Author's Note: I'm annoyed that I have to do this again, but the following needs to be stated: I am writing this story. I make plot decisions. I don't have to take into account the opinions of anyone. Don't like it? Go away and write your own story.
I don't mind questions; in fact, I encourage them and will happily answer. Just tweet me. I don't enjoy people jumping to erroneous conclusions and taking me to task for what they believe are the mistakes I'm making...in my own story. I don't have time for that.
Enjoy the chapter!
Amelia Bones had a conundrum on her hands and no one to whom she might unburden herself.
She had found herself in a very awkward position and enlisting outside help was far too dangerous, both to herself and Sirius Black.
She had certainly dropped enough hints to Augusta, but the woman, frustratingly, had been too focused on taking custody of Harry Potter. Not that that scenario wasn't worth a well of headaches of its own, but that was for later.
Right now was for Sirius Black and what Amelia had discovered in the Book of Names.
Sirius Black was the named godfather for Harry Potter.
Sirius Black was innocent of the charges against him, at least those relating to the conspiracy to murder James and Lily Potter. Had Black indeed betrayed the Potters to Voldemort, he would have been struck dead immediately due to the vows he had taken to protect his godson.
She sighed and gently laid her head down upon her desk. It was well after midnight and, save the skeleton crew of Aurors, she was alone in the department. She was thankful for that, because, should the need arise to scream furiously in disgust, only a few people might overhear.
After Augusta had left with Harry in tow, Amelia had sequestered herself in her office, poring over any documentation relating to the capture and arrest of Sirius Black. Those existed in abundance. What did not, however, was even any mention of a trial.
Because there hadn't been one.
She ground her teeth in fury.
This was truly a can of worms she wished she had never been forced to open, but now that she had, she could not turn her back on a man she knew to be innocent incarcerated in a place like Azkaban.
The problem was that she couldn't determine any clear-cut solution.
Fudge would either pull his ostrich routine and stick his head in the sand, or arrange an accident for Black to put to rest any possibility of embarrassment. Amelia believed that even if she suggested to Fudge to place the blame on Dumbledore, Crouch, and Bagnold, he wouldn't; he would fold in the wake of facing Albus.
Albus had always been a pain in the ass. She had never understood why everyone believed him to be the next coming. Yes, he was certainly very powerful, but she was a suspicious person by nature, and there were several facts about Dumbledore she found troubling.
First was that, despite his defeat of Grindelwald, Dumbledore had waited years - years - to confront the man. It was only after devastating loss of life and the very real possibility that the Statute of Secrecy was about to be annihilated that Dumbledore stepped in. She didn't have a problem with the fact that he had waited to go after Grindelwald. After all, Dumbledore didn't owe anyone anything; his power was his own, to do with as he saw fit, and it wasn't as though he was an evil man.
No, her problem with him started after his vanquish of Grindelwald, when Dumbledore began using his victory to wedge him into any position of power available. The only reason he had never acquiesced to becoming Minister was, in Amelia's opinion, because the Minister ultimately answered to the Wizengamot. Why settle for that when you could head the Wizengamot itself?
She had to admire his cunning. Truly Dumbledore was a Slytherin in Gryffindor robes.
So Dumbledore became Chief Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, and, the pièce de resistance, Headmaster of Hogwarts. It was that position which had elevated Dumbledore to almost mythic proportions. When he wasn't in his tower, he was presiding over his staff and students from his golden throne in the Great Hall. He projected the image of a benevolent leader who loved the entire wizarding world, yet he was remote and all but untouchable; the perfect icon.
Dumbledore had used his position as Headmaster to alter completely the social landscape of British magical society. He had gutted the curriculum which had been in place for centuries and replaced the lost classes with...nothing. Consequently, students graduating from Hogwarts knew less than their parents; each subsequent generation knew even less, until the result was either an overindulged pureblood who sought a position in the Ministry which would require very little actual effort; or a Muggleborn, who, faced with the realization they would never attain a position in the government because of their blood status, moved to another country which welcomed them and their tax dollars with open arms, but found their education lacking. Half-bloods, unless they were heirs to one of the old families, followed the Muggleborn in leaving.
Dumbledore had created sheep. There was absolutely no way Amelia believed that this was anything other than premeditated. The population turned to him for everything. Even when he was muckraked in what passed for wizarding journalism, he was still the final arbiter, the Savior. His word was law. This was literally true, as Dumbledore had spearheaded a number of laws which were restrictive to society as a whole, not really benefiting anyone.
She believed to the depths of her person that Dumbledore not only wanted but expected everyone to allow him to do their thinking for them. It was also perfectly obvious that Dumbledore had very little use for people who could think for themselves.
He proclaimed a great love and admiration for the Muggleborn, but had not authored a single piece of legislation which would make their entry and residence in the wizarding world any easier. He bleated about the need for equality among magical races, but had done nothing to further diplomatic relations with Goblins, Centaurs, Merfolk, Veela, or any of the rest. He decried the use of blood status as a measuring stick, but hadn't lifted a finger to alter anyone's thinking, despite the fact that he was responsible for educating entire generations of men and women.
He was tested again a generation later, in the form of the Dark Lord Voldemort. Again, Dumbledore had procrastinated in confronting Voldemort, and that would have been fine, had he not insisted on involving himself in the war effort in other ways. He had created his ridiculous Order the Phoenix, his own private army, who did little but get in the way of actual soldiers, the Aurors and Hit Wizards.
The Order had interfered often and with aplomb. They were condescending and patronizing, despite the fact that it was people like Amelia Bones, James Potter, Sirius Black, and the Longbottoms who had done the grunt work. Albus hoarded information like gold, delivering it piecemeal as it suited, and never to the proper authorities.
Amelia was still furious that Dumbledore had gotten his hooks into Potter, Black, and the Longbottoms. He had tried to recruit her numerous times, but she had always rebuffed him. He was little more than a child playing toy soldiers, and she had never had any intention of being his fodder. It still amazed her that intelligent people like Minerva McGonagall followed Dumbledore about like goslings.
Truly, however, that was merely par for the course. In fact, she could count on one hand those of her friends and colleagues who had never held Dumbledore in high esteem: his brother Aberforth, herself, Augusta Longbottom, Dorea Black, and Lily Potter.
Whatever had caused the split between the Dumbledore brothers was known to no one but them, but it must have been severe to have lasted several decades.
Augusta regularly fumed that Dumbledore had insinuated himself in the life of her son and his wife. She absolutely held him partially responsible for their attack. After all, he had cast the Fidelius which had been meant to keep them safe. As Augusta herself had been the Secret Keeper, she often wondered how it was the LeStranges and Barty Crouch, Jr. had found them that horrid night. She had never come right out and admitted it, she wasn't politically stupid, but she suspected Dumbledore's involvement.
Dorea Black Potter had been a fierce, prideful woman with the talent and magical power to back it up. The only thing that had kept her from becoming the Minister for Magic was that she had hated politics. Instead, she had been one of the longest-serving Unspeakables in history. Most of the power structure of that department was unknown, but Dorea had been universally believed to be at the very top. Algernon Croaker now occupied that position, only because Dorea and her husband, Charlus, had been killed.
The death of the senior Potters was still a mystery. It couldn't even be determined if their deaths were natural, though Amelia knew she wasn't alone in believing they had been murdered. Dorea had many enemies, including several members of her own family. She had absolutely loathed Dumbledore and the feeling was entirely mutual. It hadn't escaped Amelia's notice that James became Dumbledore's follower only after his mother's death. Of course, Dorea had also run afoul of Voldemort several times. He had tried repeatedly to ferret Department of Mysteries secrets from her mind, but Dorea had been an Occlumens Mistress of incomparable caliber.
Lily Potter had never been fooled by Dumbledore's delusions of grandeur, though she had played that part to the hilt. Of course, that had been her job, though very few had ever known about it. She had infiltrated the Order and passed along whatever information she could glean, but she had never allowed her cover to suppress her core identity. She was often the lone voice of dissent in the Order and, while many agreed with her opinions about how Albus ran things, they never spoke up on her behalf, so it was much easier for Albus to dismiss her.
The Order would appear at a battle, cast some disarming, stupefaction, and binding spells, and then sit back and watch as the Death Eaters revived each other and went on killing. Those that were captured were sent to Azkaban, from which Voldemort would eventually free them. The cycle had continued relentlessly. Amelia had never understood how one wizard with no more than two hundred followers at any given time had almost toppled their world.
But he had.
He had come so close, so agonizingly close, and their world had never recovered. Dumbledore preached redemption and turning toward the Light, and while that was very romantic and noble in theory, it was asinine in reality. He had commanded his Order never to kill, only to incapacitate, thus ensuring his hands and soul remained clean. That had only resulted in more deaths of good and honest witches and wizards, for Death Eaters were more than eager to kill anyone who challenged them. The Avada Kedrava was the one curse almost every Death Eater could perform with alacrity.
Dumbledore's method was not how wars were won. It was how they were lost.
And they had, really. Voldemort's triumph had all been but a fait accompli...until Harry Potter.
Amelia frowned heavily.
In the end, Dumbledore's efforts had resulted only in a number of good families to become extinct: the McKinnons, the Whites, the Carlisles, the Spencers. Dozens and dozens were gone, creating a vacuum which had never been filled. Meanwhile, Voldemort had exterminated entire lines, as well, both Light and Dark. He had no compunction about killing those who defied, failed, or disappointed him.
Amelia wondered about that now, about the fact that the Wizengamot was half the size it was only twenty years ago, that other families had never been nominated to replace the ones that had died out. What would happen when the other Houses began to die out? As it was, it was rare for a family to produce more than one child per generation. If the heir was felled by disease or foe, that family seat would be empty in perpetuity. What would happen when there was no one left? Would the Wizengamot be dissolved and replaced with another body, perhaps one more representative of the people it was supposed to govern?
Again her thoughts drifted toward Sirius Black, as well as Harry Potter. The Black seat had been vacant since Arcturus had died almost a decade previous. The Light families were naturally pleased by this, while the Dark ones were content to sit and wait for young Draco Malfoy to claim the seat when he reached majority.
That was not going to happen, however. Harry Potter was the Heir Apparent.
The Potter seat had been empty since the deaths of James Potter, but Dumbledore had named a proxy to it, claiming he had the authority to do so via a vow with the late Lord Potter. Of course, there was no possible way to dispute this, as Dumbledore claimed Lady Potter had been the bonder.
Amelia was certain the fact the Potter proxy always sided with the Dumbledore agenda was no mere coincidence.
It could be reasonably argued that Dumbledore had usurped the Potter seat while silencing the usually dissenting Black seat by unceremoniously tossing its Lord into Azkaban. Thus, Dumbledore controlled the two most powerful seats of the Wizengamot.
Dumbledore was diabolical, and while Amelia would have loved to see him knocked down a few pegs, she knew that if she attempted to do any such thing, she'd be all alone out on a precarious limb; one from which she would eventually be hanged. It was one thing to challenge the Minister when he was being particularly obtuse; it was something entirely different to take on Dumbledore by herself.
So what could she do?
She supposed she had made a decent start by placing Harry Potter with Augusta Longbottom. Whatever the faults of the woman, she would ensure he was educated about his place in their society before he reached Hogwarts. Harry was a bright boy; he would succeed if he put his mind to it.
Perhaps she should make some hints about Harry claiming his Lordship. He could convincingly argue that, as the last issue of House Potter, he was entitled to assume its headship. The law would back him up on that.
She would think on it more at a later time.
Sirius Black was a much more difficult animal. Any Light family she approached on his behalf would scoff at her before running to Fudge and the media, calling into question her loyalty and sanity. Any Dark family would procrastinate to the point of doing nothing, too worried about how the release of Sirius Black would affect their political shenanigans.
However, the fact that the Chief Warlock, the Head of the DLME, and the Minister for Magic all conspired - perhaps unwittingly - to deprive the Lord of an Ancient and Most Noble House his freedom set a precedent which would not be tolerated.
Amelia knew this was a delicate matter and she would have to approach it as such. Perhaps she should begin by meeting with those Houses who placed House pride above political dreck. Maybe Cygnus Greengrass could assist her with that.
Of course, this was all predicated on her delivering to any possible allies a credible defense for Sirius Black, and therein lied the problem. The Book of Names wasn't available to everyone, and she couldn't see the Department of Mysteries opening its hallowed halls for the members of the Wizengamot to stomp through, not even in the name of justice.
So, these were facts she knew to be true:
First, Sirius Black, the Lord of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black, was the named godfather of Harry Potter, Scion of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter. As such, he could not have placed Harry in any danger whatsoever, lest Sirius lose his magic and his life. Betraying James and Lily Potter to Voldemort would constitute such a danger.
Therefore, Sirius Black was innocent of this charge and had obviously not been the Secret Keeper for the Fidelius placed on Godric's Hollow. Veritaserum would forever lay to rest the question of whether he had killed those thirteen Muggles, as well as Peter Pettigrew.
The problem in proving this was that she didn't have access to the Potter will. She knew one must have existed; it was mandated for every Lord to pen a will, save his title and wealth be absorbed by the government. All she had been able to discover was that the will had been sealed by the authority of the Chief Warlock, which, in this case, really was so much nonsense. No such authority existed, and any Head of House would have their will probated by Gringotts, not the Wizengamot.
The fact that Dumbledore had suppressed the will suggested to her that Harry's placement with the Dursleys had, in fact, been the sole design of Dumbledore himself, not James and Lily Potter. Of course, this raised the question of why Dumbledore had put the boy at such risk. What was to be gained by denying Harry his freedom, his few remaining blood relatives, and knowledge of the world into which he was born?
She was positive it was a reason that would make sense only to Dumbledore, who would no doubt drag his nebulous Greater Good from his backside and parade it around as though it meant anything.
Fact the Second: Harry Potter was the Heir Apparent of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. This was something that could neither be changed nor challenged. Sirius was the named Lord Black, and nothing, not even his incarceration, could strip that title from him. Again, this was a precedent the Arcana would never wish to set. Further, ten years in Azkaban would have stolen from Sirius his ability to reproduce. Therefore, unless he disinherited Harry, the Potter Scion would be the new Lord Black upon the death of his godfather.
Harry Potter, at the tender age of eleven, had every chance of heading two Ancient and Most Noble Houses - or at least direct who could make decisions on his behalf until he turned seventeen. That actually offered him some protection from former Death Eaters like Lucius Malfoy. He wouldn't bring harm to Harry until the boy had named his own heir. Were Harry to be killed prior to this, there was no certainty Draco Malfoy would inherit the House of Black. Andromeda Tonks was young enough to have another child, a son, and could demand the Regency. The same was true for her daughter Nymphadora. Neville Longbottom's claim was every bit as relevant as that of the Malfoys and Tonkses.
Fact the Third: Harry Potter had been abused Muggles and this could not stand. The problem was how to deal with the situation before the media turned it into a spectacle. Harry Potter would either be deemed the next Dumbledore, which she speculated might be Albus' ultimate goal, or pitied, his character permanently assassinated, as the boy who had defeated a Dark Lord but been felled by common Muggles.
Amelia pursed her lips. It would be so much easier, really, if the Dursleys simply disappeared.
Not that she would wish that on anyone, magical or Muggle, of course.
She was jolted from her thoughts by the appearance of an elf who had blown through every Ministry ward and her own personal wards to stand before her.
Amelia's consternation slipped into cordiality. "Good evening, Nadia. What brings you from across the Pond?"
Nadia Goodacre, the cultural and press attaché for Ambassador Kurt Hummel, smiled. "Good evening, Madam Bones. I sincerely apologize for this unannounced visit, but I have an urgent communiqué for you from the Ambassador."
Amelia raised a brow, wondering why on earth Kurt Hummel would be contacting her. She knew him socially and considered him an extraordinary boy by every possible measure, but they were not confidants. They were not even countrymen! Their correspondence had dwindled since the Wizengamot had declined to participate in the GYAP, a decision which still rankled. Susan would have made an amazing Ambassador, and what a coup for a British woman, regardless of age.
Nadia smoothed her skirt and adjusted her hair, swept up in an elaborate French twist.
Amelia couldn't help but stare. Nadia was an elf, yes, but she was not a House Elf, despite her appearance. She had the features and was the size of a House Elf, but that was where the similarity ended. Nadia had hair, a lot of it, thick and wavy, its color a dark chestnut. She wore clothes - designer clothes - of the Muggle variety tailored to fit her very small frame. In fact, she currently donned a navy business suit with camel piping, underneath of which she wore a taupe camisole with matching stiletto heels. She wore makeup. Her diction was excellent and her grammar flawless.
She held a Masters in Public Relations from Yale, for Merlin's sake! After receiving dual degrees in Mass and Oral Communications from Harvard.
Amelia shook her head to clear it. "I apologize for my woolgathering, Nadia. This has been a most upsetting day, and Albus Dumbledore is smack in the middle of it."
Nadia raised a brow. "Unfortunately, I am about to add to your burden. For that, you have my apologies."
Amelia frowned in confusion.
Nadia pursed her lips. "Mr. Dumbledore paid an unannounced visit to Ambassador Hummel at his private residence this afternoon."
Amelia's monocle fell from her eye. "He what!"
This was a severe breach of protocol! Regardless of the positions Dumbledore held, he should not have approached the Ambassador without clearing it through proper channels!
"Indeed," Nadia said coolly. "He almost caused an international incident when he attempted Legilimency upon Ambassador Hummel."
Amelia flushed bright red before just as quickly turning pasty white. What had that old fool been thinking! Accosting a foreign dignitary, and a child at that? Not to mention the titles the Ambassador held in France and Germany! Was Dumbledore trying to start a magical world war?
Nadia shrugged a shoulder. "Unbeknownst to him, the Ambassador is a master Occlumens, so the attempt failed." She smirked. "Rather badly, I should say. Dumbledore only escaped imprisonment by the Ambassador's grace."
Amelia placed her trembling hands on her desk to still them. "What are the Ambassador's demands?" she asked in a defeated voice.
She was so furious at Dumbledore! She was so disappointed and...and...humiliated by his behavior. She was proud of the relationship between the House of Bones and the Ambassador. In fact, had the Ambassador been a subject of the Crown, they probably would have been allied.
And now Dumbledore had fucked up even more of her life!
Nadia regarded her with detachment. "My apologies, Madam Bones. This communiqué is not intended for the Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, but rather the Regent of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Bones."
Amelia gave an exaggerated blink. "What?"
Unbeknownst to Amelia, Augusta Longbottom had indeed absorbed the message that Sirius Black was the godfather of Harry Potter. She also knew what this meant.
As a Black, she was incensed that a member of her family was in Azkaban. As a Longbottom, she was infuriated that an innocent man had been tossed away like so much rubbish.
This conflict was not a new experience. It had kept her company well over sixty years now, ever since Callidora Black had been reborn as Augusta Longbottom. In some ways, she was still very much a Black. She adored politics and thrived on intrigue. She was usually at least three steps ahead of her allies and five ahead of her enemies. She never forgot a trespass and never met a grudge she didn't enjoy holding.
And then there was the Longbottom side of her: scrupulously fair; a hatred of prejudice in any form; a distrust of government on principle; and a good woman utterly devoted to her family.
Blacks were notorious for being devoted to their family, as well, but the last several generations had corrupted that loyalty. It appalled her that Sirius was wasting away in prison, but she absolutely reveled in the fact that Bellatrix was housed there and hoped the Dementors tortured her every second she continued to draw breath. Bellatrix, in terms of degree, was no more or less a relation to her than Sirius.
Bellatrix had soiled the family name by allying herself with a psychopath. She had turned on family and slaughtered and tortured them for her Dark Lord's sick pleasure.
Oh, how she wished she had been at home that night. She would have gutted that evil bitch and then played with her innards just for the sake of it.
She repressed a sigh. Amelia had indeed made several valid points.
First, for better or worse, she was a Black; Harry Potter was thus her kin and Sirius, in a fundamental way, was her lord.
Second, if Alice were able, she would have beaten her to a pulp for neglecting Harry. The boy was Alice's godson and that was a magical bond that could never be broken, but Augusta should have, at the very least, demanded to know where Dumbledore had stashed him and his general condition.
Third, she had absolutely failed as Regent of the House of Longbottom due to the fact that, regardless of age, Harry Potter was an acknowledged ally. Augusta knew she served only because Frank could not and only until Neville was of age. The alliance didn't end with the death of James and Lily; indeed, it extended to Harry, and it was her responsibility to nurture that alliance. Their banners had flown together for centuries and she had let it all fall to ruin.
These thoughts tormented her as she stared across the table into the startling green and jaded eyes of Harry Potter, eyes at once beautiful and repellent. They were shadowed, filled with mistrust and a world wariness which was absolutely depressing to behold.
He was glaring right back at her, and, she had to admit, the result was rather horrifying. She felt this mere wisp of a boy assessing her and couldn't help but imagine she had come up short. It wasn't so much that he was disrespectful as it was that he was leery of her and authority in general. She could certainly understand his attitude, given what he had been made to endure.
Still, it rankled that Amelia Bones had so obviously made a much better impression on the lad.
He didn't like her. This bothered Augusta, yet she could not explain why.
What she liked, however, was the protective arm Harry Potter had thrown around the shoulders of her only grandchild. When they had been introduced, when the context of their relationship had been provided, Harry Potter had looked at Neville Longbottom and saw not the friendship of their mothers, but a brother.
Harry Potter had declared himself the brother of Neville Longbottom. That declaration was all the more stunning and poignant when Augusta saw Harry glow as he said the words. Harry didn't notice and Neville couldn't see it, but she could, and she was humbled.
An unintentional vow, certainly, but the feeling engendered in the words anything but.
As Neville gaped and gawped over their new houseguest, as Harry gently deflected the worshipful stares by declaring himself ignorant of all things magical and pleading for Neville's expert assistance, as that infernal owl studied her as though she were a possible meal, Augusta couldn't help but wonder one thing.
What had befallen Liam Potter?
Yep, Augusta knows James and Lily had twins. Dumbledore wasn't aware of this, so he never bothered trying to Obliviate her. Augusta does presume Liam is most likely dead.
No, Kurt's godparents won't be made known anytime soon. Well, probably not...
Remember: Amelia's thoughts regarding Dumbledore are her own and not necessarily true. Her internal soliloquy is merely what she suspects.
Many readers, for whatever reason, believe that this story is going to include Kurt vs. Harry, or Kurt vs. Harry's allies. No. Why would I write that? It doesn't interest me at all. Harry and Kurt, when they finally do reunite, will be inordinately close. How others will react to this, however...
Since so many have asked, and just for fun, some general answers:
Kurt, Santana, and Quinn will be in the same House.
Kurt and Harry will not be in the same House.
Ron and Hermione will appear, but probably won't be friends with Harry, and certainly not with each other (let's be honest, they only stood each other because of Harry).
Yes, Kurt is gay. He will have a boyfriend quickly, but it will be very innocent for a very long time. Yes, Santana is gay. She will have a girlfriend, though I'm still debating the possibilities. Quinn is heterosexual and will probably have various flirtations before she finds someone she can stand.
Dumbledore is not omniscient nor omnipotent. Please keep this in mind. So many fanfictions make Dumbledore out to be some grand Machiavellian villain. Really? Sure, he manipulates people, but he doesn't do so maliciously; he does it thoughtlessly.
Further, I'm sure Dumbledore seems godlike to innocent children who don't know better, but he's not a god. He was able to manipulate Harry so thoroughly because Harry was totally ignorant of the world in which he found himself. Those manipulations can be blamed partially on him, because Harry did almost nothing to learn about and understand the magical world. Harry also had no real adult allies who could do anything for him. Sirius was an escaped prisoner and Remus a known werewolf. And Remus is troubling all on his own...
Re: Kurt, Quinn, and Santana's mentions of their performing magic which would be considered dark by British standards. Don't mistake this as their being Light witches and wizard. I'm not saying they're not, but I'm also not saying they are.