Sirius and the Grangers ask a favor of Andromeda. Voldemort takes a trip to Germany.
Sirius and Andromeda had gone through a tearful reunion a few weeks ago once Dora had convinced her mother that he was innocent.
They had been given the secret to the location of the house once they made their Unbreakable Vows that they would not betray Harry, or any of them, or their secrets. However, only Remus actually knew who the secret keeper was for everyone’s safety.
Dora looked over at her cousin. He had a look of deep thought etched upon his face. Nodding her head, she said tentatively, “I’ll pop over there and see if they are still up.”
Grimmauld Place had been removed from the floo network for safety reasons when the house was placed under the Fidelius Charm and the various other enchantments and protections. Once Dora was outside, she Apparated to her parents house.
Sirius turned to Remus and said in a gravely, “I think that we should all make out wills and have multiple copies distributed for safety. My solicitor couldn’t find anything about Lily and James’ will or if they even had one. By law, everything went to Harry but we both know that Dumbledore has interfered in that process.”
This topic of conversation was not a surprise to Remus. He had been thinking along the same lines ever since he learned that Voldemort was back. Agreeing, Remus said, “I do too. Perhaps we should have some stored at each property and with the elves. They can hide things better than we can. Have you thought about signing over Harry’s guardianship in the Wizarding World to Andromeda?”
Nodding, Sirius said, “I asked her to get the paperwork in order last week. I’ll sign it as soon as she and Ted bring it to me. That will provide one more check on Dumbledore in the Wizarding World but I don’t think that it will honestly stop the man from meddling.”
Remus nodded in agreement. In a voice full of concern, he asked, “Do you think that we should begin making other preparations too?”
Sirius immediately understood what Remus was asking. They had been going over the issue for weeks now, resignedly, he spoke, “I do. Even with Annabelle disguising me, I don’t feel safe accessing my money at Gringotts. We should keep our vaults open; just empty the majority of the contents. Especially if what you have told me about the Ministry’s current policies towards non-humans is true.”
Bitterly, Remus replied, “I was actually understating it a bit if anything. For years the Ministry has been passing laws that restrict the rights of beings that they consider to be magical creatures, regardless of their intelligence level.”
“Hmm.” Sirius furrowed his brow as he grappled with this information. “That means that you believe that the goblins will side with whichever faction is in power, the Dementors will probably side with Voldemort if he can convince them, and the werewolves and vampires are in a bit of a grey area.”
“Correct. We should open up multiple accounts in numerous non-magical banks too. That would give us easier access to funds if we were on the run. A safety deposit box could hold gold and cash so we would have both available.” Remus finished thinking aloud.
Excitedly, Sirius said, “That’s a great idea! Now we just need to find a way to exchange galleons for pounds.”
Any further discussion was interrupted when Dora returned with her parents in tow.
Sirius got up from his spot at the table and pulled his cousin into a hug and shook hands with Ted. “Thank you for coming on such short notice.” Turning to look at Andromeda, he said, “Do you have the guardianship papers for me to sign?”
Andromeda pulled a piece of parchment from her robes and said, “I do.” Concerned, she asked, “Do you think that this is necessary?”
Gesturing for everyone to be seated, Sirius said in a calm voice, “Voldemort has returned.” He ignored the gasps and continued speaking, “It is more important than ever that we have everything set up as quickly as possible. We don’t want Dumbledore, Voldemort, or that idiot Fudge, to make a move to have Harry legally removed from my guardianship.”
Andromeda’s heart was pounding; her worst fears were coming true. The last war had taken a huge toll on the Blacks. Pulling out a quill, she quickly signed the form and passed it to her husband for his signature. Looking up at Sirius, she asked him, “Do you think that you should adopt Harry into the Black Family as your son? I know that he is already distantly related to us, but an adoption would definitely remove another of the potential legal sticking points.”
Sirius’ voice was full of emotion when he spoke, “I had planned on asking Harry if he would like that in the morning.” Very quietly, he added, “I’ve always wanted children and this is probably my best chance.”
Andromeda reached across the table, clasped hands with Sirius, and gave him a smile of understanding.
Ted Tonks was a practical man; he knew that assuming guardianship over Harry Potter in the magical world would bring some issues, even if he were adopted into his wife’s family first. The question before them now was would it bring the attention of Voldemort too? Concerned, he asked, “Do we need to go into hiding too or just place our home under the Fidelius Charm?”
Remus and Sirius both looked over at Dora for an answer.
Sighing, Dora said, “Mum, Dad. I know that you two can take care of yourselves, but this will make you a target. I would feel better if we placed your house under the Fidelius Charm on top of a whole bunch of other protections.”
Nodding in understanding, Ted signed the parchment and slid it across the table to Sirius.
Relieved, Sirius signed his name and said, “Thank you. You don’t know how much this means to me. Harry will be protected from any legal issues by having you as his guardians in the Wizarding World.” He passed the form back to them and grasped his cousin’s hand in thanks.
“We have some more bad news to share unfortunately. Mad-Eye Moody is dead. Barty Crouch, Jr. killed him.” Remus said into the pause in conversation.
Dora quickly supplied, “Barty Crouch, Sr. is also dead. He was killed by his own son. Before you start asking questions, we have Barty Jr. in a cage in the basement and we questioned him under Veritaserum.”
Shaking his head in sorrow, Ted’s deep voice rang out, “What are we going to do about Barty, Jr. then?”
Remus, Sirius, and Dora all shared a look before Dora turned her attention back to her parents, “We don’t think that we can turn them over to the Ministry. There are too many Death Eaters in high positions amongst the Wizengamot and in various other positions. We think that we should try them ourselves and go from there.”
Andromeda and Ted shared a quiet conversation with a glance. When she spoke, her voice was full of regret but a hint of strong resolve as well, “Count us in. What are the plans for the ones that we feel don’t warrant death?”
Seeing the looks upon the three people sitting across from him, Ted realized that they hadn’t gotten that far yet in their planning. He suggested, “What about Obliviating them? We could remove all knowledge of the Wizarding World or simply erase their minds.”
Andromeda gave her husband a look of outrage, heatedly, she said, “Why can’t we imprison them?”
Remus answered her question, “Because we don’t have the facilities, manpower, or time that it would take to incarcerate a bunch of Death Eaters for an extended period of time. Our resources are thin as it is and our manpower even thinner.”
“I agree with Ted.” Sirius supplied; his voice calm. Looking at everyone present, he continued speaking, “I think that we should vary the level of Obliviation depending upon the crime. I suggest that we use the people we Obliviate as examples for potential Death Eaters. Drop them in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade with their Dark Mark showing for everyone to see what happens to people that support Voldemort.”
Andromeda was gazing intently at the tabletop, lost in her thoughts about her two sisters that she was sure were Death Eaters.
Ted reached over and put his arm around her shoulders, he knew exactly what was bothering his wife. As children, they had been very close, but when she defied her parent’s wishes and married him, they disowned her. Quietly, he said to her, “I know, dear. I know. I promise that what ever happens with them, we will make it quick.”
Tears flowing down her face, Andromeda nodded in acceptance of her loving husband’s words.
Having a very good idea about what was going through his cousin’s mind; Sirius asked her, “Would you like me to reinstate you into the family? That would officially bring Dora into the family and through marriage, Ted.”
Andromeda’s head snapped up at Sirius, the look of longing and sorrow on her face was plain for everyone to see. Very slowly, she nodded, yes.
Grinning back at her, Sirius proudly said, “I, Sirius Black, welcome Andromeda Tonks back into the Black Family as a member in good standing.” There was a slight discharge of magic as his oath took effect.
Everyone was a bit teary eyed as they happily watched the scene unfold in front of them. Remus broke the silence when he warmly said, “Congratulations, Andromeda, Ted, and Dora.”
Andromeda pushed back from the table and walked around to the other side where Sirius had also stood up. When he opened his arms, she practically flew into his embrace and hugged him back just as fiercely as he was hugging her.
When they separated, they both were crying openly. Sirius had gained a bit of his wish for family and Andromeda had been welcomed back into hers.
While the Black’s were having a tearful family reunion of sorts, Rita Skeeter was practically drooling at the letter clutched in her hands. It was from Bathilda Bagshot with a request for an in depth interview about Albus Dumbledore tomorrow morning. She went to bed that evening with visions of writing a tell all book about the life of Albus Dumbledore, the ‘Great Manipulator.’
Something had awoken Hermione from her pleasant slumber and it took her a few seconds to figure it out. Reaching her arm out, she discovered that Harry wasn’t in bed. Looking around the moonlit room, she saw his silhouette next to the window.
Silently, she padded over to him, wrapped her arms around his chest, and leaned her head against his shoulder. Softly, she asked, “Are you okay?”
His quiet voice was full of anguish when he answered her, “I’m scared, Hermione. I don’t want to lose you, or anyone else for that matter, but I don’t think that everyone is going to make it out of this alive.” He turned in her embrace to face her, he could see the moon reflected in her beautiful cinnamon colored eyes, and for a moment, he forgot all of his worries as he lost himself in their beauty.
A few seconds later, he regained his wits and resumed speaking, “I’m an even bigger target now that Voldemort is back. I escaped him again and I know what he really looks like. What do you think we should do?”
Hermione squeezed him tighter and nuzzled her lips into the crook of his neck, planting a few delicate kisses and enjoying the feeling of Harry shivering. She pulled back slightly to look up at him, her voice was full of concern too, “I don’t know. I think that we should talk it over in the morning with everyone. It’s late and we don’t have to decide everything right now.”
She grabbed his hand and led him back to their bed where she gently pushed him onto his back and slowly climbed on top of him. Purring, she whispered into his ear, “Now, why don’t we forget about those things for a while before we get some more sleep?” To punctuate her words, she began trailing kisses from his neck down towards his chest.
When she lightly nipped his collarbone, he moaned into her hair and began returning the favor. Ten minutes later the two teens were cuddling together trying to get their hormones back under control.
Smirking into the darkness, Harry was reliving the feeling of the softness of Hermione as she lay atop of him.
Hermione could see the smirk on Harry’s face as she gazed up at him from her spot on his chest. Slowly, she reached her hand up and stroked his cheek, earning her a kiss on her palm. The emotions in her voice were palpable when she spoke, “I love you.” She could feel his grin get wider when he heard her words.
“And I you, my wife.” Harry answered with just as much emotion as she had in her voice.
The young married couple drifted back into the land of dreams, relishing the closeness and warmth from their cuddling.
Voldemort was up at the crack of dawn, he had a few things that he needed to do in order to weaken Dumbledore’s hold on the Wizarding World. After a light breakfast, he stepped outside of his new headquarters, walked to the edge of the Anti-Apparition Wards, and disappeared with a barely audible pop.
Surveying his surroundings, Voldemort was impressed. The prison looked nothing like Azkaban. The entrance to the prison in Nurmengard was awe-inspiring; the large stone archway reminded him of the Wellington Arch in London.
He almost laughed aloud when he read the inscription above the entrance, ‘For the Greater Good,’ it seemed that the German Wizarding Community had a sense of humor. Gellert Grindelwald was imprisoned in a place that used his own motto against him.
Making sure that his glamour was in place, Voldemort strode up to the entrance of the prison and spoke to the guard in a pleasant voice, “I am here to visit a prisoner.”
The guard gave the well-dressed gentleman in front of him a searching gaze before replying, “Only family is allowed to visit the prisoners.”
Giving the guard a warm smile, Voldemort said, “My name is Nathaniel Bagshot, I am Gellert Grindelwald’s cousin.”
The guard checked his manifest and did indeed find the name Bagshot listed as family. Casually drawing his wand, the guard said, “You are only the third visitor that prisoner has had, other than Albus Dumbledore, in the last forty years. Why haven’t you come to visit before now?”
Noticing that the guard had his wand discreetly pointed at him, Voldemort slowly raised his hands and continued to display a smile that would have done Gilderoy Lockhart proud. Keeping his voice calm, he said, “My aunt, Bathilda, is not doing well and she asked me to visit in her stead.”
The guard was placated by the calm nature and disarming smile on the man in front of him. Lowering his wand, he said, “Sorry about that. We don’t get many visitors here and Grindelwald is our most famous prisoner. Dumbledore himself pushed for the family only clause to keep down the number of crazies that would probably want to gawp at the prisoner.”
Nodding his head in acceptance, Voldemort said pleasantly, “I completely understand and I agree with the policy. May I proceed to the visitor’s center now?”
The guard stepped aside and gestured to the door, “Of course, the visiting room is at the end of the hall. The guard there will let you in and the prisoner will be escorted down once you check in.”
“Thank you.” Voldemort replied as he swept past the guard and headed towards the visiting room.
The guard at the end of the hall stopped reading his paper when he saw someone coming towards him. Realizing that it was a visitor, he drew his wand and said, “I need you to place your wand in my care until you leave. No wands are permitted in the visiting area.”
When Voldemort had handed over his wand, the guard asked, “Who are you here to see?”
Smiling, he answered, “My cousin, Gellert Grindelwald.”
The guard looked surprised before his expressionless mask returned and he said, “Please wait inside; I will have the prisoner brought down in a few minutes.”
Voldemort seated himself in one of the comfortable chairs facing the prisoner entrance.
Ten minutes later, an elderly man was helped into the room by a healer. Time had not been kind to one of the most feared Dark Lords in the past century.
Rising from his chair, Voldemort helped the healer settle Grindelwald into a seat before returning to his own spot. Glancing up at the healer, he calmly said, “Thank you, I will call for you when we have finished our visit.”
The healer smiled at him and left the room, completely oblivious that he had just left the last Dark Lord with the current one.
Gellert was gazing over at the man sitting across from him. Looking directly into his eyes, he was surprised to find himself unable to enter the man’s mind. Intrigued, he asked, “What can I do for you?”
Voldemort had felt the subtle attempt at Legilimancy and he easily rebuffed the probe. Smiling at the man across from him, he said, “I’m here to ask you about your former lover, Albus Dumbledore.”
Whatever he was expecting, that question was definitely not it and the shock slipped through his Occlumency Shields and shown upon his face. Centering himself, Gellert regained control and asked, “Who are you?”
Voldemort smiled at the man in front of him before answering, “Oh, You-Know-Who,” he emphasized before continuing, “I’m your cousin, Nathaniel Bagshot.”
Grindelwald was a very sharp man and he got the hint immediately. He laughed aloud as he said cheerfully, “It is very good to see you, cousin. Now, what would you like to know about Albus?” Inside, he was dancing, he knew that he would never leave this prison; time had ravaged his body far too much. He would take his revenge any way that he could and Lord Voldemort was going to be his avenging angel.
Voldemort and Grindelwald spent the rest of the day in deep discussion about Albus Dumbledore and their once grandiose plans for domination.
When Voldemort was about to leave, he asked one last question, “Do you want me to tell him anything from you the next time I see him?”
Grindelwald’s smile was almost predatory, “I do. Please tell him that I told you everything for the ‘Greater Good.’”
Nodding his head in understanding, Voldemort turned and swept from the room without a backwards glance. After retrieving his wand, he left the prison and Apparated to his next target, Igor Karkaroff.
Voldemort almost snorted when he arrived. He was standing outside of a ramshackle hut in the forests around Durmstrang. ‘The man is a stupid coward.’ he thought to himself as he walked up to the cabin with his wand drawn.
Not bothering with subtlety, he blew the entire front wall apart, sending the front door flying into the interior of the shack. He could hear moaning coming from inside, someone had been caught by the flying debris. Conjuring a shield, Voldemort stepped into the wrecked cabin.
Lying on the floor, buried under pieces of the wall and the door, was Karkaroff. He was obviously in a lot of pain because he didn’t even notice when Lord Voldemort himself had conjured a chair and sat down facing him.
Voldemort picked up Karkaroff’s wand and inspected it for any damage. Finding none, he pocketed it and returned his attention to the whimpering man on the floor. Using the toe of his dragon hide boot, he kicked Karkaroff’s arm to get his attention.
There was a moment of uncertainty in his face before Karkaroff realized who was in front of him. Hurriedly, he stammered out, “M-m-my Lord?”
In a low, menacing tone, Voldemort hissed, “You disgust me, Karkaroff. Why did you not return when I called? Did you fear the retribution of your comrades or was it my wrath?”
Karkaroff was too scared to say anything so he stayed silent. He knew that he was a dead man the minute that the Dark Lord returned and that was why he had run as soon as his mark burned black.
Voldemort’s sibilant voice cut through the silence, “Now, why don’t we have a nice little chat about what secrets you told when you turned traitor.” Leveling his wand at Karkaroff, he hissed, “Crucio.”
The screams were like music to his ears. It had been far too long since he had truly tortured someone for information or betrayal.
Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t torture people often, just when the act would serve dual purposes. The first reason was to make people fear him. Because he was so feared, many victims would start talking the minute he held them at wand point.
The second reason was that Voldemort did enjoy inflicting pain, especially on people that betrayed him. Betrayal was something that he didn’t take lightly. He felt that he had been betrayed by his father as a child and that action set in stone his reactions to being betrayed.
Lifting the curse, Voldemort watched as Karkaroff twitched from the aftereffects. Pain was a wonderful motivator and he was going to give Karkaroff plenty of motivation before they were through.
The next three hours were the longest of his life. Karkaroff had spilled all of his secrets to escape the torture. By the time that death released him from his pain, Karkaroff was a broken man.
Back in London, the residents of the Granger household were just beginning to stir. John and Annabelle were in the kitchen having a cup of tea while Dobby and Winky were making a larger than normal breakfast.
At half past seven, there was a knock on the door. Dobby excused himself and went to lead the guests to the kitchen. A minute later, he was leading Andromeda, Ted, Dora, Sirius, and Remus to the breakfast table. Pulling out a chair for Andromeda, Dobby said happily, “Please be seated. Breakfast will be ready shortly. I will go wake Master Harry and Mistress Hermione.”
The adults were all seated around the table having tea and croissants when a bleary-eyed Harry followed a perky Hermione into the room. Harry stopped immediately upon noticing the two new additions to the table. He looked up at his godfather and Remus and received smiles in return.
If Sirius trusted the two newcomers, he would give them a chance before passing judgment. Plopping himself in the seat next to Hermione, Harry calmly said, “Good morning.” Turning his piercing gaze upon the new couple, he said, “You look familiar. Are you related to Sirius and Dora?”
Andromeda noticed Harry’s wary reaction at seeing them for the first time. Hoping to ease his fears, she said warmly, “Yes, I am Dora’s mother, Andromeda, and this is my husband, Ted. Sirius is my cousin and you and I are distantly related as well.”
Hermione had clasped hands with Harry underneath the table. She was pleased that he was getting to meet more of his distant relatives.
Harry was surprised. He didn’t know if he would ever get to meet any more of his distant relatives, especially ones that didn’t follow Voldemort. He looked over at Sirius again and received another warm smile in confirmation. Turning back to his newly discovered relatives, he said happily, “Pleased to meet you. I’m Harry and this is my wife, Hermione.”
Andromeda and Ted looked gob smacked. They couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. Going by the reactions of the rest of the table, they realized that he wasn’t joking and that they were indeed married.
John broke the tension by saying, “Just make sure we don’t have any grandchildren anytime soon.”
The adults began laughing when Harry and Hermione turned a shade of red that would do any Weasley proud.
Sirius decided to speak up while everyone was still laughing. The nervousness in his voice was palpable when he spoke, “Harry, I have something important to discuss with you.” Seeing that he had Harry’s undivided attention he continued, “You already know that I am your legal guardian in the Wizarding World, right?”
Harry nodded and slowly said, “Yes.” He was confused about the direction the conversation was headed and it shown on his face.
Giving his confused godson a smile, Sirius said hesitantly, “The Dursley’s are no longer your legal non-magical guardians; the Grangers have agreed to fill that role from now on.”
Both teen’s snapped their gazes over to Hermione’s parents and they were relieved to see large smiles on their faces.
Annabelle spoke softly, her words were from the heart, “Harry, we know that we can’t replace your parents but would you be okay with calling us mum and dad since you are our son-in-law now?”
With tears in his eyes, Harry smiled up at the Grangers and said softly, “Thanks…mum. Thank you, dad.”
Hermione had pulled Harry into a hug and was silently crying happy tears. Her fears that her parents wouldn’t accept Harry now that they were married were put to rest. Looking up at her parents, she gave them a thousand watt smile that warmed their hearts.
Clearing his throat, Sirius nervously said, “Harry, I would like to adopt you formally into the Black family as my son if that’s okay with you.” He had never been so nervous in his entire life and his heart was hammering in his chest.
Harry was overcome by the emotion of it all. Turning to look at Hermione, he could feel the happiness and love radiating through their bond. She was beaming at him and crying at the same time. He reached a hand up and lightly brushed away a few of the tears on her cheeks. His voice was just above a whisper as he asked, “These are more of those good tears aren’t they?”
Unable to stop crying, or speak, Hermione just nodded yes and hugged Harry.
Looking over the top of Hermione’s head at Sirius, Harry smiled at his soon to be father and said, “That would be wonderful.” Tears had started to flow unbidden down Harry’s cheeks after he answered the question.
The rest of the adults were all misty eyed and a touch shocked. They hadn’t seen how deep the bond went between Harry and Hermione until that moment and it warmed their hearts to see how deeply in love the two teens were.
Sirius stood up from his spot at the table and approached Harry. When Harry was standing in front of him, they embraced. After a few moments, he pulled back and held Harry at arms length, and said, “You have made me a very happy man today, Harry.”
Harry smiled back at his soon to be father and said, “Me too, dad, me too.”
Formally, Sirius said, “I, Sirius Black, adopt Harry James Potter into the Black family as my son and heir.” Looking over at Harry, he nodded once with a smile on his face.
Understanding washed over him and he knew what he had to do to complete the ritual. Happily, he said, “I, Harry James Potter, accept Sirius Black as my father.”
The discharge of magic flared briefly and the ritual was complete. Sirius pulled Harry into another embrace and whispered into his son’s ear, “I know I can’t replace your parents either, but you shall never want for anything ever again. You have made me the happiest person alive right now, I always wanted a son, and I’m proud that it’s you. I love you, Harry.”
Harry was too choked up to speak, so he just hugged his father harder and wept. As he relished the loving embrace, he finally understood what Hermione meant when she said that there were happy tears.