This is the chapter that some of you were waiting for! Harry's meeting with Andromeda and Harry boarding the Hogwarts Express! I can feel your excitement! Hahaha
Once again, Lots of praise to my awesome co-writer and friend Tymes24! (Enthusiastic Applause) Enjoy and review!
P.s- I am aware that there are several mistakes in the last chapter. When I'm completely finished with this story I'll go back and correct them all but until then, you'll have to bear it!
Also, I have received complaints about making Harry too advanced too fast but I thought it was obvious that due to his Elf nature, that would happen. I'll try to slow him down in the future but in the end, this is my story and I'll write it the way I want. However, thanks for all of the positive constructive criticism, please continue to send them.
"The next few years are going to be interesting."
Chapter Five: Busy Blacks
Harry was so relieved that Andromeda had agreed to meet with him that he didn't know what to do first. He and his room were already clean and he had already packed his bag with medical supplies that he may need at any moment, so all he had to do was leave.
Looking down at his casual muggle outfit, Harry groaned and summoned his trunk to him. He rummaged through his wizarding clothes before pulling out a pair of black slacks, a black dress shirt, a dark green tie, a pair of shiny dragon-hide boots, and his new dark green cloak.
He quickly changed into this new outfit and admired himself in the mirror before summoning the Potter account book, which he stuffed into his new bag. He mentally went over everything he'd like to talk about with Ms. Black before he nodded and looked at Hedwig who was watching him with amusement.
"Don't look at me like that! This meeting is important and could change a lot. I don't know how long I'll be gone but I'll leave the window open so that you can come and go as you please." Harry said. Hedwig rolled her eyes but hooted a sarcastic 'Thanks.'
Harry held one strap of his bag in his left hand while he cast a locking charm on the door to prevent anyone from entering his room. Looking around one last time before closing his eyes and focusing on the image of the Leaky Cauldron, Harry once again disappeared in a ripple of disturbed air.
He appeared just inside the pub and mentally groaned as he saw that everyone in the pub had noticed his arrival. To avoid the mob that was sure to crowd him once the shock wore off, Harry practically ran over to the fireplace.
Grabbing a handful of green floo powder from a bowl on the fireplace's mantle, Harry through it in the empty fireplace and jumped when emerald flames burst into existence. Harry took one look over his shoulder and growled when someone yelled, "Oh look, it's Harry Potter!"
That seemed to break everyone's shock and as they rushed toward him, Harry hurriedly stepped into the expanded fireplace and said, "Black Businesses!" The last thing he saw before he was whipped away was a crowd of disappointed witches and wizards trying to catch him.
Harry could testify, with the utmost honesty, that floo travel was the worst thing he had ever experienced. Not only did he get ash and soot on his new outfit, but he had hit his elbows on various grates on the way to his destination. After banging his elbow for the sixth time, Harry figured it'd be smartest to simply tuck his elbows to his sides, clutch his bag as tightly as possible, and close his eyes to ward off the nausea.
The rapid spinning was not helping his nerves about meeting Ms. Black but there was nothing he could do. Harry was completely taken by surprise when he was unceremoniously thrown from the fireplace onto an obviously expensive black and silver carpet, soot and all.
"That was quite the entrance, though I thought you'd be more graceful Mr. Potter." said a feminine and very much amused voice. Harry's face burned as he stood up and made a futile effort to brush the soot away from his clothes.
He felt a sucking sensation surround him and looked down at his clothes before realizing that the woman had cleaned his outfit with a simple spell. Harry mentally berated himself for not doing that himself before remembering that he wasn't supposed to be able to do magic outside of school.
"If you are done with your internal conversation, we may proceed to my office." The woman said. Harry finally took the opportunity to look at the woman that was speaking to him. She was tall though she wasn't wearing heels or boots, and she had a slim figure.
Her black hair was waist-length and curly yet seemed forcibly restrained to not be wild. She had slightly tanned skin as if she spent some time outdoors and she stood with a proud yet kind posture.
Her face was smooth, not yet touched by age, and her red lips curved into an amused smile, laugh lines betrayed her professional manner. Her dark blue eyes studied him as he did the same to her, they were kind as well, inviting yet telling him that no one irked her without consequences. All in all, she seemed to be a natural beauty yet Harry could since something innately dark about her. That's not to say that she was evil, but Harry had a feeling that it'd be in his best interest to stay on her good side.
"Yes, ma'am." Harry said hurriedly. Ms. Black smiled and led the way through the reception area. Harry was annoyed with himself for being so caught off guard so he hurried to take in his surroundings as he normally did.
The reception area was simple enough. A large circular room with one big window that overlooked what looked like Knockturn Alley. The reception desk was neat with papers and envelopes here and there yet no one sat at the desk. The walls were a dark grey color and the plush seats matched the black and silver carpet. Harry could smell coffee and new parchment, and the air around him seemed to suffocate him with the all-business atmosphere.
Harry followed Ms. Black through the reception area and down a wide hallway with many open doors. Harry peeked into most of them as they walked by and saw that they were either an office with people working in them, or what seemed to be rooms filled with files. Harry tried to stick his head into one of those offices but something seemed to push him back.
"Protection charms, Mr. Potter. They keep out people with no business in those rooms, it keeps our clients' files confidential and protected against tampering." Ms. Black said without turning around.
Harry ran his fingers through his blood red hair sheepishly and sank into a semi-meditative state to quickly pull himself together. For the rest of the walk to Ms. Black's office, Harry gathered his thoughts together and prepared himself to talk business.
As they came to a door at the far end of the hallway, Harry could see that Ms. Black was definitely the boss. Her office was by far the largest office in the whole building and it screamed business not pleasure. It was decorated similarly to the reception area but with more furniture, some file cabinets, and of course a large desk that sat in front of a glass wall that overlooked where Diagon and Knockturn Alley met.
"Please take a seat Mr. Potter, coffee, tea?" Ms. Black offered.
"No thanks, I'd rather just skip straight to business if you don't mind. And please, call me Harry." Harry replied.
"Then I insist you call me Andromeda. Ok, enough with the awkward and stifled atmosphere. This doesn't have to be so formal if we don't want it to be and honestly I hate meeting with stuffy old men so meeting with Harry Potter should be an interesting break." Andromeda said as she made herself a cup of coffee.
Harry was a bit taken aback by her casual attitude which was a far cry from her boss-type demeanor in the hall but he shrugged it off and relaxed in his chair.
"That's part of the problem. People look at me like some performer monkey, like I'm simply here to entertain them." Harry said softly.
"That will take time for people to see you for you, but for now, let's focus on what we can do now. Let's start with your inheritance, what do you know about that?" Andromeda asked. She pulled a legal pad from inside her desk and dipped a large eagle-feather quill into a small pot of black ink.
"My muggle guardian and aunt told me about my three vaults." Harry informed. Andromeda wrote something on her pad and then looked up at him expectantly, as if waiting for more information.
Having those dark blue eyes watching him had Harry fiddling with the sleeve of his robes. "That's all you know about your inheritance? Seriously?" Andromeda asked sharply. Harry looked up at her and nodded. She sighed and wrote down some more stuff on the pad.
"It seems we have a lot more to cover than I originally thought. Ok, let's start from the top, who is your Keeper?" Andromeda asked,
"Headmaster Dumbledore, though I didn't know that until a recent trip to Gringotts. I've never met him in person and he's never been to check up on me or contact me except for sending me directions to Diagon Alley." Harry replied.
"That is a clear violation of his duties as your Keeper and I highly doubt that your parents assigned him to be your Keeper in the first place. Have you read your parent's will yet?" Andromeda continued, not looking up from her writing.
"No, I was unaware that they had a will and I never thought to ask. They did leave me letters though, my mum mentioned that she hoped my aunt was taking good care of me," at Andromeda's questioning look, Harry hurriedly continued, "which she, she treats me as her own son." He finished honestly.
"We'll have to locate your parent's official will then. Seeing as Dumbledore has neglected his duties as your Keeper, we will have to hire a tutor or two to get you up to date on your future duties as Heir Potter and eventually, Lord Potter." Andromeda added. Harry watched her write quickly and voiced his next question.
"Duties? I know that I'll be Lord Potter, but what does that really mean?"
"As Lord Potter, you will have a seat on the Wizengamot, the wizarding parliament, and therefore would be able to vote on bills and laws, you would have a say in the government. However, because you are not only a Lord, but also a Potter and the Boy Who Lived, "she noted his grimace at the nickname, "you will have that much more power. Your family has a long history of having a lot of influence in the way or world works but since your parents were killed and you disappeared, people have turned to Dumbledore for guidance. Once we get your family name back up to where it should be people will look to you to lead our world into the next stage, no pressure." She added with a smirk.
Harry gave a sarcastic grin and rolled his eyes, which made Andromeda chuckle. This was a lot to take in but Harry needed to focus on sorting this all out first.
"You will need to know Finances and Politics, as well as all of the dirty little tricks and manipulations that all of the big political players use, people like Dumbledore, Fudge, and Lucius Malfoy." Andromeda said. Seeing Harry's confusion, she added, "We'll also add tutors for Wizarding World History and studies of the government, the latest war, who runs what, who has what kind of power, who uses bribes, who takes bribes, basically everything." Andromeda listed.
"How can I learn all of this in less than a month? Term starts on the 1st!" Harry said, panicked.
"Harry, this is going to take way more than the time we have before school starts. If you can keep up with your classes and such, then I'll be able to appeal to the School Governors to allow you to have tutors on the weekends, during breaks, and whenever you don't have a class." Was the long answer Harry got. He was beginning to understand the magnitude of problems and responsibilities he would be facing once the ball got rolling, and he was just hoping that he had Andromeda to help him along the way.
"We can move on for now. As your solicitor, it is also my job to protect you from slander and the viciousness that is the press. Our world has a particularly ruthless newspaper called the Daily Prophet. The editor, Mickey Grison is your typical slimy kind of person that will do anything for money and he hires people of the same mind-frame." Andromeda began. She finally stopped writing and she looked at Harry with full seriousness.
"A few years ago, Grison hired a new reporter names Rita Skeeter. No one knows how but that woman can find dirt on anybody, no matter how secret and discreet they are. She has no morals and she'll expose any ones secrets, as long as she finds something juicy enough for a well paying exposé." She stopped.
Harry could see where this was going and he gained a growing foreboding feeling rising in his stomach. It must've showed on his face as Andromeda nodded and said, "I see you understand how this can be a problem. Skeeter especially goes after the careers and names of the biggest people in our world, Dumbledore, the Minister Fudge, and even you. Your name is probably the most well known besides the Headmaster and You-Know-Who."
"I don't understand how someone as…" Harry struggled to find a non-offensive word to describe Andromeda. She waved him on.
"Alright, someone as intimidating as you can't say Voldemort." Harry finished. Instead of looking offended, Andromeda looked rather amused.
"I'm intimidating? And actually, I refer to Voldemort as You-Know-Who for the benefit of my more…. sensitive clients. I thought you of all people would have something to fear of the man who killed your parents."
"I do not fear that bastard, I hate him, but I do not fear him." Harry said fiercely. Andromeda sat back in her chair as she felt the boy's magic stir in his rising temper, he was powerful, that much was true, but he had a lot to learn.
"Fine, as I was saying, your name is one of the most well-known, and because of that, Skeeter will be around more than we would like. She will do anything to drag your name through the mud which is why I need you to do your hardest to not give her ammo."
"For famous people such as yourself, your name is property. Anybody could use your name to endorse anything they wanted. They could put your name on charities and campaigns." Andromeda tried to explain.
"But why is that a bad thing?"
"For example, someone could create a bill that called for the execution of all centaurs. At first, people wouldn't go for it, but what if they put Harry Potter's name on it? Then the whole world would get behind it…"
"Because they think I'm behind it. The whole world would think that I think it's a good idea." Harry finished. The implications for that kind of abuse were just starting to penetrate Harry's mind. Anyone could do anything as long as they put his name on it.
"And it had already begun, for years people have been making products and putting your name, face, and even your scar on it. There are whole brands of Harry Potter merchandise! But if we officially make your name your property, people would have to appeal to you and pay you to use your name. Of course, they'd have to have a contract that I will look over before you sign anything. If you would like, I can started on that as soon as you leave. Once it officially goes through, anyone that has used your name without your permission will have until you leave on the train to Hogwarts to pay you for it." Andromeda explained.
"That's wrong; people shouldn't be using my name for themselves. But, I do understand that's business. Yes, I would you to get on that as soon as you possibly can. What would happen to people who have already bought Harry Potter merchandise?" Harry asked.
Andromeda took a moment to think before saying, "Well, since the items will be…not forbidden but unofficial, they might simply disappear and be replaced with the money spent on it. That way we can be fair and profitable."
"This sounds like a lot of work, don't you have other clients to help?" Harry asked. Andromeda nodded and said, "It is more than I had originally bargained for but I'll be passing my remaining clients on to my lower solicitors in order to fully focus on you."
"Umm, excuse my asking but are you married?" Harry asked suddenly, gesturing to the ring on her finger.
"Yes, though it's not exactly what I had hoped for… but that's neither here nor there." Andromeda said softly.
"Then why does your information at Gringotts say Black instead of…" Harry trailed off.
"My married name is Tonks; I married a muggleborn wizard and was kicked out of my family for it. My sisters were torn up about it but they were forbidden to talk to me, as are the way of the Black family. Anyway, I knew that I would get tons more business from the higher end clients if I used my pureblood maiden name, instead of a muggleborn name so I used it." She explained.
Harry thought on that and shrugged, maybe he'd understand more when he got older, but for now, it was time to prioritize.
"So we know what we have to do, it's just a matter of getting it started. For now, I want you to study way ahead of the other first years so that you have more time for your Lord studies." Andromeda instructed.
"Already done, I'm between second and third year material though I have mastered some really advanced magic. It seems to simply come naturally to me." Harry replied. Andromeda studied him for a second before shrugging.
"Then that makes everything a whole lot easier for everyone, I believe this meeting is over for now but feel free to send me a letter or floo over if you have any questions or problems."
Harry recognized the dismissal and so he stood up and shook her hand before turning and leaving. In the still empty reception area, in mid-step, Harry returned home in a ripple of disturbed air.
The next few weeks until term began were actually very relaxing on Harry once he and Andromeda had exchanged a few letters. Apparently, people were already hurrying to make payments to him, eager to be on his good side.
Harry had decided to take a break from studying for the rest of the vacation and simply enjoy himself, something he did a lot of. He traveled a lot to Diagon and Paradise Alley, taking in all of the sights, buying things he didn't need but wanted, and he actually obtained a bit of a tan. All in all, by the time September 1st rolled around, Harry was relaxed and ready to go.
That morning, Harry was up, packed, and dressed by 6:39 am though the train wouldn't leave the station until 11:00 am. And so Harry had to wait an agonizing four hours until he could leave at an acceptable time.
During that time, Harry had taken it upon himself to make breakfast and chat with his aunt until it was time to go. He had felt her sadness at his leaving and he had assured her that he would not go off and forget his second mother. He had dutifully ignored the glares he was receiving from his uncle and cousin, though Dudley's seemed a forced.
When it was time to leave, there were a lot of tears and hugs. "You had better write young man, or else, you understand?" Aunt Petunia said sadly. Harry simply hugged her once more and nodded, a bit choked up as well.
"Alright then, you go on before you miss the train then." She said, holding him out at arm's length to get one last look at him.
"Bye Aunt Petunia, I'll miss you loads but I'll remember to write, I promise." Harry said honestly. She smiled and nodded.
Harry stepped back, gave one last wave, and disappeared in his unusual way. When he opened his eyes, he was amazed at the sight that greeted him. A huge scarlet train with fluffy white steam coming from over the top of it glistened in the rare sunny day.
He admired the glossy red train until platform caught his eye. Hundreds of people, adults and children, seemed to be packed all into one space, moving about to get onto the train or say one last goodbye to their loved ones.
Harry felt a small stab of envy before he resolved it within himself. He knew his parents loved him tons and didn't want to leave him, so what did he have to be envious of? Harry shook away his thoughts and pushed through the crowd. He had no one to say goodbye to so what was the point of staying on the platform.
He was about to take a step onto the train when he heard a familiar voice say, "Not going to say goodbye Harry?"
He whirled around and looked up into the smiling face of Andromeda Black Tonks. He was shocked; he hadn't expected her to come say goodbye to him.
"I…I…I," was all Harry could stutter out. Andromeda laughed and surprised him by pulling him into a quick hug. It took him a second to focus but when he did, he hugged her back.
When they pulled away, he blushed as Andromeda fussed over him, fixing his tie and shirt collar. Though he seemed embarrassed on the outside, on the inside, Harry was beaming with warmth at the motherly gestures.
"There, now you look respectable." She said. Harry jokingly rolled his eyes and asked, "What are you doing here Andromeda, besides making sure I look respectable?"
"I came to see you off, I figured you wouldn't have anyone to do that, and I couldn't allow you to not get the full experience. I know my daughter would have been heartbroken to see everyone getting hugs from their family and not have me there to do the same." She replied kindly. Harry quickly took a deep breath to hold back the tears that threatened to leak out of his eyes and he hugged her even tighter once more.
She patted his back understandingly and pulled away to look at him, "You be good ok? Not only because you have an image to keep up but also because if you get in trouble, your aunt wouldn't receive the letter about it, I would." She threatened. Harry gulped and nodded furiously. They both paused for a second before bursting into laughter.
"Thank you Andromeda, you don't know how much this really means to me." Harry said softly. She ruffled his hair and gently guided him onto the train as the final whistle sounded.
"You go Harry, be the best at everything and send me a letter on which house you get in, okay?" she said.
"I will, I promise." Harry called as the train slowly took off. He and Andromeda waved until the train disappeared around the bend and out of sight.