Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Luna's Hubby


by Meteoricshipyards 2 reviews

Luna smells a rat, and there are consequences.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor - Characters: Ginny, Harry, Luna, Ron - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-07-14 - Updated: 2006-07-14 - 8949 words - Complete

Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling. For one thing, I much fatter. And male. I don't own Harry Potter, his world, or anything or anyone in it. J.K. Rowling (the skinny one) and a bunch of companies do. But on the bright side -- no money is being made on this.
Many thanks to Moine Green and Kaetti for beta-ing.

Chapter 5 Holidays

Harry and Luna came home to a pair of very angry adults. Molly Weasley had called to make sure it was OK with the Lovegoods to take the kids to Diagon Alley that Friday, as her older children needed to get their school supplies. When Larry asked how the kids were doing, he found out that something was amiss. By the time he had discovered that the wands, broom, and invisibility cloak were missing, his wife had finished whatever she was working on and had called home, which was soon followed by her return home.

They weren't trying to hide what they did, once they were caught. It was just that after they said they went on a treasure hunt, Selene didn't wait for any further explanation. Harry and Luna received a long, angry lecture, as well as loss of wand privileges for an indefinite time. They would have school work instead of playtime for the next week, early bedtimes, and be sent to their rooms without lunch or supper. The last was imposed by Larry, as Selene had done most of the talking up to that point.

The lecture was interrupted when Selene noticed Harry's cut hand. They paused as she got it cleaned up and cast a healing charm. It became a part of the lecture, a vivid example of how much danger they were in -- what would have happened if the cut had been bigger, or in a part of the body where he could have lost a lot of blood? Would they have been able to get to help in time?

As they were going up to their rooms, Harry heard Aunt Selene start to yell at Uncle Larry for being irresponsible and negligent. She was a lot louder with him than she had been with them.

He sat in his room and thought. It was so /different! /Yes, Selene and Larry had been angry, but they didn't yell. And they didn't hit. When he saw them so angry, he had felt his stomach tighten, certain a beating was coming. He still wasn't sure that he wouldn't get one, but he reflected that this was a time when he really had done something very wrong.

He sat in the room and waited. Going without food was something he had been used to at the Dursleys, but it had been several months now since he had missed a meal. He wondered if that would make it easier or harder.

They didn't get any lunch, but that could be because they got back so late. When supper came around they were called down for food. Aunt Selene told them that they didn't withhold food as punishment, but they were not to expect any treats. They were informed that they would have bread and water for dinner. Harry supposed that the adults would get whatever he was smelling. The table was already set with plates and bowls. Selene brought in a plate of fresh rolls, followed by a pot of soup. As she poured it into the bowls she explained with a smile that it was mostly water, and the rolls were just bread. The soup was home made and tasted pretty good, and the hot, fresh rolls were delicious. The kids ate the rolls and soup heartily.

They did have to go to bed after cleaning up the dishes. After getting ready for bed, Harry sat on Luna's bed brushing her hair. Selene stopped by to make sure they weren't playing, but when she saw what was going on, she told them to finish up quick and get to their own beds.

Harry and Luna whispered while he did her hair.

"I'm sorry it turned out the way it did, Harry."

"Yeah, we probably shouldn't have done it. It was a pretty frightening adventure, though."

"I didn't think we were in too much danger. It could have been a lot worse. If I were hiding a treasure, I certainly wouldn't have made all the traps magical."

"Yeah, but very few people can see magic the way you do. Had it just been me in there, I wouldn't have found the inner cave, or the boat, or figured what to do with the potion. So it would have stopped me."

"I guess we were just lucky."

"Let's not do that again for a while. I wonder what the cup is?"

"We should ask Mum."

"We should, but not right now. If we told her that there were zombies, poison potions, and other magical traps she'd really get upset. Let's just let her calm down for awhile before we show it to her."

- - -

Harry got up early as usual and went downstairs to help make breakfast. As he passed the parlor he noticed that there were sheets on the couch. He helped Selene make breakfast. He asked about the couch while they worked.

"I was pretty upset with my husband yesterday, Harry. While you deserve most of the blame for your actions, he gets some, too, as he was in charge."

"So his punishment was sleeping on the couch?"

"Yes. Or no. Not really punishment. When married people have fights, sometimes we have to get away from each other and calm down. One thing you have to be very careful of when you fight with someone you love is making sure you don't hurt them in anger. It's so easy to do -- to say mean words when you're angry. You don't mean them, and you apologize when you calm down, and you might even get forgiven, but it's too late. When you fight with someone you love you have to remember not to make it worse. And that's something very hard to remember when you want to just slap someone silly.

"That's something else to avoid. When you get angry you want to lash out and cause the other person pain. But you have to avoid that, Harry. I'm sure there were times you wished you could hurt your relatives back for hurting you. But when someone you love is making you feel that way, you must not give in to that urge. You may hurt them only a little and find that you've hurt your relationship a whole lot. No amount of being sorry can undo what you've done."

Harry tried to take this all in. He wasn't sure what this had to do with the sheets on the couch, but it sounded like good advice. He'd have to watch out if he and Luna got in a fight. Of course they didn't fight, but someday maybe they would and he'd need to know this.

- - -

On Friday Rosamond Croaker watched them, since the Weasleys were going to Diagon Alley, and Harry and Luna were still being punished. Ginny and Ron talked a lot about all the things they saw. Harry and Luna accepted the fact that they missed something that may have been fun, but as Luna said, it doesn't do any good to be sad now.

- - -

Harry's new birthday came. They had Ron and Ginny over during the day. They played together more often since the older Weasleys were away at school. After the kids "treasure hunt," Luna's parents always made sure that they were really playing with the Weasleys when they said they were.

- - -

Uncle Ollie came over for dinner on his birthday. He gave Harry a wand cleaning kit -- it contained a little linseed oil and a cloth in a little carrying case. He was curious about how their magical instruction was progressing. When he was told about the kids' adventure and loss of their wand privileges Ollivander became quite concerned and explained the secrecy law to the children. They told him that they knew about it and insisted that they weren't observed when they were flying, or putting on or taking off the invisibility cloak, and the only time they used their wands was in a cave where no one could see them. When asked, they explained that the only spells they had cast were Lumos and Fonticulus/, and /Nox to turn their wands off.

Ollivander again stressed how important the secrecy laws were. Then he dropped the subject. Inside he was proud of the children's accomplishments.

Luna got Harry a deck of exploding snap cards. Selene and Larry bought him some new clothes, and a couple of books: Voyages with Vampires /by Gilderoy Lockhart, and /Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Over the next few weeks he read them both. Treasure Island he thought was good. The other book had a lot of boring sections where the author described in dull detail either what he was wearing, or how brave he was. Harry thought that Jim Hawkins was brave, but he never went on about it. Both Harry and Luna thought that the section of Lockhart's book on Zombies didn't describe the creatures they had run into.

They still hadn't told Selene about the cup. They weren't sure how.

- - -

Harry received several letters from Remus Lupin. In them, Remus talked about his parents and some about his grandparents, all of whom died around the time of the war against You-Know-Who. He always asked what Harry was doing and how his new family was. Harry and Luna would be assigned to each write a letter back. Remus also wrote about house hunting and promised to have the Lovegoods over once he was settled.

Harry liked learning about his parents. He thought it strange that about two thirds of the stories Remus wrote about them happened while they were at Hogwarts, until he realized that Remus knew them for longer in Hogwarts than they had been alive once they left the school.

- - -

The wands stayed locked up until almost Halloween. One Saturday while painting, a bottle of paint spilled. Selene brought out their wands and taught them the Abstergo /Tertilis/ spell to get stains out of the carpet. Then she put the wands away again.

- - -

Ron and Ginny were jealous when they found out that Luna and Harry had wands. Ron, at least (and Ginny to herself) became much less interested when they found out that Harry and Luna were only allowed to use them to clean up.

The twins got better at playing with the other kids. For example, if they tried both pretending to be "it" during a game of tag the other kids would stop playing with them. They found it was more boring to not play at all than to play by the rules.

Ron eventually found Harry's problem. The reason, Ron figured, that Harry liked doing housework was because he didn't know about Quidditch. To Ron's mind, if he could get Harry interested in Quidditch, he'd forget about wanting to do housework. One day after lunch, Ron talked to Harry in great detail about the game, the positions, the plays, the fouls, and his favorite team, the Chudley Cannons. He was concentrating on it so much that he hadn't even noticed that Harry and he had washed the lunch dishes until they were done. Harry smiled at Mrs. Weasley's "Thank you."

He then turned to Ron and said, "Wasn't that a lot more fun when you do them with someone?"

Ron almost despaired of curing his new friend. He'd just have to try something else.

- - -

"Yes, sir, may I help you?"

Remus looked at the clerk and thought he looked familiar from his time at Hogwarts. Remus reflected that there were worse jobs than working at a grocers. "Yes, I've just moved and I'd like to get my fireplace connected to the Floo network."

"Then you've come to the right department. Do you have your authorization form filled out? How about the disconnect request? No previous connection? I see. Do you have a Floo Security Ward form? And this is new, the privacy statement, you need to sign here to show that we gave it to you, whether you read it or not is up to you. And this is another new one, well, relatively new, it's been around almost four years. It's a disclaimer that any unauthorized use of the Floo is your responsibility and not that of the Ministry. And here's the Permission to Connect Fireplace form, we need that signed along with the connection fee and the rest before we can enter your house. Are you in a Muggle neighborhood? Then you'll need this Temporary Secure Apparition Point form filled out by an Auror so the workmen can get to your house without being seen. You'll have to arrange with the Aurors to get that filled out. Yes I believe there is a fee for that service, but you'll have to talk to them about the amount. Thank you. Have a nice day."

Remus walked away from the window. He had thought long and hard about the name for his floo connection. He had rejected Wolf's Den, Moony's Place, and Marauders' End. The first two because he felt they advertised his condition. The last because he thought there might still be some people out there who held a grudge. Might? He was pretty sure of it. As long as they didn't know who the Marauders were, he was safe. But when he came down to the Ministry, he thought the hardest thing he'd have to do to get connected would be to pick the name. He looked at the pile of parchments he was holding. No, it was not the hardest thing he would have to do. He sighed and sitting at a convenient desk picked up a quill.

- - -

Albus Dumbledore, chief Warlock, etc, sat at a table in the Three Broomsticks waiting for his lunch companion to show up. Algie Croaker stepped into the restaurant, spotted Dumbledore, and came over to him.

"Albus! To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Algie! Do sit, please. I have a proposition for you."

"Sorry, Albus. I'm already married."

Dumbledore looked confused for a moment then moved on. "I was wondering if you might be available to become a professor?"

"Me? What would you want me to teach? And why are you asking now? Did something happen to one of the teachers?"

"No, nothing happened. And I wouldn't need you until next year. What happened is Professor Marsland's brother-in-law in the New World has started a security business, and Professor Marsland has resigned come the end of the term to join him. This is particularly annoying as I've had to replace the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor every year, and Professor Marsland said he would be around for several years. I'm just trying to get a jump on the whole process. The way it usually works is the instructor informs me around finals time that he's leaving, or dying of something, or, in the case of old Professor Mann, was killed during summer break, and I'm left scrambling, looking for a replacement at the last minute.

"At least this time I've got a bit of leeway, so I thought I'd get the hiring done as soon as possible."

"To be honest, Albus, I don't think I'd mind the teaching. But I couldn't live at the castle. I've been married over sixty-five years, and I don't think I'd like to sleep away from my wife. I'm sure she wouldn't want to move to the castle."

"You wouldn't have to stay every night. Maybe one night a week to do late night hall monitoring."

"I thought that's what the ghosts were for."

"I've tried, but they're so nostalgic about life that they don't want to really interfere with the adolescents' nocturnal rendezvousess. Even the bloody Bloody Baron won't turn in non-Slytherin students."

He continued in a hoarse whisper, "Let them live a little, Headmaster. They're only alive once."

In his own voice he muttered, "Stupid ghosts."

Coaker could barely keep a straight face, because he could see that the Hogwarts' headmaster was being serious. "Well, I'll talk it over with Rosamond. I can't promise you anything, but we'll consider it."

"I can't ask more than that.

"Meanwhile, how's your great-grand nephew, Neville. I bet he's just causing lots of problems with accidental magic."

"No, actually, there has been almost no accidental magic at all. For a long time we were worried that he might be a squib. He isn't, but he may never be a great wizard, either."

"Nonsense! The son of Alice and Frank, a squib? Don't be ridiculous."

"Oh, come on, Albus. Surely you have a better memory than that! Alice was only a moderate or even weak witch. Great at potions. If Evans hadn't been in the same year, she would have been top student. And Frank -- I love him like a son, but if we hadn't been at war, he would never have made it in the Auror program. He was a fantastic Beater and would have gone pro if his sense of duty had been any less. But in those skirmishes he survived he did it by dodging and punching out the Death Eaters; the man never mastered a shield charm. Poor spell casting, excellent right hook; that was Frank.

"So, if Neville's talents lie elsewhere, well, we'll just have to see. We'll love him no matter what."

"Yes, we will see." As they ordered lunch, Dumbledore reflected. 'The power he knows not!' he thought. 'Reflexes? Boxing? That couldn't be right.' He could hardly wait until he had the boy, then he would train him properly for a confrontation with Evil!

- - -

"Whatcha doing, Luna?"

"It's the latest issue of the Quibbler. I'm trying to do the Rune Puzzle."

"How does that work?"

"Like many old writings, magical runes can mean more than one thing. If you turn them, they can become different runes altogether, like those are the same lines, just spun. There's no guarantee in the puzzle that the runes are the right side up. And the runes not only mean words, they can mean sounds, too. So you have to try to figure out which ones need to go together to be the sound of a word, and which ones might need to be turned to be the right word.

"So, here's the Rune dictionary, and that's a translation dictionary for the ancient Viking language. And they usually turn out to be rhymes. And there's the English clue, Fun to do with your pet. So, we put all those clues together, and keep trying things until we get something that might be fun to do with your pet."

"That's hard."

"But anything worth doing is hard."

"Is the puzzle worth doing?"

"It's fun, and it helps me with learning Runes. Mum's been teaching me forever. You can join, too, you know. She just lets you read when she's teaching me."

"OK, I'll ask her. Can I help you?"

"Yes. If I turn this one upside down, what does it mean?"

Harry took the Rune dictionary and started turning pages, trying to figure out how the symbols were arranged.

- - -

"Harry! Letter from Uncle Remus!"

"Be right there, Aunt Selene."

"Never mind, Harry. It's for us, not you. Larry, Remus says he's moved to a bigger place and is inviting us for dinner. This Saturday all right with you? And he wants you to devote your paper to a crusade against the government; advocating violent revolution against the bureaucrats who have to share a brain cell and forget to bring it to work. I wonder what sort of problem he ran into?"

- - -

"This is very nice, Remus. You're moving up in the world."

"Well, after you re-united me with Harry, I realized my old place wasn't big enough to fit all of us in for dinner like this. I also thought, if you approve, I could borrow the kids for some weekends. I've been here for over a year, and I haven't gone to any of the sights around here? There's a castle at Tattershall, less than fifteen miles from here, and an old abby in Boston, and I've only been down to the Channel twice. There's a lot around here that I would enjoy sharing with the kids. You're welcome, too, by the way."

Selene said, "Thank you Remus. I'm sure that would be fun."

Larry put his two knuts in. "And we're not too far from Nottingham, are we? I've always had this thing for Robin Hood, you know. And I'm sure I could get a lot of stories for the paper. These old places must be awash in history: ghosts, secret passages, terrible murders! The possibilities are endless."

"How is the paper doing, Larry?"

"It's doing well. Well, I think we lost some readers when Mrs. Seaford died a few months ago. The new 'Advice to the Love Lorn' columnist just doesn't connect with the readers."

"What did she die from?"

"Old age. The old dear was over a hundred and eighty."

"Uncle Remus?"

"Yes, Luna."

"Are you an animagus?"

"Uh, no. No, I'm not. Why do you ask?"

"Because Mum says that Harry might be an amimagus because he's got kelvar-magic, and you do too."

"Kelvar?" Remus asked Selene.

"Ancient word for animals. She has mage-sight."

"Yours is darker, so maybe it's not like Harry's. But we saw a rat with animal magic, but we can't figure out why. Rats can't be animagi, can they?"

"No, I've never heard of a rat that can change into another animal. Where did you see this rat?"

"Percy Weasley's pet, Scabbers."

"The rat's at Hogwarts now. And so is Scabbers."

"Harry!" Selene scolded.

"Well, he's not very friendly," Harry muttered.

"But this rat has magic like an animagus?"

"Like Harry."

"I wouldn't want to be a rat-animagus. That would be even worse than a snake-animagus."

"You know, Harry, your father was an animagus."

"He was?"

"Yes. His form was a stag. . . ."

- - -

"Chief Inspector Bones, it's good of you to see me."

"Well, the sergeant said that you had quite a tale to tell, Mr. Lupin, and he wasn't sure what to do about it."

"I don't know what to do about it either. You see, I have no /proof. /But if what I suspect is true, we have a murderer loose, and an innocent man in Azkaban. I'm hoping you can help, to at least put my mind at rest."

"Why don't you tell the story from the beginning?"

- - -

"Seasons greeting! How may I help you? Oh! You're Madam Bones! I recognize you from your pictures. Oh, no! Fred! George! What have you done NOW?"

"Mrs. Weasley, please calm down. We're not here about anything your children have done. Although it might be a good idea to start a file on this Fred and George, Shack."

The tall, bald, black Auror beside her said, "Yes, Chief," with a straight expression. He watched Mrs. Weasley's eyes get bigger, then broke out in a big smile.

"This is Auror Kinglsey Shacklebolt." Greetings were quickly exchanged, and the ministry people were invited in.

"We're doing a little investigation and would like to talk to your son, Percy."

"Percy? He's never done a thing wrong. . . ."

"We're not investigating Percy. But we hope he has some information that can shed some light on another crime. If we may talk to him?"

The boy was soon in the kitchen. The rest of the Weasley children gathered near the door of the kitchen (except Bill, who "didn't care" and was several feet away, standing very quiet with an ear aiming at the doorway).

"Percy," Madam Bones said, "Do you have a pet rat?"

Before Percy could even answer, the rat in question scampered out of his pocket, and leaped for the floor.

"Accio /rat/!" Kingsley yelled. The rat flew to his hand. He caught it, and it bit him. He grabbed its scruff to avoid any further bites.

"Scabbers! What are you doing with my rat?"

What they did was hold him while they learned the history of the rat. Kingsley cast a spell on the creature, which must have shown what he wanted, because he nodded to the Chief Inspector. She conjured a cage, and the rat was soon secured in it.

"What is all this about, Madam Bones?"

"We think that this isn't a rat, Mrs. Weasley, but an animagus, who might also be a murderer. We will take him back to headquarters, turn him back to a human, and see who we have caught. Mr. Weasley, we're sorry you are losing your rat, but if it's not really a rat, you shouldn't have it as a pet, should you?"

Percy gave a quiet "No." He was rather shook up by the whole event.

"Have a good night. Oh, is Arthur around?"

"No, he should be here any moment. . . ."

"I'm sorry I missed him. Tell him I said hello, and you and your whole family have a great day tomorrow."

"Thank you. Will you tell us what you find?"

"Rest assured. However, if it's what we think, you'll probably read about it in the paper before we can get the news to you."

- - -

The food was slid through the slot in the door. While he wouldn't say he felt /good/, he definitely didn't feel the horror of the Dementors. Of course, they weren't around at meal times; the elves who worked here couldn't be around the Dementors. But there hadn't been any earlier in the day, either. There was something about today, if only he could remember it. The dinner elf has said something. He got off the mattress and went over to the food. There was a glimmer of a thought that no one should eat this stuff, but he was too hungry for pride. Pride! Ha. Who has pride left after any time in here? At least he had his sanity; which was more than could be said for a lot of the prisoners he could hear.

There was a noise that he hadn't heard in a long time. A clank of metal on metal. It was the door apparently being unlocked. Now the door was opening. He looked up -- and a figure was moving towards him.

"Sirius! Sirius, you're free! They arrested Pettigrew. They found him! Come on, old friend. Let's get you out."

Remus helped the former prisoner up. Sirius looked dazed and didn't say anything. Remus just kept talking, leading him down the various corridors, following their prison guides. He helped him get changed into some clothes he brought, and put a heavy coat around him. He gave Sirius a large piece of chocolate and took him out of the prison. He walked his friend to the pier and got him into the boat that was waiting. The sun shone brightly, though it was a cold day.

Sirius looked around. His voice was harsh from disuse. "I'm free?" Remus nodded.

"Thank you, Moony!" Sirius Black gave Remus Lupin a hug, and broke down crying.

They got to the Auror's station at the mainland end of the boat ride. After very little paperwork (Remus had started perspiring when he saw the Auror approach with a clipboard) it was over. They were allowed to use the fireplace that was kept behind a very secure door.

Remus threw some floo powder into the fire, and got in with Sirius, as his friend was still having problems staying on his feet. "Lupin's Lair!" he called, and away they spun.

Remus managed to keep them both on their feet as they exited. Sirius looked around the unfamiliar room.

"Merry Christmas, Padfoot," Remus said, helping Sirius to the couch so he could continue to stare at the Christmas tree.

- - -

The Daily Prophet had several stories on the front page of the December 25, 1988 issue:

Sirius Black Innocent! Peter Pettigrew found alive!
Supposed victim real murderer!

Six Years in Azkaban! Will Sirius Black ever be sane again?
Leading expert on the effects of Dementors says "NO"

Minister Fudge says "A great day for justice"
Proof our criminal justice system works

Where's Harry Potter?
Rumors persist that Boy-Who-Lived is dead

- - -
Albus Dumbledore, discoverer of the 11 uses for dragons' blood (really, anyone who's fought one already knew that the stains never come out) sat down in Cornelius Fudge's office.



"I must protest this blatant breach of privacy. Hasn't the boy done enough for the Wizarding world? Can't we give him a few years peace, at least until he re-joins us when he comes to school?"

"It's these confounded rumors. You fight rumors with facts, and I need facts."


"Ah, Mrs. Arsnal. Please come in. Do you know the head of the records department, Dumbledore?"

"As a matter of fact, I do. Gloria, isn't it? You were a first year when I was Head Boy, if I recall."

"That's right, Headmaster."

"Please, call me Albus."

"Enough! You can go do lunch or something on your own time. Did you bring the folder?"

"Here it is."

"Minister, I protest. . . ."

"And you have since I owled you. Half the time you ignore my owls, but this one brings you down here? Let's get this over with!

"Hmmm, born, parents, accidental magic, orphaned. THAT'S IT? Where's the rest of it?"

Mrs. Arsnal held out her hand. "Let me see that please, Minister. Yes, see here? There was supposed to be a lock of hair from the baby placed here, and a standard set of spells that would have made the folder automatically updating. If the parents don't send the hair in by the second birthday the folder is supposed to warn us and we make a call on the family. This folder was sealed before that date, canceling the warning."

"So, for all we know, the boy might be dead?"

"Unfortunately, Minister, you are correct," Mrs. Arsnal said.

"What is that, Mrs. Arsnal?"

"Oh, this is the list of people who have tried to access the folder since it was sealed."

Dumbledore held his hand out. "May I see that? Hmmm, it looks like a good thing we sealed the records. Seems the Death Eaters wanted to know where he was, too."

"Let me see that. MacNair wasn't a Death Eater, and these other two were exonerated."

"What about this Lovegood person?"

Mrs. Arsnal brightened up. "Mrs. Lovegood? She works for the Department of Mysteries. She was filing papers around this time, adopting a relative, if I recall correctly."

"Well, I want to know what she's doing with this folder. Wilson!"

"That's Winston, sir. Yes?"

"Get," he glanced at the paper, "Selene Lovegood in here right away. She's in the Department of Mysteries."

"Yes sir."

A short time later, the long-haired blond knocked on the office door.

"You wanted to see me, Minister?"

"Yes. I want to know what you were doing looking at the Harry Potter folder."

"What? Oh, uh, yes. It's silly, really. My daughter, who's about a year younger than Potter, had decided to marry him. So I thought maybe I could get the two together. But I found you couldn't get into the folder. That's it."

Dumbledore smiled. He wasn't actively probing anyone -- you never knew who might detect an unwarranted use of Legilimency -- but what he could pick up from the surface was that she was telling the truth. Seeing the Minister's annoyance, he decided to have some fun.

"And does she still want to marry Harry Potter?"

"No. She's decided to marry her distant cousin who we're fostering. But I think her friend Ginny Weasley wants to."

"Ah, yes, Arthur and Molly's youngest."

"Will all you people get out of my office! I have work to do!"

The Headmaster smiled benevolently. That last bit had worked perfectly. He had stopped the Minister's investigation and annoyed him at the same time. He would sleep soundly tonight.

- - -

"Wake up. Come on."

"Huh? What?"

"What's going on dear?"

"Go back to sleep, Aunt Selene. I just need Uncle Larry for a few minutes."

"Harry, do you know what time it is?"

"Yes, and you said to get you up now."

"Oh, right. Sorry, couldn't remember as I was waking up."

"What's going on?"

"Just a project Harry and I have going. Rest a few minutes. You don't have to be up now."

"All right."

The two men of the house went downstairs.

"How far did you get, Harry?"

"I'm almost done. I thought you said you'd be down to help?" All this had come about from something Larry had said. He should have done more.

"Sorry. Well, I'm here now. That's a lot of food."

"Yes, and it's almost ready. Get the trays."

Larry transformed a couple of trays to have short legs. He started putting silverware, glasses, and napkins on them. Harry brought plates of food over from the stove.

"Ready. You sure you can carry all that? Then let's go, Harry."

They went their separate ways at the top of the stairs, Larry going to his bedroom, and Harry going to Luna's. "Lights," he said, activating the magic candles. Luna looked up sleepily from the bed to see Harry carrying a tray of food.

"Happy Valentine's day, Luna."

- - -

"Mr. Padfoot, Mr. Moony wants to express his concern about you staying so long in that gloomy place. I wish you'd spend more time here; at least until you look healthier. That museum to the dark arts your family called home isn't helping your emotional state."

"Mr. Moony should get his passport stamped before he treads on my emotional state. Remus, I have to do this. I feel that I have to purge that part of my life before I start again."

"But with that portrait screaming all the time, and Kreacher undoing half of what you try to get done, it will take years to get it in order. Don't wait that long. Let me introduce you to the Lovegoods. They're good people, and I promise you a surprise when you meet them."

"Oh, very well. I can at least get the dining room and kitchen cleaned up for guests."

"You won't regret this, Padfoot."

- - -


"Cissy! Welcome to my humble house. And this must be Draco! When I last saw you, you weren't even walking."


"Damn," Sirius muttered under his breath. "It's my cousin Narcissa, Mother." He cast a silencing charm over the picture and turned to his three guests. "Sorry -- my mother's painting. All she does is scream."

"You were a bit of a disappointment to her when you ran away. She was happy when you killed those Muggles. Now I'm sure she'd be disappointed again since it really wasn't you."

"So sorry that I'm not a murderer disapointed her. Not that it bothers me to disappoint her. She's dead, and just a screeching picture of her is all that's left. For all her boasts and hatreds, she wasn't a very happy person.

"But enough of her. Can I get you something? Some tea and how about some biscuits, Draco?"

"May I, Mother?"

"Yes, do you mind if I look around the old place a bit?"

"No, go right ahead. Just don't touch anything. Some of it is pretty nasty stuff they leave around."

"I can take care of myself cousin. Come, Dobby."


"Yes, foolish Master. What does hateful son want Kreacher to do?"

"Watch Narcissa and her elf. Make sure they don't take anything."

"Kreacher will do that."

Draco watched the elf disappear with wide eyes. "Why do you let him get away with talking to you like that. If any of our house elves spoke like that, we'd punish them."

"What? Oh, Kreacher. I don't know that punishing him will make him like me any better, and it's not something I'd enjoy. Well, come on, cousin, let's get those biscuits."

"So, you really didn't kill all those Muggles. Mother and Father used to say that they misjudged you. Now they just don't talk about you."

"Tell me, Draco. What do you think of Muggles?"

"They're vermin that shouldn't be allowed to run around. And definitely shouldn't be allowed to breed with witches and wizards."

"I can't tell for sure, but I would bet that your father has a lot of money invested in the Muggle world, in Muggle companies. And the food you eat is grown by Muggles, and the clothes you wear, if it wasn't made by Muggles, the cloth it was made of probably was. And the fiber they made the cloth from was either grown or raised by Muggles. The thing is, Draco, there aren't enough wizards to supply all the things we use. Think about that. They don't eat our food or use our cloth."

Draco stared at Sirius for a moment. "I never thought of that. . . ."

"Well, here's your biscuits and tea. Ah, Cissy. Here's your tea."

"You set your elf to watch us. But no matter, I didn't come to steal anything. But you know he doesn't like you?"

"Really? I would have said he hates me. Makes him a nuisance a lot of the time."

"Interested in selling him? He'd like to work for me. He kept telling me while we looked around."

"Despite everything, it's useful having an elf around. I don't know. Do you want to trade?"

Narcissa looked at her elf. "I suppose. This one is useful for carrying things but has to spend a lot of time punishing himself. I'm not sure you're getting much better than what you have."

"Can you cook?" Sirius asked Narcissa's elf.

"Yes, Master Black. Dobby can cook well. And clean and shop and. . . ."

"Do you want to work for me?"

Dobby looked at him in confusion. He mouthed the word "want" a couple of times. Before he could answer Narcissa interrupted.

"What does that have to do with anything? Do you want to trade or not?"

He glanced at Dobby, who was nodding his head.

"Yes. Let's trade. I think you'll get better work out of Kreacher than I did, and maybe I'll get better work out of Dobby."

They performed the ritual and soon the house elves had new masters. Sirius sent his new elf to clean the doxies out of the parlor curtains and to wait for him up there. Dobby went with a smile.

"Well, it was nice seeing you again. Don't be a stranger, Narcissa."

"Oh, Sirius, there was something I was wondering about. Now that you're out, will you be taking guardianship of your godson?"

"Harry Potter? I can't find him. I don't suppose you know where he is?"

"No, haven't the faintest. Do you think the rumors of his death are true?"

"I didn't until that recent interview with the headmistress of Beauxbatons."

"I read that. I don't remember anything in particular. . . ."

"When she was asked about Harry Potter possibly going to her school, she said she didn't think so. If it was just rumors, she would have said something about how great an education they could give him, or how welcoming they would be, or something like that. Even if she knew he was going to Hogwarts, she probably would have said something like that to promote her own school. No, I'm guessing she knows something, and it isn't good."

Narcissa looked at him in surprise. "You would have made a good Slytherin, Sirius. Come, Draco, Kreacher. Good bye Sirius."

Sirius went up to the parlor to see cleaned curtains on the windows.

"Dobby has cleaned out the doxies, Master Blackest."

Sirius shook his head. Elves and their names for people. "How about you call me Sirius, Dobby? Meanwhile, I know you can't betray your former mistress, but can you tell me what Kreacher stopped her from taking?"

Dobby pointed to a black locket in a glass case with a dozen other objects.

Sirius readied his wand, opened the door, and quickly grabbed the locket. A Frankenstein monster of a Swiss Army Knife tried to hack him with its scalpel attachment, but he hit it with a stunner.

He examined the locket. It was plain and wouldn't open. He decided to have a curse breaker at Gringotts try to open it.

"That is all she tried to get, Master Seriously."

"Thanks, Dobby. Let's see what we can do about cleaning up this house for some guests that are coming this weekend."

- - -

The fireplace flared green and Remus stepped out into the small downstairs parlor.

"Hello, Sirius. Am I the first?"

"Yes. You're early, as usual. Good thing I know you so well. I made sure I was ready with plenty of time to spare."

Remus snorted, but any further reply was interrupted by the activation of the floo connection again. A little girl with long, blond hair stumbled out of the fireplace shouting "Weeee!" She was followed by a little boy with short, black hair and wire-rimmed glasses, also shouting "Weee!" The boy and girl looked at each other and laughed, then looked around. They raced over to Remus and hugged him.

"Hello, Uncle Remus!" they said, almost in sync.

A tall, thin woman, obviously the girl's mother, stepped from the fireplace. A moment later a stocky brown-haired wizard followed her.

Sirius was soon introduced to the Lovegoods: Larry, Selene, Luna and Harry. They said their hellos and Sirius noticed Remus smiling.

"Fine! Remus, out with it. You're almost bursting. What is it?"

"Two things really. First, you have Luna to thank for discovering where Pettigrew was hiding."

Sirius looked shocked. Luna just looked at him.

"Seems that Miss Lovegood has mage-sight and spotted that the rat wasn't a normal rat. She just happened to ask me about it, and like a pebble that starts an avalanche, you are free. But she's the pebble."

Luna was about to say something during Remus' speech, but a whispered "Luna!" from her mother quieted her. She sighed a long-suffering sigh. She was /Mrs. /Lovegood! No matter what her mother said. But she would be good. If she had to.

Sirius expressed his gratitude to the Lovegoods, and Luna in particular.

Remus then continued, "And the second surprise is a prank, worthy of the Marauders. It's a prank that's being pulled on the entire country. Only the five of us and some goblins. . . ."

"And the Croakers," Selene inserted, which caused Remus to raise his eyebrows.

"And Uncle Olli," Luna put in.

"Right, my Uncle Olivander."

"OK, only eight people know this, and you make the ninth. . . ." He paused for dramatic effect.

"Will you get on with it!"

Yes, Remus thought, an annoyed Sirius was always good for drama. "Sirius, I'd like you to meet your godson, Harry Potter Lovegood. Harry, this is your godfather Sirius Black."

The two eyed each other. The taller broke out in a huge smile. "Harry! Oh, Harry! I haven't seen you since you were a baby!"

- - -

After a longer time getting to know each other than Sirius planned, they eventually sat down to dinner. Dobby served an excellent meal. Neither Harry nor Luna had ever seen a house elf before. After they ate, the children asked to be excused.

"Yes, but don't go upstairs. I haven't cleaned up there."

After they left the dining room, Sirius called for Dobby. "Make sure they don't go upstairs." He turned to the other guests. "There are just too many dark objects in this house. I don't believe they were just lying around when I was a child, but I don't remember. Anyway, the ground floor is clean, and they really can't get into any trouble, except for the portrait."

That led to a discussion about his mother's picture and his inability to do anything with it.

- - -

"This way, Harry."

"We're not going out the front door are we?"

"No, I'm following another of those black lines connected to your curse damage."

"Luna, if I have black magic from the curse, does that mean I'm evil?"

"I don't think so. It could mean you're dangerous, I think. Here we are, behind that curtain. Oh, there's a silencing charm on this side of the curtain. I wonder why?"

They knew all about silencing charms. Sometimes Selene and Larry would put one up around the table, and get out what they called the "check book" and talk without being heard. Sometimes the children had noticed a silencing charm on the master bedroom door, which didn't make any sense. You couldn't hear anyone talking in there when the door was closed.

"It's not a trigger, is it?" Harry asked.

Luna seemed to squint and look carefully, and said, "No, the spell doesn't seem to be connected to anything. Let's pull back the curtain and see." Luna stepped forward and drew back the old curtain, revealing a painting of an old woman. The painting moved, just like the wizarding newspaper pictures and the ones in Luna's books. It seemed to be saying something, but Harry couldn't hear any sound. He moved closer, then heard it.

" brats, and what are you doing in the ancient and noble house of Black!"

"Oh, hullo. I'm Luna and this is Harry. Who are you?"

"I am Walburga Black. This is my house."

"You're a painting."

"Harry, don't be rude. It's very nice to meet you, Mrs. Black. You have a lovely house."

She seemed to soften for a moment. "Thank you." Then, whatever changed went away. "What are you doing here?"

"We're on a treasure hunt. I think there's a treasure hidden behind you in the wall."

"How do you know that? No one knows that but me!"

"I guess Luna knows it, too."

"How did you find out?"

Luna shrugged. "Magic."

"You are a full-blooded witch? What is your name?"

"I told you: Luna."

"No, your last name."

"Oh, Lovegood."

"Lovegood? I don't remember any important Lovegoods. What was your mother's name before she got married?"


"Ah! A worthy and ancient family and very good wand makers. But what are you doing in my house?"

"Uncle Sirius invited us to dinner. The grown ups are still talking, so we decided to look around. Now, can you please let us get at the treasure."

"Robbers! That's what you are. You're thieves! You're sneaking little, dirty, foul, traitorous, . . . ." The list of insults kept getting louder, and naughtier.

At first Luna and Harry grasped the sides of the painting and tried to move it, but it didn't budge. The painting was screaming things now. Luna stepped back and pulled the wide-eyed Harry with her.

"I never heard of half those words," he whispered.

"Me neither. But that doesn't get us past the painting. Harry, go to the parlor. There was a wand on the end table. I think it was Sirius', but I'm not sure."

"What are you going to do?"

"Do you remember when Mum let us have our wands back the first time?"

"Oh, yes. Do you think it will work?"

"I don't know. It might."

Harry went to the parlor and picked up the wand. Dobby appeared.

"You should not steal Master Seriously's wand! Naughty boy!"

"I'm not going to steal it. I just wanted to borrow it. I just need it to cast a spell on the painting."

"Is bad-mouthed painting saying bad words again?"

"Definitely! But we think we have a way to fix it. But we need the wand."

"Alright. But Dobby will watch to make sure you don't steal it!"

"Is Dobby your name? Hi! I'm Harry." Dobby suddenly found himself shaking Harry's hand. "Let's go!"

He ran back to the painting, which seemed to still be screaming.

"Nasty, nasty painting! Says horrible things about Master Seriously."

"Go ahead, Harry."

"Abstergo /Tertilis/!"

A gray light went from the wand to the portrait. It hit near the edge, about waist high. A small circle of white about an inch in diameter appeared where the paint was removed.

"It's probably because it's not your wand. I bet with your wand you could erase almost the whole painting. Let's see if she'll let us past." Luna stuck her head beyond the charm's field and appeared to say something. Walburga kept screaming something.

"Do it again. Maybe erase some of her."

Harry cast the spell again, erasing part of her foot. Even though she moved her foot away from the paintless spot, the missing piece of the foot didn't come back.

Luna stuck her head beyond the silencing charm, and this time after she moved back the portrait swung open. Beyond, set into the wall, was a small alcove. There was a pile of gold and something else. Luna picked it up and showed it to Harry.

"It's a locket. I wonder whose it is? 'S' made out of a snake? Does it open?"

"It doesn't seem to. Harry, I can see the line from you to it, but there's another line from it off that way. It's the same way as another of your lines. I think whatever's on the other end of that line connects with the targets of all your other lines. We'll have to check the cup. Here, put this in your pocket."

They did, and closed the painting. Luna and Harry stepped up to the painting again.

"That was interesting. There's a whole pile of gold back there."

"And you stole it! You stole from the House of Black!"

"No. We left it. What are we going to spend it on? But thank you for showing us."

"You didn't steal the gold?"

"No. But I bet Sirius would like to know about this. Thank you for the password."

"NOOOOO!" the painting screamed.

"Dobby, can you put this wand back?"

"Yes, Harry. She is still being naughty."

"We'll go tell Sirius what we did, and he can take care of it."

They went back to the dining room.

"Find anything interesting, kids?" Sirius asked, not expecting the reply he got.

"Oh yes. Behind that picture on the other side of that wall is a secret hole filled with gold."

"HUH? Behind my mother's portrait? How did you find it? How did you get past the portrait?"

"Luna detected it. And we, uh, sort of, well, we borrowed your. . . ." The last word was so low that no one could hear it.

"You borrowed my what?"

"Your wand." Luna said. "We figured if we threatened to erase the picture, it would let us pass. And it did. Now we know the password, 'Ab initio Blackness.'"

Selene looked at her children, and said, "You threatened a portrait with a wand?"

"She was saying bad words at us."

"After you threatened her, I'm not surprised."

Sirius cut in, "No, Selene. I'm sure she was saying bad words before they threatened her. She has a mouth on her that would shame a sailor. Where's my wand now?"

"I gave it to Dobby to put it back where we found it."

Sirius' eyes widened. "Harry, don't do that. It's against the law to give a house elf or a goblin a wand."

That led to a discussion on the law and house elves. Harry and Selene were on the "free the house elves" side, and Sirius was on the "They don't want to do anything but serve, so let them" side. After a few minutes of discussion, Selene decided it was time to go.

After they got home, Selene turned to the kids. "Harry Lovegood! Don't you ever use someone else's wand without permission! And you don't threaten /anyone! /Do you hear? A wand is an awesome responsibility, and I don't think you are taking it seriously, young man."

"It was my idea," Luna said.

"That goes for you, too. Now off to bed, both of you!"

"Yes, Mum."

"Yes, Aunt Selene."

- - -

Sirius and Remus had a good laugh over Harry threatening a painting. They went to the hall, and removed the silencing charm.

"You ungrateful traitor! You stain on the noble house of Black. . . ."

"What was that password, Moony?"

"In the beginning, Blackness. Oh, the first part is Latin."

"Ab initio Blackness!" The painting shut up and swung open.

"Not bad. Looks like mad money, or emergency funds. Amazing. I never knew it was here."

"Uh, Padfoot? Look at this."

He looked where Remus was pointing at the front of the picture.

"How the hell did Harry do that?"

- - -

Once they were upstairs they put the locket in the closet with the cup.

"What are we going to do with them?"

"I don't know. Keep them until we can figure out what the magic is on them. It may take us a long time to do that. I've never seen spells like this."

"I just don't like the idea of anything Dark attached to me."

"We'll get rid of it eventually. I won't let anything have a hold on you, except me."

"Thanks, Luna. I love you. Good night."

"I love you, too, husband. Good night."

And they went to their own rooms.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Notes, Chapter 5:

The idea for a self-updating folder anchored magically with a lock of hair came from Wishweaver's marvelous story, Realizations.

Yes, I know in canon that the locket was originally in the cave. However, Harry's connections are to where the horcruxes are right now, not where they were hidden, so I had to re-arrange them a little. The fake locket is probably in a Fidelius-protected orphanage guarded by Heliopaths, and will not be part of this story.

Many thanks to my Betas Mione Green and Kaetti.
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