Of Death & Fate

Disclaimer: I do not own the source material from which I have derived this story. Much like when I was young and built tall structures with Legos, I did not own the company, but I did enjoy making things from their building blocks.

Author's notes: Okay a few short things.

1. Please do not PM me asking me if a story is still being written. Read my profile and know that I have abandoned no story.

2. I appreciate all thoughts on my stories, but please do not PM me with a detailed account of how you think the story should go. If you've put that much effort into it, then I think you are creative enough to write your own story.

3. Please do not get 'pervy' in a PM to me. I had a person ask me way to many creepy questions about what I am planning to do with my characters. In this story Harry and Company are still only fourteen, and besides that I don't write graphic love scenes. So don't be a creep.

4. The above notes do not apply to 99% of you have been reading my stories, so please do not be offended.

Chapter Five: On Eastern Shores

Part One: A Deep Breath and A Sea View

August 16, 1994, Late Morning, Unplottable Location/Greengrass Family Home

Harry found Cyrus' previous statement about the portkey journey he had just taken to be quite right. Other than a bit of dizziness for a few moments afterwards, he was quite in a normal frame of mind; that of course was before he had looked up to see what stood before him.

It was as if some childlike sense of awe took him over in an instant as he stepped away from the group and towards the vista before him.

He found himself on cliff above the sea, and despite the overcast, misty weather; Harry could not fathom a more beautiful sight, outside of Hogwarts, he had ever witnessed.

True, the colors had seemed a bit dull in the first moment, but as his eyes truly adjusted there was no questioning the beauty before him. Lush green was below his feet until it petered out where the cliff dropped, hard grays of stone, there was a small expanse of blonde... almost heather hued sand on the small beachhead, and finally the dark waters of the North Sea.

He allowed his eyes to close only when a particularly strong gust of wind picked up a large spray of sea mist to glance against his face. Harry did not mind one bit; because in that act he found even more wonders in his new favorite place on earth.

The smell that wound its way into his nostrils was different than the one other time he had been near a large expanse of saltwater. The other time he had been to the sea it had been mingled with the fume-laden exhaust of his uncle's car and the pungent aroma of Aunt Petunia's 'favorite perfume'. This time he was gifted with the crisp smell of tall grass intermingled with sand and clean sea air.

The sounds that came to him were just as new and invigorating. Instead of the grumblings of Dudley there was a brilliant crash of waves; and then there were moments of wind pushing past him as the only sound.

Harry then felt a hand slide into his and Hermione's voice broke his trance.

"Harry?" She asked as he turned to his head slightly to catch her eyes. "Are you all right?" Harry saw that familiar look of worry take over her features, "We were going to go and see the Greengrass' home now…" She stepped closer and moved her hand to his upper arm in a soothing motion.

"I'm perfectly fine Hermione," He turned back and took in the expansive portrait in front of him, "perfectly fine." Harry let a breath out and with it came an admission he had not meant to say out loud, "I've never seen the sea before…at least not like this."

"Harry—" Hermione started as she tightened her light grip on his arm.

"Actually," Cyrus' voice cut Hermione off as he stepped up to Harry's other side and gently laid his hand on Harry's shoulder, something that made Harry a bit uncomfortable. "Harry and I have a matter to discuss." The man looked pointedly, but gently at Harry.

"Oh…okay." Hermione said as she maneuvered herself to meet Harry's eyes and gave him a questioning look. Harry was thankful that as soon as her hand had left his arm, Cyrus had removed his as well.

"It's okay Hermione…it's," Harry looked back to Cyrus with a hopeful glance.

"It has to do with his recovery Hermione…" Cyrus made a good show of grimacing, "it is something that he and I should speak on," Cyrus looked over Harry's shoulder, "and possibly, if Harry is comfortable with it, Richard should join as well."

Harry quickly looked at Cyrus and then to the other man. "Oh um…sure," He said slightly thrown off balance considering they were just speaking about his wand; and as he understood it, Richard Granger was by no means a wand expert.

"Good then…Sera dear." Cyrus turned to his wife. "Why don't you show everyone to the house while Richard and I speak with Harry." The older man gestured towards the highest point on the hill they stood towards a few standing rocks. "Gentlemen."

As they walked towards the rocks, Harry looked back to see Hermione and Daphne both staring at him with curious looks.

"So, I'm guessing scaring the friend who happens to be a teenage boy is a universal Fatherly rite," came the chuckling voice of Richard Granger.

Harry immediately snapped his head to his right where two men had fallen in step.

"Yes, I assure you it is in certain situations," Cyrus laughed himself, "but at the moment Harry simply needs a bit of education on a circumstance that has arisen for him." Cyrus smiled at Harry.

As soon as they had seated themselves on the surprisingly comfortable stones Harry heard a small bark come from above him. The shadow passed just in time for him to catch sight of his lovely Hedwig's white form intermixed with the clouds above. She made a large circle above them before moving towards the fields lower on the hill.

"I'm guessing that would be your Snowy Owl then?" Cyrus asked as he situated himself on the stone next to Harry.

Harry gave the older man a nod as he watched his familiar dip low towards the grass.

The older men gave Harry a moment of silence, which he was grateful for as it allowed him more time to enjoy the spectacle of the scenery just that much longer.

"I'm a bit confused as to what exactly what will be talking about," Richard Granger started, "if not to give the lad a bit of ribbing about our daughters being under the same roof as him?" The man did have a cheeky kind of smile as he looked at both Harry and Cyrus.

Cyrus Greengrass gave a small chuckle as he pulled a pipe from his coat pocket, "Well, that is actually a subject best explained through my telling Harry." The man pulled a small pouch out of another pocket and filled his pipe with a pinch of its contents; even from his seat five feet away Harry caught a whiff of familiar scents. "Hope you two don't mind." The man said, and Harry noticed the way Richard Granger looked ready to scoot away from Cyrus, "It's not tobacco I assure you, dried nettle and mint—" The man lit the bowl of the pipe with his wand and took a long breath from the object, "It is actually healthy with the way it is prepared…somewhat similar to a pepper-up potion...as long as it is done in small doses. Cleanses the airways and can help fight sinus troubles…which I admit is always a problem for me the nearer winter gets." The man smiled as he stuffed the pouch back into his pocket and Richard Granger gave him a questioning look. "I'll explain later." Cyrus said before he turned back to Harry.

Harry watched as the man situated himself to lean against a part of a slightly taller rock.

"Harry, do me a favor and try one more time with your wand," Cyrus motioned towards the pocket that Harry's wand was sticking out of, "something easy."

Harry nodded as he fished his wand out of his pocket and noticed a small pebble situated between himself and Richard Granger. "Wingardium Leviosa." Harry watched as the pebble sat defiantly still. "Wingardium Leviosa." He said was more with a bit more force and a bit more animation to his swish and flick. It seemed that what little he had been able to produce just hours beforehand was gone.

"Do you feel anything Harry?" Cyrus asked before Harry was able to try a third time. "Not just when you're attempting to cast, but just holding the wand…is there anything there?"

Harry held the holly wand in front of him, and despite the company he felt like crying. "No…no sir." He felt his voice tremble a bit. He was honest that he felt nothing. He had grown used to the familiar tingle that followed touching the wand; almost like a small boost of adrenaline into his bloodstream. Now he only felt the grains of the wand…as he looked at it he realized it needed a good polishing.

"Okay then, try mine." Cyrus said as he handed Harry a dark grained wand.

Harry looked down and gave another little swish-and-flick only to see the same small pebble lift and then settle as he quickly pushed the foreign wand back to its owner.

"Well then," Cyrus said and seemed to wait until Harry looked up at him, "this is usually a talk for parents to give their children, but I would be happy to explain the situation to you." The man took another puff of his pipe before he set it down and pulled his own wand from his sleeve. "Just like many things about a person; over time a witch or wizard will change enough to find themselves no longer connected to the wand they received earlier in life." The man turned his wand over and then smiled at Harry. "I found myself in a similar situation when I was younger," Cyrus looked lost in thought for a second. "Now usually it is not a sudden change; mine was gradual."

He picked the pipe back up and set it between his teeth as he leaned back onto the rock, "In my years leaving Hogwarts, and my years there, I was brash and found the need to prove myself. I was arrogant about my abilities in business and trade, I was boastful of my skills in dueling should the need arise, and I was more than a bit of a cad when it came to my interactions with the fairer sex." The man blew out a large cloud of smoke. "Then around my twenty-eighth birthday my father gave me an important assignment to do a bit of third-party brokering between Gringotts and another business." Cyrus chuckled as he placed the pipe back to the stone. "I failed miserably."

Harry watched as the man snuffed out the pipe and popped the charred contents out onto his hand. As the wind took the ash Cyrus began again, "It was a small loss, but it made me question my practices…and that led to what I believe people call a snowball effect." The man smiled at Harry and Richard. "Over the course of that next year I began to lose the ability to control my wand. I did not make the connection between the two until my father pointed it out, but once he had…it made sense." The man held his wand a bit higher. "Dragon Heartstring from a Norwegian Ridgeback, Ebony, Firm, and ten inches…not the wand for someone who questions themselves or their beliefs." Cyrus smiled.

"So I walked into Ollivander's again at the ripe age of twenty-nine and stood behind three first-year students to receive a wand for the second time…barmy-old man said he knew I'd be back." Harry almost felt a chuckle as he imagined the ancient wand-keeper having the ability to tell if customers would return. "The point of that story is that it is actually a somewhat common occurrence Harry…the needing of a new wand…and besides it was only four months after that when I met Sera for the first time…if I was the man I had been before that…I pale to think of where I would be now."

Harry nodded, but still felt a bit unsettled. "I still don't like it…and you said your's was over time…I just woke up and now," Harry held his wand up as proof of his situation.

"Harry," Richard Granger said as he entered the conversation, "it's not as if I am an expert on anything to do with this world, but as I see it this sounds not necessarily a bad thing." The man looked to find the right wording and looked over Harry towards Cyrus, "I understand that there are many things that have changed for you…very quickly. And I understand how hard it can be to find yourself in that much change and not know how to react. But take things one at a time. You seem to have acclimated to the fact that you are not wearing your glasses quite easily. And my daughter had said many times in her letters home how she had never really seen you without them." As Richard said this Harry felt his face and did note that he was a bit surprised that he had not pulled his glasses from his jacket pocket. "I understand the sentimentality that my daughter has with her wand…it reminds me of this old stuffed otter she had as a child." The man laughed slightly, "She was never without that ratty old thing…and now she is never without her wand…it was her lifeline to who she was." The man's smile downturned a bit, "I know she is a part of your world almost more-so than ours lately, but I would hate to see that wand ripped from her hand…so I can empathize with how much your's must mean to you." Richard leaned forward, "But I do know that just like Hermione eventually stopped carrying the otter with her; you will realize that the wand you're holding is no longer attached to you."

"Very astute assessment Richard." Cyrus said with a nod of his head, "They say that the wand chooses the wizard, but the wand also knows when it is no longer needed." Cyrus gave him a wistful smile, "Wands may not be fully sentient, but they do know the people they are meant for…and that particular wand," he pointed to Harry's wand, "knows that it has taken you as far as it can."

Harry sat and digested what the two men had said, and while it did help he did not want to give up on his wand.

"While this has been lovely and I'm free to talk anytime you want Harry; I think we should make our way to the house…it will begin to rain pretty soon." Cyrus said as he stood and motioned towards where Harry had seen the girls walking.

As the three made their way down Harry heard another tiny bark as Hedwig flew above head and disappeared into, what Harry assumed was the inner wards of the Greengrass home. He smiled at his owl and felt the need to lighten the tense mood.

"What happened to your original wand Cyrus?" Harry asked.

"Oh, I returned it to Ollivander…it wasn't my wand anymore and I didn't see the point of keeping it from someone who needed it." Cyrus smiled.

"Really, I'm surprised it didn't end up as Draco Malfoy's…I mean arrogant, boastful, and a cad describes him to a fault." Harry laughed a bit.

"Please," Cyrus looked properly affronted, "that wand accepted me because I had the skill to back up my claims, from what my daughter tells me…the Malfoy heir most certainly does not." The man smiled and Harry felt it was only partially at the joke; the other half was the way Harry and Richard both shivered after entering the wards of the house.

As soon as Harry shook the feeling of passing through the barrier he looked up to another new sight. The Greengrass home.

"Welcome to Greengrass Redoubt." Cyrus offered with a smile.

He was not sure if they had built the home into the hill or if they had built the hill around the home, but either way he was amazed at the image the home presented. The entrance was of dark wood and glass framed by stonework all surrounded by the natural green of the grass growing from the hill.

"Now that's some impressive architecture." Richard said next to him, and Harry could only nod in agreement.

Of Death & Fate

Part Two: A Home in a Hill

August 16, 1994, Afternoon-ish, Unplottable Location/Greengrass Family Home

Harry was more than a bit overwhelmed as he stepped into what Cyrus had referred to as 'the foyer'. To Harry though it seemed a stark contrast to the view they had just stepped in from.

The walls in the circular entrance were made of warm-hued woods, possibly maple or elm, and seemed to give vigor to the ornate designs over each walkway and on the open marble entrance. The designs themselves, which he realized held runes, also seemed to expel something from what Harry could see...in fact he spent a few seconds staring at the one in the center of the circular motif of the room as his host and fellow guest spoke.

"Notice those did you Harry?" Cyrus asked from next to him with a smile, "Don't worry, I'm quite sure Daphne will go about giving away a few of the secrets of our home during your stay," The man's grin turned a bit mischievous, "and if she doesn't I'm sure Astoria will drag you through the halls."

"Miss Astoria would not be liking the way you say that Lord Cyrus." Came a tiny voice to Harry's left.

"Then we'd best not let her hear of this conversation Clippy." Cyrus laughed as Harry took in the house elf.

She (Harry assumed it was a she at least) was quite a bit more put together than he had seen of most house elves. Her outfit was what appeared to be a dress with a dark forest green pattern accented by gold filigree.

"Then Lord Cyrus should be letting Clippy start on his new winter cloak." The elf said with a deviously sweet expression.

Cyrus barked out a laugh that startled Harry.

"Yes, yes. I suppose Lord Cyrus should make time for that." Cyrus said as he crouched down and gave a pat to the elf's head. "I'll make sure we have time for that by the next week's end Clippy." The man stood back to his full height, "Now what has you away from Sera?"

"Oh yes," Clippy started as she turned to look directly at Harry, "Lady Sera says that the young Mister must take his potion now." The elf nodded her head in a serious manner, "If young Mister please, follow Clippy to the kitchen. Young Mister needs his potion and nourishment…Clippy not like the look of Young Mister's aura…it's not balanced." With that said the young Elf turned on her heel and started to lead the way with Harry and the two older gentlemen to follow in her wake.

Harry felt a bit overwhelmed again as he stepped into the kitchen of the home. Not only had the long hallway leading them from the foyer to the kitchen been warm and inviting with its décor, but it had honestly felt like magic had been passing through the walls themselves. He had also noticed a few more spots where he had spotted runes and circles giving off some form of magic. And then of course the kitchen was something else entirely with its old style brick oven in one corner, directly next to an old cast iron oven, one of the free standing islands covered in flour, a butcher's block close to it with a second Elf threading a piece of twine around what looked to be a rather large rack of lamb, and the final thing Harry noticed were the smiling faces of all the females present as they stood around another island table.

"Well, this is certainly a welcome sight after these past few days." Cyrus said next to Harry. "And don't worry Sera dear, Harry is here and ready for his potion." The man finished and Harry felt a hand between his shoulder-blades push him forward.

As Harry stumbled to the island table, Sera placed a tall glass with a thick reddish-orange liquid onto the tabletop.

"Your potion Harry. Far be it for me to not follow a Healer's schedule." The woman said with a smile.

Harry looked at the glass and then back to her.

"That's my potion?" He asked, "It looks like tomato juice."

Harry heard tittering coming from Daphne, Astoria, and the two elves before Sera answered.

"Technically it is tomato juice darling, but it has been properly mixed with your scheduled potion." The woman smiled as she nudged the glass closer to him. "It's a trick most witches have been taught when it comes to certain potions. Easiest way to get a child to drink them."

Harry found a bit more of his world tilted as Seraphina Greengrass smiled at him, and it did not help that he noticed Helen Granger giving him that same type of smile. It was unnerving the way they were looking at him, and Harry was not sure if he felt okay with it.

Harry shook his head and pulled the glass to drain it as fast as he could, but found a cool and refreshing taste overtake him. It was as if he had just eaten a large salad; he tasted tomatoes, greens of some sort, peppers, onions, radishes, and innumerable other vegetables swirl in his mouth as he downed the drink. All feelings he had of being overwhelmed, confused, or worried left him and suddenly he felt content and drowsy.

It was from that point that Harry lost some track of himself; he knew he was awake and yet he was not fully aware of his surroundings.

He was quite sure he had spent quite a few minutes standing and listening to the hum of conversation in the kitchen before he was physically moved by someone(s) to a seated position.

When he was finally able to regain his bearings he found himself sitting in a very plush armchair in front of an ornate fireplace.

"Finally come out of it then have you?" Richard Granger's voice came from next to Harry.

As Harry turned he noticed the broad-shouldered man had a happy look on his face with a weathered looking book in his hands.

"They said it would be about two hours before you snapped out of it, and…" Richard looked to his wristwatch, "just about spot on too." The older man closed the book and set it down on the table between them.

"Mr…Granger?" Harry started.

"Please Harry…I believe my wife said to call us by our given names." The man stood and stretched, "Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your manners…but given our new roles for each other, Richard is quite fine with me. You'll find me not one for decorum if it's not actually necessary." He tilted his head until a loud crack sounded and looked to Harry. "Cyrus asked me to wait here until you came around, and the reading in his study is quite nice...if a bit hard to follow for someone without the context." Richard tapped the book he had been reading moments before. "Now though, I believe we should head to the library down the hall."

"Oh…Okay." Harry still felt a tad bit odd as he stood up. When he swayed a bit on his feet he felt a steadying hand land on the upper trunk of his arm.

"Whoa there lad." Richard Granger said as he turned Harry towards him.

Harry resisted the urge to stiffen, but he could tell from the way Richard released his arm that the man had noticed.

"Harry." The older man started and Harry felt a bit ashamed at a conversation he had been expecting, but found himself surprised. "Listen, I assume there are things you don't want to speak about. Things I don't dare dwell on, but if you find yourself in need of an open ear…I know either Helen or myself would be willing. And I quite thoroughly believe Cyrus and Sera would as well." The man gave another genial smile and chuckled as he changed the tense subject. "Now off to the library with us...I'm quite interested in learning if my daughter had to be forcefully removed or if they were to scared and she has taken over the place."

Harry felt a chuckle bubble up from his throat at the picture Richard had presented. "You should see her in the Library at Hogwarts." He stated as they began to walk down the hallway from Cyrus' study. "Most everyone learned very quickly to give her a wide berth if she had taken a table."

Richard laughed, "Oh she was the same way with the local library and bookstores back when she was younger." The man developed a wistful smile, "I swear pulling her away from her table there in the local St. Albens public was always a chore."

The older man stopped in front of a set of double doors embossed with a few runes and script in different languages (none English) if Harry was reading it properly.

Stepping into the Library of the Greengrass home was an interesting experience as Harry moved along the single stack that adorned the oval wall and noticed that he was on the top of three floors. As he looked down he noticed that the two-story* room was actually two rooms in the shape of an eight (or the symbol for infinity he noted), and that the number stacks on the two lower floors were exponentially greater than the floor he was on.

"Yeah…" Richard's shocked voice came from next to him. "It's going to be very hard to keep Hermione away from this."

Harry felt himself nod dumbly in agreement when another voice below them broke their shared awe.

"Finally came around then?" Cyrus Greengrass was on the lowest floor at a table. "Come on down here then. The ladies have moved on to a tour of the house." Cyrus waved in the direction of a set of stairs that snaked between the three floors.

Once they had finally reached him the man had set down the letter he looked to be penning.

"I hope you're not feeling too out of sorts after that potion Harry." Cyrus offered as he stood. "I had that particular one when I was younger a few times and it is a bit…discombobulating to say the least." The man chuckled.

"I'm fine now, sir." Harry said with a rueful grin. "Bit of a wobbly start, but that passed."

"Good then." The man smiled, "Now what do you think of the House of Greengrass' repository for all its knowledge?"

Harry took another long look around himself and exhaled a large breath. "It's…very impressive…and a bit daunting."

"Seconded." Richard said next to Harry.

Cyrus laughed, "Yes, I imagine it is a bit." He looked to Richard, "Your daughter did not disappoint. Daphne has more than once said that if Hermione had set foot in here she would look a girl in love." He chuckled. "She certainly looked a bit starry-eyed as Helen and Daphne led her back out the door."

From next to him, Harry heard Richard chuckle lightly.

"I don't doubt it."

"Yes, well I figure I should tell you where you'll be staying." The man stood from the desk and rolled the parchment up and slid it into his pocket as he motioned to the stairs. "Richard, I hope you and Helen will enjoy the eastern wing. It doesn't get much use as we don't have much extended family…at least not many we care to invite."

"I'm sure it will be lovely." Richard Granger started, and Harry noticed that the two men seemed to have a quick bond between them. "Helen has been begging for woods like these for our home, but it hasn't been in the budget."

"Ah, well they'll be easy to come by if you allow me to act as the buyer for you." Cyrus offered as they stepped from the library before he turned to Harry. "Harry you will be here." The man pointed towards the door on the opposite side of the hallway. "The visiting Lord's suite" The man smiled, "You'll actually be the first occupant to stay since my great-grandfather had it added."

Harry felt a bit flabbergasted at the offer. From what little he had been able to gleam in the whirlwind of the past few days he would be a Lord someday, but he still felt that it was a bit much.

"I'm not a Lord though." He had to admit there was a lame quality to his statement.

Cyrus chuckled and simply pushed the heavy wood door open as he said, "Not yet, but someday will…and it would behoove you to start understanding what that will mean." Cyrus' face lost some of its brevity. "I fully intend to start an ongoing conversation with you tomorrow so you can begin to learn what should have been taught to you long ago."

Harry felt his eyes boggle a bit at the opulence of the small study they had just stepped into, but was able to get out his thought, "What all should I have learned?"

Cyrus gave a huff as he motioned to the chairs across from the one he had taken in the center of the room.

"First off, you need to learn the basic structure of the social and political hierarchy in the magical world." Cyrus exhaled heavily, "In case you had not figured it out, the Most Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter is among the oldest surviving of houses…older and more renowned than my own house and those of nearly every peer you have at Hogwarts."

"But…" Harry tried to give voice to his confusion over the entire situation only to be cut off as Cyrus raised his hand.

"I will explain this after you have settled and slept." Cyrus winced as he continued, "It's a bit of a long description, but don't worry. Dealing with the minutia of social events is completely optional to you luckily, and the most important relationship for you to foster is the one you will have with the Nation and its People."

"The Goblins?" Harry asked.

"No." Cyrus leant towards Harry and Richard, "From this point forward that is not how you will refer to them." Harry could see the steel behind the man's eyes as he continued, "You are not a wizard lacking in manners, and you will not refer to them by such derogatory terms. The People of The Nation will meet you as a worthy client when you show them that you are not a part of the masses. You, Harry Potter, will make yourself worthy of your family's title…and the best way to begin that process is to re-kindle the relationship of mutual-respect the House of Potter has fostered with The Nation for well over six hundred and some odd years."

Harry nodded dumbly as Cyrus called for the second elf Harry had seen earlier, A male elf by the name of Tamlin, and asked for a carafe of water.

As Cyrus finished a lengthy gulp of his water he began to speak again, "Now Harry I will be going over the specifics with you for a few days as you rest and recuperate, but as soon as you are healthy and feel up to the task I will send word to Gringotts and your parents' final will and testament will be read."

Again Harry sat numbly for a moment before gathering himself up to ask, "Why is it being read now?"

Cyrus gave a long sigh, "I've no idea Harry." Harry noticed the two older men share a look, "My best advice would be to ask Lord Black, your Godfather. He was the one who orchestrated this entire situation and knows far my than I can even begin to claim to have knowledge of."

Harry sat and took a moment to really absorb all the information that had been heaped onto him in the past few days and began to notice a thread.

"Dumbledore is the reason that it was never read isn't he?" He asked the man across from him.

Cyrus for his part did not shy away from Harry's question as most people would have undoubtedly done.

"I will not confirm that as I would not wish to stoke any ire you may develop towards the man," Cyrus started as he quirked an eyebrow, "I also have limited information, and though Richard will attest to certain things said in the meeting we attended, it would seem there is a great number of things left unclear in how your life has been directed by parties whom had no right to meddle."

Harry looked between the two men before putting his head in his hands and sat quietly.

"Harry," He heard Richard Granger start, "lad I'm not sure about this whole situation…" the man gave a sigh, "but inside of that meeting we attended I can say I saw what I'm taking to be quite the spectacle, even by a wizard's standards, right Cyrus?"

Harry looked up to the Head of House Greengrass to see a roll of his eyes, "That would be putting it lightly Richard," the man said, "for one thing the Head of the Nation and an Honored Member were leading the bloody thing!" Harry watched as Cyrus fell back into his seat, "To be perfectly honest that alone was cause for concern…that the meeting was requested by Sirius Black and produced a number of unprecedented declarations beyond placing Harry into the arms of properly chosen guardians."

"Declarations?" Harry asked as he looked between the two.

Harry saw the way Cyrus sat back up in his chair and debate over the information.

"Nothing you should concern yourself with at this exact moment Harry." Cyrus said with finality and Harry felt a bit of indignation rise up, but received a placating 'wait' hand motion from Cyrus. "I only say that because you have enough to think over for at least the next day or so. I would like for you to be a bit more educated on the topics I told you we would discuss…that way you'll understand what happened in the context of that meeting." Cyrus offered with an understanding look.

"I…I understand." Harry said as he nodded his head.

"Good lad, I'm not sure I would have the stamina to explain right now." Cyrus offered as he stood. "Now I wish to introduce you to the most prized secret of this house." The man's smile was that of a young boy sharing a hidden treasure as he moved past the desk of the study and the open door to the unbelievable looking bedroom. The door he opened led to an enclosed space that Harry was quite sure could not have been natural. "This gentlemen, is the Greengrass Hotspring!"

Indeed Harry was surprised at the sight. He had never seen one before, though Aunt Petunia had often brought the subject up to Uncle Vernon. It was quite the beautiful image as the dark porous looking rocks surrounded a large pool of steaming water that was indescribably blue.

"How in the hell?" Richard Granger's voice was quite clear as he leant over a rock to dip his hand into the water.

"My Great-Grandfather had a penchant for visiting the other Deildartunguhver* in the old country and decided we needed one here at the Redoubt." Cyrus said as he laughed, "Healer Jones has already said it would do wonders for Harry's recovery if done no more than three hours a day…I admitted to there being a few natural qualities to this particular water and the runic enhancements to the spring."

"Three hours?" Harry felt himself ask as he gave his best questioning look to Cyrus.

"Trust me Harry…you'll realize how amazing it is after your first dip." The man looked to Richard, "You and Helen will have your own at your end of the house. I assume Hermione will most likely be asked to bunk with Daphne…if for no other reason than Astoria will badger her into it for another female to speak with close to their age. The girls have their own as do Sera and I."

"Well I definitely get the appeal of magic…a personal hot spring in your house…most certainly beats out the hot tub I was contemplating for the back deck." Richard Granger said next to Harry.

"Hot…Tub?" Cyrus asked.

"Oh yes it's a…" Richard Granger had started, but Harry's mind drifted. In fact he once again found himself in a bit of a daze. Throughout a fantastic dinner that he had not been able to enjoy and the conversation that buzzed around him he simply tuned himself out from everyone. Hermione had been worried, of course, but he had brushed aside her questions as he excused himself to his temporary quarters and found himself in the hot springs again.

Of Death & Fate

Part Three: Contemplations and Kind Elves

August 16, 1994, Night time, Visiting Lord's Chambers of the Greengrass Family Home

If Harry were honest with himself he would have had to admit that Cyrus' comment about the hot springs, much like his earlier statement about portkeys, was understated to an untold degree.

It had not been immediate for him when he first took a seat along the edge of the spring, but after nearly a quarter hour of hazily stewing in the water he noticed the pent up tension had simply vanished. Every muscle in his body had simply gone slack, even those he had not been aware of earlier.

As he allowed himself the novel luxury of actually relaxing into the lavish 'tub' his began to think back over the past few days.

Outside of his injuries and his situation with his wand he wondered about quite a few things and made a mental list.

His first course of action over the next few days would be to take up Cyrus' offer on learning what exactly all that 'title' business meant. He was quite sure the entire situation was going to fly over his head, but he knew with a bit of preparation he might be able to grasp a little of what he was supposed to know about the 'House Nobility' structure of the Wizarding World.

Of course he was also worried about what this would mean for him, Harry was well aware of how people with money acted most of the time. Even those who carried themselves with grace, like the Greengrass', were so far above what he understood in terms of social etiquette. It was bred into people like them, and he was at best an orphan who just happened upon a great school. He did not know how to properly act in public with people like them, his only real understanding of family appearances came from either the Dursley's or the Weasley's. The Dursley's could not have acted with grace if their lives depended on it, and the Weasley's, as much as he felt connected to them, were loud and brash; even if lovably so. In contrast he had more than seen the arrogance that families like the Malfoys put off towards others. Always with their noses up high and that constant sneer.

No, if he would have to start acting like some 'Lord' he would have to begin paying attention to Cyrus Greengrass and his family very closely. Or he would have to wait until he could see Sirius.

Sirius would know what to tell him, but that also made Harry worry about what was happening with his Godfather and Remus.

He knew that somehow Sirius had set the entire situation up and had made sure that Harry was being taken care of at the moment. That thought had made Harry lazily smile as he slid a little deeper into the water. Harry knew somehow in the myriad of obstacles that was laid out before him, Sirius had managed to not only guarantee himself a fair trial, but set them both on the track to live the promise he had made Harry during the incident outside the Whomping Willow.

At some point in the future, Harry, Sirius, and hopefully Remus could enjoy a life as a family.

Harry indulged a small fantasy of racing Sirius on the Firebolt he had been given by the man as he dipped his head until the water of the spring for a few seconds.

As he came up from the water Harry felt a bit more steel set into his resolve as he continued his 'list' of important things to decide on for the future.

His first major decision, outside of speaking to Cyrus, was to decide when he wanted his parent's will readings to take place. If Harry was honest he was tempted to tell Cyrus he had wanted to go directly to Gringotts to hear the will, but he knew everything that had been thrown at him over the past few days would have just come to a head the moment the meeting had started.

Instead he would ask Cyrus if he could learn enough by the upcoming Friday to have the will reading. Perhaps by then he would find himself ready with the knowledge to actually understand the entire 'titles' situation and physically stable enough to deal with the meeting. Of course he expected that the reading would be hard, but he figured he could ask Hermione…and possibly Daphne to sit in with him during the reading.

That thought brought up the other big revelation that had dominated the background of his thoughts since he had woken up the other day. Hermione and Daphne Greengrass were surprisingly close, almost as close as he considered himself to Hermione.

On one hand he was extremely happy that Hermione had developed a friendship like the one she had apparently enjoyed with Daphne. On the other hand he had to admit that there was a little jealousy in a small recess of his mind…and maybe heart that someone else saw what he saw in Hermione, possibly even more so.

This little jealousy was outweighed by the fact that Daphne had been so kind to him in their short time of actually talking to one another. The girl he had considered aloof was actually warm and allowed him to see that part of her.

It was all a very confusing situation if he were honest with himself.

Then to add on top of all these situations was the entire mess surrounding Dumbledore.

He knew Dumbledore…or at least he knew enough to know that the man cared for him and helped him on so many occasions. Harry doubted that the man could be responsible for anything that would hurt Harry knowingly.

As Harry stretched his arms out on either side of him and began to wonder about what exactly was going to happen when he returned to school. Of course the fact that those thought began to drift into nothing slipped by him quickly as he relaxed completely into the hot spring for the next half hour until a tiny voice pulled him from near sleep.

"Young Mister?" The soft voice asked once, then again slightly louder, "Young Mister?"

Harry lifted his head quick and made to cover himself as he spotted the male elf of the Greengrass Household.

"Yes!?" Harry exclaimed with a slight crack in his voice as the elf stared at him.

"It be nearing midnight Young Sir…Tamlin believes Young Sir would be more happy to sleep in bed than the Springs…you be less prune-y in the morning and Young Sir be needing his next potion." Tamlin offered as he tilted his head slightly. "Tamlin wait with potion for Young Sir in the bedroom."

As the elf popped away Harry shook his head slightly and stretched only to find that his muscles were nearly useless. The effort it took him to dry off and cover himself with a towel was something he considered herculean, and the, what seemed, long walk from the hot springs to his room was nearly worth a poem.

When he had finally found himself sitting on the edge of a dark walnut framed bed with deep red covers he felt as if he could melt directly into the bed itself. But in front of him was the tiny male elf with a single glass on a serving tray. Inside the glass was a semi-thick looking green liquid.

"That is not the same potion I took this morning Tamlin." Harry said as he eyed the offered glass.

"No Young Sir, this be to rebuild your body. Other potion was to remove bad things from body. You take both for next month and you be right size. You not be fed right for many years…it shameful. Tamlin sees." The elf said as he held the tray closer to Harry.

Harry looked directly into Tamlin's eyes as he took the glass. "Tamlin…I…I don't like to talk about that…and I'd rather not get into it…" Harry gripped the glass slightly as the elf tilted his head the other way.

"Tamlin know you good boy." The elf said before smiling. "You help Tamlin blood cousin…free him from mean master."

Harry felt his eyes widen as he asked, "Dobby? Dobby's your cousin?"

Tamlin nodded and smiled again, "Dobby be my cousin, his mother be my father's sister. I have not seen him since his birth, but he be family."

"Oh, well…" Harry started, "Happy I could help."

A silence settled between them as Harry tilted the glass a bit to look at the liquid.

"It not be tasty like other one Young Sir." Tamlin said. "It be…different…but make you stronger over time." The elf nodded towards the drink. "There be story about potion that taste like that from long ago…it be the test that all hunters of beasts must pass. Good story for young boys at bed time…though Missus Daphne and Missus Astoria liked it plenty." A small smile appeared on the elf's face. "Would you like to hear the story Young Sir?"

Harry could not help but smile at the elf's offer. He had never had a bedtime story that he could think of, and a bit of him wanted to cry at the kindness.

"Yeah," His voice cracked, "I'd really like that if you don't mind." He said as he prepared to drink the potion.

As soon as the first bit of the potion ran over his tongue he knew he would have to drink it all in one fell swoop. The flavor was that of grass, pure grass. It reminded Harry of when he was six and Dudley had force-fed him a few handfuls of grass from the Dursley's back yard. Even with the slight gagging sensation the first taste gave him the second half of the potion seemed much easier. At that point Harry realized that what little strength his body had after the hot springs had vanished completely and keeping himself upright was a losing battle.

Luckily he found himself floating slightly and clothed in a matching set of pajamas. He rolled his head to the small elf who gave a nod of his head.

"Young Sir will have to get used to the effects of the potion. The mornings will be rough on Young Sir…his muscles will be sore, but Lady Sera make Floo call to Healer Jones to make visit. Lady Sera and Mrs. Granger notice Young Sir be distracted and visit from healer may be necessary. Healer Jones says she bring salve that will help." Tamlin offered as he slowly placed the covers over Harry. "Young Sir be strong and healthy by the time he returns to Hogwarts. The Lord and Lady made sure Tamlin and Clippy know this most important."

Harry felt a bit affronted that decisions were once again being made without him, but at the same time knew that the elf had no say in the matter.

"Thank you Tamlin." He offered and was happy to see the elf smile.

"There be talk amongst elf-kind…say you be kind to all. Tamlin happy to see that it was true. Not many show kindess. Tamlin and Clippy lucky to be the Lord and Lady's elves. They care and teach the young miss's to be as well." Tamlin conjured a small seat for himself as Harry watched him. "Young Sir ready for his story?" The elf asked and Harry simply nodded.

Harry was not quite sure if he heard the entire story or not, but the legend of the Wizard Beast Hunters was more than interesting enough for him to fight the sleep that had hit him at full force. The myth of how they would test young apprentices with a grass-flavored potion made to strengthen the body made Harry feel a bit like a little boy as he allowed himself to be swept into the elf's enthusiastic telling of the story.

But eventually he did fall asleep. Into a deep sleep that had him snoring quite loudly and making the little elf in the room chuckle as he adjusted the sheets around the 'Young Sir'.

Of Death & Fate

Author's Note:

*1 As an American I felt the need to point out that in most other parts of the world the ground floor of a structure is aptly called the ground floor, not the first. The first floor is the next floor, or what we Americans would refer to as the second floor.

*2 Famous Hot spring in Iceland, though for my purposes there is a secluded magical section of this wonder.

Lastly I am hoping to get back into a regular writing schedule, but at the moment my real life is a bit hectic. A fun note though is that I met a fan of my fanfiction through a friend…so small world.

Happy Readings,

A Vagrant Boy