Yes, I know, a miracle. I told you I wasnt planning on abandoning this series. Enjoy the update. And please excuse any errors, when I uploaded this I lost a lot of my quotations and such.

ShadeDancer

Disclaimer: I dont own Harry Potter or any such related things so sit back, enjoy the story, and dont sue me. Im still trying to find another penny to rub together with the single one that I currently possess in my name (in other words you wouldnt get a dime). Lol.

Chapter 1: Summers Wane

It had been an extremely long summer, but somehow Harry had managed to hold up through it. Harry would be the first to admit that it had been a difficult time, not only for himself but for the others as well. For the first few days after he had tried to run off half-cocked and been restrained, Harry had done nothing but sit at Manuels side unless pulled forcefully away. It had taken Trevor yelling at him, the older mans emotions getting the better of him to pull him from his depression.

"Dont you think this hurts us too?" Trevor had screamed at him. "Manuel's my best friend--a brother to me--we've been inseparable since..."

He trailed off, losing steam. "Dammit, we need you Harry. Need you to lead. You're your father's son, the men will look to you for that alone, and you already have their trust. They believe you can step up and lead or many would have already left."

It had worked and together Harry and Trevor had begun to pull the fraying clan back together, withdrawing and talking up a defensive position so that Harry could assume his duties without outside interference. They had doubled security and locked down the entire Darkov complex, Manuel was nearly impossible to get to unless you were Harry, Trevor, Blaise, Sensei, or their resident doctor Salvatore.

They had even gone so far as to tighten security around their legitimate businesses in case an enemy targeted those in an attempt to draw the Darkov Clan out. Since then Trevor had gradually been letting Harry do more of the decision making and work on his own and Harry had started looking to Trevor for the answers less and less except for out of courtesy. Harry was proving that he was indeed his father's son and that he had taken his many lessons over the years to heart; soon they would resume normal clan operations with Harry openly leading the men.

"Harry." Blaise called softly from the doorway and Harry jerked himself from his thoughts, coming back to the world full of soft beeps that now surrounded his once-strong father.

"What is it Blaise?" He resisted the urge to whisper as he answered, inwardly cursing himself as he gazed on Blaise.

She looked lonely, he hadn't been able to spend much time with her lately, it wasn't a good summer for the twins to come stay, and before it had always just been the two of them. He would have to find time to spend with her besides meals. There had once been a time when she had never hesitated in a doorway when approaching him and she had never had qualms about walking into his bedroom without knocking even though he was changing.

"There's a disturbance at the gate." She informed him. "Dad started down, but said you should come too. He sent me to tell you since you were in here and the new security..."

Harry rose from the comfortable chair and gently untangled his hand from his father's, moving toward Blaise and hugging her on instinct.

"Thanks Blaise." He whispered into her hair before letting go.

"For what?" She seemed startled.

"For being here. For putting up with me through all of this." Harry answered honestly. "You going to come with?"

Blaise grinned. "Yeah, I'm coming. Though if Dad fusses I'm telling him you ordered me to come."

Harry stuck his tongue out at her, suddenly realizing why his dad had loved to act childish at times--he had to.

"Alright." Harry agreed. "But if this disturbance doesn't turn into something big you owe me a movie night."

"You're on." Blaise cried happily. "Race you to the gate."

Harry didn't hesitate despite the fact that it would be indecorous for a Mafia Leader to run full out through the house when there wasnt an emergency. He figured that as long as he was laughing while he did it he wouldn't set the house on full alert. Thankfully he had been right, most of the guards relaxing into smiles after a brief tensing, and by the time Harry and Blaise reached the front gate things were in a state of controlled chaos. Trevor and one of the guards were pinning a pair of men up against the wall while a score of other guards sighted down their guns.

"What's going on here?" Harry put authority into his voice as he came to a halt a slight distance away, the guards that had followed him from the house--his security detail for the day--ranging out protectively around him and Blaise.

"This man has been identified as Sirius Black." Trevor answered, shoving Sirius a little harder into the wall. "He was caught skulking around the gate with his companion here by one of the patrols."

"Oh shit."

With everything that had happened he had completely forgotten that Sirius and Remus had been coming to seek sanctuary, especially now that the summer was nearly over and they were well passed their expected date.

"Stand down." Harry ordered. "Release them."

"Harry?" Trevor spoke, making it more of a question than the wary protest Harry knew it to be.

"It's alright Trevor." Harry went on to explain. "They're here on my invitation. I apologize for forgetting to inform you ahead of time that we would be having such a high-profile guest, but arrangements had been made before we left Hogwarts and a lot has happened since then so that it completely slipped my mind."

At Harry's order the guards had already stood down with their weapons hanging loose and at the ready, Remus had been let go, but only now did Trevor relinquish his hold on Sirius. Harry moved forward and clasped hands briefly with Sirius, then Remus.

"I'm sorry for the less than warm welcome, but things have been tense lately and they weren't expecting you."

"So we gathered." Sirius rubbed at the shoulder Trevor had wrenched to put him up against the wall. "Are you sure its a good idea for us to be here after all?"

Harry nodded. "The invitation still stands though things are going to be a bit different than expected. Come on up to the house and I'll explain further there."

Sirius and Remus exchanged looks of confusion before following--none of this was turning out like they had expected--and about half of the guards present fell in behind, a few peeling off at a time as they made their way up and through the house until only Vasile and Nara remained as guards outside the office.

"Have a seat." Harry indicated two of the chairs across from his dad's--his--desk to Sirius and Remus.

He knew without saying anything as he himself sat in the comfortable chair behind the desk that Trevor and Blaise wouldn't sit but would instead stand sentinel behind him. He was just glad Vasile and Nara had taken the hint and stayed outside the office at his signal, he didn't need to have to squash protests now that the Clan was nearly back to running as normal, but he knew that they too would hold their posts until the meeting was done.

"I want to apologize again for your reception at the gate but things aren't as I had expected when I left Hogwarts." Harry was still mentally hitting himself over actually forgetting, it wasn't like him.

"So you said." Sirius was edgy as if expecting a trap, not that Harry could blame him after having been falsely imprisoned for so long; when it came right down to it Sirius didn't really even have a reason to trust him.

"What's going on?" Remus was a bit more in control though his hand was still resting near his wand, which would explain the tenseness Harry could feel radiating off of Trevor. "How does this change things?"

"For you, nothing has changed. At a minimum I can still offer you a safe place to stay for a few weeks. Once you've settled in we can give you some options that would include longer term arrangements." Harry paused to let them take the next step, feeling Sirius and Remus out.

"And what does your father have to say about you offering a fugitive sanctuary." There was something akin to wiry amusement in Sirius' voice.

"Nothing." Harry stated bluntly, wanting to get it out of the way. "My father is in a coma, making me acting head of the Family. My decisions will not be questioned."

Two weeks ago that might not have been the case as Harry had found himself tested time and again by the guards and allies of the family so that he had to prove his worth, but now he was confident that he had shown himself to be his father's son.

"Ask your other questions." Harry went on. "I know you have to have at least one."

"Why all the guards, the security?" Sirius asked the one Harry had been waiting for. "This isn't like any muggle household I've seen."

Harry nodded. He had already resolved to trust these two, if he was wrong they could be taken care of. "That's because you are currently at Darkov Manor, the reigning seat of the Head of the Darkov Clan. My father is Manuel Darkov, King of the European Mafia Clans. From here we keep tabs on any group that operates under the radar of polite society and deal with them as necessary."

Harry didn't add that the whole organization had almost come crashing down to plunge Europe into chaos when his father had become inactive. Harry hated to admit it, but he had been shocked by how far his father's authority had actually extended. He had only ever dealt with the Great Britain chapters and heard minor reports from outlying Clans in other countries, including America where they had legitimate business interests. He had been bemused to discover that his father had been building an unofficial foothold in North America by lending support to the leading Clan there.

Remus' jaw had dropped right along with Sirius'. "Then what does that make you?"

Harry shrugged. "Mafia Prince and confirmed heir to the European Empire."

*** *** ***

Harry motioned Vasile and Nara in as Sirius and Remus followed a maid to their temporary quarters in the upstairs guest wing.

"I hate to do this to the two of you, but I'm going to be placing you on babysitting duty for a few days while they acclimate. Fill them in as tentative trainees but keep them away from anything sensitive. I've given them two weeks to make a decision." Harry paused, considering. "Split your shifts so that each of you will be accompanied by a normal guard. There are a few rooms still free on the Guard level of the guest wing if you decide to move temporarily, daytime coverage should be sufficient, but that'll be your decision."

Nara smiled wickedly. "Does that mean Vasile can be my roommate?"

Vasile looked properly horrified--Harry knew the Dagger was still trying to get used to Nara having a feminine side, especially now that she seemed to have turned her attentions to him--and began to edge to the door.

Harry shrugged. "You know as well as I do that there's no rule on who you room with when you're here as long as you give Trevor a change of rooming order and either there's an empty room or your roommates don't mind shifting about. How about G212?"

"Harry!" Vasile had a look of betrayal on his face as everyone else in the room started to laugh, Nara loudest of all.

"Don't worry Vasile." Nara finally broke and had pity on her lately sometimes-partner. "I go back to my apartment in town when I'm off duty. I only room on the grounds when needed."

Harry couldn't help but wonder what was going through Vasile's head as the man looked slightly disappointed when only a moment ago he had appeared trapped. He just wished Vasile could make up his mind instead of the two of them continuing to play these tension games--it was enough that Harry was beginning to wonder at times if he should have them working together so much. Harry found himself smiling at Vasile and Nara though, glad the two had been around lately even with the ping-pong game of emotions, he couldn't separate them when they worked so well together but that didn't mean he had to listen to their playful bickering in his office.

"I'm sure youre both hungry and Sirius and Remus should soon be settled. Trevor will have partners for you within the hour. That should give you enough time to get through the muggle-ignorant questions. Dismissed."

Nara and Vasile nodded sharply before taking their leave, the bickering picked right back up the moment they hit the hallway, and Harry turned to Blaise.

"Give me a moment to do some quick paperwork and send off an owl, then I'll join you for that movie I promised."

Blaise grinned. "Any longer than an hour and I'm hunting you down. Can I order delivery?"

Harry shrugged. "Why not? We haven't harassed the Thai delivery guy in ages; he's probably due for another scare."

Blaise smirked. "I'll see who's on gate duty. Want anything dad?"

Trevor nodded. "Surprise me within reason. Here, I'll even buy--no arguments Harry.

Harry shut his mouth as ordered; he'd get Trevor another time instead of wasting his breath.


Posted On: April 18, 2009