"His will? I'm in his will?" Harry looked around the room. His godfather, Remus and Dumbledore all stared at the Minister of Magic with matching expressions of shock. "I don't understand. How can you enforce it if he's—"
"Not dead," Fudge finished for him. He frowned and looked down at the paper in his trembling fingers. "The law only specifies that he not meet the technical requirements for human life."
"So if Voldemort were permanently turned into a chicken, you'd still be able to enforce this?" Sirius asked. Remus elbowed his friend in his side, nodding his head in Harry's direction.
"At least then I'd have something to aim at to make me feel better," Harry said. "I don't understand how this is possible."
Fudge leaned against his desk and began reading the paper again, hoping to get through the disturbing words to the end before everyone in the room reacted again. "'I, Lord Voldemort, being of sound mind—'"
"Highly debatable," Sirius interrupted.
Fudge took a deep breath and continued. "'Sound mind and body, do hereby leave all of my earthly possessions to my son, Harry James Potter. He shall not only inherit my illustrious title of Dark Lord—'" Remus rolled his eyes at this "'—but shall take control of the Death Eaters, the Riddle Estate and my seat on the Board of Governors.'"
"Don't they control Hogwarts?" Remus asked.
"Among other things," Dumbledore mumbled. The older wizard cursed under his breath before nodding at Fudge to finish.
"'In addition to all of these things, I charge Harry with setting to rights any and all wrongs done to me before my untimely demise and, lastly, bringing me back if at all possible.'"
"He was out of his ever-loving mind," Harry said. "There's no way in hell he was my father. I couldn't imagine my mother ever knowingly being with that sick, twisted—"
"She was," Dumbledore said at the same time Sirius said, "Wouldn't be the first time she slipped."
Harry shot his godfather a dirty look. "Something to say?"
Remus elbowed Sirius in the side again and covered his mouth. "Harry, I'm sure this was all some kind of mistake," Remus assured him.
"There is no mistake," Dumbledore said. He turned to Harry and placed a hand over his. "I never wanted you to find out this way. I took great pains to ensure—"
"That I'd never know my father's a psychopath?" Harry shouted. He shook Dumbledore's hand off and stood from the chair. Fudge stumbled back a few steps before moving to cower behind his desk. "I don't understand how that could happen, anyway. I look just like my real father."
"That is no accident," Dumbledore said. "When Professor Snape was a Death Eater—"
"This is Snivelly's fault?" Sirius shook Remus's hand from his shoulder and stalked out of the office, wand in hand.
"Professor Snape found a way to extend the use of Polyjuice Potion beyond the common practice of one hour," Dumbledore said. "Occasionally, he would spend days or weeks at a time as someone else. For a while, I thought he may have been your father."
At that declaration, Remus turned a shade of green and ran out into the hall. Seconds later, he was heard becoming violently sick—all over Percy Weasley, who'd been listening at the door.
"So you knew?" Harry asked. "All this time. And you said nothing."
"I knew when I ran the blood test, the day after your mother was killed. I thought Voldemort had gone after James because he'd gotten in the way; it seems he may have merely been…jealous. He wanted to raise you as his own and Lily wanted to stay with your father."
"My mother knew?" Harry's voice had gone into a note so high, one of the lenses on his glasses cracked. Dumbledore quickly repaired it.
"Of course she knew," the Headmaster responded. "James never made her levitate in bed that way. She just didn't think it would work long-term. Especially after I told her of the prophecy. All that rot about the son killing the father was so very Greek tragedy, and she felt you wouldn't learn to be a murderer if you never grew up with one. She preferred James; he wasn't as rich but far prettier."
"I don't believe this," Harry said. "He wanted to kill me."
"Because he didn't want to let go of Lily and didn't want her to have you if he could not," Dumbledore explained. "I don't blame him. Lily wasn't bad for someone her age—" The wizard broke off when he noticed Harry's growing anger. "The important thing is, this solves one of your problems."
"And which is that?"
"As his sole heir, you've inherited everything he owned, including his Horcruxes. You won't have to look for them to destroy them. Now that the will's been read, the Ministry will have to track them down and give them to you. But the reading in itself leaves you with another problem."
Dumbledore frowned and stood from his own chair, moving a few feet away from Harry. "When you were a baby, I put an enchantment on you that would enable you to look like James until you knew the truth. Now that you know, you will begin to resemble your real father."
Harry shrugged. "Fine. He wasn't bad looking. I can get used to that."
"No," Dumbledore corrected him. "You'll look the way he did when he was with your mother. Before he took the Polyjuice Potion." Dumbledore conjured a mirror and held it up in front of Harry, watching the teenager's now red eyes widen in dismay. "It won't take full effect until about twenty-four hours from now."
"And why couldn't you make it permanent?" Harry asked. "I'd rather look like James Potter."
Dumbledore shrugged. "You could always try to fix it yourself. You have the financial resources."
"That's another thing I don't understand," Harry said. "How did I even have access to the Potter vault?"
"I arranged for you to be given the Potter's vault when they left. I figured it was the best way to keep you entertained at school—a few coins to throw around." Dumbledore waved his fingers in the air, making the mirror in front of Harry disappear. "Besides, they have enough to keep them happy, so all's well that ends well."
"What? Are you saying the Potters are still alive?"
"Of course. James and his parents moved to America ages ago," Dumbledore responded. "I hear James is selling real estate in Boca."
Harry nodded, his mind swimming. He sat in front of Fudge's desk, looking down at his hands; the fingers had grown longer.
"You're taking all of this remarkably well," Dumbledore said. "If I'd known you were going to be so docile, I'd have stopped paying people to be friends with you ages ago."
"I'm perfectly calm," Harry began, "because I'm trying to decide how I'm going to kill you. You helped do this and you're going to die for it."
Dumbledore laughed. "That might be within your considerable power," the older wizard said, leaning forward. He stopped with his mouth next to Harry's ear. "If you could find out where my Horcruxes are." Standing, he waved at Fudge, still cowering behind the desk. "I expect the rest of my babysitting fees by the end of the business day. Don't be late with my gold."
As Dumbledore walked out of office, he realized he should have secured the payment before he left the Minister of Magic alone with the irate teenager. If that anguished scream was any indication, the new Dark Lord had taken out his anger on the one person who was vulnerable to him. It was no matter, Dumbledore thought. He could probably close out the Potter vault at Gringotts before young Riddle made it out of the Ministry. After all, the Goblins were still scared to defy anyone acting on behalf of the Dark Lord.