AU, Post OotP summer story: Summer at the Dursleys has always meant Harry is overworked, underfed and lonely. All Harry wanted was a normal summer, what he gets is anything but normal. repost
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
AN: Thanks for all the wonderful reviews, special thanks to my beta Evan. This chpt is long but I couldn't find a good place to cut it in two. J
Just before 10am the next day, Harry told his Aunt he was going out.
"Are you working in that junk shop again? I hope he's paying you well?" said Petunia.
"Er, not today, Aunt Petunia, I'm meeting a friend but I asked them not to come here as I know it bothers you," said Harry.
"That girl that keeps calling?" asked Petunia sharply.
"No ma'am, Remus Lupin, he was a friend of my dad's," said Harry, wondering why she cared.
"Oh, well, if you want to bring him back and sit in the garden I won't object; just don't bother Dudley."
Harry's eyebrows rose in shock, but he thanked her politely and made his way down the street to Mrs. Figg's.
He found Remus waiting for him on the front step to Mrs. Figg's.
"Hello Harry, how are you? Arabella said we could visit in her back garden."
"Professor Lupin," said Harry as he followed the older man around to the back of the house.
"It's Remus or Moony, Harry," Lupin said softly as they sat down on lawn chairs.
Harry sat silently, eyeing Remus for a moment, gathering his thoughts. Remus looked at his hands.
"Does Dumbledore know you are here?" Harry asked. Remus looked up and frowned.
"Professor Dumbledore, Harry," said Remus.
"My friends don't try to correct how I speak, Professor, and you didn't answer the question."
Remus looked startled for a moment, "You're right, Harry, I didn't tell him I was coming here but I didn't hide it either. I do want to be your friend, Harry. I - you-are all I have left, but I don't understand why you are so angry with the Headmaster."
"So because you don't understand I'm automatically wrong?" asked Harry with a snort.
"No, that's not - look, you wanted to talk to me, I thought about Sirius and what happened," said Remus.
Harry sighed, "Look, I know that you lost your friend and it's partly my fault because he came to save me. But I also know that I did everything that I could, everything that Hermione suggested to check before we went. Snape knew; how long did it take him to tell the Order? It's Voldemort fault for tricking me, and Lestrange's for killing Sirius, and Dumbledore's because he has to play games and keep secrets."
"Dumbledore wasn't playing games, Harry, he was doing what he thought best," said Remus.
"Best for who? Not me! I asked why Voldemort wanted me dead at the end of my first year, but he wouldn't tell me. Remus, he knew the prophecy then; he's always known."
"Harry, I thought it broke with out any one hearing it."
Harry snorted again, "It did, but Dumbledore is the one who heard it in the first place, he told me the prophecy about an hour after Sirius-well that happened. I fought my way through the Ministry, held my own against a dozen Death Eaters, watched Sirius fall, was possessed by Voldemort, and then Dumbledore portkeyed me to his office where I was locked in until he came and then he told me the damn prophecy; told me I have to kill Voldemort or he will kill me. I think I have a right to be angry."
Remus had paled dramatically during Harry's recitation. "You and Vol, Voldemort?"
"Yes, him or me; and Dumbledore knew all along. He told me to learn Occlumency from Snape but never why. Snape said 'clear your mind' but never explained how or gave me a book to study. I always felt worse after and the nightmares were worst then. And before you say I should have told Dumbledore you should know that he didn't talk to me all year, Remus; he ignored me and wouldn't meet my eyes. He said that night that it was because he was afraid that Voldemort could take me over and see what he was thinking. I thought that he was angry with me for letting Voldemort take my blood and come back: for letting Cedric get killed. I thought he blamed me."
"That wasn't your fault, Harry. Dumbledore was wrong for making you feel that way. He's always claimed that he was doing what was for the best but-" he wiped at his face with one hand. "I'm so sorry that this has happened to you, Harry. Forgive me for not helping, for not realizing. What can I do to make it up to you?"
"Keep this conversation between us for now," said Harry. "Don't keep secrets from me. I don't need to know other peoples' secrets but I should be told about things involving me."
Remus nodded, "I agree, Harry; any thing else?"
"Tell me about my Mum," said Harry.
"Lily? What do you want to know?"
"See, that's the problem. You and Sirius were willing talk about my dad and pranks and stupid stuff that you did, and people tell me he was a good man and I look just like him but no one talks about my Mum. I know she was good with charms but not what House she was in, who her friends were, or what she did when she got out of Hogwarts."
"I see. Well, your Mum was in Gryffindor and I like to think that I was one of her friends along with Alice Barnes and Leslie Brown, who were in our year. She was very good at charms and most everything else too. Actually Hermione reminds me a lot of your Mum, Harry. There was one time..."
Remus lost himself in stories about his friend Lily Evans, pushing the shocking information that Harry had told him to the back of his mind to think about later.
Harry enjoyed the stories but he still wasn't sure he could trust Remus, as even though he agreed not to keep information from Harry, he never mentioned the Will or the fact that Harry had a godmother.
Harry woke early with both tears and a smile on his face. He had dreamed about Sirius, they'd been up in the little cave above Hogsmeade, talking and Sirius had hugged him and said he loved him and told him to become a good man.
He lay there in his bed and thought about how much he missed Sirius and vowed to himself that he would make Sirius proud.
Petunia knocked on the door as she passed and he heard Vernon go into the bathroom and got up himself. He glanced up at the Ward glass and marveled at the change in his life in such a short time.
After breakfast he retuned back to his room to write several letters to his friends and one for the Order. He heard Dudley shuffle past his door and called a good morning. He chuckled to hear Dudley grunt and move a little faster in the hall.
It was sometime after he heard the front door slam signaling Dudley had gone out for the day that he heard a noise from behind him. He turned to find Aunt Petunia standing in the doorway to his room eyeing it critically.
"Something I can do for you, Aunt?" he asked politely, though slightly annoyed at being interrupted.
"Is any of that junk worth keeping?" she asked indication the shelves full of Dudley's broken toys.
"Well, no, but it's Dudley's stuff, won't he be upset if it's thrown out?" asked Harry surprised.
"He hasn't been in here in over a year; I doubt he even knows what's here. Bring up the big bin from the garage for the trash; there are a couple of boxes for anything salvageable. You can take it to that junk shop and see if he'll give you anything for it," she said with a sniff.
"I'll get started right away," said Harry.
"Good I want you to paint this room, Dudley has regional competition this weekend, Vernon's taking a half holiday Friday, they will be leaving in the afternoon, staying over for the match Saturday and stopping at Marge's for Sunday, they won't be back until late. Tomorrow you can go to the home improvement with me to carry the paint. I think this room could use new curtains as well." She looked over the room, "You'll want to make sure all of your things are packed away, you can use the guest room Friday night while the paint dries."
She gave one glare at the hourglass and turned away leaving Harry speechless. He hurriedly finished his letters and bought up the bin. There was a certain feeling of glee present in throwing out Dudley's broken toys. He boxed up the books, those he would keep and several of the less damaged pieces of electronics. He was hoping they could be enchanted to work, that Mr. Mann would know how.
He carted the full bin down to the garage to be put out on trash day. Carried the boxes to be kept up to the attic and in the late afternoon carried one of the two junk boxes to Mann's shop.
Mr. Mann was dealing with a lady at the counter and just waved him on in to the back room when Harry walked in with his box.
"You should keep a close eye on that one," Harry heard the lady say. "I hear he's not right; they say he goes to some school for the criminally insane."
"They say entirely too much in my opinion. Harry, there, is a bright lad who attends a gifted school. You've seen his cousin; Dursley put out that rumor himself, didn't want young Harry showing up his own brat, so made up that ugly story," said Mann.
"Oh really?" Asked the lady, eager for gossip.
Harry rolled his eyes and moved away from the doorway hoping no one ever asked Vernon about a gifted school. After reading A Muggle Guide to the Wizarding World Harry understood the reference, though, and was oddly pleased that Mr. Mann stood up for him. The cover for muggleborn students was the Highland Academy for the Gifted with both a telephone contact for emergencies and a muggle post address for mail from relatives not in the know.
A short time later, Mr. Mann came into the back room with a grin for Harry.
"What's in the box, son?" he asked.
"Some of Dudley's old junk, I wanted to see if it was worth anything and if it can be enchanted to work magically?" said Harry.
Mann looked into the box and waved his wand over several items.
"Junk, junk, junk; this ones good," pulling out a nice CD player. He eyed Harry for a moment. "You know the Ministry frowns on enchanted muggle objects?"
"Er, yeah," said Harry.
"As long as you know." Mann set the disc player on the table and opened a drawer in the desk after flipping through several papers he came up with a thin half size book entitled The Magic of Electronics.
"Here, you'll have to figure it out for yourself; if you get caught, you didn't get it from me."
Harry eagerly flipped through the pages and then looked up with a sigh. "It takes runes. I wish I'd taken Runes."
Mann snickered, "What did you take?"
"Divination and Creatures," said Harry, scowling.
"Well that's what you get for trying to skate by. You've taken OWL's haven't you? How'd you do?"
"They haven't come out yet, but I don't think I passed Divination or History, probably did all right on everything else," said Harry.
"Well then, I know there's some beginning Runes books on the wall, you can take it as an elective this year," said Mr. Mann.
"I don't want to be in a class of third years," protested Harry.
Mann scowled, "Are you daft, boy? 6th year beginning Runes isn't with 3rd years. It's a whole lot faster paced, for one thing. When your letter comes there will be a whole list of electives to choose from. Some are full year courses, some only last one term. You don't want to take fluff classes, or whatever your friends are taking; you want things you need to learn for living your life."
He flicked he wand and banished the box of junk.
"You read that book. You've enough smarts to fix that music player to work for you. It gives you the runes you need to use. You just have to be handy enough to disassemble the contraption and inscribe the runes in the proper places. Once you understand how it works you can do it to most any piece of electronics, the trick is you have to understand the electronics too." He winked at Harry and headed back to the front, leaving Harry to study the booklet and begin to disassemble the disc player.
Harry trailed after Aunt Petunia in the home improvement store. Pushing the cart. It was the first time he'd been there and he was amazed at the vast amount of things crammed into the store. He'd worried for a little while as Aunt Petunia browsed through wallpaper designs. He had no idea how to put that up. She had sighed and then moved on to the paint aisle and picked two cans of cream-colored paint and some new rollers. Harry was fascinated to watch the cans be shaken by a machine behind the counter.
They went down the appliance aisle and Harry watched Petunia run her hands along a particularly expensive refrigerator and sigh. They then roamed up and down the garden center looking at flowers and lawn ornaments and discussing potential changes to the garden. Harry was surprised to find that he'd had a nice time with his Aunt.
Vernon and Dudley were off the next day by 1pm and Harry pulled the drop cloth from the garage and covered the bedroom furniture and began painting. He was exhausted but finished by 9pm.
Petunia eyed the room and said, "This looks much better."
Harry rolled his eyes; he supposed an outright compliment was too much to ask for.
That night, for the first time in over a week, Harry had a nightmare. When he woke sweating, heart racing, in the pre-dawn hours, he lay there thinking about what was different. As he fingered the flowered bedspread of the guest room bed he vowed not to spend another night without his phoenix quilt. He used Occlumency to push back the images of Sirius falling and then got up to find a book to read. He was unwilling to take a chance on going back to sleep.
When he heard Aunt Petunia begin to move around, Harry got up and went down to fix a light breakfast for the two of them. After the dishes were rinsed, he went back up to arrange his room, free of any of Dudley's things. At 10am a delivery van showed up to deliver a new mattress and box springs for Petunia and Vernon's bed. Harry was amazed when a second mattress emerged from the truck.
"You bought me a new mattress?" he whispered to his Aunt in shock.
"Yes, of course, don't you think it's about time? Show the men where to put it and make sure that they take the old one away," she said sharply, a fake smile pasted on for the workmen.
After seeing the workmen off Harry went back up to check out the new mattress to find Petunia making up the bed with new sheets. She fingered the phoenix quilt as she spread it over the bed.
"Where did you get this?" she asked.
"Er, a friend gave it to me," Harry lied. He didn't want to admit that Mr. Mann's shop was at all connected to the Wizarding world. Harry was half afraid that she might try to stop him going there.
"It's very nice, my mother used to make quilts. I've always wished that I had learned how when I had the chance," she said wistfully.
Harry reached out and touched his aunt on the arm, "Thank you Aunt Petunia, really."
She sniffed slightly and straightened. "See that you keep this room clean and tidy, don't expect me to come in here and clean."
Harry grinned slightly, "No, of course not. I'll keep it clean."
"Put your things away and I'll fix us some lunch," she turned away and went down the stairs. Harry shook his head; if he didn't know better he might almost suspect that his aunt liked him. He thought about it for a moment and decided he might just like her a little too.
He snorted and dragged his trunk open and began to line his schoolbooks on the shelves and arranged the Ward glass where he could easily monitor it. He was completely surprised that the sand was now level with the blue line. His smile spread, he could actually leave Privet Drive now, however he wasn't sure that he wanted to.
Harry spent Sunday painting the shed and trimming the lawn.
The next few days flew by as Harry tinkered with muggle electronics in Mann's shop. He added Runic Magic for the Uninitiated to his growing library. He was civil to both his Uncle and to Dudley at dinner and avoided them at other times.
Then, before he was quite ready, the day of the reading of Sirius's will was there. He had made arrangements to use Mr. Mann's floo and would go directly to Gringotts Security Entrance #3. There had been no word from Dumbledore or the Order that the Will Reading had even been scheduled.
"Aunt Petunia, I have to go somewhere today. I'm not sure whether someone might be by to see me or not. They haven't told me if they are," said Harry that morning.
"Who might be by and where are you going?" asked Petunia sharply.
"Er, well, my godfather, Sirius, well he, um, he died and I have to go to the reading of the will," said Harry.
She sat there looking at him for a long moment her mouth open. "You didn't think to tell me this before now?" She took a deep breath. "You think he left you something?"
"I don't think that there was much to leave, you know he'd been on the run and all, since, well," Harry looked away.
"Yes, well, do you need me to go with you?" she asked sounding as if she would much rather be having a tooth drilled than go with him.
"No, Aunt Petunia, I've already made arrangements to get where I need to be but the Order, er, the people who look out for me? Well they haven't said anything about it so I didn't think that they were coming to get me but they might have just not told me." Harry stopped and took a deep breath.
"Just if anyone stops by, and I hope they don't, tell them I made my own travel arrangements ok? It's not like it's any of their business anyway."
She gave him a hard look and then nodded, "Very well; stay out of trouble."
Harry trotted down the street toward Mann's shop, where he would be using the floo to Gringotts, he was dressed in the best of his new clothes; dark blue trousers with a light blue button down shirt. He had the nicest of his Hogwarts robes tucked into his bottomless bag though it was a little tattered being two years old now.
Mrs. Weasley had not bought him new robes last year with his school supplies. He wondered if it was just because she was trying to save him money and he hadn't really grown or it there was some other reason. He wished he had something nicer but supposed it didn't really matter.
As Harry entered the shop Mr. Mann greeted him, "Morning Harry lad," then eyed him critically, "You look as if you're about to spew."
Harry tried on a sickly grin as he shook out his robes, "I'm just nervous like before a Quidditch match."
"Lad you aren't going to wear those robes to Gringotts are you?" asked Mr. Mann eyeing the wrinkled school robes.
Harry shrugged and looked at the robe, "It's what I have."
Mann grinned and asked, "It's a good thing then that I got you a present, isn't it?"
Harry protested, "You didn't have to." As Mann pulled out a gift box and set it on the desk next to the floo.
"Oh I know that, lad, but I know that you need a proper robe for legal proceedings and so I had a word with Maddy Malkin. Go on open it, it won't bite."
Harry pulled the lid off the box and found a silky black robe. He pulled it on and it wiggled just a little sizing itself to him. He looked down to find a crest he didn't recognize on the left breast.
"What's this?" asked Harry tugging slightly trying to see the crest right side up.
Mann look completely shocked as his jaw dropped open momentarily. "You don't know the Potter crest? Mr. Potter you had best have a long talk with your Goblin Manager as someone has royally screwed up somewhere. I can't believe you've been at Hogwarts this long and-" he sighed. "Never mind, just remember that the Potter's are an old and proud line and you'll be fine."
Harry nodded, slightly confused and smoothed the robe.
With a deep breath Harry threw floo powder into the fire and stepped in calling, "Gringotts Security Entrance number 3." He tumbled out of the floo landing at the feet of a well-dressed older goblin. Harry looked about the dimly lit stone room as he climbed to his feet, he was sure that the three goblin guards wearing Armor and carrying heavy spears of some kind were laughing at him. A heavyset goblin behind a tellers counter was surely smirking.
The goblin waiting for him said, "Welcome to Gringotts Mr. Potter, I am Bonecracker and it is a pleasure to meet you again."
Harry smoothed his robe and gave a half bow, "The pleasure is mine, Bonecracker, but please forgive me. I don't seem to remember you."
The goblin chuckled, showing pointy teeth, "You wouldn't, Mr. Potter. You were but three day's old when your grandfather, Charlus Potter, brought you in to establish your trust account. If you will come with me, we can make a brief stop in my office before proceeding to the meeting room."
Harry followed Bonecracker down several stone corridors to a small office. Bonecracker did not sit down; he merely reached across the desk and retrieved two small boxes.
"After your surprising correspondence indicating that you were unaware of the extent of your account, I took the liberty of investigating a few things. I found that you had not claimed either of your Heir rings so I had them removed from the vaults and brought here, you may want to wear them to the meeting."
He hand the first box to Harry who opened it to find a gold ring with a red P on it.
"I didn't know I had a ring. What is it for?" asked Harry as he slid the ring on to the ring finger of his right hand and it tightened around his finger.
"There are three levels of family rings Mr. Potter; Head of House, Heir and member. That ring is the Heir ring of the House of Potter, the Head of House ring will be yours when you reach your majority or claim the position as the last remaining Potter.
"This one," he handed the second box to Harry, "is the Black Heir ring which you are entitled to as the Heir of Sirius Black."
That ring was a heavy silver colored ring with a silver B inlayed on an onyx stone.
"How can I be Sirius's Heir, I'm not a Black?"
Bonecracker's eyebrows went up, "You are a Black, Mr. Potter. Your grandmother, Dorea Black, married Charlus Potter. I would be delighted to discuss this with you after the reading but I believe you should put on that ring so that you can attend to the business of the day."
"All right, but I want explanations after, please," said Harry as he jammed the Black ring on to the first finger of his right hand.
Bonecracker then led the way down another corridor and into a room with several people waiting at a large conference table. Bonecracker indicated that Harry should take a seat at one end of the table.
Harry looked down the table; he did a double take at the lady seated next to him that resembled Bellatrix and wondered if the woman was Andromeda Tonks. Next, he saw Draco Malfoy sneering back at him. Malfoy's mother had a hold of him and he turned away with out speaking. Next to Narcissa Malfoy was an older lady Harry didn't recognize, he did however recognize the hat on the next lady and Neville seated next to her. Neville grimaced at him from the other end of the tabled where he was seated next to a greasy man with shifty eyes.
The goblin seated in the middle of the other side of the table cleared his throat.
"I am Ragnok and I will be over seeing the reading of the Will of Sirius Orion Black. First let me state that you have my deepest condolences on the loss of your Head of House."
"He was never confirmed," stated Narcissa with a sniff.
"Sirius Black was the stated Heir of Arcturus Black at the time of his death; that Sirius Black was never able to legally claim Head of House status in no way invalidates the claim.
"His parents disowned him," argued Narcissa.
Ragnok stared at Narcissa for a moment then pulled several pieces of parchment from a pile and said; "Sirius Black's father was Orion Black, eldest son of Arcturus who was still Head of Family Black at his son's death. Orion Black's will names his eldest son, Sirius Orion, as his heir. Sirius Black's mother was Walburga Black, who did out live her husband, but not his father, and who did not file any legal papers disowning her son. She could not have prevented Sirius Black from claiming the Headship even if she had."
"Sirius was a convicted criminal at the time of Arcturus's death, an alternate Heir should have been -"
"Enough, Madam Malfoy, this was dealt with at the time," Ragnok cut her off. "We are here today to hear the Will of Sirius Orion Black, Head of the House of Black, will those present please announce themselves."
The greasy man next to Neville spoke quickly, "Bartrum Howe, solicitor for Bellatrix Lestrange, who, due to legal difficulties, can not be here."
Ragnok frowned at Mr. Howe; "Mr. Howe our investigation shows that your client was directly involved and solely responsible for the death of Sirius Black, under the rules of Black Family laws she is to be cast out by the next Head of House Black."
"I am here to intercede on her behalf," stated the solicitor smugly.
Ragnok showed pointy teeth in a ferocious grimace and turned to Neville and his Grandmother.
"Augusta Longbottom, representing Frank Longbottom, who is ill, and his Heir, Neville Longbottom.
"Patrice Witherspoon, representing myself."
"Narcissa Malfoy, representing myself and my son Draco Malfoy.
"Andromeda Tonks, representing myself and my daughter Nymphadora, who is on duty with the Aurors and cannot attend."
All the heads at the table turned to Harry and he gulped, "Harry Potter, representing myself."
Harry was confused by the blossoming grins on both the goblins and Neville's faces and the fury in Draco's. It didn't help that the Potter ring on his finger began to tingle and twist. Harry didn't dare look away from the staring faces to see just what the thing was doing.
"As the Family Black is assembled I shall begin."
Ragnok pulled another piece of parchment out of the pile.
I, Sirius Orion Black, being of sound mind and body do swear that this is my last will and testament dated this day August 3rd 1980. I name Harry James Potter my sole heir and beneficiary by right of blood and magic through the Rite of Adoptio performed with permission of James Potter and Lily Evans Potter on August 1, 1980.
I hereby give and bequeath /all of my worldly goods and possessions, including any rights, titles, property or hereditary positions, claimed or unclaimed, at the time of my death to Harry James Potter./
Signed Sirius Orion Black
Witness Arcturus Black, Head of the Black Family
Charlus Potter, Head of the Potter Family
Ragnok, Managing Director Gringotts Bank
Silence descended on the room as the goblin Ragnok stopped talking and then Draco Malfoy burst from his chair. "I protest," he screamed, "the house of Black is mine! I'm the next Heir, you filthy creature."
The goblins on the other side of the table bristled and Ragnok's lips pulled back in a vicious grin showing a large quantity of pointed teeth. Harry noticed then, that there were six more goblins standing against the walls behind the humans seated at the table, wearing Armor and carrying large pointed weapons.
Narcissa Malfoy was pulling at Draco's arm, trying to make him sit, and babbling apologies to Ragnok at the same time.
"No Mother, I demand to be given my birthright. There is no way that I will ever offer any kind of family oath to Potter."
Ragnok spoke, "Madam Malfoy, you will silence your son or I will have one of my warriors do so." Narcissa Malfoy nodded and whipped out her wand, binding and silencing Draco who glared at her red faced and shaking.
"Your pardon, Director Ragnok, this was a shock for my son. We have always assumed that Sirius had made Draco his Heir as the next in line," she gave a little bow to the goblin, her face paler than normal, Harry noticed.
Two of the warrior goblins were now standing directly behind Draco's chair.
Ragnok turned to Harry; his face smoothed back to normal and spoke, "Mr. Potter, as you are here today representing yourself, I ask to see your ring."
Harry wasn't sure what he was taking about but placed his right hand on the table. The Potter ring he'd put on earlier was now twice the size it had been and had little griffins flanking the ruby 'P'.
Ragnok smiled which Harry thought was almost as scary as his earlier expression.
"Ah, as you have already claimed the Headship of the House of Potter and are recognized as an adult by Gringotts and the Magical Ministry of Britain, do you further claim the House of Black?"
Ragnok held Harry's eye as he asked the question and Harry wished that someone had told him what was going on before he had come into this room or at least given him cue cards.
"I do," said Harry, as it really seemed the only thing to say.
The tingling started again and Harry glanced down to see the Black ring twisting and growing on his finger as it doubled in size. Harry wondered vaguely how it did that and then snorted slightly at himself as he thought of the answer 'magic'.
"Congratulations, Mr. Potter on your ascension to the Head of the House of Black, you may use this room to conduct any family business now if there is nothing else you need of me?"
"Thank you, Director Ragnok," said Harry. The goblins filed out of the room leaving Harry to stare down the table at the people left.
"Lord Black," began Bellatrix's solicitor, "I am here to intercede on the matter of Bellatrix Lestrange nee Black's membership in this family. The accusation that Mrs. Lestrange had anything to do with the deceased Lord Black is..."
Harry cut the man off. "I was there I know exactly what she did. If I understood correctly I can kick her out of the Black Family for killing Sirius, right?"
"Lord Black, Sirius Black attacked my client..." began Howe.
"Shut up," he turned to Andromeda, "How do I do it?"
She looked startled for a moment, "My Lord, you say 'I, and your name, as the head of the Black Family cast out Bella and why."
"I, Harry James Potter, as Head of the Black Family cast out Bellatrix Lestrange for her actions which resulted in the death of Sirius Black, the previous Head of the Black Family." There was a glow and Howe nodded once and turned to leave the room.
"Mrs. Tonks, I had understood that you were disowned, why are you here?" asked Harry.
"I had a letter from Sirius included with the announcement that I should present my case to the new Family Head and ask to be reinstated to the family."
"I'm listening," said Harry with a smile.
She smiled back, "My parents disowned me and it was approved by the then Head, Arcturus Black, because I refused to honor the marriage contract they had arranged, instead I ran off and married the man that I loved. They didn't approve of his background."
"I have no problem with that. I, Harry James Potter, as Head of the Black Family, er, reinstate Andromeda Tonks to the Family and accept her daughter Nymphadora."
Again there was a glow and Andromeda rose to her feet and curtseyed and drew her wand.
"I, Andromeda Tonks, swear my loyalty to the Black Family and to Harry James Potter as its Head." Then she seated herself and turned to look at Narcissa and the practically foaming at the mouth Draco.
Harry waited to see what she would do. Narcissa rose to her feet and came to stand before Harry.
"I know my son will not swear to you and that you may choose to cast him out because of it when he reaches his majority. I cannot swear to you either but I will swear to the family." She pulled her wand, "I, Narcissa Malfoy swear my loyalty to the Black Family."
She turned and, levitating Draco, swept out of the room.
"Drama queen," he heard Andromeda mutter at the retreating back.
Suddenly Neville stood before him and dropped to one knee wand drawn.
I, Neville Frank Longbottom, swear my loyalty to Harry James Potter, Head of the Houses of Potter and Black and promise, as the Heir of Longbottom, the support and allegiance of the House of Longbottom. May the bonds of blood and magic between us grow stronger."
There was a gasp from down the table but the look in Neville eye made Harry stand up and clasp Neville's shoulder and reply, "I accept your pledge. May the bonds of blood and magic between us grow stronger."
The glow around them was bright white and Neville rose to his feet with a huge grin and pulled Harry into a one armed hug. "We really need to talk," he whispered as he pulled away.
"The older woman, Patrice Witherspoon, approached and said, "I, Patrice Witherspoon, swear my loyalty to the Black Family and to Harry James Potter as the Head of the House of Black." Then she held out her hand, "I'm please to meet you, would you rather be addressed as Lord Black or Mr. Potter?"
Harry shook her hand and said, "Call my Harry, please, ma'am. Apparently we are family even if I don't know how."
Patrice smiled and glanced at Andromeda, "Well Harry you have certainly shaken up what's left of the family. The easiest way to explain the relationship would be that my Grandfather was the youngest brother of your great grandfather."
"Er, ok, I think Bonecracker, my account manger is going to explain it to me later," said Harry
She laughed and turned to Andromeda, "Welcome back, Andromeda. It's nice to see you again."
Harry was able to turn to Neville who was whispering fiercely to his grandmother. She turned to Harry.
"My condolences on your loss, Mr. Potter. Neville tells me you will be able to join us in August?"
"Yes ma'am, the protective wards at my home will be fully recharged by then."
"I am looking forward to it. Tell me will you still need a portkey or will you be acquiring an apparition license before then?" she asked.
Harry blinked but said, "If it's not too much trouble I'd appreciate the portkey, as I'm not sure how soon I might be able to take the test."
She nodded, "Well, I can escort you to the Ministry for the test if you need to schedule it for August. I do hope you realize the position Neville's pledge puts him in. Come, Neville, I have other things I need to do today."
Harry blinked again and Neville grimaced behind her back and followed her out with a brief wave to Harry.
Patrice Witherspoon and Andromeda Tonks were both sitting at the table looking at him.
"Tell me, Harry, I can call you Harry?" Harry nodded. "How did Sirius die?" Andromeda asked softly.
Harry sighed and sat down.
"First of all Sirius wasn't a Death Eater and he didn't betray my parents." Both ladies nodded and Harry continued telling them of that night in the Ministry.
At the end of the story Harry Accio'd a box of tissue from the other end of the table for the ladies and then noticed Bonecracker standing in the doorway.
"I'm sorry, Bonecracker, have you been waiting for me?" asked Harry.
"Not long, I'm sorry for eavesdropping but it was a fascinating story. I do however need to go over several things when you have finished with the ladies," said the goblin.
Andromeda stood up and said, "I really should be going, Harry. I will inform my daughter that you have accepted us back and she should arrange a time to give her oath."
"Ah, you might mention to her that I'd rather she not say anything about it to Dumbledore or the Order until after she talks to me," said Harry. Andromeda nodded and left with her brow furrowed wondering just what her daughter had gotten herself into.
Patrice said, "I have to go also, Harry, if you need anything send me an owl. It was very nice to finally meet you."
"Well, looks like I'm free now, Bonecracker," said Harry with a chuckle.
"Come this way, we'll go back down to my office, tidy up some paperwork and then I imagine you'd like to take a look in your vaults.
Harry was slightly confused when they returned to Bonecracker's office, it seemed larger and he really didn't think it was the same office.
"This isn't where we were before is it?" asked Harry glancing around the larger room.
"No, this is my new office to reflect the addition of the Black Account and the return of both Potter and Black to an active status." He motioned Harry to a seat at a small table where tea and small sandwiches were waiting and took the opposite one.
"Now, I expect you have questions for me, Lord Potter, and, please, help yourself to refreshments while we talk."
"Er, call me Harry, please, I'm not sure about-- Lord Potter, Lord Black? What's that all about?" said Harry pouring some tea and snagging several of the sandwiches. Now that the reading was over he was finding himself hungry.
"Has no one discussed your heritage and position with you?" the goblin asked. Harry could only shake his head as he'd stuffed in a sandwich at just the wrong time.
Bonecracker chuckled slightly and offered Harry a napkin as he struggled to clear his mouth.
"Well, Harry, the Potter Family is an Ancient and Noble Family meaning it along with the Black Family have been wizards and here in Britain for a very long time. Heads of the Ancient and Noble Families are all referred to as Lord when acting as Head. So the remaining members of the Black Family most of which you met today would call you Lord Black when on Family business unless you give them permission to use your familiar name."
Harry nodded in understanding.
"Now that you have claimed your place as Head of Potter and Black, Ministry officials would be required to address you as Lord Potter or Lord Black as you prefer," continued the goblin.
Harry nodded again, eyes glowing at the implications.
"These," Harry waved his right hand with the heavy rings on it, "show that I'm an adult? What exactly does that mean for me? Madam Longbottom seemed to think I could get my Apparation license."
"Yes, by claiming the Headship of your family, you have effectively emancipated yourself. You may do magic under the laws governing adult wizards, get your apparition license, sign contracts, and marry or bond the witch or wizard of your choice or take a consort," said Bonecracker.
Harry turned red and said, "I don't think I'm ready to marry anyone yet."
Bonecracker smiled evilly for a moment and then said, "Then you will be please that although Charlus Potter and Arcturus Black did discuss betrothal contracts none were ever filed for you. You are free to choose, much as your father did."
Harry's mouth dropped open and then he laughed, "That would have been terrible."
Bonecracker chuckled, "I believe that a case can be made for either position, Harry. Some believe that a contracted marriage takes the pressure off of the young people to find a spouse and produce an heir while others advocate having a choice as a benefit. That does however lead me to another matter. You should have a will and name an heir for the Black holding at least."
"What? Why?" asked Harry, shocked.
"Because you already have enemies in the Black Family, Draco Malfoy would inherit the title if you are killed or died without naming an heir."
"But I don't have kids, would I have to adopt someone like Sirius did me?"
"Not at all, you could name someone such as young Mr. Longbottom, who is already a member of the Black Family as your Heir in the event of your death without issue. That is if you die before you have children," said Bonecracker.
Harry eyed the goblin for a moment, "So you don't want Malfoy to get control of the Black estate, why?"
Bonecracker eyes slid away from Harry and he replied, "While Gringotts and the Goblin Nation take no sides in the unpleasantness currently occupying the Wizarding World, such conflict is bad for business. We are well aware of Malfoy's loyalties and prejudices and believe that allowing the Malfoy family to have access to the Black holdings would not be in the best interest of Gringotts in the long term. We are also aware that Mr. Longbottom, although not the Head of his House, allied the House of Longbottom to you personally this morning."
Harry nodded in understanding and sat silently for a moment, thinking.
"All right, make Neville my Heir for the Black holdings, as you said. Are there any Potter relatives left?"
"No, I'm sorry to say you are the last," said the goblin.
Harry had to swallow around the lump in his throat. "Ok, then, make Neville the heir for the Potter stuff too." He hesitated for a minute, "That will make him a target won't it?"
"The contents of your will are kept secret, no one, that you don't tell, will know." He pulled out some parchment, "Would you like to leave anything to anyone else. As things change you can always change the details in your will."
"Er, yeah, um-one hundred thousand galleons to Arthur and Molly Weasley, 50,000 each to Ron and Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood and Remus Lupin. My personal books to Hermione Granger, my broom to Ron Weasley, my portion of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes to Fred and George Weasley, and all right to my name and image for marketing purposes to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Oh, and can I set up a trust fund of a hundred thousand for any magical child born to Dudley Dursley?" asked Harry.
Bonecracker nodded and said, "I'll get the paperwork ready to sign while you visit your vaults."
"Good, what else do I need to do or know?" Asked Harry with a sigh.
"You cast Bellatrix Lestrange out of the family, do you wish to retrieve her Black assets? How do you wish to handle Andromeda and Nymphadora portions of the estate?"
Harry looked at the goblin blankly; it was beginning to be a very long day.
"I don't think I understand. Please explain what you are asking."
Bonecracker smirked and Harry felt he was becoming well versed in the various goblin expressions.
"By casting Lestrange out, you are entitled to take back any Black moneys and assets. Each Black family member receives dividends each quarter based on the profit made from family investments. It is the Head of House's duty to try to increase those dividends. Lestrange's dividends have been paid into her trust account since her arrest. She has not accessed that account during the time she has been at large. Because it is a Black trust account you may choose to reclaim it or to allow her to keep it."
"Take it back," Harry said with a grin.
"When Andromeda was disowned, Arcturus waited eight days before reclaiming the account which if my information is correct was empty by that time."
"So he let Andromeda clean out her trust before closing it. I think I may like him."
"Yes, however she was denied the dowry that had been set aside for each female Black and no trust account was opened for her daughter."
"Oh, ok set aside dowry for Nymphadora, she doesn't like to be called that by the way, and open the trust account, don't let her know, though. I'll tell her and reopen Andromeda's trust account. Hey does that mean that the money in my vault, I mean my first one was Black money not Potter money?"
"You received both into your trust vault. I would advise keeping it active for ready spending money although you may want to consider making a few more personal investments and put your gold to use. I've had two account ledgers made up for you. These books will self-update; there is a place in the back of each book to provide two way communication between you and myself."
"Why didn't you just make one book?" asked Harry taking the ledgers that the goblin pushed toward him.
"I would advise keeping the two families separate at this time. You may want to leave one to your first-born and the other to your second born. Ideally you should take two wives and make one Mistress of Potter and the other Mistress of Black who would then give you Heirs for each family thus increasing the gene pool."
Harry gawked, "Is that even legal, two wives?"
"Of course it is, just not widely practiced among wizards any more. Now you should take some time and go over the investments in both ledgers in the next few weeks, some of them need updated. You need to find a few more investments as you have too much capitol sitting in the vault. I'll be happy to answer any questions and help you through it but the decisions really need to be yours."
Harry just nodded and shoved the ledgers into his bag.
"Now I'm sure that you have more questions," said Bonecracker, "but, if you don't mind me saying so, you are looking a little overwhelmed. Would you like to take the time now to visit your vaults? When you are done I should have all the paperwork done and ready for signatures and then I can answer more questions if you wish."
Harry was escorted to the vaults by a young goblin whose name he never learned. He was elated to find a photo album among his parent's belongings from Godric's Hollow but there really wasn't much else of interest in that vault. The Potter ancestral vault held piles of gold and several large chests of gems and jewelry. He found a box of a dozen matching bracelets, gold bands that could be worn on the wrist or bicep. Harry thought about the fake galleons Hermione had made and wondered if the bands could be spelled the same way. On the off chance they could he took them with him.
He found and tried out several dozen old 'family' wands and found one that worked for him fairly well. It made him feel rather paranoid to carry three wands but, on the other hand, better paranoid than dead. He was sure old Mad Eye Moody would agree.
He also found a very nice heavy cloak with the Potter crest on the breast and a cloak pin made into the crest as well and shoved it down in his bag. The magic detection spells he'd learned working in Mr. Mann's shop came in handy as he looked over several racks of magical artifacts. He found and took a small pensieve. He wanted to go over his memories of Voldemort; if he had to kill the bastard, he needed to study him.
He found a rack full of ancient brooms with their bristles falling out and wondered if his ancestors were mad for saving such things in a vault where they went to pieces. He found several crates of old books, some in languages he didn't know and others that looked like they would fall apart if touched.
He found dozens of trunks filled with old clothes and yellowed letters to and from people he'd never heard of and who, he suspected, were long dead.
His trip into the Black vault was shorter as his detection spells found many more dark items.
Sirius's Vault held gold, and a battered school trunk. Harry opened it with glee, hoping to find some sort of memento. There was an old quidditch uniform, discarded schoolbooks interesting only for the scribbled comments on the margins, several dung bombs, a couple of quidditch magazines from the seventies, a leather clad notebook and a photo album. Harry opened the album reverently. To his delight he found pictures of Sirius and his father, Remus and Peter on the first few pages, unfortunately the rest of the album was devoted to pictures of girls, some of them only half wearing the abandoned quidditch robes and nothing else. Harry pulled the pictures of his father, Remus and Sirius from the album and hastily shoved it back into the trunk. The idea of seeing half naked girls was not a bad one until he thought about the fact that those girls would be his Mum's age.
The notebook appeared to be blank but his detection charm picked up traces of an unknown spell. It only took a few seconds thought before Harry's quick 'I solemnly swear that I am up to no good' revealed a booklet entitled The Marauders Handbook.
He canceled the spell and shoved it into his bag.
When Harry returned from the vaults he found Bonecracker hard at work behind his desk.
"Ah, Harry, I will be a few minutes more. Please, I've had further refreshment brought, make yourself comfortable."
Harry sat down at the table and found a few more sandwiches, several cream puffs and a bottle of butterbeer waiting for him. He didn't think he was hungry but the food disappeared rapidly and the butterbeer went down a treat.
After a short time Bonecracker brought several sheets of parchment over.
"I need your signature, Lord Black," said the goblin formally.
He pointed to the places and let Harry read over the documents; setting aside Dowry, opening two trust accounts and the reclamation of a trust account.
"This is the Will document please verify that it is what you want." Harry nodded and Bonecracker stepped to the door and asked two men and a Goblin to come in.
"Lord Potter, this is Managing Director Ragnok, who you met this morning, Jeremy Pickwick of Gringotts Legal Department, and Fredrick Dowrumple, one of our curse breakers; they will be serving as witnesses today. Please be assured of their discretion as this is covered under their oaths to Gringotts and, if you like, they will swear a Wizards Oath to you not to divulge any of your business. Gentlemen this is Lord Harry James Potter, whose will you will be witnessing."
There were greeting and handshakes all around. Mr. Pickwick was a very distinguished clean-shaven man with short-cropped silver hair. Mr. Dowrumple was tan with a craggy weather beaten face. Harry liked them both right away.
Harry signed the will and the Goblin and two men signed also and then the left leaving Harry a bit breathless at the whirlwind activity.
Bonecracker sank into the opposite chair and spoke. "I only have one other item, Harry. I have a letter for you from Arcturus Black. You may read it now or take it with you."
Harry opted to take the letter.
"I don't suppose my parents or Sirius left me a letter did they?" asked Harry a bit wistfully.
"No, not to my knowledge. Do you have any other questions for me?" said the goblin.
"I'm sure I do but I can't think of any right now," said Harry ruefully.
Bonecracker chuckled, "I understand. If you need anything you may contact me through you key or the ledgers. You may also enter Gringotts through the security entrance you used today, with or without an appointment. Just ask the teller there if you wish to speak with me."
Bonecracker then said goodbye and had Harry escorted back to the floo in the security entrance.
Harry tumbled out of the floo into One Mann's Treasure to the laughter of Mr. Mann.
"Lad, did you dive into the floo to be spit out that way?" he asked
"No, that always happens; I hate the floo and portkeys. How long does it take to learn to Apparate?"
"Not long if you know what you're doing, but you need to be -" he broke off as he got a look at Harry's hand brushing down the front of his robe. "Ah, well I could teach you if you want, I know I have a theory book here." He walked over to the shelves.
"You know you've been hard on the stock this summer, lad," he said with a chuckle.
Harry put his robe and the Apparition theory book in his bag.
"Thanks, Mr. Mann; I would really like that. Then I won't have to use the floo any more."
"It's not a problem, besides I have a sale to go to Saturday. You want to go along and help me load the truck after? Should be all muggle."
"Sure, what time?"
"Be here at 8am, we've a drive. Let your Aunt know you'll be gone the entire day," said Mann.
"I will, I should get going; I'll read the theory tonight," said Harry.
Harry had hung up the cloak and his new robe in his wardrobe and set out the pensive, book and photo album when he realized Aunt Petunia was standing in the door way.
"Is there something I can do for you, Aunt Petunia?" Harry asked.
"Did he leave you anything?" she asked bluntly.
"An old school trunk with some books and pictures in it," said Harry nonchalantly.
Her eyes flicked around the room resting briefly on the Ward glass.
"I didn't see you bring in a trunk."
"I left it in storage with the stuff from Godric's Hollow," he said.
"There were some of Lily's thing left, I thought the house was destroyed?" she said an edge to her voice.
Harry sighed, "It was but there were some things salvaged and placed in storage; a few books, dishes, pots and pans, some clothing and a photo album. Not really anything of value. This was the first time I had access to it."
"I see, I had hoped that he would have left you something of value," she said.
"So I could pay for being here?" Harry almost snarled.
Petunia sighed and turned away from Harry, "No, so you'd have something to start your life with after your school is finished. There certainly won't be any help from Vernon and I. Do you even know what you want to do with your life? If that school of yours teaching you what you need to know to make a living and support yourself?" She shook her head, glared at him and walked away leaving Harry to frown and wonder.
Dinner was quiet but no mention was made to Vernon about the day's events, at least in Harry's hearing and Vernon never brought it up later.
Harry brought out the letter from Arcturus Black and held it for a long time that evening before finally opening it.
To Harry James Potter
September 2, 1991
My dear Heir,
I had hoped to be able to meet with you and teach you of the responsibilities to the Family that you have now assumed. However my health is beginning to fail and I know that those who see to your care would not allow me to meet with you before you are finished with your education. I can only hope that you will live up to your potential as both a Black and a Potter.
My Heir, Sirius Orion, came to me upon your birth to ask permission to name you his Heir. This I granted gratefully as I heartily dislike Lucius Malfoy, whose brat would be next to inherit. I truly believe that if the Malfoy Family were to gain control of the Black holdings it would end in disaster for the remaining Blacks. Do not trust Lucius Malfoy or his heir Draco.
I do not believe that Sirius Orion is the Death Eater they claim he is, nor do I believe that he has betrayed you and your parents to that bastard Dark Lord. I lost my family to his seductions; my son Orion supported him and encouraged others of the family to him. Do not allow yourself to be lead astray by the pretty words of a Dark Lord or taken in by the moral rantings of a Light Lord. You are a Black and should lead the way not follow anyone.
I task you to bring the honor back to the Black name. I have set my affairs in order and given orders to the Goblins to maintain the Accounts until your majority. Live well my Heir, and always remember you are Lord Black, the Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black.
Lord Arcturus Black
Head of the House of Black