HPBFL CH 20

It seems the last chapter was rather controversial. There was method in my madness and reasons for everything that happened in that chapter. These pan out over the next few chapters and are a catalyst for a big event, so while I am sorry that people did not enjoy it, it happened for a reason. I decided to release the chapter early, so it might help everyone with the last chapter. 

CHAPTER TWENTY: THE REAL HARRY BLACK

Sirius Black sat at his desk reviewing several sheaves of parchment for the Wizengamot session that was coming up. But his mind was elsewhere; he was worried about Hermione Granger and his son.  Cepheus had sent a letter to him to say Harry had been ignoring him for the last few days. Reports from inside the school and the latest Witch Weekly indicated that Hermione had split up with Harry. A chime bought him out of his musings, a face appeared in the fireplace.

“Good Morning, Sirius, I am sorry it is early, but would you mind if I stepped through?” Harry’s Mind Healer, Laura Whitmore, asked.

“Sure, come on through, Laura,” Sirius frowned, wondering what Harry’s Mind Healer would like to speak about. Moments later, a tall, dark-haired woman stepped through, brushing off her green healer robes. “Please take a seat.”

“Thank you, Sirius; I wanted to catch you early as my son wants to go Trick or treating this afternoon.” The pair had become comfortable with each other after four months of therapy for Harry.

“I wish I had gotten to know the children sooner, to enjoy taking them out,” Sirius sighed. “However, you are not here for me to be melancholy; what can I do for you today?”

“Straight to the point. I am apprehensive about Harry; as you know, we had a session last night, and he did not seem like himself. He was regressing; he spoke about his doubts that Hermione ever loved him and seemed completely numb,” Laura told her clients’ father. Sirius looked alarmed. It had been several days since he had last heard from Harry.

“Do you mind if I bring someone else in on this talk?” Sirius asked the woman; she nodded her assent. Sirius called for his head elf, who popped into the office, “can you get Remus and Narcissa to join us?”

“Yes, Master Black,” the steward elf spoke and disappeared. After several moments, a knock came at the door allowing the entrance of Remus and Narcissa. They both greet Laura as they knew her quite well.

“Can you repeat what you told me to Remus and Cissy?” Sirius asked.

“Last night, I had my regular weekly session with Harry, and I am getting worried. Last week he seemed a bit more anxious than expected, but yesterday he was really doubting himself, saying Miss Granger did not love him anymore and seemed numb to anything else. When I suggested talking to Miss Granger, he shrugged and appeared morose,” Laura reported.

“I am beginning to worry about Harry and Hermione; the last letter I received from Harry was last Tuesday, and it does not mention anything significant.  I received this from Cepheus this morning,” He handed over the parchment to his two friends, “what do you think, Laura?”

“I honestly felt like I was talking to a zombie; I was going to ask if Harry had somehow got hold of some Muggle drugs?”

“Not that I am aware of!” then Sirius looked at Remus as the man looked up.

“Dumbledore!” the pair spoke together.

“God damn that meddling old fool, I have half a mind to pull Harry out of the school.”

“What are you going on about?” Narcissa asked, looking between the pair. Laura looked just as confused.

“You know, during the summer, we had to purge Harry of fifteen years’ worth of potions and charms,” the pair nodded; Laura had been told about Dumbledore’s machinations, “It sounds to me like Harry has been potioned or charmed again.”

“Hermione has split up with him,” Narcissa spoke softly, handing over a copy of Witch Weekly, “Obviously, this is just a rag, but I had a letter from Draco confirming it. Hermione has been seen kissing and smooching up to Master Weasley the last two weeks.”

“Do you think Hermione has been drugged too?” Remus asked.

“We never even considered Dumbledore interfering with Hermione; our focus was completely on Harry that we forgot to protect the girl,” Sirius slumped into his chair for a moment, then he sat up, fire in his eyes. “I am going to march right up to the school and shove that man’s wand right up his- “

“Sirius!” Narcissa looked scandalised.

“You cannot do anything at the moment; you will jeopardise Amelia’s investigation,” Remus told his friend gently.

“Well, what do you propose?” Sirius snarled. “I will not have my son on potions and charms.”

“Let’s leave it until the weekend, then we can kidnap Harry from Hogsmeade and find out what the hell is wrong with him,” Remus suggested.

“Remus is right, Siri,” Narcissa laid a hand on Remus’s arm. “Unfortunately, we cannot just storm the castle whether like it or not.”

“I am going to bloody murder him if he is interfering with either of my children,” Sirius growled.

Granger Residence, London

Snow sprinkled London’s paths on Halloween, the expensive houses on the Granger Estate were dark except for a few central lights. The residents tried to dissuade anybody from coming tricking or treating. Most kids avoided the rich houses, even if they thought they would make good pickings.

“It is so quiet without them,” Isabella told her husband as they settled in for dinner. He smiled at her over a glass of wine.

“That makes it great, no bickering, no loud noises from Ceph’s room or trying to pry Hermione from her books,” William returned quite content.

“I know, but I miss them,” Isabella continued, “What do you think of Hermione’s latest letter? She didn’t talk about Harry once.”

“I must admit I am a little concerned. All she has ever spoken about is Harry, then suddenly, she stops. Do you think they had a fight?” her husband asked.

“I don’t know, but Harry seems like such a gentleman that he would discuss things with her. Do you think we should invite them for Christmas?” Isabella asked as a loud pop sounded towards the front of the house.

“Must have been a car backfiring, damn tourists always coming through here with dodgy cars.”

“So, what do you think? Do we invite the fiancée for Christmas?” Isabella bought his attention to her.

“I’m sure she said something about a ball, and then another ball, Harry’s family are holding one,” Will replied, leaning back in his chair as he took another bite of his steak. Isabella was just about to answer when an explosion shook the house. Husband and wife looked at each other as they scrambled away from the table.

“Where’s that magic thingy Harry’s dad gave us?” she screamed.

“On the bedside table, I forgot to put it back on after my shower,” Will returned. He leapt towards the staircase, followed by his wife, when both the front and the back door opened, allowing people to enter in black robes and masks that were bone white. A light flashed towards William, and suddenly he was screaming as the worst pain he had ever felt streamed through his body. Isabella tried to reach him but found herself in the arms of someone holding her.

“So, you are the mudblood’s parents, nothing special about you!” a silky voice said as a dark-robed person entered.

“Come closer, and I’ll give you something special,” Isabella shouted.

“Ohh, this one is feisty,” the man spoke, then lazily aimed his wand at her husband, causing him to scream and cry out.

“What do you want? Please stop.”

“There is nothing we want, my dear; you are going to be our plaything, then you will die so we can send a message to your mudblood daughter and her betrothed,” the man returned, firing another curse at her husband.

“Ministry of Magic, Auror Division, drop your wands,” a female voice shouted from the front door.

“Oh, look who’s come to play, it’s my traitorous wife’s niece,” Lucius Malfoy said. Nymphadora Tonks fired a curse at Malfoy before a second and third Auror joined her. Then the front room of the Granger’s became a war zone. The Death Eater dropped Isabella, who crawled towards her husband then tried to drag her husband out of the line of fire towards the Aurors, who she knew was the magical police force. She saw a splash of green light then a body fell nearby, it was a man wearing dark red robes. The front room was like a light show as different colour curses darted back and forth.

“Give it up, Malfoy, you’re surrounded!” Tonks shouted.

“I think not, sweetie, I’d be dead if you had me surrounded,” Lucius Malfoy shouted. Isabella was terrified; if this were what Hermione and Cepheus had to deal with, she would pull them out of school and move to another country.

“Yaxley, Northrop, grab the muggles,” Lucius shouted but was hit by another salvo of red coloured jinxes. Another jinx was fired; Isabella heard a man scream out in pain, then the Auror female swearing. She barely saw another green light pass over before everything went quiet.

“Boss, Northrop is dead,” a man spoke.

“Let’s go; there will be more of them coming soon,” Lucius told the other man. Isabella had no time to respond as she heard the first man mutter something, then a green light hit her.

Cattermole Residence, Worcestershire.

“Head Auror Scrimgeour tells me there is a report of a disturbance at the home of Reginald Cattermole,” Auror Proudfoot told his partner; this week, it was a green Auror named Roberts.

“Are we expecting danger?” the boy’s eyes seem to light up. They walked down the dark street towards the address Scrimgeour had given them.

“I don’t know, but you are to stay behind me at all times with your wand- “Proudfoot stopped as they found themselves underneath a giant skull with a snake protruding from the mouth.

“Dark Mark!” Roberts uttered. Proudfoot proceeded more carefully, but the house looked silent and dark. The door was hanging off its hinges as they entered a bloodbath. Roberts fled the home to throw up in the front garden. Proudfoot let him as it seems whoever had attacked had gone. He tapped his Auror badge.

“Auror Proudfoot reporting from 27 Chislehurst Gardens, the residence of Reginald and Mary Cattermole,” He spoke into the badge, “I need a full team of Forensic Witches here; it looks like a werewolf attack.”

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Roberts rested against the door. It must be a muggle saying, Proudfoot thought. He was about to say something when he heard a sobbing sound coming from somewhere. Proudfoot looked around, seeing a shelf. Moving over towards it, he realised the frame had been moved.

“Give me a hand with this,” Proudfoot asked his partner. Between them, they moved the bookcase to find a door behind it. Approaching carefully, the Auror tried to open the door, but it appeared to be locked though there was no lock visible. “Finite Incantatem,”

“Try Alohomora,” his partner suggested when his charm did not work. He tried that. Still, the door would not budge.

Aperta Ianua,” he tried a Master level spell he had learnt. The door finally clicked open. Proudfoot bought his wand level to find three children huddled into a cupboard.

“Where are Mummy and daddy? They shoved us in here when we heard howling,” the eldest, a boy, told them.

“There was no full moon tonight,” Roberts suggested.

“That’s what makes this case even weirder,” Proudfoot muttered as he tried to shield the three children from the bloodbath.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Halloween. Neville Longbottom considered the day, looking at his best friend. Something always happened to the dark-haired boy; his mother was killed with his pseudo father. Also, the day that something usually happens at Hogwarts involving Harry Black, fighting a troll in the first year, first petrification in the second year, Sirius Black attacking the fat lady, and finally Harry being chosen for the Goblet of fire. But now Harry seemed to be looking off into the distant, his head entirely elsewhere. Cepheus had approached Neville that morning, worried for his brother and sister. While Hermione seemed to be turning into Lavender Brown, Harry was turning into a zombie.

“Are you alright?” Neville asked, drawing Harry from his thoughts.

“Sorry, got lost there for a moment,” Harry replied, “did you say anything?”

“Thinking about Hermione?” Neville asked, worried for both his friends. He turned his head to look at Hermione, who was sat down the table with Ron, Lavender, Seamus, Dean and Ginny. Hermione laughed at something Ron had said, surprising Neville how different she appeared to be. But Harry did not seem to care; he was walking around like Inferi or a ghoul. Neville looked to the head table where the boy caught Dumbledore watching Harry and the Gryffindor table intently. Alarmed, Neville knew he would send a letter to Sirius later this evening with his suspicions. He would also have to speak to Draco.

“Yes, girls,” Harry replied, once again going off into space. Neville turned back to Hermione just as she said something to Ron touching his arm, then got up, coming over to Harry. Harry smiled at his best friend, who returned the smile. However, her smile never reached her eyes.

“Harry, I’ve been doing some thinking. Before we, erm, get married, I would like to experience life. I want to go to the Yule Ball with Ron,” she explained all in one breath. Neville stared at the bushy-haired teen as if he had never seen her before.

“What? But we are betrothed. Why would you want to go with anyone else?” Harry asked, gobsmacked. Neville noticed there a bit more spark in the other boy’s eyes. He looked more alive than Neville had seen him in nearly a week.

“I’m not sure we should have become betrothed. I didn’t really think it through when I accepted,” Hermione returned, then left the dark-haired boy alone, sagging on the chair. He was positive she had loved him. Did she agree because he had pressured her into it?

“I know what you’re thinking; you did not pressure her into anything,” Neville hissed as a loud wailing cut across the chatter. Harry looked up to find his Aunt Andi with a piece of parchment in her hand, crying loudly. Immediately he was up limping towards her, meeting Draco in the middle. The dark-haired teen never noticed Dumbledore receiving some owl mail looking downcast at the news as the wizened Headmaster leaned over to Professor McGonagall. Harry was focused on his Aunt as he moved around the table and pulled her into his arms. Draco took her other side.

“I-it’s Nymphadora, she was killed in the line of duty,” She wailed harder as Harry and Draco began escorting the sobbing woman from the Great Hall.

Meanwhile, Professor Dumbledore quickly strode from the hall as Professor McGonagall strode towards the Gryffindor table, trying not to let her emotions show.

“Miss Granger, Master Black, your presence is required in the Headmaster’s office,” McGonagall said, frowning at the giggling girl before her. This was not like her usual student; in the last week, her homework had been under-par. She had been going to write to Miss Granger’s parents this weekend and speak to the girl Friday to find out what was going on, but that had all changed now.

“Yes, Ma’am,” Hermione replied as she got up alongside her younger brother, who had been sitting nearby.

“I’ll come with you, love,” Ron suggested, not noticing the look he received from Neville and Professor McGonagall.

“Professor, I think it would be better if I went with Hermione,” Neville suggested, noticing at once something serious was happening.

“Yes, Mr Longbottom, I think that’s a good idea.” Ron’s protests died on his lips as the transfiguration teacher gave him a look. Neville and the Professor followed the pair as Hermione chatted to her brother about Ron and his family, how big they are and how wonderful they were. McGonagall wondered if Miss Granger might be drunk. They entered Dumbledore’s office to find Amelia Bones stood by his desk.

“What’s happened?” Hermione seemed to ‘sober up’.

“There were several attacks this evening by Death Eaters. Unfortunately, your parents were targeted. Somehow, they managed to get past the wards,” Amelia was rigid, but McGonagall could see she was pale herself, “Our Aurors managed to get there, but all except one was killed; he died on arrival to St Mungo’s. I’m sorry to have to tell you, your parents were killed in the attack.”

“No,” Hermione denied it for several moments, then wailed, collapsing to her knees. The teen pulled her brother into her arms as they both sobbed together. Minerva crossed over to the two sobbing children laying her hand on Hermione’s shoulder.

“You lost Aurors?” the old Headmaster asked.

“Several, including Nymphadora Tonks,” Amelia replied.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Professor McGonagall told the Director. No one noticed the piece of paper that arrived on Dumbledore’s desk. He quickly read, frowning at the contents before looking back up at the group assembled in his office.

“This is all Harry’s fault!” Hermione suddenly cried out. The Deputy Head caught an almost triumphant look on the Headmaster’s face but dismissed it as imagination.

“Harry was not there,” Professor McGonagall said gently.

“If I hadn’t become friends, if we weren’t dating, my parents would still be alive,” she shouted, almost slipping into a common form of speaking.

“That’s not true; Harry loves you and would do everything to protect our parents,” Cepheus pulled back from his sister, tear stained as he shouted at her.

“They’re not your parents anyway. You’ve still got a father!” Hermione shouted nastily. Cepheus looked at her incredulous, much like the rest of the adults. He burst into tears and ran into the arms of Amelia. Neville took Hermione into his arms; she sobbed into his chest.

“Perhaps I had better take her up to the Gryffindor tower,” Neville recommended.

“Yes, please do, Mr Longbottom. I will be along shortly,” The Head of Gryffindor house agreed, sending the pair off, then turned back to Amelia and Cepheus. “I think you should take Cepheus to his father and brother. I am sure Mr Black will be home with his Aunt.”

“Yes, thank you,” Amelia turned back towards the fireplace.

As Professor McGonagall and the Grangers approached Dumbledore’s office, Harry had bought Aunt Andi to the Hospital Ward. He and Draco helped her into her office, where he found a bit of parchment and a quill. He quickly wrote a note before enchanting it. The note disappeared.

“What are we going to do?” Draco asked, seeing his Aunt sobbing harder.

“We are going to get her to Hárasteorra Hall,” Harry told him.

“Let’s go, Andi, we will get you to Ted,” Draco promised softly. He helped the older woman up. Harry went first, calling out ‘Hárasteorra Hall’ into the fireplace.

“Sirius, Sirius,” Harry yelled as he emerged into the parlour of his home. He heard the noise of shoes as Draco emerged with Andromeda. Sirius, Remus, Narcissa and Ted Tonks came into the parlour.

“Oh darling,” Ted spoke as his wife fell into his arms. Harry could see his eyes were redlined from crying.

“Are you alright?” Sirius asked the two boys.

“We’re both fine, but Andi got the letter that Tonks had been killed in the Great Hall,” the three men winced at that.

“We got the news half an hour ago. We did not think Andromeda would get the message. We were going to come let her know,” Sirius told the blond boy. Ted Tonks had led his wife from the room allowing the others to talk freely.

“Have we got any idea how she was killed?” Harry asked. He saw the look between the three adults.

“Tonks was killed defending the Granger Parent’s,” Remus spoke up finally after an awkward silence.

“Did Hermione’s parents make it?” Harry asked though Sirius took note his voice had taken on a dull tone. The head shakes he got confirmed his worst fear as he dropped onto his knees, shocked for his former girlfriend and best friend. He had liked the Grangers; however, his head seemed to be gathering with fog once again.

“There’s nothing you could have done; they were behind the best wards, you told me,” Draco tried to help him.

“It obviously wasn’t good enough,” Harry muttered, then spoke as if he were a robot.  “I better go back and comfort her.”

“I would not,” someone said as another voice yelled.

“Harry!” Abruptly the teen had a small figure hugging him. Harry knew it was Cepheus, so he buried his head in the boy’s shoulder as the eleven-year-old cried.

“Harry, do you want to take him up to the bedroom we made for him,” Sirius suggested gently. Harry nodded and picked his younger brother up, who was quietly sobbing now. As Harry disappeared up the stairs, Sirius led the group into the drawing-room.

“What happened, Amelia?” Sirius asked.

“With the attack or Hermione?” she asked wearily, accepting a drink from a house-elf.

“Hermione first, Ceph looked pretty distraught. I would have expected him to be with his sister,” Remus said.

“I went to Hogwarts to personally to tell Miss Granger and her brother. She reacted, at first, like anyone who had heard their parents had been killed, then she started to blame Harry,” Amelia explained.

“That is bullshit,” Draco uttered. For once, his mother did not correct him.

“I agree with you, Master Black, but she said if she had never got together with Harry, her parents would never have been targeted,” Amelia recounted what happened. “Cepheus shouted at her, saying Harry had nothing to do with their deaths. She told him, quite viciously, they were not his real parents, and he had a father still alive,”

“Shit,” Sirius uttered as the others gasped.

“How could she do that? To a child no less,” Narcissa asked the silent room.

“Because she’s horrible, she was after Harry for his money,” Draco said viciously.

“I saw them together; they were in love even before they knew it,” Remus said softly.

“Why would she say that to her brother?”

“I’ve been asking that myself,” a voice said from the door; they all looked to see a tired Harry looking at the door without Cepheus. A few minutes in Cepheus’ Room

While the adults and Draco had gone to the drawing-room, Harry had taken the boy up to the bedroom they had made for him. It was coloured all in dark blue with different patterns on the walls in swirls. Cepheus had a large bed, desk, and some beautifully carved wooden wardrobes. Another door led to a private bathroom. Harry laid the boy down on the bed and pulled up a fluffy blue blanket to cover the small boy. On instinct, Harry stroked his brother’s black hair.

“How are you doing, bud?” Harry asked quietly.

“Sad, why would she say those things to me?” Cepheus seemed to regress into a much younger child.

“Who said what?” Harry asked, confused.

“Mi told me Mummy and Daddy weren’t my real parents, that I still had a dad.” Harry continued to stroke the boy’s hair, but his mind was whirling furiously. His Hermione would never say anything like that; she loved Ceph.

“Shh, she is just upset. People say mean things when they are upset,” Harry replied, soothing the boy. Slowly the Ceph’s eyes drooped, and he fell into an exhausted sleep. The teen watched his brother for another ten minutes, stroking his hair. Harry quietly called for Dobby.

“Master, call me,” the little elf spoke quietly.

“Can you watch Ceph? If he wakes up, you come to get me immediately,” Harry ordered.

“Yes, Master,” the elf nodded solemnly. Harry took one last look at his brother before pulling the door up and making his way back down the stairs.

Back in the Drawing Room

“Why would she say that to her brother?”

“I have been asking myself that,” Harry said as he entered the room then added, “he’s gone to sleep, but Dobby is watching him,”

“You looked like Hermione had just slapped you just before Andromeda got the note,” Draco commented.

“She told me she was not sure the betrothal was a good idea,” Harry replied, sinking into the chair. Narcissa stared at him.

“In your letter after you told her, it appeared she was delighted with the betrothal,” Narcissa said.

“She was, but about a week and a half ago, only a few days after I asked her, Hermione suddenly got colder. This last week I have barely spent any time with her, and now she tells me she wants to go to the Christmas ball with Ron,” Harry told them all, then admitted, “I caught them kissing last Friday, wow it seemed a lifetime ago.”

“Really?”  Draco looked at his cousin, surprised.

“We were in the library. I went to get a book when I come round the corner they were kissing.”

“Do you think Ron’s been dosing her up with something?” Sirius asked carefully, trying not to reveal anything. He now could see what the Healer had meant that morning.

“It is a possibility,” Harry shrugged.

“What’s wrong with you? Snap out of it; something is affecting Hermione,”

“I do not know; I just think she realised what her life would be like married to me,” Harry returned, then got up. “If you will excuse me, I’m going to go to bed.”

“We will see you tomorrow, son, and speak to Professor McGonagall about the Grangers funeral arrangements.”

Everyone wished the dark-haired teen good night, and he left looking despondent.

“There’s something not right with him, either. It’s not like him to give up so easily,” Draco commented.

“We know,” Sirius replied. Draco looked at the three adults, absolutely gobsmacked.

“What do you mean?”

“We have had a few letters, and we are worried he has been potioned or charmed by Dumbledore again,” Sirius sighed.

“Damn right he has. This last week he has been walking around like a fart in a trance,” Draco explained using a Mundane term. “Ceph as approached both Neville and me because Harry has been completely ignoring him.”

“What about Hermione? You have first-hand knowledge,” Remus asked.

“She’s so high on love potions it is not even funny, I tried in the last week to speak to Harry, but he just brushed me off. I was going to write a letter, and have you kidnap one or both,” Draco answered.

“Our hands are tied with Hermione unless we can become guardian to her. We cannot get access, but Harry is a different story. We will try another purge on him,” Sirius suggested. They talked for another half hour before everyone went to bed.

Harry woke up, his stomach aching, and his throat felt raw. He tried to remember what had happened, but his memory was all fuzzy. He groaned involuntarily, waking up the warm lump lying at his side.

“Dad, Remi, Cissy; He’s awake,” the lump, Cepheus, called out. Harry tried to say be quiet, but he could only gurgle.

“Take a sip of this,” a gentle voice said as a blurred hand helped him with a glass. The soothing liquid cooled his throat. Someone put his glasses on his head. Narcissa was right beside him with the glass in his hand. Cepheus was under his armpit hugging him tightly while Draco, Sirius and Remus stood at the end of the bed.

“What happened?” Harry croaked out.

“What is the last thing you remember?”

“Honestly, standing in front of the mirror getting ready for another day of school,” Harry replied, his voice getting stronger.

“You have been charmed and potioned again,” Remus replied, “We, erm, purged you but found traces of potions and charms to dull your senses and to not question anything,”

“I remember feeling foggy and something about Hermione’s parents dying. Hermione!” Harry shot up in bed but was immediately pushed down again.

“We think Hermione has been charmed or potioned too; according to Draco and Ceph, she has been hanging around with Ron a lot, and you said you caught her kissing Ron,” Sirius answered. Harry looked at them, stunned.

“That old goat fucker, I am going fucking kill him.” Everyone stared at Harry as he released a torrent of foul language.

“You are not too old to put over my knee. Watch your language, young man, in front of your brother,” Sirius snapped at the boy.

“I am sorry, Ceph,” he hugged the boy, coming to love him the last few months.

“I suspect you agree with our suspicions that Dumbledore did this,” Remus teased the boy.

“Erm, yes,”

“I don’t understand, dad said Harry’s ring would stop him from being charmed when he told me about the necklace he gave me.” Ceph said, showing the thin chain he had on with the Black Coat of Arms.

“Unfortunately, the ring is not fool proof. Dumbledore is one of the greatest minds today, so he could have got around it. But I suspect it was the potions from Snape that did the most damage,” Sirius explained.

“I am still going to kill the motherfu- “Harry looked like he was about to swear again when a new voice interrupted him.

“No, you will not!”  Amelia Bones stepped into the room.

“Come on, Ceph, let’s go get some breakfast,” Draco knew they were about to discuss something Ceph’s unprotected mind should not witness. The boy hugged his brother again and went off with Draco.

“I cannot tell you too much, but Dumbledore is under investigation. Anything you or your father might do will jeopardise that,” Amelia told him.

“Well, this is pants,” Harry thumped the bed. “What about Hermione? She needs to be purged the potions and charms.”

“It’s a complicated situation,” Remus replied. Harry was not used to having competent adults in his corner, even after four months of having a father.

“What do you mean complicated?”

“Unfortunately, we cannot just kidnap her, or that would arouse Dumbledore’s suspicion,” Amelia explained, “and we need the proof from the tests that should give Dumbledore’s signature.”

“After the death of her parent’s, her guardianship is in question. Currently, Albus Dumbledore is her emergency guardian as the Headmaster. However, we are going to fight that and try to have Andromeda installed as Hermione’s guardian,” Remus continued.

“But it may take some time to legally fight it,” Sirius concluded.

“So, what, I just let my ex-best friend canoodle with my girlfriend?” Harry asked bitterly.

“Unfortunately, yes. We know you might want to fight Weasley and Dumbledore, but for the moment, you are going to have to grin and bear it,” Sirius told his son. “I really want to punch the old goat, but you have adults fighting for you now. We will do everything in our power to help you and Hermione. If I must, I will use every last Galleon and every bit of political power I have to help you.”

“Thanks, dad.” Harry embraced his father and did something he had never done before. Sobbed into the man’s chest. The others left the room to give father and son a moment of peace.

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