I do not own the characters, locations, nor situations described herein, those remain the sole property of J.K. Rowling.
Author's Note: This is a challenge-fic, the first I've even written. It's based off of a challenge by Arashi Hanshu, from his/her story "Heir to the Most Ancient and Noble House of". The full text of the challenge, such as it is, will be posted at the end of this chapter (so as to not unduly impact the dramatic nature). This is slightly AU, most of the details of which will established in this chapter, though two of the major elements won't be revealed until later.
Narcissa Malfoy (née Black) slipped into her seat at the breakfast table opposite her husband of seven years, Lucius Malfoy said nothing, as he was absorbed in the Daily Prophet. As her breakfast, a light interpretation of the traditional English Breakfast, arrived via house elf, she thought back on her life with a sigh.
Seven years of a loveless (in both senses) marriage to an ironically narcissistic man. Five years of pretending in public that her husband's incestuous bastard was her own son. Two years of that bastard calling her what she truly was.
"Hello Trophy," came the morning greeting of the aforementioned bastard.
"Hello Draco," replied Narcissa with a forced smile.
"Remember Draco, you may only call her that inside the manor," reminded Lucius, still hidden behind the paper.
"Will I get to be the next Lord Black?" asked Draco somewhat spontaneously.
"What?" asked Narcissa, taken aback by the five year old bastard's question.
"Oh, yes, you haven't seen to Prophet," noted Lucius. He folded down the top of the paper and gave his wife a leer. "It seems that your dear cousin Sirius finally got himself killed in Azkaban."
Narcissa was shocked.
"I want to be Lord Black!" commanded Draco.
Narcissa blinked a few times, then when the full ramifications hit her, a predatory smile slowly spread across her face, "Did the Prophet say when the will reading was going to be?"
"They'll be having it next week at Gringotts," said Lucius, gesturing to an open envelope addressed to Narcissa next to him. Even from across the large table she could tell that it was from the Goblin-run bank. Rather than be upset that her husband had read her mail, Narcissa hid behind her smile.
"Thank you Dear," she said. "I'll be sure to make the time to attend it."
"I want to be Lord Black!" exclaimed Draco.
~I'm sure you do, you little bastard,~ thought Narcissa while taking a sip of her tea. Because her parents had both died before the end of the War, as had her uncle Arcturus, the former Lord Black, and Narcissa had never been on the best of terms with her cousin, Sirius, who until he had gotten himself killed in Azkaban had been Lord Black, even after Draco had been born, to Lucius' fourteen year old sister Delphine, Narcissa had been unable to remove herself from the loveless marriage she had found herself in. That the marriage hadn't been consummated, even after seven years, was the only hope Narcissa had that she'd be able to get out of it.
"Just make sure that you are ready for our guests after the reading," said Lucius. "The Crabbes and Goyles are coming over, so you'll have to entertain their wives for the night."
A week later, Narcissa gracefully exited from the floo at the Leaky Cauldron, nodded politely to Tom the Publican, and made her way down the Alley to Gringotts. In the last week Narcissa had been trying to figure out who the next Lord Black could be. Because of the War, there weren't any more Blacks left in the direct line of secession, and as much as Draco wanted it, since he wasn't her son, he couldn't inherit the title of Lord Black (at least, not unless a third of the wizards in Britain were dead, since that was how many had a more substantial claim on the Black line than the son of two Malfoys.
Unfortunately for Narcissa, most of the males descended from her Great-Great-Grandfather Phineas Nigellus Black were in decidedly light-side families, and so would be unlikely to allow her to annul her marriage to Lucius. The Weasleys, led by Lucius' pet whipping boy inside the Ministry Arthur, held a claim, as did the Longbottoms, though considering that Frank, as well as his wife, were in comas because of Narcissa's sister, Madam Longbottom as Regent would likely not be favorable to Narcissa either. While the Crouchs were not quite as light as the Weasleys or Longbottoms, Barty was unlikely to annul the marriage either because of how his son had fallen in with the Death Eaters, and how Lucius had used his money (most of it from Narcissa's dowry) to successfully plead the now infamous "Imperius Defense".
Still, there was always hope. Perhaps Sirius had not been the traitor everyone thought and his godson, Harry Potter was the new Lord Black, since Sirius had loved his godson like his own son, and the Boy-Who-Lived was related through her Great-Aunt Dorea. Though, the fact that Albus-Bloody-Dumbledore had somehow hidden away the Boy-Who-Lived after the end of the War would make locating the new Lord Black (who in that case would also be Lord Potter, and one of the richest five year olds in Britain) next to impossible. But not completely impossible, and that was a hope that Narcissa held, for without hope, life isn't worth living.
As she carefully ascended the steps outside of Gringotts, Narcissa schooled her face into the aristocratic sneer that she'd been taught by her parents to use with the lowly beasts that ran the place.
"Lady Malfoy," sneered one of the Goblins waiting by the entrance.
"Master Goblin," said Narcissa in a terse greeting, a nod of her head the closest to a bow any self-respecting wizard would give a goblin.
"The Black Will reading is in Room Z, at the end of the hall," said the Goblin, a predatory look spread across his wide face.
"Of course it is," said Narcissa. She then nodded again to the goblin, "Thank you Master Goblin." She then swept past the still unnamed goblin and down the long hall towards the various meeting and conference rooms that the bank used for its financial and legal transactions. What most wizards and witches didn't know, and Narcissa placed that blame squarely on the shoulders of Professor Binns, was that the so-called Goblin Rebellions weren't anything of the sort, and the only winners had been the diminutive beasts. There was a reason that wizards had 'entrusted' their entire financial system to the goblins, and it wasn't because the wizards had won the wars.
When Narcissa had arrived at the end of the hall, she found two doors on opposite sides, Room Y and Room Z. She turned and entered Room Z, and was surprised to find a familiar face sitting at the long table within.
"Andromeda," said Narcissa cautiously.
"Narcissa," replied her older sister.
"You look well," said Narcissa, crossing the room to sit opposite her sister.
"As do you. Lucy treating you well?"
Narcissa chuckled, "As well as any guest in his house. And you, how is, Ted was it?"
"Yes, Ted treats me well. Our daughter, Nymphadora, started her first year at Hogwarts this year, a Hufflepuff."
"That was Ted's house, was it not?"
Andromeda nodded, "Yes, I suppose that Aunt Walburga was right in burning me off the family tree, since my Nymphadora is, like our late cousin, not within the traditional house of the Blacks at Hogwarts."
"I assume that you're hoping that our late cousin didn't enforce Walburga's decision to cast you out?"
"Luckily Lord Arcturus was more accepting, and so while Walburga had burned me off the tree at Grimmould, I am still a Black," said Andromeda. "And no matter what the Prophet says, I doubt Sirius betrayed the Potters to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and so I seriously doubt, no pun intended, that our late cousin, in the two years he served as Lord Black before his incarceration, completed what his mother started."
Just then the door at the far end of the room opened, and in stepped an impeccably dressed goblin, who stepped up to the end of the table, obviously onto some sort of platform for he was at eye level with the two Black sisters. "We will now read the Last Will and Testament of Lord Sirius Orion Black."
"I, Sirius Orion Black," read the Goblin, "Being of sound mind and body, do hereby bequeath all of my worldly possessions, titles, and assets to Lord James Charlus Potter, or if the worst has happened and Lord Potter is deceased, his son, Harry James Potter. I also hereby absolve the marriages of my cousins, Andromeda Lucretia Black, Bellatrix Belvina Black, and Narcissa Cassiopeia Black, provided that such marriages were not consummated, in which case I bequeath the sum of one thousand galleons to Nymphadora Elizabeth Tonks."
The goblin then looked up from the parchment, nodded, rolled it up, and tucked it into a pocket of his waistcoat, "If there wasn't anything else? I have things I must be doing. Mrs. Tonks, since you marriage was consummated, it was not annulled, and as such, your daughter's inheritance has been deposited into her vault."
Narcissa sat, aghast. With but a few dozen words her late cousin just changed the political landscape of Wizarding Britain.
"Master Gobin," broached Andromeda.
The goblin stopped and turned, "Yes?"
"Do you know how we can get in touch with the new Lord Black?"
"Yes," replied the goblin.
Narcissa shook her head, "What my sister meant to ask, was would you facilitate a meeting between the two of us and Lord Black?"
The Goblin grinned, his lips curling up to reveal a wide mouth full of gleaming, sharp, teeth, "Ever resourceful, Madam Black. I can facilitate such a meeting between the pair of you and the young Lord Black, or rather, I can give you the location where Lord Black is staying with relatives, muggles if it can be believed."
Narcissa bowed, not just her head, but her upper body as well, as befitting dealing with such a highly placed goblin, "Thank you, Master Goblin."
"It was a pleasure doing business with you, Madam Black, Mrs. Tonks. I'll take my fee for the information out of the gold that is being transferred out of the Malfoy Vault following the annulment of your marriage," replied the goblin, before finally leaving the room.
"Come Cissy," said Andromeda, standing, "If we wait too long they'll start charging us for the room."
"Now there's the sister I remember," said Narcissa, standing as well. "Shall we have tea?"
Andromeda bowed her head, "Of course."
The Challenge: "Lily Potter is the sister of Druella Rosier and have Harry be raised by Narcissa, Andromeda, and Bellatrix." Obviously I also stole the bastard status of Draco from "Heir…", though that's about all I'm stealing, since while Hermione will be a part of the story, it won't be until later, and not as Harry's twin. I also won't be using more than just the Potter, Black, and Rosier families.
Updated May 14, 2014