Chapter 1. Discoveries
It was late at night and the entire town of Little Whinging was asleep. Everyone, but one boy. His name was Harry Potter and he was currently sitting on a rickety chair by a worn desk that was covered, not with the usual candy wrappers and abandoned school work like you would expect from an almost 16 year old boy, but with torn edges of parchment and an empty owl cage.
In his hand, Harry held one of his cast off shirts with which he was trying to clean the wounds on his chest. His uncle had been in a foul mood tonight and had worked out his anger on his nephew, resulting in bloody welts on his front and back, the latter he unfortunately couldn't reach. He was hoping for a surge of accidental magic to heal them later while he was asleep, but knew that it probably wouldn't happen. His relatives had been starving him again this summer and he had weakened to the point that it was tiring to move at all. It was only his magic that kept him upright while doing his chores, he didn't have anything to spare for healing.
He sighed and looked out of the window again. In half an hour he would turn 16. Traditionally, at midnight his birthday presents from his friends would arrive. Hedwig had flown out two hours ago, presumably to pick up his present from Hermione, who didn't have an owl herself.
He saw little spots moving in the sky and tried to focus on them. As they came closer, Harry could discern four owls. He opened the window for them to enter.
A moment later they all landed on his desk. Three of them neatly in a row, the fourth one crashed down on his desk, causing most of his parchment to get shoved off and gently float to the floor. That pathetic animal was Errol, the Weasly family owl. He would probably need some time to recover, so Harry took his package first. The owl gratefully nipped his finger and allowed himself to be picked up so Harry could lay him on his bed.
Ron's present was messily wrapped in orange paper. A letter was stuck on top of it.
Harry opened that first.
Don't beat yourself up about Sirius okay? It wasn't your fault. You'll be coming to where we're staying next week. Hang on till then! I hope the Dursleys are treating you alright. Mum's sending you a cake once Errol comes back and is recovered for a second trip, but I wanted to send you my present first.
Practise okay? I want a challenge when we're back at Hogwarts.
Your best friend,
P.S I'm sorry it's not new, the owner of the shop told me that the pieces are very responding to new players though, so that should work out. They can also play on their own, so you have someone to play against. Hope you like it!
Like he had suspected after reading the letter, the package contained his very own wizard's chess set. It had some scratches here and there, but overall it was in a decent shape. He really liked it, although his stomach was grumbling at Ron that the cake should have come first.
Hermione's present was second. Hedwig stretched her leg so he could untie the package. "Thanks girl." He whispered affectionately. His owl was his only companion during summers and he was grateful to have her back in his room. He even thought she knew that, she left for a few hours to hunt every night, but usually came back before he wake up. She ruffled her feathers elegantly when he gave her some treats.
Hermione asked about how he was dealing with Sirus, his health and homework of course and Harry was proud to say that he had managed to complete it already. He had snuck out the first nights back to steal his books, who were now cramped in the small space under the loose floorboard under his bed. Since he mostly had nightmares about Sirus and Voldemort when he slept, and woke up in pain because of his uncle, he now spent his nights studying. He would probably do well next year.
She also told him that she had gone to Rome on holiday and that she had bought his present there, in a street similar to Diagon Alley.
He carefully unwrapped the present and gasped. Hermione had really outdone herself. Inside was a beautifully carved wooden box. It had lily's on the sides and on the lid was a Family crest.
A post-it was stuck on top.
This is a never-ending box of secrets. It never gets full and once you key yourself in (just add a drop of blood while thinking of the Potters), only you can open it. The brighter the light, the stronger the protection. When I saw the lilies, I immediately thought of you. The shop owner told me that a Family crest is usually added, so I went and asked him to do that. It's the Potter Family crest, Harry. I've put in some things for you, mostly food, as I know how much you need it. Seriously Harry, you should tell Professor Dumbledore about your relatives' treatment of you. I don't think he knows, he just doesn't want to see.
Anyway Harry, happy birthday. I see you you-know-where next week.
His Family crest. Harry smiled. He didn't even know he had one. He stroked over the complicated carving, a feeling of home spreading through his body. He then held the box against his chest. Some blood should touch it now, he thought bitterly, and then thought of the Potters and the Family he had never really known.
A blinding white light came out of the crest, heating him up, but not in a bad way. He felt comforted. When he looked down at his chest, the wounds had healed. Unfortunately those on his back were still there, he winced as he moved to test them.
He opened the box, rummaged through the foods (there was a large variety) and put all of his books from the space under the floorboard in there too. It was an easy fit. Like Hermione had said, the box wouldn't get full. Then he added all of his parchment, so his desk got clean and put the box on his desk.
The next present were rock cakes from Hagrid. He stored them, though he knew he would only eat them if it was a matter of life and death.
The final owl shocked him. He wore the Black Family crest on his leg ring. He recognized it because it was engraved in all the plates, cups and cutlery of Grimmauld Place. But who from the Black Family could send him a letter? Hadn't Phineas Nigellus said that Sirius was the last one? He knew of course that Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange were born Black, but they wouldn't want to write to him and even then they would use their husbands' crest. Right?
Nervously he accepted the letter. The owl took off immediately. No reply required then. He opened the letter it was carrying. A small ring fell out. He would look at that later.
When he started reading, tears welled up in his eyes. He'd recognized the handwriting as soon as he laid eyes on it. It was from Sirius.
Happy Birthday. May you be blessed with a bright future.
If you're reading this, I'm no longer alive. I'm sorry that I left you behind. Please know that I didn't mean to. I love you with all my heart.
And whatever happened, know that it is NOT your fault. I know you blame yourself for everything that happens around you, but you didn't want me dead, so you hold no blame. I'm writing you this letter, that should arrive at your sixteenth birthday, because I fear that no one will inform you of this and you really need to know. I would've taught you myself if I were still with you, but unfortunately I'm not, so you will have to work hard to make up for it. There is a list of books you need to get from your vaults and another one of what you have to buy.
You are, as you well know, the Potter Heir. Though I really hope that he explained everything and got you tutors, I'm afraid that Dumbledore left you without information about your position. I also named you the Heir of the Most Ancient and Noble Family of Black. There is a letter addressed to Gringotts confirming this. You will have to bring it to them and ask them to perform an inheritance ritual. I'll explain more about that later.
Before an Heir of an Ancient and Noble Family turns sixteen, he can more or less behave the way he likes. Of course there are expectations from their Family. The best examples you know are of course Draco Malfoy, who is encouraged to behave like he is superior to everyone and Neville Longbottom, of whom you probably only know that his Grandmother is demanding. Each Family, especially the Ancient and Noble or most Ancient and Noble ones, have certain values that have to be respected by its members.
The most important one is the Family motto. Toujours Pur is the motto of the Black Family. It literally means 'Always Pure'. It seems very shallow nowadays, but there was a time in which every Ancient and Noble Family had to marry Purebloods. The fact that our Motto is Toujours Pur, merely meant back then that they would do everything to uphold the Family honor. Same with the Malfoys, whose motto is Sanctimonia vincit semper (Purity will always conquer), but they follow it the shallow way.
The Blacks are known for cunning (which shouldn't be a problem for you. You are more slytherin than you think, Harry) and poise (I'm sorry, Pup, this means you really have to learn pureblood wizarding etiquette).
The Potter Family's credo is Pura Sequi. It means 'To follow purity is my delight'. The Potters are renowned for their honor. No one will ever doubt the word of a Potter. It even has value as court evidence. This also means that you can't break your promises without shaming the Potter Family.
Another Family value is their huge amount of allied Families. You are friendly with the Longbottoms, the Abbots, the Bones, the Blacks of course and the McGonagalls.
And you have several non-ancient Families under your protection, a complete list can be found in the Potter vault.
The Blacks have alliances with the Lestranges and the Malfoys through marriage. I would advise to annul them, but maybe you should wait and see with the Malfoys. I'll explain why.
Draconis Lucius Malfoy, whom you know as Draco Malfoy, is the Heir of the most Ancient and Noble house of Malfoy. He is also the next in line for the Lordship of Black.
He is your heir, Harry. Only for the Blacks, don't worry, he can't touch the Potter heritage. You could disown Narcissa and by her, Draco, but I wouldn't do that.
As soon as the world hears of a new Lord Black, Narcissa and Draco will ask for an audience. They are required to pledge loyalty to their house and to you as their Lord. If they refuse, they are disowned. If they make the pledge, Draco has to obey you as much as he does his Father. In exchange, he is under your protection.
Nobody knows that I made you my heir and I advise you to keep it that way. Don't tell anyone and keep Lord Potter and Lord Black separate identities.
I can't tell you how to do it, but maybe you can still save Draco. The Black Family is more influential than the Malfoy one.
I can't explain more to you in this letter. You are on your own now, with the books on the list. I can give you a short to-do list to start with as a last help. It is on one of the additional parchments I have enclosed. Learn the information in this letter by heart and burn it all.
With all my love
Sirius Orion Black
Lord of the most Ancient and Noble House of Black
Harry put down the letter. The tears in his eyes had dried. He had a mission.
He didn't understand everything that he had read completely. But it would probably come with time. He carefully put the letter away in Hermione's box and put it in his hidden space.
Then he lay face down on his bed, carefully shoving Errol aside and fell asleep.
The next morning Harry got locked into his room after breakfast. Breakfast for the Dursleys anyway. Not for him. They were going out for the day, which was perfect for his plans.
He ate a small portion of the food Hermione had provided for him and got out the heavy envelope of Sirius again.
Rummaging through the parchments, he found the to-do list.
Number one was something he hadn't thought of.
Kreacher. He would have to check his loyalty. And if he was no longer loyal to the Family name, he'd kill.. –No. He couldn't do that. Hermione's shrill voice rang in his ears. They are just misunderstood. You have to be kind to them. Look at Dobby. "Yeah, look at Dobby." He said to himself. He would have to find a way to get Kreacher to be loyal to him, not just the Family.
He braced himself and took a deep breath.
"Kreacher, can you come in, please?"
With a loud POP, the old house elf appeared into his room.
"Master." He croaked, bowing low, "the sniveling half-blood is now the Heir of Black and Kreacher doesn't like, but Kreacher obeys."
Deciding a plan of approach and trying to forget that this THING had betrayed Sirius Harry asked: "Why don't you like it, Kreacher? I could always free you if you prefer?"
"Master won't free Kreacher." The house elf smirked. "Kreacher knows too much and Master knows its."
"I would do it if you won't serve me. A house elf that doesn't want to serve is not a good house elf, is that not right? Why would the future Lord Black keep a house elf that isn't worthy of serving and keeping its secrets?"
Kreacher seemed genuinely confused. "But Master is half-blood. Mudblood. He's is not worthy of the Black name."
"Are you insulting your master, Kreacher?" Harry asked sternly. He didn't like the attitude he had to put up, but he wanted to win the argument and possibly ensure loyalty.
Kreacher wanted to punish himself by slamming his head into the wall, but Harry managed to catch him in time.
"Don't do that, please, Kreacher. At least finish the argument first."
The elf nodded before continuing. "Kreacher honors the values of the Family, Master. But Kreacher also obeying Master and old Mistress."
Harry saw the key to cooperation. "I want to study the values of the Family, Kreacher. And the pureblood wizarding ways as well. But I have no one to teach me. Do you think I could speak with your mistress? Do you think she could teach me?" After all, Harry thought, Sirius probably learned from his mother.
Kreacher nodded his knobby head enthusiastically. "Yes, Master. Kreacher is asking the Mistress."
"Not yet, please, Kreacher." Harry said quickly. "I have some things to do first. I want to…err brush up on my manners first. So that I don't insult your mistress. What do you think?"
Kreacher bobbed his head again. "Yes, Master. Kreacher is thinking it is good idea."
"Very well, Kreacher. That's great. Thank you for your help." The elf lit up at the praise. "Could you do something else for me? There are black Heir robes in the room of your Master Regulus and I need to wear them to go to Gringotts. Could you get them for me, please? I only need them today and I'll be really careful with them."
Harry had noticed while staying at Grimmauld place last year that the elf was attached to clothes from owners who died.
"Yes Master. Kreacher is getting them for young Master." He bowed low and disappeared with a POP. He was only away for a moment and then popped back in and gave Harry the robes. "That will be all for now, Kreacher. I would like for you to start cleaning Grimmauld place. I will probably be there a lot. The other blood traitors won't be coming along anymore."
Kreacher looked happy. "Yes Master. The Most Ancient and Noble House of Black is restoring her glory. Kreacher is so very happy, Master." Then he disappeared again.
Harry was relieved that he had gained a measure of loyalty from the elf and didn't really understand why nobody else had been able to do it.
Then it came to him. It was the cunning. Kreacher was loyal to the Black Family, its Master and its values. Since he used the value of cunning to gain the elf's loyalty, it had been easier than with kindness like Hermione had tried.
He changed into the old robes. They were in perfect state, but a little out of fashion. Not as bad as Ron's dress robes had been, luckily. The cuts weren't done like this anymore and the fabric was heavier than used nowadays. It fit perfectly though and the black crest sat on his heart. He picked up the letter for Gringotts, raised his hood so he would be unrecognizable and finally put on the ring Sirius had enclosed with his letter. It was the Heir ring. A surge of magic pulsed through him, recognizing him as the true Black Heir, then it calmed down. Sirius' list had mentioned that the ring was a portkey and could be used to get to Grimmauld Place or Diagon Alley when activated. He swallowed uncomfortably, trying not to remember the last time he had used this particular way of wizard travelling.
Then he set his feet squarely apart, rubbed the Black Family crest that was engraved in the onyx, set in the ring and said "Diagon Alley".
A moment later, the smallest bedroom of Number 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging was as empty as the rest of the house.
Well that was my first chapter ever on Fanfiction. I hope you like it! Please review.
I would like to let you know that I am not a native speaker of English. Therefore I ask you not to be too harsh on my grammar and vocabulary. I am trying the best I can. You are always welcome to correct my mistakes of course!
I know it's not a very long chapter, but it's just the first one. I'll try to make them longer as I go along.
I am looking for a Beta!
Next chapter: Gringotts, Diagon Alley and the Old Pureblood Wizarding Ways.