"…so it hasn't been too boring," Lily said, "Only we could never get any information about what was going on here."
"I understand," Narcissa nodded, "So that is where James went? To visit your other portrait?"
"Yes," Lily confirmed, "We promised that we would let him know as soon as anything changed over here, so James went to speak to him. Not everything is going well, and so you will likely have at least one new guest arrive in the next couple of weeks. You have a letter Cissa." Narcissa looked down at her desk and saw that there was indeed a letter resting on the silver tray; when she picked it up she saw that it was from Augusta Longbottom.
"It's from Augusta," she told Lily, "I sent her Alice's letter. Please, excuse me a moment while I read it."
Thank you for sending me Alice's letter; I did various tests and I am certain of its authenticity, which is the only reason I am replying to you. In her letter Alice said many things that I find hard to believe and, as I know he visited Harry at your home two nights ago, I spoke with my grandson. Neville has confirmed much of the information in Alice's letter, but he is merely going by what Harry told him. If indeed you have memories to prove the truth of what happened I would like to see them. If you are unable to produce the memories within two days I shall show this letter to Dumbledore. I await your invitation to view the memories.
"Augusta wants to view the memories," Narcissa smiled at Lily, "I believe I shall invite her over for tea; after she views the memories would you like to speak with her?" She pulled out a sheet of parchment and wrote a short note, sealing it and then placing it in the silver tray for the house elves to deliver.
"I would like that," Lily replied, "Now, in all of this you have yet to mention Sirius; since James is not here will you tell me what happened?"
"Well, I am certain Dumbledore already told you that Sirius had been arrested on suspicion of betraying you to Voldemort?" Lily nodded so Narcissa continued, "In Hadrian's third year at Hogwarts Sirius managed to escape; Severus said that Sirius was innocent and Pettigrew was the one who truly betrayed you, which is true enough. After he escaped Dumbledore helped hide him from the ministry, but last year there was a battle over the prophecy and Sirius fell through the veil."
"You can't mean-?" Lily looked horrified when Narcissa nodded, "The veil in the Death Chamber? Oh, poor Sirius!"
"Actually, there may still be hope for him," Narcissa said, "Lucius told me that one of Dumbledore's memories showed him casting another spell just as Sirius fell; Lucius believes-and Severus agrees-that it is likely Sirius was banished somewhere and is still alive. I think that they may even have an idea of where he is being kept, but they have not shared that information with me."
"And that's another thing you have to try and correct," Lily shook her head, "So much of Dumbledore's actions need to be undone…I don't see how you'll ever be able to right all of his wrongs."
"We won't be able to fix everything," Narcissa agreed, "The lives he took…those we will never be able to get back. As for the rest…Severus has a list." She shared a mischievous smile with Lily before the red-head started giggling.
"Severus and his lists!" Lily said, "I remember those from school…James thought I was bad when it came down to finals-until he saw Sev's study schedule. You have to send him in so we can catch up! Is he seeing anyone right now?"
"Not that I am aware of," Narcissa replied, "He hasn't shown much interest in dating not since…" she trailed off and Lily nodded her understanding; "I will send him in here when he and Lucius return; they are working on the translation for the horcrux ritual today."
"Poor Hadrian," Lily said sadly, "Draco hasn't reacted to that yet?"
"They have not been told yet," Narcissa admitted, "The Veela bond is too new and we did not want to put too much strain on it this early on. They have already had a disagreement if their behavior at breakfast is anything to go by."
"You should tell them soon," Lily urged, "With Hadrian's birthday coming up soon you will need to prepare."
"I know," Narcissa sighed, "I will speak with Lucius and Tom about it tonight. For now, I should go check on the boys and get everything ready for Augusta's visit. I will be back to visit you again soon."
"I will be here," Lily laughed, "I wouldn't dream of going anywhere else now that things are beginning to get interesting." Narcissa laughed softly and shook her head before bidding Lily good-bye and going in search of her son.
"You okay Hades?" Draco asked, eyeing Hadrian carefully; the brunet had been quieter than usual during their picnic, and was now lying back on the blanket with a frown on his face.
"I'm fine," Hadrian replied, "It's just…do you really think Arianna is okay? I didn't like that Matt guy, and Brandon seemed like a real asshole."
"I agree, but I still think she did a good job of taking care of herself," Draco said, "She did not let idiot harm her, and she stood up to Brandon. I believe the hardest thing for Arianna was when her mother did not take her side; she looked extremely shocked by this."
"Yeah," Hadrian frowned, "She looked really…betrayed."
"As I said before, a betrothal contract is not set in stone," Draco reminded his mate, "The bonding cannot take place until she turns seventeen; we will just check in on her from time to time and if need be we shall find a way to remove her from that situation. Hopefully we can resolve this issue with Dumbledore before next summer and then Tom can declare the contract null and void."
"They can't force her to get married sooner?" Hadrian questioned sitting up to look over at the blond who met his gaze steadily, "In the Muggle world you can be married before you turn of age if your parents agree to it; I've heard of girls as young as thirteen being forced into an unwanted marriage."
"That would never be allowed to happen to a magical child," Draco scowled at the thought, "Young witches and wizards are always loved and cared for by their parents; to force one into a bonding ceremony before they are of age could severely damage their magical core. I know that they have different laws in the United States, however I do not believe underage bonding ceremonies are allowed there either. I will look into it for you though." A soft chirp had both boys looking near Draco's feet, where they saw Arden sitting with his front claws on the twin sphere.
"Hey!" Hadrian exclaimed, "How did you get that? It was in my pocket!" Arden made and irritated noise and a tiny puff of steam came out of his nostrils before he pushed the sphere towards Hadrian.
"I believe he wants you to activate it again," Draco said drily, "I've read that dragons have the gift of prophecy, so you should probably do as he wants."
"I hope she isn't in trouble again," Hadrian frowned as he picked up the sphere, "Arianna Lorelei Pruitt."
The sphere activated, and the boys watched as Arianna slipped out of her room and into a different bedroom across the hall; Hadrian was shocked to realize he had younger half-siblings, and upon listening to the conversation he came to the conclusion that he obviously had an older brother as well. After the younger children fell asleep they watched Arianna talk to her mom before heading back to her own room. They saw her slip her wand into a wrist holster and then make a mirror-call to one of her friends. After she ended the call they watched as she picked up a small dagger and cut her palm before speaking in a slightly familiar language; the mirror shimmered once and then she stepped through it and the sphere once again went dark.
"Well, looks like she found her own way out," Draco said once the images faded, "I would gather she has gone to your grandfather for assistance; I have never seen magic quite like that before though…she spoke in Italian, but I have never seen a mirror used for travel."
"Maybe it's a spell her family came up with," Hadrian suggested, "I just can't believe I have more siblings! But…I don't understand how I can have an older brother…"
"Perhaps the older brother is Brandon's son," Draco suggested, "If they have been married for a long time-which they obviously have-then it is understandable that Arianna would view him as her brother." Draco paused with a frown; "No-Arianna mentioned that he left because of Brandon…perhaps Elena adopted him before her marriage to Brandon; it is common for witches or wizards to adopt the child of a friend who has passed away."
"That makes sense, I guess," Hadrian said uncertainly, "Well…at least she got away from Brandon and Matt. I wonder if her-I mean our-grandfather will really help her…"
"You can check on her again tomorrow," Draco suggested, "At least you know she is out of trouble for now. Do you want to go inside and start working on the translation? Or we could get started on our summer work."
"I already did some of the summer work this morning," Hadrian replied, "I don't really feel like working on it again yet. We could start the translation I guess...we still need to figure out when we should invite 'Mione and Ginny over too."
"I was thinking about that earlier," Draco sad, "and perhaps we should see if we can meet them at Longbottom's house instead; Mother and Father won't be pleased if we tell Granger and Weasley the truth without their permission, and they wanted to wait until Severus figures out a way to heal Aunt Bella."
"Right, Hadrian frowned, "I'll owl Neville later then. So…back inside?"
"Hello boys," they looked up to see Narcissa standing a few feet away, "I am glad to see you resolved your argument."
"What-how did you know we were arguing?" Draco demanded, "We didn't say anything at the table!"
"A mother can tell," Narcissa smiled mysteriously, "And how is Arden today?" Arden gave a happy sound almost like a purr, causing Narcissa to laugh delightedly, "He really is amazing Hadrian; I still can't believe you just stumbled across him in Diagon Alley."
"Me neither," Hadrian agreed, "But it was almost as if he was calling to me…"
"He may have been," Draco said as he got to his feet, helping Hadrian up as well before picking up Arden, "Dragons like Arden choose their companions, and he was most likely sending out a call that only you were able to hear. Regardless, I am very happy to have him. Did you have a pleasant morning Mother?" The trio began walking back towards the manor, leaving the picnic things on the ground for the house elves to clean up.
"Yes; I was in the study speaking with the portrait of Lily and James," Hadrian looked up sharply at this; he knew that the Potter's weren't truly his family, but sometimes it was hard to remember that; "You and Hadrian can come speak to them sometime as well; Lily is requesting to speak with Tom and Severus today though, so it will have to be another day."
"Perhaps tomorrow," Draco said, taking Hadrian's hand in his own, "Hades and I were planning to start on the translation today anyway."
"What about your summer work?"
"We have already done some of it," Hadrian replied, "We planned on working on it a little every morning-well at least until our new training schedule begins next week."
"It is good that you are getting started on it early," Narcissa smiled approvingly as they entered the house, "I am off to contact Lucius, so I will see you both at supper tonight." The boys told her goodbye and headed up the stairs back to their room to begin working on the parseltongue translation.
"I believe I know how we can get to Black," Lucius announced, looking up from the spell book he had been reading, "I was studying my memories of the Battle at the Ministry, and the spell Dumbledore used as Black was falling towards the veil looks familiar…"
"Have you identified the spell?" Severus inquired, not bothering to look up from the potion he was brewing; Tom had translated the potion for removing a horcrux and Severus had immediately begun working on it.
"It was a transporting spell," Lucius said, "We just have to figure out where Dumbledore sent him."
"Perhaps a locating potion would work," both men looked up as Tom entered the drawing room at Riddle Manor, "Dumbledore may have most locator spells blocked, however a potion that relies upon a blood relation should work; you keep some on hand, do you not Severus?"
"I do," Severus confirmed, "I have several stored in my cabinet against the far wall. It should work with a drop of blood from either Narcissa or Draco, however then we shall have to devise a way to prevent Dumbledore from realizing we rescued him."
"Fake his death," Lucius suggested, "Severus should go spend more time with the headmaster to make sure he still has Dumbledore's trust, and when we locate Sirius we can have a house elf slip him some Draught of the Living Dead. Once Sirius is declared dead we will remove his body and Severus can revive him."
"It has to all be done within 48 hours," Severus cautioned, "Once he takes the draught we have 48 hours to give him the antidote or he will never awaken, so it must all be planned very carefully."
"We also need to make sure his true memories are returned as soon as possible," Tom added, "Otherwise he will attempt to fight us."
"We will make sure Hadrian is there when the mutt wakes up," Severus said, "We can possibly have the wolf there as well. Which reminds me, I am planning to have Hadrian send the wolf an invitation to the manor; when should he ask Remus to come by?"
"Narcissa is taking the boys to the ministry on Monday," Lucius mused, "and I have a meeting with the Board of Governors on Tuesday, so set it for either Wednesday or Thursday. We should also tell the boys that Hadrian is a horcrux; it will not be much longer before Draco can scent the contamination and he will be less violent if he is prepared for it. We can sit the boys down after dinner tonight."
"Very well," Tom nodded as he got back to his feet, "I merely came in here to see what the two of you are up to; I have been meeting with small groups of Death Eater's all day and I suppose I have let the latest group's anticipation build up long enough. Will you still be here in a few hours?"
"I was planning to speak to Narcissa about her plans," Lucius said, "I know she had ideas on what we should do next, and I realized I should speak to her so that we do not wind up working against one another by accident. I will actually be leaving in a few minutes."
"I have another half hour left on this potion," Severus announced, "Once it is done I will check back in with Dumbledore; I have a potion that will mimic the after-effects of the Cruciatus which should be enough to convince him that you are still evil and I am still on his side."
"Then I shall see you both at dinner," Tom said and turned to leave, but he was halted by Lucius.
"I almost forgot, Hadrian wishes to speak with you Tom; he did not say what it was about, although he did say it was not urgent."
"I will go to see him after I speak with this group," Tom said, "I know I am an evil dark lord, but it occurs to me that I should spend some time with my son if I don't want him to kill me at an early age in order to take over my position."
"Don't worry about that yet," Severus smirked, "Draco has enough common sense to make Po-I mean Hadrian-wait until after you defeat Dumbledore to kill you; less work for them." Lucius laughed and Tom glared at his two friends as he swept from the room; he was starting to think that things had been better when Lucius and Severus had feared him.
AN: I know, I know; it was a long delay and the chapter was extremely short-and there was a lot of jumping around to fill in some info. But hey; I did post that bonus chapter about Arianna too, so doesn't that count for something? I'll post another as soon as I can, and I will likely continue to post short chapters with Arianna until she joins the regular cast. Hope you enjoyed, and thank you to everyone for the reviews!