SEVENTEEN: GOBLIN SORROWS
Harry floated in a sea of darkness, occasional flashes of light and conversations drifted past him as he tried to remember where he was, but nothing seemed to be working. The Boy Who Lived did not know how long he was in the dark place before it seemed to grow lighter as the pain began to emanate from his thigh. He cried out loud.
“Madam Tonks, I think he’s waking up,” the voice of an angel spoke. Harry blinked his eyes open, seeing only blurry objects above him. It smelled like he was in a hospital. The last thing he remembered was talking to Colin, but nothing after that. “Here.”
“Thanks,” Harry tried to say as someone handed his glasses to him. When the dark-haired boy could see again, he realised Hermione was standing over him looking pale.
“Harry, take this,” Aunt Andi came over, handing the boy a flagon of iridescent green potion. He looked at it, screwed up his face and swallowed the potion down in one go. Surprisingly, the taste wasn’t too bad. Andromeda smiled at him. “Narcissa has been providing me with potions instead of Professor Snape.”
“What happened?” Harry asked scratchily. Hermione handed him over a glass of water, taking small sips from the glass.
“You were attacked by a snake, ooh Harry, someone tried to murder you,” Hermione explaining flinging her arms around Harry. The boy was quite stunned as his girlfriend did not usually get this emotional. He looked over her shoulder to see it was night outside the window.
“How long have I been out?”
“About three days, you were damn lucky your girlfriend caught the creature that bit you; otherwise, we might not have been able to save you,” Andi looked a tad upset herself. “Your father has only just left your bedside an hour ago when I chased him out.”
“Is he mad?” Harry asked, trying to move, but his left leg would not cooperate with him for some reason. “Why can’t I move my leg?”
“The neurotoxins of the snake have caused damage to your thigh. We are going to have to perform several spells while we do physical therapy, though I warn you, your leg may never be the same again,” Andi told him sadly.
“Will I be able to play Quidditch? Will I make the first game?”
“Your first game is the end of October?” She got a nod, “then yes, you should have enough mobility to play your first game and be able to play Quidditch in general.”
“Well, that’s some good news,” Harry sighed.
“I’m going to leave you alone; call if you need anything,” Andromeda told the pair, then returned to her office to go over some paperwork. Harry realised Hermione was half hanging off the bed.
“Well, this isn’t how I anticipated getting you into my bed for the first time,” Harry joked as he moved over slightly so that Hermione could settle next to him.
“Oh, so you’ve been thinking of getting me into bed, Mr Black?” Hermione looked at her boyfriend with an arched eyebrow. Harry flushed bright red.
“That’s Lord Rendlesham to you, darling,” he drawled just like Draco used to.
“If you think I’m going to call you Lord Rendlesham, you have another thing coming,” Hermione poked him in the side before settling her head on his shoulder. “Harry, how much Defence Against the Dark Art’s did Remus and Sirius teach you over the summer?”
“Quite a lot, though the physical side might be useless now that my leg is dodgy,” Harry failed to joke. He got a serious look from Hermione, “why?”
“After what happened with Colin, I think Umbitch is going to get the Defence Club cancelled. I wondered if you might tutor me privately?” Hermione asked, though her face flushed bright red from the innuendo.
“Why, Miss Granger, are you propositioning me?”
“Well, I’ve already got a little personal with you. Who do you think has been messaging your leg for the last three days?” Now it was Harry’s turn to blush as he imagined Hermione messaging his leg. He shifted uncomfortably as his body began to react. Hermione just laughed at his squirming.
“Look, can I just think about the Defence thing. I don’t know how my leg is going to be yet.” Hermione nodded before getting comfortable, allowing the two to enjoy the silence in the presence of each other. “Did Andi say anything about being out tomorrow?”
“No, but you’ve just woken up.”
“I was thinking about our Wizarding Etiquette lessons,” Harry returned, unconsciously rubbing his hand up and down Hermione’s back.
“I’m pretty sure Susan and Neville can handle it,” Hermione answered, almost spitting out Susan’s name. Harry looked at her.
“Are you jealous?” he asked, trying to hide a grin.
“No, why would I be jealous?” came the return though her voice was higher than usual.
“The way you say, Susan, makes me think you’re jealous,” Harry returned casually, staring at the ceiling.
“Fine, she’s pretty, and she’s got a great body, of course, I’m jealous,” Hermione snapped.
“The Great Hermione Granger is human; she can be jealous,” Harry crowed, getting a harrumph from his girlfriend who turned over, so her back was to him.
“No need to shout it to the world,” Hermione replied bitterly. Harry realised he had hit a sore spot. He tried to turn to reach her but moaned in pain. Instantly she had turned over to look at him with concern. Harry stroked Hermione’s cheek then gently kissed her.
“I don’t want to be with Susan, or Cho, or anybody else. I choose you; you are so special to me,” He told her. Hermione had tears in her eyes as she carefully cuddled up to her man.
“You’re so sweet, Harry. You always seem to know the right words to help me.” Harry’s hand returned to her back, but this time he stroked the soft skin feeling sleepy.
The first weekend in Hogsmeade had finally arrived. Harry had been receiving daily massages in the Hospital ward for the last two weeks, then going to lessons during the day. He was pulling on his trousers rather gingerly when someone cleared their throat behind him. Harry did up the jeans then turned to find Professor McGonagall standing on the other side of his bed.
“How are you, Harry?” She asked, her usual stern look softening.
“I’m fine,” Harry gave his usual general answer.
“Clearly. Now I wanted to discuss something with you before you went into Hogsmeade,” the Deputy Headmistress gestured for Harry to sit, “now as you are fully aware, we never caught who attacked you, but we obviously suspect someone in Gryffindor,”
“That’s why you’ve kept me in the Hospital Ward, not because I was still ill,” Harry made the connection, his eyes narrowing at his Head of House.
“You’re right, but we still felt there was a real danger to you,” McGonagall did appear to be upset at deceiving him.
“So, what’s your proposal?”
“I would like you to be placed in the Gryffindor married quarters,” the deputy replied.
“Up until a hundred years ago, you could get married from the age of thirteen so the school felt married couples should live together,” McGonagall explained, “There hasn’t been a married couple in 150 years, but I’ve taken the liberty of sprucing it up a bit to more modern times.”
“What are you going to tell the school population? They’ll think I’ve been given preferential treatment,” Harry suggested.
“We’ll just tell them it’s to keep you safe after the attempt on your life,” McGonagall responded, which made sense to Harry.
“Alright, we can get Dobby to move my stuff after dinner tonight,”
“You’re leaving Gryffindor tower?” Hermione asked, pushing through the doors into the Hospital Ward.
“Mister Black is just moving from the dorms into the married quarters,” McGonagall explained.
“But he’s not married,” Hermione flushed.
“No, but this might protect Harry from further attempts on his life.” Hermione did look a little ashamed of herself.
“Are you ready to go?” Hermione asked, turning to her boyfriend. He kissed her lightly on the temple and picked up the standard walking stick Andromeda created for him.
“Will you be OK going down to Hogsmeade?” McGonagall looked him over, concerned.
“Yes, Ma’am, we’re meeting Sirius, so I’m sure I’ll be fine,”
“Good, then have a good day, Mr Black, Miss Granger,” the Deputy Headmistress smiled at the pair and left them alone.
“How are you feeling today?” Hermione asked. He looked at his girlfriend, ready to respond with his usual answer but, seeing her frown, decided against it. Harry picked up his coat and hat, shrugging them on. He ground his teeth as Hermione helped him with the coat. He hated not doing things for himself.
“It aches a little, but I’ll take it easy walking down to the coaches. Didn’t Sirius say he had a surprise for us?” Harry returned truthfully, getting a giggle from Hermione. She slipped her hand into his as they bantered back and forth, taking a slow walk down to the Main Hall where their least favourite teacher, Snape, was glaring at everyone ticking off their names from a piece of parchment.
“Do behave in Hogsmeade, watch you don’t run into any problems,” Snape warned them as they passed him. The pair shared a look with each other; was the potions master warning them of a possible attack or just being his usual sinister self? Harry stopped once again as they reached the Thestrals pulling the carriages. They were completely fleshless, their black coats clinging to their skeletons, of which every bone was visible. Their heads were dragonish, and their pupil-less eyes white and staring. Wings sprouted from each wither ̶ vast, black leathery wings that looked as they ought to belong to giant bats.
“What do Thestrals look like?” Hermione asked. Harry went on to describe them as she helped him into the carriage. He barely had any strength in his injured thigh. Once they settled in the carriage, Harry looked at the blossoming young woman in front of him.
“Have you thought any more about what I asked you, private tutoring?” Hermione asked, studying the boy in front of her. He had his leg propped up on the chair on her side of the carriage.
“Look, it’s Slytherin versus Gryffindor next weekend. I’ll let you know after the match once I know how my leg feels,” Harry returned.
“How do you feel about going up against Draco now that he’s your best friend?” Hermione asked as Harry began making sputtering noises.
“He’s not my best friend!” Harry denied as Hermione grinned at him.
“Alright, but he is your friend and don’t deny it. He’s even gotten quite friendly with Neville,” Hermione fired back.
“I don’t think it will be too bad. We both play to win,” Harry answered thoughtfully, then looked down at his leg. “When do you think I’ll get the strength back in my leg?”
“Well, the healer says it will never return to full strength, but you should get at least 85% mobility if you keep up the massages. Andromeda has also recommended a bath every night,” Hermione responded.
“Do I get your help in the bath at night?” Harry winked at her, stealing a kiss as she blushed prettily.
“What happened to the shy Harry? The innocent one,” Hermione harrumphed but with a smile on her face.
“Living with Sirius and spending time with your brother,” Harry replied with a shrug.
“Don’t you bring my brother into this,” Hermione laughed.
“Have you seen him? He is a right little ladies-man. Whenever I see him, he has the girls all hanging around him,” Harry laughed, then sobered, “how is he?”
“Scared, he was so upset after you were attacked, but he’s been a little quiet lately,” she told him.
“I’ll try to spend some time with him the next week, maybe helping with his homework.” Hermione stared at the boy with an incredulous look.
“Hey, I’ve been doing well since I returned this summer,” Harry pulled Hermione to him, so she snuggled into his body.
“Well, you’ve been in the Hospital Ward half that time, with no distractions.”
“How’s Ron been?” The pair had not spoken about Ron since before school started.
“Like a jealous idiot, he’s been spouting all sorts of nonsense about you,” she told him, careful not to say anything he had been doing.
“Honestly, Mi, I feel like he isn’t a friend any longer. After what he did in fourth year and the way he reacted to the broomstick in third year,” Harry went over his reasoning as Hermione shot up, narrowing her eyes at him.
“What did you call me?”
“Mi!” Harry squeaked as his girlfriend turned into a demon, “I thought I would try it out,”
“Well, think again, buddy, only Cepheus ever gets away with calling me that, and that’s not that often,” she said sternly.
“Yes, Ma’am, besides,” Harry grinned, “Hermione is such a beautiful name,”
“Good, thank you,” Hermione melted, giving him a kiss on his nose. The thestral-drawn carriages came to a halt outside the village of Hogsmeade. Once again, Hermione helped Harry out of the carriage. They greeted several friends from different houses as they walked to the Three Broomsticks with Harry leaning on his cane. They entered the bustling Inn, which seemed busier than usual. Given that it was a Hogsmeade weekend, Hermione realised why it was so busy. They managed to make their way to the front.
“Oh, hello, you two, are you looking for the old dog?” the barmaid laughed.
“Yep, where is he?”
“Ol’ high and mighty reserved a room for you to use,” Rosemerta explained, leading them down a back passage. She opened the door for the pair allowing them to see Sirius already inside with Amelia Bones. Hermione grinned at Harry, but the boy missed it as he hugged his father.
“How are you? How is the leg?” Sirius asked, looking his son over. Harry answered as he took a seat opposite Madam Bones.
“It’s not too bad, a little sore and stiff,” Harry responded. Hermione was glad he answered truthfully.
“Unfortunately, the investigation has hit a dead-end, we think someone was imperioused to put the snake in your dorm, but we haven’t found the wand that did the Imperius curse,” Bones admitted.
“Did you just come to update us on the investigation?” Hermione asked innocently. Harry looked at his girlfriend, knowing she was never that innocent or sweet.
“Actually, no, we have got an announcement,” Sirius replied, taking Amelia’s hand. She flushed red but gave him a sweet smile.
“You’re dating!” Hermione squealed so un-Hermione like it threw Harry.
“You’re right; she is smart,” Amelia commented.
“Probably clocked us as soon as she entered,” Sirius told the woman proudly like Hermione was his daughter. Though with her dating Harry, she practically was family.
“She’s the smartest and most beautiful witch I know,” Harry bragged a little bit, making Hermione duck her head, but she had a pleased smile on her face. “So, how long have the pair of you been dating?”
“We’ve been working together a lot on the Dumbledore case, plus with our history, it was natural to end up being together,” Sirius explained, a little anxious. He wanted his eldest to be OK with the witch because he really liked her. He felt like it was time to settle down, maybe have some more children before he got too old, if he could have them.
“Madam Bones,” Harry had a solemn look on his face, Sirius’ heart plummeted to the ground, “are you able to take care of the mutt? Feed him, water him and occasionally take him for walks.”
“You little bugger,” Sirius swiped his head as Hermione and Amelia burst out laughing.
“I’m sure I can keep him well trained; they say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, but I definitely like to keep my mutts up to scratch,” Amelia answered through her laughter.
“I think you’ll do. Welcome to the family,” Harry grinned at his father.
“When are you planning on telling Cepheus?” Hermione asked.
“Well, this is still pretty new, but we’ll probably tell him at Christmas,” Sirius replied, “I hope you have dress robes, Hermione?”
“Why do I need dress robes?” Hermione eyed the trickster suspiciously.
“We will be holding the Black annual ball. Everyone important will be there. When I was growing up, they were the highlight of the social year,” Sirius responded.
“I thought you didn’t like all that stuff?” the girl asked.
“House of Black needs to return to the political arena. Though these are significant social events to let one’s hair down, so to speak, they are also where all deals and alliances are made,” Sirius explained.
“Even Ministry balls could not compare to how much backroom dealing got done at a Black Ball,” Amelia added, “Many laws and legislations began at Balls such as these,”
“Did your mother and father hold these balls?” Harry asked.
“Not really, Grandfather Arcturus was the real power behind these balls and the family,” Sirius returned, before turning darker, “when he got sick, the family got darker, Abraxas Malfoy was leaning on the family to take up with Voldemort. Pollux, Arcturus’ cousin, was trying to take over as Head of House Black, and he followed Voldemort religiously.
“Just before Voldemort was banished, Mother tried holding a ball, but none of the neutral side nor the government would come. I hear Pollux tried while I was in Azkaban,” Sirius finished.
“He tried, but he was loonier than your mother. Unfortunately, it was a good thing he died before your grandfather,” Amelia added. Harry was quite interested to hear about his family history; he drank the information up.
“So, this will be the first one in a few years,” Hermione said aloud.
“Yes, we’ve already had many RSVP’s back, including Minister Fudge and several important families, including the Selwyn’s, Longbottom and regrettably Lucius Malfoy amongst others,” Sirius ticked the names off with his hand.
“He has to invite them even if Sirius doesn’t like them,” Amelia tried to explain.
“Will we be safe?”
“Balls have been typically neutral ground. However, Amelia is providing some Aurors to keep everyone safe,” Sirius returned.
“Well, it’s obvious you aren’t using Hárasteorra Hall, and Grimmauld Place is disgusting,” Hermione found Harry staring at her in surprise, “if you think about it logically, Harry, Sirius doesn’t want many people knowing Hárasteorra’s location so it must mean he’s using somewhere else.”
“She’s correct. That one is a keeper,” Sirius winked at Hermione, making her blush as Amelia nudged him with her elbow. “We’ve got a smaller manor in Yorkshire. I was planning on giving it to you as a wedding gift.”
“Good thing I’m not getting married yet.” Now it was Harry’s turn to blush. “So, when is all this happening?”
“Well, the house-elves are opening up and cleaning Gaderscipe Nest, so we plan on you going to the school ball on the twenty-fourth, then we’ll pick you up early Christmas day to spend with the family. Boxing Day, we’ll have the ball, then you’ll return to Hogwarts early January,” Sirius answered. Instead of the frown Harry expected, Hermione was giggling.
“What’s the matter?”
“Gaderscipe, it literally means Marriage in Old English,” Hermione laughed outright, “so Gaderscipe Nest is a newlywed’s nest.”
“I think she’s lost the plot,” Harry suggested, seriously worried about his girlfriend as Sirius looked at his watch.
“Right, it should be time for our appointment at Gringotts,” he suggested as Hermione sobered up. Harry realised a fireplace blazed against the far wall as Sirius took a pinch of Floo powder and called out Gringotts. Amelia followed suit, then Hermione followed finally by Harry. Harry emerged into a private room inside of Gringotts Bank.
“Good afternoon,” Sirius greeted the stern-looking goblin, “we have an appointment with Account Manager Maglugg and Duggat.”
“Come this way,” the goblin grunted, leading them through the halls of Gringotts until they reached Maglugg’s office. After knocking, the four of them entered to see Maglugg sitting behind his desk with the Potter goblin standing next to the desk.
“Greetings, Maglugg, another fine day out there,” Sirius greeted the goblin.
“I’m sure it is, but I’m stuck inside an office with no windows,” Maglugg answered, grumpy as ever. He looked at the two women carefully. “Now, before I continue, are you sure you want your associates to hear everything we are going to discuss?”
“Yes, I’m absolutely sure. I’ve got no issue with them hearing the whole lot,” Sirius responded.
“Right then, we finally finished our audit at the beginning of September of the Potter Account. We have also been working with the Family services Investigation team for the Wizengamot,” Maglugg began, then looked to Duggat.
“Lord Rendlesham, you are still the recipient of the Potter estate, but as you were adopted, you will not receive any of the Potter titles, which will become extant. James Potter was the last of the Potter bloodline, so his title shall die with him unless Her Majesty decides to bestow it upon some other family,” Duggat explained, “but all assets, land, property and businesses are to be given to you, sir,”
“But I wasn’t his son,” Harry sat back in his chair, stunned.
“No, he did leave you a letter. Perhaps that may explain his reasoning,” Duggat explained, a lot nicer than his colleague. He was also younger than Maglugg. The goblin handed over a letter to the boy, who unsealed it.
4th October 1981
I hope you have been told the truth, but you may be very angry with me. When I was in the first year, I met Lily Evans and instantly had a crush on her. I knew my best friend liked her, but he gave up in our fourth year, so I tried to pursue her. When they began dating in the fifth year, I stepped back for the sake of our friendship.
At the beginning of our seventh year, Professor Dumbledore approached Lily and me and said that our world needed something to look forward to in this time of darkness. Lily reluctantly agreed to pretend to date me, although Dumbledore thought we were really dating. I was ecstatic but jealous when Sirius proposed to Lily valentines 1979.
Dumbledore pressured Lily and me to become married; it would be a light in the darkness. I argued with Lily for hours until she agreed, and we had a big wedding, which was broadcast on the Wizarding wireless and across the Prophet and Witch Weekly. By October, I even became bored with being a celebrity while fighting Voldemort’s forces. We all escaped to New York.
A few months after our return, Dumbledore approached me about using the Potter money to fund the Order after an Order meeting. My parents had been dead for two years, and I had sole control. I refused, but he threatened me. He knew about Sirius and Lily; knew she was pregnant with his baby. I allowed him access to some of the funds.
We were all called into his office a few days after my meeting, where to my horror, he obliviated Lily and Sirius of their relationship. He planted the idea of Lily and I being fully married, and you were my child. Shamefully I let him continue as I was still in love with your mother.
While we were hidden under the Fidelius Charm, Lily fought her obliviation. Somehow, she knew I was not her real soul mate. Still, I did not say anything to her playing the doting father and adoring husband.
I feel something is coming, though I do not know what, so I wanted this letter to tell the truth of who your real father was. If I am dead, I want all my possessions to go to you. I loved you like you were my own son even though you were not my blood.
I hope you can forgive me, but I will always love you.
Your adoptive father.
Harry wordlessly handed over the letter to Hermione, unsure what to think of the man he had thought was his father for fifteen years. He wondered if his life would have been different if Sirius and Lily had not been obliviated.
“You can’t think like that, Harry,” Hermione told him softly, seemingly knowing what he was thinking, as she handed the letter to Sirius. “For all his thoughts, he still loved you like you were his own.”
“How do you know what I was thinking?” Harry shook the thoughts from his mind to look at his girlfriend.
“I can read your mind,” she answered mysteriously before hugging him, “What did James leave Harry?”
“Well, your trust fund is down to three thousand Galleons, and the Potter family faults are worth 6.5 million galleons in liquid assets with another three hundred thousand in various heirlooms and books. Most of the businesses had been sold, but you now own three properties,” Duggat looked through a dark ledger, “a manor in Wiltshire, a holiday home in Cornwall and a beach house in the United States.”
“What about the property in Godric’s Hollow?” Harry asked, confused.
“We have no records of the Potter owning a property in Godric’s Hollow,” Duggat answered.
“Because the House belonged to the Dumbledore family,” Sirius supplied while scrutinising the goblin. “Why is the Potter portfolio only worth that much? The Potter’s should have been an Ancient and Noble family; they were related to the Peverell’s. They should be worth a lot more.”
“We have come to the crux of the problem,” Maglugg stated gravely, “Albus Dumbledore has been stealing from Harry for many years.”
“What!” Harry and Sirius cried.
“As Harry’s guardian, the man has had access to all his funds; he sold all the businesses for quite a bit of profit.” Duggat explained, “and has been providing monthly stipends to the Weasley’s, Dursley’s, Mundungus Fletcher, Severus Snape and to himself, and Hogwarts.”
“Why the hell did you not stop him?” Sirius grabbed the goblin up. Immediately two pointed pikes were at his throat. Harry had not realised there were other goblins in the room. Sirius slowly put the account manager down, holding his hands in the air.
“Gringotts is deeply sorry. The Potter’s have been one of our most prominent financiers for thousands of years. However, we were told the same lie as everyone else; Harry Potter approved of the transactions Dumbledore were performing on his behalf,” a deep voice spoke, and a wizened goblin stepped from the shadows.
“Director Ragnok, it’s been a long time since we last saw each other,” Sirius bowed deeply to the newcomer. The other’s followed Sirius’ example
“Yes, last time we met, you were at your Grandfathers’ knee,” Director Ragnok had a rich voice though he looked impressive with an air of authority.
“I’m sorry, Lord Rendlesham, I should have watched over your finances more carefully. Please do what you will of me,” Duggat prostrated himself before Harry.
“What happens to the accounts now?” Harry ignored the goblin on the floor to Hermione’s horror.
“That depends on you. You have an heir fund of ten million Galleons that you will not be able to access until you come of age. You also have four million Galleons, sixteen thousand Sickles and eighty Knuts being transferred from the sale of the Basilisk,” Maglugg explained.
“Have you taken out the monies for the victims?” Harry asked.
“Yes, each victim will receive five hundred thousand galleons each-“ Harry cut the goblin off.
“I would like to open a new account, in my name two million Galleons from the Basilisk to go in there with the half the liquid assets from the Potter Accounts and all the heirlooms,” Harry began, then turned to Duggat, “would you wish to be my account manager?”
“This is highly unusual,” Ragnok suggested.
“Well, he was the Potter Accounts Manager, so Harry is merely hiring him as his personal manager,” Sirius knew what Harry was doing.
“Perhaps Maglugg could oversee him, so nothing like this happens again,” Harry suggested, “I want you to invest the other 3.5 million liquid assets in businesses both Mundane and Magical that you think will profit me, you will receive ten per cent of the profit.”
“How about twenty-five?” Duggat grinned at the boy.
“I’ll only go as high as thirty,” Harry suggested with a twinkle in his eye.
“Done,” Duggat agreed before realising the boy had gone up and not down. Sirius laughed, knowing the goblin had been pranked. Harry knew exactly what he was doing from the very start.
“Now, the other two million galleons with various Knuts and Sickles I want to be donated to the Black Foundation,” Harry continued, then changed tack, throwing everyone, “You were saying about the other victims?”
“Yes, Mr Filch will receive the monies for his cat; we have identified relatives of Myrtle Warren and Nicholas De Mimsy-Porpington. The Mind Healer Miss Weasley is seeing has already paid for. Miss Clearwater, Master Finch-Fletchly and Miss Granger shall be receiving theirs soon as shall Mr Weasley,” Maglugg continued.
“Has the monies stopped going to all Dumbledore’s recipients?” Sirius asked.
“Since we discovered Lord Rendlesham was your heir,” Duggat responded.
“May I have a copy of the files? We are building a case against Dumbledore, and those would be good evidence,” Amelia asked, getting a nod from Ragnok. Maglugg immediately began duplicating the files that had the transactions in.
“Can you retrieve the money?” Sirius asked, looking at the three goblins.
“Not after all this time, though the Weasley’s have only begun receiving money in the last six years, they being the most recent, we are still unable to retrieve the monies,” Ragnok explained.
“Eh hem, there is one last thing we have to inform you of,” Duggat looked at Maglugg uneasily.
“What is it?” Harry asked, unsure if he wanted to know.
“We discovered a Betrothal Contract between Harry Potter and Ginevra Weasley,” Maglugg admitted.
“WHAT!” Everyone looked as Hermione exploded.
“It was signed between your magical guardian and Molly Weasley,” Duggat continued.
“How were they able to circumvent the Lord’s signature?” Amelia asked.
“As Arthur Weasley had not truly taken up the lordship, he had no say, so Mrs Weasley signed on behalf of the Prewitt family.” Sirius looked them over; they were not telling him something.
“That bitch is not getting her claws on you,” Hermione uttered.
“Hermione!” Harry cried shocked. She looked ashamed, but her face was still defiant.
“However, as Harry is actually Harry Anteres Black, that should have negated the contract,” Amelia supplied, allowing Harry to sigh in relief. A lightbulb went off in Sirius’ mind; the contract was still active.
“The contract is still active. How?” Sirius asked as Harry deflated. Hermione clutched him.
“As the contract was filed away, we have only recently seen it, but the wording and intent are from some ancient contracts, which supersede almost everything. Even though Harry is a Black, the contract is still enforceable.”
“Does Ginny know about it?” Hermione growled
“Unfortunately, we are unaware if any parties except for Mister Dumbledore and Mrs Weasley know of the contract,”
“Is there any way out of the contract?” Amelia now asked.
“We think the contract is ironclad,” Hermione sobbed into Harry’s chest, “but we may have a way of destroying it; we have to do more research first,”
“All right, we’ll be in touch,” Sirius told them.
“Thank you for keeping faith with the bank, Lord Rendlesham, Your Grace,” Ragnok bowed, leaving the room. Harry signed the paperwork for his new account, promising to take a look at the Potter residents at some point soon. Sirius had to double sign as Harry was still underage.
The four humans were escorted out of the office once their business was completed, back to the private Floo room.
“Harry, are you alright if we head straight to Hárasteorra Hall?” Sirius asked. “Do you want to talk about the Betrothal Contract?”
“To be honest, I don’t really want to think about it. I really don’t think of Ginny that way,” Harry held Hermione to him as they looked at the other pair. “We’ll talk about it soon once I’ve processed it,”
“OK, see you soon, son,” Sirius replied. Harry hugged his father, saying goodbye to Amelia. Several minutes later, the two teens were back in the private room in the Three Broomsticks. “Now you can yell at me?”
“What the hell was that? Why am I receiving money from you? I’m not a charity case,” Hermione exploded, allowed to let her anger out.
“During the summer, we had the goblins render the Basilisk I fought during the second year, but I didn’t want a single knut from its sale. However, I was talked into taking half, while the second half went to the victims of the Basilisk, including Mrs Norris and Moaning Myrtle,” Harry explained, “it wasn’t charity, just what you were owed. Think of it this way, it will pay for the rest of your tuition at Hogwarts with plenty left over for books.”
“I’m sorry I yelled at you, Harry; I know it wasn’t your fault,” Hermione’s eyes had lit up at books. He took her in his arms and kissed the girl softly.
“I would never think of you as a charity case, probably because you would kill me if I did,” Harry grinned. “Do you want to discuss the betrothal contract?”
“Not really. I really need to go to the library and do some research.” That’s what Harry loved about the witch when in crisis, go to the library and research.
“OK, let’s get some lunch before we look around Hogsmeade.”
“Only if I get to pay,” Hermione demanded as Harry held the door open for her. He limped out behind her, heading back to the hustle and bustle of the Inn’s central part when the feeling of utter desperation almost overwhelmed him.