened securely except twice a day when I am allowed to use the bathroom. They have modified window to the point that Hedwig can barely get out, even without mail she needs to fly enough so her wing muscles remain usable. She is not happy about no mail but I agree that she is too important to me to risk on such frivolities as friendship and love. I hope these safety measures, so I will not 'contaminate' my 'family' with my 'freakish abnormality' more commonly called magic, meets your approval.
Harry folds his first note up and sets it aside deciding to write Gringotts before actually sending the Headmaster's note so he could calm down enough to reread it and remove any overly antagonistic comments.
Gringotts To whom it may concern
Thank you for sending this missive with such an efficient elf, the wards that Headmaster Dumbledore put in place would not have allowed an owl to get close enough to deliver it. I would very much like to be present at the will reading but above mentioned individual has forbidden me to leave my residence and my muggle guardians are disinclined even allow me out of my room. If I had a portkey or knew how to apparate I would risk the ire of all the aforementioned and Voldemort to be where I need to be at the allotted time. Alas the Headmaster thinks of everything and my carefully saved money was also confiscated so I can not pay for a trip on the Knight Bus or a muggle equivalent. Nor is this strictly muggle house attached to the floo network.
That being said, if you could think of any way for me to fulfill your request for my presence I am open any non-fatal suggestions.
With Sincere Respect Harry H. Potter
P.S. I have no idea who is currently entrusted with my vault key, again the Headmaster's doing. Believe me I wish there was a way to remedy this.
P.P.S. Would you happen to know if my parents had a will, and if they did is there any way I could receive a copy.
Harry rereads his note to Gringotts and nods to himself in satisfaction before putting it in the provided envelope and handing it solemnly to the neatly dressed house elf from the bank with a quick thank you before the little being can disappear. Harry glances at the hyper elf that Dumbledore had sent as it scurries around the room cleaning and making happy squeaking sounds to itself. Harry thinks that it might be singing but is loath to ask because the elf seems a bit insane even when compared to its master. Harry sighs resignedly and reads through his response to the Headmaster, wincing occasionally at the way the words seem to shout even without any type of emphasis. Done reading Harry sits down and stares at the parchment trying to decide what to change and what to leave. He finally scribbles out the line about this not being his home and everything after his comment about his scar he also leave his concern for Hedwig in and gives it to the elf who pops away giggling ecstatically. Harry knows that the Headmaster will probably remove the scribbles to read what else he said but the old man would just have to deal with it if he was that nosy. With the excitement done for the day Harry returns to his efforts to think about nothing.
What Harry can not possibly know is the impact his letters where about to have on his life and by proxy the entire wizarding world.
The letter to Gringotts arrives in a timely manner and is given first to the clerk assigned to screen all mail for unwanted magics, next it is placed in the hands of a goblin courier that delivers it to the appropriate office. The office secretary checks the letter again and places it on the desk of the goblin assigned to the client's account. It is when the account manager finally works his way through his other appointments and reads Harry's letter that the first reaction is seen, a deep frown and a raised eyebrow. On a human this would not seem like much but for a goblin, especially a banker, to react in such a manner is telling. The Potter accountant is most displeased with the revelations in the letter, and realizes that these matters will need to be passed further up the chain of command so his other accounts will not suffer. Another courier is called as the accountant writes a short cover note to his superiors listing the steps that need to be taken in regards to Mr. Potter's letter. The letter goes through four different offices before it reaches a Gringotts governor with the necessary rank and clearance privileges to efficiently address the issues raised by it.
Governor Gripstaff is most unhappy to see the single short letter with four progressively more pompous notes attached to it. The first note is short, accurate, and properly efficient to serve the purpose it was meant to. The rest are just lower department heads trying to gain recognition. He finally comes to the original letter, reading through it he growls disgustedly, Gringotts personnel had long suspected something was amiss with this particular account but not to this extent. The easiest issue to remedy is getting the young Potter heir to the will reading, if the lad is willing to be uncomfortable for a short time. Gripstaff calls for an elf and writes a short note explaining to Mr. Potter that a Gringotts house elf would come collect him for the will reading. He also discloses that travelling in such a manner is best done on an empty stomach by anyone not used to it no matter their species, and that there will be a certain level of pain involved as well.
Gripstaff informs the other board members that he will be unavailable for anything except a full emergency and shows them the letter. To say that there are some most impolite comments made about wizards in general and one in particular would be a grave understatement. After a quick discussion it is decided to make a copy of the letter and the original note, that will be sent to the head Gringotts goblin with a very short note telling their leader who is working on effecting the necessary corrections. Once the board acknowledges his request for a cessation of his normal duties Gripstaff returns to his office. Once there he begins auditing the stacks of paperwork on the Potter account and consulting the assorted instruments that have been delivered to him in his absence, it is going to be a long night.
It is early the next morning before Gripstaff is able to check an inheritance globe to see what other paperwork he needs to have brought to him to integrate the Black inheritance. He is shocked to realize that he will have to do the exact same thing for all the Black holdings. There are five minor dispensations but none of them would cause any trouble, unlike the main inheritance where an insistent red flashing under several items in the globe indicates these things had been tampered with. Gripstaff growls and decides that he will simply go over it all and that Mr. Potter will need to do a blood heritage reading so that any missing inheritances could be audited and integrated as well. That can be done just after the will reading, hopefully he can be done with this before then because he has a feeling Mr. Potter's affairs are far more complicated than just the Potter and Black accounts. Gripstaff calls for a house elf to bring him some food and a stimulate drink.
Dwizzy pops happily back to Dumbledore's home and places the note on his desk before popping down to the kitchens to complete his normal duties. The Headmaster does not return until late that night after overseeing the Wizengot, advising Minister Fudge, and trying to work out a compromise with Gringotts about Sirius Black's will. None of which showed much positive progress, in fact the goblins had been outright hostile. To say he is tired would be an understatement. He sits down at his desk and calls for a late tea, looking down he sees Harry's note and sighs, knowing that the young man's response is not likely to be polite. After some hot tea and a bit of consideration Dumbledore decides to wait until he has had some sleep before tackling the note, very sure that Mr. Potter's response will be an unhappy one.
Dumbledore sleeps late the next morning since he has nothing scheduled until almost noon, when he needs to make another attempt at negotiating with Gringotts. After waking up and preparing for another day he has breakfast and settles into the comfortable chair stationed at his desk. Opening Harry's note Dumbledore can feel the angry residual magic crackling threateningly around the sharply scrawled words. Dumbledore sighs realizing he was right about how Harry would take his letter. He is actually surprised by the actual neutrality expressed in the words still visible on the parchment, even if they are rather blunt, but he knows there is more to the letter since Harry didn't bother to rewrite it, only scribbling out certain sentences. Dumbledore is alarmed by the first crossed out words he uncovers. He had always known that Harry didn't consider Privet Drive home, but as long as his displeasure remained undeclared the wards would remain, but to have it in writing with so much negative magic flowing through the words, it would only be about a week before the blood protection unraveled. At least he had a little time to find a way to move Harry and his relatives safely to a more secure location. Perhaps he should separate them if Harry was this adamant about disliking them, it might be best if they were not around when he could finally use magic freely. He is also disturbed by the outright vitriol that Harry obviously has for Severus, this type of emotion doesn't happen without provocation. The only explanation Dumbledore can think of is that Minerva is right and Severus still refuses to see anything other than James Potter when dealing with Harry, but then they will be spending time together this summer so maybe they will finally find some common ground. Dumbledore is not sure what to make of the rest of the revealed writing, there is a desperate undertone that makes him almost believe that Harry's claims are not exaggerations, but that couldn't be after all they are family, right. The owl though he could understand. It would be a simple matter to have her stay with a magical family so she would not need to be locked behind wards, though Dumbledore reminds himself that his original plan is moot now that they were going to be forced to move Harry.
Dumbledore mulls over what should be done to assure Harry's continued survival, maybe he can be sent to Snape Manor. Yes that is an enlightened idea, Harry will be safe, the two boys will have to work out their differences, and any rebellious notions Harry might have will be thoroughly squashed. The Headmaster hums happily as he writes Harry a note explaining the change in plans and the reasons for it. He strongly stresses Harry's guilt in destroying the wards and the terrible consequences that might come about by not learning occlumency. He never once stops to consider how a grieving, strong willed, forcedly independent, powerful young wizard might view his words.
Harry is still awake when the Gringotts elf comes back with a reply, he is most pleased with the prompt response and by the solution. He doesn't mind that there will be some discomfort during transport, it will be worth it to keep Sirius' legacy away from Voldemort's followers and from Dumbledore's manipulations. Harry finally drifts off to sleep at about one in the morning because he was unable to calm his nervous energy and a brooding sense of impending doom.
Banging on his door the next morning wakes Harry and lets him know that Petunia has unlocked his door while Dudley and Vernon are gone so he can go to the bath room. He glances out of the window and notices that the sun is well up, if he hurries he might be able to have some hot water before his aunt starts the laundry. Harry grabs a clean pair of jeans and some string to hold them up, he would change into something more appropriate once he got back into his room. His few nice things were hidden in his trunk under some obviously magical equipment, ensuring his family stayed away from them. Harry manages to thoroughly clean his hair, wash his more delicate bits, and do a cursory scrubbing before the hot water starts to run out. He is even able to finish his shower with tepid water, turning the shower off completely before the water becomes truly cold. Harry towels off with several towels that he stashed in his room just in case he needed them, he puts the two wettest ones in the laundry hamper and takes the others back to his room where he spreads them out to dry.
Standing in front of the cracked mirror on the battered old dresser Harry stares at himself until Petunia relocks his door and shoves a decent looking meal through the cat-flap. He looks at the time, 10 a.m., there is enough time between now and when he has to leave for his stomach to digest everything. He decides to eat first, then pack everything he owns away in his trunk except a change of cloths, his wand, and something to read. Harry figures he has nothing to lose by asking the elf the goblins are sending to shrink his stuff so he can keep it with him. He just knows something big is going to happen today, and anything he leaves behind will be gone for good. Harry returns to staring at himself, he reaches up in irritation and tugs at his hair wishing very much that it was longer. To his complete surprise and utter horror his hair begins to creep down his neck and face, Harry glances wildly out his window. He can't see any owls, so he relaxes and watches what his hair is doing. When it reaches his shoulders Harry begins to worry about whether or not it is going to stop. As soon as he thinks about needing it to stop his hair ceases to grow and Harry breathes deeply in relief.
Turning this way and that Harry decides he likes the way his hair looks, it covers his scar and makes his features more aristocratic. Harry snickers at himself for sounding as vain as a Malfoy. He flops down on his bed and begins to reread his first year transfiguration book, muttering occasionally about important spells and theories he missed when he read the book when he was eleven. He keeps an eye on the time and when Dudley's old alarm clock shows 11:37 he puts his book away. Harry changes into a pair of dragonhide pants the Weasley twins had gotten him as a joke and a nice silk shirt Hermione and Ginny had badgered him into getting because the almost dark enough to be black shade of green 'made his eyes stand out'. He stuffs his feet into a pair of dragonhide boots Tonks had sent him as an early birthday present with a note attached saying that they had auror level enchantments on them. Lastly he slips on a set of dress robes, the same ones he had gotten for the Yule Ball back in his fourth year. He had, had to alter them of course. He had done so awhile back while still at Hogwarts using a charm to lengthen them, then removing the sleeves and fancy closures so they would hang open. Harry puts his old clothes in his trunk, checking himself one last time in the mirror before his 'ride' gets there.
He doesn't have to wait long before a pop signals the arrival of the Gringotts' house elf. "Is sirs ready to go?"
"Just one thing, I am feeling rather edgy of late and I would like to keep my things with me, could you please shrink my trunk?" Harry motions to the battered wooden trunk that has served him faithfully since he was eleven.
"Of course sirs." The elf snaps its fingers and the trunk shrinks the size of a snitch. "Sirs has only to tap it with his wand and says shrink ors grow whenever sirs needs to."
"Thank you very much, you are a very efficient house elf. I am sure Gringotts considers you a valuable asset." Harry says kindly enjoying the slight blush and perked up ears that indicate the joy the house elf feels at the compliment.
Before they can leave Dumbledore's elf pops into the room. "Harry Potter sir, Dwizzy having another note for you."
The house elf bounces in place eagerly as Harry reads, his expression becoming progressively more angry. "So be it." Harry manages to smooth out his expression not wanting to take out his anger on the innocent elf that is only doing its job. "Will you give Headmaster Dumbledore a message for me since I am out of ink and parchment?" Dwizzy nods enthusiastically. "Enough Headmaster, you just went one step too far. Good-bye." Harry stops and nods to a very confused Dwizzy who looks up at him for a second then pops away.
Harry looks around his room to see if he has forgotten anything, he almost curses when he sees Hedwig watching him intently from her cage.
"Will she be affected like I will by traveling with you?" Harry retrieves Hedwig and her cage.
"No, sir. Owls and other magical beasties ares immune to effects of elf magics." The Gringotts elf replies promptly.
"Good, now what do you need me to do?" Harry asks his face set in cold determination.
"Sirs just needs to gives me his arm, and I's is be doing the rest." The house elf responds quietly.
Harry silently offers the elf his arm, the next moment he feels like his innards have been scrambled and rearranged upside-down. He just barely manages to set Hedwig down before he collapses. After what seems like eternity Harry hears someone clear their throat, he groans and levers himself up so he can look around.
"If you like Mr. Potter I have some catnip and honey tea that will help settle your stomach and nerves." A richly dressed goblins moves into Harry's line of sight carrying a teacup.
"Yes please, thank you." Harry croaks while accepting the cup not ready yet to attempt getting up again no matter how bad it looks for him to sprawled out on the floor, it would be worse if he fell again.
"My name is Gripstaff, and while we have a few quiet moments I wish to apologize for the discrepancies that our bank found after you wrote us. When you came to the bank the first time the blood wards on your key should have been restored so that only you could use it. We should also have personally verified you had been appraised of your parents will either then or when you where staying at the Leaky Cauldron. We have corrected all the problems with the Potter account except for a couple of personal family heirlooms, but when we checked the Black accounts we found some irreparable discrepancies, however they will not effect today's reading. We will deal with the specifics of those matters after the reading itself, but I would also like to make a request of you." Gripstaff watches interestedly as a myriad of emotions rampage across Harry's face.
"A request?" Harry is leery of committing to anything after trusting the Headmaster so blindly.
"Yes I would like, with your permission, to perform a blood inheritance ritual." Gripstaff hurries to explain when he sees Harry blanch. "Mr. Potter I have read your account of what happened and I wish to assure you that this process can only work if you are completely willing. I will not be touching you in any way. You do not need to answer me now, and I will be quite happy to answer all your questions as soon as the reading is over and we can relax in a secure office away from meddling individuals."
"I am willing to hear you out, so long as I am safe and free to make my own decisions." Harry suppresses a wince at how petulant he sounds.
"Perfectly understandable for one in your position Mr. Potter, it is unenviable to be caught between two such powerful wizard without an anchor." Gripstaff says as Harry struggles to rise. "If you have your balance back it would be for the best if you were already seated securely in the meeting room, that way no one has access to you and we can all say you were never exposed to public scrutiny."
Harry closes his eyes tightly when the ground seems to sway but nods slowly anyway.
"Good, if you will follow me we will take the short rout slowly." Gripstaff moves to a door Harry hadn't seen and waits for Harry to reach him. "Do not be discourage by the way you feel Mr. Potter, every goblin I know of actually passes out on their first elf trip as do most wizards. I am most impressed by your fortitude."
Gripstaff's admission doesn't really make Harry feel better physically but it does sooth his nerves a bit. Harry is relieved when they reach a heavily guarded door and finds there are several comfortable upholstered chairs waiting for them. Harry chooses the chair closest to the desk that Gripstaff sits down at, it is larger than the rest and has deep wings so that anyone sitting in it will be almost hidden entirely from everyone but those directly in front of it. They sit in silence waiting for the other beneficiaries to arrive.
By the time noon rolls around and the others show up Harry has recovered his equilibrium enough to have a light snack and take a good look around the room. Gripstaff has a young goblin bring Harry a slightly oversized cloak with a deep hood made of a silky dark green fabric before the other beneficiaries are allowed in. Each of the people who are shown into the room look quizzically at the unmoving figure in the most prominent position in the room and wonder who he is and what relation he is to Sirius. For his part Harry stoutly refuses to look at anyone lest his reactions give him away. Harry stiffens in his chair when he hears the unmistakable sound of Mad-eye Moody's wooden leg coming into the room.
"Headmaster Dumbledore, I must insist that anyone not specifically named in the will to remain outside. That includes most of the people who are with you or do you need a refresher course in goblin etiquette and banking procedures?" Gripstaff does not stand but he does seem to grow as several goblins move away from the walls and move towards the group of new arrivals.
"I am sorry I just thought.." Dumbledore is cut off by a snort from Harry.
Gripstaff smirks at Harry. "I think I have to agree with my friends sentiment Headmaster Dumbledore, you did not think about the ramifications of compromising Gringotts security by not only informing a large group of people you would be here but you also brought them along probably without checking their identities. Our security forces will now escort your entourage to a number of separate observation rooms for the next couple of hours, one can never be too safe considering the current state of affairs." Before Dumbledore can protest the extra people are hustled out and Dumbledore is seated in the chair farthest from Harry. "Now we can begin."
"I Sirius Orion Black being of sound mind and body do hereby bequeath my worldly goods as follows."
Albus Dumbledore, you know who you are without the other zillion middle name of yours, I leave you Kreature and the portrait of my mother. If you can not think of a way to remove them from my house safely they are to be destroyed, not freed and certainly not gifted to one of my other blood relations, no exceptions.
Molly and Author Weasley, I am not sure just who you think you are to bad mouth the dead, James and Lily were exceptional parents who did everything in their power to keep Harry safe, but I warn you not to do so where Harry can hear you. I am also quite aware that your entire family knows how to get to platform 9 3/4 without risking the muggles noticing by talking at the top of your lungs. That said Harry does care for you and your family, do not betray that trust now that you have it. To you I leave ten thousand galleons, this should be enough to help your children finish school and to really upgrade the wards so all of you will be safe.
Minerva McGonagall, you were the scariest teacher I had in school, terribly sorry you lost that title before Harry started Hogwarts. I implore you to reevaluate your position as Deputy Headmistress and Head of Gryffindor, Harry needs an advocate inside that school who does see him as a weapon or spoiled brat. Dam it woman do your job, uphold the oaths you took to the children. How can you miss the fact he is half the size Lily was and has only two close friends for five years. How about the way he eats; almost nothing at the start of the year, then slowly more until he begins to fill out, totally gorging right before he is sent back to those muggles, lastly hoarding food to take with him. Wake up and smell the ogre before he ends up permanently damaged without Voldemort lifting a finger. I am leaving you and the Gryffindor quidditch team five thousand galleons in a fund vault for new equipment.
Nymphadora Tonks, had to leave you something just so I could use your first name. Cousin you are spreading yourself to thin; between your family, the aurors, and the Order you definitely need a vacation so I leave you with ten thousand galleons. Take your parents with you, if you have any money left over I suggest you put it in a school trust fund for any litter of little nymphs that might pop up in the future.
Fred and George, the Weasley twins, entrepreneurs and would-be pranksters. Yes I said would-be because I will always hold to the belief that the Marauders were the kings of practical jokes, though many of them weren't very practical. To the two of you I leave ten thousand galleons for research and development. And a hint, the marauders had a son who might be able to help you learn a bit more about us.
Remus John Lupin, my dearest wolfy. To you I leave one hundred thousand galleons and Grimmauld Place, on the stipulation that Albus removes his things and you refurbish the place. Buy some cloths, procurer a reliable supply of wolfsbane potion, and outfit one of the basement rooms with a forest where the wolf can be content and everyone else safe. And you had better look after our cub this time or find a way to live forever because James and Lily won't be the only ones waiting to have words with you. You should have at least been able to check up on him a couple of times a year during the new moon, even if you had to hit Dumbledore over the head with a rolling pin to knock him out for a few hours.
Now to the Black legacy, everything I am and everything I have now belongs to Harry James Potter. Harry once you sign this document you will be my true and legal heir as well as James'. We discussed this a long time ago, all four of us, that if we had children they would be joint heirs. We swore an oath on our own children's lives that we would never betray one of the pack's cubs no matter what. Peter did, so he can never sire a child. That also means you are automatically his heir, gross though that might be Harry he is a pureblood and his family does have an estate. Hopefully Remus will have some pups, that way you can share this stuff with someone else instead of shouldering in all on your own. That reminds me since Remus has that hairy problem he isn't allowed to attend to certain functions for his family, if you want to you can. The bank has a complete and accurate list of everything that is legally supposed to be included in the estate, if anything is missing then there is a thief in a trusted position.
My last words are to my godson and heir, I love you Harry. Those words have never come easily for me And I am sorry I didn't say them to you every time we talked. Live your life Harry, not theirs, you never know what tomorrow will bring. Good luck kid, I'll be seeing you again when the time comes."
Gripstaff places the will flat on his desk and stares at each person in turn. "Mr. Black was right about someone stealing from his estate, I will only say this once so listen closely. Most of the things are unimportant and their loss is merely an irritation but if the Black family signet ring is not returned by tomorrow morning the individual possessing it won't live long enough to regret their theft. The Blacks were highly paranoid about the inheritance of their estate and they used magic far older than Hogwarts to insure descendency. The other item which carries a similar punishment is a sword, the difference is the sword is less forgiving, its punishment will be slow and very public if it remains outside the heir's presence."
"I didn't know the Black family had a hereditary sword." Remus says softly his voice rough from the emotions tearing him up inside.
"They do, but that isn't the sword I had reference to. No the sword that is missing belongs to the Potter family. And we all know who has it, don't we Headmaster Dumbledore?" Gripstaff turns his head to stare unwaveringly at the Headmaster.
"I assure you it is quite safe and well looked after where it is." Dumbledore says quickly hoping to postpone the coming explosion.
Harry finally decides to say something his voice low and rough making it unrecognizable. "Do you refuse to turn the sword of Gryffindor over to the Potter family's rightful heir by tomorrow morning? A simple yes or no will do Mr. Dumbledore."
"Who are you?" Dumbledore ask sharply, trying to see past the shadows concealing the unknown figure sitting motionlessly in their midst.
"I am the executor that Gringotts chose to insure the estate was handled with complete neutrality. They made sure of my credentials before I was ever allowed to set foot in these chambers. I serve neither Voldemort nor you Sir, nor do I work for the bank or the ministry, if that is not good enough I am sorry. Now answer the question, yes or no." Harry keeps his voice low, almost growling.
"I will not turn over such an important heirloom to a stranger." Dumbledore says with stiff dignity.
"Then have the goblins put it back where it belongs." Harry gestures to Gripstaff.
"The bank was been broken into a few years ago, it would not be wise to leave such an item unattended." Dumbledore is so focused on Harry that he does see the alarm on his companions faces and the angry narrowing of Gripstaff's eyes.
"The question is a yes or no question, answer it as such please." Harry puts as much disdain as he can into his words.
"No." Albus stands abruptly and strides towards the door.
Harry feels a tingle on his hand, glancing down he sees a ring appear on the ring finger of his right hand and something whispers into his mind. "So mote it be."
Dumbledore whirls around in shock, but his steps have already carried him out of the room with most of the other beneficiaries on his heels, as the door closes behind them. He takes one look at the feral smiles on the goblins guarding the door and realizes too late he has said something he should not have. He hurries out of the bank heading for Hogwarts to check on the items that he had taken from Sirius while the man was on one of his binges. The sword he had obtained a lot earlier and had not thought to hide its true nature. He never notices the angry disgruntled looks coming from the others that had witnessed the will. None of them notice in their emotional state that one person has remained behind.
Harry sighs and slumps in the chair. "I had really hoped he wouldn't take it this far."
Gripstaff nods. "He has become accustomed to being right, now he doesn't even bother to look at things from a different point of view."
"Kit?" Remus says cautiously.
Harry jumps and whips around to stare at Remus his wand trained steadily on the unexpected addition. "Who are you and what do you want."
Remus blinks slowly up at him then looks bemusedly at his wand. "You know what I am Harry, I can smell you. Polyjuice can't quite duplicate a persons scent since the potion itself creates an added twang, plus I know that wand."
Harry lowers his wand and sinks back into the chair reaching up to ruffle his hair in frustration only managing to make his hood to fall back. "Sorry Remus, this can't be any easier for you. Right now I am running on pure adrenaline to keep me from screaming insanely and collapsing in hysterical tears. If it was only one thing I wouldn't be in such a state but there is so much more going on than you know."
"If you want you can talk to me, you know that Harry. Padfoot was right I really screwed up big time when I didn't keep an eye on you growing up." Remus says morosely shifting a chair around so he can actually look at Harry.
"If I do Remus you must swear not to reveal what I say to you especially right now." Harry leans back tiredly his face grave.
Remus considers all his options and comes back to his first impulsive thought. "Harry you have my word as a friend, a wizard, and a werewolf that I will not betray any trust you are willing to give."
Harry pulls out a handful of letters and hands one to Remus. "I received this from Gringotts yesterday." While Remus reads it silently Harry signs the will Gripstaff offers him. He then hands Remus the next letter he wants him to read. "This is a copy of my response to them and the letter they sent back to me."
"He took your money?" Remus grumbles at Harry's nod.
"This letter came at the same time from the Headmaster." Harry tries not to sneer blatantly.
Remus gapes at the letter. "What the hell was he thinking?"
"My response was a bit more colorful than that, though I did scribble out some of the more negative comments. I knew he would read them anyway, and I didn't feel like hiding them, besides I was out of parchment I had to use a muggle pencil an the back of an old essay to be able to have a copy of my response just in case I needed it." Harry hands him the appropriate letter.
Remus whistles lowly. "I bet this tied a right knot in his beard."
Harry hands him the final note. "He didn't even address my comments, it is like he simply refuses to hear anything, if it contradicts his precious belief system, no matter how true it is."
Remus growls furiously and tries to shred the note which surprises him by resisting his efforts.
"May I see the note's dealing with the Headmaster, I would very much appreciate knowing what we are up against in trying to work around him." Gripstaff shrinks the desk between them so the seating arrangement is friendlier.
Harry nods and Remus hands over the notes still growling intermittently under his breath. Harry throws the werewolf an amused glance and turns to watch Gripstaff's reactions to the letters.
"This occlumency that he mentions, what precisely does it do?" Gripstaff asks as he fold the notes neatly and hands them back to Harry.
"There are certain powerful wizards who are able to use magic to look at or experience another persons memories using a form of magic called legilimency. Occlumency is the counter of that, it blocks outside magics from entering you mind. It was proposed that with occlumency I would be able to decrease the mental link between Voldemort and I. I was not given a reason for the necessity since we gained useful information about Voldemort's movements from my 'visions'. Nor has anyone mentioned if it has ever been tested on a direct link such as mine." Harry smoothes down his recently lengthened hair to cover his scar.
"Hmm, I can see where you would need to keep your memories to yourself. I believe that both the Potter and Black families have certain secrets that only the heir can access and that they have insured a way for those secrets remain safe. Not being well versed in human magic I can not say exactly how that secrecy is accomplished, I think it is linked to the family signet ring." Gripstaff stands and moves toward the opposite side of the room from where Dumbledore had entered. "Shall we abjure to a more comfortable and secure office Mr. Black-Potter? You are free to bring anyone you feel comfortable with." Gripstaff says when he sees Harry glance at Remus.
"Is there any way for you to verify Remus is indeed who he says he is?" Harry gives Remus an apologetic look.
"Since he has already promised to help you and keep your secrets why not simply ask him for a wizard's oath?" Gripstaff suggests.
Harry looks questioningly between Gripstaff and Remus.
Remus nods his head. "Harry when a wizard gives a verbal or written oath willingly it binds their magic to uphold the oath. That is why Peter can not have children, he broke a wizard's oath and his magic enforced the penalty. If you feel it is necessary to protect yourself and whatever secrets that are going to be revealed I will gladly take an oath." Remus notices Harry hesitate in answering. "If your are worried about someone getting into my head, don't, being a werewolf does come with one or two advantages."
"Alright, if you are willing to take an oath I can guarantee it will be an immense relief to share my secrets with someone I know I can trust." Harry looks at Remus hopefully.
"I Remus John Lupin do swear on my ability to do magic that I am who I claim to be and that I have always been loyal to the Marauders and the child born to James William Potter and Lily May Potter nee Evans. I do also aver that I shall hold his secrets more valuable than my own life. So mote it be." Remus intones seriously and Harry feels his finger tingle again.
"Thank you Remus, now we can get on with the important stuff." Harry releases a breath he didn't realizes he had been holding.
"Follow me." Gripstaff leads them out of the large meeting room, down a twisting set of hallways and into a nicely appointed suite of offices. "Dramhand, cancel or reassign any appointments I might have and secure the offices before you and the rest of my staff except Rigel take the rest of the day off."
Dramhand gives his superior a curt acknowledgement before they disappear into Gripstaff's office.
"I have a question before we discuss the wills and your proposal." Harry waits until they are seated and Gripstaff indicates for him to continue. "What is up with the ring that appeared when I was forcing the old man to answer the question about the sword" Harry holds out his hand to show Gripstaff.
"I believe that, that is the Potter family signet ring. I am not surprised that it is capable of finding its own way to its proper heir, though I am relieved that there will not be a repeat of the incident with the Black signet ring." Gripstaff snaps his fingers and a house elf pops into the room next to the desk. "Please bring my guests and I some tea Rigel."
"My best guess Mr. Black-Potter is that when you forced the Headmaster to acknowledge the sword's status your magic called out to the Potter family legacy. All signet rings are imbued with a certain amount of awareness, so when the Potter's ring felt your authority it came to you to seal your right to act as the Potter family heir." Gripstaff explains calmly. "The Black family is almost as old so it is possible that if you declared your will as the head of the Black family the signet ring would respond saving us the trouble of dealing with the Headmaster over it. It would be the most advantageous circumstance, especially in the unfortunate happenstance that the ring kills him before it is returned."
Harry takes a deep breath and focuses on the memory or the Black family tapestry. "I do hereby reinstate Andromeda Tonks nee Black into the family along with her husband and daughter." Harry smiles when he feels a tingling one left ring finger. "So mote it be."
A nudge from Remus and Harry holds up his hand to show off the Black family signet ring.
"Well now, that will make retrieving the rest of your rightful estate much easier. The rings will heat up whenever you get close any unclaimed inheritance, unless he tries to hide them behind extremely illegal blood wards the Headmaster can not keep you from reclaiming anything he has. Now you are probably wondering about the Potter will." Harry interrupts Gripstaff.
"Are you aware he has supposedly already cast at least one blood ward?" Harry asks his voice pleasant even as his lips twist into a sneer.
"He has? When and why?" Gripstaff looks intrigued.
"He told me that my aunt's house is under blood wards based on my mother's sacrifice. I know there are wards because I have always been able to feel something when I passed through them, before I knew about magic I had no idea what the dreadful creepy feeling was. I am just glad Hogwarts wards are so much more friendly." Harry explains quietly staring at a wall blankly in an attempt to control his rising anger missing the growing looks of alarm from both other parties in the room.
As Gripstaff opens his mouth to ask a question Remus beats him out with one of his own. "Harry you said they felt dreadful, precisely how do they make you feel?"
Harry glances at him briefly before staring at his hands. "Trapped, depressed, hopeless, it is like every time I crossed their boundaries all the negative feelings the Dursley's had for me were concentrated and shoved forcefully into my head. That intensity of feeling around the neighborhood is what kept me from running away, what was the point in doing that when no one would ever care."
"I am right in assuming that your Headmaster tied the wards to your aunt and that she was not completely willing?" Gripstaff asks.
"Yes and yes, in fact he sent her a howler when I saved Dudley from the dementors to keep my uncle from throwing me out." Harry answers glumly.
"If he had tied that ward to the house itself it would have remained on the edge of legality and it would have protected you from any hostile intent not just outside influences. It would also have covered a far greater area quite proficiently, though your aunt and uncle would still have had to accept the wards." Gripstaff frowns. "I do not understand why he would use the weaker more unreliable version, not to mention dark, of the wards."
Harry turns slowly to contemplate Remus. "Just how much trouble did my father cause? If you consider that there is a prophecy about Voldemort and I, would his attitude have been an asset or a hindrance?"
Remus winces at the bluntness of the question. "James was a pureblood, raised in wealth and privilege. He never knew anything except the same luxury and sense of entitlement that the Malfoy's feel. Even without Sirius and the rest of us helping he caused more trouble than any other student on record. His family held four seats on the school board." Remus shrugs.
Harry sags with a sour expression. "I hate it when that greasy git is right about something, but how the hell were a bunch of muggles supposed to raise me like a pureblood wizard even if they didn't hate magic."
"Severus has never been completely rational about James and Sirius, but they made it far worse by singling him out for their crueler pranks. Then they both did something totally outside the pale. Sirius gave away where I went on full moons out of pure spite because I actually liked Severus, we got on quite well until that happened. I know that he knows I had no control over the situation, just like he knows that James would not have agreed to endanger himself and me over a prank. Because believe me James came far closer to being bitten than Severus did, I did scratch him and pretty much shredded the back of his robes while Severus walked away with only a bump on the head. It was a good thing Severus hit his head, it gave James a chance to transform and toss me back from the trapdoor. Then it was easy for them to get the rest of the way out even though Moony was trying his dead level best to tear through the floor. After that he couldn't even look at me." Remus shakes his head sadly. "He knows your not James, he also knows that you weren't raised in a loving home. I think it actually makes Severus hate you more because you look so much like James and yet you grew up like he did. It is unsettling to look at someone who looks so like James and have them act the same way Severus would and add to that Lily's temper and compassion. It is hard to reconcile the differences and Severus doesn't want to, it is easier for him to continue hating a Potter."
"That doesn't really explain the Headmaster's decision, but I suppose he is the only one who can really answer why." Harry grits his teeth as his anger spikes again. "Will you tell me about my parent's will?"
"Of course." Gripstaff unrolls a parchment scroll and read over it quickly. "The Potter's will was quite simple really, they filed jointly and left everything to whichever of the three of you were still alive. If none of you were still alive then everything was to be liquidated, except for a few historic pieces which would go to those closest to them, and the proceeds given to charity. It is also named Mr. Black as your official guardian and godfather, no exceptions."
"Even with it being so simple, problems still occurred." Remus points out grimly.
"Speaking of problems, you said that there were a few that still needed to be resolved." Harry struggles to his temper in check.
Gripstaff opens a small ledger subtly embossed with a coat of arms. "The Potter estate is very large and very old, it took me all night to fully go over it and I found a considerable chunk of money missing as well as several businesses and shares there of that had been sold off inappropriately. We were able to track all the money down and return it all to its proper place, there were a few of things that were being funded by the money which we felt you would approve of. Among these were the children's wing of St. Mungo's, a research facility for wolfsbane, and the payment of a pair of free house elves. We switched St. Mungo's and the wolfsbane over to Potter vaults that were set up for charity purposes. The house elves were switched to the Potter vault set up for precisely that use, since your ancestors have never agreed with enslavement, even Hogwarts has a similar vault because of Gryffindor."
"So Dobby and Winky are actually being paid by me, does that technically make them my elves?" Harry gives a small shifty smile.
"Indeed, and I hadn't realized you would know the elves in question by their names." Gripstaff looks at Harry inquisitively.
"I owe Dobby a lot, even if I don't always approve of his rather unorthodox methods of keeping me safe. Winky on the other hand was a victim of circumstance, she was truly only trying to do what was best for her master and he threw that loyalty away. She would do better by serving in a more traditional manner than she can at Hogwarts. How much do house elves actually understand, in other words could I call them here and show them that they have actually been working for me all along and that I would like to acknowledge the arrangement formally?" Harry wonders what he is going to do if he actually ends up with two elves answering directly to him.
"House elves are extremely intelligent, all I would need to do is ask them a couple of questions and show them the withdrawals and they will understand perfectly well." Gripstaff answers a spark of amusement showing in his expression.
"Dobby, Winky may I talk to the two of you at Gringotts." Harry looks startled. "How the bloody, did I know how to do that?"
"It is part of the perks of being an heir, the family signet rings provide help to their bearer in adjusting to being the head of the family. For you it will be very obvious because you were never trained for the roll Mr. Black-Potter." Gripstaff doesn't even try to hide his smirk of amusement at Harry's discomfiture.
Dobby pops in before Harry can make a retort and throws himself happily at Harry. "Dobby is proud Master Harry Potter sir has called him. Dobby is very happy to hear Master Harry call. Dobby is wanting to know what he can do for such a great wizard, Master Harry sir." Dobby says rapidly , without a breath while still clutching Harry's legs.
Remus can't help himself and breaks out laughing.
"Dobby, I called both you and Winky, Where is she?" Harry asks in concern.
"Dobby is sorry sir, Winky not doing well. Winky not hearing Master Harry sir, Winky found more butterbeer." Dobby lets go of Harry to wring his hands in worry.
"Okay Dobby I understand, could you bring her here please, I might be able to help her." Harry says gently while firmly grasping Dobby's hand so he will stop twisting them painfully.
"Yes Master Harry, Dobby is doing that." Dobby pops away without another word and is back quickly with a dirty bundle of blankets.
"Remus I think we need a comprehensive cleaning spell and a sobering charm." Harry gestures to the unmoving pile that is obviously Winky.
"I've got it covered." Remus draws his wand and fires off a rapid series of spells. "I never thought Sirius' slovenly cleaning habits and love for wild parties would come in handy later on in life."
Winky stirs, groggily sitting up and looking around blearily. "Where is kitchen, Winky supposed to be there washing."
"I called you here Winky." Harry says.
Winky's head snap around in surprise. "Yous Master Harry Potter sir, Dobby's wizard. Whys you want Winky."
"I recently was made aware of my inheritance, both from my parents and godfather, and I found out something very interesting from Gripstaff." Harry motions to the goblin.
Winky's eyes become really huge upon seeming Gripstaff and nods vigorously even though she doesn't know what is going on.
Gripstaff suppresses a grin so as not alarm the house elves. "Do the two of you know who pays for your services at Hogwarts?"
Dobby and Winky look at each other and then back at Gripstaff, shaking their heads no.
Gripstaff holds up the ledger he had been reading out of. "This is the account book for the Potter family vaults, I want you to look at the withdrawal column for the last year for vault 46."
Gripstaff floats the book over to the two elves who flip through the pages quickly. Dobby is the first to comprehend what he is reading and squeals loudly throwing himself at Harry again. Winky's reaction is slightly different when she reads through the withdrawals completely, she breaks into tears.
Harry disentangles Dobby from his legs and leans forward in his chair towards Winky. "Do you not want to work for me Winky."
"Winky is a bad elf. Winky not deserve a family, Winky not want to be paid for anything, is not proper for house elf to take money to serve a family." Winky sobs into hands.
"Winky is a good elf, she did everything she could do to keep her former masters secrets safe. Sometimes bad things happen no matter how hard we try to prevent them. Mr. Crouch was afraid Winky, his son was supposed to be in jail for something very bad he did when he was young and foolish. You did your very best to make them happy and comfortable, you did nothing wrong. Sometimes friends and family do not agree with each other and they do and say things they shouldn't. I would be very proud if you would be my house elf." Harry maintains a straight face as Winky stares at him in shock and Dobby babbles happily about him being a great wizard.
"Good elves shouldn't be getting paid." Winky says stubbornly.
"Look a the ledger again Winky all Potter elves are paid, because you are not slaves. You are valuable members of the family, don't think of it as a salary think of it as an allowance that any faithful loyal servant would receive as recognition of superb service." Harry smiles as what he is saying sinks in. "You can do whatever you like with your allowance, even give it away to charities to help those who are less fortunate than we are. If you have a hobby like making stuffed toys and quilts, they could be given to the children that have to stay long term at St. Mungo's."
Winky looks ecstatic at Harry's suggestions.
"There are only a few very important things I will demand of you." Harry waits until both elves are completely focused on him. "You are not to speak about me and what I do to anyone outside the five of us here unless I give you specific permission to do so. And even then you must be extra careful so that no one good or bad overhears you." The elves nod vigorously. "Two I am not the Dark Lord and you are not slaves so I do want to hear you calling me Master; Harry, Mr. Potter, or sir are all okay but not all of them at once. I know it will take time to get used to but please try, I want my family to speak well and impress those around you with your gracious manners."
The two elves shift uncomfortably under his gaze but nod reluctantly.
"You can brag all you want when I am not present if you want to." Harry chuckles at the huge grins the light the elves faces. "Three you are not to punish yourselves at all unless I say you can, which I won't unless it is to dock your allowance. Me yelling and cursing is simply the way I vent my emotions sometimes, it is not a reflection on your worth or skill." Harry sits back and thinks about what he needs. "Secrecy, pay, the master issue, and punishment; I can't think of anything else right now. I don't have much for you to do right now, but you can pop by where ever I am staying discreetly a couple times a day to check on me, beyond that I would appreciate if you would help Remus with his new house. It is in terrible condition, the house elf in charge of it unfortunately went insane from the darkness he was exposed to for so long and didn't look after it as he should have."
Dobby and Winky nod vigorously and bow lowly before Dobby answers Harry, "We's is happy to being doing work for Harry Potter, sir."
Harry chuckles at the blush on Dobby's face when he slips in the extra sir. "I did say it would take getting used to. Oh, I know what else I was going to cover. Appropriate attire for a Black-Potter house elf." Both Elves look appalled, much to Harry's amusement. "Gripstaff you wouldn't happen to know if the Potter's already have a uniform, would you?"
"They do, it is much like the one used by the bank, except it is red and gold robes with the Potter crest emblazoned on the back." Gripstaff smiles at the face Harry makes. "It seems to change every generation or so."
"Good then it won't be strange for me to change it. Would the two of you be more comfortable in robes or something like the Gringotts elves wear?" Harry asks and Gripstaff calls Rigel so they can see what the uniform looks like.
Dobby says he likes the Gringotts uniform while Wink says a robe blushing furiously.
"Hmm, I think I will let you choose what you are comfortable with for your first layer so long as it a darker color. Then all of you will wear an open robe on top like the one I am wearing in a complimentary lighter color with the Family crests displayed on a diagonal sash." As Harry talks the elves clothing slowly morphs.
Dobby ends up wearing something that looks suspiciously like a dragon hide vest and pants in deep blood red with an antique gold over robe. Winky wears a flowing deep green robe with a silvery grey over robe. They both look proudly at the sashes that currently display three crests.
"Well that is interesting. I was only expecting two crests. Gripstaff what is the third one?" Harry motions to Dobby who skips around the desk so the goblin can take a closer look.
"Interesting, it would seem that when you forced the issue with the sword it activated your Gryffindor heritage not your Potter one like I had thought. If you would look at the ring on your right hand and tell me if it is a lion or a stag please." Gripstaff sits back and waits for Harry to answer.
"It looks like a griffin to me." Harry says baffled by the way Gripstaff sits bolt upright in his chair.
"Amazing, that was Godric Gryffindor's personal signet and brings us back to the issue of the one thing that couldn't be reacquired like the money, businesses and stocks could. The sword, we are still not sure how it got out of its vault, there were no withdrawals from that account since you great grandfather died. Your father visited it once in the company of your grandfather when he came of age, which was precisely why your grandfather visited it the first time. The only reason that the sword would leave the vault on its own would be if the true heir called it during a time of desperate need." Gripstaff regards Harry steadily. "The fact that you bear Godric's own seal proves that you are the true heir, it also means we still need to either summon the Potter family signet ring or wait and it will probably show up if you agree to do the ritual."
"Er, would pulling it out of the sorting hat when faced with a forty foot basilisk count?" Harry asks sheepishly.
"Indeed that would do it, I assume that you took it to the Headmaster not understanding what it was or where it came from?" Gripstaff's continues to regard Harry steadily.
Harry nods. "I was rather a mess by that point, what with the fight and the snake's tooth breaking off in my arm all, not to mention having a piece of Voldemort's soul trying to use a friend of mine to regain a body. The Headmaster did tell me it was Gryffindor's sword and that only a true Gryffindor could pull it out of the hat. I was only twelve and naive of the wizarding world, still am in many ways, it never occurred to me to take the comment literally."
"No matter, the sword will take care of finding its own way home now. When we were reacquiring businesses there was one I thought you would want left as it is since it was started as an investment to a friend, one Mr. Lovegood for the start up of his alternative newspaper. It was done in the same spirit as what you did for the Weasley twins, who are for your information crediting you as a ten percent shareholder." Gripstaff grins at the bemused look on Harry's face.
"The Lovegoods have proven to be good friends, obviously there is more to it than just my friendship with Luna. I'll have to have a talk with the twins about the definition of a gift. Does that cover all the issues with my parents account?" Harry frowns, feeling decidedly like he is on an out of control broom.
"We are done with the problematic issues. I will have an itemized accounting written up for you to go over so you know what you have well enough to recognize discrepancies in your quarterly statements, this will be done for all your accounts." Gripstaff exchanges the small Potter ledger for a larger more ornate book with a prominent silver crest. "The Black family estate was in considerable disarray since Mr. Black never fully claimed it and later he was unable to properly oversee the accounts. I have been able to sort out most of the monetary issues and about half of the businesses. What I couldn't do was seize unlawful accounts until there was a legally acknowledged heir, with the will reading down we are making the necessary seizures as we speak. The only matter we really need to discuss today dealing with the Black accounts is the family hope chest, or perhaps you would call it a dowry. Someone has been slowly increasing the amount of money that Narcissus and Bellatrix are receiving, and they also set up a wedding allowance for Draco Malfoy. The Wedding allowance will be canceled with the other unlawful accounts, but the dowries are a bit more delicate. The Black family estate guarantees an ongoing allowance for all gainfully married ladies who are members of the family, as such when you reinstated Andromeda a similar account automatically opened in her name. The one exception to the dowry law is if you disinherit someone, but to do that legally they must have broken a major tenant of the Black family which Andromeda did by marrying a muggle. As you found out it is much easier to reinstate a family member."
Harry clamps down on the string of expletives he wants to unleash. "Would blatantly killing the last blood heir of the Black family in front of unsympathetic witnesses and then failing in an attempt to kill his heir the very same night count?"
Gripstaff smile wickedly. "That would most definitely count, such behavior is assuredly not cunning nor properly dignified."
Harry smirks back at Gripstaff. "I Harry James Black-Potter do hereby denounce and disinherit Bellatrix Lestrange nee Black for blatant and unseemly public acts against the heirs of the Black family legacy." Harry slumps in his chair. "It is to bad Narcissus is such an unknown, I am sure she has done something I could kick her out for."
"She is the one who has been opening most of the extra accounts, in her own name no less." Gripstaff answers smugly.
"Perfect." Harry is absolutely beaming as he repeats the disinheritance ritual for Narcissus. "I Harry James Black-Potter do hereby denounce and disinherit Narcissus Malfoy nee Black for blatant acts of larceny against the estate of the Black family legacy." Harry feels like some type of burden has been lifted from him. "It is brilliant to have such convenient help from the signets rings in knowing how to do these things. How long before they realize what has happened?"
"That depends, do they have access to the Black family tapestry?" When Harry shakes his head Gripstaff goes on. "Then not until they receive their quarterly bank statement or they try to make withdrawal."
"It is to bad that the almost retirement age owl can't get terribly confused and deliver the statement to one of their less frequented vacation homes." Harry says mournfully.
Gripstaff looks at Harry for a moment before he laughs out loud. "Oh, you are a sly one Mr. Black-Potter, I like you." Rigel pops in and hands Gripstaff a note. "Very good. It should please you to know young heir that all misappropriated Black funds have been returned to their rightful estate, one way or another. The estate has also been reimbursed for all lost businesses and stocks that we have been able to track down but unable to reacquire. Some of the businesses were sold for cash value as I did not think you would want to be associated to closely with Knockturn Alley at this point."
Harry nods thoughtfully. "You are quite right, though I am curious about what the stores were." Harry smile crookedly at Remus when he chuckles.
"We only sold the stores themselves, the goods were place in a vault for storage until they could be sorted. We need to determine what can be legal resold as is or, needs to be 'decontaminated before resale. Some things may need to be destroyed outright, a few should be turned over to the Department of Mysteries because of their intrinsic value and the chance they could help us to learn how to protect Britains citizenry. It could be arranged for you to look through the vault for anything you might deem useful." Gripstaff is pleased with the smile that Harry gives him at his suggestion. "It would be wise if you took one of our curse breakers with you though, some of the items are quite dangerous and in a few cases aggressive."
"Who is your best curse breaker?" Harry asks though he suspects what the answer will be.
"Mr. William Weasley, and yes Mr. Black-Potter we are aware of his outside affiliations. You have nothing to worry about, we hold blood contracts on all our wizard employees to guarantee their silence about what happens under the auspices of the bank." Gripstaff assures Harry.
"What about properties?" Harry yawns tiredly.
"Maybe you should rest Harry." Remus suggests gently.
"Sleep has not been very restful lately and I am not safe at Privet Drive, either from the Dursley's or from Voldemort. What I really need is somewhere that I am truly safe to stay at for awhile, preferably away from Dumbledore. I need to assess my life Remus, I need to find out who I am, and I want to snatch a few happy moments out of life to keep me sane." Harry looks between his two companions to see if they understand what he is saying.
"I hear what you are saying Harry, and what you are asking is in no way unreasonable, but those things won't be easy to obtain." Remus smiles sadly at his last reason for going on.
Gripstaff clears his throat to gain their attention. "We all need some rest tonight, and there is a short term option to where you can stay here until we finish our banking business," Harry just motions for him to go on stifling a yawn behind a hand. "First I can provide some dreamless sleep potion for both of you to help you sleep peacefully. Second, one of the Potter vaults contains furniture, it is set up so the furnishings are neatly arranged in individual rooms with screens acting as walls. Now you should know this can only be temporary because the vaults were not set up to keep living occupants safe. We will have to add a simple bath room; toilet, sink, and a shower, all of which should last for about a week. The Gringotts elves can take care of your food and cleaning needs for a few days without adding to the work load too much."
Harry yawns again and nods. "Can we go down now, I am afraid nervous energy isn't going to keep me awake much longer."
"Of course Mr. Black-Potter. Mr. Lupin would you like to keep him company or do you need to be somewhere else?" Gripstaff summons Rigel to tell him what is needed and the house elf disappears to make the necessary arrangements. "Before you go down you will need the Potter family ring, just call it."
Harry raises his right hand. "I Harry James Black Potter do hereby call the Potter family signet."
A glow surrounds Harry right index finger accompanied by a now familiar tingle as a ring appears.
"Now you can fully access all your current vaults without a key, or goblin if necessary." Rigel returns to the room and Gripstaff has the elf lead Harry and Remus down to the vault they are going to be staying in for the night.
Dumbledore is decidedly unhappy about the confrontation at the bank, not only did he lose control over the Black accounts totally but he suspected he lost the Potter accounts as well. There was something disturbingly familiar about the man Gringotts had chosen as executor. Once they arrive at Grimmauld place the house seems reluctant to appear but it does allow them entrance after a heart stopping delay. Dumbledore paces agitatedly around the kitchen with a number of Order members watching him.
Tonks is the first to break the silence. "Why does the house feel so different?"
Moody snorts. "Because Lupin owns it now. It is merely reflecting the difference in its owners personality and magic. Not only is he a werewolf but he is also noticeably stronger magically than Black was."
"It feels almost feral, wild and not very happy at the moment." McGonagall says looking directly at Dumbledore.
Fred and George look at each other speculatively in a rare moment of seriousness.
"If you ask us"
"Which we know you aren't"
"We'd say that some of the revelations"
"In the will have made some of us"
"" Rather upset. ""
"Quite." McGonagall says dryly. "Care to explain why you are withholding Mr. Potters inheritance?"
"He needs to worry about other things. The child can't be expected to deal with something so complicated." Albus says distractedly.
"Child, what child?" Molly swells in rage. "That young man has never been the child you are talking about. I still remember quite clearly when those two," Molly jabs her finger at the twins, "took Ron and retrieved Harry from his relatives house before his second year. He-Was-Dying, those muggles were starving him and Hedwig to death. We barely managed to keep the owl alive, she wasn't lucky enough to have Harry's magical reserves to keep her going. Though I suspect he was imbuing her with some magic every time he sacrificed some of his meager food to keep her alive." Molly is by now standing and leaning threateningly towards Dumbledore. "My sons have told me the names those muggles called them, and I have talked to Hagrid about what his 'family' said when he went and got Harry the first time. How the bloody hell do you justify sending Harry back to someone who point blank admitted to trying to beat the magic out of him?"
Everyone gapes at Mrs. Weasley when she actually curses.
"Now Molly." Albus quickly tries to think of a way to moderate what she has revealed.
"No Dumbledore, I have had enough. You convinced me to help guide that young man on to the right path before he even started his schooling, and by Merlin that is precisely what I will do. You stay away from my children, all of them, including Harry. You have poisoned one of my sons against his family already, I refuse to lose any more to your war games. And until you formally apologize to my family and Harry for the damage you have done I never want to see your face again." Molly stands and storms out of the room. "Fred, George, Arthur we're leaving."
The Weasley men look at each other and decide they agree with her and rise to leave.
"Arthur, perhaps you can talk some reason into her when she calms down." Dumbledore suggest before he gets a good look at the cold expression on the mild mannered man's face.
"No I don't think I will, because even though I would have been more polite about it I completely agree with her. My family is my first priority, all of them. Good-day Dumbledore." Arthur follows his family out of the room.
"The power has shifted Albus. This is what needs to happen if we are going to win against Voldemort. You fought your battle now it is Mr. Potter's turn, if you had just listened to me he would be prepared to take on an heirs responsibility and would have been able to add the special training he needs to survive without being overwhelmed by it all. Pray to anything you hold dear that the Dursleys didn't teach him to hate muggles in a way that not even Tom experienced." Moody stands and glares at everyone. "I am going to go help the Weasleys and Harry's other friends set up better wards then you have been suggesting Albus." Moody stomps out muttering to himself about vigilance, smirking once he reached the head of the stairs because he had seen who was in that chair before the goblins hustled him and the others out.
"I need to think about some of the things Sirius said to me in his will and that others have confirmed here." McGonagall stands primly and moves toward the door, she pauses and turns to Dumbledore. "Albus as your second in command I must protest the favoritism shown by certain teachers and I will be asking for a renewal of teaching vows at the next full staff meeting. If anyone is missing I will be sure to visit them with a board of governors representative to get the vow in writing. No exceptions."
"Minerva, certain appearances need to be maintained." Dumbledore sounds desperate.
"Then perhaps it is time I and the other Heads of House began to maintain appearances. After all we wouldn't want people to think we approved of, or where in collusion with a known Death Eaters views and behavior. The choice is yours Albus." McGonagall says coldly and leaves the room.
Tonks is the only one left in the room of the group that received anything from the will aside from Dumbledore when Dwizzy pops into the room.
Dumbledore sighs. "What is it Dwizzy?"
"Dwizzy has a message for Master Ablie sir. Misters Potter was out of parchment." Dwizzy looks around the room nervously.
"It's alright Dwizzy you can go ahead and tell me." Dumbledore says without considering what Harry might have to say about his last letter.
"Misters Potter is telling me a massage while Gringotts elf is waiting for him. He's is saying 'Enough Headmaster, you just went one step too far.' And he is saying 'Good-bye.' too. Mister Potter is a kind wizard to trust elf with message and to say good-byes to." Dwizzy blurts out rapidly.
Everyone stares at the little elf for awhile until someone laughs sharply, it is not a cheerful sound.
Tonks stands. "What did you say to him Dumbledore? What did you do to finally push him 'one step to far'. I know he has a temper but I also know that he has to be severely provoked to unleash it at another being."
Tonks stops her rant and gets a strange look on her face, her hand grabs at her chest when she feels a tingle around her throat. She pulls out a gold chain with a gold crest suspended from it.
"I don't believe it." Tonks sits back down heavily.
"What is it Tonks." Hestia Jones asks while peering over her shoulder.
"I'm a part of the Black family. This, this necklace allows me to enter a family allowance vault." Tonks just continues to stare at the crest for a long minute before a smile splits her face. "Harry, he's the heir, he's the only one who could reinstate me or my family into the Black legacy." Tonks jumps up. "I have to talk to mom and dad."
Tonks runs out without any further delay. Before the rest of the Order can comment on the unusual happenings the kitchen fire flares green.
"Albus!" Professor Sprout's head appears in the fire. "Thank goodness I have found you. I have been trying the bank and other places you might be every ten minutes for last two and half hours. One of your devices started flashing yellow, then it went red, and now" Sprout looks over her shoulder, "it is flashing black."
Dumbledore jumps up. "I'll be there in a minute Pomona." He rushes out of the room leaving everyone else sitting there completely confused by the days events.
Dumbledore emerges into his office moments later and immediately recognizes the device that monitors Privet Drives wards. He turns it off. "I need to check this immediately, please continue to watch over my office for me."
Throwing some floo powder into his fireplace Dumbledore floos to Hogsmeade where he can apparate to Surrey. Striding through the neighborhood he can see a Dark Mark hovering in the sky. When he reaches the edge of where the wards are supposed to be he finds the body of Mundungus Fletcher, it has obviously been used as a sacrifice for some dark ritual. Dumbledore sighs in relief that the wards came down by force and not by something Harry had done, he believes that even if Harry hated his relatives he wouldn't have wanted them hurt unless provoked. Dumbledore also realizes he came very close to provoking such a response, but that Harry was focused mainly on him. When he finally comes into sight of number four Privet Drive it takes all his long years of experience not to collapse in shock at what he sees. The three Dursleys are flayed and frozen in cruciform floating above their home, slowly orbiting the Dark Mark. Dumbledore quickly casts a notice-me-not and a muggle repelling charm on number four Privet Drive.
"That wont be necessary Dumbledore." Comes a hiss from behind him.
"Tom, what have you done." Albus tries to look pityingly at Tom without much success after whirling in surprise.
"That should be obvious, I am simply insuring you have one less place to hide your little puppet. Though I had hoped he would still be here. Ah well, you can't win them all." Voldemort sighs falsely.
"No you can't win them all Tom, I think you have proved that saying several times already when it comes to Mr. Potter." Dumbledore tries to maneuver into a less exposed position.
"Tsk, tsk Dumbledore you are trying to provoke me. I am actually feeling quite happy at the moment, you wouldn't believe some of the terrible things I found in those muggles heads. I could have raised that child better than that, and I would have considered him valuable enough to show some form of kindness to at that. I wonder how long your weapon will remain pure after a childhood where he was beaten, starved, neglected, forced to live in a tiny closet, and denied any form of positive human touch or kindness? Yes my life was terrible, but the orphanage workers would still hug me when I was little and afraid or hurt, they made sure I had clothing that fit and food to eat. If I did well in school they told me I did a good job, and I may have shared a dorm with kids who hated me but I still had my own bed without being locked in with only spiders for company. Yes you did a fine job keeping Harry alive, but I wonder to what end? Good-bye Dumbledore may you have pleasant dreams tonight." Voldemort apparates away without throwing a single curse at Dumbledore or threatening him in any way, his words are enough to wound in a way Dumbledore had never expected.
Dumbledore waits quietly until aurors arrive. He only tells them his alarms on the house went off and he arrived just in time to see Voldemort himself leave. He assures them that Harry had been away visiting friends and had never been in any danger. After giving them his deposition Dumbledore returns to Hogwarts hoping to rest, but instead he finds Severus Snape waiting for him in his office trying to stare down Sprout who is simply ignoring him.
"What can I do for you Severus?" Dumbledore sinks gratefully into his chair and thanks Sprout before she leaves.
"I must admit that I was wrong about young Mr. Potter. He was not spoiled, pampered, or in any way coddled. It makes me wonder how he got into to Gryffindor at all." Severus sits down and stares at Dumbledore.
"Tom took you with him then?" Dumbledore asks absently.
"He did, he wanted me to see what he felt was his superior understanding of Mr. Potter. I am also his only sane legilimens powerful enough the strip their minds of every detail and be able to place the memories in a pensive." Severus turns to one of the bookcases when he hears someone clearing their throat. "Yes?" He focuses on the sorting hat which is shuffling its way to the front of the shelf it is sitting on.
"If anyone had asked I could have told you what was in his head when he first started Hogwarts." The hat says snidely while looking at Dumbledore. "And I tried to put him in Slytherin, Mr. Malfoy made a very bad impression on him so he insisted I put him anywhere but Slytherin, he really didn't care beyond that."
"That would have been a disaster. Until recently his only orders involving Potter where to bring him the boy alive." Snape says blandly. "His current orders are the same for every other Death Eater as well as their children in Hogwarts, we are to be more congenial to Mr. Potter on the pain of death. He means it this time, as young Mr. Malfoy found out when he unwisely made a rude noise. Needless to say he won't be returning to Hogwarts any time soon, if ever." Severus turns to the sorting hat. "Would Mr. Potter have fit in any House besides Slytherin or Gryffindor?"
"Why yes he would have fit nicely in any of the houses. The young man has an amazing ability to adapt, he is loyal, brave, and loves to learn when he is given proper encouragement. It takes amazing little to encourage him to do his best, just a couple of kind words and he will give it his all." The hat frowns. "It is amazing that he is as sweet and gentle as he is considering everything he has been through since he started Hogwarts, without even taking his childhood into account."
"It is indeed. By the way Albus were the Dursleys dead when you arrived?" Severus asks Dumbledore.
"What?" Dumbledore looks up at Snape, startled. "I didn't even bother check them, it never occurred to me that someone in that state could still be alive. Though I know Petunia had to be dead for my monitoring globe to flash black, I didn't key anything to her husband and son."
"The Dark Lord said he had found a way to keep them alive in that state for as long as they had tortured Potter." Snape shivers. "The curse he used was not as painful as the cruciatus, it is meant to maintain a fluctuating level of pain and terror without driving the victim crazy."
"Ooo, nasty one that." The hat puts in causing Snape to glare at it.
"I should have checked before the aurors arrived but I was a little distracted by Tom sneaking but behind me to gloat." Dumbledore says rubbing his face. "The ministry will just have to deal with this one. I take it that they will not remember enough for anyone else to use?"
"No, I doubt they will even remember their own names, much less the details of their crimes." Snape shifts things around on the Headmasters desk. "Where was Mr. Potter during the time we attacked? I know for a fact that you did not remove him, yet when we went in there was nary a trace of him or his belongings."
"I have a suspicion that Gringotts helped him leave, to attend the will reading, in some manner that I am unaware of. It never does to underestimate our fellow magical beings." Dumbledore says with a bit of his customary cheer beginning to return.
"Grand, so you are telling me that Potter is gallivanting around somewhere out there probably in the vicinity of Gringotts, Merlin knows exactly where, with the Dark Lord giddy from his plan to 'punish the Dursley's for him? Nor do we have a way of getting a hold of him and even if we did, we have very few choices about where he can be safely housed." Snape pinches his nose and stifles an irritated grumble.
"Actually I am afraid I did something rather rash and we probably will not be seeing Harry at all until the beginning of the school year." Albus sighs and conjures some tea for both of them.
"And what pray tell did you do to get a fight and flight reaction out of him?" Snape looks at the Headmaster suspiciously.
"I first insisted on him continuing his occlumency lesson with you. He wrote back most adamantly that he disagreed with my suggestion and declared Privet Drive was not his home in writing thereby forcing me to find a place to move him to. In my second letter I stated that he would have plenty of time to learn to get along with you because he would be staying at Snape Manor." Dumbledore shrugs helplessly at the incredulous look Snape sends him.
Snape pulls himself together and smoothes his feature into his usual cold expression. "That would cause even the majority of my Slytherins to run Albus. Did you not believe either of us when we said we could not stand each other. There was no way short of a complete immersion in his childhood that would have convinced me that I was wrong, as it is I got to much. More than I could have from Potter because I had to endure the not so pure motives behind the atrocities his family visited upon him, if I had seen it from Potter's view point I would never have known if he had done something to provoke the punishments. No locking us up together over the rest of the summer would have been a very bad idea. The boy needs time to grieve, to decide how he wants to handle his place in this war, but he also needs someone to support him the way his family never did to make it through intact. I would not, and could not have given him that. Perhaps now I might be able to at least not make it worse, but most of our interactions would have been trying to patch up the damage already done to each other."
"I seem to have lost objectivity in this matter Severus." Dumbledore swivels to regard Fawkes solemnly. "I now understand what everyone has been trying to tell me, but I also know something Tom doesn't about Harry." He motions to Fawkes. "Fawkes here may put up with my foibles but he is inherently a light being, he has never showed any reserve towards Harry, is actually inordinately fond of the boy. This tells me that, not only are Harry's motives pure but so is his heart. What should I do? How can I even begin to repair the damage I have caused?"
"Write him a letter, send it to him with Fawkes in care of Gringotts so he knows you are willing to give him space. Apologize and mean it, tell him the truth, that someone or several someones shoved the truth down your throat and you finally understand what was really happening instead of your optimistic dream world." Snape says sarcastically. "Then you politely ask him to find someone he trusts to create an emergency portkey that will either deliver him into the care of Poppy or some other trusted medic. You also recommend to him a couple of good books on occlumency, or send them to him yourself if you prefer. Tell him the whole truth about how the wards fell without accusing him of having anything to do with it, and what the Dark Lord feels about him. And for the love of Merlin return everything that rightfully belongs to him, lastly keep whatever promises you have made to him." Snape snaps the last out with a good deal of vitriol.
"His is not the only young man's life I have destroyed Severus, I am sorry to have failed you so completely." Dumbledore says morosely.
"What is done, is done. I understand how you think and I know you never intended to hurt anyone but thank you for acknowledging you were wrong, it helps to sooth the scars that were left behind all those years ago. And I to admit that I was wrong about some of my reactions, Lupin had nothing to do with it and Potter did value his friends enough not to do endanger them so blatantly. Black on the other hand was a fool, and if there is one thing I can not abide it is fools, especially those who have so much potential to be something more."
"You mean like young Mr. Longbottom?" Dumbledore asks in amusement. "You do realize he was memory charmed as a baby? They tried for a long time to repair the damage but it had little or no effect, until recently that is. Something about the way Harry treats Mr. Longbottom seems to be getting through, somehow repairing what was thought to be permanent."
Snape growls petulantly. "You didn't need to tell me that. Alright Albus I will moderate my bark in class as long as the little miscreants remain obedient, but if I catch anyone wandering around after curfew I refuse to play nice."
"Not even Mr. Potter?" Dumbledore chuckles at the glare he receives. "It is his nightmares that drive him to wander so."
"So long as he isn't breaking any other rules I will consider it." Snape allows grudgingly.
"Thank you Severus, for not only the concession but also the understanding and advice."
Severus rubs his face. "Your welcome Albus, now I am tired and it has been a long day, I would dearly like to get some rest before anything else goes wrong."
"Of course Severus, good evening." Albus finally seems to relax.
"I would suggest you send that message tonight Albus, good-night." Severus stands and sweeps out of the room seeking the comfort of his own isolated rooms.
"I really hate being wrong Fawkes. When you have so much responsibility even the smallest mistake can have dire consequences, and this was no small mistake." Dumbledore is calmed by his phoenix singing to him and flying over to perch on the back of his chair. "Thank you Fawkes that helps immensely, could you fetch me Harry's sword and the box of thing that belonged to his godfather please?" Fawkes chirps reproachfully. "I know my friend, and that point has been thoroughly beat into my head today. I do recall that you told me so, I am sorry for not listening. Now shoo you pesky to smart for my good phoenix, I need to return these things before tomorrow."
Fawkes trills a laugh and flames out of the room to retrieve the things Dumbledore ask for. When a heartfelt sigh Dumbledore begins the long and often painful process of writing a sincere letter of apology to Harry. He can only hope that Harry will recognize the honesty in the words he writes sometime before the end of the summer and that the young man will remain safe. After he is satisfied with the letter he moves around his rooms collecting several books that he thinks Harry will find useful or interesting. Once back at the desk he looks through the stack of books again before using a ditco quill to list them on his desk ledger so he doesn't worry about where they have disappeared to later. The writing on the ledger simultaneously copies itself to the correct spot in Harry's letter.
"Books given to Harry Potter in hope for a better summer and a long joy filled life."
' The Simplest Route to a Closed Mind .' What Every Occlumens Needs to Know About Legilimency ' Basic Legilimency to Improve Occlumency '
"I'm sorry Harry I should have provided these books for you the first time you told me your scar was hurting you, they might well have saved you much pain and heartache."
' Where There's Desire There is Movement ' The Ministry Book of How to Fool the Ministry ' So You are Underage? '
"Try not to let and aurors see these, except maybe Tonks since I do believe she is family now, as neither of us is technically supposed to have them."
' To Be Or Not To Be: A Question of an Animagus ' Imbuing the Inanimate with Personality ' A Marauders Diary
"I have yet to figure out the password to the diary, but I think you can or already know it. The other two are just for the fun of discovering the quirks of obscure branches of magic."
' Build, Refurbish, or Remodel: Magical Construction and Maintenance' How to Charm Your House to Run Itself ' Hiding What is Obvious the Undetectable Way Knut Pinchers can Still be Fashionable: Do it Yourself Alterations, Repairs, Charms, and Embellishments ' Food Stupendous Food: Conjured, Transfigured, and Enchanted: Cooking for Every Day and Occasion
"I have found these to be of great practical use in ordinary day to day life."
' Sometimes the Muggles Know Best ' Enchanting Muggles and Their Things the Legal Way '
"I am sure you have wondered why the wizarding world hasn't adopted more muggle inventions to ease our lives. These books will explain the true reason why there haven't been more advance, beyond the pureblood propaganda."
' Unorthodox Dueling ' Power Dueling and How to Guard Against It
Dumbledore returns to his bookcases to rummage around thinking that twenty is a nice round number. After some thought he changes his mind to twenty four.
Understanding Your Owl ' All the Languages of Magical Creatures and Beings
The next four books he handles reverently, adding his own protection spells to them to help boost the ones that are already there.
' The Ravenclaw Memoirs ' The Loyalty of a Badger ' My Diary ' A Serpents Struggle '
"The sub-title on Slytherin's diary is in parseltongue as is the text inside, please guard the founders books carefully."
A sudden thought stops Dumbledore from ending his ledger entry and he quickly summons one last book.
' Protection at any Cost: Wards, Charms, Traps, Guardians, and Obstacles '
"I think the twins read this one to inspire their lovely swamp. It is the one that your parents and I studied while we where choosing which spells to protect them and the Longbottoms."
Fawkes returns with everything that rightfully belongs to Harry and glances at the desk, as Dumbledore is deactivating the dicto-quill, after seeing the large number of books he makes an indignant sound.
"Not to worry Fawkes I am going to shrink all these and place them in a feather-light bag that will return them to full size as they are removed along with the other things. I would never ask you to carry something so bulky without desperate need. That reminds me, thank you for helping Harry in his second year with the Chamber. I am sure he thanked you at the time but it seems I was remiss in my recognition."
Dumbledore chuckles lightly at the quite right chirp this elicits from Fawkes. It only takes a few moments for him to reread the letter and seal it up, then he starts shrinking and packing the assortment of things that are stacked precariously on his desk. He notices a group of three battered trunks sitting on the floor next to his desk and a beautifully carved jewelry box laying on top of them.
"Fawkes?" Dumbledore gives the phoenix a questioning look.
Fawkes lets out a complicated string of trills and chips before hopping onto the chests to push the jewelry box towards Dumbledore.
"You say Hagrid had these stored in his shed?" Dumbledore gently opens the box. Fawkes chirps affirmatively. "Ah, I had wondered if anything had been retrieved from the house before the Ministry condemned it." He lifts out a braided leather choker with four crystal animals and a lily hanging from it. "James had five of these made as graduation gifts, it makes perfect sense now. A stag for James, a wolf for Remus, a dog for Sirius, a rat for Peter, and a Lily for Miss Evans."
Dumbledore performs several spells on the necklace until finally the rat charm morphs into a lightening bolt. "That's better, he deserves a place among them far more than Peter does, don't you agree Fawkes?" Fawkes nods and moves back to his place on the back of Dumbledore's chair. "And these," he levitates the trunks around so he can see the fronts, "are James and Lily's school trunks and the trunk James' family gave to them at their wedding. Alastor would dearly love to have a trunk like this, five fully expanded compartments, and two nice rooms with security functions so not only can no one else get in but the owner can not be locked in either." Dumbledore smiles at the memories of the happiness they all found at the wedding despite the war going on around them
"So everything that was intact enough to save was stuffed in these three trunks? But who did it, Hagrid didn't have a proper wand at the time nor was he trained enough to accomplish such a task?" Fawkes trills softly. "You don't know either, strange, very strange. Can you sense any hostile magic or spells that would affect Harry at all?" Fawkes chirps and shakes his head. "Well then they had no intent to hurt anyone or to kidnap Harry at a later date, I wonder if they left a note inside?" Fawkes trills loudly and bats Dumbledore's hat with his wing. "The Potter's security measures are still active I take it, amazing. Will Harry be able to get into them safely?"
Fawkes nods and chirps a couple of times. "Of course, how silly of me. Harry is a blood relative." Dumbledore pauses in thought. "You don't suppose it was Remus do you? Once the fidelius was broken he would have remembered exactly where they were and been worried about why he could remember, but why wouldn't he tell me that he had packed up the house?"
Fawkes chirps. "I don't know either Fawkes and I suppose we never will unless the one who did it comes forward on their own." Dumbledore listens carefully when Fawkes trills. "Sirius? I suppose he could have done so after Hagrid left, Merlin knows that Azkaban robbed him of many of his memories."
Dumbledore gently places the necklace back in the jewelry box and closes it before tapping it gently with his wand so it will not fall open accidentally. He then shrinks it and the trunks and places them in the feather-light bag, which he promised Fawkes, along with everything else he is sending to Harry.
"Everything is ready for you to deliver Fawkes." Dumbledore represses a smile when Fawkes eyes the velvet pouch in his hand. "I kept my word Fawkes. Now go on and take these things on to Harry, but if he is sleeping peacefully try not to wake him since I am sure he has been having a rough time of it."
Dumbledore looks at Fawkes pensively. "I had forgotten what it was like for me, as a young man to face Grindelwald, I was older than Harry and I had no prophecy tying me to the madman. Any powerful wizard could have taken my place in that battle, Harry does not have that option. I could have at least placed a charm that monitored his emotional health and overall wellbeing, but I didn't allow myself to see the necessity. Will he forgive me Fawkes?"
The phoenix chirps noncommittally and picks up the pouch and note. "Will you check on him occasionally Fawkes? He is going to need a positive influence in his life."
Fawkes bobs his head and trills soothingly then vanishes in a burst of fire. Dumbledore sighs and decides to turn in for the night.
End Chap 1
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year