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Harry never thought he would be in this position, but here he stood in the hallway of a prison, a place he had no desire to ever see the inside of. Not to mention preparing to see the person sitting on the other side of the door, a person he had thought he would never lay eyes on again.
Mr. Johnson, the Director of Magical Relations for the UK, had contacted his parents with a request just before they were ready to leave. One that he was hesitant to entertain, except his therapist had said that it may be an opportunity he may want to consider when he and his parents had asked her about it. The meeting would be in controlled conditions, he would not be left alone, and most of all it may help put some of his demons to rest.
So here he stood in the hallway of a minimum security prison on the outskirts of London, mentally preparing himself to deal with one of the people responsible the things done to him before he was taken to Fairgrove. His Aunt, Petunia Dursley… Well not Dursley, she had evidently divorced the whale, Vernon, at some point and had gone back to using her maiden name, Evans.
Harry had wanted Shar or Lady Ako to accompany him in to speak with Petunia, but her therapist had, after seeing the pair, suggested that they 'may not be the best choice' because of their resemblance to her sister, Lilly. So, in the end Tannim has agreed to accompany him.
Harry took a deep breath and looked at his father, who smiled gently at the young man and said, "You don't think you can do this, we can leave. No one will force you if you don't think your ready."
Harry looked back at the door, and shook his head slowly. "I-I" he stuttered, then took a deep breath. "I'm afraid I'll lose control, Dad…"
Tannim put his hands on Harry's shoulders and turned him to face him. "Remember, I'm going in there with you. Any sign of it getting out of hand and its over…" He pulled him into a hug, when he let him go he looked him in the eye. "This is your choice son."
Harry nodded, and turned toward the door, "Let's see what she wants."
Tannim motioned to the guard standing next to the door, soon it was unlocked and he was gesturing for them to enter. "This is a minimum security institution," he said. "however you will be monitored during your visit. If you wish to leave at any time just approach the door, the monitor will alert me…" Harry really didn't listen to much that the man said, his mind had gone blank when he saw the woman sitting at the table in the center of the room.
She looked different, older, but somehow more healthy. Gone were the gaunt features, her face was now more full and rounded, her mousey brown hair was now a deeper shade with some grey, and a pair of glasses hung around her neck on a delicate chain.
He felt Tannim nudge him when the guard stopped speaking. Harry glanced at the guard then, taking a deep breath, steped forward into the room.
Petunia looked up from the table when she heard the door's lock clunk open. Her therapist had requested the use of this room, the family meeting area, rather than the one that would normally been used for just two people. It was much larger, enough so several families could meet at the same time at the different tables, and the windows along one wall made it feel even larger.
The use of the room was not for her comfort, She had no illusions about that, it was for the comfort of the young man standing just outside the now open doorway looking at her. The first thing she noticed was his piercing green eyes, her sisters eyes, staring at her. She watched as they hardened, the uncertainty they had held replaced with a hardness that could only come with hatred.
When he steped forward she flinched, gone was the young man in his place was her father striding across the room angry with her. It took her a moment to force those images away. As she forced them down she took note of the differences, his hair was darker and to short, his chin was the same but his features were sharper. The largest difference, however, was his hands were empty. When ever she had seen her father angry like this he had had a leather shaving strop in his hand. By the time he had sat across from her she had banished the last of her fathers image from her mind.
"You wished to see me?" He said, his voice filled with ice.
She nodded slowly, she glanced to her right toward her therapist, then back to Harry. "I…" she took a deep breath. "I… I wanted to say…. I'm sorry…"
She watched with morbid fascination as his face contorted from icy anger to red hot rage. "Sorry…" He said softly. "Sorry?" he said as his voice raised. "SORRY?" He snapped to his feet, "SORRY! For what? Being locked in a cupboard and starved? Being beat by that monster?" He screamed at the now sobbing woman.
He felt a hand gently grip his shoulder, "Son… take a breath." Tannim said, pulling his attention away. "Please… Harry." Harry stormed off toward the windows, the heaviness in the air caused by his magic receding as he went.
"Well that went better than I expected." Tannim said.
Petunia sobbed into her hands, "I don't know what to say…. I should have… I should have stopped it. Taken them away…"
Tannim sat and let her cry, while keeping an eye on Harry as he regained his composure. Once he was sure he had and was listening he asked the question he knew Harry wanted to ask. "If you felt that way why didn't you leave?"
She didn't look up from her hands, still sobbing she answered. "I didn't know where to go… My parents had passed... but they would not have been an option anyway….Our minister was one of V-vernons best friends from school… So was the chief constable. He had lived in Surry his entire life…"
She dabbed at her eyes, and looked up, then over towards Harry "I- don't know what to say to him… Lilly never knew what it was like at home after she left, our father… He drank, he hid it when we were younger, but later… it got worse."
"Things were tough at home, mother and I ran our store more often than not, as he was drinking more and more. H-he started becoming angry… violent, the smallest thing would set him off… but when Lilly came home, he was all smiles and sober.."
She sniffed and dabbed her eyes again. "She came home with the most amazing stories, unicorns, spells… friends. Even when she was home she rarely spent much time with us, one of her friends lived close by, they spent most of their time together. I grew to resent her for… everything."
"I worked hard in school and got into university on a scholarship, when I told my parents… mum was happy for me. That's where I met Vernon, a year later we were married, because I was pregnant."
"Our first child was stillborn, Vernon… I guess he blamed me. He had quit university and began to work for Grunnings, it was owned by his best friends family, while I worked at our family store. My father passed about the same time… mum followed six months later. Vernon had me put the business up for sale, with the proceeds we purchased our house."
"A year passed and I became pregnant with Dudley. While I was pregnant, things seemed to get better…"
She sighed, "I was deluding myself though." She looked at her therapist and he nodded his encouragement. "I had escaped my father for someone just like him… When Harry arrived…" she bean crying again, "I nearly fainted when I saw him. I didn't even know Lilly had been pregnant, and yet there was the proof with her emerald eyes."
She turned toward Harry, who was still standing looking out the window. "You were left on our doorstep sometime during the night after your parents death, with a note fastened to your blanket… It warned that people would be after you, Vernon was livid… and I… I was as well. I had so much hate built up at your mother…" She was crying again. "I wanted to send you to an orphanage, but the note made it clear that was against whatever rules they had."
Harry stood quietly and listened to her story. In her own way she had been as trapped as he had, only hers had been one framed by her choices. He turned toward her, "Why didn't you say something at the trial?" He asked.
"I tried at the beginning," She said looking down at her hands, "but after a time I stopped. Every time I thought about saying something… it felt wrong. I-I felt… feel that I deserved the sentence…. When I arrived here I met Dr. McElroy, and I began talking with him about it."
Harry looked at the unassuming man in his tweed suit, then at Tannim who nodded, then back to the man. "You know about… then?"
The man smiled, "I am a squib, yes."
Harry shook his head, "That's not a term you hear where I'm from, you would be know as an Adept there… you will have some form of magical ability even if you can't actively use magical energy." He said absently then looked at Tannim.
Petunia stood and walked toward Harry, but stopped a distance away. "I was angry… but it should never have been directed at you. I should have been stronger…"
Harry looked past her at his father, she spoke again. "I don't expect you to forgive me. What I allowed to happen…" She broke down crying again.
Harry's eyes swung back to her, "I found out recently about the man that left me at your house, Albus Dumbledore. He… He is partially to blame. I'll find out more about what he did that night… I can pass along what I find out if you want."
She shoo her head, "No. I'm still trying to come to grips with my decisions. Whatever other things may or may not have contributed it don't matter."
He looked at her rather stunned, again she shook her head, "None of that matters any more." She looked up at him. "My choices led to being estranged from Lilly, my choices led to my marriage, it was my choice not to stand up to him… Being here is part of my penance. I just wanted you to hear the entire story, not as an excuse, but an explanation."
He nodded, she went to stand next to the doctor, "I asked Dr. McElroy for some help, and he agreed. The family photos, and some other things, I asked him to arrange for you to have them… and, I'd like to ask something of you, if you could, please look in on Dudley from time to time. They will only tell me he was adopted, and that your family helped arrange it at your request."
Harry nodded, "He was, from what I was told he is doing well in school."
She smiled softly. "Good. I hope both of you are happy."
They stood in an awkward silence, till Harry spoke again. "Can you tell me more about my birth-mother?"
A smile bloomed across her face, "Of course. She was born…."
Remus sat across from the man he now knew as Keighven Silverhair, next to Sirius. The man had a stack of papers in front of him, "So, Sirius tells me that you are one of the most intelligent men he knows." Keighven said shuffling the pages.
Remus chuckled, "Compared to him… probably."
"Hey…" Sirius cried. "I think I've been insulted!"
Remus looked over at him. "An excellent example… I know you were insulted." He said with a grin.
"Watch it, Moony. Or you'll find all your clothes in the most shocking pink I can find." He snapped back.
"See no imagination…." But he held up his hands in surrender when he saw Sirius's hand twitch toward his wand. "Any way, what can I help you with Mr. Silverhair?"
Keighven glanced up from the pages, "Oh, I thought Sirius had told you already. I want to higher you, the Lady Ako and I are starting a business here."
Remus leaned forward slightly, "A business?" He glanced quickly at Sirius, and back. "Here? In London?"
Keighven sipped from his cup of coffee. "Mmmm… Diagon Alley. Were opening a bank."
Remus's eyes widened. "A BANK!... But you can't… your muggles… Even then it wouldn't be allowed by wizarding laws! The only bank allowed is the one run by the Goblins! It's in the treaty, after the last goblin uprising!"
Keighven laughed, "If that's the case then there is no issue because what they are running isn't a bank, its just a glorified safety deposit box. This will be a modern finance institution, we'll also offer loans at competitive rates (Corporate, home, and personal) checking accounts, savings accounts, investment counseling (both magical and non), along with the same form of services the goblins provided… without the cheating. We'll even do currency conversion without a charge, providing they have an account with us."
Remus was doing an impressive interoperation of a fish as he continued. "It will be quite secure as well."
Remus turned to Sirus, "Is he serious? The Wizengamott wont stand for it… let alone the goblins!"
Sirius chuckled, "Oh he's serious Moony, and I intend to be his first customer as well."
Remus confused expression intensified. "Are you both insane?" He asked again, his gaze traveling between the pair.
Sirius was laughing fully at that point. "Oh, very funny Sirius… Ha Ha!" Remus said assuming it was a joke.
"I assure you Mr. Lupin, this is no joke." Said Keighven, "That is the plan, and we plan to open as soon as the staff is in place."
Sirius's laughing calmed, "Moony, trust me… He's serious, and this is something you will want to be a part of."
He looked back toward Keighven, "You know about magic…." Keighven nodded. "Then you need to know about… I have a medical condition…"
Keighven waved his hand in dismissal, "I am aware about your of you lycanthropy, it doesn't concern me." He went back to shuffling his papers, looking for something.
Remus looked toward Sirius for answers, "I learned a lot over in the States, Remus. Not the least of witch is that lycanthropy is not seen there as it is here. In some cases it is even seen as a bonus."
"What?" He said stunned.
"It's true. The treat it like illness, and different forms of treatment is available there."
"Much more effective than what is here I assure you." Said Keighven. He passed a stack of papers across the table to Remus. "This is an employment contract, it includes your salary details, along with your heath benefits, as well as a description of your duties, If you choose to sign."
He flipped through the pages as he read, his eyes growing large at the salary, finally he looked up at the man across the table. "I still have a few questions before I sign." Keighven nodded. "How do you know about magic?"
Sirius chuckled, "That, old friend is the real prank!" He said with a smile pointing toward Keighven's now de-glamoured ears.