CHAPTER EIGHT: FRIENDS AND FOE
Sounds greeted Harry as he stepped out of the Floo into a dark and dingy room. The curtains were moth-eaten, and the sofas looked like they had seen better days. A thick layer of dust hung over the mirror, but what surprised Harry the most were the portraits. He could barely see who was in them.
“Have you been here before?” Harry asked Ted quietly.
“Once or twice with Andromeda, Grimmauld Place is not the most inviting place to visit,” Ted grimaced as he kicked up some dust.
“Right then, let’s get on with the show,” Harry grinned before once again putting on his ‘Malfoy-mask’. Harry was in the lead this time as he followed the sounds down a set of stairs to a quivering wooden door, light spilling out from around the edges. Harry took a deep breath, jumping when he felt something twining around his feet. He looked down to find Crookshanks purring up at him.
“Whose cat?” Ted asked.
“Hermione’s, I’m glad to see someone is pleased to see me,” Ted smiled at the back of Harry’s head as the teen pushed the door open. The table inhabitants kept talking for a few minutes; Harry watched his most hated professor, Snape, sat alongside Remus, who had a slight grin on his face. Then:
“HARRY JAMES POTTER! WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?” Hermione’s voice rang out, silencing the room before he received a hermy-hug. He put his arms around the young woman, smelling parchment, books and vanilla soap. Now, this was coming home; he felt so comfortable with the witch in his arms. Suddenly she stepped back and looked up at him; Harry was taller than her by a few inches but not a lot.
“You have scared us all to death; no one knew where you were or knew anything except Dementors had attacked you,” Hermione spoke in a rush, the words tumbling out at once. Harry took the room in. Sirius was leaning back in his chair, looking comfortable as the lord of the manor. Ron was frowning at him, though he noticed Ginny was glaring at Hermione. He wondered what that was about? The twins were both grinning, and the Weasley parent’s seemed happy to see him.
“Yes, Harry, my dear boy, we would all like to know where you have been,” a voice spoke from behind them. Albus Dumbledore entered the room, followed by Kingsley Shacklebolt, who he had seen earlier, and then his cousin herself, Tonks.
“I told you, Headmaster,” Harry spoke to the man coldly, “You may refer to me as Lord Rendlesham if you wish to address me,”
“You will respect the Headmaster, you brat!” Severus Snape spoke just as he heard a Scottish-accented voice say.
“Mr Potter, please show some respect.” Harry had not noticed the Deputy Headmistress, making herself a cup of tea.
“What do you mean, Lord Rendlesham?” Hermione’s voice spoke up.
“I mean no disrespect to Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall, but Professor Dumbledore seems to be overly familiar with me. He refers to Hermione as Miss Granger and Ron as Mr Weasley, so why not me as Mr Potter?” Harry asked the Transfiguration teacher.
“Well then, I can understand that, but still, you must respect one’s professor.”
“Yes, Ma’am, I apologise,” Harry answered contritely, but Ted knew it was an act as Harry gave a small smirk and bowed to Sirius, “Your Grace, you have been wholly exonerated. Expect to see it in the Daily Propet tomorrow.”
“Haha, you pulled a fast one over them, kiddo,” Sirius launched himself out of his chair to hug the stuffing out of his son as Remus laughed out loud. Snape had a sour look on his face.
“What do you mean? Sirius is free?” McGonagall asked, “Were you not having a short hearing? Albus was to attend as the Hogwart’s representative.”
“What happened?” Arthur added. Harry gave a quick glare to the Headmaster before turning to the woman.
“No, Ma’am, I was taken before the full Wizengamot!” Shouts echoed around the room at that statement; everyone seemed to be up in arms about it. Harry noticed Hermione had not moved too far away and was studying him closely.
“You were what?” Remus stood up with a growl.
“I can confirm, there was a full Wizengamot session today, Ministry versus Harry…” Dora spoke up, not finishing her sentence as she winked at him.
“What happened, dear?” Mrs Weasley looked like she was itching to hug him.
“My lawyer and I just made it in time; they looked like they were just about to pass judgement in my absence,” Harry explained as Ted stepped out, introducing himself, though many of the adults already knew him.
“You should have seen them. Harry wiped the floor with them. Fudge was going purpler and purpler until he looked set to explode, then Madam Bones called the recess,” Dora couldn’t help herself. She was like an excited child.
“Nymphadora!” Ted shouted.
“Sorry, dad!” she looked at the ground but couldn’t help the grin on her face.
“How did you get Fudge to agree to exonerate me, kiddo?” Sirius asked.
“He out-manoeuvred them. Tiberius Ogden, Madam Bones and Minister Fudge all come in to speak to Harry.”
“That is powerful people,” McGonagall breathed. Harry though heard Ron mutter:
“Always knew you were a snake.” He wasn’t sure if anyone else heard, but Hermione frowned.
“After witnessing Harry’s memories and seeing Sirius’s, they exonerated His Grace,” Ted finished.
“That’s where you disappeared to; I thought I heard someone around the Floo,” Arthur spoke up.
“Why is everyone calling Sirius, His Grace?” Hermione asked, always thirsting for knowledge.
“Sirius Black is the last Duke of Anglia and the Head of the House of Black, one of the Heads to the Ancient and Noble Houses. The last four Big houses,” Remus got himself into lecture mode.
“The Weasley’s are also an Ancient House, though I did not notice you at the Wizengamot today, Mr Weasley?” Harry looked at the man, confused; he really liked the red-head.
“I’ve been ashamed; one of my past ancestors nearly ruined the House, now we are in the state we are in,” Arthur looked down at his shoes.
“Perhaps the House of Black could help you. We are looking for new alliances,” Harry suggested, though only two picked up on the, we; Molly and Hermione.
“That is a great idea; I would be willing to discuss the subject with you. Arthur, I would like for you to bring your House to greatness once again,” Sirius added.
“I’m not sure I can; I don’t really like the title.”
“Perhaps I can help; you’ve taught me everything about being Lord Weasley,” a new voice spoke up from a door. Harry smiled at the man, Bill Weasley was tall and slim, but he looked almost like a young lord.
“You would give up Curse Breaking?” Molly asked.
“If father handed the title down to me, I would be willing,” Bill answered with a twinkling in his eye. Harry knew there more to him giving up his job, but he would find out later.
“Good, we shall set a time to meet then,” Sirius grinned, happier than he had been in a long time.
“Why the we? And the Lord Rendlesham?” Harry sighed, knowing Hermione would not have let it go. He really did not want to get into it in front of Hermione.
“Perhaps it’s time to make the announcement,” Sirius looked at Harry.
“It’s going to be in the Prophet tomorrow anyhow.” Ted nudged him, so the teen nodded.
“I, proudly, introduce my son Harry Anteres Black, my heir, and fruit of my loins,” Harry shook his head at his Dad; sometimes, he could never be serious.
“What?” Ron shouted as McGonagall spat out her cup of tea. Harry loved the look on Snape’s face.
“I thought James Potter was your father?” Hermione asked.
“So did most everyone else,” Harry muttered, taking a look at Dumbledore, who had a shrewd look on his face, which disappeared when he noticed Harry watching him.
“Lily and I had always been friends, though she thought James and me were childish idiots we had always got along. After a bullying incident with James, I ended up comforting Lily, and we grew closer,” Sirius eyes Snape, whose hands were virtually embedded in the table. “We started dating after Christmas our fifth year; the rest, as mundanes like to say, is history.”
“How did you not know about Harry being your son, then?” Again, trust Hermione to ask all the tough questions. Sirius’s eyes met Harry’s, then the man winked at him.
“Living in Azkaban, you tend to lose some memories even in my dog form; I find my pre-prison days hazy. When we visited Gringott’s, my Lily flower had left some memories to remind us all of happier days,” Sirius lied as Harry felt something at his hand, then Hermione’s fingers entwined with his. Immediately his heart-rate went up. Remus gave him a crooked smile; Harry knew he would be the butt of his and Sirius jokes for the rest of the summer.
“That is so sweet,” Hermione sighed.
“Where have you been all this time?” Arthur cleared his throat, trying to dispel a little tension in the room.
“As you know, my cousin and I were attacked by Dementors, but I just managed to fight them off. Whether it was the family magic or what, but Dad managed to find me.” Sirius beamed at him, as Harry had barely used the word. Though out of the corner of his eye, he was watching Dumbledore. “I was taken to Hárasteorra Hall, the Black ancestral home, and have been recovering ever since.”
Harry took a glance around; Mrs Weasley’s face almost seemed to be gleaming though he might know why. He chanced a look at Ginny; she was staring at him like a love-sick fan. Not if I can help it, Harry thought.
“So Sirius has been there this whole time?” McGonagall asked. He knew Hermione wanted to say something, but he squeezed her hand. She immediately understood, leaning a little closer to him.
“I was coming back and forth to keep up appearances, but I felt Harry was in the safest place possible,” Sirius responded, meeting Dumbledore’s eyes.
“I think perhaps we should have our meeting then,” Dumbledore suggested.
“Yes, I think all the children should leave so we can have it,” Mrs Weasley suggested.
“Oh, you meant the Order of Phoenix meeting, discussing the latest Second-gen’s death. Perhaps you can answer some question-“
“No, you’re too young,” Mrs Weasley spoke. She was sitting bolt upright in her chair, her fists clenched upon its arms.
“Since when did someone have to be in the Order of the Phoenix to ask questions?” asked Sirius, “I’ve told him little because I felt the Headmaster could answer his questions better.”
“Hang on!” interrupted George loudly.
“How come Harry gets his questions answered?” Fred looked around the room angrily.
“We’ve been trying to get stuff out of you for a month, and you haven’t told us a stinking thing!” George added as Harry heard a noise, several other members of the Order of Phoenix had arrived. He recognised them from a photo Sirus had shown him; a much more aged Mundungus Fletcher looked like a pile of rags. A young dark-haired woman had taken a seat next to the prickly potions master.
“‘You’re too young, you’re not in the Order,’” said Fred, in a high-pitched voice that sounded uncannily like his mother’s. “Harry’s not even of age!”
“It’s not my fault you haven’t been told what the Order’s doing,” said Sirius calmly. “That’s your parents’ decision. Harry, on the other hand —”
“It’s not down to you to decide what’s good for Harry!” said Mrs Weasley sharply. She seemed to have forgotten about who he was now. Her normally kindly face looked dangerous as she looked at the elderly Headmaster. “You haven’t forgotten what Dumbledore said, I suppose?”
“Which bit?” Sirius asked politely but with an air as though readying himself for a fight. He, in turn, looked at Dumbledore, inviting him to speak up, but Dumbledore let someone else do it for him.
“The bit about not telling Harry more than he needs to know,” said Mrs Weasley, placing a heavy emphasis on the last three words. Ron, Hermione, Fred, and George’s heads turned from Sirius to Mrs Weasley as though following a tennis rally. Lupin’s eyes were fixed on Sirius, wondering why he was arguing when the marauder had the upper hand.
“I don’t intend to tell him more than he needs to know, Molly,” said Sirius. “But as he was the one who saw Voldemort come back” (again, there was a collective shudder around the table at the name), “he has more right than most to —”
“He’s not a member of the Order of the Phoenix!” said Mrs Weasley. “He’s only fifteen and —”
“— and he’s dealt with as much as most in the Order,” said Sirius; Harry looked over at his father, who seemed to be enjoying the argument, “and more than some —”
“No one’s denying what he’s done!” said Mrs Weasley, her voice rising, her fists trembling on the arms of her chair. “But he’s still —”
“He’s not a child!” said Sirius impatiently. His patience seemed to have snapped
“He’s not an adult either!” said Mrs Weasley, the colour rising in her cheeks. “He’s not James, Sirius!”
“I know who he is, thanks, Molly,” said Sirius coldly.
“I’m not sure you are!” said Mrs Weasley. “Sometimes, the way you talk about him, it’s as though you think you’ve got your best friend back!”
“What’s wrong with that?” said Harry, knowing that his father was his friend no matter what the woman said.
“What’s wrong, Harry, is that you are not your father, however much you might look like him!” said Mrs Weasley, her eyes still boring into Sirius.
“Actually, I look more like my grandfather,” Harry responded quietly.
“What was that, dear?” She tried the motherly act.
“I said I look more like Arcturus than Sirius; you seem to have forgotten that he is my father,” Harry spoke up louder, his voice like ice.
“Don’t speak to my mother like that,” Ron’s ears had gone red.
“You are still at school, and adults responsible for you should not forget it!”
“Meaning I’m an irresponsible father?” demanded Sirius, his voice rising.
“Meaning you’ve been his father for all of two minutes, you’ve been known to act rashly, Sirius, which is why Dumbledore keeps reminding you to stay at home and —”
“We’ll leave my instructions from Dumbledore out of this if you please!” said Sirius loudly, again staring at the Headmaster, who had yet to say anything.
“Have your meeting; I don’t want anything to do with the Order of the Phoenix,” Harry snapped, then turned to Sirius, “Tell me when you are done, so we can go home.”
Harry released Hermione’s hand and stomped out of the kitchen, not knowing exactly where he was going, but ended up in what appeared to be a living room. Similar to the drawing-room back at Hárasteorra Hall, but dark and gloomy with dust everywhere. He sat down on one of the chairs, a plume of dust going into the air.
“Really, Harry, bottle everything up. Don’t tell people what you really think,” Fred said sarcastically but had a grin on his face as he entered.
“Yeah, I’ve never seen mum speechless,” George joined him, followed by Hermione, Ron and Ginny. Hermione took a seat on the sofa with him while the twins took a chair opposite. Ginny sat down on the floor, but Ron remained standing, the back of his neck bright red. Harry really didn’t care what Ron thought at this moment.
“I thought Dumbledore might actually answer some of my questions, should have guessed he wouldn’t,” Harry told them but didn’t add anything else. Hermione frowned at him; he knew she still respected authority figures.
“So what’s Sirius like as a Dad? He hasn’t been around much-“
“Now we know why,” George finished for his brother.
“Actually, I’m still getting used to it. I only found out a few weeks ago myself,” Harry responded. The others all looked at him in trepidation, but he just smiled at them, not knowing really want to say.
“And Hárasteorra Hall, am I pronouncing that correct?” Hermione now asked, “What’s that like?”
“It’s been great there; Sirius and Remus have been helping out a lot. I was rather ill when they bought me to Hárasteorra Hall. Now I’ve been having lessons with them, they bought in someone to teach me about etiquette and Potions,” Harry could see on Hermione’s face she looked envious of him, that he was getting extra lessons. He was considering inviting her to Hárasteorra Hall, but he wasn’t sure how she would react to Draco’s presence there.
“So you’ve got even richer,” Ron spoke up, venom dripping from his voice. Harry was surprised, this was his best friend, or so he thought.
“Well, yes, but it’s not because I wanted too. To be honest, I’m happy that I’ve got a family,” Harry told the red-head.
“I bet you made it up about He Who Must Not Be Named, trying to get attention again,” the red-head stubbornly said. It reminded Harry of the beginning of the fourth year when Ron didn’t believe him about the Goblet of Fire, but he thought Ron had matured since then. He heard Hermione gasp, and the twins were glaring at their younger brother.
“I think it’s time you leave now; we wouldn’t want any of your jealousy to cloud the room,” Fred told the boy in a voice of stone. Ron looked at his brothers, then to Hermione, who refused to look at him then snapped around and left them on their own.
“Do you realise the Death Eater’s have only been targeting Muggle-Borns?” Hermione changed the subject, though it took a few minutes for his brain to catch up.
“Call them Mundane-Born.”
“Excuse me?” Hermione stared at her best friend.
“I’ve come to dislike the name Muggle, Muggle-born and pure-bloods,” Harry explained. “So Mundane is an average person, Second-gen is a half-blood and First-Gen is a Pure-blood. Mundane born is-“
“Someone born of Mundane parents, I like that better,” Hermione agreed.
“What do you know, then?” Harry asked them. He noticed Ginny had started listening a bit more intently as she sat on the floor.
“We managed to catch a bit of the Order meetings; five Mundane-born families have now been killed, but the Order doesn’t know what to do about it,” Fred leaned forward using the term Harry had introduced to them.
“We think that’s why Hermione’s been bought here, for protection,” George finished.
“So what have you all been up to?” Harry asked, trying to lighten the mood from the talk of death, especially those like Hermione. He would have to think on the subject a little later when he returned home.
“Cleaning, lots and lots of cleaning,” Fred spoke, before pointing at Ginny, “this one has barely been here all summer.”
“Oh, where have you been?” Harry looked curiously at the youngest Weasley. He also noticed her shorts were shorter than usual, and her tank top didn’t leave a lot to the imagination.
“America, to a summer camp,” she sounded bored, but watching her carefully, he could see she kept glancing at him.
“What’s a summer camp?”
“It’s a camp for children, usually Mu-Mundane, but one in New York is for Wizards and Witches,” Hermione recited. Harry smiled warmly at the girl who seemed to know everything.
“So that’s what you’ve been doing, just cleaning?” Harry asked.
“And reading the Prophet!” George replied darkly.
“Tell him about it!” Fred continued.
“Well, you know Percy’s been working at the Ministry. A couple of weeks ago, he returned home telling us all that he had been promoted,” Fred began to explain.
“You’re kidding!” Harry looked flabbergasted at the three of them.
“We were as surprised as you,” Fred took up the story, “especially given the whole Crouch affair. The investigation said Percy should have known the old man was crazy….”
“So how did he end up being promoted?”
“He came home that week looking all pleased with himself, told Dad he’d been offered a job in the Minister’s office as Junior Assistant to the Minister, dead pleased because he was literally just out of school,” Fred continued, “I think Percy expected Dad to be pleased with him or something because he kind of looked at him expectantly.”
“But Dad was less than impressed,” George butted in.
“Why wasn’t your Dad impressed? I always thought he was so proud of all his children.”
“Usually, yes, he would be, but Fudge has been out for blood. Thinks Dumbledore is after his job, so he’s been shoring up any holes, making sure no one is in contact with the Headmaster,”
“They also think he’s trying to stir up trouble by saying You Know Who’s back. Anybody in league with Dumbledore has been told to clear their desks,” Fred popped back in.
“Fudge has never liked Dad because of his Muggle obsession, but he also knows Dumbledore is mates with Dad,” George finished.
“So how does all this concern, Percy?” Harry was confused at this point, looking at Hermione to explain things.
“Dad thinks Percy was promoted so that he had a spy in the family-and Dumbledore.” Harry let out a low whistle, as Fred explained.
“Oh yeah, that would set Percy off.”
“Yep, Perfect Percy went absolutely berserk. Said a load of really horrible things to Dad and about how the family were so poor because he had no ambition. The next thing we knew, Percy had packed his bags up and left for London. Mum tried to visit, but he shouted at her and said he knew where his loyalty lies,” George told Harry.
“Absolute Prick,” Harry swore; Hermione looked like she was about to say something when shouting reached their ears. Harry was quickly on his feet and entered the main hallway, followed by the rest of them. Ron ran down the stairs. As they reached the kitchen doorway, the shouting could be clearly heard.
“DON’T YOU THINK HARRY SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH!” Sirius bellowed anger could clearly be heard in his voice.
“NO, HE’S TOO YOUNG! HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT WITH THE DURSLEYS, SO HE WAS SAFE!” Mrs Weasley’s voice came back. Harry wondered how the women could think that surely she had seen some of the signs of abuse. During the last few weeks, he had come to accept he had been abused while talking to the Mind Healer.
“Are you so far up Dumbledore’s ass, you cannot see the signs of Harry’s abuse?” Sirius’s voice was quieter, more deadly. Harry entered to see his father standing at one end with Mrs Weasley standing in the middle. Dumbledore, too, stood at the table’s head, his face briefly flittered through several emotions before he put on his grandfatherly mask.
“That will be quite enough, Sirius. You can leave if you think we are not doing enough,”
“You would invoke the oaths of the Order of the Turkey, so I cannot tell Harry anything,” Sirius’s voice was deadly now. Dumbledore looked at the man sternly, not realising Harry and the other youths were now in the kitchen.
“I only placed Harry with the Dursley’s because I did not want him to grow up arrogant and cocky,” Dumbledore replied. The Duke of Anglia’s face went white with fury.
“You have exactly ten minutes to leave Grimmauld Place!” the order members stared at the man.
“Excuse Me?” Dumbledore looked astonished. Sirius drew himself up, and Harry could see the swirls of family magic. The teen grabbed Hermione’s hand, ushering her into the hallway. The others were all staring into the kitchen as Harry tried to remember what he had been taught in his lessons.
“Maiden Granger, I offer you Sanctuary in the House of Black. As Marquess of Rendlesham, I offer you my personal protection as a Vassal of the House. Do you accept?” Just as Harry rushed those last words, Sirius spoke.
“I, Sirius, 15th Duke of Anglia, Head of the House of Black invoke Blaec cneoris dwolcræft, any magic cast upon this house will be stripped away. The Order of Phoenix shall no longer be able to meet here, and as long as I am Head of House, no Black shall be tied to the Order nor serve its leader,” Sirius invoked ancient magic built into the house, several of the members knew exactly what it meant. Tonks was astonished at what her Head of House was doing. “You have ten minutes to leave before the magic comes into force and ejects you from the house forcefully.”
“You cannot be serious about this.”
“I’ve told you before not to make an enemy of the Black’s, you allowed my son to be abused, you’ve meddled in far too many things. Your day of recompense is coming.” Harry was not sure who this man was; he had never seen his father like this before. Chairs began to shuffle as members soon began to move.
“You cannot just kick us out,” Mrs Weasley screeched.
“We will make sure your belongings make their way to you,” Remus told her solemnly. She stared at the werewolf then huffed, knowing she had lost this battle. Everyone began leaving quickly except for Tonks, who stood stock-still. McGonagall stayed too looking between Sirius and Dumbledore.
“Was Harry really abused?” the Scottish woman asked as most of the Order filtered out of the front door. Only the Weasley’s remained in the hallway.
“Yes,” Sirius replied. The Deputy headmistress nodded her head and said no more; she met Remus’s eyes then left as well. All that remained were the Weasley Family, Remus, Dumbledore and Hermione. Ted was now stood next to his daughter in the kitchen.
“This is a tricky game you are playing, Sirius; you do not want to fight me,” Dumbledore spoke lowly.
“I think it’s best you leave, Headmaster; neither of us wants to see how the Black magic would react to you,” Remus spoke more firmly than he had ever spoken to the man. In the hallway, Mrs Weasley was bustling everyone out; Hermione still had her hand in Harry’s.
“Come on, Hermione, you can stay at the Burrow,” Ron gestured for her to follow.
“Yes, dear, you are welcome to stay with us,” Mrs Weasley voice had a pleasant syrupy tone to it. Hermione’s mind was racing; she had read all the articles in the paper recently. Knew the upcoming changes that were happening in the wizarding world. While she was angry at the elitism being exercised, magic was literally in her veins, and she didn’t want to give that up. She also admitted to herself she didn’t want to leave Harry.
“Yes, Harry,” she told him. Harry’s face lit up, making butterflies fly around in her stomach.
“Hermione, let’s go,” Ron spoke just as Dumbledore left the kitchen to find the Weasley’s on one side, Hermione and Harry on the other side.
“You better leave, Ronald; I have accepted Harry’s offer,” Hermione told him. Dumbledore looked at them in surprised, wondering what Harry had offered.
“You filthy little mud-“ whatever else Ron was about to say was cut off as he was silenced then dragged away, mouthing unheard words. His face was a violent shade of red. Dumbledore took one last look at Harry before disappearing in a whirl of purple robes. Silence echoed through the house as a wave of magic swept through the townhouse ruffling curtains. Harry, still holding Hermione’s hand, led her back into the kitchen.
“What just happened?” Harry asked.
“I think I just declared war on Dumbledore,” Sirius answered, suddenly slumping forward.
“Well, the plan moved faster than we anticipated,” Remus spoke, looking at his old friend.
“What plan?” Hermione asked, the four adults looking at her as though seeing the young woman for the first time.
“How is Hermione still here? She should be forcibly ejected?” Remus looked confused.
“I, erm, offered her Sanctuary in the House of Black. Personally offered her safety,” Harry responded.
“Well, this changes things, but not a whole lot,” Sirius looked between the two, still holding hands.
“Right then, can someone explain to me what you invoked, Sirius?” Harry asked curiously; he knew Hermione was dying to know. The dog-animagus looked to his old friend, the lecturer, to explain.
“Sirius is the Head of House Black. The Black’s were originally from the Kingdom of the Angles, which is now-“
“East Anglia so Norfolk and Suffolk,” Hermione interrupted.
“Ten points to Gryffindor, yes, the family has always come from there and many of the first Black’s crafted spells from Old English instead of Latin. They are one of the oldest magical families in Britain. What Sirius used was Blaec cneoris dwolcræft, whichliterally translates to Black Family magic. Any new magic would be wiped from the house, and those not of Black blood would be forcibly ejected,” Remus continued his explanation.
“Why wasn’t Miss Tonks, Mr Tonks, and Professor Lupin ejected then?” Hermione asked.
“Ted is a Black by marriage, Nymphadora is a Black by blood,” Harry smirked at the Auror, who offered him the finger, “and Remus is the Steward of House Black,”
“I sort of understand,” the young woman nodded, though Harry knew she would thirst for more knowledge than that.
“I think we need to call a Family meeting, perhaps speak to Regent Longbottom,” Sirius suggested.
“I think we need to speak to our allies; the last Wizengamot of the summer is happening next week, we’re going to need to see if we can resurrect the Old Alliance,” Remus suggested.
“What’s the Old Alliance?” Harry asked curiously.
“Let’s just get you home first, then we’ll talk about it,” Sirius replied, getting up.
“You need to go to that press conference this afternoon, then we’ll organise the family meeting,” Remus told his friend.
“Is Hermione staying with us?” Harry asked.
“You’ve offered her Sanctuary now, kiddo; she can stay in the Purple room,” Sirius replied, leading them out of the kitchen. Hermione noticed Harry was looking a bit flushed but knew better than to ask him what it meant, or she would embarrass him.
“How does Sanctuary work? I heard the word Vassal,” Hermione asked, eager to get any and all knowledge.
“It means that at the moment, you are protected by the House of Black, which, as explained, is one of the oldest houses. Should someone attack you, they will have to deal with the House and Harry personally. Even the Allies will step in to protect you,” Remus explained moments after they entered the lounge area where the Floo was.
“What about my family; my mum, dad and little brother?” Hermione looked at them earnestly.
“Hold on, little brother? Since when have you had a sibling?” Harry asked both Sirius and Remus shared a look over their heads.
“Always, he turned eleven, so will be joining Hogwart’s this upcoming year.”
“You never mentioned a brother to Ron or me in the four years we’ve known you,” Harry responded.
“I’m sure I’ve mentioned him once or twice,” Hermione argued, but her head felt fuzzy when she tried to remember when.
“Charmed?” Sirius mouthed.
“Your family will be perfectly safe; we’ll check on them soon,” Remus replied, then a thought occurred to Harry.
“Oh shit!” Harry exclaimed. They all looked at him, “Malfoy!”
“MUDBLOODS! FILTHY, TRAITOUROUS MUCK IN MY HOME! KREACHER-“ a loud voice interrupted any of them before they could say anything.
“Whose that?” Harry asked, confused.
“Mother!” Sirius answered drolly. Harry could not let this go, so he followed the shouting into the hallway where he stood in front of the portrait. The old woman was drooling, her eyes were rolling, the yellowing skin of her face stretched taut as she screamed, and all along the hall behind them.
“Lady Black,” Harry spoke calmly. Suddenly the woman stopped screaming and looked at Harry through rheumy eyes.
“No, Ma’am, my name is Harry Anteres Black. I am the son of Sirius,” Harry returned politely.
“You are the son of a blood traitor,” She looked ready to go again.
“No, madam, I am the Heir to the House of Black, Son of the Noble Black Family. Sirius and I are actively restoring The Black Family to its glory.” Harry spoke forcefully. Walburga blinked, then blinked again. “You are disgracing the House of Black with your antics; yes, we had many undesirables here, but you are ruining our reputation with your screaming and wailing.”
“I am the Lady of Black, you will respect me, you fil-“
“Finish that sentence, and I’ll chop you up for firewood,” Harry replied menacingly.
“I can’t be moved,” the woman spat back viciously.
“She’s correct; there’s a permanent sticking charm,” Sirius spoke up.
“I’ll destroy the wall you’re on,” Harry replied vehemently. “Sirius is the Master of the House and Head of House Black. You will respect him!”
“I am sorry, grandson,” She spoke quietly, wiping her chin and sitting straighter. Harry hid his surprise at her backing down. Sirius looked astonished at his straight-backed son.
“Good, we will want to use Grimmauld as a meeting place. This house is an absolute disgrace. You have let it go to ruin; I would think Great-grandfather Arcturus is rolling in his grave.”
“Kreacher!” Walburga suddenly shouted, making them all jump. A POP later and a small house-elf stood before them. Sirius had mentioned the creature before, but this was Harry’s first time seeing him. Kreacher had a bulbous, snout-like nose, bloodshot eyes and many folds of skin. White hair grew out of his Bat-like ear.
“Yes, Mistress,” he spoke humbly.
“This house is a disgrace to the House of Black; she shall clean it top to bottom. You shall serve the Master of the House and his Heir as befitting a servant of the Black’s,” the little elf nodded and eagerly turned back to Sirius.
“Master Black will want to be rid of the Darkness Master Regulus stole from the Dark Lord then.”