Scion of Gryffindor
22 - Aug 31 pt 2
Harry / Tonks ship
Back at ground level, Griphook escorted them to Snargtooth's office. Entering, Harry found more people there than he was expecting. Tonks was suspiciously watching her mother talking with Narcissa. Mr. Wordsmith and Snargtooth watched all three of them in amusement. Everyone looked up at Harry's entrance.
"Erm, hi," Harry said.
Narcissa stood first and moved toward Harry. "Lord-Baron, thank you for what you're doing for me." Taking both hands in hers, she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.
Harry heard Tonks growl. He looked over at her in amusement. "Easy, Nim."
Narcissa and Andromeda glanced at each other. Narcissa turned back to Harry, and Andromeda turned to her daughter. "Nim?" the sisters chorused, mouths twitching into smiles.
"Oh, bloody hell," Tonks muttered.
"Is there something I should be told about, dear?" Andromeda asked.
Harry sighed. "Could someone seal the room, please?"
Between Snargtooth pressing a series of points on his desk and Max Wordsmith and Kingsley Shacklebolt throwing privacy and sealing spells around, the room took all of five seconds before it was more private than Cornelius Fudge's office loo. Everyone except Tonks looked at Harry expectantly. She appeared to be amused at everyone's actions.
"Thank you," Harry dryly said. He sighed again before turning to Andromeda Tonks and unconsciously straightening his shoulders. "Nim and I are seeing each other romantically, if that's what you're asking."
Andromeda let loose a squeal more appropriate to her daughter than a woman of her age and buried Tonks in a hug.
Narcissa smiled at Harry. "Despite my . . . estrangement from them, I feel you've made an excellent choice, Lord-Baron."
"Please call me Harry, Lady Malfoy."
"Ms. Black, and call me Cissy. Despite the history I know you share with both my son and soon to be ex-husband, I do hope that we can be friends or at the least friendly acquaintances."
Harry looked at her in surprise. He recognized that he knew very little about her, but an offer of friendship wasn't something he was expecting. He was only moving forward on the offer of pulling her back into the Black family because that was what Sirius had wanted. "I . . . would like that, I think," Harry finally admitted.
Mr. Wordsmith coughed politely. "There are still a few matters to attend to, Lady Malfoy," he pointed out.
"Of course," she agreed. "Do you have a preference on how I should phrase the anti-dark oath?"
Wordsmith pulled out a parchment for her to read, and then he started gathering the divorce papers together.
"Harry?" Nim's voice pulled him over toward her and her mother. When he was close enough, she pulled him into a hug. "Thank you for giving me an aunt."
Harry smiled sadly. "I know what family is worth, Nim. I'm just glad that I can help yours." He turned to Andromeda. "I'm afraid that I can't help you reclaim your remaining sister, Mrs. Tonks, though Draco may or may not come around."
"I thought I told you to call me Andy," the older woman chided him gently. "I'm hopeful that my nephew will choose the right path. Don't fret over Bella. The girl I grew up with is long gone. What's left in her place is . . . just another Death Eater." She shook her head and smiled at her daughter. "I'm overjoyed to hear about you and Nymphadora."
"Tonks. Please call me Tonks," Nim muttered in a resigned tone.
"Of course, Nymphadora," Andy humored her.
Tonks just sighed.
Harry laughed at the pair. "Say," he said to Andy, "not that I don't want you here, but why are you here?"
"I invited her," Tonks said. "When Snargtooth mentioned Aunt Cissy was coming, I wanted Mum here to welcome her sister back into the family. I hope it's okay that I invited her."
"That's fine," Harry assured her. Remembering something Tonks had said earlier in the day, he asked Andy, "Ma'am?"
She gave him a pointed glare.
"Andy," Harry corrected himself. When she smiled and nodded, he continued, "Nim mentioned that you had some business training? Do you think you could help me out with that? I have inherited two large estates, and I've no idea how to manage them."
Andy's eyes lit up. "I would be happy to help you, Harry. Cissy was the family genius on the social scene of the pureblood families, though."
"And Andy was better on the administrative side of things," Cissy said without looking up. Andy smiled at her sister and didn't disagree.
"Andy could probably help you go through the account information you already have," Shack mentioned to Harry.
Andy and Tonks looked curiously at Harry, so he explained, "At my request, Gringotts gave me the transaction history on the Black family account for the past two and a half years." Harry handed the papers to Andy, and she started to shuffle through them.
Cissy looked over. "Since the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?"
Harry nodded. "I'm hoping to go through it and make sure nothing questionable went on since then. I'm mostly concerned with someone who had access, Bellatrix for instance, withdrawing money for Voldemort and that bunch."
"And me?" Cissy quietly asked.
Harry met her eyes. "Forgive me, but yes. I do not know you, Cissy. Until this morning, you were married to Voldemort's head Death Eater and the mother of my biggest irritant at Hogwarts. I have no reason to trust you."
She nodded. "Good. Until you know me, you shouldn't trust me. A healthy Slytherin attitude."
Harry smiled ironically. "Alistair nearly put me in Slytherin. Said I'd do very well there." At the confused expressions of most of the room, he explained, "The Sorting Hat spoke with me at my sorting."
"You're on a first name basis with the Hogwarts Sorting Hat?" Wordsmith asked slowly.
Harry just shrugged. "My time at Hogwarts was . . . interesting."
He shook his head and changed the subject. "So you were a Slytherin, Cissy?"
She shook her head, much to his surprise. "Ravenclaw. Lucius and of course Draco are Slytherin, but I wasn't. Much to my family's disappointment." She turned back to Wordsmith.
Harry glanced over at Andy. "Your family is confusing."
Tonks barked out a laugh. "YOUR family, my Patriarch," she teased before kissing him quickly.
"By the by," Cissy said without looking up, "do you intend to take Nymphadora as Lady Black or just as a mistress?"
"Why does everyone assume I want a mistress?" Harry asked the ceiling. "For the moment, we're simply dating," he answered the question.
Cissy looked over at him. "That answer, while honest, is politically naÃ¯ve, Lord-Baron. You are politically powerful. Whom you choose as your wife matters a great deal in magical England."
He just looked at her. "Are you suggesting, Lady Malfoy, that I should wed for political reasons rather than love?"
She flushed before nodding. "My apologies. You're right, of course, Harry. Forgive me."
"Nothing to forgive. You were just trying to point something out to me. Andy was right; you're better at this pureblood social scene than I can ever hope to be. Would you consent to giving me some pointers?"
She slowly smiled. "Oh, the irony. Lord-Baron Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, asking the ex-wife of Lucius Malfoy for social guidance."
Harry's face darkened. "If you don't want to help me -"
She raised a hand. "No, My Lord, that wasn't my intention at all. I was just recognizing the irony of the situation. I would be honored and overjoyed to help you out. In fact, you will probably need someone to deal with your social correspondence soon. I'm sure you've received a great deal of such posts that requires responses."
Harry looked momentarily confused. "No . . ." he said slowly.
Cissy frowned. "As the Black Patriarch, you should have received at least three invitations or announcements in the past month. I know exactly what they were because I received them for Lucius. The Ministry's Equinox Ball, the eldest Greengrass daughter’s thirtieth birthday party, and the Confederation's September meeting announcement."
Wordsmith turned to Harry. "Wherever you're living, is it unreachable by normal owl post?"
Harry, who'd recently redone all the wards over Gryffindor Keep, knew exactly what wards were there now as well as the ones he'd replaced. He nodded. "For the most part, yes. At least in the way you're meaning, I think. Three specific owls are unaffected, but only the Daily Prophet deliveries and ministry owls were allowed through the ward. At least until a few days ago, anyway."
Cissy looked impressed. "That is some powerful and ancient magic."
Tonks muttered something that Harry chose to ignore.
Wordsmith said, "If you're normally unreachable, the owls addressed to Baron Black would have gone to the ancestral Black home."
"Which is under the Fidelius Charm," Harry said.
This wasn't a real surprise to the solicitor. "In THAT case, the accumulated mail is piling up in the Ministry Department of Owl Post. Just announce yourself there, and they'll hand it all to you for a modest storage fee."
Harry frowned. "I can do that, but there has to be a better way of handling this."
"Ask them to re-direct the drop off point. There is a post drop station in Hogsmeade and another in Diagon Alley that specialize in doing just that."
Harry nodded and turned to Shacklebolt. "Another place for us to stop today."
Shack shrugged. "If you're willing, I can do that in your name. I'll just need the Black signet ring."
Shack chuckled. "The rings are magical, Harry. If I'm freely carrying yours, it's universally recognized that I'm acting on your behalf."
Harry thought that one through for a moment. "Not that I don't trust YOU, Shack, but what happens if the holder starts acting irresponsibly or loses the ring?"
"They're tied to you. You can summon them back to you with a thought."
With a nod, Harry pulled the Potter ring off of his hand and handed it over. He also fished the Black ring out of his pocket and handed that one to Shacklebolt as well. "Thanks, Shack."
He nodded. "If you're not here, I'll just meet you back at the Keep?"
At Harry's agreement, he left.
"You've surrounded yourself with loyal retainers, it seems."
Harry looked at Cissy coolly. "Kingsley is my friend, my teacher, and THEN my employee. He is NOT a lackey."
Cissy blinked once. "Please forgive me, Lord-Baron. I'm . . . not used to your ways."
"Our Harry's one of a kind," Tonks said with a forced cheerfulness. It was clear that she was trying to lighten the mood.
Harry let her. He gave a half-grin. "Well, I'm apparently the Patriarch of a family that contains a metamorph, a Ravenclaw out of a family of historical Slytherins, and the previous Patriarch was a wrongfully imprisoned animagus. If I'm one of a kind, Nim, that just means I'm fitting in with the rest of the Blacks."
"Did he just accuse us of being a family of freaks?" Andy asked Cissy.
"I think he did."
Their smiles took the sting from their words.
Harry, however, was wincing anyway. "I was trying to make a small joke," he said quietly. "I'm sorry if it was in poor taste. I would appreciate it if nobody EVER uses the word 'freak' when it comes to me, okay?"
Nim wrapped her arms around Harry from the side. "Hey, if anyone understands how much that word hurts, it would be me." She leaned in to rest her forehead on his temple and whispered into his ear, "We'll talk later, okay? Right now, you need to sit up and be all Patriarchal."
Harry took a deep breath, nodded, and straightened himself up again.
Andy looked horrified at the reaction her words had caused. "Baron Black, please accept my apologies for -"
Harry waved it off. "Don't worry about it, Andy. There is a lot of personal history that the rest of us don't know, so I expect this won't be the first time one of us has bruised feelings.
"Now, what have you found in the account transactions?"
Andy took the change of subject with a nod. "Nothing out of the ordinary is in here. Not much activity, just some housekeeping withdrawals, until the last couple months. Then it was all Mr. Wordsmith's fees and you taking items out, Harry."
Harry nodded and turned to Snargtooth, who had been watching everything silently. "Who currently has access to the Black vault?"
"Only you, Lord-Baron, or those who are demonstrably working on your behalf. Mr. Shacklebolt with the signet ring or your house-elves, for instance."
Cissy signed a parchment with a flourish and laid the quill down. "There," she stated in satisfaction.
Harry saw a pale blue burst of light radiate out from the parchment.
"Congratulations, Ms. Black," Wordsmith said, shuffling the parchment into a stack.
"Thank you, Mr. Wordsmith." She pulled a different parchment toward her and drew her wand. Reading aloud from the parchment, she said, "I, Narcissa Aludra Black, do hereby swear to not knowingly aid in any way, shape, or form any evil wizards or their followers; nor will I perform any evil acts from this day forward. By my magic and life, I so swear." The pulse of violet light was much brighter this time.
She put her wand back away and took a breath. "That is that."
"Indeed," Wordsmith agreed. He turned to Snargtooth. "Are there any issues with opening a private vault for Ms. Black and transferring the galleons she now qualifies for?"
Snargtooth shook his head. He leaned forward and again spoke to the communications crystal on his desk. When he was finished, he said, "The new key shall be available to you shortly, Ms. Black."
Cissy nodded to the goblin and turned to Harry. "Do you have any orders for me, Lord-Baron?"
She almost smiled. "I am no longer under the protection and control of the Malfoy family. By rights, you can give me instructions for family business."
Harry's face closed down. "I didn't do this to get another retainer, as you phrased it."
"That's not what she means, Harry," Andy interjected. "She is free, make no mistake about that. By the way she phrased it, she's looking for something to do. It was just a very formal way of doing it."
Cissy nodded. "My apologies. Just a little joke. As you can probably guess, Lucius didn't give me a great deal of freedom, so I have nothing taking up my time. I could, for instance, sort through your Black family post."
Harry tilted his head and a ghost of a smile formed. "Are you asking to be my social secretary?"
Tonks started coughing violently. Snargtooth's smile widened a notch.
"I suppose that I am, aren't I?" Cissy admitted after a moment's thought. She watched in amusement as her niece regained control of herself. "Yes, it is a bit beneath my previous . . . social station. However, this is the only thing I know how to do and that I enjoyed during the entire time I was married to Lucius. Besides, I need something to fill my days until I find something else to do."
"You're a lot less formal than I would've expected," Harry observed.
She laughed before sobering quickly. "The wife of Lucius Malfoy was expected to exhibit a certain level of decorum in public. He ruthlessly enforced that. Nothing could happen that might make him look bad."
Harry snorted. "Except that whole backing a Dark Lord thing."
"Indeed. How about this? I will act as your social secretary, as you call it, for two months without payment. It will take at least that long before we know enough about each other to determine if we want it to be a permanent arrangement."
Harry nodded slowly. "Don't accept or reject any invitations until you've spoken with me."
"Very well. At least for the moment, I'll likely be staying at the Leaky Cauldron. How -"
"No, you'll be staying with us," Andy corrected her. She flicked a glance at Nim. "As my daughter has . . . other sleeping arrangements, you're welcome to stay in her room after she clears it out."
Nim groaned. "What, precisely, are you implying, Mother?"
"Nothing at all, dear. Is there anything about your sleeping arrangements that I should be told?"
Tonks mumbled, "Why do I even bother? I'm never going to win."
Cissy fought the expression of amusement off of her face. "Thank you, Andy, I accept." She turned back to Harry.
Before she could say a word, however, the door opened and Griphook entered, placed a key in front of Cissy, and departed. While the door had been open, Shack also entered the room.
"Here's your mail, Harry, for both families." The former auror dropped a small pouch on the table and handed Harry the two rings. "Future post has also been redirected to the owl station here in Diagon Alley."
Harry placed one ring back on his hand and put the other in his pocket. He then pushed the pouch toward Cissy. "Any personal stuff, please don't open. Anything else is all yours."
She nodded. "How shall I contact you?"
Shacklebolt's eyebrow was riding high. "I would strongly discourage you from giving that information out."
"She just became my social secretary, Shack."
"More importantly, she just accepted you as her Patriarch," Wordsmith put in. "Add to that the oath she swore. It would be in her best interest to help you and impossible to hurt you in any significant way."
Harry gnawed on his bottom lip. "My apologies, Cissy, but that isn't information you need right now." He sighed. "I'm sorry, but even Andy doesn't know where we live."
"Ah, so Nymphadora IS living with you, then?" Andy asked. Harry appeared to ignore her words, but his slight blush was all the reward she needed.
Harry, grateful for Cissy's apparent acceptance of the information restrictions he was placing on her, continued, "One of us could apparate to Andy's place every other day or so. Would that work?"
Cissy frowned. "In the short run, yes. I really should be living in your household, however."
Harry briefly entertained a daydream of telling Draco that his mother had asked to move in with Harry. He shook off the thought and responded, "Perhaps eventually, but for the moment I have to think about my physical security. Even if I trusted you with it, I can't expect you not to talk with your son, and until I have some assurances about him . . ."
"Very well." She didn't seem particularly upset by Harry's answer. "Communication crystals like that one," she pointed to the one on Snargtooth's desk, "are also possible."
"We could probably enchant something like that easily enough," Tonks thought aloud.
"Let's do that, then. Cissy, we'll get something to you within a few days, okay?"
Harry turned to Wordsmith. "Did you send a copy of the revised lease agreement to Madam Bones?"
"What's this?" Andy asked. Cissy simply smirked.
"Baron Black owns all the land of Knockturn Alley," Wordsmith answered after Harry's nod. "He asked me to re-write the lease contracts for the shop owners for when they expire."
"If she's going to be helping me with the business end of this, she should probably know what it says."
Andy's eyes were wider than normal. She took a deep breath. "Harry, you really do need a business manager, don't you?"
Harry looked at her but tilted his head toward Snargtooth. "Isn't that what Snargtooth is?"
"Not precisely," Snargtooth answered. "I'm simply the Gringotts representative to your accounts. I handle the banking paperwork but nothing else."
"You've had me doing some of your business dealings already, Harry," Wordsmith mentioned. "While I'm perfectly capable of doing it, frankly I'm over-qualified and over-priced to do such things."
"You think I need a business manager, too?"
Wordsmith shrugged and nodded.
Harry sighed. "Andy, do you want a job?"
"Historically, the Patriarch has kept all the business dealings in his own hands," she said.
Harry grinned. "I'm not your typical Black Patriarch."
The women made rude noises, and Shack laughed. "There's an understatement if I ever heard one," Kingsley said.
Andy pulled out her wand and held it up. "I, Andromeda Polaris Black-Tonks, do hereby swear to act honorably, confidentially, and in the best interests of, and under the direction of, Baron Black in any business dealings I do on his behalf. On my magic I so swear." Another pulse of violet light came at the end of her words.
"I'll take that as meaning you want the job," Harry said dryly.
"Yes," Andy acknowledged. "We'll discuss payment later."
"Joy. Something for me to look forward to."
Most of the people in the room laughed.
"What is it about Blacks and astronomical names, anyway?" Harry asked.
Cissy and Andy shrugged. "That's just they way it's been for generations."
Shaking his head over the vagaries of the family he just inherited, Harry turned to Wordsmith and Snargtooth. "Okay, I suppose that any business dealings should go through Andy, then. She'll need access to the accounts. I'm still available if either of you need me, however."
Both solicitor and goblin nodded. Snargtooth filled out a form rapidly and slid it across for Harry and Andy to sign. He then handed two keys, smaller than the family vault keys but similar in appearance, to her.
Harry looked around the room. "Anything else?"
"Isn't that enough?" Shack asked in amusement. "You just brought the Potter fortune back into an active status, and you've totally restructured the Black family over the past twenty minutes."
"What can I say? I was bored." Harry tried for a flippant answer. "Seriously, if any one of you, who now seem to be almost all of my major advisors, have any suggestions, please say something. I may be a Lord-Baron, The Boy Who Bloody Lived, and all that rot, but I'm also an under-educated and scared sixteen year old."
"For what it's worth, I think you're doing marvelously," Shack offered.
Tonks nodded agreement when Harry looked at her. Looking around the room, Harry received encouraging smiles and nods from everyone except the goblin. Snargtooth held a blank expression.
"What do you think, Snargtooth?" Harry asked, honestly curious about what he was thinking.
"I think," the goblin answered slowly, "that I'm watching the beginnings of potentially the most powerful wizarding family in the world."
"Talk with Remus about the communications crystals," Harry suggested to Tonks.
"Remus? Why him?" she asked.
"My dad and Sirius used to have a pair of communication mirrors. From what I understand, they made them themselves. Remus probably knows how they did it. Heck, if you can figure it out, you could start marketing the things."
Tonks slowly grinned. "Now there's a thought. I'll talk with him about it, then."
"Did you get your armor replaced?"
"Yep. You can strip search me later for it if you want," she offered.
As he started stammering a reply, she laughed and held the door to Ollivander's open for him.
Harry shook his head, resigned to her teasing. He was tempted to call her bluff but couldn't quite dig up the bravery to actually do it.
"Ah, Mr. Potter. Welcome back. Your item is ready." The storekeeper held out the etched, silvery band to him.
Harry took it and examined the armband. Perhaps an inch and a quarter wide, it had both the Potter and Gryffindor crests etched into it as well as what looked like a grim, a werewolf, a lily, and a stag. The silvery-grey material, Harry knew, was not silver but rather a platinum and mithril alloy. It had also been hugely expensive to commission, a fact that had delighted the jeweler.
"It is a marvelous item, is it not?" Ollivander whispered.
Harry absently nodded his agreement and slipped it over his right wrist and up until it was on his forearm, just below his elbow. The armband resized itself until it fit snugly but wasn't in the least uncomfortable. With his robe or sweater sleeves down, it was completely covered.
"Please try it," Ollivander invited.
Harry thought for a moment then held his hand up and said, "Lumos globus."
Normally, the Light Globe Charm produced a small ball of light in front of the caster's wand. It hovered in place and lasted perhaps an hour. It was the precursor to the Everlasting Torch Charm. Harry had never been able to get the charm to work wandlessly, which is the reason he picked that particular spell.
Two balls of light burst into existence over Harry's hand. Though they were small, each one was putting out enough light to put a muggle torch to shame.
Ollivander shielded his eyes. "Oh, very good, Mr. Potter! I'm so glad it works so well for you."
"Finite." Harry blinked at the purple splotches in front of his eyes. "Yes, it does seem to work, doesn't it?"
He thought about it for a moment and then pulled out his wand. "Lumos globus." One normal-looking ball of light appeared two inches in front of his extended wand.
Harry frowned at it. He turned a confused look onto Ollivander.
The storekeeper just chuckled. "As I'm sure your . . . ancestor has been trying to teach you, intent is everything in spell casting. As you had your wand in hand, only that focus was being used."
"So what would happen if I intended to use both at the same time?"
Ollivander immediately raised a hand. "Please do not do that, Mr. Potter. The last time such a thing was attempted, I was forced to replace your grandfather's wand and most of my wall."
Harry laughed and put his wand away. He then wordlessly cancelled the ball of light that was floating in front of him. "Thank you for your time, sir. What do I owe you?"
Ollivander waved a hand in denial. "As I said before, nothing. It was an honor and a joy to craft such a marvelous item. That is all the payment I require."
Harry nodded. "In that case, sir, I thank you. If there is anything I can ever do for you, please -" He abruptly stopped as a thought came to him. "Tell me, sir, could a wand be produced from a basilisk fang?"
Ollivander raised an eyebrow before he slowly nodded. "Yes it could. A most powerful wand could indeed be produced. However, I would categorically refuse to craft such a thing for the wand would only be good for the dark arts." He tilted his head to the side. "If you have such a fang, Mr. Potter, I implore you to keep it away from any dark wizards."
"Very well, sir. As I was saying, if there is anything you ever require of me, please do not hesitate to ask."
"Have a good day, Lord Gryffindor."
Bunny (Black Patriarch receiving social invitations) by Chris.