Harry gets some information and a new friend.
Standard Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Themes and characters will probably bear some similarities to those of other authors. Can’t help it, at some point story ideas become kind of cliché. I think this one is pretty different in its most basic concept though. So here’s the real chapter one.
It took Harry a minute to process the man’s words. Gulping at the wand and sword pointed at him, he asked the first question that came to mind, “Who the bloody hell are you?”
The man raised an eyebrow, “A complicated question. Who are you? Do you know the answer? Few of us, perhaps none of us ever know the answer. However, as far as you are concerned, I am a friend.”
Harry bit back, “How in the world can I know that. For all I know, you could be a Death Eater trying to revenge your master.”
The man turned angry and answered in a cold tone, “Never call me a Death Eater. You do not know the full meaning of that phrase. As for Voldemort, I would never serve him; his forces killed several members of my family. I did not agree with his ideology, hypocritical as it was. As to why you should trust me, well you can’t, at least not yet. There is however, a way to rectify that. I propose we take a magical oath that for the duration of our meeting, that we will speak only the truth to each other, and that neither may withhold relevant information from the other. As well, we will promise to not harm the other.”
Harry regarded the man suspiciously, “What would be the benefit to me. You did just kick me awake.”
The man smirked, “Because I have information that is important to you. As for kicking you awake, well I did wanted to have my weapons ready in case you went berserk when I woke you.”
Harry looked confused, “What? Why would I do that, I haven’t slept or eaten in over a day.”
The man grinned, “Because your father, when woken, was known to thrash about crazily if someone woke him up.”
Harry burst out, “You knew my father!”
“Certainly,” replied the man, “and I will tell you about him later, your mother as well, though I did not like her as much. Now, what say you to that oath so we can both trust the other, eh?”
“Fine, what do I have to do?”
“Grasp my hand.” The man then sheathed his sword and moved his wand to his left hand. Gripping Harry’s outstretched right hand, he spoke solemnly, “I promise that for the next six hours, I shall neither lie to nor harm the man in front of me, so mote it be. Do you promise the same to me? If so, end as I did.”
“I do, so mote it be,” finished Harry, and at this, a blue bolt of lightning seemed to surround his clasped hands and shot to each man’s heart. Harry blinked in surprise.
“I take it you have never seen a magical oath before?” laughed the man.
“No, though I have heard of them. By the way, now that you can’t lie, what is your name?”
“Cabol, Brean Cabol.”
“That’s James Bond.”
“So the Dursley's didn’t completely kill your cultural learning.”
“How do you know about the Dursley's?”
“Ah, well…. I knew your father well, quite well in fact. After Sirius Black, I was the next in line to become your guardian. Unfortunately, the next people after me and I foolishly swore an oath we did not know the full meaning of. It left me unable to interfere with Dumbledore’s plans for you. It did not however, keep me from observing. I can, as you found out earlier also sneak up on you quite well. At the end of each school year, I have snuck in while you slept and copied memories I could find. It would be easier if we could skip your explanation of your Horcrux search and simply do this once more.”
“Wha, what?! Oath? My memories. My search?”
“Yes, your search. As to your memories, I mainly got the basic gist of what happened in factual format. And for the Horcuxes, I had already figured that out before I learned of it from you.”
“The memory spell, simply a variation of what one uses to extract their own memories for a pensieve. As to the Horcruxes, if you know enough about magic, it was pretty easy to figure out what Riddle must have done to survive.”
Harry’s mind was now racing with questions. Cabol was obviously knowledgeable. That could be bad. He seemed to be a friend of Harry’s father. That was good. He was planning to tell Harry more about his father. That was really good, considering Harry had never really learned all that much about either of his parents. That thought struck Harry. He had been compared to his parents. He had even seen them in memories. He had spoke to them less than a day before. Yet, he still did not know all that much, like their likes and dislikes, their quirks, their early childhoods, their parents.
This thought startled Harry. He had had so little information, he had never questioned about his parents more. Heck, Sirius and Lupin had never even mentioned his mother had been friends with bloody Snape. She must have had other friends, acquaintances, at least. The Potters, according to Lupin, had been an old pureblood family. There was probably history there, but he had never had the time between school and the latest mystery to search for it. As for his maternal grandparents, he had lived with their daughter, and she had never mentioned them to her own son. His aunt’s distaste must have run deep.
And now, Cabol was seemingly offering to tell him more than he had ever learned. A new desire began to erupt in him, to hear everything this man had to say. He would do anything necessary, within moral limits, to hear it.
Cabol interrupted his thoughts. “Do not worry, the information is free. It is then up to you to decide what to do with it. Your family’s history is something you should have been taught years ago. Unfortunately, those who could have told you were either dead or unavailable.”
Harry regarded him suspiciously, “You were poking around in my head?”
Cabol smiled, “Not deliberately, but you were broadcasting too loudly for me not to pick up on it.”
Harry looked down, “I never learned Occlumency…”
“Not everyone can. There are however, other means to protect your mind than simply clearing your mind of all emotion. While this allows you to rely on your logical mind, it however discounts most of your intuition. Many people cannot do that; it is simply how they are. Plus, you had Snivellus as a teacher. That would put a cramp on anyone’s learning.”
“Alright, that might be useful, but can you tell me about my dad first.”
“Ah, that story is later. First, I would like you to fill me in on your recent adventures; it should help me fill in a few things I do not yet fully understand. However, I believe we should relocate to an, er, place we are less likely to be disturbed. Perhaps the Room of Requirement?”
“That would do. Though I would rather you didn’t poke around with my memories.”
“Then I shall simply use passive legilimency while you tell your story, it is certainly much less invasive.”
“Well that’s fine. Before we get started though, um, what should I call you, Mr. Cabol?”
“If you wished to be totally formal, Lord Black, you would refer to me as Lord Cabol.”
“I will explain, I’d rather start the story in the Room, chronologically.”
“You never answered my question.”
“I would be insulted if you did not call me by my given name, Brean. Now, shall we go?" With this, Brean indicated the door to the stairs.
Harry nodded and started out the door. Thinking quickly, he grabbed his Invisibility Cloak, and offered it to Brean. “This should allow us to go unnoticed.”
Brean laughed, “You certainly put this to better use than James! All he ever did was use it for pranks, stealing food from the kitchens (though with house elves, it’s not really stealing), or spying on your mum. At least he was faithful, Sirius, the pervert, would try to sneak into any girls’ room he could.”
Harry stared wide-eyed, but, nevertheless, draped the cloak around them as Brean silenced his feet and they walked slowly down the stairs.
Harry raised an eyebrow when they walked past the sleeping forms in the Gryffindor Common Room. Silently, they opened the portrait door. They passed as quickly as possible to the room and opened it.
Slipping off the cloak, Harry surveyed the room his father’s old acquaintance had summoned. The room was built like a study with a roaring fireplace. In front of it, two formal, yet comfy, looking armchairs were set opposite each other. A round table was between them. All in all, it looked like a comfortable place to discuss.
At this point, Harry’s stomach caught up to him, causing Brean to laugh. Harry scowled at him, causing him to laugh more. “That scowl,” he said in between giggles, “is like seeing Lily’s frown on James’s face. It’s bloody hilarious.”
Intrigued, but still hungry, Harry called out, “Kreacher.”
At once, his house-elf appeared. “What can Kreacher do to serve his great master?”
“Can you get us some food Kreacher? We’ll be here for a while, and it should help lighten the atmosphere.” Kreacher bowed lowly, popped out and returned seconds later with ten elves laden with breakfast food, two goblets and a giant pitcher of pumpkin juice. All eleven elves quickly pored juice into the goblets, conjured plates and utensils, filled the plates, set everything on the table, bowed low, and disappeared.
The two men settled into their chairs, as Harry told the tale of his last year. Brean simply listened. At some points, he prodded Harry along, but generally just ate as Harry told his tale. The only time he seemed to respond was when he nodded thoughtfully at the destruction of the locket Horcrux, as well as Harry and Ron’s following discussion. He also smiled at Neville’s decapitation of Nagini. The end of Harry’s tale produced the most reaction, a scowl.
When Harry was finished he noticed this. “What’s wrong?”
“You know little about relationships, don’t you?” he said carefully.
“Relationships, what?” asked Harry quickly.
“Tell me, how do you feel about Ginny, really feel, is what you described to me in your story totally true. Do you lover her?”
“I don’t, well, I don’t really know, why?”
Brean sighed, “You’ve never had a situation where you could really have learned about love. Well, you understand friendship, and self-sacrificing love, true. That is hardly a bad thing. However, even if you do love this girl, you wouldn’t know where to start in a real adult relationship.”
“I guess,” said Harry, “but why does it totally matter?”
“I’ve never dated a large amount of women, but even my playboy brother could tell you that your actions this morning are a major romantic gaffe. Let me put it this way, instead of comforting her over a family member’s death, you went and hung out with her brother, another woman, and a bunch of dead headmasters. Then you went to sleep. Bad form.”
“Do you think I still have a chance?”
“Certainly,” smiled Brean, “and I think you could easily have a good relationship. However, if you want it to ever be a true relationship of equals, you’ll have to learn to rely on her more than you have previously. It’ll be hard, but perhaps it would be worth it. I’ll say this, I sometimes envied your parents’ marriage.”
At this Brean cut him off, smiling sadly, “I’ll explain my circumstances in a bit. Now, what do you know about the founders, more specifically the families of Gryffindor and Slytherin.”
“I know Voldemort was descended from Slytherin, and called himself the Heir of Slytherin, so I guess that family’s officially dead. Don’t know anything about Gryffindor though, though I would guess the name’s died out.”
“I hardly expected much. Now, there are a good number of wizarding families, though many are not formally organized. That is to say, they have a family Head. This is always, by magical law, a man. His next in line, if nobody can come before him, is called the Heir. The inheritance laws are not exactly the same in every case, but usually the older and more traditional the family, the tighter the requirements to inherit. That is to say, in the oldest families, the inheritance is by strict male primogeniture, meaning no one through any female line inherits. Also, adoption does not allow one to inherit, as happens in most other families, including the Blacks. The most important and wealthy families grant the title Lord to their family head. A family’s wealth, even in a less well off family is usually put in some sort of trust, so a family’s head cannot simply disperse or lose all of it.”
“So you’re saying Sirius sort of adopted me. And the Blacks and Cabols are obviously old lines. Wait, does that mean that Sirius had more money that he couldn’t just give me?”
“In order, not exactly, yes, and yes, though as Black family head you are the head of the family’s financial dealings. Believe me, they are quite extensive. I’ve had the privilege of working with them for the past few years.”
“Is this something else you’ll explain later,” asked Harry suspiciously.
“Certainly,” agreed Brean, “but as I was saying, both the Gryffindor and Slytherin families had Lordships, and were among the most traditional. They also began a feud that became quite bloody after Godric and Salazar’s arguments.”
“Feud? Bloody? What, did Gryffindor kill Slytherin?”
“No, not exactly, but both died in battle against the family of the other. Slytherin had no son, so the lordship passed to his brothers’ descendants. Gryffindor however had four sons: Bolric, Henry, Prewett, and Salazar, named in the time when Gryffindor and Slytherin were still friends. Since that time, none of their descendants has ever named a child after a living person, in remembrance of Slytherin’s betrayal.”
“So the Gaunts weren’t involved in this, despite the fact that the feud involved something they would have fought for?” interrupted Harry.
“Indeed, Harry. Actually, though the feud became worse over time. It widened to the Gryffindor’s favoring somewhat aiding muggles, in return for loyalty, versus the Slytherin’s who favored complete separation. However, when they began to lose headway, they eventually changed their minds to simply taking muggle slaves.”
“Yuck!” said Harry, “please tell me this eventually stopped.”
“Alas!” exclaimed Brean, “though this feud continued mainly hidden from the magical world, the practice of chattel slavery spread to other families, especially during colonization. In fact, the worst even took wizards as slaves. Even those who never believed in chattel slavery generally had, and often still have, interwoven oaths of loyalty and feudal vassal ship.”
“That’s disgusting,” said Harry. “How come no one ever does anything about it. Hell, how does no one know about it!”
“It certainly is disgusting,” agreed Brean, “but remember no slavery is actually the exception in history, not the rule. There are still places in the muggle world where slavery exists. It was mostly eradicated through British naval and economic power in the nineteenth century. Heck, their cousins, the Americans, at least the northerners, died by the hundreds of thousands to end it in their own land. Brazil was the last western country to abolish slavery, in the 1870s. Most eastern and central European countries had feudal serfdom, which was like slavery, until about the same period as the abolishment of slavery in America and Brazil.”
“That still doesn’t explain,” started Harry.
“How no one knows about it?” finished Brean. “Well, yeah,” said Harry.
“That,” said Brean, “has to do with the size and government of the wizarding world. It also relates to Gryffindor and Slytherin. In the times of the founding, the wizarding world was ruled by the Lords Council. Every major family has a seat. There were several councils throughout Europe that were first called around this time. The British council was the earliest, first called by Merlin, in the time of King Arthur. As Merlin’s closest heirs, the Gryffindor head has always been the president of the council. His eldest son is the one that debates and votes. He also is a Lord.”
“So what happened to it?”
“Well, as you can imagine, as the Gryffindor and Slytherin sides rallied more to their banners, the council became unable to rule. Therefore, it only meant when it was completely necessary, in a time of momentary pause, or in a time of dominance of one family. Eventually, it gave power to the Wizard’s Council to govern in its stead. It, however, retained absolute authority. The Wizard’s Council was much more agreeable to the Lords, who now met infrequently. It also allowed them to move in secret as the mainstream wizarding population began to grow. Eventually, the Wizard’s Council established the Ministry of Magic, and allowed itself to form into the modern day Wizengamot, though actual authority still rests in the Lords Council, but nearly everyone has forgotten it. Partly, because the council has not met for over 200 years, and that was to recognize the independence of North America.”
“So, the Lords could technically dismantle the Ministry?”
“Oh yes, though they have not met due to the loss of heirs of some lines as well as the disgusting habits of some others. Also, several of the Lords were forbidden by unbreakable vows, including the president of the council, to interfere in politics for nearly the past century and a half.”
“So, some of the Lords would never do anything do to holding their own servants?” guessed Harry.
“Right, Harry,” smiled Brean, “but we need to return to what I said earlier. You see, the Ministry of Magic only has authority over Britain and Ireland. Yet, like our Muggle relations, we Europeans seem to have always wielded the worst weapons of war. The magical governments of Europe, like the muggle ones, colonized and took over most of the rest of the world. Now, mind you, in recent decades, this control has loosened somewhat, but there are still only a handful of governments with absolute sovereign status in the wizarding world. And the colonization was often taken in feudal style by various European families, especially in the British case. However, since the Lords have not met in so long, it is actually impossible for them to actually gain complete independence!”
“So there’s not really any authority to do anything, is there, unless the Lords meet again. Is there anything anyone can do? Wait, slaves, that sounds like something the Blacks would do!”
“Yes,” said Brean, “I had to contend with that rather disgusting fact in my management.”
“Can I free them, hell what can I do to free anyone? How bad is it?”
“Well, pretty bad. Actually, there are treaties still on record that allow wizards to kidnap muggles as slaves. Luckily, they’re basically forgotten, since it got harder over the years to hide disappearances. Also, it reached a point where the population was self-replicating and most families had few children so they never got very large.”
“So it’s all secret then? What the Blacks and other people did isn’t known?”
“No, actually the ministry abolished human slavery in Britain a century ago, rather secretly. However, they have no authority in the colonies. Now, not every family has slaves though, and any family head can free his slaves, if they wish like you do.”
Nodding his head, Harry asked, “So what does this have to do with my family.”
“Everything,” said Brean. “Though I should first explain why I was extremely insulted when you called me a Death Eater.”
“It’s alright, I didn’t mean it Brean.”
“No you had every right to be suspicious, Harry,” replied Brean. “You see, it relates to that feud I told you about. You see the Slytherin’s and their allies took the name the Knights of Beltane after the time of year they were founded. Six months later, their enemies took the name the Knights of Samhain. Eventually these two groups were known by the name of the Christian names of the days. That is, they became the Knights of Walpurgis and the Knights of All Hallows, or, as they were nicknamed, the Death Eaters and the Rangers.”
“So that’s where Voldemort got the name!” shouted Harry, “I can see where that would offend any decent person.”
“Not only the name, Harry, but the Dark Mark as well. It is a bit modified though. Voldemort obviously thought the group was extinct. It survives however, if much less powerful than before.”
“So these Ranger guys are still around too? Wait, you’re one of them aren’t you, that’s how you know all this. Was my father one, is that how you knew him?”
At this Brean rolled up his sleeve, showing a tattoo of a griffin clutching a skull. Nodding to Harry, he said, “Yes, your father was one as I am one. Both our families were actually founding members in a way.”
“How?” asked Harry.
“You remember when I said the feud was often conducted in secret, and how both enemy families were traced through the male line?” Seeing Harry’s nod, Brean continued. “Well, both families chose to hide their surnames, so different branches took different surnames. The direct Slytherin line was wiped out in 1837. Two daughters survived, the elder was given to the heir of Henry Gryffindor, the younger to the heir of Bolric. Thus, the Lordship of Slytherin passed to Henry’s heirs.”
“So who were the Gryffindor families?”
“It took several generations for it to eventually happen. Salazar Gryffindor was such a fierce opponent and his kill count so high, that his enemies called him the Lord of Bones. So, his descendents adopted this and became the Bones line. Prewett Gryffindor’s descendants simply took his first name. That line is dead in the direct male line, killed by servants of Voldemort.”
“So, Susan Bones can’t inherit their headship?” remarked Harry.
“Nope, though her husband does, since her father was killed by some of the remaining Walpurgis Knights when she was seven years old.”
“So what about the other two sons?”
“Good question. The second’s family was known for their handiwork, in particular their pottery. So they became the Potters. The first took the title of Bolric, who was the first Captain of the Knights of Samhain. It was abbreviated Cap. Bol. Eventually, this was strung together as Capbol, and became Cabol.”
“So, wait, you’re telling me that you’re the Heir of Godric Gryffindor. You’re the president of the Lords Council?”
“No, I am Brean Charles Joseph Cabol Gryffindor, the Heir of the Gryffindor Family, not the Head. Thus, I am Lord Cabol, and not yet Lord Gryffindor.”
“So that’s your father, so your brother must be younger.”
“So we’re distantly related, because of those two Slytherin girls, wait, Slytherin!”
“It is you who makes you who you are, not your distant relations. Remember you’re distantly related through the Peverell’s to Voldemort, and you are nothing like him. Remember also Sirius and Regulus, who prove that generations of evil does not lead one into evil,” corrected Brean.
“Ron’ll have fits,” said Harry shaking his head.
“Well firstly, you’re not actually descended from Salazar Slytherin, just his brother. Also, I think our earlier discussion will give Hermione even more fits.”
“That it will,” grinned Harry. “Back to topic, you know my dad because you’re like third cousins or something.”
“Actually it’s closer than that. See both the Gryffindor and Slytherin families live for quite a long time, often more than two centuries, or they can if they’re not killed in battle. Actually, that’s why our families are so small, only the direct line of eldest sons has remained alive, all four lines were in fact once much more numerous. Anyway, both girls gave birth to sons in 1840, the same year as the birth of Albus Dumbledore. The two were named Charles Cabol and Harold Potter. They didn’t actually have any siblings until Charlus Potter was born in 1881, Mary Cabol in 1895, and Elizabeth Potter in 1897.” With this, he pulled out his stack of photographs; he showed Harry the one on top.
Staring at the four boys, Harry was able to pick out all four. “Well, the one is Dumbledore, and one’s Elphias Doge. The other two, must be Harold and Charles. Weird, the family resemblance is quite striking in both our cases. Charles looks nearly exactly like you, Brean.”
“True, Harry, and not by accident. Ever noticed Draco’s resemblance to his father, or the Weasley freckles and hair? It’s due to ancient charms. They also help give male heirs.”
“Okay, self-love I can see, especially the Malfoy's. But why would you need charms for male heirs?”
“Well, in modern times, it’s because you can then have only a few kids. Also, our birth rates are out of wack, I think it has to do with misgovernment and acts that have disturbed the balance of magic, I think the Walpurgis knights had something to do with it. Voldemort and Grindelwald never helped. Actually, back in the founders time, and as it was throughout most of history, twice as many witches were born as wizards. It’s why wizards have always been allowed to have more than one wife.”
Harry blinked, “That would probably set Hermione off.”
“Probably,” agreed Brean, “but I think with Voldemort’s defeat, the birth rates are going to return to normal. That’s certainly going to be hard to hide. So I don’t see what benefit repealing the laws would have now.”
“Just great, more witches to fawn over the Boy-Who-Lived!”
“That would be creepy, I don’t think pedophiles occur at such a high rate. No, I think they’ll be more interested in the Man-Who-Lived.”
“Why can’t I just be normal?”
“What are you, a Dursley?”
“NO!” sputtered Harry angrily, “how can you compare me to them?”
“Because you’ve picked up their desire to be normal.”
“I don’t want to be famous, I just want to be a normal wizard!”
“That’s an oxymoron, I mean really, how many wizards are there in Britain, about 25,000 at most? Come on, we can never be normal. Besides, normal’s overrated. It takes too much effort, just be you. I’ll agree the fame is annoying, though you have actually done stuff now that deserves it. Also, you’re extremely young, attractive, and rich. That would bring witches drooling anyway.”
“I guess I picked that up,” sighed Harry.
“Along with a desire to not achieve in school, a distrust of most adults, and a damaged curiosity?”
“Well, yeah, guess so.”
“I have to wonder how much Dumbledore interfered.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I mean there had to be signs you were treated poorly. I’m surprised no one ever noticed. What the Dursley’s did counts as child abuse. They could have been imprisoned if caught.”
“You know a lot about the muggle world.”
“I do, I like to learn. I’m also a sports enthusiast and they have a lot more sports. My brother also knows a lot, since there are a lot more muggle women out there to shag.”
“True on both accounts….. We tend to weave off topic don’t we, Brean? How long will that oath last for?”
“About another five hours,” shrugged Brean, “and most people in long discussions go off on tangential discussions, it’s natural. As for our recent family history, well, the Cabols and Potters had a marriage contract going, a reciprocal one, where each family had their heir marry a daughter of the other. So, this unfortunately activated for my parents, aunt and uncle. My dad, Charles ended up married to my mom, Elizabeth. Your grandfather Harold married your grandmother Mary. They got along, but it was strange for them. The age difference didn’t help either. Uncle Charlus married Dorea Black. They both died in the late 1970s of an outbreak of illness. Their son, Edward was in the same year as I, three below your dad in Gryffindor, with Fabian Prewett actually.”
“So, what’s that make us?” asked Harry slowly, beginning to understand why his father had named his cousin as backup to Harry’s godfather.
“First cousins, once removed.”
“Any other relations I should know about?” Harry asked slowly.
“Well, I’ve mentioned my brother Dale, he was born in ‘66, so he was a first year when your Dad was head boy. Actually, he’s 14 years older than you, so you had his old dorm. Actually, your bed is practically where his was. Edward disguised himself with the last name Sinclair. My sister, Anna, is five years younger than my brother, so she’s actually only twenty seven. She was a Slytherin in Charlie Weasley’s year. Obviously, she was actually allowed to go to Hogwarts.”
“Allowed?” questioned Harry, “why do I get the feeling that Hermione would get pissed over this too?”
“Because she would,” said Brean. “Many Gryffindor women were not sent.”
“But that’s stopped now?”
“Don’t know, there hasn’t been one since my sister to decide on. Actually though your aunt was kept home. See it allowed most people to assume James was the son of Charlus and was the son on the Black tapestry.”
“Josephine Potter, same age as Edward and I. Forced by ancient contract to marry Edward, against anyone’s wishes. Edward has had a few affairs as well”
“What happened to her, I mean I know your mum’s dead, killed by Voldemort, but what happened to my aunt, Edward, my grandparents? And why the hell, was I left with the bloody DURSLEY’S!”
Brean looked at him, his face lined in regret. “When your parents died, I determined that your mother had died defending you. I understood the logic in Dumbledore’s placement, but did not agree with it. However, I blamed Dumbledore in some part for trusting idiots like Wormtail, and the way he fought his war. You see, we Rangers had always been trained to fight a war, that is, kill the enemy. So, I tried to find Sirius before he did something stupid, but I was too late, and then, well, Edward, Dale, and I made our greatest mistake.”
Harry was confused and angry, so he carefully tried to repeat what he knew, “Okay, so I see my dad would probably have trusted his family with knowledge of his secret keeper, but I don’t see why you couldn’t have told the Ministry, or rescued me.”
Brean looked down and said slowly, “We, well, we swore never to not follow Dumbledore exactly as our fathers had done. Actually, we swore an unbreakable vow.”
“Why did they not like Dumbledore?”
“Well, see Dumbledore, when he fell in love with Gellert Grindelwald,” began Brean.
“Fell in love, Dumbledore liked, he liked, b-b-blokes?” Harry half-shouted, half-stuttered.
“Yep, Dumbledore was 100% queer. So, since they weren’t actually touring the world, Dumbledore tried to recruit his old housemates to his little scheme. They, shocked, at what had happened with him, swore an Unbreakable Vow to never follow or aid him in any of his quests and wars.”
“Well, I guess that was kind of foolish of you. Though I can see why my granddad would have sworn that vow. At the time, Dumbledore had gone pretty deep.”
“You see now why I have only just been able to arrive, of course,” said Brean, “it is also why neither my father or your grandfather could have done anything in the Lords Council.”
“But Dumbledore’s been dead for a year, wait, no the war wasn’t over yet was it.”
“Right, Harry. And you have no idea how horrible it is to watch things happen and be literally unable to do anything. Well not anything, we could have joined Voldemort, but I would never stand for his ideals, least of all for someone who liked to think he was a Death Eater.”
“Wait, your dad’s still alive, are my grandparents still alive? Can I meet everybody else, why did you come alone?” Harry was anxious now, all past doubts forgotten. The idea of a family of his own was new to him. He had not had such hope since Sirius had died. And to think, here was his father’s next choice after Sirius right in from of him. Harry didn’t think he needed a father really, of course Sirius had never really been that, but still Harry could use some more friends.
“Aye, your grandparents are still alive. Remember, we Gryffindor's live long, Harry James Black Potter Gryffindor. Aunt Mary’s beauty is still very much there, though she has grayed much, and neither Uncle Harold nor Dad’s hair is as nicely silvered as old Dumbledore’s was. My cousins are still alive. They have a son Mark, perhaps you remember him. He entered last year as Mark Sinclair.”
“Yeah, he’s annoying” Mark was now a second-year Gryffindor. With this knowledge though, he couldn’t really blame them, Harry remembered telling Ron how he would have loved some semblance of an older sibling. Then Harry remembered Mark’s best friend, “Is Rudolph your nephew or son?”
“Nephew and godson,” replied Brean cheerfully. “William, the third-year, is my elder son. Bolric is a first-year so you wouldn’t know him. My daughter Rowena is three years younger than Bolric, while my niece Helga is a is a year younger than my daughter.” At this Brean’s face turned grave. He reached into a pocket and pulled out a photograph. He handed it to Harry. It was a girl, with the same eyes as Harry. She had red hair, and her facial features were a mixture of his parents.
“If I didn’t know it was impossible, I’d say she was my sister,” said Harry. Glancing up, he saw Brean with a serious expression on his face.
“It is possible. Your mother was six months pregnant when she died. I cut your sister from the womb. She barely survived. That is what delayed us finding Sirius. It was that and collecting your parents’ bodies. The graves at Godric’s Hollow are empty. Your parents lie in the ancestral tomb of the Gryffindor family.”
Harry repeated, “It’s impossible, it’s impossible, it’s…. You’re lying. You have to be, this is impossible.”
“I can’t lie, remember,” said Brean as he got up out of his chair, vanishing the long gone remnants of their breakfast. He sat on the table directly in front of Harry.
Harry stared at the picture for a long time in silence. When he finally raised his head, he whispered, “What’s her name?”
“I named her as your parents would have, Violet. Violet Lily Potter Gryffindor.”
“Is she safe, is she happy. What about the boys? The other students, they got out of Hogwarts safe, right?”
“Edward raised her. She did not come to Hogwarts, but she is a witch, and Edward has taught her well. She is generally happy, but has always hated Dumbledore and Grindelwald, who she blames for being unable to know you. The children were able to escape Hogwarts safely. Edward and Dale accompanied me, but both have their own tasks. Your grandfather is smoothing out your business at Gringotts, I believe. I was tasked to fetch you, since I am not easily identifiable as a Potter and my brother’s temperament is not as well a match. My father and your grandmother, well I’m sure they’re doing something. My wife and sister, not bound by oath, I believe came to the final battle and are probably still in the Great Hall. They have no idea I am here. My brother’s wife is an idiot who probably has no idea what is going on. She’s probably out shopping or some such nonsense, the very definition of a blonde bimbo. It’s why my brother has become such a playboy.”
Harry was shocked Brean could describe his own sister-in-law in such a way. So that begged the obvious question. “Why did he marry her?”
Brean sighed, “It was arranged, magically binding and all that. Actually mine was as well, though mine is perhaps worse.”
“How, and why have arranged marriages in the first place?” asked Harry curiously before he could help himself. Besides, he was really starting to wonder if this was some sort of family tradition or something. That could be really bad for him. At least it seemed there was no tradition of multiple marriages!
“What you have to understand Harry, is our basic philosophy of magic. You see, we are what would be called Light and Dark Wizards. You see, we use Dark magic, which is magic based on fear. The Unforgivables, while easy, also take a lot of power, so we do not only limit ourselves to such. Light magic is just the opposite, magic based on love. It too is quite powerful. The Patronus Charm is the only spell of it widely known. Both Light and Dark Magic can be addictive. So we are careful to balance ourselves. This requires a good grip on our emotions. To make sure we do not develop too much on either side, we arrange marriages so that, in theory, the relationship is at best cordial. This allows us to not develop too much of an attachment to our wives.”
At this, Brean stopped. Harry blinked. He could see the balance of magic based on emotion. Then he started, “But I’m sure a relationship could be both good or bad. Isn’t it worth the risk? And then you get the bad ones like yours or Dale’s.”
Brean shrugged, “Arranged marriages aren’t just one of our traditions, but I can see your point. Though my marriage is not like my brother’s.”
At this he shook his head and stared as if trying to decide whether to continue as he fixed Harry with a solemn stare.
“Harry,” he said slowly, “if I tell you this, you must never repeat it without my permission. It would be, by some considered my biggest failure. However, seeing as I’ve actually looked inside your mind, you deserve to know my secrets as much as is safe to tell. My wife, Sarah, knew of our betrothal while we were teenagers. She developed a crush on me that got worse as we grew older. I hated her. I hated everything about her. I insulted her, I ignored her, and I went on dates to forget what was required of me. Then, we were married out of school. Then, I actually had to live with her. At first, I actually found more quirks to hate. She just grew worse, though my rejection saddened her. I unfortunately, could not seem to stay that way. At first, I began to acknowledge she was physically attractive. Then, I would start to find things to like about her. I tried to ignore it. Yet, I couldn’t help myself. Then, my brother was married and I saw the imbecile he had to marry. The next day, he asked me to go to the muggle world with him, to pick up women. I found excuses the first few times. Then, I began to realize I simply did not wish to go. This confused me. I searched inside my mind for the answer. What I found ashamed me. I will not continue. It well, I’m sure you can figure it out.”
Harry looked at him, confused, “Why is you being in love with your wife such a big deal? Why do you two keep it a secret?”
Brean leaped up, outraged. “Don’t you see Harry, it goes against the very reason we were married, the very principle of an arranged marriage. And we do not keep it a secret, she has no idea how I feel.”
Harry laughed, hard. “You-you-you sound like Remus Lupin, ha, ha, ha. Why don’t you just tell her for god’s sake.”
Brean narrowed his eyes. “It’s not funny, Harry JAMES. You really do sound like him now, of course his fawning over your mum was disgusting. It was also annoying.”
Harry stopped laughing, “Do I? You did promise to tell me more about my parents,” he said expectantly while mentally thinking his newfound cousin was an idiot.
So, Brean told him, taking several hours to do so. He learned much about his father, but also his mother as well. Tales of Sirius and Lupin also filled the room and of the time when Wormtail was once one of the Marauders. His father actually liked many of the same foods as Harry, though his mother had actually liked liver and onions. What really disgusted Harry were the stories of food from Lily’s two pregnancies. Harry got nervous when Brean said his own wife had gotten odd cravings. Harry agreed that pregnant women must be even more insane than normal. What sane person would ever eat ketchup on ice cream? It seemed James, Brean, Sirius, Dale, and Edward had all actually purposely underachieved in school, to make themselves seem less threatening. Brean and his friends were sometimes a cross between the Weasley twins and the Marauders. They never bullied anyone, but they were better pure pranksters. James used to be really annoyed, however, since “his shadows” as he called them rarely got caught, blaming everything on the Marauders themselves.
Brean’s stack of pictures actually contained a whole bunch from his parents’ schooldays and any Brean could have scrounged up from years before. Pictures of a green Sirius, a bald Snape, a Dumbledore with actually normal robes, and a James with “LOSER” written across his face were among Harry’s favorites.
James seemed to be as adept at first dates as Harry. On his first date with Lily, he actually brought along his friends and tried to joke around with them. Lily stormed out of the three broomsticks and James had to literally beg on his knees for a second chance.
Lily, it seemed, had annoyed Brean, particularly as prefect and Head Girl. She was also, in Brean’s estimation, crazy. She was a neat freak and could be as nagging as Hermione at times. It also hurt that he had to listen to three years of James’s moaning.
Snape, was generally loathed. It turned out James knew of Lily’s friendship with Snape, and thus hated him even more. Worse, Snape had actually tried his bullying on James’s cousins in their first train ride. This brought James’s hatred of Snape to the worst extreme. It also instilled a deep hatred of Snape in Brean and Edward.
Harry interrupted here: “But Snape, what Snape did against Voldemort.”
Brean shrugged, “Yeah, I have to admit, I have to respect that. I do not have to like his continued love of my cousin’s wife. Mind you, traditionally, with the birth ratio the way it was, liking another wizard’s wife was considered a moral low even for Death Eaters. Of course, I have to admit, I don’t think Snape actually knew that, the way he was raised. And I have to admit, he protected the students well, last year. That still doesn’t mean I have to like him. Mind you, Dale hates the greasy git more, since he actually had to be taught by the overgrown bat. Most everyone will agree Snape was a lousy professor. Actually, a lot of Dumbledore’s teachers were lousy. I wonder at the insinuation that Dumbledore was the best headmaster in Hogwarts history.”
Harry frowned, “How can you say that?”
“Because necessary or not, Dumbledore’s political games resulted in a decreased value of education. A headmaster’s job is not to be the leader of the wizarding world. I wonder at Dumbledore’s fear of power, I wonder what he termed it. He certainly held a lot of political positions. Nevertheless, a headmaster’s job is to educate the students. Dumbledore spent so much time away, he hardly interacted with any of his students. It’s no wonder so many people believed Fudge. None of them knew Dumbledore, not really. They just saw him as some godlike figure. Actually, that’s probably why so few students believed you either, you kind of shut yourself off, necessary or not, it had the same effect.”
Harry blinked, because he had never considered that. It was true; he hadn’t really interacted with too many people. Heck, he hadn’t recognized McLaggen, who had been in his own house. He didn’t even remember the names of the other two of Hermione’s roommates! Brean was right, necessary or not, the result was the same.
“Maybe the next headmaster or headmistress will be more normal,” said Harry.
“Hopefully, I won’t argue that Dumbledore was the greatest man probably to ever hold the position, but as a parent, I hope that the next headmaster just does their job. Hopefully they get rid of Binns. Why Dumbledore kept that awful ghost, I have no idea.” At this, Brean shook his head in disgust.
Harry snorted, “While I might have liked the naptime, you’re right, I don’t see why. No one can learn anything in that stupid class. I have no idea how anybody besides Hermione passed the O.W.L., of course she’s just weird.”
“Me neither, unless they simply read the book on their own,” replied Brean.
At this, the two turned back to the photographs. Many of these were of his parent’s wedding. For example, he actually learned who many of the people were. His mother, it seemed, had been as popular as Ginny at Hogwarts. The pictures then eventually (scattered with Brean’s later years) became pictures of Lily’s pregnancy. Apparently, a lot of them had been doubles James had sent to his parents. The next set, made Harry blush.
“Never show anyone those pictures,” said Harry slowly.
“As long as you never talk to my wife,” quipped Brean. “Though I don’t see what’s so embarrassing, surely you’ve taken baths before.”
“Everyone’s baby pictures are embarrassing.”
“In one, I was wearing a bloody dress. My parents needed to be shot for dressing me in that thing.”
“It was a christening robe.”
“It was, was, was worse than Ron’s dress robes. It was frilly and, and girly.”
Brean just laughed. “I’m doing what you’re parents would have wanted. James, and especially Lily would have embarrassed you like crazy. Face it: I’m a relative that actually likes you. It’s my job to embarrass you sometimes. Could be worse though.”
“How could it be any fucking worse,” moaned Harry.
“Your mother would have shown them to your girlfriend.”
“What, my mum, would have done that?”
“Yeah, mums do that, yours would have especially enjoyed it. Would you like me to show it to Ginny.”
“What afraid she’ll get ideas for kids.”
“I’m too young to worry about that. I’m not even officially dating her anymore. I shouldn’t be worried about marriage, let along kids yet.”
Finishing his rant Harry looked at Brean who was looking nervous. “What’s wrong; is there some sort of arranged marriage or something I should be worrying about?”
Brean stammered nervously, “Ah, well, you see, erm, uh, well, not exactly.”
Harry glared, “What do you mean not exactly.”
Brean said, “The thing is, um,”
Harry began to shout, “TELL ME ALREADY.”
Brean sighed, “You don’t have to worry about contracts, at least anymore, cause well, you’re already married.”
Harry laughed nervously, “You’re kidding.”
Brean looked at him seriously, “I can’t, oath, remember.”
It took a second for it to sink in. “Oh fuck.”
Notes: Probably has some mistakes; its not betaed. Don’t get used to the chapter length; I thought it easier to get lots of backstory done now. This should help get the plot rolling a bit. Hope the premise is plausible.
Yes, I know I didn’t follow the exact Weasley ages. But JKR contradicts herself, and admits herself she’s bad at math. So, I came up with something that makes sense.
Hope Brean seems human enough.