A/N: I have no excuse for you all for leaving this so long. I guess real life hit me, and I let Twins slip; I can only say how sorry I am. I will try my best to not let it happen again.
In other news… IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! So, despite running extremely late in the day, here is the next chapter of Twins!
Disclaimer: I'm not J.K
Warnings: Maybe a bit of language,
Sirius had been on edge since he had received his reply from Aunt Cassie the day they had the disastrous visit to Andromeda's house. Cassiopeia Black was the epitome of the Black House, and within the older generation who had seen her at her height she still struck fear in to them. Sirius had mentioned her name to Izar Nott and the usually solid man had shuddered in remembrance, though the smirk that came to his face when Sirius had said she might be moving back in to action was positively vicious. He had told everyone who needed to know when she was coming exactly before heading down to the elves area to speak with them because Aunt Cassie would expect the very height of Black prestige when visiting the Lord and Heir.
When he had told them who was attending, only the aged Head elf, whose only duties were to direct the rest of the elves and tend to one of the smaller gardens that he loved until the end of his days, understood. He had swelled up and began barking out orders in his croaky voice like he was a prime elf once more. If the Black household had thought the elves had did a good job with the manor when the Malfoys had first visited then they were soon corrected. The manor gleamed, tapestries had appeared hung with pride and the Black crest flashed from over the fireplace; Sirius had almost been afraid to touch anything. And now the day had arrived. He had warned Severus and Lily what was happening just in case they had intended to stop by, and found out some interesting information about Dumbledore from the soon-to-be ex-Lady Potter.
She had mentioned that Dumbledore tended to try and set people up with work so he could use them later on, and he tried it with both the eldest Weasleys. He had wanted Charles Weasley to be the replacement Care of Magical Creatures Professor, but Charlie has turned that down, along with a position on the English National team to run off to Romania to work with his precious dragons; he hadn't come back since. Bill had managed to get his position with the Goblins by chance and refused point blank to do anything to mess it up. Molly Weasley had alienated both her eldest because she had pressured them in to following a path that she wanted, so both remained overseas; Sirius filed that away for future reference.
It was more difficult that he had imagined, waiting for the day to pass so Aunt Cassie could arrive. It was ok for Harry and Remus, they could vanish in to their books, but Sirius was never one for recreational reading, he only went to the books when he was actively looking for something. Instead he made it his mission to practice his duelling and his patronus spells for the upcoming Azkaban break out. It was coming around faster than he thought possible and there was no way Sirius was going to mess it up. He really wanted to see how Bella had faired and he hadn't been lying to Narcissa when he had said he was looking forward to her being around again. Before he had gone to Hogwarts, Bella had been his favourite cousin, she always had so much ambition and creativity. She refused to become a typical Pureblood wife, she said she would be a duelling Mistress and she always came up with the best ideas on how to fight back against their oppressive parents.
Sirius never found out how she ended up in a contract, it wasn't like her but there must have been a reason she settled for Lestrange because there was no way Bella would have just rolled over and did what her father told her. She had been a favourite of Grandfather's also, her power and her ambition appealing to him, so she would have had the leg room to appeal to him about any decisions old Cygnus would have made for her. Sirius was half terrified of what he was going to find in the dank halls of Azkaban, scared that he was going to find his cousin, one so full of life and determination, now broken and lifeless; he didn't know how he would react.
Everything was much simpler when he had been in Dumbledore's web, he could hate his family and pretend the good times had never happened, but now it was much more difficult. He was no longer the disillusioned 21 year old who thought the light was perfect and the dark corrupt, and it wasn't the first time he cursed himself for not truly listening to what his Grandfather had tried to warn him about. So he put all of his pent up energy in to practicing for the day, only coming out for lunch before vanishing back in. When the clock reached five, Sirius moved to his chambers to get ready for the evening, greeting his mate on his way through to the shower. His blue and silver formal robes were hung waiting for him to change in to and he took his time to carefully groom his hair. Remus was waiting for him in the main room, dressed in black and silver, and Sirius grinned, even if it was a bit strained.
"It's going to be fine." Remus assured, and Sirius sighed.
"I know. It's completely unreasonable that I am this worked up, especially given that I am now Lord Black; I hold all the power here." Sirius complained, clenching and unclenching his fist in an effort not to run his hand through his hair.
"You grew up in opposite positions, it's ingrained." Remus reasoned with him, "Just remember that you have many distractions for her and you aren't alone."
"Now, what have you been up to all day? I haven't seen you, nor has Cub."
"Ah, I decided to make use of our duelling room. Azkaban is approaching and I don't want anything to go wrong."
"I've been focusing on Occlumency. I know I have never really needed it, but an organised mind helps put up happy memories." Remus told him, leading the way down to the formal lounge where Harrison was already sat in wait. The boy was dressed in rich royal blue robes, with a navy shirt, black trousers and polished black shoes. His hair was, for the first time Sirius could ever remember, slicked back away from his face but the scar both adults knew to hide beneath his fringe was missing; he looked like the perfect Pureblood Heir.
"Well we certainly look the part." Sirius said with a grin, and Harry laughed.
"I've picked Draco's brain for information on contracts, and seeing as it is believed I only started in the magical world in September, only having Slytherin first and second years should be fine – well, second and third years." Harry told him, "If even that is necessary."
"Hopefully, given the other topics of conversation, she will be suitably distracted." Sirius remarked.
"I am reassured as we have Cissa arriving shortly. She can direct any conversation her way." Remus pointed out.
"That is true," Sirius agreed, "And speak of Cissa…"
The wards had just flared to show the arrival of their first guests and Harry was relieved to see Draco bounce over to him in formal silver robes with undertones of pale blue.
"Don't we look great?" The blond said in lieu of greeting him and Harry grinned.
"Oh yes, as is our right as Heirs to such prestigious Houses." Harry responded.
"You remember that when Aunt Cassiopeia arrives and you will not much of an issue with her." Narcissa told them, a slight smile flashing across her face as she came in and greeted the two adults. The Lady Malfoy was in a beautiful dark blue evening gown that had a modest round neck and three quarter sleeves, there was silver pattern emphasising her small waist that held a spatter of tiny glittering gems. Next to her, Lucius wore complimentary dark silver robes with lighter silver lapels and a new dark blue cane in hand.
"We were just voicing our hope you have retained your skill at directing conversation." Sirius told her with a slight grin, making her laugh lightly.
"With the way things have positioned themselves, it may not be needed." She replied.
"Yes, given your aversion to her appearance, the current happenings could not have timed themselves better." Lucius mused and Sirius smirked.
"Is it bad that I'm happy about that?"
They all shared a laugh at that before they settled in to light conversation as they waited for the next of their guests. Harry and Draco were running over the names that they would give when their contracts were brought up, Draco was still disgruntled that he would be choosing a wife so soon, but Harry had been pointing out all the positives and he was slowly coming around; something both Malfoy parents were grateful for. When the wards chimed again, a tense air fell about them even if they didn't let their conversation drop as they waited for their next arrival to be escorted to the lounge.
Narcissa sucked in a sharp breath when she turned and saw who had entered the room: dressed in a one shoulder chiffon dress that clenched in to a modest sized diamond broach on her right hip before flowing freely to pool lightly at her feet, inky curls were piled on her head artfully, pinned up with hair clips that matched the broach. Softened aristocratic features were tense with nerves and bright grey eyes surveyed them all with worry.
"I'm not late, am I?"
"Ares?" Narcissa breathed, her eyes wide in shock.
"Yeah. I thought, seeing as this is my first family dinner that I should come as my base form." She explained hesitantly, "Should I not have-,"
"No, it is not that at all. You look beautiful." Narcissa cut in hurriedly, "It's just…"
"You could be Bella's daughter." Sirius finished for her, his voice equally surprised, "The resemblance is startling."
"Yes. Bella took the height of the Black traits, the only thing she didn't take from the Blacks was our Grandmother Carrow's eyes; a strange purple." Narcissa told her. "The only difference is the sharpness of your features."
"I don't think I have ever seen a picture of her." Ares admitted. Narcissa's expression twisted to one of disgust before she regained her composure.
"A mistake we can soon rectify."
"When is she coming?" Ares asked nervously, changing the topic of conversation.
"No need to be so nervous." Harrison pipped up brightly, "You look great and have a list of accomplishments; I bet she'll love you."
"Harrison is right; just take a deep breath and let the House magic fill you; its soothing." Sirius assured. Ares nodded and gave a slight smile as she drifted over to Narcissa, the pair struck up light conversation as they waited for the final guests to arrive. When the wards once again signalled the arrival of a guest, poor Ares looked as if she was about to hyperventilate and Narcissa hurried to sooth her. Sirius moved towards a door just as Cassiopeia Black entered.
"As Lord and Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, I bid you, Aunt Cassiopeia, Daughter of our House, welcome." Sirius greeted in flawless pureblood custom, kissing her extended hand bowing his head. Her lips curled up in to almost an invisible smile as she neatly curtseyed in response.
"Thank you for the warm welcome, Lord Head. It is a pleasure to return once again to our home."
Sirius led her further in to the room and presented her to the others.
"Allow me to introduce Cassiopeia Black."
"Madam Black, so good it is for you to be here." Remus came forward to greet her, kissing the back of her hand."
"Mr Lupin-Black, you look well."
"I am, thank you."
"Young Heir," She turned her sharp grey eyes to Harry, who bowed slightly.
"Aunt Cassiopeia, so glad you could attend."
"Aunt Cassiopeia, it is wonderful to see you once again." Narcissa said to her warmly, stepping forward.
"Dear Narcissa, you look wonderful." Cassiopeia returned, "You have done well for yourself?"
"Yes. I believe you have met my husband, but please let me reintroduce him: Lord Lucius Malfoy."
Lucius stepped up behind his wife and kissed the back of Cassiopeia's hand with a bow of his head.
"Madam Black, it is a pleasure to see you." Lucius said smoothly.
"Lord Malfoy, your Grandmother speaks very highly of you." Cassiopeia returned, and if Lucius was surprised he did not allow it to show.
"I do not believe you have had the opportunity to meet our son and Heir, Draconis." Narcissa spoke once again, leading the conversation as was custom as blood relative.
"A strong name," Cassiopeia noted approvingly, Draco came to stand in front of his parents and bowed to Cassiopeia. "Your educational standing?"
"I am with comfort in the second position of our year mates as per my standing as Heir Malfoy and Son of the House Black." Draco responded, his voice completely even.
"Very good." She said to him pleased, "You do your House proud."
"Finally, Aunt." Sirius cut back in smoothly, bringing Ares forward where she could curtsey to the older female. "Let me introduce Lady Ares,"
There was a flash of recognition in her eyes as she nodded to the girl.
"It is an honour to meet you, Madam Black." Ares said, her voice unwavering despite her previous nerves; she was an auror after all.
"The pleasure is mine. I do enjoy meeting new family members." Cassiopeia returned.
"Ares is here in lieu of a celebratory dinner," Sirius told his aunt, answering the question she had but would not voice. "For her success within the aurors."
"That is wonderful. It is a very challenging occupation, congratulations." She said to Ares, who nodded with a smile.
"Did you plan to be an auror?" Cassiopeia asked and Ares nodded.
"Since my fourth year at Hogwarts I decided that I would like to be a hit wizard or an auror. It was only after I passed by OWL's did I focus my future path." Ares answered and Harry blinked twice. He had been around the girl many times and he had never heard her speak like that before, he cast his eyes at his Aunt Cissa and nearly grinned; she looked very pleased with herself, and quite proud.
Aunt Cassiopeia seemed to making her way around the entire group, speaking with Narcissa longer than anyone before Sirius spoke and directed them towards the dining room. Once the meal had begun, it was Harry and Draco's time to be the focus of Cassiopeia's attention, though it was only light conversation as they were at the table now.
"Have you begun to plan your futures?" She inquired and it was all the boys could do not to share a look.
"Currently, I do not have any guaranteed plans." Draco began calmly, "I would like to keep all available options open to me giving the best opportunity of full success."
"I, too, would like to examine my options more before I decide anything." Harry picked up, "I intend to take my education as far as possible, allowing me more of a choice as to what I shall do within the future."
"Plus, multiple mastery achievements can only add good things to our Houses." Draco added and Harry nodded.
"You both intend to go for multiple masteries?" She questioned in mild surprise.
"Yes. Having a greater understanding of magic will only benefit us." Draco confirmed, "Though I fear Harrison's advantage will forever proceed me."
"I have my first mastery examination in nine days' time." Harry answered instead, his lips quirking as she looked at him surprise.
"Harrison is a prodigy in Potions." Sirius said proudly, "Potions Master Prince recommended him."
"Very well done indeed." She said pleased, "A record, no doubt."
"Yes, youngest, and I hope to add highest scoring to that, too." Harrison confirmed.
"Are you prepared?"
"I feel as if I have done everything within my power to make sure I pass this exam. I know my potions and I have had my paper certified by a master of the art; there is nothing more for me to do." Harrison told her honestly, "The only thing I could do is make the potions again, and I'll probably do that two days before so I know it is fully within my mind."
"Good. I wish you well, Harrison."
"Thank you, aunt."
"Draconis, have you set your sights upon a particular branch of magic for you starting point?"
"I believe that when the time comes I shall complete my Transfiguration mastery first." He answered and Harry nodded.
"Your Transfiguration grade is very close to mine; we could enter it early. I think we could be ready in three or four years." Harry mused and Draco blinked.
"Do you truly think?" He wondered.
"Oh yes, it'll be a challenge to do it in three, but not at all inconceivable." Harry agreed.
"We'll start in September." Draco decided.
"Such confidence." Cassiopeia mused, "I trust I shall be informed should this happen."
"Of course, Aunt Cassiopeia." They said together. Thankfully for the boys, she turned her attentions back to the adults allowing them a breather, but they didn't dare settle because there were still many things they could be questioned on and Magic help them if they didn't have a suitable answer. The course switched to the deserts, something Harry was happy for because he knew none of the topics anyone wanted to speak about were acceptable for table conversation, and Narcissa started to manipulate the direction of conversation flawlessly.
"96%?" Cassiopeia repeated, "That is an incredible achievement."
"Thank you," Ares said with a blush.
"What did you receive for such an accomplishment; 96% brings us much pride." Cassiopeia said pleased.
"Sirius presented me with a penthouse apartment in the prime location of Horizon Alley." Ares said with a smile, "It's truly beautiful."
"A just gift." She agreed. "Your parents?"
The room went silent as they all shared a look, each wondering how they were going to bring up the current topic of conversation to someone who was very family orientated.
"I think it is time for us to retire to the informal lounge." Sirius said, noting the final deserts has vanished. "Aunt Cassiopeia, would you care for a drink."
Her eyebrow had risen at all of their reactions, but said nothing as she took his arm and made their way through the manor to the informal lounge.
"I did not get the chance to see the original," Sirius admitted, "But I do like this design very much."
"Previously, the informal lounge was up with the family lounge." Cassiopeia told them, as they walked in to said room. "Arcturus found it needless."
Sirius handed out glasses of wine to everyone and juices for the children as they all took seats around the low set coffee table.
"I asked about the gift you received from your parents." Cassiopeia said to Ares, "Why would it garner such an unsettling feeling from not only yourself but everyone in attendance on this night?"
"They did not agree with my options despite my success. They decided it would be the best course of action to…" Ares trailed off and looked at Sirius beseechingly.
"Ares was disowned for refusing to quit the auror forces, amongst other things." Sirius told Cassiopeia, who's eyes widened.
"Excuse me?" She whispered, "Who…?"
"Andromeda was my mother, and she felt my continued disobedience warranted my disownment." Ares said without an expression on her face.
"How dare she?" Cassiopeia fumed, "Such actions should only be used when there is no other option. What possible reasons could she have?"
"I think it was when Kyle proposed a contract to them that pushed them over the edge." Ares told her. Cassiopeia looked at her with a mix of delight and righteous anger on her behalf, settling on delight for the moment.
"A contract you say?" She repeated, "Before or after formal courtship?"
"It was a proposition for both," Area answered with a slight smile.
"Rosier." She replied, "Kyle is the Heir."
"Splendid." Cassiopeia chimed with her first full smile of the evening, "It will be a wonderful match for you,"
"With Sirius now in control of negotiations, I hope everything else will be easier." Ares admitted, "I can't see anything else going wrong currently."
"It will benefit us too," Sirius said to his aunt, "We'll easily retain primary, not only are we House of Black, but Ares skill set is much sought after."
"Oh? And which skill is that?" Cassiopeia asked curiously. Ares flashed a smile before her face scrunched up slightly and her inky curls suddenly because Malfoy blond, and she changed her facial structure and skin tone to make is so she could be Narcissa's daughter.
"A full metamorphmagus?" Cassiopeia gasped in amazement, "The first in over three hundred years. You are simply full of wonderful surprises, my dear. An auror and a metamorph with a contract on the way, such pride you bring us all."
Ares blond hair flashed red in her embarrassed pleasure before she reverted back to her base form and smiled in thanks.
"I am glad I was able to bring Ares back to the family." Sirius agreed, "And I will be only happy to handle the proceedings of her contract."
"Have you had any more thoughts on your own contract, Harrison?" Cassiopeia asked him and Harrison blinked at the switch in her focus before he nodded.
"Currently, Houses Greengrass, Davis, Farley and Parkinson have eligible daughters." Harrison said to her, "This is only from Slytherin House, of course. I shall look in to the other school Houses when I return this September."
"Very able choices." She noted. "Narcissa, have you decided upon a contract for your son yet?"
"Not as of yet, we are still in conversations with those who have eligible daughters." She replied.
"Draconis, do you have any input towards your future wife?" Cassiopeia questioned him and he nodded.
"As with Harrison, I have noticed the same Houses within Slytherin and shall be looking throughout the other school House when we return to the castle. Should they be insufficient, Grandmother has contacts within France and I will look to her guidance." He replied easily, and Harry nearly smirked; that was a good answer.
"Wonderful. Our family is expanding once again." She said pleased, "Though, Andromeda's behaviour is despicable. Whatever could have resulted in such drastic actions?"
"Narcissa and I went to see her," Sirius told her, "Obviously we were utterly outraged at her behaviour, and we wanted an explanation."
"I wish I had not gone at all." Narcissa muttered darkly.
"Oh? Has she changed all that much."
"According to Andromeda, we are all cold Pureblood supremacists that go against what's light and good and pure and Dumbledore." Narcissa informed her and Cassiopeia's expression darkened.
"That odious man is always in places he does not belong." She hissed.
"Andromeda has by far fallen to his lies." Sirius said, "I would suspect she may have been under the influence of spells or potions, but she has to be tested every day she goes to work; the joys of working in magical law."
"Is there no way she can be redeemed?"
"No. She stated she stands with Dumbledore." Narcissa answered. Cassiopeia pursed her lips in displeasure.
"Very well. She has made her choice, our paths are separate." She murmured, "Ares has made the correct decision so it is not a complete loss."
"Now, the most pressing matter I can see is Dumbledore's continual interference within our family." Cassiopeia announced, "We cannot continue to allow that man his discrepancies; he is a fool."
"Currently we are working on his support base." Sirius pointed out, "If we can break his foundations then he will fall."
"Yes, but how long will that take?" She wondered, "How many of ours will fall in the process? No, we can no longer play our hands so closely."
"What do you suggest?" Narcissa asked cautiously, "The only one with active power to oppose Dumbledore is doing so but is a naturally slow process; Dumbledore is popular."
"Yes, he is popular, but like every politician he has skeletons in his closet." Cassiopeia stated.
"Yes, but Albus Dumbledore has his hands everywhere. If he doesn't want things to come out, surely there isn't much we are able to do currently. He has too much power, too much influence. To counter that, we may just lose any advantage we could possibly gain." Lucius pointed out reasonably.
"Not if it wasn't revealed publicly until all of the information has been collected, or if it is revealed, then within strategically placed moves that will only benefit us." She returned in the same tone.
"Is that even possible?" Remus asked, "What with how Dumbledore operates. We were within his inner circle if you will, Dumbledore places his trust in no one and everyone and that is why after fifty years he is still the leading wizard within our world."
"You are correct, but even the best secrets come out eventually. It's politics, it's the silent rule." Cassiopeia told him, "Dumbledore may have been meticulous, and he may have hidden his skeletons better than anything else in his life, however he is not me."
"You?" Sirius repeated.
"Yes. I have been absent for much too long. It is time I took back my rightful place within this family, and family sticks together." She stated firmly and all of the adults had to control their surprised pleasure at her declaration. "I am a daughter of the House of Black, the rest of the world should know I have not disappeared."
"Are you returning to England?" Narcissa questioned, a slight smile on her face as she looked at her aunt.
"I believe I shall." Cassiopeia decided, "Do we still own the country house in the Lake District?"
"Yes, it only has two elves, however it is in full working order and can be occupied immediately." Sirius responded after a moment's thought.
"Wonderful. I believe that will perfect for my residence." She mused, "I will have to set my French affairs in order, I cannot allow my base there to diminish."
"You have a base in France?" Lucius said surprised.
"Of course," Cassiopeia said as if it was obvious.
"But surely we would have heard." Sirius pointed out, "We thought you were dead."
"Yes, I do remember your surprise when we met in the French Chateau." Cassiopeia told him dryly, "You should know, Sirius, my base is not built in my name for that would be foolish. My connections would not be half as profitable should I be well known."
"I don't know, your English ones were very good." Sirius reminded her.
"Yes, you are correct of course." She allowed, "I do hope that many of them will be able to be reopened once again. Should they not be I will have a bit more of a challenge, though I do not believe that will be too problematic."
"When do you intend to return?" Narcissa asked.
"No later than September." Cassiopeia decided, "I will use August to order my affairs and then return here. I believe it will be necessary for me to appear in the Ministry to register my return."
The four adults shared smirks as she smiled benignly at them.
"I can almost picture it." Sirius said with relish, "I wonder how many people will recognise you?"
"Hopefully many." She replied, "Dumbledore knows my face, and you will have to be prepared for questioning when I return; he will know we are planning something."
"Dumbledore thinks we are planning anyway." Sirius pointed out, "With the Black/Malfoy alliance back in play and the favour of Lord Slytherin at the last Wizengamot session he believes we have 'fallen'."
"He knows about Him then," Cassiopeia mused, "Yes, I see what you mean. No matter, Dumbledore, if he is smart, will not make any movement against me."
"Well, recent actions state otherwise." Remus muttered, and Sirius snorted.
"That's disgustingly true." He agreed, "It's hard to predict him, because I while I knew he was capable of many things, I didn't think he would stoop as low as he has done."
"It is pointless for us to try and plan for his actions before my arrival. I have been out of Britain for over twelve years, he will surprised and we can use that to benefit us." Cassiopeia told them.
"You're right. It's just hard to sit and wait." Sirius sighed.
"Thankfully, you have a very responsible and very patient mate to keep you from doing anything idiotic." Cassiopeia commented slyly. Sirius looked sheepish while Remus snickered, and both adult Malfoys rolled their eyes.
"I wouldn't do anything idiotic!" Sirius exclaimed, his expression going outraged when everyone laughed at him, "You are all cruel."
"Cruel is a matter of perspective, my dear." Cassiopeia chimed. "Now I do believe the end of this evening has approached." She rose to her feet and straightened her dress with a flick of her wand, Sirius, Harry and Remus mimicked her notion with a smile.
"Aunt Cassiopeia, it has been an honour hosting you this evening." Sirius said formally, inclining his head.
"It was my utmost pleasure to attend, Sirius." She returned in the same tone.
"Allow me to escort you out." Sirius said and she nodded.
"I hope to see you all again soon." She told the room as a whole, who answered their agreement before she swept from the room with Sirius. The room stayed in silence until Sirius walked back in to the room and dropped down in to his chair with the grace of an elephant.
"Thank Merlin that's over." He said with a groan. Harry, Draco and Ares snorted while Narcissa and Remus rolled their eyes and Lucius shook his head.
"She was not as bad as I assumed she would be." Narcissa mused.
"No, but it doesn't stop me from being happy its over." Sirius pointed out.
"Is she always like that?" Ares wondered and Sirius laughed.
"Yeah, but don't worry. You have pretty much became her favourite niece after today."
"She did seem very interested in me." Area allowed, "Will that stay there?"
"More than likely. Once the courtship starts you'll receive personal invitations to have lunches and everything." Sirius replied cheerfully, and Ares looked terrified.
"Do not worry yourself." Narcissa told her, shooting a look at Sirius, "You have impressed her and she will merely want to make sure you are settling in to the family well."
"I really hope you are right."
"I usually am." Narcissa replied without a hint of modesty.
"You both remained collected during her questioning." Remus said to the boys, who flashed him almost identical smirks.
"Of course, Uncle Moony." They chimed, "Did you expect anything else."
"It is not that we expected anything else, merely undergoing questioning about the future is often trying for the young." Lucius said to them.
"Well, we did come prepared." Draco pointed out.
"And we knew it was coming." Harry added.
"Yes, I do believe she was pleased with all of your answers." Narcissa said with a smile. "If a bit surprised."
"Surprising though it may be, none of it was an exaggeration." Harry said and Lucius raised an eyebrow.
"You truly believe Draco could obtain his Mastery in three years?"
"Of course. We can start in September and have his paper done by the end of the year." Harry said.
"And his school work?" Lucius pointed out, "Failing is not an option."
Harry waved him off.
"Please, Draco and I covered second year and some of third year curriculum last year. We'll both fly through it."
Both adult Malfoys didn't seem to know what to say to that whereas the adult Blacks grinned, becoming somewhat use to the odd things Harry, and by extension, Draco got up to.
"Besides, the main thing we have to look at is that Aunt Cassie is coming back to England." Sirius cut in, deciding to relieve the Malfoys of their confusion.
"Yes, she is. And much easier and much sooner than I had thought she would." Narcissa agreed, "Not that I am complaining, of course."
"No, that is the last thought on my mind." Sirius mused, "I'll be accompanying her to the ministry just for the shock factor."
"I cannot wait for Dumbledore to find out Cassiopeia Black has returned to Britain." Lucius said with a smirk, "His reaction is set to be beautiful."
"I'll be sure to make sure you know when to be in the ministry." Sirius told Lucius with a grin.
"As nice as this is, I think my brain has been wrung for the night." Ares said to them, "I think I'm going to head home."
"I'm glad you could come," Sirius said, and Ares grinned.
"Don't think I don't know you all threw me to the wolves." She said. Both Sirius and Remus made a show of looking offended, Harry and Draco innocent while Narcissa looked convincingly indignant, but Ares just raised an eyebrow, not buying it for a second.
"Do you really think we would do that to you?" Sirius asked, sounding hurt.
"I have no doubt in my mind that you did exactly that." Area stated, "Convenient mention of my 'skill set' there, Siri."
Sirius' offended expression melted in to a grin and he shrugged his shoulders.
"She loved you, and I still have all limbs; I think we can count this one as a win."
"Yeah yeah, I'll remember that." She joked, "I did have a good time though."
"I'm glad. I was honest when I invited you, I thought it would be best for you to meet her with all of us instead of being forced in to a private meal with her out of the blue."
"Thank Merlin you did, I don't think I would have lived through a private lunch before having this as preparation."
"You remembered your etiquette and speech perfectly, too." Narcissa told her proudly, "I told you there would be nothing to worry about."
"I am just happy I can now walk on flat ground without tripping." Ares said with a snort.
"Well yeah, I can see that being a bonus for you." Harry said seriously.
"Shut it, Squirt." Ares snapped, grinning at his wrinkled nose.
"I do believe Ares has the right idea." Narcissa agreed, casting a look at the ornate grandfather clock in the corner and rising to her feet, "We should go, too."
"Bye, it was good to see you." Harry said, "See you again."
"Come on," Draco said, pulling Harry out of the room, "You can see me out."
The adults shared a fond look as the boys left shoving each other playfully. Harry and Draco ran down to the floo room where Harry summoned an elf to get Draco's cloak.
"I think we have Aunt Cassie sold on us both." Harry said with a grin and Draco smirked.
"Of course, did you hear our answers? We didn't have a word wrong."
"As if we would." Harry replied and they shared a laugh.
"So you'll be studying for your mastery but then you're free for the rest of the summer, right?" Draco checked, and Harry nodded.
"Yep, well, unless I'm called by Marvolo."
"Yes, but that is the exception." Draco pointed out and Harry nodded.
"Draco, are you ready to leave?" Lucius asked, sweeping in to the room.
"Yes, Harry got my cloak."
Harry and Sirius waved the Malfoys off as they floo'd home before making their way up to the family lounge. Perfectly in sync, Harry and Sirius pulled off the top layer of their robes and dropped them in the chair they passed and dropped down on the sofa with a sigh.
"She's going to become a regular visitor, isn't she?" Harry wondered, glancing at his father, whose expression became pained.
"Yeah, she is." He admitted, "It's not even as if I don't like her, she was definitely one of the more tolerable ones of my family, it's just the strict regulations she puts on 'correct behaviour'."
"This is another one of those times I am thankful I grew up with Sal," Harry said with a slight grin, "I'm used to acting like that."
"I broke the habit." Sirius grumbled. They both looked up when Moony came in, he had his nose in a book and he had changed in to comfortable clothing.
"Ugh you have the right idea, uncle Moony." Harry groaned, and the man looked up with a sly grin.
"I'm going to steal the idea." Harry decided, "And vanish to my room,"
"We'll see you tomorrow, pup." Sirius told him, "And well done with Aunt Cassie."
"Thanks, dad. See you,"
"You know, those boys and Ares will have that woman around their fingers in no time." Remus said with a chuckle, and Sirius grinned. He snapped his fingers to summon drinks for them and handed one to his mate.
"All the more beneficial for when she moves here."
"There is that." Remus agreed, "At least the only thing we have to worry about now is Cub's birthday before Azkaban."
"That's in three days." Sirius remembered, "Merlin, I'm not looking forward to seeing what they have all become."
"It's going to be strange, releasing those we fought to put in."
"Yes, but even more so now we know what they were fighting for." Sirius agreed.
"It makes you wonder what we were fighting for beforehand, doesn't it?" Remus mused and Sirius scoffed.
"I've been putting that question through my mind since we received the plans from the Dark Lord."
"What makes it worse is that I cannot answer it." Remus admitted quietly. They were both silent for a few moments before Sirius heaved a sigh.
"We have an actual goal this time, I know Narcissa wouldn't lie to me, not for something like this. And I trust our puppy, he's smart as a whip, sharp enough to trap the Dark Lord in a binding agreement: if he believes in the man's cause, then its worth it." Sirius said confidently, "Plus, the man has helped us out. Like I said before, he didn't need to attack Dumbledore and James in the appeal hearing."
"I think once Azkaban has been and gone it'll truly sink in," Remus said thoughtfully, "It'll be real then, we would have actively shown our loyalties fully; well to the Dark Lord anyway."
Sirius nodded with a slight smile, his mind elsewhere before he looked back at Moony and raised his glass.
"To the future," He said, "May magic make it glorious."
There we have it, the dinner with Cassiopeia and I hope you like it! Let me know what you think and I'll get working on the next chapter for you all.
P.S. I've been having some serious thoughts towards the pairing and I am leaning towards Luna currently. I've got some ideas, so yeah, thought I'd let you all know!