After two years and a very elusive muse, I am doing this. You are not imagining this... I have updated this story. As it has been such a long time I am including a brief update, but know that I have edited most of the other chapters for continuity. Tracey is no longer related to Roger (not a big deal, but something I wasn't comfortable with), Titania now has her name spelled correctly across all chapters, and I've edited a few other things to that this chapter makes sense. There are still a few changes to be made (fixing Snape's code name) but overall I'm happy with everything, and the main theme of the story has not changed.
I also fixed a conversation about Harry and Neville.
A quick recap:
Harry is a Ravenclaw, now in the summer before his third year. Last year saw him rescue the basilisk that lives in Hogwarts, making a way for her to hunt and live out her days serving Harry. Ginny Weasley has begun a heritage reversion, where she plans on taking on the family of her great grandmother. To avoid a claim by either of her parents later, she decided to enhance the Yaxley parts of her heritage while purging as much of the Weasley influence as possible. She has been successful in the initial stages, and now uses a glamour to cover up the fact that she is no longer fully a Weasley. Her changes have not gone unnoticed, and plans are afoot to take advantage of the young woman's desertion. Since she is renouncing her blood traitor family, she can claim herself as a Yaxley heir with all the rights entitled. In exchange for assistance with the rituals, she helped the Dark Lord gain strength by using Lockhart's blood and framing the same man for her own 'kidnapping'. She plans on continuing her rituals in the coming year.
Hermione was withdrawn from school after being attacked by a troll on Halloween, but is not happy at her new school either. She likes learning about magic, but she is only one of three muggleborns in the entire school. However, she enjoys the variety of subjects she is exposed to and hopes to one day be known for her intelligence and not just her blood status.
Sirius Black is finally free, and released from his time as an Unspeakable. The rest of the Unspeakables are not remaining idle, however, and continue to work behind the scenes. There is still fear of a catastrophic event that will doom wizards worldwide, although the details about what will happen are vague.
Harry has gotten closer to his mother's birth family, but still has unanswered questions about them and his parents, particularly why they chose to fight the Dark Lord. Harry does not believe it matters, since the Dark Lord is long dead and the only person obsessed with him is his barmy Headmaster. He is unaware of the other events in the Chamber, believing what everyone else does, that Ginny was kidnapped by a pedophile teacher.
Harry watched idly as his friends and cousins continued to play broom tag. Being naturally good on a broom, he was excellent at the game but found that his cousins had decided to team up against him. Mira and Samantha had managed to get tagged as 'it' and flanked him, forcing him down a gambit where Sabrina was waiting. It didn't help that Blaise and Theo spent the entire time laughing that he got chased down by a bunch of girls. Now he was waiting his penalty out before he could rejoin the fun, but in all honesty he didn't really care.
His summer had been filled with fun and learning. He spent the first half with his Nan, who finally explained what happened to her and his mum's father. He could tell that the whole incident still made her feel terrible, and that was part of the reason she was so invested in him. Lily never lived the life she was meant to live as the daughter of two respected purebloods, and his Nan was still hurt that the man who caused the situation to begin with couldn't even be bothered to place his own daughter at St. Mungos where she would be adopted by a magical family. From what Aunt Cassi had told him, he nearly suffered the same fate. He was determined to trace down the other side of his mother's family, if only to see if any of them were still alive.
He continued to study with his private tutors over the break, making sure to do all of his homework early and be ahead of his classmates when it came down to Runes and Artihmancy. He was looking forward to the new school year and the natural separation that would occur between the common Hogwarts students and those who were destined to be the future leaders of Britain.
For now, however, he had more pressing matters to occupy his mind. He would be meeting his original godfather, Sirius.
In all honesty, Harry did not have much to go on with regards to his father's closest friend. He knew the basic facts: Sirius was accused of joining up with the Dark Lord and betraying James Potter by telling the aforementioned Dark Lord where the young family was hiding. He was also accused of later murdering Peter Pettigrew and several muggles by blowing up the street where he found Pettigrew. Being a runaway as he was, the Black patriarch could have left him to his own devices, but subtly decided to investigate the matter instead. After all, even the dullest among the Black clan knew with certainty that Sirius would never betray James Potter. And just because he ran away from Walburga Black it did not mean that other relatives had stopped considering young Sirius family.
Unfortunately for Sirius, every effort that was made into discovering his whereabouts following his arrest was met with uncommon resistance. His cousin Ursula was a solicitor, and even she could not find out where in processing Sirius was. It seemed that from his very arrest somebody was trying to make sure Sirius was not questioned by anybody, not allowed to give testimony or a statement for the record, and that they were trying to expedite his transfer to Azkaban. From there he would be assumed as already having been convicted, since orders for transfer were never issued until the final conviction. The Ministry holding cells were quite safe in most regards, and could have been used indefinitely until any trial. So it was a rather great stroke of providence that the Unspeakables took an interest in what was going on and intervened.
Nobody outside of the family knew that Sirius had worked for the Unspeakables for a number of years, and only his mother and a couple of others knew details about that work. Needless to say the Unspeakables made it look as though Sirius had been transferred to one of the lower jails under the Ministry and left to the kindness of house elves while awaiting a trial that never came.
Now the man was officially free, and there was the threat of a very large scandal hanging over the Ministry because of their official stance on Sirius Black compared to the facts available. His arrest was a matter of public record, as was the fact that he had never been questioned or received a trial. Even those who knew the truth could pretend to be upset and incensed at the implication that the heir of such an important house could be abused should the Ministry decide to do so.
But Harry was not thinking about these things, although he knew all of them as a family member and the man's godson. He was thinking about what Aunt Cassi had told him about the man's obsession with following Dumbledore, his clear disdain for tradition and his peculiarities regarding muggles. Harry personally had no use for Dumbledore beyond that of a distant headmaster who need be kept at arm's length, and he loved tradition and loathed most muggle contraptions. He found the airplane useful as a means of travel when it wasn't packed full of muggles, but he preferred the magical way of accomplishing most other tasks. Besides that, for years his father was this distant figure, somebody he knew through letters and notes hidden in the things he had inherited from the man, but never was he faced with a flesh and blood indication of the type of man his father had been.
Harry only hoped not to be disappointed.
Harry looked up from his musing to find Miranda flying towards him.
"Hey!" Miranda landed elegantly next to him and smiled.
"Hi Mira, what's up? Game over already?" Harry asked.
The dark-haired Lestrange nodded. "Yeah. There's apparently a new boutique opening in town so Mother and Auntie are taking the girls to get some new robes and such, especially since your cousins have never been clothes shopping in Italy."
Harry nodded, now noticing that Sabrina and Samantha were walking back towards the house, and Theo was standing off to the side while Blaise talked with Draco, who had apparently just arrived.
"Ah. So you're abandoning me for shopping."
"Of course I am. You are quite charming, but a girl has to have priorities. Theo was saying he may have to go back to his house, and Blaise is planning to go off with Draco somewhere."
Harry shrugged. "Have fun. I'll see what exactly Theo is up to."
Miranda shrugged and turned, running to catch up with the twins and her own sister. He could see Dru further up the hill talking to his aunts. Turning to Theo he walked up to the brown-haired boy and smiled.
"Sabrina and Samantha. They teamed up with Miranda to get Blaise and me out, and then turned on Miranda. Decided to share the victory."
Harry nodded. That sounded like them. "So, what do you plan on doing now?"
"Father wanted me to come home to help with some business matters. Sorting the new stock, I suppose."
Harry nodded. Theo's father owned a publishing and binding company that dealt primarily with publishing first-time authors and binding books for limited release. However, it also had a side component of finding and publishing material of a more questionable nature. For every 'new' author he published publically, he probably published twelve more books of a darker and likely illegal nature. Nott's father also scoured estate sales and had created a lifelong mission to rescue ancient magical texts from the prying eyes of the Ministry. It was work that the Nott family had been doing for decades, ever since the Ministry started its war against so-called 'dark' magic. Thus the Nott home was better protected than most Ministry buildings. This meant that if Theo was going home, Harry would not be joining.
"So you're going to abandon me to the wolves?" Harry flicked his head towards Blaise and Draco, who were further up the hill and just out of earshot.
Theo shrugged. "You could always hang out with them."
Harry looked at his friend and the blonde. "I'd rather read. As much as I like Blaise, he's not enough of a buffer by himself for me to willingly spend time with Draco."
Theo shrugged again. "Suit yourself. Later, Harry."
Harry watched for a moment as Theo walked towards where his father had just appeared at the apparition point, and then turned up the hill, giving a polite nod to Blaise and Draco before keeping true to his word and finding something interesting to read.
Harry was back in England for his meeting with Sirius. Drusilla had returned with him, as had his great-Aunt Violetta. Aunt Cassi had gone to Nice with her grandmother, and Uncle Ori was still on the island with little Ori. Harry was officially back since he had his birthday to be ready for, plus he wanted to visit Neville for a few days.
Future plans aside, Harry tried to hide his nervousness by reading a rather thick book about dark magic, dark lords and the shrinking amount of spells available to the everyday user. The irony of the book was that it was written in the mid to late 1800s, before the last two dark lords were even relevant. Harry thought it said a lot about the nature of witches and wizards that some of the points made by the author were still relevant. The book had been a gift from his former Governess for good grades the previous term.
Even though he was quite beyond the days of sitting underneath the tutelage of his Governess she still maintained contact with him, as she did with most of her promising pupils. She often supplied him with books on history, culture and spellwork. Some of the books were quite rare, and one claimed to have been written by a descendant of the Slytherin family. It referenced a Grimore that could only be unlocked and used by a person who spoke Parseltongue. The strangest thing about the reference was how it was referenced; as a book that the man had used to aid his spellcrafting, and not as a 'lost book of his family'. That meant the book was either now lost forever, or hiding and waiting for another person capable of unlocking it and using it. Harry didn't know what to make of that, but he certainly would look into it when he was older. If it existed, the tome would be fascinating to study as a part of his Mastery in Spellcrafting or Ancient Magics.
Harry sighed deeply and put the book down. He wasn't concentrating well enough to read anything in English, much less French, and still yet an older variant of the language that contained a lot of archaic words and bastardized words that were still partially Latin. He had gone over the same paragraph four times and none of it had registered. He heard the clock in the main hall sound the hour, and hoped his godfather had the decency to arrive on time.
Just then a pop sounded, and Mittens appeared. "Lord Sirius Black to see the Heir Potter."
Harry blinked at the house elf once, and then gave himself a once over, casting a quick refreshing charm on his robe in case it had gotten rumpled in his study. "He may enter."
The doors opened, and Harry stood up, bowing slightly to his elder. The man could not be disclaimed by the Blacks even if he tried really hard. He was every inch a Black. Tall, with an exceptionally pale complexion, the hair on his head fell in dark waves down to his shoulders. Grey eyes, with the barest bit of hardly detectable blue, and high cheekbones completed the look. Lord Black was wearing dark maroon robes, with light grey slacks and gold detailing. Harry suddenly got the feeling the man had started off the day wearing blazing Gryffindor Red, but had decided to tone down the look for the first meeting with his Ravenclaw godson.
He entered and stood in the center of the room for a brief moment, taking in Harry before speaking.
"Lord Sirius Orion Black, Lord of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black, Regent of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Fairchild." Sirius spoke.
Harry bowed again. "Heir Harry James Potter, Heir to the Most Noble and Ancient House of Potter, Heir to the House of Fells."
Sirius stuck his hand out. "Well Met."
Harry shook his hand. Sirius had opted for one of the more formal introductions Harry had seen. He probably expected Harry to be offended otherwise. This would be interesting. "Please, sit."
Sirius sat down on the divan across from where Harry had been sitting. Harry sat down and the two looked at each other for a moment before Sirius smiled.
"Well, you certainly look enough like James so that nobody would be able to claim you aren't a Potter. Did you get your trunks?"
Harry nodded. "I got one just before starting at Hogwarts, and Aunt Cassi says there's another one when I come of age to claim my title."
Sirius nodded, smiling. "Great, great. I have a third, one that you should have gotten when you turned 8, but you're not too old for it yet." Sirius extracted the object from his robes and placed it on the floor in front of him, tapping it once to expand it again.
Harry looked with curiosity as the trunk glowed with a bright red 8 hovering over the lock for a moment before going dark. He looked back up and Sirius was looking at him with an odd expression.
"You're so serious." He said finally.
Being nearly 13, Harry couldn't resist the joke. "I thought that was your name." he deadpanned.
Sirius laughed out loud, and Harry eventually smiled at his own joke. "Great, you do have a sense of humor. Although now I get why you're a Ravenclaw."
Harry shrugged. "Hat thought it was the best choice. I don't rush into situations without thinking first, and I enjoy knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and not the power it can bring me."
Sirius nodded. "So not the ambitious type?"
Harry shook his head. "Didn't say that. I have ambitions, goals, aspirations… just not enough to override my love of learning, apparently."
Sirius could see that. There was a discarded French tome by Harry's elbow, and from what he remembered the boy enjoyed studying history and ancient magic.
"So what do you do for fun?"
Three hours later Harry was sitting alone in his suite, which was just fanciful talk about the small sitting room he had added to his bedroom. It was mainly a couple of soft chairs and a junior desk made of oak, with two low walls to contain his growing personal book collection. The low walls served to separate the study from his main bedroom, while giving him a place to lounge that was semi-private.
He had talked to Sirius about Quidditch, getting first-hand stories about his father's days as a Chaser, and telling the other man about his own prowess as a Seeker. Then the talk switched to what his father had been like at Hogwarts. Apparently they had been quite the jokesters, kind of like the twins, Fred and George Weasley. They played mostly harmless pranks on other students, and each had their own talents. His father had been good at Transfiguration and Defense, which was something he had noted from the books his father left him. His mother was good at Charms and Potions, the first of which Sirius shared with her. Remus Lupin, a man Harry had not yet met, was talented at Charms as well as Arithmancy. Nothing was said of the fourth member of their little entourage, except his name which was spoken with no amount of hidden vitriol. Sirius was the warder of the group, talented at Runes and Spellcrafting as well. He hoped to pick Sirius' brain about warding and Spellcrafting, since neither were taught at Hogwarts, and it was not every day a person got the opportunity to learn about wards from an Auror.
Despite talking for nearly three hours, Harry still had little to go on as far as why his father chose the side he did. Sirius didn't say anything, except he hinted that he was under orders not to influence Harry one way or the other.
'He did what was right for him, Harry. You have to decide what's right for yourself. Nobody else can tell you that.' Sirius had said, the most he would say about the subject of why his father fought alongside Dumbledore and against the traditional values of his youth. Perhaps if he asked the right questions he could get whomever had issued the order to rescind it. For Sirius' part, he stated that he followed James to Dumbledore because he didn't like the person his parents were trying to make him become. He had been equally vague about who that person was and if anything had changed his mind, simply saying that 'things were different now' and 'time would tell'.
Harry sighed. All this was giving him a headache. He could go through the latest trunk, but he didn't really feel like digging deeper into his parent's past today. Sirius' visit had given him more questions than answers, other than the fact that his father managed to balance having fun with getting good grades. So Harry scanned his bookshelf for something to read.
The Last Great Generation: A Recent History As Told By One Who Lived It.
Harry remembered putting that book on his bookshelf, it was after all filed correctly in the 'History' section of his small library, but he had no idea what the book was about. Curious, he went over and picked it up, opening it to the preface.
'This summer I returned from my world tour, and it seems as though the whole world has gone crazy. For the first time in my memory the Wizengamot took up the issue of familial spells and wards as 'dark magic'. The Most Ancient and Noble houses are under attack. Even minor houses like the Bulstrodes and the Bones', because familial wards were usually the only things protecting ancestral homes from unwanted visitors and politically motivated ministry 'raids'.
Father told of such a raid on the Malfoy home, a fortnight before my return, orchestrated by Billius Weasley. It is easy to see now why talk of his clan being blood traitors gets stronger with each generation. Great-grandfather talked of the days in his youth when a Weasley could be counted on just as well as any Black to defend against the muggle barbarians. But that was the days before Gaius Weasley took the flower of Hester Malfoy, causing her to break her betrothal contract and turning them both to squibs. That feud has run hot ever since, and even though it was a rather dark spell that took Gaius' magic the family was in the right to protect the girl from exactly that thing. Perhaps demanding he marry her and pay the bride price was a bit much, but the family deserved some recompense.
Now a days, instead of trying to end the feud they grow it worse and cause others to see them as traitors to their own kind, setting raids and promoting the rights of barbarians. It would be no surprise if they had used the imperius to get that pro-muggle legislation passed and certain types of curse objects banned. There would be no need for bans if families would teach the children the way we used to.
Harry skimmed the ensuing section, more babble about various families growing weak, of blood traitors and the like, until something caught his eye two pages later.
I recently had the pleasure of being invited to luncheon to meet a family friend, Gellert Grindelwald. Only a few years older than I am, he is well traveled and knows quite a bit about England and Hogwarts thanks to a past association with Albus Dumbledore. Not being familiar with Dumbledore other than knowing him to have been Head Boy, I was unable to comment on that. However, Gellert had some brilliant ideas about the direction the governments should go in protecting the rights of pureblooded citizens from muggles…
Harry nearly dropped the book in shock. This was a personal accounting of somebody who joined Grindelwald in the early-1920s, since it mentioned Phineas Nigellus as the current Headmaster of Hogwarts. How the author knew Grindelwald was still a mystery, as was the identity of the author, at the moment.
Harry scanned through the book, slightly startled when slim piece of fine parchment tumbled out of it.
I know you're having a bit of trouble with James, so I thought Father's diary would be helpful. It seems he does not fully comprehend that our family's history has not been tied to Dumbledore as the man likes to say. Despite his fondness for you as a Gryffindor he seems to forget what house I ended up in. I fear that with your soft heart you have spoiled him and now he is consorting with muggleborns and all sorts of filth. Rumor has that he has even turned Wallburga's boy against his own kind, and I know exactly wherein the blame lies. Have we gotten so afraid of our own government that we dare not teach the truth in our own homes? I know she keeps a firm hand, but that both the boys would be swayed from their birthright so quickly shows trouble.
From your letters you seem at the end of your rope when it comes to the "Headmaster's" ways. It is truly a shame how far we have fallen that our own children are swayed by a filthy half-blood, but ever since he murdered Herr Grindelwald the man's legend seems to grow. Not that it matters much, but I deeply suspect he is behind the decline of many of our compatriots' families. He would have an entire school of mudbloods were he given free rein to do so, and would have us all groveling at the feet of those barbarians.
Not that this other fellow who claims to have Slytherin blood is any better, since he will not declare which of the Ancient and Noble Houses he hails from. I suppose Father was right in his declaration that his was the last of the great generation of purebloods, living free from the taint of the barbarian horde. Unfortunately wizards like Father were hunted down, or are forced to hide their true beliefs thanks to the weak-spines of the Ministry and their kowtowing to the muggles. Unless we are aligned with someone powerful enough, that halfblood Dumbledore will turn this whole generation against us. There was another raid just this week past, a son turning against his own father!
In other tidings, Abraxas was by for tea this week. You know he has a son not that much older than James, about six years older, if I am not mistaken. The young Malfoy has expressed too much interest in that Dark Lord fellow for his comfort. Although I strongly suspect that there was a touch of admiration in Brax's voice regarding this young man, there is too much left unknown about the fellow to suggest that we stand under his banner. I do have my doubts… I fear that between Dumbledore and this so-fashioned Dark Lord, we might be the last generation to stand untied against the mudblood horde.
Enough of that talk. Rea and I will be by for the Equinox as promised. She still mourns the loss of our son, and nothing I can do will comfort her. Rea seems much older now than her 50 years suggest. Perhaps it pains her that even though Lena is older, she was able to successfully raise James. My own illness is taking its toll on me, making me wonder who could have caused it. I suspect a delayed curse on the whole lot of us, brother. Before our generation, wizards lived far into their nineties and beyond, and now suddenly we can barely make it past fifty without dying or some ill-fated accident occurring. Those of Rea's cousins who took up the banner died before their prime, while others remain, including the blood traitor Cedrella, may magic curse her traitor seed. I hope that is not the case, because I fear that without our guidance our world and way of life will be destroyed.
Do not suffer your current condition long, brother. You must carry our banner. I fear James will be too easily swayed by the blood traitors to stand against what we believe, but I also know that you are weak and tired, and cannot teach him as you would have in your prime.
Harry sat the letter down on his desk. It was written to his grandfather! He had guessed that his grandfather had been much more neutral than his father, judging by the spells his father had learned before attending Hogwarts, but that his great-uncle and great-grandfather supported Grindelwald?
From what Harry knew of his family history, which was an impressive amount considering nobody was around to teach it and he had no access to his own lineage book, his grandmother and grandfather had both died prior to his birth. He also knew about his great-aunt and great-uncle, also tied to the Black family, who died before his grandparents did, while his father was still at Hogwarts. He had no indication of what his grandparents' political beliefs were, except that his grandmother Lena was best friends with Great Aunt Cassiopeia and that neither associated with muggleborns.
So according to this letter, his family had been close to the Blacks and Malfoys before the Dark Lord took power, and that Dumbledore convinced his father to stand against his grandfather's former allies. From what he could gather, his father had not known much about great-grandfather's beliefs.
'Or he disagreed with them' a voice whispered to Harry. He chose to ignore that voice.
Instead, Harry decided to read about his grandfather and Grindelwald.
Meanwhile, an old wizard sat across from a younger wizard who had aged before his time. Blue eyes focused on amber as the older wizard awaited his answer.
"I can't accept your offer, Headmaster. There is just too much at stake." The man sighed.
"Are you sure, Remus? It would be a chance to get to see Harry again. I know you haven't been in contact with him at all, nor Sirius, since James and Lily were killed."
Remus merely nodded, leaving the man to his assumptions. He was not a student at Hogwarts, nor was he a teacher yet. He did not have to correct any assumptions the Headmaster made. It was his mail, he could contact whomever he wished. "That does not mean that I would willingly spy on him. I'm sure that James and Lily chose good guardians for Harry, Headmaster. They were both extremely smart, and would not have been fooled by sweet words and empty promises."
Albus shook his head. "But he's being raised by the Blacks! He associates with Malfoys and Lestranges! Surely James and Lily never wanted that for him!"
Remus had no response to that. He wasn't sure who he thought Harry would associate with, being raised by anybody that closely related to SIrius.
"But I saw in the paper that Harry and Neville Longbottom had a joint birthday celebration last year, and have one planned for this year as well. Surely he is a good friend for young Harry to have."
The twinkle in the man's eye died for a bit. "They're corrupting young Neville too. forcing him to associate with the monsters that drove his parents insane. I fear for Neville as well."
Remus didn't buy it. If Augusta Longbottom knew where her grandson and the Longbottom heir was, then the Headmaster need not worry about it. He dare not say as much to the Headmaster. But he could not pretend that what the Headmaster was trying to do to Harry was ok.
"Cassiopeia Black and her husband Orion are practically Americans. They didn't go to Hogwarts, and had nothing to do with You-Know-Who. There is no reason to assume that they are raising him the way that the others were raised."
Dumbledore shook his head. "You don't understand, my boy. The threat of Voldemort still exists, and Harry is in danger by associating with the children of known Death Eaters."
Remus bristled. "SO is that what you think, Headmaster? Whatever happened to second chances? Sirius' parents were as dark as they came, but he fought faithfully for you until the end. In fact, he was still faithful to you, since he wasn't the one giving out information about the Order, like you accused me of doing. You accused both of us, and never gave Peter a second thought, did you?"
"All I could go on was the information I had at the time. Peter seemed least likely to be the one to turn against James and the rest of us." Dumbledore replied.
"Oh, because of my condition and because of Sirius' family? Forget that despite the fact that James was my best friend and that he and Sirius saw each other as brothers! I guess that's why you kept sending me away on 'missions' to talk to other werewolves to prevent them from joining You-Know-Who instead of telling me why my best friend had to go into hiding to begin with. Now, even after they have died you won't tell me anything other than there is a 'prophecy' about Harry and You-Know-Who. Something that can't even be active anymore since he's gone." Remus replied.
The aged headmaster simply shook his head. "He is not truly gone."
Remus frowned. "If he is truly still an active threat then my watching Harry does no good. We would be focusing on the wrong individual, unless you somehow think that Harry is involved with You-Know-Who. Which would be another matter entirely. Do you believe that Harry would willingly side with the man who murdered his parents?"
"I do not believe he has an appreciation for the sacrifice his parents made for him." Dumbledore shook his head.
"That is not my job. I can tell him what his parents were like, but I cannot give him that when he has guardians and a family entrusted by ancient magic to do it. Who he associates with, what his political leanings are, how deeply involved he is in pureblood politics, all of those things are the responsibility of his guardians. What I can do and will agree to is to look after him the way I would any other pupil I am teaching, and be available to him to talk to should he not be able to contact his regular mentors. The same opportunity I would give any other student who felt they could confide in me. Unless you would like a report on every student I encounter at Hogwarts…"
"Remus be reasonable! I am simply asking for a bit of insight into Harry's interactions within his peer group. Information on how he views the others around him… his topics of conversation…"
Remus stood up. "I am being reasonable. You won't tell me why you need that information; I don't think you need it, so you won't get it from me. If that is the only reason you want to hire me, and not my various certifications and practical knowledge relating to Defense Against the Dark Arts, then we have no more to say. I'm sure that Cassiopeia Black would be more than willing to accommodate you no questions asked. James left me enough to live reasonably comfortable on, plus my investments in muggle books have been profitable. I was doing this as a favor, Headmaster. I will not spy on Harry for you. Not based on the fact that maybe he is a little prejudiced against muggleborns, and perhaps he is being raised as most of the other pureblood children he goes to school with, and maybe he is friends with children whose parents are your political opponents. All of the dangerous Death Eaters were put in jail. Unless You-Know-Who is alive there is no more continued threat to Harry's existence than to Draco Malfoy's. Harry survived an un-survivable curse. Unless you have something worth sharing, I will be on my way."
Dumbledore started to open his mouth, and Remus stopped him. "But do mind, if you are going to tell me something that you have not told Harry's guardians about why James and Lily were targeted, or that the reason they were targeted is still a threat to Harry, then I would be honor-bound to tell them, and will not stand in the way when the Blacks fall upon your head. Don't put me in that position."
Dumbledore closed his mouth and shook his head. "Your stubbornness may put us all at risk."
Remus' eyes flashed amber for a moment. "You are a much more powerful wizard than anybody alive. Currently Harry is living a normal, unthreatened life. If you know of a threat to that and do not act on it, I will hold you personally responsible for whatever happens. If You-Know-Who is still alive and you are not gathering the old guard to tear the rug from underneath him, especially at such a time when we could be acting without fear of retaliation, and instead you choose to do nothing, you are just as bad as he is, as the Ministry was when the houses of muggleborn children burned, when his lieutenants attacked the Bones' and the Longbottoms…"
Remus continued. "And if you are putting stock in some prophecy that involves Harry… Especially if you have reason to believe that You-Know-Who did something to prevent his own death, and instead of finding out how to cut that threat out before it returns you are sitting here with me playing 'I Spy' with Harry as the object… If I find out that is the truth, I would lose all respect for you. If things are as dire as you claim, then spying on Harry's personal life is the least of your concerns. You should tell his guardians, because that is why he has them to begin with, and come up with a solution."
Dumbledore sighed deeply. "I cannot involve his guardians. They are too far gone. They are Dark, Remus."
Remus walked towards the door. "I am considered a Dark Creature by many, Headmaster. That does not mean that I am incapable of fighting for what is right. If you cannot involve Harry's guardians, discuss your concerns fully and succinctly with the parents James and Lily chose for Harry, you cannot involve me. I will not help you. I was quite willing to teach here at Hogwarts. Looking forward to it, in fact. I am not without offers, Headmaster. I think I will pursue one of my other offers. Good Day."
Remus turned and walked out of the door, acting much more Gryffindor than his insides felt. He had never been more glad for his Were than just now. He could practically feel the compulsions crawling across his brain, but between the Wolf and a handy necklace charmed to protect him from attacks none of them stuck.
'Or else I would find myself doing exactly what the Headmaster wanted me to do, regardless how I felt about it.' Remus thought to himself as he walked back out of the castle and to Hogsmeade Village. He had sent Sirius a letter letting him know of the impending interview. Sirius had suggested the necklace, and would be meeting him at The Three Broomsticks for old times. Sirius had been hoping that Remus would get the job, but had been wary of the Headmaster for reasons he would not commit to paper. The only hint Remus could get was that it involved the time between James' death and his banishment to the bowels of the Ministry.
Arriving, Remus immediately set off to where he could see Sirius talking with a petite little blonde with bright blue eyes and a smile for miles.
Sirius looked up and beamed.
"Remus! It's been ages. Remus, this is Diana, Diana, this is my best mate, Remus."
Diana smiled. "Nice to meet you. I've got to go, Sirius, but it was a pleasure meeting you. You know where to find me."
Sirius beamed at the woman as she flounced away. Remus looked back at Sirius and was saddened to see how much he had aged.
"I'm sorry, Sirius. I'm so sorry. I should have known… should have said something… done something…"
Sirius waved it off. "Don't worry about it. If Grandfather's solicitors could not do anything about my predicament, there was little you could have done. The past is the past, now. I'm no worse for wear. You keep apologizing like I got sent to Azkaban."
Remus sighed. "A lot of people thought you had been."
Sirius smirked. "A beautiful man like me? Azkaban? Please. So you, how did the interview go?"
Harry laughed as he dodged a charmed water ball thrown by Blaise. Two weeks before the new school year, and it was a fun day back on the island with his friends. After reading about how back in his great-grandfather's time all pureblood families stood united against muggle influences, he concluded that not only did he have to work overtime to undo the damage his father had done by siding with Dumbledore, but he needed to extend his great-grandfather's reach. To that end he started repairing the bridge that youthful disagreements had nearly burned between himself and Draco.
The boy's white blonde hair could be seen, briefly, flashing to his right as Theo lobbed a water ball at him. Draco had been unsure at first, wary even, when Harry extended the invitation to spend the rest of the summer hols after his birthday with his family rather than going to Italy with his parents. A flash to his left indicated Neville's position, and Harry went for it.
"AUGH!" A voice screamed, and Harry turned to see that he had gotten Draco instead. Neville was behind him grinning and soon Harry was soaked too. It had taken a lot of convincing of both Neville and Lady Longbottom to get him to spend the rest of the holidays with him, but Harry had a feeling the Gryffindor boy needed good friends like he had. Besides, just because he thought his father was a fool for siding with Dumbledore and his pro-muggle agenda, he did not feel the same about his father's friendship with Frank Longbottom. The Longbottoms were a proper, old family known for bravery, but not stupidity.
Harry sensed somebody behind him, and shifted while making another water ball with his wand. Harry jumped behind just as Biaise shot a ball at him, and he threw the ball at another flash which turned out to be Theo.
"Gah! Potter! That was freezing!"
Harry grinned wickedly. He had taught himself how to make the balls colder and was pleased when he was finally able to do it without the ball turning into ice.
Harry quickly dashed back behind the trees to create another ball, all the while training his eyes around the small thicket. He had almost gotten everybody, while only Neville and Theo had managed to catch him. He still needed to tag Blaise and Neville in order to win the round. A sound to his left indicated that somebody else had gotten Draco, while he felt ice water suddenly running down his back, and the sound of feminine laughter tinkled behind him.
Harry whirled around to face Titania, who was smiling triumphantly while creating another water ball. He was sure Miranda was nearby as well, which meant that Daphne was somewhere in the thicket as well, maybe even Tracey.
'Great.' He thought. 'That set him back, but he was still winning, although he did need to change the fact that Titania was bone dry.'
A scream to his left sounded distinctly feminine, and he heard Miranda promise sweet revenge on Blaise. A similar scream to his right and he saw a flash of Neville before he vanished behind a tree, revealing that he had been the first to get Titania. She went chasing after him, and Harry went in search of his prey: Neville.
Hours later the group sat around a large picnic blanket on the beach, devouring sandwiches and drinking pumpkin fizzies, a new drink out on the market. Everybody was talking about plans for the new year, and Harry was thankful to have such a good group of people to call his friends.