The Family Name
By Elbereth in April
Artemis and Butler Flooed from Grimmauld Place directly to Malfoy Manor. However, Narcissa was out shopping with Draco's baby brother. Draco had been on the phone with Ginny (he had gifted her with a mobile phone just before end of term, to her father's extreme delight), but he hung up to hear about their adventure. "Regulus Black, eh? Well, Mum should be back in three hours. You're welcome to hang around. We could read up on Inferi. I know we have a couple of books in our library."
So they read about Inferi, looked at more family history on the Blacks, the Malfoys, and the LeStranges, and books on sensing magical signatures and revealing what is hidden.
Then they both prowled around the extensive manor grounds in their animagus forms, for fun and practice. Butler kept an eye on them both. Finally, they went into Narcissa's lab and brewed an experimental potion or two.
Eventually 3 and ¼ hours had passed and Narcissa returned. She put Ecleus down for a nap, and then agreed to talk to Artemis. "Regulus was his parents' pride and joy," she told them. "He was very popular with the Slytherins. He played Seeker on the House team. He was very good at Charms, and he could always manage to acquire and smuggle Firewhiskey and recreational potions in for illegal celebrations. He should have had a bright future ahead of him. But then, like so many of the rest of us, he got mixed up with the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters."
"Who were his confidantes?"
"I don't think he had anyone like that—that he would share secrets with. I said he was popular, but it was all superficial. He preferred older students and adults. He worshipped the LeStrange brothers, and he adored Bella, and he liked Lucius and Severus and I. But he wouldn't have confessed doubts to any of us; he didn't trust anyone that much. He seemed almost—wary of people. In fact, I think he was fonder of his old house elf than any human."
"Of course," Artemis breathed. "A house elf. He would be perfect to help in such an endeavour. Hermione says Black's house elf hates Sirius, though—but I'd bet he'd be loyal to you, Draco." He thanked Narcissa, and when she had walked away, he said to Draco, "Come on, let's have your cousin officially invite you to his house. You'll enjoy exploring the secret Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. It'll annoy Potter."
Artemis, Butler, and Draco went back through the Floo, to discover that Snape and a mostly recovered Dumbledore had left, but Potter and Black had been joined by Remus Lupin.
The boys nodded solemnly at him. "Professor."
"Hello, Slytherins of the Light. Butler."
"Slytherins of the Light?" they repeated, frowning.
"You know—on the side of good. Harry told me you've been coming up with clever nicknames, Artemis. I rather liked the Nameless One, myself."
The Slytherins exchanged a bemused glance.
"So, you wanted to talk to Kreacher?" Black asked.
"I think it would be best if we did it without you present," Artemis replied. "No offense, but he doesn't seem to care much for any of you."
"You think he'll take to Draco?"
"Then if you don't mind, I would like to speak to him in Regulus's old room."
Sirius hesitated, then nodded, so the two teens went upstairs to the door that was labeled as Regulus's. They walked into the bedroom and looked around.
The room was done in emerald and silver, and the Black Family crest and motto were painted on one wall. A collage of news articles about Voldemort were taped underneath it. Other than that, it was a typical student's room.
"I could be quite at home here," Draco mused, running a hand over a green bed hanging. "Well, once I removed the Unnamed's fan memorabilia."
"If Kreacher doesn't know anything, we'll search the room. I didn't have time earlier. Go on, summon him."
"Kreacher," Draco spoke loudly.
The elf popped into existence beside them. He looked at them uncertainly. "Yes, sirs?"
"Hello, I'm Draco Malfoy, Narcissa's son."
"Miss Cissy's son!" Kreacher smiled. He had just overheard his Mistress's portrait agree that Regulus would like Miss Cissy's son. "I is happy to meet you! Mistress always approved of Miss Cissy."
"Naturally. She was friends with Cousin Regulus, as well."
"Master Regulus had proper pride and dignity, just like a true pureblood. Master Regulus always liked Kreacher."
Draco smiled and patted Kreacher's head. The elf looked quite overwhelmed. "You've always served the Black Family well, have you not?"
Kreacher immediately wailed and began to beat his chest with his fists. "Kreacher did wrong! Kreacher failed in his orders!"
"Explain. Does this have to do with the locket that the Dark Lord entrusted to Regulus? Did Regulus have you help him with it?"
"Mundungus Fletcher stole the locket months ago! He nicked it from the drawing room. I saw him and told him to stop, but he just laughed and ran…" He moaned, hitting himself harder.
"Stop that. I want you to make amends in a different way," Draco ordered. Kreacher obeyed at once. "Start by telling me everything."
"One day after Master Regulus had joined the Dark Lord, he came to me and said the Dark Lord needed an elf. Master Regulus volunteered Kreacher. It was an honor. I must do what the Dark Lord said and then c-come home. The Dark Lord took Kreacher with him to a cave beside the sea. There was a b-basin full of potion... the Dark Lord made Kreacher drink it…"
Now the elf was shaking. "Kreacher drank, and as he drank, he saw terrible things. Kreacher's insides burned… Kreacher cried for Master Regulus to save him, but the Dark Lord only laughed… He made Kreacher drink all the potion… he dropped a locket into the empty basin… he filled it with more potion… and then the Dark Lord sailed away, leaving Kreacher on the island…"
"How did you escape?" asked Draco, voice full of pity.
The elf didn't appear to hear him. "Kreacher needed water, he crawled to the island's edge and drank from the black lake… dead hands came out of the water and dragged Kreacher under the surface…"
Artemis's eyes were wide and fascinated. "And? How did you get away?"
The elf blinked. "Master Regulus told Kreacher to come back."
"Master Regulus told Kreacher to come back."
Very slowly, Artemis smiled. "Elf magic is very different to human magic, isn't it? What all can you do, I wonder?"
"And Voldemort never thought of that," Draco realized. "He didn't know a witness to his doings had survived. He never would have considered a house elf a threat."
"The house elf's highest law is his master's bidding," Kreacher informed Artemis. "Kreacher was told to come home, so Kreacher came home."
"You told Master Regulus what had happened, of course. Then what?"
"Master Regulus was very worried. He told Kreacher to stay hidden. Then awhile later, Master Regulus came to Kreacher again, disturbed in mind… and he asked Kreacher to take him to the cave. M-Master Regulus had another locket." The elf began to cry. "He told Kreacher to take it, and when the basin was empty, to s-switch lockets… He ordered Kreacher to leave—without him. To go home—and never tell my Mistress what he had done, but to destroy the first locket."
"So. Regulus drank the potion, and died," Artemis confirmed.
The elf sobbed harder.
"Then you brought the locket home… but couldn't destroy it."
"Nothing Kreacher did made any mark upon it," the elf moaned. "Kreacher tried everything he knew, but nothing would work… Kreacher punished himself, and he tried again, over and over… Kreacher failed to obey orders!"
"Then it's been in this house all this time, until one of the Order members stole it. How ironic."
"He's just a petty thief, hangs out in Knockturn Alley a lot," Draco said. "Borgin & Burkes deals with him sometimes. It'll be easy enough to run him down and find out who he sold it to."
"Indeed. We'll track it down, buy or steal it back, and then, Kreacher, we know of a way to destroy it. We will fulfill your master's final wish."
Kreacher burst into fresh, grateful tears.
Artemis patted Kreacher on the shoulder. "In return, I have a few questions for you about house elf magic…"
After Artemis finished his interview with Kreacher, he grilled Draco's elf, Tassie, about elf magic, as well. Then they returned to the living room to tell Sirius and Potter about Mundungus Fletcher.
Sirius was incensed, of course, at having his property stolen, even if it was something that probably he would have gotten rid of in their first house cleaning.
"You think it would be better to track him down that way than talk to him at the next Order meeting?"
"Yes. I'll talk to Borgin & Burkes, too," Draco said. "They still value the Malfoy Family trade."
"I'll let you know once we've acquired it," Artemis assured them. "We'll need your fang to destroy it, after all."
Two weeks later, mid-August, Artemis and Butler cornered Fletcher at a dingy pub in Knockturn Alley. All it took was Butler cracking his knuckles and smiling to get Fletcher to spill everything.
"I was selling in Diagon Alley and she come up to me and asks if I've got a license. She was gonna fine me, but she took a fancy to the locket an' told me she'd take it and let me off, and fink meself lucky."
"Some Ministry hag. Little woman. Bow on top of her head. Looked like a toad."
"Ah." Artemis nodded. "I've seen her at the Ministry. Very good then. Perhaps I'll find some use for you again later. But if you ever try to steal from me, Mr. Fletcher, I'll let Butler throw you in a pen of wild hippogriffs. Understood?"
Fletcher swallowed hard. "Right. Happy to be of service. By the way, does Black know I… um, liberated a few items from him?"
"Oh, yes. You may want to be more careful in future."
"Dolores Umbridge? You're kidding me," Draco huffed.
"You didn't like her any better than I did?"
"I despise her. She's Fudge's sycophant."
"Would she respond best to blackmail or bribery?"
"What do you say to delegating this job to my mother? A rich pureblood woman is by far the best option for dealing with Ministry lackeys."
"I do believe you have a point. But is it safe for your mother to handle a Horcrux?"
"As long as she's not trying to destroy it, she should be fine, right?"
"Should be, yes."
"She'll be happy to help, then."
Five days after that, Draco and Artemis and Butler stood by a fireplace, waiting to welcome Black and Potter to Malfoy Manor. "Somewhere, the devil has hypothermia," Butler muttered.
Artemis smirked. "We don't want to carry a Horcrux all over creation if it's not necessary. Narcissa brought it here; best to destroy it here."
"So you keep saying," Draco grumbled. "I think you just find the idea of Potter here amusing."
"That, too." His smirk widened.
The Floo flared, interrupting them, and Potter wobbled out and fell directly at Draco's feet. "Oh, that totally makes it almost worth it…"
"Shut up, Malfoy," Potter snapped, flushing and jumping to his feet as Black exited the fireplace.
"Of course not, Cousin." Draco smiled impishly. He held up a drawstring pouch and handed it to Harry. "Your turn, Potter."
Harry peeked inside the bag at the locket. "We're sure this is the right one?"
"Are you getting a creepy, crawly feeling down your spine? Yes? It's the right one."
"Are we going to do it right here?"
"Fine." Harry nodded and drew the basilisk fang out of a pocket of his robe. "I'll take it here to this table." He did so, up-ending the bag and letting the locket fall onto the coffee table.
He took a deep breath and braced himself. He raised the fang with one hand and tried to open the locket with the other. "It won't open." He frowned and tried it again with both hands. "Oh."
"The letter 'S'—it's a serpent, see the little green stones for eyes? Let's see if it will open with Parseltongue." Harry concentrated on the little snake, and then hissed out a word.
The locket opened with a click. Inside blinked the image of a human eye, presumably belonging to the original Tom Riddle. Immediately, the Horcrux began to speak.
"Freak, little freak—who would love you? The world needs a martyr to die for it—but who would want just plain Harry Potter? You've only survived this long on luck and the death of your mother…"
"Stab now, Potter," Artemis instructed firmly.
Harry drew back his hand and plunged the fang down, only to stop just before striking the locket.
"Yo, Pothead, if you can't handle it, let a Malfoy do it for you."
Stab! The fang connected, the Horcrux screamed, the locket shattered into pieces. Harry blinked down at it, then looked over at Malfoy.
"Nice that our rivalry is so reflexive, don't you think?"
"What do we do with this?" Harry indicated the broken necklace.
"Dumbledore said they'd be harmless once broken," Draco said. "Kreacher!"
After only a moment, Black's house elf popped up beside them. "One locket—broken. Evidence that we followed Regulus's command, just as we said we would."
Kreacher took one look and began blubbering again.
"Keep it, in memory of your master—" Potter began.
The elf practically passed out. In exasperation, Sirius pulled Kreacher into the Floo with him and they returned to Grimmauld Place, where he would report their success to Dumbledore once the Headmaster returned from a mission of his own.
"Right. Go tell your elf to clean the house from top to bottom, that should help settle him down," Draco advised.
"Right." Harry took a handful of Floo powder.
"Potter." Harry turned back around and looked at Artemis. "It's not just luck, you know, that you made it this far. And when you kill Riddle? That won't be luck, either."
Harry flushed again. "Thanks," he replied awkwardly.
"No, that'll probably be due to relying on Hermione," Draco added.
Harry barked out a laugh, and shook his head. "Grimmauld Place." He stepped into the fire.
"I was trying to build his confidence back up," Artemis chided Draco.
Draco shrugged. "Sometimes it's more important to hear the truth."
"Truth like the only reason your hair isn't crispy to this day is because Ginny doesn't like it slathered down?"
Draco stuck his tongue out.
Artemis dismissed this with a wave. "I wonder who we can get to destroy a Horcrux next? It's proving most enlightening, psychologically speaking."
It was Butler's turn to shake his head.
Three days before school resumed, Dumbledore met with Artemis and Snape to discuss the planned fake poisoning.
"Weakness, confusion, dizziness, loss of hearing and vision, stomach cramps," Artemis rattled off symptoms. "Starting out gradually and slowly growing over a period of three months. Then things speed up abruptly and your body starts giving out. I'm assuming Voldemort will want to challenge you right around the three-month mark, if he wants to kill you personally with magic."
"Very well," Dumbledore agreed. "Fortunately, I have some small skill at acting."
Artemis snorted. Dumbledore smiled, eyes twinkling.
"Fine. If that subject is covered, I want to ask a few questions about the spells you used in uncovering the two Horcruxes."
"I can see I need to be very careful what I do in front of you," Dumbledore said cheerfully, although a hint of wariness may have lurked at the back of his eyes. "Ask away."
And then it was time to board the Hogwarts Express.
Artemis had a list of the spells Dumbledore had told him about, which he handed off to Draco to read. Soon they were joined in their compartment by Blaise, then Crabbe and Goyle.
"The girls are up to something in another car," Blaise reported. "They've got Ginny Weasley with them."
Just as the train was pulling away, Hermione poked her head through the door to say hello. "I heard from Ginny there's some kind of political uproar going on at the Ministry."
"Rumors are going around that the public is getting increasingly fed up with Fudge," Draco explained. "The people with influence want him replaced with Rufus Scrimgeour. He's the Head of the Aurors. He probably would be a good choice. At least he'd have a better idea of how to keep the public safe."
They talked politics for awhile, and Draco passed off the list of spells for Hermione to peruse, before she left fifteen minutes later. A few moments after, Ginny came in. "Hey."
"Here's our newest Prefect," Draco greeted her, slinging his arm around her shoulder.
She kissed his cheek. "Guess what? My brother Bill is marrying Fleur Delacour." She wrinkled her nose. "I can't stand her!"
This new topic of discussion lasted until Draco and Ginny left to meet with the other Prefects, and Luna came in to sit between Greg and Artemis. "Neville got an Acceptable in Potions," she reported.
"Good for him."
"Harry only got an E. He was most despondent because he said he can't take Professor Snape's class without an O score, and if he can't take Potions, he can't be an Auror."
"I rather think they'd make an exception for him," Blaise scoffed. "Can you see them turning down the Boy Who Lived?"
"Dangerously," Artemis added on automatically.
Luna smiled. "Lived Dangerously. I like that."
Blaise broke down laughing. "Excuse me, I'm going to go share that with the girls. And anyone else I meet."
He left, brushing past Longbottom, who was just entering. "Hi. I just wanted to say thanks again, for helping me study last year."
Artemis nodded regally. "You're welcome."
"Anybody know who the new DADA professor is?"
"Still top secret," Vince sighed.
"Well, I guess we'll find out soon enough. Hey Luna, so this is where you wandered off to."
"Quibbler going well?"
"Oh, yes. Daddy had a lovely article about Wrackspurts last issue."
"They're invisible. They float in through your ears and make your brain go fuzzy."
Neville looked delighted. "That could explain so much!"
"I don't think it's an excuse most people would accept," Vince pointed out, amused.
"Well, they need to be enlightened, then."
Talk continued, with people flitting from carriage to carriage. The girls came to talk for while. Then the Prefects' meeting was over, and Draco dragged Artemis to visit Potter in his compartment. To Draco's dismay, Potter didn't appear upset to see him, although Weasley scowled at him.
"Four Aurors have been assigned to stay in Hogsmeade, to give us extra protection," Harry told Artemis.
Artemis's eyebrows raised. "Which four?"
"Tonks, Proudfoot, Savage, and Dawlish," Hermione recited. "I knew you'd ask."
"I wonder if they have heard anything definitely suspicious or if this is just general cautiousness?"
"I don't know. We just overheard the news—me and Ron—right before we left the Burrow. I stayed there the last week before school."
"Hmm. Let's all just keep up the eavesdropping, we'll hear more eventually."
The students entered the Great Hall and Artemis glanced up at the Head Table. Butler was in his place; Sirius was there serving as Draco's bodyguard again. Madam Hooch waved at him, which he returned with a smile. Artemis looked for anyone who was a stranger—that would be the new DADA professor.
Instead he tripped over his own feet when he saw Holly Short. Draco grabbed his elbow to steady him, and Artemis gripped his shoulder. "It's Holly!"
Draco lifted his eyes and did a double-take. "What—wait—no way—"
"Is she… the new Defense teacher?"
Butler was making his way towards them with a huge grin as they sat at the Slytherin table. He leaned in between them and spoke softly. "Yes, she's teaching Defense. She's convinced everyone she's—whatever species Flitwick is. Her magic is different than a wizard's, of course—but she knows how to teach and work around that."
"But… the LEP…"
"Apparently she sort of quit. You'll have to ask her why, I didn't have time."
"This is awesome!" Draco exclaimed.
Artemis nodded. "Yes—but it's going to make keeping secrets much harder."
"She won't bother about your personal business. She's just worried about Voldemort and Koboi."
Butler went and sat back down and the Sorting started.
"Hey—Artemis, Draco," Orka McNewcater called softly from a few seats down the table. "Are we having SUAVE meetings this year?"
"Yes." Draco nodded.
"Will we be coordinating with the DA again?" Aurelia Pucey asked.
"I'll have to talk to Potter and Hermione, but I imagine we will be, part of the time, anyway. We want to work up some new training exercises again, too, like the obstacle course last year."
Various SUAVE members continued to share their ideas and opinions as the Sorting continued. "Shh, it's my little brother's turn!" Tracey Davis hushed them.
Their table applauded. "You'll want to recruit him, of course," Tracey said happily.
"My brother's here this year, too," Graham Pritchard cut in.
They listened as McGonagall called more names…
…until "Pritchard, David" also ended up in Slytherin, along with two more boys and three girls, all of whom Draco promised to approach about possible SUAVE membership. "We should talk to more Second Years, too."
After the Sorting and the meal, Dumbledore stood up to give his speech. "Welcome, new students and old…"
The Forbidden Forest was forbidden, Filch had set a ban on all products from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes (to general amusement), they were looking for new Quidditch commentators as well as players.
"We are pleased to announce Professor Holly Short as our new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor this year," he announced finally.
Artemis and Draco clapped loudly, causing their friends to clap harder in puzzlement. "Do you know her?" Millie asked.
"A little," Artemis answered. "She's a colleague of Butler's. She should be a very good teacher."
Dumbledore's voice caught their attention. "Now, as everyone knows, Lord Voldemort and his followers are gaining in strength. The situation is dangerous at present." The Headmaster gave them all a much more serious look than usual. "Each of us at Hogwarts must take care to ensure we remain safe. The castle's magical fortifications have been strengthened, we are protected in new and more powerful ways, but we must still guard against carelessness… Therefore, abide by any security restrictions your teachers might impose on you, even if you find them irksome—in particular, the rule that you are not to be out of bed after hours. Please report anything suspicious to a staff member. But for now, your beds await. Good night!"
The new Slytherin Fifth Year Prefects Nora Revell and Lloyd Harper began rounding up the First Years as Draco and Artemis glanced at each other.
"Well. This year should be interesting, indeed."
Later that night, Artemis and Draco snuck through the corridors under Artemis's Invisibility Cloak, to meet Holly in her office.
"What are you doing here?" Artemis demanded at once.
"Good to see you, too," Holly teased him.
"I'm glad you're here," Draco put in quickly with a grin.
"Yes, yes, you know I didn't mean it like that. Now explain."
"After—without Julius Root, I found myself becoming increasingly—disillusioned and let down by the leaders of the LEP. I was loathe to just leave the Force, but then Foaley and I came up with this idea. For the next year I am a police liaison, not an LEP officer. My primary objective is to keep an eye on the situation between the humans, the fairies, Voldemort and Koboi, and to help protect you two. After the year is over, we'll revisit my status again.
"In the meantime, I just pass on a few reports to Haven, keep in touch with Foaley, and do my job here as an instructor. Dumbledore and the Hogwarts staff know nothing about any of this. I simply applied for the open position, and Dumbledore thought enough of my qualifications to hire me. I translated my LEP experiences into other words, but I didn't lie about anything. Well, except for being a human-goblin hybrid."
Draco just laughed.
"You do know things that we can actually learn? Wizards can't use fairy magic, you know."
"Yes, Artemis, you won't be missing out on any new knowledge. I studied up on the subject thoroughly before I decided to do this. Do you like my wand?" She pulled it out from a pocket. It was, appropriately, made of holly. "It's just for show, of course—it doesn't actually have a core. The fairy magic runs through it instead."
Artemis looked fascinated.
"We can discuss the differences and how it all works later," Holly said, recognizing his desire to study it more in-depth. "For now, I want to start out my career as a good professor, so I'm sending you both back to bed."
"I hope you won't stop being fun now," Draco mock-frowned at her.
She shooed them both off. "Just don't forget to call me 'professor'."
The next morning, Snape passed on Grindelwald's alchemical notes, as promised to Artemis by Voldemort. Artemis passed the message back that he was starting the poisoning process.
A/N: Kreacher's tale, Fletcher's descriptions, and Dumbledore's speech were taken from the last two Harry Potter books.