Book One of the Heritage Series:

Harry Potter and the Return of Heritage

Chapter One

Crossroads

The most recent of the dark times of the British magical community was said to have come to an end fourteen years previously. On that fateful night of Halloween which saw the Dark Lord Voldemort destroyed by the Boy-Who-Lived. Since that night the British magical community had lived in relative peace, but since Harry Potter returned to the community things had begun to change.

Voldemort who had long been banished to the fringes of the world had returned to a physical form and was once again a threat to the ignorant masses, a war was looming, and it was one that the country will ill prepared to face.

Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic of Great Britain had been informed of the Dark Lords return but he had refused to accept the truth. Instead of listening to his long-time confidant and advisor, Albus Dumbledore, and the innocence of a fourteen-year-old boy, he turned against them out of fear.

But instead of ignoring the truth, Fudge began a campaign to ensure that the truth was dismissed as foolish fear mongering of an old man and a deranged child. His incompetence and cowardice prevented the witches and wizards he had sworn to serve and protect from being able to prepare themselves for what was lurking unseen in the shadows their community.

In the last war an organisation had been founded by Albus Dumbledore to combat the threat of Voldemort, a secret society who had fought many against the Death Eaters and had often aided the struggling Ministry of Magic in their endeavours to bring an end to the bloody war.

That organisation was called the Order of the Phoenix and it had been disbanded following the defeat of Voldemort. However mere hours after his rebirth the message and they were once again called on to fight back. They would watch everything and undermine any sign of Death Eater agenda.

They did this to ensure that the dark forces that threatened the country would not gain a foothold from which they could dominate and take control of the country. Doing this all the while ensuring that their actions remained undetected by the Ministry of Magic.

One member of the secret society was infamous and unable to walk out in the open without being recognised. But then being a supposed mass murdering wizard and the only known man to escape the wizarding prison Azkaban would have that effect.

Sirius Orion Black was sitting in an old and damp basement kitchen looking out at the assembled members feeling restless and bored.

The basement was full of chatter. The people that were present were talking about a potential recruit for the Order who worked down in the Ministry's Department of Mysteries. With over thirty people in the room it was loud, and they were all passionate about their views and often talked over each other.

Sitting there, Sirius remembered meetings from the First Order. He had been recruited not long after leaving Hogwarts and had joined along with his best friends. Many of the faces around the table were familiar from back then, however there was a large number that were missing from it. It was painful reminder of all the friends that had been lost fourteen years ago.

Sirius chose not to dwell on the losses of so many of his old friends, instead he tried to remember the happier times;

James and Lily Potter - His best friends and the parents of his godson – who would sit silent, watching and listening without comment until their opinion was asked for. They would however intervene when they believed that the Order was taking a path that would endanger lives. Both had been resolute about bringing down their enemy but so determined not to become the monster they were fighting.

Then there were the Prewitt Twins, Fabian and Gideon, the rowdy troublemakers who could lighten the mood even on the most sombre day. Alice and Frank Longbottom, both level-headed aurors who had cared for those who suffered under Voldemort's terror.

Lastly, there was Marlene. Marlene McKinnon. Oh, how he remembered her long, blonde elegantly curled hair, the piercing purple-blue eyes and her melodious laugh. It had sounded like a melody of singing Wood Nymphs. She had loved to sing and dance. It was Marlene alone who had claimed his heart all those years ago.

Sirius forced his mind away from the past that haunted him, it only soured his mood and drove him to drink more fire whiskey than what was good for him. The meeting was of no interest to him since he could barely contribute to the Order. The bounty on his head prevented him from aiding them and none of the order would allow him to leave disguised fearing discovery.

Instead of paying attention to the conversation, he silently mused over the reports they had received on Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters.

Voldemort had remained hidden since his return and did not do anything to draw attention to himself. The minister was blocking the truth at every turn, painting the picture that both his godson and Dumbledore were mad, attention-seeking liars. The Ministry was aided by the Daily Prophet newspaper which were sprouting all manner of sly propaganda.

Sirius was no fool and his keen mind and sharp intellect had not been dulled in Azkaban, despite some of the Order thinking him unstable. He could see that these things were all connected, and he put his mind to working through every report and piece of intelligence to find his own way forward, he would find a way to contribute to this war.

The meeting ended an hour later, and Sirius barely acknowledged the people leaving or bidding him goodnight. He retreated to his bedroom and began to pace. There were so many things buzzing through his mind, their were so many connected events, and from them he could make plausible guesses as to what might come to pass and there had to be a way to stop it.

He stopped pacing when Remus entered his room, concern radiating from his pale green eyes that were flecked with dull amber.

"What is going through that head of yours Padfoot?" Remus asked. "You may have been sitting in that meeting, but your mind was elsewhere. I haven't seen you like this since the last war."

"I don't like what's happening, Moony," Sirius said, resuming his frustrated pacing. "Fudge is going to get us all killed, and Harry is right in the middle of it!"

"Then I take it you have a plan?" Remus cautioned quietly. "You remember the last time you acted without planning in advance?"

"Of course, I do!" Sirius snapped. "I ended up in Azkaban for twelve years and was nearly kissed by a hundred dementors!"

Remus said nothing, instead he took a seat on Sirius' bed.

"Sorry," Sirius relented moments later, it wasn't Remus's fault. "I'm just frustrated, I feel so useless. A powerless Black! What would my family think of me now? Merlin, I bet they must be disgusted with me, and they would be right! I was always a disappointment in their eyes and they would be right!"

"You are not powerless Sirius." Remus reassure him quietly, "Your Grandfather as Lord Arcturus Black might have once held great power, both magically and politically. You have the magical power and a brilliant mind when you apply it. We have enough politicians, if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be where we are now!"

"Grandfather Arcturus was a cold bastard, though he did make a formidable Lord Black…" Sirius started to trail off as he suddenly had a thought.

Lord Black. It was as much an office of power as it was a title. One that was technically Sirius's, he was the last male in the direct family line.

There was old power within the Ancient and Most Noble Houses. Ancient laws, many of which were overlooked but still held great sway over the country. But was that a power that Sirius could use now?

Sirius had run away from his family all those years ago, but had been groomed by his father and grandfather to be the heir to the House of Black. Despite being a renegade Black, those old lessons had never been forgotten, he had just chosen to ignore many of them and walk his own path.

He might have been disowned by his own mother, but old Arcturus had never disinherited him or even removed his status as heir to their House. It had been a surprise to learn that fact from his account manager at Gringotts but had chosen to ignore the fact as he had always done.

But perhaps now was the time to embrace his birth right, it was after all his by law and blood and couldn't be challenged by anyone, not even the Ministry of Magic. Becoming Lord Black would also open various possibilities, one of which would be to help his godson who most likely didn't even know his own heritage and place within the wizarding world.

A path began to appear in front of Sirius, and it was one he would need to tread very carefully. He needed time and secrecy on his side if he was to successfully navigate the path he envisioned.

The Ancient and Most Noble House of Black had fallen from its place as the most important and dominant high-born family in Britain. The people had forgotten the power this now dormant family seat once held, but that would change Sirius vowed to himself, the wizarding world would remember that no one crossed a Black or one who fell under their protection.

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Sirius was out in the overgrown garden of the house, grooming the hippogriff Buckbeak. It had been a week and a half since he had made his vow and he was hard at work with his plan and none of the Order were any the wiser as to what Sirius was up to when he was locked away in his room.

Only Remus was aware of his plan and helped hide the Sirius's activities by reporting that Sirius was drinking more and if he was to busy to attend a meeting said he was passed out in bed.

He sighed as he brushed the large beast and remembered the night he had acquired the hippogriff in what could only be described as odd circumstances, yet was one of his happier memories.

The confrontation with Wormtail had not happened as he had planned as he had forgotten to factor in Harry.

A big mistake, however, one that had turned out for the better.

The Boy had courage and nerve and, in his fury, had even tried to strangle Sirius. Not that Sirius could blame him, but eventually everything had been straightened out and Harry had refused to allow Sirius to kill Wormtail and become a murderer, instead he had insisted that they turn the rat over so that Sirius could be proven innocent and Wormtail rightfully punished.

Sirius remembered that decision well, he was proud of Harry and knew that his parents would have been too. He was much like them both, but that moment had cemented the view that Harry was his own person more so than his previous observations of him during the year.

Of course, everything had gone horribly wrong due to the full moon, Remus hadn't taken his potion in his haste to get to the shack that night. Moony had not been the only danger, Padfoot had defended his Godson and friends but the fight had left him injured and weak. Then the dementors had come, hundreds of them, there to claim his soul and he had passed out from the exposure to their presence.

When he had woken up in the castle very much alive and in one piece he had been shocked. The room had been heavily warded and then Dumbledore came and sat and listened to Sirius and finally learnt the truth he hadn't been able to see. Dumbledore had been pensive following the tale, he didn't have the power or time to stop his execution himself but promised Sirius that he wouldn't die that night and left him.

Sirius remembered the regret he had felt once Dumbledore had left, he felt he had failed Harry again. He didn't know what Dumbledore would do but resigned himself to his fate, it would be a fitting punishment for all of his mistakes he had thought.

But then Sirius had one of the biggest shocks of his life. A knock on the window. And outside was a very determined Harry Potter sitting astride a magnificent hippogriff with his friend Hermione. His godson had come to rescue him, and Sirius had escaped from Hogwarts with the hippogriff.

He smiled to himself as he brushed Buckbeak's rump, he now knew he should have known that Harry would save him somehow. He would risk everything to help someone he cared for. Sirius had seen that when Harry had chased after Ron, and despite only knowing him for a few hours Harry had come for him too.

James and Lily would have been so proud of him.

Lily may have been more level headed than James but if someone she cared for was in trouble, then she would have moved the very earth to help them. He had seen her duel with frightening ferocity and James was the same. While James became enraged when overcome by powerful emotions, he had been near unstoppable the day his father died. It seemed that Harry had managed to take after his parents even though he had only been with them for just over a year.

"Sirius!" He heard Remus bellow.

Running back into headquarters, he saw that people were arriving through the floo quickly and a sudden rush of panic overcame him.

"Remus, what's happened?" He asked urgently as he dashed down into the kitchen, "is it Harry?"

"Dementors attacked him! Dung just informed us; he had to defend himself while Dung bunked off to do business," Remus said.

Thoughts were racing through Sirius' mind at an alarming rate; this was why Harry had been given a guard! Fudge wanted an excuse to discredit him and now he had one. Luckily, underage magic was only a disciplinary matter in Amelia Bones' office.

"Wait until I get my hands on that thief!" Sirius snarled, his hands gripping the kitchen table tightly imagining it was Dung's neck. "Is Harry okay?".

"Dung said he was fine. Arabella's cover is blown though, she was alerted by her kneazles," Remus informed him quickly.

They were interrupted by the chime of the floo upstairs and then the sound of frantic feet heading down to them and Arthur Weasley emerged into the room.

"Arthur, what is it?" Molly Weasley asked urgently noticing his haste.

"Fudge!" He said between breaths, "He had tried to expel Harry and was about to send an official to snap his wand; thankfully Dumbledore has arrived to sort it out, he's furious! I sent an owl to Harry telling him not to relinquish his wand."

Sirius nodded before quickly pulling out his wand and summoning some parchment and a self-inking quill. He rushed out into the garden to write his note, then grabbed the owl that was sitting out there and tied the letter to its leg.

"Go, get that to Harry as quick as you can," he said to the owl, "It's an emergency." He threw the owl into the air; it quickly took flight and was off as fast as it could fly.

He stormed back into the house and went up into the attic. He tried a summoning spell but the item he needed did not come towards him. Frustrated he hissed, "Kreacher!"

"Master calls?" The elf said, more a statement than an actual question. He gave an exaggerated bow, as always, wanting to show 'appreciation' to his master.

Sirius paid him no heed, he needed something important now. "Where is the riding tack, Kreacher? We should have some here."

The elf looked at him carefully, "Kreacher threw it out many years ago at Mistress' insistence, Master," he croaked, and threw Sirius a dirty look.

Sirius cursed. "Then go to Ravenwood Hall and get me a set. Now. I need it immediately, Kreacher, go!" The elf bowed and was gone with a loud pop.

Sirius quickly descended the stairs and met Remus halfway down. "What are you doing, Padfoot?" He asked.

"What we planned," Sirius replied. "Can you cover for me while I am gone?"

Remus frowned, but nodded. "Tonks should be there when you arrive. Kingsley just told us that Dumbledore slipped her a message when he was at the Ministry. I'll tell them that I stunned you in your bedroom and locked you in there to make sure you didn't do anything. How will you get there?"

"Thank you," Sirius said "I'm going to – "

The rest of his sentence was interrupted by the sound of Kreacher's apparition. In his arms was a set of black tack. "As requested Master," he said and he dumped it all on the floor before disappearing with a crack.

Slowly, Remus realised what was going on. "You cannot fly a hippogriff!" Remus exclaimed as Sirius picked up the mess of straps and leather. He began to descend the stairs three at a time. "It's still light outside Sirius!"

They walked into the garden, Remus protesting expressively. Sirius pointedly ignored him and bowed to the hippogriff. "I will place disillusionment charms on us both, it'll be fine! Besides, it's getting dark now."

Remus nodded begrudgingly. "Fine," he muttered, defeated. "I better go. Be careful Sirius, and remember, our entire plan resides on Harry getting here; he doesn't need to get in any further trouble."

Sirius nodded and pulled out his wand, pointed it at the tack. It glided gracefully towards Buckbeak and secured itself to the hippogriff and Sirius quickly got into the saddle with practiced ease.

Holding the reins in his hands, he gave Buckbeak a nudge with his legs. Buckbeak began to move towards one end of the garden and shifted in anticipation. Sirius cast the disillusionment charm on them both.

"Right then Buckbeak, get me to my godson," he said, and without the need for further command, Buckbeak propelled them up with his back legs. With two powerful sweeps of his wings, he was in the air. Sirius looked out in the direction of Surrey, he just hoped that Harry had received his message.

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