Book One of the Heritage Series:
Harry Potter and the Return of Heritage
The Dark Times of the British magical community was believed to had come to an end after the Dark Lord Voldemort was destroyed by the Boy-Who-Lived fourteen years before on that famous Halloween night. The country had lived in peace for all those years but ever since Harry Potter returned to the wizarding world the threat of the Dark Lord had returned, until only a few weeks prior he had returned to physical form and a new war was on the horizon.
Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic of Great Britain had been informed of the Dark Lords return but he refused to see reason and chose to not believe the word of Albus Dumbledore who had long been his greatest advisor or the word of the fourteen-year-old who had witnessed the rebirth of Voldemort himself.
Instead the Minister was hiding the truth, crushed it, and kept it hidden from the people he swore to protect and lead when he took his office. So, the general wizarding people had no idea what threats lurked out of sight because their government refused to see it.
In the last war an organisation had been founded by Albus Dumbledore to combat the threat of Voldemort, a secret society who had fought in many of the battles with the Death Eaters and helped the Ministry fend of the attacks and win numbers fights.
That organisation was called the Order of the Phoenix, and the night of Voldemort's rebirth had seen the Order reformed and a day later the first meeting of the Second Order was called, and so they began to watch and gather information.
One member of the secret society was infamous, a supposed mass murdering wizard and the only known man to escape the wizarding prison Azkaban.
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 new recruit for the Order who worked down in the Ministry's Department of Mysteries; it was a bit crowded as there were about thirty of them.
Sitting there he remembered meetings from the First Order, when he had been not long out of Hogwarts and had jointed the order with his best friends. The faces around the table were not the same as they once were, so many of the original members had been killed in the last war, and it was painful to remember many of them.
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 - would often sit silent until their opinion was asked for. Sometimes, if they felt that something was wrong, they would shout down anyone who made a foolish proposition that would endanger unnecessary lives; they were so passionate about bringing down their enemy but so determined not to become the monster they were fighting.
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 wood Nymphs singing. She had loved to sing and dance and she alone had claimed his heart once.
Sirius forced his mind away from the past that haunted him always, 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 this time, his status as a mass murder and escaped prisoner along with the bounty on his head prevented any active role.
Instead of paying attention, 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 not a fool and his mind was sharp, even if the Order thought him unstable. He could see that these things were all connected and he put his keen mind to working through every report and piece of intelligence they had. Although it was difficult, he would always support what he cared about.
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; his mind raced, making connections between events and even plausible guesses.
He stopped pacing when Remus entered his room unnoticeably, concern radiating from his pale green eyes that were flecked with dull amber.
"What are you thinking about Padfoot?" Remus asked. "You may have been sitting in that meeting, but your mind was elsewhere."
"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 asked. "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, taking a seat on Sirius' bed.
"Sorry," Sirius relented after seeing the look on his friend's face. "I'm just frustrated, I feel so useless. A powerless Black! What would my family think of me now? Merlin, they must be rolling in their graves! Then I always was a disappointment to them. "
"You are not powerless Sirius." Remus reassure him quietly, "Lord Arcturus Black might have once held great power both magically and politically but these days we need more wands that politicians, that vipers nest is too corrupt."
"Old 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.
It was a title but also an office. One which technically was his own now, he was the last male in the direct line.
With that title and office came the old powers of the Ancient and Most Noble Houses, their laws old and mostly forgotten but they still held a lot of sway, but could he use it?
Sirius had run away from his family all those years ago, but he had been groomed by his father and grandfather for his role as heir to the House of Black. To this day, he had never forgotten the lessons they had taught him, he had merely chosen to ignore them.
He might have been disowned by his own mother, but old Arcturus had never disinherited him or even removed his status as heir to the house. That had been a shock to him when he had escaped and contacted his Gringotts account manager but had chosen to ignore it like he had always done.
But perhaps now was the time to embrace his heritage, it was his by law and blood and couldn't be challenged. Becoming Lord Black came with a lot of possibilities, one such possibility was to help his godson who probably didn't even know his own heritage find his place in the Wizarding World and he could finally make good on his responsibilities as godfather and the promise he had made Lily and James.
With that in mind Sirius knew he couldn't be hasty, he needed time and secrecy to get everything pulled together to prevent interference, it would require patience and cunning if he was to succeed.
The Ancient and Mostly Noble House of Black had fallen from his place as the most important and dominant high born family in Britain, many had forgotten power this dormant family had once held, but in the weeks to come Sirius vowed that Britain and the wizarding world would remember that no one crossed a Black, or threatened or came after someone under the House of Blacks Protection.
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, although the Order were all ignorant of his plan apart from Remus.
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, he had never factored in Harry. The Boy had courage and nerve, he had been furious with Sirius and had even strangled him. Not that Sirius could blame him, but eventually everything had been straightened out and Harry had allowed the rat to live to get him proven innocent of his supposed crimes and the rat would be rightfully punished.
But that had not been possible due to the full moon, Remus hadn't taken his potion in his haste to get to the shack that night and Moony had been a real threat to them all. Padfoot had fought his old playmate to protect his godson and friends but it 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 he had been in the castle, very much alive and in one piece. The door was warded, the window too high up for him to jump out of. He was stuck with only the Kiss to come. Dumbledore had come and listened to his story, and had believed him yet despite all his offices he couldn't overturn the kiss on sight order, or contradict the order of the Minister of magic.
When Dumbledore had left, all Sirius felt was regret, his godson needed him and he was someone in the castle now and he had failed him once more. Just as he had been about to give up all hope, he'd had the shock of his life. There had been a knock on the window, and Harry had been outside 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 should have known Harry would risk everything for someone he cared for. Harry had chased after his friend when Padfoot had dragged him into the Shack and while he had not known Sirius for more than a few hours, he had still rescued him.
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 he was irrational when his emotions overcome him, he had been 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 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?" He asked.
"Dung said he was fine. Arabella's cover is blown though, she was alerted by her kneazles," Remus informed.
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.
"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 Black riding tack, Kreacher?"
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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