Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach or Harry Potter. I own only this little story, however hare brained is it.
Summary : "Beware of the Crimson Sagittarius." The warning was given. The words were heeded. But who – or what, was the Crimson Sagittarius?
Shout out: Rejoice, all the believers and naggers - ahem /clears throat/. I am sorry I didn't update sooner, but really, these last months were bat shit insane. Floods, elections and zumba classes, along with me having to drag the stubborn plotdragons out by their ears or tails - it seems they wanted to hibernate, which was unusual, as they usually bother me every single evening, so... And of course Moon Howling Banshee had her mid-terms, so the actual updating is a little belayed. On that note, MHB, thank you! I know the horrors of having the little critters called midterms, and I wish you all the best!
Warnings: So Tiny has succesfully delivered the letter. However, the news contained within are not good for the Potters.
The Potter family was very much revered in the Wizarding World, along with Connor being practically worshipped for defeating the terrible You-Know-Who at the mere age of one. The family consisted of three people - James Harold Potter, his wife Lily Ann Potter nee Evans and their adorable little son, Connor Sirius Potter. They were a happy family – James was an Auror about to be promoted to the Vice-Captain of his Squad, Lily was working at home as an independent Charms Mistress and Connor was an ordinary kid with Lily's red hair and James' brown eyes, and was a mischievous troublemaker who was bound to make the teaching faculty of Hogwarts go prematurely gray with his pranks.
A pretty happy and ordinary wizarding family, you would say if you ever saw them. However, this perfect family had a dirty little secret, And what was more, this secret was as of last night, eleven years old.
It was bound to be a rather ordinary day in the office for one Minerva Aislinn McGonagall. The room was decorated in red and brown with some gold accents as befitting to the Head of Gryffindor, but otherwise sparsely furnished. In fact, except for shelves with different texts on Transfiguration and some knick-knacks of sentimental nature, like one rather battered bronze Snitch along with big mahogany table with well-worn chair beside the window, it was bare as it came.
The entire room exuded an air of practicality and minimal comfort in the shape of crimson colored pillow on the window's edge. The fireplace in front of the table was unlit at the moment and decorated with two pairs of Griffins. The floor was made from dark grey stones that were smooth with age.
Right now, the owner of the room was sitting in her chair, checking and re-checking the acceptance letters of the soon-to-be new pupils of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was dressed in conservatively cut robes made from dark fabric and her graying hair was bound back in a severe bun that made her look even more strict. The only color that gave her outfit any vibrancy was a light tartan quilt on her shoulders. It was in the traditional colors of McGonagall clan - red, white and black, and it somehow enriched the somber colors of her otherwise bland brown robes.
Elegant fingers opened the letters, pale blue eyes flew over the words and then, the witch made the appropriate sign in the registry book in front of her with the green and gold feather quill.
The witch was working quietly and efficiently and nobody would have thought she had been working for some four hours already, what with her insomnia attacks.
She lifted her head, looking where the sound had come from. A look of surprise painted itself on her face.
On the other side of the window, there sat an owl - the tiniest one she had ever seen - looking at her with big amber eyes and scruffy feathers. The poor dear was wet to the bone and frankly, McGonagall was surprised that anyone would have the gall to send the poor animal out in such bad weather.
"Oh, you poor thing," She muttered as she flicked her wand to open the window, just enough for the tiny owlet to come through. "Niffy!" She called out, and as soon as she spoke, a small crack was heard.
"Yes, what yous wants from Niffy, Miss McGoolie?" The house elf asked with its high pitched, squeaky voice. The elf wore the standard pillowcase of Hogwarts elves, and McGonagall sighed with exasperation. No matter how many times she told the stubborn creature that her name was not McGoolie, the creature insisted on calling her that, much to the amusement of faculty and her acquaintances.
"Bring a small bowl of finely cut meat for the owl here and a cup of jasmine tea for me, please." She ordered as she reached to relieve the tiny owlet of its burden. "Oh, and dry its feathers too."
"As Miss McGoolie wishes," The elf squeaked out and with a snap of its spindly fingers, the owlet emitted a startled hoot, before it recognized there was no danger anywhere, and then, the elf disappeared in the kitchen, returning a moment later with required items.
After thanking the elf, the stern witch sat down into her chair and eyed the letter in her hands. The makeshift envelope was a little damp and made from a strangely heavy paper. McGonagall frowned a little. It was almost of the quality of the paper the Noble families were using for formal correspondence, but the grain and texture were all wrong. In the years of her tenure as a Deputy Headmistress, she had come into contact with different sizes and shapes of acceptance letters, but this was something…else.
Frowning a little, she opened the envelope, retrieving two sheets of paper of the same quality. She blinked in confusion. 'Two? ' She had expected one sheet for acceptance, and maybe more than two - Muggle parents were worrywarts like that - but only two, and from the look of it, there were no excess questions or demands…Just what was going on?
She unfolded the sheets, her pale eyes narrowing at the elegant script on the firsr sheet.
Soon, her confused face changed into a horrorstruck one.
"Oh, no. "She murmured, her hands trembling with shock. This was bad. In desperate hope that the other sheet carried better news, she switched them and began reading again.
However, the longer she read, the more unpleasant the sinking feeling in her gut became. The letters linked themselves into the words in front of her eyes in an elegant dance, and she couldn't believe that a kid of eleven had such elegant writing that would have befitted a much older and experienced person.
When she came to the end of the letter, her eyes almost bugged out.
"No, I don't want meet the Potters or whatever they call themselves now. By their deeds, they are dead to me. I already have a family, so leave me and mine alone. "
Those three sentences made her choke with alarm.
You see, in the Wizarding World, disowning was a serious business, although the practice was now largely abolished, and only used in a very old families for disowning Squibs or dishonorable persons. Disowning was almost always performed by the patriarch, or in rare cases, the matriarch of the family, and sometimes, the family members disowned themselves, but it was practically unheard of for a child who had still living parents to sever any and all ties between them. Severing any and all ties meant just what was implied -in this case, the parents didn't have any jurisdiction over the self-disowned child and worst cases come to worst, they were forbidden to interact with him or her by any and every means available.
Her shoulders slumped. "Oh Lily…. What have you done…" McGonagall whispered wearily. Lily was one of her favorite pupils –she wasn't as brilliant in Transfiguration like James was, but she still had her own charm in the shape of inquisitiveness and interesting ideas. She was such a vivacious girl…but McGonagall couldn't fathom just what led her to practically abandon Harry in favor of Connor. She had tried to talk to her about it, but every time she did, Lily was obviously uncomfortable and somehow steered the subject of the talk into safer waters.
McGonagall was also suspicious of the setup, but she couldn't do anything. As a Deputy Headmistress and a Head of Gryffindor, she had her own share of toils and troubles to get through, so she really couldn't take care of the baby, even if she wanted to. And now, it was too late. Inhaling a shaky sigh, she shook her head wearily. The outcome of this…affair wouldn't be pretty, no matter how she turned it.
Slowly, she reached for the writing quill and in the column status beside the name of Harry Potter wrote with red letters one single, damning word.
The tiny owl tilted its head as it looked at the weary witch. Its stomach was now pleasantly full and if Tiny had that very pleasant and black nest of that bespectacled fledgling, it would be in owl heaven. Alas, it wasn't so, and Tiny sighed out a forlorn sigh - or as much of a sigh an owl could emit. But all in a good time.
Tiny nodded to himself, while fluffing its feathers. Slowly, big amber eyes closed and the tiny speedster drifted off to sleep, dreaming of gentle green eyes and a soft black nest that was so very warm... albeit Tiny wouldn't mind if it had been a little bit more fluffed up.
(Somewhere on the way home, one Ishida Uryuu for some reason got a vision of himself having an afro hairstyle of epic proportions with a tiny owl comfortably nestled on top. He shuddered violently as the dread gripped his stomach. It seemed that the peaceful days of having a perfect hairstyle would soon be a thing of the past. However, Ryuuken got the strangest urge to dig up the camera very, very soon. And because a Quincy's hunches were always correct, he resolved to do so as soon as they got home.
Lily was humming cheerfully to herself. She was in a good mood, and why shouldn't she be? Yesterday it was her darling Connor's birthday, and soon, she would also see Harry. She couldn't wait!
The rosette was still as youthful as she had been when she finished school. Her hair was plaited in a simple braid, and she was clothed in a simple dark blue sweater with soft grey trousers as she impatiently awaited the call. In her hands, Lily cradled a warm mug of chocolate, her little morning sin she always devoured away from her two mischievous men. James was still as crazy as he could be, even if he had calmed down considerably since she began dating him, but Connor showed that he would be just as big of a hellion as James had been in his golden old days. Lily shuddered with dread at the thought of the next generation of Marauders ransacking Hogwarts again. James and his entourage had been bad enough, thank you very much!
'Maybe Harry would temper him down some….' She mused, humming as she lifted the mug to her lips. She was feeling a little guilty for hoisting Harry on her sister, but Connor's safety was paramount, and with James always being away and combating Death Eaters, it was impractical to have two babies to take care of. She sighed.
Eleven years. Eleven years since that night when Voldemort managed to find them, courtesy of that damned rat, Pettigrew, crash through the wards and was somehow vanished, courtesy of Connor.
Eleven years since that damned Prophecy was uttered by that inane Trelawney woman and then told to two pairs of young soon-to-be parents.
She sighed. Maybe she should have insisted that Harry be brought back when they were officially cleared of any danger, but…. She didn't. She never visited Petunia either; her sister was a spiteful, loud shrew that despised anything and everything she deemed unnatural. It made Lily sad that her quiet little sister became such a …bitch, but it couldn't be helped. Jealousy always did get out the worst in the people, after all.
And then, there were reporters, fame and no time to take back Harry, because it would be too dangerous - Connor had been almost assassinated at least three times in a week, and Harry would only present an additional liability.
Thankfully, the assassination attempts and kidnappings had dwindled down, but they still had to be cautious, a feat that was additionally harder what with James and Connor practically adoring the spotlight they were in.
However, the guilt still persisted, even if it had been eroded slightly with time. Lily closed her eyes, frowning. What would Harry be like now? Would he be as tall as Connor? Would his hair be just as unruly as James' still or would he have her smoothed out curls? What would be his favorite color? His favorite drink?
There were so many questions going through her mind that it was making her head hurt a little.
She sighed as she looked around the day room. It was sparsely decorated and modern looking if it weren't for the chandelier on the ceiling holding the candles and a fireplace a little too big to be normal. It was a quiet place right now, a stark contrast of the mess that had been the last night as Connor had celebrated his birthday with his friends and acquaintances. House elves were truly a Merlin-given blessing.
The fireplace crackled and Lily turned to it, just in time to see the familiar head of her old Transfiguration professor through the flames.
"Hello, Professor. What brings you here at such an unusual time? Lily asked smiling." Her smile was wanly returned. "Hello, Miss Evans." Lily chuckled a little at her old professor's mannerisims. Even if she had been married for eleven years, McGonagall still insisted on calling her by her maiden name. She then concentrated back to McGonagall. "So you finally got his letter?" She asked excitedly as she moved to crouch in front of the fireplace, but the quick shake of McGonagall's head prevented her from the chosen course of action.
"Yes. However, may I come in?" McGonagall asked, making Lily frown with confusion.
"Of course," She replied, stepping away.
A moment later, there was a familiar whoosh and the fireplace spit out a very frazzled McGonagall.
"Ach, I will never get used to Flooing." McGonagall growled as she swayed uncertainly on her feet, making Lily quickly steady her. "I agree completely," Lily spoke, hiding a smirk at McGonagall's temporary clumsiness. For being a cat Animagus, and thus in possession of an extraordinary sense of balance, Minerva McGonagall was a complete klutz when it came to Flooing somewhere, thus her immense detest to that particular mode of transportation. She only used it if there was no other way, and even then, with greatest reluctance.
"Thank you," McGonagall spoke primly. "Now, if you have someplace to discuss the matter, I would be much obliged." Lily nodded. "Of course. Do sit down and…. What would you like to drink?" She motioned to the couch and released her hold on the Deputy Headmistress.
"A spot of tea would do me plenty of good," McGonagall answered politely, if not a little distractedly, as she headed to the couch.
Lily blinked. McGonagall was still distracted, which was very unusual for the stern witch. "Is … something wrong, Madam?" She asked hesitantly as she watched McGonagall sit down primly.
"Is James home?" McGonagall asked instead, making Lily's sense of foreboding skyrocket.
"No…he's at work at the moment, something about capturing Yevgenij Alexandrov." She replied, tilting her head.
The old witch sighed. "I would have liked to speak to the both of you, but oh well…This morning, I received a letter."
Lily perked up. "Harry's letter?" She breathed out, her heard thumping faster with expectation. McGonagall nodded. "Harry's letter. Although he goes by Hayato Ishida those days."
Lily blinked. And then froze. The change of Harry's name could mean only one thing….Harry had been adopted. "H-How?" She choked out, bewildered, her blood still feeling like liquid shards of ice travelling in her veins.
McGonagall exhaled a weary breath. "I'm sorry Lily, but…. Read the letter yourself." She muttered, getting the letter out of her pouch and offering it to the distraught ex-pupil.
Lily placed the cup on the desk hastily and snatched the letter. She quickly opened it and unfolded the sheets, absentmindedly noting the letter was written on drawing paper. 'So he's an artist then?' She mused to herself, but her short musing was soon abandoned in favor of reading the damning piece of writing.
The words were written in an elegant cursive which Lily would have admired at any other time, but the content was something that burned her dreams of happy reunion with her son into ashes.
"This…!"She choked out, dread and fury clutching her throat. "But that is impossible!"
She eyed McGonagall wildly, as if searching for the support, but the old witch only shook her head. "Read the second letter, Miss Evans." McGonagall said firmly.
"Who the hell is that Ryuuken? How dare he make decisions for my baby?" Lily fumed to herself.
McGonagall eyed her incredulously. "He is the boy's guardian, and by law, he has every right to decide whatever pertains to his ward." She snapped back. "Since you two towed him away to Dursleys, you lost any and every rights to call yourself Harry's parents!"
Lily made to snap back, but she restrained herself. Surely there was some kind of a cruel prank being played on her…. Petunia was always a malicious bitch, and she would have gone to such lengths as to derail her. Yes, that must have been it, Lily concluded, as she shakily swapped the sheets.
However, the second letter was a proverbial nail to the coffin.
The words danced in front of her horrified eyes. '…. Don't want to go to your school….father, Ryuuken Ishida….former family….Abused….abandoning a child…backwards little society….'
And then, the most damning part of the letter.
'By their deeds, they are dead to me.'
She let out the keening sound of a wounded animal. "No….no, that can't be true…"
She almost wailed out as she crumpled the paper in her hands. "How….?"
"I would like to know that too, Miss Evans." She was torn out of her grief by the stern voice of her Transfiguration Professor. "Just what have you done, Lily?"
Lily looked at the stern witch with teary eyes. "I… We…"She choked out, cringing into herself. "We just wanted him to be safe –"
"Hoisting him onto an abusive family is not safety, Miss Evans!" McGonagall barked out, her pale eyes afire with anger. "How could you not know Harry had been abused? Surely you saw the signs when you visited him?" She inquired.
Lily looked away shamefully. "I….We didn't." She admitted in a whispery voice, as she bit her lip. A tense silence pervaded the room.
"Are you telling me…." McGonagall began slowly "That you left the kid to them, for eleven years, and in that time, you didn't visit him…. Not even once?"
Lily cringed. "It was a part of the agreement!" She hurried to explain when she saw McGonagall was about to explode with anger. "Petunia agreed to foster him, but only if none of the freaks came anywhere near her family!"
McGonagall was not a person to be surprised often - the Marauders were an exception, but this - this took the proverbial cake. Her jaw momentarily slacked in utter disbelief before she gathered herself. "You trusted her to rear your child even if she called us….Freaks?" She asked slowly, as if trying to comprehend the situation in all its absurdly ironic glory.
The redhead beside her winced. "Dumbledore made sure there were blood protection wards placed on her house for Harry to be safe." She whispered, blinking the tear away.
"And that excuses you from monitoring him how?" McGonagall demanded, her fingers clutching the cup so tightly her knuckles were white. "You could've used a House Elf, or you could look at him from afar - hell, I still remember that James had this invisible cloak of his –" With every word spoken, Lily seemed to become smaller, making McGonagall watch at her in disbelief.
Where was this vivacious, fiery-tempered girl that protected her Slytherin friend with such fervor that she had gone even against the infamous Marauders? Where was the Prefect that docked a hundred points off of Lucius Malfoy for bullying a Hufflepuff girl? Where was the woman that stood up against the darkest Lord for three times and lived to tell the tale?
In front of her, there sat a redheaded woman who had been enjoying her life for eleven years, while her son was forced to suffer the abuse of her magic-hating sister and her family, not even knowing his rightful heritage, and what was even worse, that he had a family.
'But maybe,' McGonagall mused, 'not knowing was a blessing in a disguise.' If he had known, Harry – no, Hayato - would have grown up bitter and resentful, hating everything and everyone. However, instead of that, he seemed to be a mature young man she wouldn't have minded getting to know to, but alas, it seemed her wish would be only a pipe dreams.
She stood up. "I am disappointed with you, Lily. As much as it pains me to admit, Mr. Ishida and his son were right to decline the invitation." Her words were short and concise. She turned away and headed to the fireplace. "You and James…. It makes me wonder which one out of you two and Pettigrew was the biggest coward."
She left Lily staring at the crumpled letter with teary dull eyes as she threw the handful of Floo powder into the fireplace, called out the destination and vanished into the flames.
The redheaded woman on the couch curled into herself, her previously silent sobs growing in volume, as she poured out her grief and guilt in the shape of hot, salty tears.
Outside of the room, a pair of wide brown eyes stared at the broken woman on the couch.
/To Be Continued/