A/N- I'm back! I hope that my sequel lives up to everyone's expectations. Please enjoy! Review! –Phoenix
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter
It has been three months since the Spiritual Heirs defeated Voldemort's onslaught of Death Eaters. With the upcoming school year the Heirs reunite and with their training complete, they are ready to take control of the war. Old friends become worst enemies and old enemies become trusted allies. The evil Lords of Dark and Light are growing stronger and only the Spiritual Heirs of Hogwarts who fight for the Gray can use the Magic of Unity and bring the long awaited peace back to Britain.
Over the land of Britain, storm clouds hung constantly, and with them the threat of a great war. It had been three months since the Battle of Blood as it had been named, and a lot had happened since then.
In one part of Britain, there were a vast number of hills. The wind blew consistently and the land ended with the cliffs that hung over the crashing ocean below. On one hill stood a rather large manor, but this manor was only visible and accessible to a privileged few. The manor was home to the four potentially most powerful wizards and witches in the world.
On a flat piece of ground about a half a mile away from the manor was a training ground. There were a series of logs, trees and rocks that served as a natural training set. In the center of the training ground was a large ring. Standing in the ring were two young men who each expertly wielded a sword. One man had a larger, more muscular build, while the other had a leaner build.
In a clash of metal, they met with their swords. While the larger man had the muscle, the leaner man had the skill and quickly got out of the lock. Both men exchanged blows for ten minutes, neither gaining the ground over the other. Their brows were bright with sweat and their breath came out in rapid gasps, but nonetheless there were grins on their faces.
The past three months had changed Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom drastically. After living through the Battle of Blood, they had thrown themselves into developing their skills in preparation of the war. Harry's once bright eyes were now somewhat dim from being separated from his love for so long. And Neville now sported a long scar that cut his right eyebrow in half and went down his cheek which was a souvenir from his final centaur test.
Harry parried Neville's powerful attack and sheathed his sword. "Tie?" he panted.
Neville nodded in agreement and sheathed his sword as well. "Tie," he said. He wiped his brow with his forearm and laughed heartily. "I wonder if we'll ever be able to last longer than ten minutes without hurting each other."
Harry laughed with him. "Ten minutes does seem to be our limit before our instincts kick in. You've certainly come a long way over the summer mate, and I don't doubt that you could beat me if we kept going."
While Neville, Luna, and even Hermione had dedicated their summers to their species training, Harry had taken on most of the drama that seemed to constantly follow them.
The Daily Prophet had been particularly excited to slander Harry for standing up to Scrimgeour. Because the Ministry didn't want to anger the boy-who-lived, they didn't slander him as much as they had done in the past, but that didn't stop them from quickly spreading the unsaid rumor that Harry didn't respect authority figures. Add that on top of the lawsuit that Ginny had attempted to file for the breaking of their betrothal contract. That hadn't gotten very far though because there was the unquestionable evidence that betrothal contracts only burned when the magic binding them was no longer valid. The Daily Prophet and Ginny's poor attempt at a lawsuit had actually been the highlights of their summer.
There had been no word from Hermione ever since she disappeared in the Forbidden Forest. While they had been able to take a little comfort from Winky who informed them that Hermione was alive and well, it did not completely quench their fears that they would never see their lovable bookworm ever again.
Halfway through the summer, Luna had gotten the worst news that she could have possibly received. It seemed that a group of Death Eaters had wanted to take vengeance on Harry Potter and went for Luna's father as he was the most accessible relative of Harry's friends. Luna was devastated to learn that her beloved father had been the victim of the cruciatus to the point when his heart gave out and he passed on. Between Neville's tender love and care and her renewed dedication to learning fairy magic, Luna had pulled through. There were still moments when the pain of being an orphan would be too much, but Neville was always there to support her.
"Those who are prophesized are the ones who suffer the most," Ragnok had told her. Which made sense because now all four Spiritual Heirs were orphans (Neville to a certain degree).
Because the Death Eaters were now very active, Dumbledore had taken it upon himself to lead the Light. Using his influence on the Wizengamot, he started to passive aggressively take control of the Ministry, saying that it was for "the greater good". It started out with coaxing the Wizengamot to vote a few laws to be passed that required certain people to join the Order of the Phoenix. The qualifications for this law were that a person had to be a graduate of Hogwarts and had to be from Gryffindor House. They had been completely stunned when the law passed and that forced Harry and Neville to take their seats on the Wizengamot in order to try to thwart Dumbledore's manipulating antics. Together, Lord Longbottom and Lord Potter-Black had managed to prevent three of Dumbledore's laws from passing, but tried as they may, they couldn't get the laws already in place repealed.
Harry took a deep drink from his water bottle while Neville stretched out his aching limbs. They both froze when they heard an alarmed screech over their heads. When they looked up they both felt their hearts skip a beat when they saw a brown griffin falling to the ground at an alarmingly quick rate.
Without pausing to think, Harry transformed into Ashes and quickly flew up to intercept the falling form. Taking care not to injure her, Harry grabbed her with his talons and effortlessly glided back down to the ground.
"Let me go," Robin protested. "I just lost my balance!"
"Stop squirming," Harry instructed her. "We're almost on the ground."
Robin pouted, but stayed still until Harry placed her on the ground. When released, she shook out her feathers and glared at Harry with Goldengaze's eyes. "I didn't need your help!" she snapped. "I was just coming to get you!"
Harry shifted back and smiled warily at the daughter of his departed friend. Robin had grown a lot over the summer, in more ways than one. She now came up to Harry's waist in height and her wings had grown more powerful to the point where she could fly short distances, though she insisted on pushing herself past her limitations. They did not know how Goldengaze passed the Founder's Blessing to his daughter, and Robin didn't know that she had it. But, Robin was smart enough to know that everyone was protecting her from something, and if there was one thing that the young griffin hated, it was being protected.
"What were you coming to get us for?" Neville asked once he calmed his racing heart.
Robin turned to Neville, excitement in her golden eyes. "Luna is back!"
Neville instantly turned towards the direction of Potter Manor. "Let's go!" He shifted into Titan and crouched so Robin could climb on his back. When Robin was on his back and secure, Neville started bounding towards the Manor in large leaps.
Following Neville's lead, Harry shifted back into Ashes and flew overhead. They made it the half-mile back to Potter Manor in less than thirty seconds. When they were at the door, Harry and Neville shifted back and raced inside with Robin running right behind them.
Neville paused in the doorway. "Luna!" he called. He quickly sniffed the air (a benefit from his dire wolf animagus form) and started racing towards the sitting room with Harry and Robin right behind. He violently pulled open the door to the sitting room and raced inside. When Harry and Robin caught up they both breathed a sigh of relief when they saw Luna, unharmed, being kissed passionately by her fiancée.
The quirky young woman was pale and shaking slightly with exhaustion but her face was set in a triumphant grin. Beside her, Winky was fussing over her, making sure that she ate and that she wasn't harmed. The house-elf sported a slight bump on her abdomen, showing the new life that was growing inside her.
"Mistress Luna needs to eat and regain her strength," Winky said firmly as she shoved a very full plate in Luna's hands.
Luna smiled gratefully at the pregnant elf. "Thank you, Winky. I'm quite famished. But please, you must be exhausted too. Please take it easy. I know that Dobby is fairly protective of you and your baby."
Winky beamed and put her hand on her baby bump. "Dobby is fairly protective of Winky and the baby. Winky is sure that Dobby will be a great father." She paused for a second before adding with a grin, "Although, Winky hopes that the baby will not be as…enthusiastic as his or her father."
Luna giggled and took a bite out of the first thing she grabbed. "Everyone will love your baby no matter what because that baby is the representation of the love that you and Dobby share."
Tears filled Winky's eyes and she gave a curtsy before leaving the sitting room to return to her kitchen. When Winky was gone, they turned their attention back to Luna.
"So?" Robin asked excitedly. "Did you do it?"
Luna's face was full of pride. "I sure did," she said happily. She dug into her pocket and pulled out a simple bottle-cap. "Queen Shimmer blessed it herself. Now, if I ever need her or the Colony, I can call for them. She said that I started the season change in record time," she said proudly.
Neville chuckled and began massaging Luna's stiff shoulders. "You've been gone for days, I never realized how long it took fairies to change seasons (a/n- totally an idea from Tinkerbell)," he commented.
Luna nodded. "Queen Shimmer pulled quite a few strings with the other colonies to get me to start the change from summer to autumn in the States."
"Did you have to do it for the whole country?" Robin asked with wide eyes.
"I took on certain states," Luna clarified with a yawn. "They said that I managed to do the work of a whole colony by myself."
Neville instantly bent over to pick her up in his arms. "You need to rest," he said firmly. "I'm so proud of you love. Now three of us are done with our training," he finished without thinking.
Silence filled the room and Neville looked at Harry guiltily. Harry's dull eyes were now full of pain. Not hearing from his love in three months had taken the biggest toll on Harry out of everything. But, there wasn't anything that any of them could do but wait and pray that Hermione returned to them soon.
The door opened and Dolan poked his head in. "Dinner is ready," he announced with a bow. He saw an exhausted Luna in Neville's arms and smiled. "Would Mistress Luna and Master Neville prefer to be served in their bedroom?"
"No, we'll eat with everyone," Luna said with a raised eyebrow at Neville.
Neville sighed dramatically. "Fine. But, you're still not lifting a finger with anything."
Luna giggled and laid her head on Neville's firm chest. "So you'll feed me then?"
"If that is your desire," Neville said lovingly.
Watching his engaged best friends sent a jolt of pain in Harry's chest as he once again thought of his fiancée. Unable to watch Neville's and Luna's public display of affection any longer, Harry left the sitting room and jogged to the familiars' room. He opened the door and walked up to the tree that served as Kex's den.
"Dinner, Kex," Harry announced.
In the darkness of the tree, Harry could see Kex's emerald eyes gleam and the pine marten agilely climbed out. Over the summer the familiars, minus Ivy, had spent their time doing research for anything that could be considered useful while Neville and Luna finished their species training and Harry got involved in politics.
Kex leapt at Harry and clung to his human's outstretched arm before taking his spot on Harry's shoulder. "How was your day?" Kex asked. "Mine was boring. I hate the library."
Harry chuckled and started walking back downstairs. "Don't let Ivy hear you say that," he joked weakly. "You don't have to do research. You could come with me."
Kex shook his head. "I need to feel useful," he said. "If I go with you to deal with the political stuff then I'm just a dumb animal to everyone else. Even if I don't particularly enjoy it, I'm going to keep researching for anything that can tell us about the Founder's Blessing. "
They went the rest of the way in silence. When they arrived downstairs, they were surprised to find Neville, still holding Luna, talking to Ragnok.
"Ragnok, what causes you to honor us with your presence?" Harry asked as he walked up to the goblin. Instantly his mind went to the worst, "Is Master Zux alright?" he demanded.
Ragnok raised his hand calmly. "Zux is fine, Harry," he assured him. "But, I am afraid that my visit is not for pleasure."
Harry sighed and gestured towards the dining room. "Will you join us for dinner then?" he invited graciously. "If we're going to learn bad news then we might as well do it while eating a good meal."
Ragnok chuckled and nodded. "I would love to join you, Harry."
They all headed towards the dining room and sat around the table. Neville gently helped Luna into a chair and sat down next to her with Sage awkwardly sitting on the chair next to him and Fay, still sporting scars from Fawkes's attack, sitting on the table. Willowsong sat on the floor without a chair and fussed over Robin who was in a chair. Dobby made Winky sit down and rest while he brought the food out and then sat next to his life-mate. Harry sat at the head of the table with Ragnok on his right as his honored guest.
"Everything looks great, Winky," Harry praised as he filled his plate. Kex climbed down Harry's arm and started picking off Harry's plate as he usually did.
Winky beamed at the praise and started eating under Dobby's watchful gaze.
Ragnok waited until they had eaten before he announced the news. "You are aware of the Wizengamot meeting that takes place tomorrow?" he asked Harry.
Harry nodded and took a sip from his goblet. "Dumbledore wants to present another law. Neville and I are both going to prevent it, although I don't know what it is."
"It isn't a law, it's a tax," Ragnok informed him. "Even though Voldemort himself hasn't done anything, his Death Eaters have done a lot of damage over the summer. Dumbledore wants to impose a tax in order to fund his Order."
Harry's eyes narrowed as he connected the dots. "He wants to tax the goblins?"
Ragnok nodded warily. "He calls it the Residence Tax," he said distastefully. "It taxes those who are not wizards who reside in wizard villages. It would force the goblins to pay a tax for every Gringotts that is open in Britain."
"He won't do that," Harry said fiercely. "I won't let him."
Ragnok smiled at Harry. "While I appreciate your loyalty to my people, Harry, I do not know if you will be able to prevent him. I am here on King Zesd's orders to request that you tell the Wizengamot that if the tax is imposed, then all Britain Gringotts branches will relocate outside of the country. This would cost the wizarding world thousands of galleons of interest and they would lose the security of our banks. But, Dumbledore doesn't care about that. He doesn't believe that the goblins will leave, I actually believe that he forgets that there's a whole world outside of Britain."
Harry chuckled dryly. "I'll do everything in my power to prevent this from happening," he promised.
"Thank you, Harry," Ragnok said sincerely. "There's another matter that I wished to tell you. I know that you have tried to release as many powerless Death Eaters as possible to prevent them from hurting anyone else, but I took it upon myself to test out another possible security measure. Zux captured a Death Eater and sent him to the Gringotts dungeons where we severed the Death Eater's marked arm. We have kept the Death Eater alive in order to keep the mark alive and my goblins are working on a sort of border protection. When we find a powerful enough magical source, we will be able to prevent anyone with Voldemort's mark from leaving Britain."
Luna's stormy eyes were wide. "That's brilliant," she gasped. "Is there a way to centralize the border even more?"
Ragnok thought about this for a moment before shaking his head. "Not unless we had a large magical conduit. We're using a power source in every Gringotts around the country which is how we're able to pull the border lockdown off. If we were to centralize the location, then we would need one power source that contains more energy than all of our Gringotts branches all in one spot."
Luna nodded in understanding. "I'll do some research to see if I can find anything that might work though," she said.
"It would be a great way to trap multiple Death Eaters and then take care of them," Ragnok said. "But for now I will be happy to be able to keep the Death Eaters in Britain."
They finished dinner and bid farewell to Ragnok. Dobby led an exhausted Winky to their shared dwellings and Neville carried a still weary Luna to their room with Sage and Fay right behind. Harry and Kex sat by themselves in the dining room for a while until they couldn't put it off any longer and went upstairs for bed.
Harry changed in silence into his pajamas and climbed into bed, feeling Hermione's absence more than ever. The nights were always the worst. Hermione's side of the bed was cold from lack of use in the past three months. Kex, trying to respect Hermione's side, slept on the headboard. Even though he and Ivy were not romantic because they were different species, she was his best friend and he missed her dearly. They both slept uneasily with a hole in their hearts that would not be filled.
The next morning Harry woke up, showered and got dressed in his Wizengamot robes that had the Potter crest on his chest with the Black crest right beneath it. He gave Kex a quick bath before putting Kex's vest, now sporting the Black and Potter crest signifying Kex as Harry's true familiar. Looking their best, they went downstairs for breakfast.
Neville was already in his Wizengamot robes and Sage had obviously been bathed just like Kex. The Wizengamot hadn't been exactly thrilled the first time that the familiars had attended a meeting, but they compromised saying that if the "animals" were clean then there would be no objections.
"How's Luna?" Harry asked as he sat down and began filling his plate.
"Still sleeping," Neville responded as he took a sip of coffee. "I didn't want to wake her so I left a note. Are you dreading this as much as I am?"
Harry sighed and took a bite of his eggs. "I always dread being anywhere near Dumbledore."
They shared a dry laugh with that. A dignified hoot sounded above their heads and they looked up to see a white owl gracefully gliding through the open window near the ceiling. The owl flew down to the table and held out a leg to present a rolled up piece of parchment to Harry.
"Good morning, Hedwig," Harry greeted cheerfully as he took the parchment. He grinned at the red collar that Hedwig proudly wore. "And how is Lord Potter-Black's personal messenger owl doing this morning?"
Hedwig hooted happily and nipped gently at Harry's fingers.
"How about we go flying together when I come back later today?" Harry asked. "I love to stretch my wings after being cooped up in a courtroom for hours."
Hedwig hooted in agreement, took a piece of bacon from Harry's plate, and flew back out the window.
Harry opened the letter and sighed irritably.
"What is it?" Neville asked.
"They moved the hearing up thirty minutes," Harry said as he quickly finished his breakfast. "Probably an attempt by Dumbledore to keep us out of the hearing. It would have worked too if Hedwig wasn't as good as she is. We have ten minutes."
Neville nodded and finished his food before standing up and walking with Harry towards the sitting room where the floo was. Sage hovered by the table, grabbing one last sausage in his jaws before trotting after his wizard.
Inside the sitting room, Dobby was cleaning. "Morning, Dobby," Harry greeted as he swiftly walked over to the fireplace. "The meeting got moved up. Don't expect us to be back in time for lunch." Dobby had just enough time to greet Harry before Harry and Kex vanished in the emerald flame with Neville and Sage right behind.
Harry stifled a yawn as Dumbledore droned on for hours about how the Light did not have the same resources that Voldemort had and that the Order of the Phoenix was the Light's best chance to survive the war.
"This is boring," Kex commented from his spot on Harry's shoulder.
Harry nodded in agreement as it is considered inappropriate to interrupt the Supreme Mugwump. Beside him, Neville stifled his laughter and turned it into a cough. At his feet, Sage wasn't as subtle, but thankfully those who didn't understand the wolf could only hear what could be best described as a sneeze.
At his podium, Dumbledore continued to talk about the Residence Tax. "Each non-human entity that wishes to reside in a wizarding village in Britain would pay a fine of 1,000 galleons a month. This tax would go to fund the Order of the Phoenix which will surely be the best opposing force from Voldemort's Death Eaters." Around the courtroom, Harry noticed with fury that a lot of people were nodding in agreement.
Harry raised his wand, signifying that he wished to speak. While to others he looked calm and collected, on the inside he was fuming.
"Yes, Harry," Dumbledore said pleasantly.
"That's Lord Potter-Black to you," Harry said coolly as he stood up. "This tax is only going to hurt the wizarding population. The goblins have thirty Gringotts branches in Britain alone, and they are not going to pay 30,000 galleons a month to run their branch."
"And what makes you say that?" an elderly wizard, whose name Harry didn't remember, asked.
Harry unsheathed his sword which had been disillusioned. Everyone in the courtroom gasped in shock at the sudden appearance of a weapon, but Harry ignored them. "I am a friend of the goblins and my goblin warrior name is Lightscar," Harry said calmly. "I have been given the honor of representing the goblin nation to thwart this abomination. King Zesd of the goblins has requested that I tell you that if this tax does indeed pass, then they will close all Gringotts in Britain. This will cost every witch and wizard a great deal of money from interest and they will lose the security that Gringotts provides. There are enough Gringotts branches outside of Britain to support the goblin nation and they will not lose any sleep over leaving Britain."
Alarmed exclamations were heard in the courtroom. "They wouldn't dare!" one witch shouted.
"They would," Harry retorted with a shrug. "Believe it or not, the goblins do not depend on your business in Britain. If this tax passes, the goblins will be gone by tomorrow."
Silence filled the courtroom and Harry got grim satisfaction from the subtle glare that Dumbledore was sending in his direction.
"It must be done for the greater good," Dumbledore insisted. "This is just a bluff, the goblins would not leave Britain."
"Are you willing to bet?" Harry asked with a glare.
Always loyal, Neville raised his wand and didn't even bother waiting for Dumbledore's consent before he stood. "You all seem pretty quick to judge what's for the greater good," he began cheerfully. "So long as you're not the ones who have to give anything up. When you let Dumbledore pass the Gryffindor Draft none of you cared because you don't have anyone who is in Gryffindor, they're all in the three other houses."
Some members of the Wizengamot at least had the decency to look ashamed, but Neville wasn't done.
"If this tax passes, then you lot aren't any better than Voldemort," Neville said, suddenly cold. "You let your prejudice hurt others and you still feel good about yourselves while you drink your Odgen's Finest while others are suffering."
Dumbledore watched with narrowed eyes while murmurs of agreement went through the Wizengamot. "We need this money to win the war," he insisted.
"Then tax everyone at a fair rate," Harry said reasonably. "The tax that you're proposing for the goblins is way too high. If every wizarding family is taxed a small amount, then altogether you would have a decent amount of funds for the war."
"Wizarding families have enough to worry about without having to pay a tax," Dumbledore said patronizingly.
Kex began snapping profanities at Dumbledore, but to him they just sounded like a long series of squeals.
"Lord Potter-Black, please quiet that animal," Dumbledore said firmly.
Kex snapped his strong jaws in Dumbledore's direction, but calmed down after a look from Harry.
"That is my true familiar that you insult," Harry said dangerously.
Dumbledore instantly went back to grandfather mode. "I am sorry if you think that I insulted him my boy," he said cheerfully.
"Lord Potter-Black," Harry corrected coldly. "I suggest that you do not forget that again."
Ignoring Harry's subtle threat, Dumbledore said, "all those in favor of passing the Residence Tax?"
Harry held his breath as a large group of the Wizengamot held up their wands in favor.
Harry and Neville instantly held up their own wands, and because Harry held two votes, his wand let out a few sparks signifying that it held two votes.
Dumbledore tallied the votes and frowned slightly before sighing heavily. "The Residence Tax has been voted down," he said sorrowfully.
Harry and Neville let out breaths of relief. The Wizengamot session ended quickly and they started walking to the Floo points.
"I am disappointed that you seem to be straying from the Light, Harry," a voice said behind them.
Harry groaned in frustration and turned around to find that Dumbledore had followed them. "Your opinion of the Light involves breeding prejudice against those different from yourself," he said calmly. "First it's the goblins, then it's the centaurs who have to pay you in some way to live in the Forbidden Forest, then it's the werewolves. I can't tell if you even believe that what you're doing is considered Light anymore." Harry grabbed a handful of floo powder and stepped into the fireplace. "And for the record," he said before he threw the powder into the fire. "You are to address me as Lord Potter-Black when we are in session. Potter Manor," he called as he threw the powder into the fire before Dumbledore had the chance to respond.
When his world stopped spinning, Harry stepped out of his sitting room fireplace and dusted off the ash while Kex shook out his pelt.
"That took over three hours," Kex groaned tiredly. "Do you think Winky has lunch ready? We're back sooner than we thought we would."
Harry chuckled and stepped aside so Neville and Sage could step out of the fireplace. The two of them could barely fit in a fireplace together and as usual, they ended up tripping over each other on the way out.
"Having fun?" Harry asked cheekily.
On the floor, Neville gave Harry a good-natured glare before standing up and dusting himself off. "You try fitting with a wolf that needs to lose a few pounds in a tight fireplace."
"Hey," Sage objected. "My body is perfect."
Neville chuckled and helped Sage with getting some ash out of his pelt. "If you say so. Let's go to the dining room, thwarting Dumbledore always makes me hungry."
Laughing, they went down to the dining room. When they entered the room they saw Luna talking excitedly with someone whose back was to them. The visitor had light-brown hair that was in a single braid that went down to the middle of his or her back. The visitor seemed to be wearing a light-green tunic that went down to the knees that was made out of an unknown material and had stitching running down the sides. The visitor also wore tight brown pants and dark-brown leather boots that went halfway up to the knee.
"Luna," Neville said cautiously. "Who's this?"
Luna looked at the boys and smiled happily with unshed tears in her eyes. "An old friend."
Before Neville could ask any more, the visitor stood up and faced them. It was a young woman. Her body was slender, but she had nice tone muscles. Everything about her body said graceful. Her skin was tan and there were a few freckles scattered over her nose. Her ears, to Harry's surprise, were slightly pointed much like Dobby's or Winky's were and one of them had a silver ring pierced through. But, what stuck out the most to Harry were the chocolate brown eyes that looked at him with such love that he felt his heart fill with warmth for the first time in three months.
A/N- And so it begins! Review! -Phoenix