I'd just like to take a moment here to address a review left by "Guest." Thanks for reading, but I regret to inform you that "Learnt" is in fact a word. I checked in my own dictionary from my bookcase, and a total of ten online dictionaries. Each and every one of them confirmed that it is a word. Admittedly they all said it is "British English" but as I am "British" and use "British English", I shall endeavour to use words such as "Learnt." You may also find that I spell "Colour" as exactly that - with a "u" - Don't let it put you off.
Harry Potter: Junior Inquisitor
Chapter 6: Families and Findings
"A Horcrux," began Cyrus Greengrass, resigning himself to having to explain such a terrible thing "is an object in which a witch or wizard has stored a part of their soul."
Harry balked and asked "I have a piece of Voldemort's soul within me?"
"It certainly seems that way," replied Cyrus "Though I must admit that this is the first time I've ever heard of a living thing being a Horcrux. A living this being a Horcrux is not a very smart move. You see, through the use of the darkest of magics and deeds a wizard or witch splits off a part of their soul and places it inside an object. In this way, should they ever be "killed" a part of them will live on, anchored to the realm of the living by their Horcrux. In this way it is possible for them to return to life. However, this relies upon the object that became a Horcrux surviving. Using an object that is hard to destroy is a sensible move. As a living thing, Harry has the potential to either be killed or die of natural causes and, presumably, the piece of Voldemort's soul would be taken from the realm of the living at the same time."
Harry thought on that. Although he wasn't all that pleased at having a bit of Voldemort's soul within him, he had to admit there was quite a bit of irony in the situation. If Voldemort wanted to kill him, then he would also have to destroy a part of himself as well.
"Is there any way to get rid of the piece of soul?" asked Sarah.
"Usually a Horcrux is destroyed by burning it with fiend fire or use of the poison of a basilisk," replied Cyrus "Obviously neither of those is an option that we would want to use here."
"But it may come to it," said Harry.
Sarah scolded him "Don't talk like that Harry."
"Why not?" asked Harry "In the end I might have to die so that Voldemort can die. There is no use in ignoring that fact, as much as I don't like it."
"He's right," replied Cyrus "Obviously we will do everything that we can to find another option, but there is no use denying that it might have to end in Harry dying."
Harry frowned as a thought occurred to him "Hang on, didn't you say that one of the ways to destroy a Horcrux is basilisk venom?"
"That's right," replied Cyrus.
"I was bitten by a basilisk," said Harry "Why wasn't this thing destroyed then?"
"I honestly don't know," said Cyrus "Perhaps you were healed too quickly, the venom being neutralised before it could destroy the soul piece. Don't forget it would have had to get through your system from your arm and up to the scar on your forehead. Had the venom been injected there then maybe that would have done it."
"Could that be an option?" asked Harry "Because I know were we could get some basilisk venom if someone can source some phoenix tears."
"I'll look into it," said Cyrus "Though I would prefer a less risky option."
Susan spoke up "How about an exorcism? You know, like how they get ghosts and poltergeists to leave old manors and castles. This can't be much different to that."
"That will be something else to look into," replied Cyrus "Though I don't know what we would do with the soul fragment once it's outside Harry's body."
"Could it survive without a host?" asked Sarah.
"I can't say," replied Cyrus "Remember, this has never been known to happen before."
He went over to his bag and picked it up "I'll speak to some contacts of mine amongst the unspeakables in the Department of Mysteries. If anyone could shed some light on our problem, it'll be them."
"Tell them they'll have the support of the DMLE should they need it," said Amelia.
Harry did not go back to sleep that night. He had been told to, but he didn't much feel like encountering Voldemort's soul fragment again, much less wake up the whole house once more with his screaming.
He settled on his bed to read a book for the few hours that remained until sunrise, and then headed down to the library, intending to discover more about his family.
Amelia called in to see how he was before she headed off to work, and about an hour later Susan joined him in his research.
His newly discovered situation was something that all parties elected to not discuss.
After a while, Harry decided to question Susan on something that he kept spotting in his research.
"Susan, how come all these families have titles, and what do they mean?"
"The titles refer to the status of the family and how important they are deemed to be," replied Susan, knowledgably "Nobody really pays it all that much notice these days, but it all used to be very important to wizarding society, and even now it can help you out a bit to have one of the high standing families on your side. As one of the oldest and most respected families, House Bones has the title "Ancient and Noble." A newer and less respected family, such as the Kirk family is known as a "Clan". Hang on, there should be a book around here somewhere…"
She got up from the table and began to scan the shelves of books until she found the one she was looking for. It was a massive and ancient looking tome, its cover made of worn old leather.
She set it down upon the table and opened it.
"Here we are. Families of wizards and witches are broken down into six groups. The first, and generally considered the most important, are the "Ancient and Noble" families. Then there are the "Ancient" families, the "Noble" families, the "Lesser" families, the "Clan" families and the "Newblood" families."
"An Ancient and Noble family is one that has been around a long time and is highly respected. Usually there are great deeds associated with these families.
"An Ancient family is one that has been around for a long time but is not so well respected.
"A Noble family is one that has not been around for very long, but is respected. Again those families are usually associated with great deeds.
"It is possible for a family to lose its "Noble" status, as happened with the Gaunt family a couple of centuries ago, through misdeeds. However the only way to lose your "Ancient" status is for your family to go extinct.
"A Lesser is a family that has not been around for very long, and is not too well respected.
"A Clan family has to be at least three generations old. They are not yet old enough or respected enough to be a "Lesser" house. A Clan family may also be an older family that has lost much of its status, wealth and respect. This happened to the Macnair family."
"And lastly a Newblood family is one that is less than three generations old."
Harry nodded thoughtfully "Seems simple enough, I guess. Are Muggleborns taken into consideration in this?"
"Once they marry, yes," replied Susan "For example, once Justin Finch-Fletchley from Hufflepuff marries, he will be the head of the Newblood House of Finch-Fletchley. Even if he were to marry a pure-blood witch from an Ancient and Noble house, his family would still be called a Newblood family. Sally-Anne Perks on the other hand will just become a part of whatever house she marries into. Were she to marry Justin, she would be a part of the Newblood House of Finch-Fletchley, but were she to marry, say Neville Longbottom, she would be a part of the Noble and Ancient House of Longbottom."
"Okay," said Harry "And then once the Newblood House of Finch-Fletchley became three generations old, it would become known as the Clan House of Finch-Fletchley?"
"Exactly," said Susan "And they would remain at that status until they were deemed to have earned the right to become a "Lesser" House."
Harry nodded in understanding before asking "So which families have which titles?"
Susan flipped through a couple of pages in the book before finding an answer. She frowned though and said "This needs updating. The McKinnon and Meadowes families are still listed under the "Ancient and Noble" section."
"Did they lose their Noble status?" asked Harry.
Susan shook her head "No. They went extinct. You-Know-Who wiped them out in the war."
"Shows how much he values the purity of blood," commented Harry.
"Actually of the seven Noble and Ancient families that were around at the start of the war, only the Black family bought into all the "purity of blood" crap," said Susan "The rest of us don't. Neville may be a pureblood, but his parents were a mix. His father was a pureblood, and his mother was a half-blood. That's enough to consider Neville a pureblood, but for the elitists, it isn't."
"So then as long as at least one of your parents is pureblood and the other is at least a half blood, you are a pureblood?" asked Harry.
"That's one way in which it works," replied Susan "But you can actually have two half-bloods as parents and still be considered pure, though again the elitists don't like it."
Harry nodded thoughtfully and said "I think I get it. But where does all this pureblood elitism come from, if this house system is in place?"
"Most of them are upstarts from the Lesser and Clan families who think they should be higher ranking," said Susan "The Malfoy, Bulstrode and Flint families are Lesser Houses who think that they should be considered either Noble or Ancient, and the Carrow, Macnair and Rosier families are all Clan families who think that they ought to be Noble. Then there are a few Ancient families who get in on the act. They are the likes of the Nott, Goyle and Gaunt who lost their Noble status and refuse to accept it. It really annoys a lot of these people that some of the higher ranking families contain so many half-bloods and frequently marry Muggleborns. In their opinions we should be the purest of the pure, and if we refuse to be then we need to be eliminated."
Harry wrinkled his nose in disgust "Lovely. So how did the Black family get mixed up in the pureblood dogma?"
Susan shrugged and replied "I suppose they were less careful about who they married. You and I are both related to the Black family, but for the past few generations the Blacks have mostly been marrying the likes of the Malfoys, Flints and Goyles. And eventually they were being influenced by these families. There was a movement back along to try and strip the Black family of its "Noble" status, but that ground to a halt. Aunt Amelia suspects Lucius Malfoy had something to do with it. His wife is a Black and currently his son stands to inherit a lot from the Black estate, what with Bellatrix being in Azkaban, Sirius being on the run, Regulus dead and Andromeda banished. Should Sirius Black die then the estate will be handed over to the Malfoy family. Such an inheritance would force their status to be raised to Ancient."
Harry snorted in derision "Just what Hogwarts needs, Draco Malfoy strutting around playing the "Ancient Family" bit. He's bad enough now."
"You would be well within your rights to slap him down, Harry," replied Susan "The Potter family is Ancient and Noble. You outrank him."
Harry looked at her with surprise showing on his face "I outrank Draco?"
"You certainly do," said Susan "And you can use that to knock the wind out of him. That's how Hannah and I deal with him."
"Hannah outranks him too?" asked Harry.
Susan nodded "Yes, the Abbott, Bones, Potter, Longbottom and Black families are the only current holders of the Ancient and Noble status. As I mentioned before, the Meadowes and McKinnon families used to have this rank before going extinct, and the Nott, Goyle, Gaunt and a few other families have lost their "Noble" status. Actually, I think that the Gaunt family has gone extinct as well."
"You said earlier that when a woman marries, her status changes to that of the house that she married into. What if there was a woman who was a part of the McKinnon family who married into another family before the McKinnon's were wipes out? Could she not have some way to save the family?"
"She could," replied Susan "Naturally the oldest son would have to take the name of his father, but a second son could grow up to head the McKinnon family once more, so long as his father agreed to it. Actually I believe that that could happen with the Noble House of Prewitt. Gideon and Fabien Prewitt were the last to have the name and they died in the war, but their sister is Molly Weasley. If Arthur Weasley agreed to it, any of those sons, apart from the oldest, could take on the name Prewitt and continue the family. Obviously the second oldest son would have the first in line of the Prewitt family, but any of the other four could take on the name also."
"Would the revived family keep its status?" asked Harry.
"That's kind of a grey area," replied Susan "In a fair world then yes they would, but it depends entirely upon the situation. Someone is bound to call it into question these days, especially with regards to the "Noble" status."
Harry nodded but then grinned and said "Well, you've told me who is Ancient and Noble, but what about the rest? Who can I lord it over?"
"Everyone apart from me, Hannah and Neville," replied Susan "If you were that way inclined of course. However, if you must know the Ancient families are the Houses of Bagshot, Bole, Diggory, Goyle, Macmillan, Nott, Smith, Turpin, Gaunt, Marchbanks, Montague, Ogden and Peverell. Of those Gaunt and Peverell are now believed to be extinct."
"Cedric was from an Ancient House?" asked Harry in surprise "Wow, you'd think the Ministry would put a bit more effort into finding out the truth about how he died."
"Not with Lucius Malfoy lining the Minister's pockets," replied Susan, darkly.
She continued "The Noble families are the Houses of Avery, Bagwell, Boot, Cauldwell, Dagworth, Dumbledore, Fenwick, Fudge, Greengrass, Harper, McGonagall, McLaggen, Parkinson, Prewitt, Proudfoot, Rookwood, Scrimgeour and Vector. None of those families have gone extinct."
"Dumbledore and Fudge are considered Noble?" asked Harry.
Susan nodded "According to this, the Dumbledore family is quite young in comparison to some others, but it was granted its Noble status after Albus Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald. Fudge being Minster was an automatic ticket to his family becoming Noble, not that the buffoon deserves it."
"And McGonagall?" asked Harry "What did her family do?"
Susan flipped through several pages of the book with a frown on her face "It doesn't say. Our Professor is a Half-Blood, and her mother was a half-blood, while her father was a Muggle…" Susan flicked through several more pages before shaking her head "I don't see how her family came to be considered Noble…"
Susan flicked through several more pages, before brightening "Ah, here it is. The McGonagall line was believed to have gone extinct four generations before our Professor came along. If her father was descended from a squib of the family then she must have been able to claim back her status. Anyway…"
She flicked back through the book to find the list of families again.
"The Lesser families are the Houses of Babbling, Belby, Borgin, Brown, Bulstrode, Crabbe, Davies, Doge, Finnigan, Flint, Frobisher… oh, that's interesting," she exclaimed.
"What is?" asked Harry.
Susan turned the book around so that Harry could see the page more clearly. She pointed to a name on the list.
Harry leaned forward and read "The Lesser House of Granger (possibly extinct.)"
He leaned back in his chair "Hermione's from a Lesser House?"
"If this is the same situation as with Professor McGonagall then yes," replied Susan.
Harry thought for a moment before realising something "Hang on, earlier you said that the Malfoys are a Lesser House. Does that mean Hermione and Draco are on even footing?"
"If it can be proved that Hermione is a direct descendant of the Granger family mentioned in this book then yes," replied Susan "And although he doesn't have to like her, young Mr Malfoy would be forced to be civil to her, at least in public."
Harry smirked, imagining the look of Draco Malfoy's face as he was forced to say "thank you" to Hermione when she held a door open for him in a public place.
Then he remembered that Hermione was a bit of a sore point for him at the moment and decided to hurry Susan along with the other names.
She gave him a sympathetic smile before continuing to read out the remaining names of Lesser House families "Johnson, Jones, Lockhart, Lovegood, Lupin, Malfoy, Mulciber, O'Brian, Pince, Podmore, Pomfrey, Preece, Quirrel, Rhobards, Selwyn, Shacklebolt, Sinistra, Skeeter, Sloper, Slughorn, Stebbins, Travers, Umbridge Urquhart, Vaisey, Vane and Williamson.
"So this Umbridge woman is from a Lesser House as well?" questioned Harry.
"Seems so," replied Susan "I'll bet it hurts her too. Anyway, of those, Quirrel is extinct, as is Granger unless of course Hermione can prove otherwise, and Lupin is in default as the last surviving member is a werewolf."
"That's not fair," protested Harry.
Susan shrugged "I don't get to make the rules. If it makes you feel any better, the Bones family voted against that rule but were in the minority."
She continued to read aloud "The Clan families are the Houses of Ackerly, Bell, Branstone, Burke, Carrow, Coote, Corner, Croaker, Davis, Dawlish, Dearborn, Diggle, Fawcett, Filch, Goldstein, Hooch, Jordan, Jugson, Kirk, Macnair, MacDougal, Midgen, Moody, Peakes, Pettigrew, Pie, Prang, Prince, Pucey, Rivers, Robbins, Roper, Rosier, Savage, Shunpike, Spinnet, Sprout, Weasley, Wilkes, Wood and Zeller. Of those, Pettigrew, Rosier and Dearborn are believed to have gone extinct."
"Pettigrew isn't," said Harry, before muttering darkly "Not yet, anyway."
Susan decided to not ask what he meant and continued on.
"Current Newblood families are Cornfoot, Cresswell, Entwhistle, MacDonald, Quirke and Tonks."
"Is that all?" asked Harry.
"Quite a few Muggleborns were either killed or fled the country in the last war," said Susan "And don't forget there are those like your mother, my mother and Hannah's mother who married into other families."
That gave Harry pause. That was the first time Susan had mentioned on of her parents. Susan seemed to realise it to, and looked down at the table top, her face wrought with embarrassment.
"Was it," Harry began awkwardly "Was it the war?"
Susan shook her head sadly "No. They survived that. But a few years later a few Death Eaters who got off with the Imperius Curse claim got together for old times' sake. My parents didn't have a chance. Only two were caught and sent to Azkaban, the other five who were involved got away with it. Lucius Malfoy was implicated, but no follow up was ever made. This was before my Aunt Amelia was head of the DMLE."
"I'm sorry," said Harry, and he meant it.
Tears began to build up in Susan's eyes "I was six when it happened. They were going out for the evening, and left me at my Aunt's house. They said they'd see me the next morning, but they never came back. I came down the stairs the next morning expecting to see them, only to find my Aunt crying and grave looking two Aurors standing there having just delivered the bad news."
And just like that Harry had gone from finding out about the families of the wizarding world to sitting in a library with a crying girl, something he had no clue as to how to deal with.
Just as he was reaching out to try and awkwardly pat her on the back, as shout came from the kitchen "Susan! Harry!"
Quick as a flash, Susan darted from the room, but rather than go into the kitchen she fled upstairs.
Harry made his way into the kitchen to find Amelia standing there with Cyrus Greengrass and a man who Harry did not recognise.
"Um, Susan's not coming," said Harry "She's a bit upset."
"Why?" asked Amelia.
"We were talking that the subject of her parents kind-of came up," said Harry awkwardly.
Amelia smiled kindly and said "I'll talk to her. Cyrus, would you?"
Cyrus Greengrass gave a nod and Amelia left the room.
"Harry," said Cyrus "This is Algernon Croaker, he works within the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry. He has agreed to help you with your scar issue, but would like to examine you himself, it that's alright."
Harry nodded and said "That's fine, I guess. Can't be too careful I suppose."
It took fifteen minutes for Croaker to confirm that the thing in Harry's scar was indeed a Horcrux.
"Can you get rid of it?" asked Cyrus.
Croaker gave a nod and answered "I believe so. That exorcism idea you told me about should work. I'll need to obtain a few things, but we should be able to do it on Friday."
Harry sat up, alarmed "Friday? But that's three days away. I can't go without sleep for that long."
"You should be fine with a dreamless sleep potion," replied Croaker "I know that Healer Abbott was wary of giving it to you, but I cannot see there being any problems. And three nights is not enough to cause an addiction issue."
Cyrus nodded and said "I'll contact Healer Abbott once I get back to the Ministry. Thank you, Croaker."
"Yes, thank you," said Harry.
Croaker nodded to the two of them and then turned and left.
Cyrus made to follow, but the concern must have been showing on Harry's face. The man smiled reassuringly at him and said "Harry, relax. We know what it is and that in and of itself is half the battle won. Just you wait, come Saturday morning, you'll feel like a new person."
Harry nodded, though he was not entirely convinced.
Not long after Cyrus Greengrass left, Amelia left as well. On the way out she informed Harry that Susan had fallen asleep.
Healer Abbott stopped by a little later to drop of a few bottles of the dreamless sleep potion, but apart from that Harry spent the rest of the afternoon on his own.
It was not until dinner that evening that Harry saw Susan again. She wouldn't look at him, and he quite rightly guessed that she was embarrassed about breaking down in front of him like she had done.
They began their meal in silence, though thankfully Amelia's return home a few minutes later put paid to that.
"Well, the Minister is livid," she informed them as she sat down.
"Why?" asked Harry.
"Dumbledore has scuppered his plans to get Dolores Umbridge into the Defence job by filling the post," replied Amelia as she added some vinegar to her meal.
"Who did he employ?" asked Susan.
"None other than Nymphadora Tonks," replied Amelia with a smirk "Dear old Cornelius just about hit the roof."
"I'm not surprised with the way she was kicked out of the Ministry," said Harry.
"Yes, and Fudge did try to argue that point, but Dumbledore had a better argument. As a recently trained Auror, Miss Tonks is far more qualified to teach defence to the students of Hogwarts that the Undersecretary could ever hope to be."
"So that's it then?" asked Harry "Fudge's plans are scuppered."
"Not entirely," said Amelia "He is still adamant that there will be a High Inquisitor at Hogwarts, and he is determined that Dolores Umbridge will be the one to fill that role. The defence thing was just to try and get her into the school without seeming too forceful. Dumbledore employing Tonks means that Fudge will now have to resort to other measures. Dolores Umbridge will be inside Hogwarts as the High Inquisitor whether Dumbledore likes it or not."
"Fan-friggin-tastic," muttered Harry darkly "I wouldn't mind it is it was a decent person being put in the job, but that Umbridge woman gives me the creeps."
Amelia nodded in understanding and said "I know what you mean. She is not very well liked at the Ministry. I don't think even Fudge is all that fond of her to be honest, she's just a yes person. I think he chose her for the role just so he doesn't have to see her every day. Be warned though, Harry, she's prejudiced. She might not be homicidal like the Death Eaters were, but she does think that Muggleborns only belong on the bottom rung of society. And she hates werewolves, goblins, centaurs and giants, so Rubeus Hagrid will be having problems. And she may try and pick a fight with the centaurs to try and get rid of them."
"Charming," said Harry "I'm beginning to rethink my plans if they mean having to endure working with her."
Amelia shook her head "You can't back out now, Potter. I've set up a meeting between you and the Minister for tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock. "
Harry nodded, a thoughtful look on his face. Madam Bones was right. His lies at the trial might have saved his neck from an unfair and unjustifiable punishment, but now Hogwarts, or more specifically its students, were now threatened because of those lies.
Damage control was needed, and as the person who told the lies in the first place, it was up to Harry to try and put things right.
Well, he'd give it a bloody good go at least.
A/N: So that's chapter 6. I hope you enjoyed it. I've never really bothered with the "families" angle of the wizarding world myself, but it was fun to play around with it and decide who goes where. I expect that some of you will think of a hundred other surnames that I didn't include, but nevermind. For those of you who are wondering, Chang, Li, Patil, Dolohov, Rowle and Lestrange, amongst others, are considered to be "foreign families" and so are not included, but that does not mean that they are not well respected. And families like Avery and Rookwood still holding their "Noble" status has the same reasons as to how the Black family is still "Ancient and Noble" - someone stood to gain and stepped in.
As you can probably tell by this chapter, I will eventually be going the "Lord Potter" route, but I am trying to come up with a title other than "Lord" After all, this is a world with "Chief Warlocks" "Supreme Mugwumps" "Grand Sorceror" and "Auror." Something about "Lord" sounds too Muggle to me. Voldemort probably only went with it because it came out of the anagram and he was too unimaginitive to come up with something else. Really, what would be wrong with calling himself "Riddle the Tyrant?"
Anyway, any suggestions on what the title should be are more than welcome. Though it goes without saying "Douchebag" will not be considered.