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What We Own

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Remus got his cloak from where it hung on his chair, and presented Harry the door. The young wizard took the lead, looking back to see if his older friend followed.

Remus winked and pointed to the copper plaque bobbing gently above them. With a wave of his wand, a banner unfurled underneath it, reading "Office Closed for Lunch. Please leave inquiries with the receptionist." Harry pitied those faceless inquirers and sent them his silent support.

Standing on the balcony overlooking the main office, he saw the top of Hermione's head as it bent over her wide desk. Her faded sniffles floated up to the second floor, interrupted once or twice by her dabbing at her eyes with a struggling memo. The panel that hid the heritage office slid shut, looking as plain as any wall should.

He heard the metal staircase hum, and turned to see Remus already halfway down it. Harry's eyebrows hit his hairline, taken aback by the man's decisiveness. By the time Harry followed him down the spiral, Remus was already at Hermione's desk, patting his heart-rent coworker on the back.

"Harry plans to take his investigation beyond our little corner of bureaucracy," the man informed her. He was answered by the witch blowing her nose into a paper airplane, ending the poor thing's life in a honking hail of snot.

"Er, yeah, Remus thinks Gringott's might have some clues," he offered. "Apparently I might not have a birth certificate, but the bank should have something I could use."

He moved around to talk to Hermione face-to-face. Her eyes were rubbed red and swollen, her cheeks a bit ruddy. Overall, though, she looked recovered, even refreshed. It seemed she'd had a rather therapeutic release.

"That's a sensible next step," Hermione approved, smiling something small but sturdy. "I'm sorry for-"

Harry waved her off. "It's fine, you needed it. Figure you might want to come with us? I know I just said it's fine, but it looks as if you could use the break. The job is running you ragged."

Hermione opened her mouth, undoubtedly to turn him down, when the fireplace which had just barely cooled, dinged announcing a fire call. It dinged again, and then twice more, increasing in speed and volume. He quickly realized that several fire calls were clamoring for attention, crowding the brick hearth until it sparked green.

The logs within began to rattle and smolder. Both Harry and Remus staggered backwards, the former with a trace of fear in his eyes, while Hermione simply whined in despair. With a shout of frustration, she whipped out her wand and flung a sizzling orange spell at the Floo.

It lit up like a firework and then fell quiet. Above it fluttered a delicate, white banner. It informed all callers that the office was closed and asked, again, for inquiries to be left with the receptionist.

"God, yes, please take me with you," begged Hermione, practically running from her desk to the door with her name on it. "Let's try to be back in an hour, if we can. I'll tell-what, why is my office door locked?"

Harry smiled sheepishly and twitched his wand. The door unlocked it with a 'snck.'

"Janice," he explained. Hermione gave him a forbearing eye roll.

"Harry, please," Hermione huffed. "Speaking of. Hello, Janice!"

Harry shivered, but was the only one. Remus, who had taken the flank, turned to the receptionist in the hall and smiled with genuine warmth. He gave the cold woman his regards. Harry mimicked his manners, hoping to be spared her displeasure.

"Good afternoon, Miss Granger," Janice intoned, making eye contact with Harry as she said this, which he felt was simply her being unfair. "What can I take care of for you today?"

Is it because she can't eat me, he thought, staring directly into her freezing, jewel toned eyes, refusing to be bullied. If I gave her an ear to chew on, would she back off or would it just stir up her taste for people?

"Thank you, Janice, yes," Hermione answered, oblivious to Harry's ordeal, "We'll be going out for about an hour, Remus, Dudley and I. I was hoping you might nudge my afternoon appointments down and reschedule everything after 7 PM for tomorrow morning. Is that possible?"

"Of course," the receptionist replied with mild condemnation. Still, she looked to Harry as though this were his fault. Since it largely was, he conceded and looked away.

He heard shuffling and peeked back to see Janice pull a twine-tied journal from under the desk. It slammed down on the desk surface, shaking the phone off the hook. A droning monotone filled the hallway as they watched Janice untie the journal, lick her finger, and flip through it. The pages blurred as they flew past.

She stopped when she reached today's date, and with a neat, black quill, began violently striking through the entries.

"Perfect, Janice," Hermione encouraged, relief washing over her face. "You're my hero."

"Hm, yes," the receptionist murmured absently, slicing through 3 o' clock with a stinging spite.

A bell rang at the end of the hallway, signaling the arrival of the lift.

"Ah, there you are, girl! Glad to have caught you."

Janice's head came up with a snap. Hermione squawked and pushed Harry forward, cramming her body behind his.

"What the hell are you doing," he hissed over his shoulder, a wary eye on Janice next to him.

The other woman was coming to her feet like a monster rising out of the ocean. A distinct smell of rich vanilla bookbinding and ozone swirled about her. The receptionist leaning over her desk, drawing in a deep breath.

"Excuse me, sir! Do you have an appointment?"

Her voice flew down the long hall, hitting the Ministry official as he stepped off the elevator. The long-necked man, with gray hair on every part of his head and face except the crown, stood with mouth agape as the lift gates pinged closed behind him.

"I, well, no, I only wish to speak to Hermione Granger and I can see she's free," the man projected self-importance all down the hall. It turned to ash before the strength of Janice's pique.

"Miss Granger is quite occupied, sir, and thus unable to meet with you. You will need to make an appointment for when she is next available."

"But, but she's right here! I see her, hiding behind that gentleman!

"Granger, do be serious, it is about the budget for your department. Given the staff you keep," The Ministry official blustered through, making his way toward them.

Harry and Remus sandwiched Hermione between them while the witch whispered for them to run. Janice stepped fully from behind her desk, and cut quite a menacing figure, with fashionably styled robes capturing her terribly good looks and a hand held out to forestall the unwelcome man.

"Sir!," her voice slapped. Harry swore and hustled forward, Hermione clinging to his back. "Sir, I'm going to need you to calm down."

"What, I am calm! Miss Granger, really! I know this is unannounced, but I don't see how it matters. Surely you can't be that busy!"

The Ministry official sputtered while they hurried past him, reaching out a hand to stop them. Harry smacked it away and called for the lift. Remus came up between the rude official and Remus' former students, causing the man to recoil.

The werewolf reacted with a closed mouth grin. "My apologies, Sr. Chaucy, but we were just on our way out. Urgent business, you understand."

The balding wizard scoffed, incredulous.

"Sir," Janice continued, now marching down the hallway. The clack of her heels and the now suffocating smell of a thunderstorm covered their escape into the lift. "If you won't calm down, I'll have to call security!"

"I AM CALM!," the man bellowed. The man then choked at Janice's nearness. The escaping party were rising upwards before Harry could witness the man's fate. Imagining it to be gruesome, he looked, pale faced, to Remus and Hermione, to find the pair sporting matching grins.

"Always dependable, Janice," praised Remus, with a quiet chuckle. Hermione swiped a curl from her face and laughed with him.

"A saving grace, that woman," she agreed. "I couldn't do without her. Look!," she showed them her wristwatch, a regular Muggle one with a rose gold face.

"She saved us easily twenty minutes! No one can manage that blowhard Chaucy but her."

Then the witch realized what she had said and popped a hand over her mouth. "Don't tell anyone I said that," she whispered conspiratorially. "We shouldn't speak ill of the Ministry officials. It's not civil."

Remus reminded her that they were Ministry officials and Harry, a little punch drunk, insisted she could speak ill of anyone she wanted. She had earned it. Hermione only giggled, giddy to be playing hooky with work, led them out into the lobby. Together, they headed to the Floos on the entry level, making for Diagon Alley.

Harry couldn't provide his key to the goblin clerk at Gringotts, since he hadn't expected a trip to the bank. Instead, he was made to answer his security questions. These included the name of his first love, "Ginny Weasley," and his childhood best friend, "Hedwig."

"You and Ron felt too predictable," he shrugged to his companions, growing warm around the ears. Hermione only smiled and tweaked his cheek. Remus hummed his understanding.

"Oh, shut up," Harry tossed back, embarrassed.

When Remus suggested that Harry meet with his account manager, they were led up a floor to the office of one Manager Redfang. Growing tired of offices, Harry bucked up and thanked the clerk for the showing them the way. Remus and Hermione also thanked the goblin. They each had a lip curled at them and were left to make their own introductions.

"Who is it," demanded a voice from within the office. Harry assumed it belonged to Redfang, and became twice-over tired of dangerous sounding people. After Janice, he didn't fail to notice that Redfang's voice sounded particularly toothy.

"Harry Potter," Harry answered, then seeing his friends shift expectantly beside him, "and erm, two guests. I've come to ask about my, er, my account?"

There was a pause and a disgusted sigh. "Come in, Mister Potter and...guests."

Harry shared a look with Hermione, who looked back wide-eyed and shrugged. Remus only motioned them forward, stiff in that way he reserved specially for banks.

Harry had noticed it one time when trying to set up a trust fund for Teddy with the boy's father in tow. He figured it was from years of poor fortune coming to haunt him. Similar to how Harry froze up around family gatherings: it was a dysfunction of the deficient.

They stepped into the office and were met with the account manager. Like her name suggested, she bared her teeth in a grimace of a smile, displaying rows of shiny, scarlet-capped fangs. Her robes, shoes and capelet all matched her smile, as did a punishing looking warhammer hung on the wall above her framed certificates.

As he came closer to shake the manager's heavily ringed hand, Harry found that both of her incisors were inlaid with gold.

If a goblin could be a Gryffindor, it would be Manager Redfang. Harry immediately understood why she was trusted with the Potter accounts. James Potter was a man of obvious tastes.

"Mister Potter, please sit," directed the goblin.

Three ornately carved, high-backed chairs were summoned for Harry and his friends to sit in. They did so: Hermione folding her hands on her crossed knees, Harry with forearms resting on his thighs, and Remus, tense, with arms crossed over his chest. Harry spared the werewolf a sympathetic glance, and went back to taking in the room.

There were other weapons on the walls, blades in leather studded sheaths made to look decorative. He didn't doubt that every one of them still worked for slashing and stabbing. For the second time that day, he regretted leaving his house.

Redfang siddled back behind her desk and folded her clawed hands in front of her.

"What brings you here today?," she asked.

"I, well," he mulled over how much he wanted to share, and settled on the basic facts, "I want to know what's in my vaults."

"You're requesting an inventory of your estate," clarified Manager Redfang, snapping her fingers.

A roll of parchment appeared on the desk, as well as a dicta-quill poised upright, waiting for instructions. "A total inventory of assets in the Potter estate as willed to the surviving family head, Harry James Potter, current as of this date, August 20th, 2002."

The quill began scratching away at the parchment as Redfang spoke, and, quite impressively, kept scratching as the seconds ticked into minutes. Harry watched as the account manager snapped her fingers again and summoned a dusty tome, with warped, yellowed pages.

They coughed, fanning away the smell of moldy, old paper.

Redfang hauled open the book, which Harry realized was a list of accounts, and ran a painted nail down the numbers of various vaults, reciting them aloud. With each number, the dicta-quill chittered and furiously scribbled more words. Hermione gasped, cottoning on that this was the overview of Harry's accounts. The list went on and on.

"Merlin," breathed Remus, seeming impressed despite himself.

Harry was mortified, wishing that he had known how arrogant this all would look before inviting his friends. He felt like a detestable show-off. And still, the quill kept writing.

The scroll of parchment extended itself when the quill ran out of space and started scratching into the desk. Redfang sucked her teeth and plucked the feather, getting it back on track. Mercifully, it slowed down and came to a full stop, keeling over, magic exhausted.

Redfang swept the used quill off the desk and into the rubbish bin, where it was swallowed with a measly belch.

"There," provided Redfang, running a gimlet eye over the list before letting the scroll roll shut. She handed it to Harry, who took it timidly. "Please look this over to insure that it is accurate."

Harry felt the blood drain from his face, despairing at the thought. He couldn't possibly read all that out to his friends, like the real Dudley Dursley might do, counting his presents at Christmas. The list was at least three feet long, besides, and he was sure to lose his voice if he tried.

"I'm," Harry cleared his throat. "I'm sure it's fine." He laid the scroll carefully in his lap and avoided touching it too much, lest he look greedy.

"Will there be anything else?" Redfang said this while returning to her book of accounts, as if already preparing for another meeting. Harry appreciated her inattention. Remus and Hermione were still horribly silent beside him, and Harry thrived off of the disregard.

"Yeah, actually," he started, hesitantly. Redfang looked up at him, baring more teeth in what she must've thought an accommodating way. "I was wondering if there was...erm…"

Harry swallowed nervously, and looked to Remus for a clue. The older man pulled a hand away from his mouth and shook himself, smiling ruefully. Harry cringed and wanted more than anything to be home, in bed, unconscious.

"Ask for the Potter genealogical records, a family tree or a family register," Remus helped. Harry pointed him to Redfang, who sat clicking her nails on her desk. The older man smiled in apology and continued on Harry's behalf.

"It would likely be held in a locked box, warded against anyone but a Potter relative. The Potters had a family affinity for transfiguration and enchantments, so the box might transform to protect itself."

"Really?," replied Harry. He had known his father was good at Transfiguration, but hadn't considered a family talent. He then felt a sudden, small panic at only ever being mediocre in McGonagall's class. The Headmistress must have been so disappointed in him.

"I believe I know what you're looking for," Redfang declared. She held up a finger for quiet, and snapped a third time. A new scrap of parchment and quill appeared, ready to write: "Vault 1185, Totalis sanguinem annales, pertinent ad Harry Potter."

Standing, Redfang motioned for them to do so as well. "Follow me, please."

The account manager led the way from her office down to the vaults, recruiting a cart operator at the front desk. As they rode the perilous tracks into the depths of Gringotts, Redfang explained in short, clear sentences that the vault needed blood to be opened. Hermione admitted to the idea sounding peripherally Dark, apologizing for anything she might imply about his family.

Remus explained, for the remainder of the ride, that "Dark" sometimes unfairly described magic that was old or rare. After two wars fought by ancient families and won on obscure knowledge, modern wizarding society attributed evil to any old, odd thing it failed to understand.

"I can't comfortably say if this habit is right or productive, especially in lawmaking," Remus concluded as they jerked to a stop. "But at minimum, I wouldn't judge the Potters. I know James refused to visit these vaults. He thought they were creepy. But that was only until Lily was pregnant, and he had a legacy to think about."

Harry absorbed this information in silence. His mind echoed back to the comment about Transfiguration. These were things that he felt might have sounded better coming from his father. He had very few instances where he felt the man could have given him guidance or input.

To be fair, for most of his life, James Potter was other people's memory. However, talk of unrealized family affinities, and creepy vaults passing from father to son, gave James Potter context.

As Harry stepped from the cart, lagging behind his friends, and looked up at the towering vault doors, he thought of a shared history older than just the generation before him. It was the same sense of loneliness and vertigo he felt hearing why Weasleys have nosebleeds.

Heritage formed in his mind as a great, sprawling thing that gave people ground anywhere in time. It meant something of Harry existed well before he was born and could continue to live, long after he died. In the dark, complicated bowels of Gringotts, Harry approached the family vault caped in desperate loneliness. His desire to find something of himself in all the world to connect him to someone, anyone, was almost more than he could stand.

Harry could stand quite a bit on principle.

So, when prompted, he stepped forward, and placed the palm of his hand on the vault's lock. It was made of wrought iron and forged into twists and coils around an impression in its center. This nook cradled Harry's hand perfectly. The perfect fit warmed something worried in his chest. And then the vault bit him.

"Ouch!," Harry yipped, more surprised then hurt.

He felt a drop of blood slide between his skin and the iron. With an ominous clunk, and a cascade of ticks and clicks, the lock unknotted itself. Its hold on the doors gave way, and the vault rolled open, exhaling stale, dry air.

"It is really, truly, without a doubt: a box," said Hermione, entering her office behind him. Harry blinked to moisten his eyeballs, sighing for the fifth time since their return.

Sure enough, in his vault, placed on a stone pedestal in the otherwise empty chamber, was a plain, wooden box. Remus had walked the entire perimeter of the room, checking seams and corners for more. Hermione had cast diagnostic spells on the box, expecting secret compartments or hidden traps.

Nothing of the sort revealed itself. It was a wooden box on a pedestal, without frills or pageantry. When Harry had lifted it, the box taking up only half the space in his arms, nothing changed. The box had no writing or pictures, and the pedestal toted a simple inscription: "To whom it may concern."

"Vault 1185 is a passable bit of magic coming from humans," Redfang had explained. "It changes itself to present its secrets in the form most accessible to the rightful knower. Very agreeable design. What good would a tapestry do you if you were blind? Or a book, if you were illiterate?

"It's a merit to wizards that at least one family was capable of sense. Yes, it can stand to be a bit more lethal, but it's a step in the right direction."

"What do I do with it?," Harry asked in the now, trying to wrestle himself from his disappointment. A box? That was all? Not even one with his name on it?

If he let himself stay quiet, he would end up dragging himself home, leaving the box on his nightstand, and sliding under his covers never to resurface.

Remus trailed in behind Harry, with the inventory of his estate in hand. In the shock from visiting the vault, the older man had offered to review the list of Harry's assets for more information. Harry handed it over, numb, and watched the former professor peruse the entire list of holdings on the walk back.

He had found nothing about a register, or a tapestry, or an album of photographs with helpful dates and names. It only listed Vault 1185, the Potter genealogy.

"No choice but to open it, I suppose," Remus murmured, at a loss. "If the box has an extension charm-I know Hermione, that you didn't detect one-but if it does, it might have more information inside. I'm not sure how with a family as old as the Potters, but. Well."

Harry laid the box on the desk and stared down at it, saying nothing. He felt a hand at his elbow and faced Hermione.

"Do you want to stop here for today?," she probed, expression concerned. "This is probably a huge let down for you, Harry. It's okay if you want to take a break from all this, and open it when you're ready."

It helped, having his friend say how he felt. He was let down and did feel like stopping, wondering after this last hour if he'll ever truly be ready to tackle family things. This wasn't Ginny hearing stories from her mum, or even Sirius retelling adventures from his school days.

This was impersonal, painfully so. A plain, wooden box didn't care if he was disappointed. A stone vault didn't care if he was an orphan. The emotionless reality of that was hard to accept. He had expected the vault to feel like homecoming and all he got was a stupid box.

"Thanks, Hermione," he said, giving her a smile. He then ran his thumb along the lock in the front, a simple metal plate with a worn well in the center. It pricked him, and the box popped open.

A book took up most of the box. This was more like what he expected! The dark, wooden cover of the book was tooled expertly, soldered with an image of a large, sprawling tree with deep roots. The roots spread over the sides of the book, onto the spine. Green-gold letters were pressed into the wood, but had faded. He could only read the inlay the letters left behind, like a fossil:

Potter et alia

Totalis sanguinem annales

Harry squinted at the title, seeing it for Latin and only recognizing some words. His surname, of course, was familiar, as was something pertaining to blood.

"Oh, this looks right," breathed Hermione beside him. "This is great, Harry! A proper register!"

"Yeah," Harry nodded, still cautious. He reached into the box and gripped the book carefully, searching for anymore biting grooves. He hoped that the blood needed to open the box was enough to satisfy the book.

Remus stepped up and held out Harry's inventory. The younger man nodded again, glad to have it. The fog in his head was clearing a little, giving way to heart thumping excitement.

Maybe the bank was a worthwhile trip, after all. Harry didn't consciously hope for all his answers to be in one place, to leave this building having belonged to something. "Consciously," being the operative word.

Harry hefted the book into the crook of his arm and opened it. Already, there was an illustration of a tree like on the cover, only this one had names. Harry skimmed it, heart racing when he looked toward the bottom and found names he knew.

Fleamont Potter, my grandfather, and alright, so this would be my…

"What do you call your grandfather's brother?," Harry asked the room.

"Great uncle," Remus answered, staying where he was at Harry's side.

Unlike Hermione, who was reading avidly over Harry's other shoulder, he stood looking into Harry's face, watching calmly. "You'd be talking about your great uncle, Charlus, your grandfather Fleamont's younger brother. He married into the Black family, and had a child, although no one is sure what happened to him." At this, Remus sounded curious. "Does the book say?"

Harry followed the branch named "Charlus Potter," and saw it marry with Dorea Black. After that, he found the name "Prescott Potter," a boy born on February 8th, 1962, died on July 31st, 1963. There was no entry for another child, and then the mother died years after. Harry shared the morbid news, not happy to say that the baby died on his birthday.

"Hardly a year and a half," Hermione lamented. "Poor thing. And his mother only lived to her fifties. That's incredibly young for a witch, I wonder if she was ill."

Harry, not sure of what to say, skimmed down to his father's birthday. Compared to Harry's grandfather, who lived well into his eighties, and even Dorea Black, who lived till fifty-seven, James Potter's life was tragically short.

"Twenty-one," he said quietly, touching his father's name on the page. Harry had just turn twenty-two the month before. "I'm older than he was when he died."

He heard a sniffle and felt his hackles rise. "Hermione, don't."

She squeaked and hit him in the ribs. "That was Remus," she retorted, insulted on the man's behalf.

Harry winced. Right, this wasn't just him soothsaying the past, was it? Feeling like a berk, he looked to the werewolf, and saw the man pinch the bridge of his nose. One tear escaped and was quickly swept away.

"No, it's fine, I've had years to get used to it," Remus said by way of apology. "It was such a near thing, is all, and you getting older is exactly what James wanted. There's no truer thing in the world, Harry, please understand that."

"No, I get it," he said. He looked warily at Remus' teary smile and almost wished he hadn't said anything.

He was on page one of this book and it was already so hard. He couldn't imagine it would get any easier, either. Harry hadn't considered that so much of a family tree was about people you know, dying. He thought about taking a break, but did so while scanning for his name.

There it was, on the bottom branch: "Harry James Potter*, b. July 31st, 1980 - d. Ma...2...98."

Yikes, he thought, alarmed. He inched his thumb across the page to cover the faded death date. That was too loaded a topic to dive into, amongst everything else.

He felt Hermione's searching gaze peel away the skin on the side of his face, but she mercifully said nothing in front of Remus. He deigned not to run into her alone, however, until he was ready to talk about it.

Harry squinted at his name again on the tree, around his thumb. He tried to rub away the mark above his last name but couldn't manage it.

"The book's dirty," he mumbled, annoyed. This was an ancient family heirloom, laying out his entire history before him, and it had a smudge.

Hermione leaned over the page, also examining that mark. "That's not-oh!" She gasped so harshly, it was like a shriek played backwards. Harry jumped. She was so animated in all of her emotions, he didn't always know how to cope.

"What," Harry asked, flustered. Hermione spun from him, to Remus, eventually dashing around Harry to bend the werewolf's ear. The older man frowned, as confused as Harry, to the point of even sharing a bemused smile.

Then Hermione hissed up at him, "An asterisk!," and the man went grey. Remus stared at the witch, who stared back on the edge of panic, and then shuttered his expression, asking in the most sedated tone Harry had ever heard, if he could see the book.

Harry was so shaken by the force of Remus' reaction, he handed the family tree over without question. It was in doing so that his arm created a current of air, that ruffled loose paper in the box. With half an eye on Remus, reading the page with a furrowed brow, Harry dipped back into the box and pulled out a few documents.

Glancing down, he saw his name, this time handwritten instead of typed in the block letter print of the book. The writing was cramped and rushed, like the author was in a hurry.

Attending Healer: CMW Merry Charing-Claire

Witness: None

Blooded Name: Harry James Potter

Blooded Mother: Lily Potter nee Evans

Blooded Father: James Fleamont Potter

Date and Time: July 31st, 1980, 12:01 AM

May this child of the Sun who will walk in darkness know his Self to rise.

"I thought I didn't have a birth...certificate," Harry trailed off, looking to the other sheets of paper in his hand. One resembled what he thought was his birth certificate. It was such a pitifully contrasting document, if he hadn't wanted to cry reading it, he might have laughed.

Attending Healer: CMW Merry Charing-Claire

Witness: Eileen

Given Name at Birth: None

Birth Mother: Unknown

Birth Father: Unknown

Date and Time: July 30th, 1980, 10 AM

Blooded Name: Harry James Potter

May this child of the Sun who will walk in darkness know his Self to rise.

His ears were ringing. Someone touched him, but it felt far away. His brain tried to fit the two pages together to make sense, and when they connected, he fought to tear them apart. Instead of physically ripping the papers, he looked to the third page.

It was a rough sketch of a woman, trembling in his fist.

She had a round face and high cheekbones, a wide nose and full mouth. Her dark, almond-shaped eyes stared sightlessly out of the page. Her hair was a mess of curls and cowlicks, like Harry's, and she had a small, dark beauty mark on her chin.

The portrait was from the shoulders up, showing a tattoo on the woman's neck: a sparrow, with an arrow through its wing, under which was inked, FLY ANYWAY.

Something about the woman was distinctly striking. There was a resignation to her when she looked out of the page, like life happened to her before she happened upon the world. An abortive wistfulness, the look on her face was distant, tired and sad.

She was just a sketch on paper, but was immediately alive to him, in a cupboard kind of way.

On the bottom, he found the same, cramped handwriting, only one line of it this time. These were the only notes on the subject.

Answers to 'Grace,' likely a false name. Belligerent. Late 20s, early 30s. Northern, runaway

"Harry, this mark...," Harry blinked slowly up at Remus, waiting for him to finish. The words failed the older man. When he looked to Hermione, she stood hip against her desk, eyes on the floor, speechless.

"Am I adopted?"