Scion of Gryffindor
8 - The Public Will Reading
Harry / Tonks ship
The next few days after their shopping trip were busy for what Godric had coined as the "new House of Potter".
They finished arranging Gryffindor Keep, and more importantly, Harry's summer training started.
Kingsley, in addition to meditation and the rudiments of occlumency, was teaching Harry potions. Unsurprisingly, with a decent teacher who actually explained the "why" of each ingredient, Harry was picking up the subject quickly. For practical experience and practice, he was building a stock of general household potions.
Godric didn't start Harry's wandless training immediately. Kingsley's meditation techniques were a good starting point for wandless training, and he promised to further Harry's wandless talents after he went further in his meditation. To fill in his allotted training time, Godric worked with Harry to harness his Mage Sight.
Most spells, it turned out, were very difficult to see simply because they moved so quickly. A stream of spells was visible after a bit of practice, but individual spells were proving nearly impossible for Harry to spot or track.
A sustained spell, on the other hand, was very much visible. Levitating an object, for instance, produced a halo of sorts around the object that Harry could easily see. Glamours, wards, and other such sustained spells all had their own color schemes and visible patterns that Harry was slowly learning to recognize.
He was also surprised to note that breaking a spell, as opposed to dispelling one, was visible as a shower of sparks.
Remus began Harry's apparition training and polished his transfiguration skills, showing him how and what to conjure as physical barricades during dueling practices.
During one such training session, Harry broached a subject he had been thinking about. "Remus, could you teach me to be an animagus?"
Remus wasn't surprised by the question. "Not very easily. James, Sirius, and Peter had a study guide they wrote as they were going over the theory. Last I knew, Peter had it, as he was the last to transform. I honestly don't know where it is now." He smiled at Harry's despondent look. "I didn't say I couldn't. Only that it would take some time. Next time we're in Gringotts, let's look for it in the Black vault. If it isn't there, I'll talk with Minerva about helping you out, okay?"
Harry frowned. "I was hoping to learn about it over the summer."
Remus laughed. "It took your father and Sirius YEARS, Harry. You want to do it in two months?"
Harry grinned impishly. "Well, with you teaching me, why couldn't I?"
"Flattery will get you far, young man, but not THAT far."
"He's flattering you, Remus?" Tonks asked as she entered the dueling chamber that they group was using as a practical classroom. "Should I be jealous?" She batted her suddenly ridiculously exaggerated eyelashes at Harry and gave him a deep sigh and a smitten look.
Remus laughed. "Sorry, Nimma. He's not my type." He smiled over at the blushing young wizard and said, "I think we're done for the day. Just think about which types of stone you'd use to block which categories of spells, and we'll discuss it tomorrow. I'll leave you to Tonks's tender mercies."
"Ooh, he's at my mercy, is he?" Tonks asked, now with a wide and somewhat lecherous smile.
"Only if you can beat me in the duel, Mistress Nimma," Harry replied with a smile, thoroughly enjoying the teasing with the two.
In truth, Tonks was his favorite teacher. In addition to auror tactics, she was teaching him how to cast silently. With her outgoing personality and sense of humor coupled with her metamorph abilities, the classes were always great fun for the young wizard.
And then there was the fact that she was also his dueling instructor. He already had a solid, if somewhat unorthodox, skill level before she started working with him at what she called the intermediate auror dueling techniques. These classes always taught Harry a great deal, and he enjoyed every minute of it. He had yet to win a full duel with her, though.
August the 10th came upon Harry almost without his noticing. Having four demanding but excellent teachers living with him, the days had flown by.
This morning, however, Dobby had left out one of his formal robes for him after his shower. It took more than a few seconds before Harry remembered that this day was the day for the formal reading of Sirius's Last Will and Testament.
After a quiet breakfast, they talked about further training instead of dwelling on the upcoming reading. When the appointed hour arrived, the four living magicians made their way to the warded room that contained the only floo connection in the Keep.
"You could probably apparate safely; you're learning it as quickly as your mother did," Remus explained at Harry's disgusted sigh when the fireplace came into view.
"But I'm not licensed," Harry finished the argument the two of them had had the previous day. "Say, could we stop by the ministry and get my apparition license today?"
"Don't see why not," Kingsley said as Tonks flooed out. "The ministry will recognize that you're of age without making a big deal of it. Actually, some of the individual workers might, come to think of it. But the purebloods will try to keep it quiet if at all possible. At any rate, you may as well get some benefit from that law."
"Great," Harry said, smiling for the first time that day. "Leaky Cauldron."
Fortunately, Tonks caught Harry as he came flying out of the fireplace behind the bar in the Leaky Cauldron, with Remus and Kingsley following quickly behind. A series of quick Scouring Charms later, the four walked out into Diagon Alley and made straight for Gringotts. Whether by luck or fate, nobody noticed Harry this time, so he made it into the assigned conference room without being molested.
After stopping just inside the door to the crowded room for a moment, Tonks led the three men toward an older couple. "Mum! Dad!" she cried. After hugging each of them, she turned back around. "Harry and Remus, I'd like to introduce you two to my parents, Andromeda and Ted Tonks. Mum, Dad, this is Harry Potter and Remus Lupin. I'm sure you remember Kingsley?"
The stately looking witch, showing her Black bloodline in her hair color and bearing, smiled and offered her hand for a courteous shake. "Of course I remember your partner, Dora, and I've met Remus before. Mr. Potter, pleased to make your acquaintance. Please call me Andy."
Mr. Tonks smiled pleasantly and also shook Harry's hand and then immediately engaged Kingsley in a conversation about something or another.
"What are YOU doing here, Potter?" asked a snide voice from behind them.
Three wands were instantly drawn, but Harry had already recognized the voice. He turned around to face Draco Malfoy. "Hello, Malfoy."
Behind her son, Narcissa was watching the confrontation in quiet disgust. Having just seen Andy, the resemblance between the sisters was clear.
"Baron Malfoy," Andy interrupted, "Lord Potter has as much right to be here as does anyone." She shifted her attention. "Hello, Cissy. It's been a while."
"Andy," Narcissa responded tightly.
"Lord? Potter's a LORD?" Draco gasped out belatedly.
"Yes," Andy responded calmly. "Were you not aware that the head of the House of Potter carried the title of 'Lord' just as the head of the House of Malfoy is entitled as a Baron?"
Tonks was grinning widely by this point. "You know, cousin, technically you should be calling him 'Milord Potter'."
"NEVER!" Malfoy ground out, eyes wide in hatred and denial. He spun in place and stormed off to a relatively empty part of the room, taking a seat next to Professor Snape.
"My apologies, Lord Potter," Narcissa said quietly. "Draco, I'm afraid, has been unduly influenced by his father for far too long."
Unsure of what to say to the woman, Harry merely nodded noncommittally at her.
Narcissa looked at Andy for a moment before giving a quiet sigh and moving away without saying a further word.
"What was that all about?" Kingsley asked before Harry could.
"Cissy is desperately unhappy," Andy answered in a low tone. "She married because our father told her to, not because she loved Lucius. Since then, with everything that has happened . . . Well, she's in a position that she doesn't know how to get out of."
Harry was surprised. Though he admittedly knew very little about Mrs. Malfoy, the fact that she was Draco's mother had told him enough. Or so he had thought.
Harry's attention was caught by a wizened looking goblin moving toward the front of the room with a pensieve in hand. "If everyone will please take a seat, we shall have the public reading of Sirius O. Black's Last Will and Testament," he said as he reached the front of the room.
Harry and company sat next to the Tonks family as everyone else found seats.
In addition to the two Malfoys and a Snape, Harry also saw Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Molly Weasley, the four youngest Weasleys, and Hermione taking one corner of the seating area. Ron and Ginny waved to Harry when they saw him looking. Hermione smiled.
Harry smiled back at the group as he continued looking around. What he took to be a gaggle of reporters plus assorted ministry and bank personnel were in the remaining corner of the conference room. There were a dozen more witches and wizards that Harry didn't immediately recognize scattered around as well.
The goblin, meanwhile, had set the pensieve in action. "I ask that everyone refrain from questions or comments until after the recording is finished." As before, a small image of Sirius formed above the pensieve.
"Hello, everyone. I'm Sirius Orion Black, and this is my Last Will and Testament, recorded January 12th, 1996.
"Instead of getting all maudlin about things, I'm just going to say that I expect that I died doing something idiotically heroic. And if Snivellus didn't just snort in disgust at that line, I owe you a galleon, Professor McGonagall."
Most of the room laughed, as that was exactly what had happened. Snape looked very sour at this reaction.
"Now, on to the best part." Image Sirius rubbed his hands together. "Giving away all the blood money from the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, no matter how dishonorable they mostly were."
Andy Tonks almost smiled, and Tonks snickered.
"To Fred and George Weasley, I leave a trunk of items and books that my friends and I collected while in school. Maybe you can find some ideas for your store tucked away in there. My only request of you is to let Harry read the two books in there first.
"To Ron Weasley, Ginny Weasley, and Hermione Granger, I leave five thousand galleons each for being a better friend to my godson than I could ever be. Oh, and Ron, take Hermione out on a date, would you?"
Ginny grinned widely. Ron and Hermione, though smiling, were also both blushing furiously.
"To Arthur and Molly Weasley, I leave ten thousand galleons for taking Harry in when he so desperately needed it.
"To Albus Dumbledore, I leave all of my warm, woolen socks - yes, Harry did tell me that story once - and a bottle of hundred year old Napoleon brandy.
"To Severus - see, I DO know your name - Snape, I leave one hundred galleons a month on the condition that you provide Wolfsbane Potion to Remus and any other werewolves requesting it at each full moon. Snargtooth," one of the goblins in the front lazily waved a hand, "will provide the ingredients out of a trust fund for the purpose.
"To Alastor Moody, I leave five thousand galleons. Please help train Harry. I don't know the full story, but Voldemort will clearly keep coming after him until one or the other falls. I'd rather Harry lives to a ripe old age and has a lot of stories to tell before I see him again.
"To Kingsley Shacklebolt, I leave five thousand galleons. I also request of you to help train Harry and for the same reasons. Oh, and no offense, but I'm not all that sorry that you never caught me, Mr. Shacklebolt.
"To Narcissa Black-Malfoy, I leave fifty thousand galleons under two stipulations. First, you divorce that bastard husband of yours and renounce the Malfoy name. Second, you take a magically binding oath not to assist in any way, shape, or form the Death Eaters, Voldemort, or any other dark wizard or witch or any such followers for as long as you live."
Surprisingly, her expression didn't flicker.
"To Draco Malfoy, I leave thirty-five thousand galleons under the same conditions as your mother.
"Snargtooth has the paperwork ready if and when either or both of you want to move forward with this."
Draco's expression, however, most definitely did change. He looked nearly apoplectic with rage.
"To Andromeda Black-Tonks, I leave twenty thousand galleons as the dowry you were denied previously.
"To Nymphadora Tonks, the only first cousin once removed that I'll even acknowledge right now, I leave twenty thousand galleons. Find yourself a good wizard, Nymphie, and remember to live.
"To Remus Lupin, my last remaining brother by choice. Moony, I know you never let James or I give you anything, but this time you have no options. To you I'm leaving one hundred and one thousand galleons, one thousand of which must be spent within the next two weeks on clothing, furniture, and other personal items. You also are my chosen guardian for Harry, if he has not come of age by this point. I know you're a very private man by nature, Remus, but please find someone to share your life with. No matter what some blind, frightened wizards say, you're a good man, and you deserve a happy life.
"Lastly, I leave all remaining monies, property, and vault contents to Harry Potter." The image seemed to sigh. "Harry, I don't know what happened, obviously, but I DO know you well enough to know that you're probably blaming yourself for my death. Please don't. However it happened, please know that it was my choice. Remember me, but don't dwell on it. I'm with your parents now, and that's the happiest thing I can think of for myself, short of staying here for you. I'll give you the same advice I'm giving most of my friends. Look for a nice witch that you can spend the rest of your life with. Above all, remember to live.
"This is Padfoot, signing off."
The image dissolved, and the room erupted. The Weasleys were gasping, laughing, or staring in shock. Snape was glaring. Andy Tonks was crying silently.
"HOW DARE HE?" screeched Draco Malfoy. "He can't do that!"
"He can't do what, Baron Malfoy?" the unnamed goblin in front asked calmly.
"That mongrel mutt can't leave everything to Scarhead, can he?"
The goblin raised an eyebrow at the phrasing but answered the question, "I assure you, Baron Malfoy, the former Baron Black is perfectly within his rights to give anything he wishes to Lord-Baron Potter."
The scratching noises coming from the reporters’ area took on an even more frantic pace at these words.
Snargtooth spoke up, "Please let me know if you intend to accept Baron Black's offer, Baron Malfoy, Lady Malfoy."
"We will NOT be renouncing the Malfoy name, you subhuman thing, and to even suggest -"
Malfoy's tirade was cut off by his mother's quiet words, "Sit down and be silent, Draco."
Sputtering and glaring, Draco dropped into his seat and clenched his teeth. Harry fought to keep from snickering.
Into the tense silence, the goblin in front again spoke, "Will all named parties please see one of these bank representatives to arrange for disbursement of bequests, please? Lord-Baron Potter, please stay. Otherwise, thank you all for your attention."
The reporters made a scrambling dash from the room. The ministry representatives and other uninvolved spectators made a more dignified exit from the room. Giving Harry one last poisonous glare, Malfoy strode from the room as well.
For the moment, Harry stayed in his seat as most everyone else, Kingsley included, moved forward. Harry turned toward Remus and asked quietly, "What's with all the titles the goblins are using?"
"Goblins are very status conscious. They'll usually refer to a wizard by their full title or, in your case, the full title that everyone in the room knew at the time. You'll notice that they didn't refer to your barony until after the reading?"
"Sirius's. The titles mean different things for wizards than they do for muggles, Harry. Lordships are granted for services or honorable actions toward the wizarding community. Baronies are more or less automatic for sufficiently wealthy families. In your case, because you have two different titles from two different lines, you're technically a 'Lord-Baron'. Actually, the Potter name probably counts as a barony in its own right, but they also were awarded a lordship, therefore, the 'Lord Potter' bit."
"Confused yet?" Tonks asked cheerfully.
"I'll take that as a 'yes'," Remus said with a grin. "Don't worry much about it. Just know that in formal occasions, you're Lord-Baron Potter. Depending on the person, you could even insist on 'Milord' or 'Sire' as honorifics."
Tonks smiled. "Information overload I think, Remus."
"What happened to him?" Kingsley asked, peering curiously at Harry as he returned to the group.
"I was trying to explain his titles."
Harry snapped himself out of it. "So the title of 'Lord' is for services to the wizarding community?"
"Yep. Your family's was granted sometime in the early 1500's, if I recall. Helping to thwart a dark lord."
"So Riddle taking the title of 'Lord Voldemort' -"
"He is trying to corrupt the title," Remus explained.
For the first time, Harry relaxed a fraction about his title. If Voldemort was trying to corrupt an honorable title, then wearing it proudly would be just another small way of fighting him.
"- only -"
"- financial backer of ours!"
"If we beg nicely -"
"- would you please -"
"- PLEASE -"
"- come back into the store?"
"Why?" Harry asked, amused as always by the twins' antics.
"'Why?' 'WHY?' he asks," one twin (George?) lamented.
"Well, to be fair, he ran out the last time before he saw the result of him being in our humble store."
"Do you really blame me?" Harry wondered.
Both twins thought about it for a moment. "Naw, not really."
"Perhaps the line about playing 'Tonks-il hockey' was a bit over the top."
Kingsley's eyes bugged out as Tonks growled. He'd been standing post outside the door and couldn't get any answers from Harry or Tonks after they'd escaped the store the previous week. The laughing werewolf hadn't helped matters any.
Shaking his head, and wondering if he really wanted to know where the twins had picked up the Americanism, Harry asked, "Why did you need me to come back in, anyway?"
"You should've seen it," one (Fred?) said.
"Wall to wall, as far as the eye could see."
"Customers!" they chorused.
"That's what you wanted, wasn't it?" Remus asked.
"Yes, but they came in after Harry left."
"No doubt looking for the Boy Who Lived."
"Rumors abounded about you making the rounds of Diagon Alley with a lovely young witch on your arm."
"The pool among the Diagon Alley proprietors is at a hundred galleons as to who it was."
"Nobody recognized her."
"Or at least nobody admitted to recognizing her."
"Little Harry all grown up and dating mysterious witches."
"Makes my heart proud that we helped raise him from a naïve little cub."
"You guys are both mental, did you know that?" Harry asked in amusement.
They looked at him in amazement. "This is just now occurring to you?"
"Let me get this straight," Tonks interrupted the conversation. "You want Harry to come in, with a mysterious witch on his arm, only so that he can leave again?"
Both twins nodded solemnly. "It was great for business."
Harry and company broke into laughter.
Smiling happily, the twins left.
Hermione and Ginny looked like they would approach Harry, but Molly, after concluding her business with the goblins, shot Remus, Tonks, and Kingsley disapproving looks and shooed her children away from Harry. Ginny looked very frustrated at her mother's actions, so Harry called out, "We'll talk later," to the departing Weasleys.
After the room had finally cleared, the goblin who had been sitting in the audience moved toward Harry with a distinguished wizard following in his wake. "Lord-Baron Potter? My name is Snargtooth. I am the Gringotts employee in charge of the Black account. The wizard behind me is Maxmillian Wordsmith. He was the solicitor for Sirius Black."
The wizard in question gave an abbreviated bow. "Lord-Baron."
"Mr. Wordsmith. Both of you, please, I'm unaccustomed to all this formality. My name is Harry."
Both flicked their gazes to Kingsley, Remus, and Tonks. "We're not alone, sir, and we have several confidential items to discuss with you," Snargtooth said, ignoring Harry's words for the moment.
Harry smiled. "Then allow me to introduce you to my comrades. Kingsley Shacklebolt, Remus Lupin, and -" Harry paused and flicked a glance at her before finishing, "Tonks. They are friends. I'm not going to hide anything from the three of them, so you may as well speak in front of them."
Both wizard and goblin nodded. "In that case, call me Max," the wizard said as he took a nearby seat. "I understand that you are of age, Harry?"
"Yes, sir. Max," Harry corrected himself at a look from the older wizard.
Nodding approval at Harry's words, Max pulled a small attaché case out of his pocket and enlarged it. A stack of papers and a small box were pulled out and placed onto the table. "This is the Black signet ring," he said, pushing the box over. "You are not required to wear it as it isn't your bloodline, but for formal occasions, it might be a good idea. Some people will respect you more, the more signet rings you can legitimately wear."
Tonks suddenly coughed, part of it sounding like the word "Malfoy".
Max smiled. "Indeed, dear." He looked at her for a moment. "You're the daughter of Andromeda Black-Tonks, correct?"
As Tonks nodded, Harry said, "Thank you for reminding me. How do I go about un-disinheriting Andy and Tonks? For that matter, how do I disinherit the Malfoys and Bellatrix Lestrange from the Black name?"
"Reversing a disinheritance is only a few legal forms and a small ritual. I can owl all of that to you tomorrow. As for Lady and Baron Malfoy, I'd recommend you hold off on that." He paused before grinning wryly. "Assuming, of course, that you keep me on as your solicitor."
Harry smiled. "You seem a decent sort, Max. Tell me, were you the Black solicitor, or just Sirius's?"
Max snorted quietly, and Snargtooth shifted in his seat. "Oh, no. I was most definitely NOT the Black solicitor," the wizard answered. "That would have been Ignatius Howe. I don't mind telling you that I had a devil of a time getting all the information out of him that I was entitled to after Walburga Black died and Sirius hired me."
Surprisingly, Snargtooth spoke up. "Far be it from me to tell you your business, sir, but I believe you should know that Mr. Wordsmith has a much . . . lighter reputation than the previous Black solicitor."
Harry looked at him curiously for a moment before nodding. "Good to know. Thank you for your candor, Snargtooth." He turned back to the solicitor. "I'll keep you on, at least for the moment. Please get that stuff to me tomorrow about brining Andy and Tonks back into the Black family."
"Yes, sir," the much older solicitor said to the young heir to the Black name. He slid the stack of papers over. "Here is the current accounting of the estate. You may have noticed in the vaults that it is somewhat . . . disorganized. This breakdown should give you a much firmer idea of what you have in the way of properties, incomes, business ventures, and the like."
"I have one question, if I may," Tonks said hesitantly.
Max glanced at Harry but then nodded to her.
"I know the Black family is quite wealthy, but I have never heard where the wealth came from."
Max looked over at Harry for permission and answered after Harry's nod. "Land ownership, mostly. The estate owns a great deal of valuable real estate here in London and rents it to the commercial shops atop it." He turned to Harry. "Please look through that summary. Feel free to owl me with any questions. I'm on retainer to you for any legal work you may need, but nothing is pending at this point." He turned to the goblin. "That covers all of my immediate needs, Snargtooth. Does Gringotts have any further business to bring to the House of Black?"
"Not at this time. I was told you already have the vault key, Lord-Baron Potter?"
"Yes, but I thought I asked you to call me Harry?"
Snargtooth was silent for a moment before saying quietly, "It would not be proper for me to do that, Lord-Baron."
"Despite how past Blacks may have treated you, I am not a pure-blooded, racist arsehole."
Tonks snorted with a very unladylike noise.
"No offense to the only legitimate Black in the room," Harry added with a grin to her.
"None taken." She smiled.
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