HPBFL CH 13

Thank you for the likes and views, hope you continue to enjoy the story. From today I shall be posting Black Family Legacy once a week.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: BROTHERS AND ALLIES

“Quidditch is a game of fourteen players, seven on each side,” Harry explained as he tossed a quaffle between each hand. They were stood on the Quidditch pitch with Harry’s Firebolt by their feet, and a Shooting Star Harry had borrowed from the Broomstick shed. “On one side, you have a Keeper, a bit like a goalie in football, two beaters that keep the Bludger’s away from other players. Three chasers who keep the Quaffle between themselves, then you have the Seeker.”

“Mi says you’re the Seeker for Gryffindor,” Ceph said proudly as Harry looked at the stands where Ron and Hermione were talking. He felt a shot of jealousy move through him.

“Yes, I am. The Seeker catches the Golden Snitch,which is worth one hundred and fifty points. Catching the snitch ends the game,” Harry explained to the wide-eyed boy.

“But you were the youngest Seeker in a century, right?” Ceph asked.

“Yep, I’ve been playing as Seeker since first-year, but I don’t recommend you do what I did,” Harry laughed. “Now, let’s see if we can get you on a broom.”

“Sure,” the boy looked tentative, but Harry was distracted as he heard a yelp from the stands. He looked up to see Ron and Hermione arguing.

“Wait here, DO not go on that broom until I come back,” Harry warned as he jumped on his broom, launching himself towards the Gryffindor stands. As he got closer, Ron stomped off, not looking back. Harry could see Hermione had her chin up, portraying to all that she wasn’t bothered, but the teen knew her far too well for that. He pushed the Firebolt inwards then gently landed on the stands.

“Are you OK, Hermione?” Harry asked carefully.

“I’m fine, just Ron being Ron,” Hermione replied waspishly, casually wiping away tears from her eyes. Harry approached her like she was a wounded animal before taking Hermione into his arms. The girl stiffened instantly, then slowly relaxed into Harry’s embrace, burying her face in Harry’s chest. Hermione put her arms around Harry, hugging him tightly.

“Tell me about it,” Harry murmured into her bushy hair.

“Why are boys so stupid? I’ve tried telling him I don’t like him, then he insinuates it’s all your fault, that you are drugging me to make me fall in love with you. Ha! As if I need a drug to do that,” Hermione went quiet as she realised she had said more than she meant to. Harry completely ignored the last comment, though his heart thumped harder.

“Ron’s been very angry lately; he seems to have become even more jealous of me,” Harry rambled.

“It started during the summer when all the Prophet tales were coming out, around the time you become the Marquess of Rendlesham if the timelines match up,” Hermione theorised, still enjoying the warmth of Harry’s embrace. Harry reluctantly let her go but sat next to the girl holding her hand.

“I become Marquess around the second week of July,” Harry told her.

“That’s around the time he started bad-mouthing you. Even Molly looked put out then,” Hermione called.

“What do you think it means?” Harry asked his best friend.

“It may mean nothing, but something wasn’t right in the Weasley Household. Arthur always looked worried; I’ve never seen him like that before.”

“Are we going to play Quidditch, or are you going to cuddle up with my sister? That’s like incest or something ain’t it seen as your my brother, and she’s my sister,” a voice spoke from the stairs. Harry found Cepheus standing there with a shit-eating grin on his face.

“First off, she’s your sister by adoption, so no blood relation. She’s not my sister! Secondly, Mister Black, I will cuddle up to whoever I like. I could even kiss Hermione if I liked,” Harry noticed the faint blush on Hermione’s face as Ceph gave a slight grin.

“Eeeew,” the boy said like a little kid. Harry half expected him to say something about cooties when a deeper voice interrupted.

“Don’t make the boy sick; no one wants to see Harry making out with his girlfriend,” Sirius stated as Harry whirled around, his face flushing bright red.  Sirius knew how to embarrass the boy.

“Cepheus, meet your father! Dad, this little bugger is Ceph,” Harry properly introduced the pair. Hermione looked up at the man with a questioning look.

“I spoke to your parent’s last night. Minerva owled me after getting the confirmation Cepheus is my son. However, we still want to do the Puerapatre potion just to make absolutely sure,” Sirius explained.

“I love Mum and Dad, but why did you abandon me?” Ceph asked, looking at the man wearily.

“It’s a long and complicated story. Do you want to come to Hogsmeade for lunch?” the boys’ eyes lit up. Hermione groaned.

“You’ve made a monster now; Bucky loves his food,” Hermione groaned, getting a glare from the boy.

“I told you not to call me Bucky, especially not in front of Harry,” Ceph growled.

“Bucky?” Harry asked, looking between the two.

“Despite not being a Granger, Ceph had buck teeth when he was younger. He had braces from eight to ten,” Hermione explained.

“With that smile, you’ll have the girls all over you,” Sirius grinned, making the boy blush.

“Dad, be serious!”

“I’m always Sirius,” came the returned getting a groan from Harry and Hermione, “I bet you take after me,”

“I’m not so sure you’re a good example,” Harry grinned at the man.

“Oh, son, I’m deeply wounded by that,” Sirius staggered back, holding his heart. “Just because you found The One when you were young doesn’t mean we all will. Plus, you don’t have a meddling old fool dealing with your love life.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Harry muttered.

“Look, if you want to take Ceph to Hogsmeade, we better get permission from Professor McGonagall,” Hermione changed the subject.

“OK, Boss, we’ll go speak to the Queen of the Scots!” Sirius grinned and quickly changed into his Grim form, slobbering Ceph before he could protest.

“He’s like a child sometimes,” Harry muttered to his best friend. She merely smiled at him, then conjured a leash. Before Sirius realised he had a collar and leash around his neck. He looked up at Hermione, his grey eyes wide.

“If you’re going to act like a dog, then we’ll treat you like one,” she told him sternly. Then she forced him to walk alongside them as they first dropped the brooms off then walked back up to the castle. They stopped in a small courtyard where Sirius changed back to human, the leash disappearing.

“You, girl, are evil,” Sirius proclaimed, getting a laugh from Harry and Hermione. The four of them entered the entrance hall looking up at the marble staircase. It being a Saturday, there weren’t many students about, but those that were wearing non-uniform. They passed up the Grand staircase to the first floor, passing by lots of gossiping portraits before they reached the transfiguration classroom and the Head of Gryffindor’s office. Harry knocked on the door and waited.

“Come!” a sharp Scottish voice cried. Harry filed in first, followed by the other three.

“Hello, Professor.”

“What do I owe the pleasure of three Blacks and Miss Granger?” She looked over them. Sirius was squirming, remembering his own days at Hogwarts and the stern

“Professor, we’d like to go to Hogsmeade for lunch; I think Cepheus needs to learn more about Dad and me,” Harry spoke up first.

“It’s not a Hogsmeade weekend, and young Master Black is only a first-year,” Professor McGonagall considered, but Sirius noted the tiny smirk on her face.

“Technically, the school hasn’t officially started, and Cepheus is being removed by his father,” Hermione argued.

“Well, you know your rules. OK, you have my permission as Cepheus and Harry’s Head of House,” the woman nodded.

“Thank you,” Sirius jumped up, giving the older woman a kiss on the cheek.

“Sirius Black, I expect you to behave like an adult.”

“Yes, Ma’am,”

“Mr Black,” she called out before the four left.

“Yes!” Harry and Sirius answered.

“Harry,” she spoke exasperated, “I’d like you to come to talk with me one day to discuss that request you made,”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Harry saluted her cheekily.

“Just like your father!” the transfiguration teacher muttered.

“I’ll have them back by dinner,” Hermione promised with a laugh as the four of them left. The three Hogwarts students followed Sirius back onto the first-floor corridor then into the main entrance.

“Potter, where do you think you are going?” a snivelly voice called out. The four stopped, turning to find Professor Snape at the foot of the stairs. Harry noticed Professor Umbridge in her pink cardigan was lingering nearby.

“Professor, it is Mister Black in the classroom or Lord Rendlesham if you’d like to address me correctly, Sir Prince-Snape,” Harry returned with a hint of rebellion.

“I asked where you were going?” Snape was goggle-eyed. This boy knew his real name.

“Father is taking my brother, Miss Granger and myself out to lunch in Hogsmeade,” Hermione realised Harry had drawn himself up, appearing more noble-like.

“This is not a Hogsmeade weekend; the boy is still too young to leave Hogwarts,” Snape returned, not realising how angry Harry was becoming.

“Sir Prince-Snape, Professor McGonagall, the esteemed Deputy Headmistress and our Head of House, has given us permission to leave the castle as the school has truly not started.” Hermione slipped her hand into Harry’s, causing the energy that was building up to die.

“I will speak to the Headmaster about this,”

“That is well within your prerogative, sir, but we are now leaving, and you have no right to stop us,” Harry turned on his heel leading Hermione from the entrance hall down the path towards Hogsmeade. They left a very bewildered Snape behind, who was rapidly becoming angrier. As they reached the gates of Hogwarts, Sirius and Ceph caught up.

“Why didn’t you say anything, Sirius?” Hermione asked curiously, not realising she was still holding Harry’s hand.

“Harry had everything in order,” Sirius replied simply.

“How they let a Death Eater teach at Hogwarts is beyond me; the amount of Healers and Aurors they could have if not for Snape teaching is a catastrophe,” Harry ranted. Of course, Harry had told Hermione all about the Pensieve and Snape’s trial last year but had never questioned it until today.

“What’s a Death Eater?” Ceph asked, trying to catch up with Harry’s striding pace.

“Do you remember me telling you about the Dark Wizard Voldemort at the beginning of summer,” Ceph nodded, “well he has gathered a group of men and women to him that are called Death Eaters, very nasty people,”

“Murderers, Rapists, thieves, monsters!” Harry muttered, getting a glare from Hermione.

“There are some truly evil people who work for HIM, but most of them are pure-bloods who believe in the purity of wizarding blood; they think those born from Mundanes should not be allowed into wizarding society. They come in and change everything,” Hermione continued.

“They’re not wrong, though,” Harry commented absent-mindedly.

“You what?” Hermione demanded; Harry knew he was walking a thin line.

“You know I don’t believe in that purity crap, but Mundane-borns don’t understand the wizarding world. No one teaches them about etiquette and how to live in the Wizarding World,” Harry returned. “Think about it, I would not have spent four years fighting with Draco if I had realised I had insulted him with rejecting the handshake. Yes, he said some rude things, but I had only met people who had terrible things to say about Slytherin.”

“What are you saying?” Hermione now was very curious.

“We debated this over the summer; I’ve put forward a proposal to Professor McGonagall for a new class in Wizarding World culture, perhaps with a teacher like Narcissa,” Harry explained. “We’re also looking at the very possibility of opening a junior school to teach Mundane-borns before they arrive at Hogwarts.”

“That’s a great idea,” Hermione seemed enthused.

“That reminds me, Ceph, every Saturday you shall be having Etiquette lessons with Narcissa; it’s already been arranged with Professor McGonagall,” Sirius commented. Harry’s grin was broad. “I don’t know what you’re grinning at; there’s still so much you have to learn, so Draco and Neville will be joining you and Ceph in those Etiquette lessons.”

“Arg, schoolwork on the weekend!” Cepheus moaned as Hermione spoke up.

“Ooh, can I join them?”

“As a Son of the House of Black, you’ll have expectations of you as well as being the son of a Duke,” Sirius told the boy then turned to Hermione, “I thought you would want to join the lessons, so Narcissa is OK with you coming to the lessons.”

They chatted about this and that until they reached The Three Broomsticks. Inside was cosy with several customers eating or talking, but most ignored the newcomers. Sirius briefly spoke to Rosemerta then they were led to a private room where they took a seat at the table provided.

“You knew we would get permission, you old dog,” Harry grinned at his dad.

“Minerva cannot resist me,” Sirius grinned back as Rosemerta came to take their order. “Let’s have lunch first, then we’ll discuss the serious stuff,”

“OK.”

“How have you found Hogwarts so far?” Sirius looked at the young boy, who appeared a little intimidated.

“I knew Mi had magic, but what I’ve seen so far blows everything out of the water,” the kid replied enthusiastically, “Harry’s taken me on a tour of the school showing me about Quidditch too, though he wanted to kiss with Mi, so he didn’t tell me much.”

“Is that so?” Sirius barked out laughter as Hermione blushed a delicate shade of red.

“You are so dead, squirt!” Hermione whispered.

“Do you reckon you’ll make the Quidditch team?” Sirius asked.

“Well, I haven’t been on a broomstick yet,” Ceph replied, glaring at Hermione

“If you’re anything like me, then you’ll be on the Quidditch team,” Sirius winked.

“Oh, he’s a mini marauder in the making,” Hermione huffed but got a massive grin from Sirius. Ceph had heard them mention the Marauder’s before; he would have to ask about that later. They chatted about this and that as Rosemerta brought dinner to the table. The meal was thoroughly enjoyable, but as Harry leaned back and the plates disappeared, the atmosphere became tenser.

“What do you know about your adoption?” Sirius asked the eleven-year-old.

“On my birthday, I received the admissions letter from Hogwarts; I was so excited because Mi had been telling mum, dad and me for years about it. But the day Hermione got back at the end of the fourth year, we both sat down with Mum and Dad,” Cepheus explained. “After Hermione, mum and dad were unable to have children but felt like their family wasn’t complete. So they adopted me a month after I was born.”

“Thinking about it, that seems awfully quick to adopt a child in just one month,” Hermione’ logical brain kicked in. Harry loved it when she got logical.

“Did Hermione tell you I was in prison?”

“Yeah, but you were innocent. Everyone had made a mistake, and you’d been thrown in jail,” Cepheus returned.

“I’m not going to repeat the story here as it’s hard on us all, but not long before I went to jail, I was preparing to get married to my sweetheart Holly Du Vere, then I got thrown in prison. I met with Holly several times, and she ended pregnant with a little boy; now we know that was you.”

“Why didn’t you know about me? Is my real mother alive?” Cepheus questioned.

“What do you know about the houses?” Sirius responded, confusing the boy.

“There’s Gryffindor, Slytherin-“ Harry interrupted him.

“You know dad is a Duke, correct?”

“The Duke of Anglia?” Ceph remembered.

“In both the Mundane world and ours, there are nobles, but the Wizarding world puts more stock on the nobles. Our government is ruled by the Wizengamot, made up of the Ancient and Noble Houses, Ancient Houses, and the Noble Houses. They are joined by the Head’s of the Ministry departments plus recipients of the Order of Merlin. There are also the Greater Houses. However, they do not partake in the Wizengamot,” Harry explained, “The oldest houses are the Ancient and Noble ones. There used to be ten; now there are six with two; the Peverall’s and Gaunt’s on the verge of becoming Extant-extinct.”

“The Houses of Black, Peverall and Selwyn are the oldest families from even before the Wizengamot. Is essence, we could be Wizarding royalty,” Sirius continued. “The House of Black has always been neutral, neither light nor dark. However, as the last Head of the House withered, several members turned to the dark, putting the House’s reputation down.  The House has many enemies.

“When I started at Hogwarts, I was the first to be placed in Gryffindor for hundreds of years. Even though I could be described as someone on the light side, some were not happy and began to manipulate events to gain power,” Sirius shared a look with Harry and Hermione. “They decided it best I forget I had children; they hoped I would remain in Azkaban forever. However, I manage to get free, and with your brother, I was able to return my memories, but it took a lot of research to discover you.”

“I still feel weird hearing brother,” Harry tried to lighten things up, getting a laugh from everyone around the table.

“Tell me about it. I’m still struggling with the fact I have two children, let alone ones that are both teens, well almost,” Sirius grinned.

“How do you feel about this?” Hermione asked the boy.

“William has been the only father I’ve ever known, so it feels like I get a second one. Harry, I always knew he would be my brother one way or another,” Ceph smirked at his sister. Harry quirked an eyebrow at the girl, who looked mortified.

“You are definitely my son,” Sirius laughed even harder at Hermione’s misfortune. Harry slapped the man around the back of the head. The man grumbled, “I could ground you for that,”

“Seriously, you won’t ever ground me,” Harry replied.

“Now that’s a challenge,” Sirius told the teen with a glint in his eyes.

“As much as I would love to see this display of parent-child power struggle, we have to get back up to the castle,” Hermione told them. The group gathered their stuff before saying goodbye to the animagus outside of the pub. As they walked up to the castle, Cepheus was relatively quiet.

“What’s going through that head, pup?” Harry asked, nudging the boy a little bit. The eleven-year-old smiled up at him. Even though he had known Harry was his brother for a little under a day, he could tell he really liked the older teen. He had been hearing stories about Harry for years; now that he found out Harry was his brother, he couldn’t be more pleased.

“Is he always like that?”

“Dad?” Harry asked, getting a nod, “He’s always been a bit of a joker, but Azkaban damaged him. He still loves life, but he can be earnest at times.”

“I spent the last three weeks of summer with him; he’s a very loving father. He’s a lot like our dad in a way,” Hermione added.

“What am I going to call him? I feel like it will be a betrayal to call him Dad.” Ceph uncharacteristically chewed his lip. Harry noticed Hermione did that a lot; he must have picked the habit up from her, he thought.

“Dad wouldn’t be upset over that; he is your biological father after all,” Hermione soothed the boy.

“You can call him Padfoot, Snuffles or Sirius until you feel ready,” Harry suggested. “Now, why don’t I tell you about the times Dad and James Potter hung Professor Snape upside down.”

They talked all the way back to the Common room, where Harry started to show Ceph how to play wizarding chess. Neville joined them, blasting Harry out of the water. Harry was watching Ron, who seemed to alternate between glares and looks of envy. Ginny also seemed to be watching the party closely. It was now dinner time, so the group made their way towards the Great Hall.

“Harry!” a voice called out as they stepped onto the ground floor. Susans Bones, another fifth-year, approached them, then curtsied slightly, “Lord Rendlesham, a pleasure.”

“Erm,” Harry tried to remember his etiquette lessons.

“Lady Bones, always a pleasure,” Neville kissed her hand, then murmured to Harry, “she is the last heir to the Bones family, an Ancient family,”

“Lady Bones,” Harry kissed Susan’s hand, noticing the glare Hermione was giving.

“Now that’s all out of the way, Harry, I would love for you to meet with the other heirs and perhaps we can renew some old alliances,” Susan suggested. Before Harry could answer, a voice spoke.

“Harry won’t want anything to do with a lowly house like yours; he’s got the power of the Black’s behind him,” Ron strode up, puffing his chest out.

“You’d know a lot about lowly houses, wouldn’t you, Weasel?” Draco sauntered up to the group, “feeling a bit inferior now that Black has new friends.”

“You’d know everything about being inferior, wouldn’t you, your not even worth the sh-“

“What is going on here?” Snape’s silky voice rang out.

“Just having a discussion on House business,” was the surprising reply from Draco. The potions master eyes widened, his only indication of shock.

“Well, perhaps you could take it elsewhere; you are blocking the entrance hall,” Snape replied coldly, striding into the hall.

“When and where?” Harry asked before Ron could start again

“10am tomorrow, and we’ll meet in the Great Hall,” Susan smiled at him then skipped off towards the Hufflepuff table. Harry gave Draco a quick nod as the blond left for the Slytherin table. Ron tried to walk alongside Harry but found Hermione and Neville on either side of him.

“You don’t want to be friends with them; they’re just rich twits, thinking they’re better than everyone else,” Ron started ranting. Neville shrugged as Harry looked his way. Harry was beginning to see what some had been telling him; Ron had kept people from being his friend in the past.

“I’ll see what they want, then leave,” Harry replied in a tone that did not allow for arguments. They took a seat at the end of the table like they usually did, with Ron nearly shoving Cepheus out of the way to sit near Harry. The teen himself stared angrily at the red-head as Hermione helped the boy back onto the bench. Then all of them realised none of the food appeared. Harry looked up to see the Headmaster had stood up.

“I’m sorry for disturbing you before we have another lovely meal. However, I did not get to finish all my announcements last night. Firstly, Quidditch tryouts for all houses will take place the week after next,” Harry caught Angelina’s eyes, who gave him the thumbs up, “as the Yule ball was so successful last year we will be reinstating it this year, but it shall be opened for all those third-years and above.”

“This is fantastic,” Harry heard Ginny say as everyone began to talk about the news.

The following day Harry found himself with Draco in the Great Hall meeting up with Susan Bones. After the initial meeting, she led the pair through the classroom. Inside there were already four people, Harry knew Neville, Hannah Abbot and Ernest MacMillan but there was a small boy he didn’t know.

“You know Lord Grosmont, Lady Abbot and Lord MacMillan. This is Sullivan Fawley from the Ancient House of Fawley,” Susan Bones introduced them; the second-year looked nervous with all the older students. “His Grandmother is the current Head of the Fawley’s.”

“This isn’t all the heirs of Hogwarts,” Malfoy commented.

“No, this is what’s left of the Potter Alliance,” Bones explained.

“Potter Alliance?” Harry queried.

“The Potter’s are an ancient family, some say they descend from the Peverall’s, but they were almost as politically active as the Black’s, though they were generally known as light wizards and witches,” Bones explained, “Potter should be one of the Ancient and Noble Houses, but certain factions have stopped that for several hundred years, but they were damn strong. They began the Old Alliance with Abbot, Longbottom, Bones, Fawley and MacMillan.”

“If you knew about the Potter’s beforehand, why did you never approach me?” Harry asked, taking a seat in the circle of chairs.

“We’ve tried; Ernie, Hannah and myself all tried to approach but were pushed away by Ronald. He told us you knew and didn’t want to get involved with that business,” Susan answered, a little upset. Harry looked to Neville, who nodded his head.

“I asked in my first year. I grew up hearing about Alice Longbottom and Lilly Potter, the best of friends. I looked forward to meeting my godbrother, but you were so nervous. I wasn’t the most forward person back then,” Neville explained. “Ron told me you were happy being a normal boy, that you wanted nothing to do with being Lord Potter or reviving the old alliances.”

“Wow, I knew nothing about the noble houses until this summer,” Harry looked at the gobsmacked faces of the others.

“We want to bring back the Old Alliance; when we are old enough, we could do some profound changes in the Wizengamot, especially with you being a Black now,” Susan seemed excited.

“So you’re not about pure-blood purity?” Harry asked, getting a huff from Draco by his side.

“While we’re not superior to muggle-borns or muggles in general, we do think they come into our world and change things without realising it,” Ernie spoke up.

“The Wizarding World is old fashioned, but there is a lot that works. We need to be more inclusive and try to modernise our world,” Hannah continued. Harry leant forward, eagerly looking around the assembled group.

“Neville and I have given our oaths to one another. Do we do something similar?” Harry asked.

“You what? Harry, you can’t be going around giving out oaths all over the place,” Draco pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Erm, why is Malfoy here? He’s not exactly the alliance type,” Ernie looked at the blond nervously.

“If we tell them, we will need oaths,” Harry looked at Draco, who shook his head, before nodding.

“They will need to take oaths to the Black-Longbottom Alliance,” Neville said with a grin surprising Susan, Ernie and Hannah.

“Don’t you think Sullivan might be a little too young to take an oath?” Harry asked the group. The dark-haired boy looked up at Harry.

“I know I’m only in my second year, but I’ve been learning about my family and oaths all my life. The Fawleys were once a great friend of the Potters, just behind the Longbottoms. I would like to be allied to you,” Sullivan spoke clearly with a maturity beyond his years. The group each gave their oaths, except for Neville, who was already oath-bound to Harry.

“Draco will no longer be a Malfoy, probably after the Christmas break His Grace will annul the marriage between Lucious Malfoy and Narcissa Black. Draco will be absorbed into the House of Black and become one of the sons of Black. He’s also my close cousin,” Harry explained, almost laughing at the faces of the other teens.

“He’s been horrible for the last four years. Did you brainwash him?” Ernie asked, a nervous laugh bubbling up.

“No, Harry didn’t. I realised how deranged Voldemort was. After spending the summer with Harry, I realised Mundane-borns were not as bad as they seem; look at Granger,” Draco told them calmly.

“Mundane-borns?” Hannah looked confused.

“Sorry, Harry and Sirius find Muggle and muggle-borns a bit derogatory, so we call them Mundanes,” Draco rolled his eyes.

“I liked you better during the summer. You weren’t as grouchy,” Harry responded.

“I didn’t have to play a part then.”

“You’ll get used to them like this,” Neville promised.

“Now I think we should bring some more heirs into the alliance; there are a lot of Darker families in the Wizengamot,” Harry suggested.

“We need to get more of the Greater houses moved up to Noble to improve our standing,” Bones spoke out loud.

“I’ve heard about the Greater houses several times but don’t really know much about them,” Harry admitted.

“They are minor houses, those that did not have enough gold or standing or were not old enough to become one of the Old Houses,” Draco explained.

“So can the Houses move into higher ones?” Harry asked.

“Yes, Longbottom and Greengrass only became Ancient and Noble Houses about six hundred years ago. There is a way of petitioning the Wizengamot for a House to have a higher designation. Some, like the Malfoy’s, will never get that because they only came to this country a few hundred years ago,” Neville lectured.

“Wow, I wish I had known this years ago,” Harry commented. “I think we should try to bring Danica Selwyn on board, I’ve met Lady Selwyn, and I think they would be powerful allies.”

“I agree,” Neville said.

“I’m not so sure; she’s a sycophant. A little devil in disguise,” Draco grumbled.

“Aww is someone having problems with a child,” Harry teased to the astonishment of the rest of the group except Neville.

“You don’t see her; she follows me around and tries to be in everything I do,”

“Sounds like she has a crush on you,” Neville laughed at the blond.

“You wait until a girl starts following you around, then I’ll be the one laughing,”

“He already does,” Harry replied, getting a look from his friend.

“Oh, do tell. This is a new development,” Draco grinned.

“Haven’t you noticed Luna Lovegood following him around, she seems mighty interested in our Nev,” Harry outright laughed at the expression on Neville’s face. He got a thump on his arm for his troubles. Harry and Draco continued to tease Neville, then the group got talking as they became more familiar with each other. Harry managed to tease Sullivan out of his shell to join in with the older teens. Just before dinner time, an owl knocked on the window. Ernie jumped up to allow it to come in. The animal flew in, gently landing on Harry’s shoulder, holding out a letter for him.

“Thank you,” Harry offered the animal an owl treat from his pocket. The owl barked once, then left out of the window as Harry turned the letter over to read.

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