Death's Design, Fate's Plan
An Answer to Reptilia28's Death Challenge

NC-17

Feedback: I, like most authors, enjoy positive reviews. Constructive Criticism is also appreciated.

Disclaimer: Malloren Family is the Intellectual property of Jo Beverly & her publishers, distributors, etc, and the Malory Family is the Intellectual Property of Johanna Lindsey & her publishers, distributors, etc. Just as with Harry and that crew…I own nothing.

Spoilers: Any and All Books through Chapter 37 of Deathly Hallows

Summary: My take on Reptillia 28's Challenge from Portkey, (Really hope no one minds.) Harry dies well before his time and is sent back to clean up the mess he left behind.

Bashing Warning: This story will contain character bashing and eventually death.

AN: Thank you very much to all who have reviewed. I will attempt to keep up with my updates better. I hope that each of my readers will find something in this chapter that makes them 'just have to' drop me a review.


Chapter 9
***Famous In A Small Town***

Slytherin Common Room
Hogwarts Castle

Severus Snape was neither kind, nor patient. He was not a nurturing man, yet he now had a task to perform that would take all of those traits and a million others he did not naturally possess. It was a Saturday morning and he was awake before eight am, set to wake one of his students to give extremely distressing news. He dressed with care knowing that he would have to take Draco Malfoy to see his mother at St. Mungos, as well as to helping his godson see to his father's burial arrangements.

When he could no longer delay, Severus made his way through the common room to the boy's dorms. Casting a charm on Draco's room so that none of the others would be able to witness his pain, Severus took a deep breath and woke his charge. Once Draco achieved the needed level of cognizance, Snape changed his mind and instead told him to dress to leave the grounds and meet him in his office in ten minutes.

Draco entered his head of house's office fifteen minutes later wondering at the uncharacteristically emotional look the normally stoic man wore. "Yes sir, you wanted to see me?" he forced himself to ask around the swelling sense of impending doom rising inside him.

"Mr. Malfoy, Draco, please have a seat. I have some rather distressing news to share with you." Severus said calmly. He wished, not for the first time, that Draco had been sorted into another house, any of the other houses.

Draco plopped, inelegantly into a seat. "Is it my father, has he been…No. Fudge relies on him far too much for him to have been arrested." Draco murmured going to the worst case scenario he could come up with.

Snape came closer to a sigh than he was willing to admit. "Draco, there is no easy way to say this. Your mother is in St. Mungo's and your father has been killed."

"What?" the young man almost screamed. "No one can kill my father. He is an accomplished dueler. It must have been murder. What cowardly bastard cursed him in the back? No one can defeat him in a head on battle." He demanded to know who had killed his father.

Severus raised an eyebrow. He himself had almost killed Lucius several times over the years. The man was only 'an accomplished dueler' in his own mind and apparently in the lies he told his son. "Your father was defeated in an honor battle by the head of your mother's family."

"Father is the head of Mother's family." Draco interrupted angrily.

"Your father was the head of the Malfoy family. Your mother was born a Black. A Black is always a Black they separate from their family only through death…or disinheritance, but not always then." Severus said pointedly. "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…Lucius was killed by Narcissa's cousin as he attempted to end the man's life for daring to stop your father from beating your mother."

"That makes no sense. Father has beaten Mother any number of times. It isn't something to kill him over." Draco said arrogantly.

Severus rolled his eyes. "The head of her family disagreed." Snape drawled. "Now, your mother has been asking for you. We shall go and see her first and then we shall see to your father's burial."

Draco still seemed shell shocked. "I will need to go to Gringotts. I need to figure out how to make Lord Black pay for what he has done to my father."

"You will do nothing of the kind." Snape roared, losing his temper in a way his godson had never before witnessed. "Lord Black was well within his rights as the head of the Black family. Your father knew the language of the Black family contracts, and he voided the damn thing almost immediately. You were never to have been an only child; you were never to have been raised without knowledge of the rules and history of the Black family. Your father was, by the writ of the contract not allowed to commit treason or sedition. Cygnus Orion Black might not have counted his service of the Dark Lord as treason or sedition, but you can bet that Sirius Orion Black will."

Draco stood and tried to look as commanding and imperious as his father had. "You cannot possibly know that any of that is true. My father was murdered by Sirius Black and I will do whatever it takes to see that justice is served. You are my head of house and my godfather, at this time; you are the only person I can leave these grounds with. I need to attend to my family's affairs."

"Very well, Draco." Severus sneered. "Let us proceed. You wanted to go to Gringotts first."

***A Lot of Things Different***

Deputy Head Mistress Office
Hogwarts Castle

Minerva McGonagall was a very intelligent woman. She considered herself to be brave and loyal and a true epitome of the Hogwarts House of which she served as Head. Though her students saw her as 'old', for a witch of her power, she was barely past middle age. But as she dressed for her meeting with the DMLE head, Minerva felt each and every one of her seventy two years. She had spent the last week thinking deeply about her world and her place in it. She wondered at choices she had made; things she had and hadn't done…and time after time since 1979, every path not taken had proven to have been the way she should have gone. She found herself in the unenviable situation of growing to hate herself more and more.

As she prepared the first floor meeting room, the same room that had seen the beginnings of the Weasley drama unfold just the day before, for her 'tea' with Amelia Bones; the Transfiguration professor was plagued with the whys and why nots, the what ifs. What if she had listened to the voice in her head during that order meeting where the Fidelus had first been discussed? The voice that had told her to offer herself up as secret keeper for the Potters. The voice that reasoned that she had nothing further to lose, so if she had to give her life to protect two of her cubs, wasn't that a worthy sacrifice. Minerva remembered, just for a moment the now lessened, but never truly gone pain of losing her strong and braw Harrison. Harrison McGonagall had been her husband, her best friend, her partner…he had lost his life in the last battle against Grindlewald. In her grief she had miscarried their second child, but at least she had already had her precious Danana. Her daughter had been the best of Harrison and Minerva. She had held her parent's sense of right and wrong, her father's wisdom and her mother's strength of will.

Fury like none she had ever known settled into Minerva's belly. Minerva had lost her beautiful Danana and far too many of her Lions to that hypocritical bastard, Tom Riddle. She thought with derision. She sighed. How different might things be if she had made the offer. Perhaps when they decided to fool the world with a fake secret keeper, they would have chosen her. She would have been behind Hogwarts' wards and hell would have frozen over, thawed and frozen yet again before she would have told Voldemort or his minions anything that would have left young Harry in danger, yet alone orphaned. She would have been an infinitely better choice than Peter. All Heads of House have found themselves wondering what the sorting hat was thinking during certain sortings. Never in all the years she had taught at Hogwarts, never in all the years she had served as the Head of House Gryffindor, had a student embodied the 'what the bloody hell' feeling of disagreement with a sorting more than Peter Pettigrew.

Pettigrew had come from a pureblood family of little to no distinction. They never quite managed to make the ranks of Ancient. They did not have the cache to be considered Nobel, though they had remained 'pure' for twenty generations. They came close several times to getting a seat on the Wizengamot, but could never achieve the level of wealth or power needed. For fifteen of those generations, every Pettigrew to attend Hogwarts had been sorted into Gryffindor. But that made a certain sort of sense since for the last fifteen generations; Pettigrews had been on the front line for the side of the light in every battle against each arising Dark Lord of the time. Until Peter. He'd undone five hundred years of his family's heritage with his betrayal. While she had never said anything to a single soul, to Minerva McGonagall, Peter had never shown even the slightest iota of any of the traits that her house espoused.

As his teacher, she had often wondered how he kept the sorting hat from placing him in his true house. Peter had only been brave if he was in a crowd he could count on for support. He had only been loyal to those who benefited him. He was only chivalrous to those who he feared. Over the years she had forced herself to believe that James and Sirius and Remus had been good for him; but hindsight is twenty/twenty and with the blinders removed, Minerva had acknowledge that he had never grown out of his self-serving nature. Apparently Peter was even more cunning than the most cunning person the Minerva had ever known. Severus Snape had cunning down to an exact science, how else could he do what he did in the service of the Order of the Phoenix. And yet even Severus had not been able to fool the entirety of the Wizarding World.

With a sigh she turned her thoughts away from the past and her ever more dizzying number of errors in judgment; to focus instead on the present and what she had learned that very well. Her thoughts centered primarily on her boss. A man who, before the last few days, she'd have called 'her dearest friend'. She didn't know if Albus had simply fallen prey to his own hubris, if he'd become corrupted by the large amounts of power he welded or if he was even more cunning than Peter Pettigrew and had managed to fool generations of witches and wizards.

With a sardonic grin, McGonagall found herself wondering which option made her feel less stupid. To simply be one of the Sheeple of Wizarding Britain, being led around and treated like mushrooms…or the possibility that she had missed every sign that a man she considered her friend had lost not only his marbles, but his morals as well. No one answer really seemed more intelligent than the others. Thankfully the wards signaled Minerva of the presence of Amelia Bones at the front gates before she could become even more maudlin and soppy. The statuesque Scotswoman hurried to the gates to bring Amelia into the castle. Minerva used the walk to gather her thoughts. "Good afternoon, Madame Bones, thank you for agreeing to meet with me today, and I apologize for the subterfuge yesterday. I suppose that manners would dictate that I ask after the Headmaster." Her tone conveyed her prevalent emotions at the thoughts of that man.

"He is well and being cared for in the manner befitting a man of his rankings and power while we complete our investigations and prepare for trail." Amelia said. She decided not to explain that they were keeping the man on a course of dreamless sleep augmented with a drop of vertiserum. The combination meant that Dumbledore was currently unable to mount any offensive magic, and even better he was rambling in his sleep. His every utterance being captured on parchment by a dictaquill that was charmed to write exactly what came out of his mouth, unlike those that are often utilized by Rita Skeeter.

"I believe that you may find that you have many more questions for Mr. Dumbledore after we finish our conversation. You may also want to converse with Lord Black and Remus Lupin as well." Minerva warned her.

Amelia pulled out a muggle pad and pen. At McGonagle's raised eyebrow, she responded. "Tradition be damned. Muggles have convenience down to a science." She defended.

Minerva simply nodded. "I have often told the Headmaster that our students, all of them, would greatly benefit if we at least allowed them to use muggle pens and notepads for their own note taking. I suppose that the very first thing we must discuss is Mr. Potter. You've seen to his relatives, but I must say that I really feel that you will need to look to Dumbledore in that case as well. The night the elder Potters were killed, Albus left Harry with his aunt and uncle against my advice. I too bear the burden of that night. I should have fought him harder. I had spent all day watching the Dursleys and I knew that they were horrid individuals."

Madame Bones looked quickly down at her pad. Then back up at Minerva. "You spent all day before the Potters died watching the Dursleys?"

"No. Of course not, there would have been no need before You Know Who, murdered James and Lily to go to Surrey. I only went after because I had promised her I would ensure that they were not harmed." Minerva replied.

"So when did Dumbledore take Harry to his aunt and uncle?"

"The night the Potters were killed." Minerva said. However this time she listened to her words rather than just speaking them. "That damned dirty sheep buggerer." She breathed as she came to a horrifying realization.

"Obliviation without just cause and due process. I'll need you and probably the rest of the staff to get checked out at St. Mungo's…we'll need the verification to add that to the list of charges." Amelia said softly. She gave the often aloof professor a moment to pull herself together.

But Minerva was not one to wallow in self-pity. She knew she had done that enough for one day. "Very well, I will make sure that all of the staff are seen forthwith. Now, Madame Bones, you apprenticed under the same Defense Master as Harrison, what do you know of soul catchers?"

"Amelia, please, the time for formality between us is long past, I believe." Amelia said as she gave Minerva such a look of both consternation and confusion that the Transfiguration Mistress barely contained a grin. "I apprenticed as a Battle Mage, Minerva, my training with Master Guienn centered on fighting rather than esoteric knowledge. My secondary master was trained only as a barrister. What, exactly, are 'soul catchers'?"

"Soul catchers, soul containers they are both terms for the same the darkest pieces of magic I have ever known of. In fact if Harrison wasn't such a fan of esoteric knowledge, I probably would be as clueless as you proclaim to be. The Horcrux, the technical name for soul containers, are exactly what the colloquial name states. One must commit an act of pure evil, murder of one who has no sin staining their own soul; the murderer must first complete a series of rituals to prepare his soul for the rending and the container to hold the piece of soul that was sloughed off. After the rituals and the murder, he must then adhere the soul to the container within a very small window of time. The murderer is then safe from death. The soul catchers act as a tether keeping them locked in this plain of existence."

"But only one very, very young would…Voldemort, he was going to use the murder of Harry Potter to create one of those abominations?" Amelia quickly reasoned.

"I believe so, yes." Minerva said quietly. "However, young Mr. Potter was apparently not the first, or perhaps even the second or third. Voldemort's soul was so destabilized that even though Harry was not killed, somehow he became the host for a fragment of Voldemort's soul. That piece was destroyed when Mr. Potter found and bonded with his soulmate earlier this week. Thankfully Severus and Remus Lupin were both present immediately after the bonding and were able to ascertain that the soul fragment that had cleaved to young Harry's scar was dead."

"Bloody everlasting hell." Amelia Bones breathed. "How on earth could anyone bring themselves to kill one child, yet alone a multitude?"

"Perhaps not a multitude, but no less heinous. We believe that he had performed the…the ritual," she spat, "at least five times before Halloween 1981."

Amelia gasped. "Six of those abominations?"

"At the very least. We are unsure if he would be able to have created any since his disembodiment." McGonagall said with a sigh. "Filius is working with Remus and Severus to see if there is some why to find all the missing pieces of that shinach's soul."

Amelia's eyebrows reached her hairline. "How do you all know about these things?"

Minerva smiled with wry humor, "achieving one's mastery involves learning all kinds of esoteric theories and information. Horcruxes are one of the darkest aspects of magic, but they are also some of the most complex and interdisciplinary. They involve not only arthimancy, potions and dark arts; they also draw from charms and astronomy. Since we haven't any one teaching curse-breaking here at Hogwarts any longer, Vector, Filius, Remus and Severus are our best chances of riding the world of the monster, Tom Marvolo Riddle."

"Riddle?"

Once more Minerva found herself sharing all the information she had. She told all she knew of the young, charismatic man she had first known as a student and the few things she knew of him after he'd graduated. She finally finished with the information she had been able to glean from Dumbledore's notes. She'd only been able to access them when Amelia had forced Dumbledore to transfer the wards. It was an unexpected development but one that was certainly not umwelcomed.

"What can we do?" Amelia demanded.

"For now we must attempt to determine what exactly he utilized for his anchors. We must destroy those and render him mortal. We have little hope of taking care of his Death Eaters with Fudge in office." Minerva said honestly.

Amelia looked thoughtful. "Damn Dumbledore, why has he never shared this information. He could have cut Voldemort's power base out from under him by making his heritage public." She took a deep breath, centering herself and forcing her focus on the issues at hand. "Very well, let's determine what we can do about this damnable situation."

The two contemporaries got to work, exchanging information and trying to determine how they could save their nation.

***Every Now & Then***

Finsbury Circle
Soon to be Black Residence

Harry waited impatiently as Sirius and the realtor got the paper work settled. The house was bank owned at that point so there was less turn over time between the completion of the paperwork and the receipt of the key. That time was significantly shortened by the fact that Sirius was not using financing in the traditional muggle sense. He was, in fact, paying the house off in thirty days, in three debits from his Gringotts account, yet to the muggle financial institution that owned the house, it simply seemed as if he was paying everything at closing. This allowed Sirius the freedom to ensure that all his 'modifications' would be completed before Harry returned home for the summer. And best of all he'd quickly be out of the 'very nice' hell hole in which he currently lived.

Sirius chuckled when Harry dipped into the front parlour very unobtrusively to note how far along the adults seemed be in the paperwork process. "Now then, you feel that I should be able to be all moved in by the time Harry comes down from his boarding school, yes?"

"Yes sir, Lord Black." the realtor verbally genuflected. You should be able to close on the house in thirty to forty-five days, and move in immediately thereafter. To be honest given the fact that you are willing to pay asking price without financing, we may be able to move closing forward a bit."

"Wonderful." Sirius said as he shook her hand. "Now, I hate to be a bother, but my godson and I are due at his girlfriend's house so that he can meet her parents. He is being a terrible bore about the whole thing. They will of course love him, how can they not?" he said with a cheeky grin.

The realtor was no one's fool. "Of course they will. He is a very charming and mannerly young man." She assured the proud 'papa'.

Harry came in with a sigh, but his attitude improved drastically when he realized that Sirius was wrapping everything up. They said their goodbyes and raced to an apparition point. Within twenty minutes, they were approaching the Granger home with Remus in tow. As they drew nearer, a car approached and a woman of a certain age climbed gracefully from the driver's door. Remus breathed gently, "Aunt Jillian."

Before either Sirius or Harry could ask the werewolf what he meant, Hermione's front door was thrown open. "Grandmum." She shrieked as she ran down the stairs and threw herself into arms that seemed far too young and strong to belong to anyone's grandmother. The young witch's query as to what her grandmother was doing there carried to them on the breeze. "Harry and his guardians were coming to meet Mum and Dad…can you stay for lunch, I'm sure that they would love to meet you." She said happily. "Oh here they are now."

Julia Granger, once known as Jillian Lupin turned and gasped. "Orestes." She was so shocked to see 'her brother' looking so much like he had the last time they had met, she never saw the way Hermione threw herself into the arms of his young companion. The older woman also missed the manner in which 'her brother's' young companion began to happily snog the life from her granddaughter.

Remus shook his head. "Orestes was my father. I believe he was your brother…before Augustulus cast you from our world."

Jillian laughed. "Orestes was my brother until the day he married Rhea. Father had him bound in some stupid command. Besides, he couldn't continue to sneak away from her to meet with me, so I told him it was okay, when he could he should share his secret with her, and he would be able to find me again…but he never did."

"My father was killed when I was young. A werewolf attack, he and my mother and brother were all killed. As was Grandfather who was visiting… and I was left as I am." Remus said guardedly.

The older woman was as bright as her granddaughter. It took her no time at all to understand what Remus was alluding to. She crossed to her nephew. "I can easily accept a werewolf nephew if you can find it in your heart to accept a squib for an aunt."

Remus wrapped her carefully in his arms and wept in sorrow and relief. It had been so very long since he'd had a true family, getting Sirius and Harry back and finding not one but two blood family members who could accept him for who and what he was overwhelmed the old wolf. It also went along way to healing wounds he'd never realized were there.

Julia Granger hugged her nephew to her and cried as well. It soothed a raw spot in her heart to know that her brother hadn't just abandoned her. He'd probably assumed that there would be plenty of time to share their continued relationship with his family only to be killed before he could. Apparently he'd told his son at least that he had a sister who had been cast away because she didn't manifest magic. Yet the knowledge that soothed a small hurt also created a new larger one. "Did he…you said it was werewolves…did he?"

Remus shrugged uncomfortably. "I'm not sure. I was only five at the time. They were killed and I was bitten, but recovered from the wound itself. I've never…I never wanted to know more."

"Rightly so. You were but a child at the time and had suffered more than enough trauma." Julia said as she drew herself together. "Come now…you must meet my son and daughter in law…though I must say you seem to know my granddaughter."

"Yes. I have the pleasure of teaching Hermione Defense Against the Dark Arts. I've never seen a more brilliant witch. There isn't a spell out there that our Hermione can't do…usually on the first try." Remus boasted.

Over his right shoulder, Sirius smiled charmingly at Julia and cleared his throat obnoxiously.

Remus gave his aunt a cheeky grin and proceeded to ignore his friend, "We should hurry. It would make a bad impression for Harry to be late meeting his future in laws." He said tucking Julia's hand into the crook of his arm as Harry did the same for Hermione. More obnoxious throat clearing could be heard from behind them as they walked to the front steps of the Granger residence.

Finally Julia decided to take pity on the poor man. "Remus, really, you have no reason to be ashamed. Introduce me to your partner…or have the two of you had a commitment ceremony?"

"What? Ho?" Sirius shouted. "No, no Madame…Remus and I are blood brothers, Comrades-at-arms, Marauders…not lovers. Not that there would anything wrong with that if we were, thought really I think I could do scads better that that old wolf…but Remus is missing some vitally important body parts if he wanted to be my lover." Sirius sketched a bow to the laughing older woman. "Lord Sirius Orion Black at your service. Godfather of young Harry, best friend of good Remus, and all around good chap."

"Black, Orion's son…your mother wasn't Walburga, was it?" Julia asked with a gasp.

"You will be happy to know that I am nothing like her and she tried, repeatedly, to have me disowned." Sirius laughed. "Thankfully she is currently roasting in the fires of hell and giving Beelzebub a migraine rather than me."

Julia smiled for a moment. "I would say that I am sorry for your loss, but Orestes told me that my best friend Orion was given her as his bride when I proved to be a squib. Considering that, I believe that you will understand if I offer congratulations rather than condolences."

"You mean that Remus and I could have been blood kin if it weren't for your bloody father. Stupid Wanker." Sirius ranted. "Well you might not have been my mother, but can I call you Aunt Jillian as well." Julia nodded with a grin that warmed Sirius' heart. "God, can you imagine how different life might have been if I'd had a mother who was anything close to sane?"

"All that inbreeding might not have led to a man child without the ability to grow up." Hermione said sweetly, her smile taking the sting from her words.

Sirius simply laughed. "You know, Lily once said something very much like that to me."

"Every female you know has said something very much like that to you at one time or another." Remus pointed out.

"You wish you had my charmingly Puckish rogueness to you my friend." Sirius teased. "But then again we needed your devastating command of logic to make all our pranks so very, very delightful. Now let's get inside before Hermione loses the plot entirely."

The friends accompanied their charges and aunt into the Granger residence. Hermione took charge of the introductions. She introduced Harry first. "Mum, dad…I would like you two to meet Harry James Potter, he is currently my boyfriend, but will one day be much, much more."

Harry looked at his father in law and let out what he had intended to be a nice, manly 'nice to meet you sir', but what actually came out as "SQUEEK".

Dion Richard Granger looked at the young man who his daughter said she had some very much important news about and almost smiled. He could read consternation and determination on his angular face, but rather than allowing the boy to marshal his courage and try again, the father looked at him and said, "Yes, yes nice to meet you as well young Harry. Now…can someone tell me why my fourteen year old daughter thinks she has already found the man she is going to marry? Mum…you seem to know more about all this than I would have guessed."

Hermione's mother rolled her eyes. "DR…you can at least let them come in and get settled before you start to give them the third degree." She gave Julia a hug. "Julia, we weren't expecting you today. Did Hermione ring you?"

Julia laughed. "No Juliette dear, I just felt an overwhelming need to stop in for a little visit today." She honestly told her daughter in law.

"Well, you are always welcome, of course, and who did your bring with you?" Juliette Helena Granger said her eyes looking from Remus to DR and back again.

Hermione sighed. "They didn't arrive with Grandmum, but that is definitely a subject for after we've sat down."

Harry and Sirius nodded in agreement. "We have much to discuss." Sirius said as he shook DR Granger's large hand.

Hermione's father led them into the parlour. Juliette took charge from there offering their guests drinks and some small appetizers. Once every one was settled, Julia cleared her throat. "Juliette, Dion, I would very much like to introduce you to Remus Lupin, and Lord Sirius Black. Sirius is young Harry's godfather and Remus shares his guardianship. Remus is also your first cousin."

"What?" DR asked his voice conveying his shock even more than the way he dropped the cheese and cracker he'd selected. "Mum, you're an orphan…how can he be my cousin?"

"Well, that explains why I have the theme song for that old Patty Duke show running through my head." Juliette said with a giggle. Everyone turned to assess the cousins, and suddenly the adults in the room all shared a laugh. Well Sirius looked as confused as Hermione and Harry. "It was a show about two cousins who looked as much alike as identical twins. While DR and Mr. Lupin do not look identical, they are the same height and build. They have very similar eyes."

"They are both complete and total chocoholics." Hermione pointed out as she assessed the physical similarities. Her father and her professor were men of the same height and build. Where Remus' hair was a darker sandy blond, her father had the same chestnut brown as her own curls.

DR Granger also looked his cousin over, choosing to ignore his daughter's 'oh so droll' comment. Remus may have had different facial features, but their overall face shapes were almost identical, and their eye color was nearly the same as well. They both still had heads full of hair at an age where many of their contemporaries were beginning to lose theirs. Remus seemed to be going gray faster than the dentist was, Hermione's father noted to himself. He opened his mouth to say something, only to close it without saying a word. He didn't know exactly what to say in this situation.

Sirius Black, however, was never at a loss for words. He decided to fill the slightly awkward silence that was beginning to stretch through the room. Sirius shook his head. "No one can be as devoted to the fruit of the cocoa bean as much as Remus John Lupin. It just isn't possible."

"Hate to have to correct you Lord Black, but my husband is a dentist and I still find chocolate hidden in all manner of places around the house and our office." Juliette corrected politely.

"It is just Sirius, Mrs. Granger. If we started with saying everyone's titles, we'd be here all day." Remus said kindly. "And as for you Padfoot…you know very well that chocolate is in fact completely medicinal."

"See, I told you Jules…Chocolate is good for the soul." DR said with a big grin. "I would still like to know how my mother, an orphan, managed to have a nephew."

"Because I was never an orphan in the traditional sense of the word. How much has Hermione told you about the wizarding world…has she explained to you about pureblood families and squibs?" Jillian/Julia asked her son.

"Yes…a squib is the antithesis of Hermione. She is a muggleborn, a witch born to two muggles. But a squib is a muggle born to a witch and a wizard." Juliette said illustrating where Hermione had gained her cleverness.

"Exactly, I am a squib. I was born to Augustulus and Meridah Lupin seventy three years ago. However unlike Hermione, I never received a letter to attend Hogwarts, so my father brought me into the muggle world and left me at an orphanage. It was there I met Donovan Granger. He was already through the system and worked there. He and I married when I turned eighteen. However, try as we might, we didn't have you Dion until I was in my thirties." She took a deep breath. "Before I was brought to the muggle world, I had a brother…Orestes. Orestes received his letter and went to Hogwarts, just as Hermione did. As soon as he was of age, he came into the muggle world to find me. And while he visited me as often as he could, when he wed, he could no longer come. Father had ordered that his new bride was to nothing of the 'family's shame'. He was waiting until father died and his edict died with him to tell his wife and I now know, sons about me. But he was killed when Remus was just five." Tears rolled down Julia's cheeks, "If I had only known that Remus existed, you two could have grown up as brothers. The ministry would have let me raise him despite my lack of magic since he'd been bitten. They would never have cared." She cried almost incoherently.

Remus took up the explanation for her. Explaining not only his affliction but also the bigotry and prejudice in magical world; he also took a moment to explain about all they had learned at Gringotts concerning Hermione and her bloodlines. He finally finishes by summarizing, "You see because Dion is actually a second generation squib of a powerful line, and Juliette is from a line of squibs from a very powerful family line gone dormant, Hermione is really a rather powerful witch."

"Understated as only a British man can." Sirius joked. "Hermione is brilliant, and so powerful that the fates have given her a very powerful soulmate to compliment her."

"Soul…mate…" DR asked quietly.

"Oops." Sirius whispered guiltily. "Oh well, I wasn't supposed to say that yet. We were going to ease you into the knowledge. Hermione and Harry are soulmates and they were bound a week ago."

Hermione rushed to explain everything to her parents. Thankfully she was backed up by both her grandmother and her kinsman. Harry was too busy throwing glares at his godfather and worried glances at his father in law to be of much assistance. The Granger family argued in a way that was foreign to all the outsiders with the exception of Julia. They didn't yell and scream. There was no storming off or slamming of doors; instead it seemed almost like a well-reasoned and logical debate. They took turns, and made actual points. At one point Remus leaned over and whispered, "what are we seeing here?" but Julia shushed him as she was engrossed in following Hermione's logical arguments. For the next forty-five minutes, Remus, Harry and Sirius watched as the adult Grangers laid out their reasons for their disbelief, and unhappiness with the situation, only for each of them to be rebutted and refuted by their daughter. As they neared the end of their arguments, Hermione's parents were still grumbling, but Hermione was smiling as big as she ever had.

"Just because you've entered a world full of mythical creatures, doesn't make every piece of mythology that you encounter valid. 'Soul Mates' is a nice mythos, but it doesn't make it real." Juliette volleyed at hoping to make a damaging point.

"Exactly Mother. I've entered a world where most 'myths', certainly every concept we believed in as children but are then trained up to scoff at is completely real. Where unicorn and centaurs and phoenixes live and breathe. Where men and women can and do turn into animals and back again. I know that the soul mate mythos is real because I've experienced it firsthand. Remus can tell you about what happened and what he saw. There is real, concrete evidence to support the claim, including the fact that as soon as we entered Gringotts yesterday I was addressed as Lady Potter."

"Lady…you're already married?" DR asked throwing a hard glance at Harry.

"Only in the legal sense. We've not actually consummated the bond yet, but we have reached the point in the bonding where magic itself considers us married, so the establishments of magic can do no less." Hermione pointed out. "Harry is looking forward to dating and all of that. I want my wedding after I graduate…but we will need to spend more time together as the bond fully stabilizes. If we handle everything correctly, we should be able to spend more than a few hours apart before we start to feel anxious and annoyed." She tried to succinctly summarize the feelings that had been growing in her since she awakened that morning, only to vanish the moment Harry took her hand in his.

"Well, I suppose I should welcome you to the family, Harry." DR finally grumbled.

"Uh, thank you sir. I do promise that when the time comes to make this marriage a real reality in addition to it being a legal one as it currently is, I will come to you before hand as a man should." Harry hurried to assure his father in law.

With a heavy sigh, DR shook hands with the boy who would be his daughter's always. "Now then, might I suggest we have lunch before you all drop anymore bombs on us." He said as he led them into the dining room.

Remus and Sirius took the lead in bringing the Grangers up to speed on everything that had they had learned the day and night before.

***Some Beach***

Gringotts Bank
London, England

Only years of mastering his emotions and the oaths he took as the boy's godfather gave Severus Snape the ability not to crow in absolute happiness at the news that his godson had just received. "What do you mean there is no fortune?" Draco gasped again.

Slapshank, the Malfoy family account manager, was showing all the delight Severus was keeping hidden. "I mean that your father died owing the Black and Potter families about one million, seven hundred, fifty thousand galleons. After liquidating all assets, and draining all Malfoy family vaults, there is still a debt of fifty-seven thousand galleons. Normally we would simply drain your trust account, but you do not have that entire amount in Trust anyway, and in deference to the Black blood in your veins, your cousin and his godson have agreed not to call those debts due at this time."

"But how? I have been to the family vaults with my father, seen the ledgers…this is not possible." He shouted.

"Your father heavily mortgaged the dower property that your mother brought into the marriage to fund his bribes and other illicit activities. Your grandfather heavily mortgaged the main estate to fund his illicit activities. His marriage brought in enough to bring his debts even, but there was no equity left in the estate. Had your father not gained an exorbitant dowry when he married your mother, he would have been forced to sell off parts of the estate. Instead he was simply able to mortgage the estate once again. His marriage was dissolved by the Head of the Black family when he found your father to be abusing your mother. Her dowry was immediately returned to the Black family, with interest." Slapshank neglected to mention the move had been in the works already anyway. "All outstanding debts were rendered due immediately. Your estate has been confiscated to settle said debts. What was once known as Malfoy manner now belongs to Lord and Lady Potter and the dower property has reverted to the Black estate."

"But I am a Black!" Draco reasoned. "I have Black blood, you said so yourself."

Another, rather distressing, smirk crossed Slapshank's face. "Are you really? Well, then…as a Black, did you visit your mother before coming here today? You were informed that she was asking for you, and yet you stormed into the bank and demanded a meeting with me rather than seeing to her needs. That action has seen you banished from the Black family line. You, Lord Malfoy may have the blood of the Black Family, but you will never see a single knut from their coffers."

Draco turned to look at his godfather. Before he could open his mouth, Snape cut him off with a harsh glare. "I advised you against this course of action. Your father was dead and you mother grievously injured due to his truly horrific actions; anyone in their right mind would have rushed to their mother's side. But you felt gold and unnecessary, groundless vengeance was more important." He told the boy who he now realized would never be a man.

The blond stood and stormed out of the office and the bank. He knew that he needed to find some way to get back his family fortunes. He also knew that as he was damn near penniless…the fifty thousand galleons in his trust vault would barely last him a year. He needed to marry well and do so before the news broke that he was in dire financial straits.

Severus thanked Slapshank for his time and left the band in higher than usual spirits. He immediately made his way to St. Mungo's to check on Narcissa. As he did he never thought that his life would change almost as drastically as Draco's had that very afternoon.

***Something to Talk About***

Hogwarts Castle
Headmaster's Office

Due to copious amounts of information to catalogue and work through, Minerva and Amelia moved their discussion to the headmaster's office. Finally there was only one last subject Amelia needed to deal with. "Minerva, what is to be done about Severus Snape? I'm barely getting qualified aurors because so few have been able to get the needed potion's NEWT. And even those who achieve it do not have all the knowledge they need."

McGonagall shook her head. "I do not know. I need him right now Amelia, he is one of the few who have the knowledge to destroy the soul catchers. I have never understood it. I taught him, he was a magnificent student and an excellent tutor. If you'd have asked me his last term at Hogwarts who would make the best teachers, his name would have been at the top of my list. Perhaps he was simply too young when he took up the mantle. I was definitely against making him a head of house so soon…"

Suddenly a voice called out from the wall of headmasters and mistresses past. "The boy is cursed Minerva."

The school's current Headmistress looked up and was shocked to see that many of the portraits were agreeing with the sentiment. "What do you mean Madame Spore?"

"Young Master Severus, Dumbledore has the boy bound up so tight in so many different curses, he is chocking on a veritable Gorgon's knot. He can't speak of this; he mustn't chide any of the purebloods, brats though they maybe. He must make sure that they never realize that their inbreeding is killing them off. He mustn't treat the Potter boy like a normal student. He must carry on as if he actually agreed with all that pureblood nonsense Young Master Riddle espouses and Dumbledore agrees with when he forgets that we exist. Your potions' master is not allowed to teach. He is not allowed to nurture. The man is more bound to keep Dumbledore's secrets than he would be if he were a house-elf. If you can find a way to break the enchantments then I believe you will find that you have an entirely different young man as the head of Slytherin House…the change will do wonders for the school. Only in the last seventy-five years has the house of ambition been so vilified." Phillipa Spore told her current replacement.

"I need an Unspeakable to the castle as soon as you can manage." McGonagall said quickly to Amelia, "I will have to see if there is any way Gringotts can loan us a curse breaker."

"William Weasley should be arriving back in the country this evening. His father is in St. Mungo's for a week at least. The goblins would love to force you to pay for Bill to be where he needs to be anyway." Amelia said with a small grin.

"Too true." McGonagall whispered. "I only hope that I can authorize the funds."

"Well, we can tell you about Dumbledore's misdealings, so you should find that the goblins will accept your addresses as well." Headmistress Spore said knowledgably. "Once Albus, in his hurry, fully transferred all the school's wards to you; you became the head of the school until you willingly give them back, or pass them to another. He is currently not even considered a professor at this school. At this point, even the board cannot unseat you without a unanimous" The witch in the portrait settled back into her chair with a glad smile on her face. Maybe with McGonagall in place the school could finally be brought back up to the high standards it had always attained in her own tenure as head.

With a smile so large few would have believed her capable of it, Minerva McGonagall turned to the head of the DMLE. "I need my Potions Master back to rights as soon as possible…I will contact Gringotts about Bill Weasley immediately. I'd still an Unspeakable here to provide him with backup. I'm getting Severus free of all the entanglements I can today. And I believe I will need him to exorcise a certain ghost as well."


I am trying to get all my stories caught up. Thank you for all the kind words and reviews.

Please continue to Read & Review

Have a great day,
Illy