Chapter 1: Prologue: A Not So Fun Vacation
Look at the amazing artwork of StarWatcher
And amazing betawork of Edronhia.
Prologue: A Not So Fun Vacation
Tony knew pain. He’d always assumed he had. He’d been shot, stabbed and nearly drowned in his own fluid from the plague. He’d suffered the pain of losing his perceived future and rebuilding it.
He knew pain but this was a whole new level. His side was burning like the worst type of acid had been thrown at him.
Only there was no acid. No, this pain was different.
The monster who’d bitten him looked amused. He looked deranged with Tony’s blood still on his lips. He seemed inordinately proud of himself. “Wow. I actually found a wizard. Fancy that.”
Tony groaned in pain and partially in disbelief as he couldn’t believe in his attempt to stop Ziva doing something stupid he’d found a werewolf. The little bitch had run off leaving him to face the mutant alpha wolf on his own. Even if she had no idea of his background she had left him to die and that was not something he was going to forget in a hurry.
A werewolf would kill a mortal with a bite but he wasn’t a nomaj - he’d been raised and sent to a wizarding school before his Dad had finished by sending him to RIMA. He may have been bitten to the point where a chunk of his side was missing but he was Gibb’s trainee to the end. “Hey, hairy.”
He fired a bullet that hit the dead centre of the bastard’s eyes. It might not be silver but he found severe trauma to the brain tended to sort most bad guys out - no matter their background.
The onslaught of power was unexpected. Christ, this bastard was a piece of work. The power he’d fed upon from other werewolves was innumerable. The lightning that was surging in the air reminded Tony suspiciously of the Highlander concept. In fact, it was almost spot-on as it slammed into him and he knew everything the guy did. Fenrir Greyback was his maker and Tony didn’t feel the least bit sorry for ending the bastard. The little psycho enjoyed biting children.
A man came into the clearing, Tony, who was now struggling to breathe managed to gasp out. “Help me.”
The mild-mannered man had no problem in picking him up in a fireman’s lift. Tony would have said more but there was the whole passing out from pain and a crash in his adrenaline.
Tony awoke with a start as the light rolled through the windows. He sat up unaware of his surroundings. The first thing he noticed was the smell. They were all woodsy and he could get used to them. Then there was another distinct scent it was all hazelnut, vanilla and lightning all rolled in one.
“What the hell?”
“You should thank Merlin you are strong.” The new voice replied to his question.
Tony looked at his saviour with a wry grin he couldn’t help but be snarky. “You don’t look like Merlin.”
The man snorted. “No, my name is Remus Lupin. I was tracking your attacker only you killed him before I could.”
“The son of a bitch tried to eat me!” Tony exclaimed. He hoped that wasn’t a rebuke because he would repeat that the bastard tried to eat him. He knew being a lawman you shouldn't relish a death but there were some bastards like Greyback who just needed killing.
Remus snorted, and with a smirk reminded Tony. “You repaid the favour with interest I would say.”
“I hope I gave him heartburn.” Tony groused as he collapsed back against the couch. He may be awake and healing but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t in pain. He had no idea what his next steps were but breathing without a stabbing pain racing down his side was his first aim.
“If you didn’t the bullet in his head would have given him a headache.” Lupin replied in a calm tone.
“Did you remove his head?” Tony asked tiredly. He knew as a Federal Agent he probably shouldn’t say things like that but he was also magically trained and knew the two worlds didn’t always mesh.
“I did. You probably saved quite a few more children you know.”
Tony opened his eyes and the memories of the bastard came to the fore. “I know he bit you as a child. Should I apologise for not letting you kill him?”
Remus shook his head. “I try not to give in to my urges. It makes handling my wolf more difficult.”
Tony shuddered at the thought of restraint - he would be civilised but he refused to listen to solely his instincts. “I am not taking up yoga but I need to figure out how to handle my new aspects.”
“You’re awfully calm.”
Tony shrugged. “I’m American. They don’t have a hate on for wolves there. I was supposed to be helping my treacherous partner but she left me to chase after her father’s killer.”
“How does a Wizard end up as a Federal Agent?” Remus asked him, obviously curious by that little detail.
Tony sighed and figured he may as well tell someone. If it turned out his rescuer wasn’t on the level, he could always be obliviated. “It happens when you’re a Paddington by birth and your mother runs away with a mortal. She was smart enough to ditch the UK for the United States. Sadly she wasn’t smart enough to pick a good man. I had power to burn so one of her last acts before dying was seeing that I was enrolled at Ilvermorny.”
Remus cocked his head to the side at started to chuckle. “You’re the missing Paddington Lord.”
Tony frowned. “I wasn’t missing - just living abroad.”
Remus actually had a full belly cackle. “No, you misunderstand. You’ve caused quite the ruckus in the WIzengamot. You’ve inherited the seat and taken up a power bloc but not used it. I know Malfoy, Black and Nott have all made a play for the seats but can’t make a play as the votes belong to you and as you’re alive you have to assign them.”
Tony snorted. “I won’t give those bastards shit.”
Remus shrugged. “They will give you a hard time if they find out you’re now a werewolf.”
“So what if I am furry once a month. I’m pretty sure I can make it my animagus form and screw with their minds. I am no one’s bitch.”
Remus could agree with it, the man’s wolf was new but powerful. He’d always felt like he had to apologise for his condition but it was clear that Tony wasn’t going to apologise to anyone. “I will stick around to help you gain control of your wolf.”
Tony looked around with a groan. He’d not been fond of studying when he was at school. “If I am going through wolfy school we’re going back to the US. What do you say to a holiday in the Midwest?”
Chapter 2: Mountain and Molehills
Remus looked around the new cabin and it was impressive. It was luxurious and had a perfect blend of muggle and wizarding technology. He was curious about so many things but settled with a simple question of, “Where are we exactly?”
“Blue Ridge Mountains.” Tony replied, starting up the fire to keep them warm.
“It’s beautiful,” Remus whispered.
Tony patted him on the shoulder, knowing what Remus’ issue was about. It had come up a few times in the conversations they’d had back in the UK when Remus had helped him recover from his attack. “You deserve nice things and this is my place and I have invited you.”
Remus looked around and smiled ruefully. “I am not used to the finer things.”
Tony grinned at him, showing his cheeky side. “Well, I’m not a stuck up bigoted Pureblood. You’re my friend and my mentor and you deserve to enjoy the nicer things for no other reason than I can do it.”
Remus took a deep breath and surrendered to Tony’s sheer force of will. “Intellectually I know this but my heart may take a while to catch up.”
Tony did understand and he’d used similar reasons to explain why he was taking a leave of absence from NCIS. He’d explained he’d been injured during the hunt and Ziva had abandoned him. He’d just nixed the detail about the injury being werewolf related. “How about we work on it together?”
Tony had gone to sleep but took a call. If he’d been smart he would have ignored the call but old habits die hard.
“What do you want, Gibbs?”
“Where are you?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I’m back in the US to recuperate.”
Gibbs snorted with derision. “DiNozzo, you barely took any time for the plague. What happened and where’s Ziva?”
Tony pinched his nose because that was the crux of the matter. It wasn’t a true call to check up on him. It was where was his pseudo-daughter? And how come Tony had abandoned her to Europe.
“Did you read my leave form?”
Gibbs sighed. “Yeah, DiNozzo. I did. It was light on details.”
Tony snorted back. “Are you serious? I write the full truth and nothing but she would lose her job. Her inability to watch my back saw me seriously injured and she left me, Gibbs. I’m not going to forget that in a hurry.”
There was an awkward silence. “Are you saying you’re not coming back?”
Tony took a deep breath knowing he shouldn’t say anything in the heat of the moment. Right now, he’d leave and he wouldn’t be sorry about it but this was his vocation. He didn’t want to be run out of it by a grief-stricken agent who had never been truly brought to task about her behaviour. “I’m evaluating my choices.”
“I’ll sort it out,” Gibbs said in lieu of goodbye.
Tony doubted he would because that would mean disciplining Ziva which something Gibbs had always been reticent to do.
He ended the call, throwing the phone onto his couch and buried his head in the pillow. So much for keeping his cool and an even temper. It was just how could someone be so unaware of human emotions? He growled and rolled over, not noticing he now had a paw.
Remus woke up the next morning and the light filtered through the window. The scents were fresh and the only thing around them was nature. It was glorious.
He frowned seeing a wolf in Tony’s bed when peeked through the open door. That wasn’t a euphemism - he was a wolf. He breathed in because this shouldn’t happen as it wasn’t a full moon. “Merlin. What happened?”
Remus got the equivalent of a wolfy death stare. He sighed realising that he wasn’t likely to get an answer. Well, not verbally anyway. He had to be clever about it. “Did you wake up like this?”
He got a yip.
Remus snorted because the luck of this man was stunning. He wished to have even half of it. “So if you are an animagus... then you would need to imagine being human.”
He got a droll look that had him chuckling. He never thought a wolf glare could be cute “Well I can try a spell but that might not be the best plan. Who knows what the side effects might be?”
There was a yip that became rather more human midway. Tony grabbed the bedsheet and looked sheepish. “Thanks for that. I guess I just needed the impetus.”
Remus was bemused. “You know usually wizards manage to take their clothes with them.”
Tony shrugged because it was a work-in-progress as far as he was concerned. “Hey, I am not shy and still learning this ... I’ve practically lived as a muggle these last few years since going to DC.”
Remus had a wicked smirk. “Oh, I am not complaining but the dressing charm would be vestium for future reference .”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I remember.”
He guessed he would have to step up his flirting game. Remus seemed to be more in scholar mode than flirting mode, although he hadn’t missed the blush when he first came back to his human form. Tony could feel the wolf just under his skin, it was desperate to get out but he wouldn’t let it.
Now was not the time.
Remus had received an owl and he snorted at the language involved. It was from Dumbledore asking where he was because he could do with a trusted contact following up on some intel regarding wraiths in Albania.
The man may have helped him but he was no longer a student and could do as he pleased. It was just pathetic that due to British wizarding policies his ability to gain honest work was severely curtailed.
“The Headmaster wants me to do him a favour.”
Tony frowned looking up over the firelight. “Who?”
“Headmaster Dumbledore, needs some intel checking out.”
Tony didn’t like the body language from Remus. It was like he was mentally preparing to leave and that didn’t sit well with him. He had no objection to Remus leaving as he wasn’t a prisoner but only if it was his choice.
“So Dumbledick has made you his lapdog?” Tony asked, being deliberately provocative.
Remus had been too close to his wolf in trying to help Tony and growled. “It is not like that, I am an outed werewolf in the UK and have no independent wealth.”
Tony growled right back reacting to the invasion of his space. “You don’t have to live in the UK. Ilvermoney hired a vampire, for Merlin’s sake. You won’t have a problem.”
Tony saw the moment the fight left Remus, realising that Tony wasn’t his enemy. “Look - you are a great guy, good looking and have a gentle soul and I worry that this Dumbledouchebag is taking advantage of it.”
Remus’ eyes shot open wide in surprise. “Was this morning a set-up?”
Tony chuckled ruefully. “I let you see me naked and you looked at me like I was an intriguing book.”
A new smile appeared on Remus’ face. “You should know that I adore books.”
Tony grinned, realising that just maybe his flirting would get him somewhere. “Is that so? I can work with that so let’s eat and discuss how we keep you sane, in work and in the US.”
He would take this slow because there were so many things all tangled up together that they deserved to explore things properly. It wasn’t a myth that wolves mate for life.
The pair had been at the cabin for nearly two weeks and Tony’s time off was nearing its end. The couple had slowly increased their touching of each other but it had yet to turn sexual. Tony had come to the realisation that Remus was touch starved which was a terrible thing considering he had pack instincts.
Tony sighed. “This has been perfect.”
Remus chuckled but leaned into the hug. “The mountains have grown on me.”
“Nah. That’s just me.”
Remus was looking directly into his eyes. “It just might be.”
Tony felt the change in the air, it was like a static charge. He might have said magic but he didn’t want to be a cliche. “You’ve been like my rock.”
“And you’ve been stubborn and accepting of so many things.” Remus replied with awe in his voice. “You’ve handled it with such poise.”
Tony smiled softly as he moved a stray piece of hair behind Remus’ ear. “The only time I lost my shit I turned furry.”
“I couldn’t complain about the end result.”
Tony knew what he wanted and if there was one thing that this whole situation had taught him it was that time was short. He needed to chase what he wanted and be happy. He slipped so easily into Remus’ lap. He moved with a liquid grace that had come even easier to him since his change.
“I could repeat that but I really want to kiss you senseless.”
Remus, showing he was a perfect man, quirked an eyebrow. “Talk is cheap.”
Well - Tony couldn’t let that challenge go unanswered.
Chapter 3: Welcome to the US
Chapter 3: Welcome to the US
Tony knew that Remus was starting to relax in the US. He had stopped the hyper-vigilance that was more reminiscent of active-duty soldiers. However, their nightly talks had explained quite a bit about the first blood war, as it was being called.
“So Voldemort managed to have everyone so cowed they didn’t even say his name?” Tony asked incredulously.
Remus nodded. “Yes. He had everyone so fearful that towns became no-go areas. The Light supporting families often went into hiding.”
Tony didn’t get it. “That’s no way to fight. Whose idea was that?”
Remus looked rueful even as he said it. “Dumbledore’s.”
“This Dumbledick isn’t going up in my estimation.” Tony said, not bothering to hide his exasperation.
Remus was starting to see with Tony’s pointed remarks that Dumbledore wasn’t all that he was cracked up to be. “Yes, well, he beat Grindelwald so everyone listened to him.”
Tony shook his head and decided that he didn’t like this guy. He was never too fond of two-faced people since he’d said goodbye to his father. The man would have seen him shipped off to school without ever having received any training for his magical skills. It had taken some creative accounting on his and his uncle’s part but Senior thought he was at RIMA and he was, but only after he’d graduated Ilvermorny.
“You know you are more than those dicks you make you out to be.” Tony reminded him, seeing how dark Remus’ thoughts were turning.
Remus snorted. “I am a dark creature according to the laws.
“You are not dark,” Tony replied fiercely. He may not be sure of everything in this world but he knew Remus was a good man. If he did violence then it was to protect fellow witches and wizards.
Remus smiled softly. “No, not with you but I have the capacity for great harm. It is the nature of the wolf.”
Tony snorted and he disagreed. “Sweetheart, I was dangerous before I ever grew claws.”
Remus rolled him on top so Tony was now on his lap. “You still are.”
Tony leaned down to kiss the lingering regrets from Remus’ lips. “You refuse to let me brood, I’ll do the same for you.”
“Then I need a distraction ...”
Tony smirk was downright wicked. “Then let me help with that.” He started the campaign of distraction by slipping a set of teasing kisses along Remus' jaw. If Tony had his way, Remus would never make use of the second bedroom that was technically his room.
It was a big day today. Remus was going for an interview at Ilvermorny and Tony was doing his first day back at NCIS. He woke up with Remus’ arm slung over his waist. “Hey, big guy. You ready for your interview?”
Remus smirked. “I have never had any problem with teaching defence. Just with people’s prejudices.”
Tony snorted. “Well, you may have to take a vow not to eat the students but that’s all that they ask.”
Remus looked disgruntled. “The students may annoy me but I couldn’t eat a whole one. I would need to diet too often.”
The sass amazed Tony. It was the first time that he’d heard Remus make light of his condition. He was working on a surprise for Remus but the necklace took a while to create with the potions and wards that needed to be created. “You speak wise words and I just need to keep my temper with my return to work.”
Remus stroked the side of his face. “You know if you haven’t snapped yet, despite immense provocation, I doubt you will.”
Tony smiled softly and leaned into the touch. “You know you have me acting more like a cat than a wolf.”
Remus smirked. “I think it is adorable, now go and be a big bad federal agent.”
The sheer support and assumption of his competency buoyed Tony’s own confidence. He slipped out of bed uncaring of his lack of clothes and headed into the shower. Today would be a good day because Tony was done being a doormat. He felt that he couldn’t lecture Remus on it if he didn’t practice what he preached.
Tony had not had any contact with anyone from NCIS during his vacation time. He’d like to say he was upset but the time with Remus alone, discovering each other, and his new abilities had been relaxing. He was now able to change forms at will and they’d discovered even on the full moon he wasn’t bound by the moon. Tony changed to a wolf but only if it suited him.
He soon found out that Ziva had not returned. McGee cornered him, “Why did Ziva resign?”
Tony shrugged. “Did you ask our little ninja?”
McGee shook his head. “I didn’t get the chance, she resigned via satellite link in MTAC.”
“It’s her choice, probie.”
McGee was suspicious. “You sure it had nothing to do with Europe?”
Tony clapped him on the shoulder. “The report’s with Gibbs, McGee. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
“I need to know as Abby keeps bugging me.” McGee confessed and Tony wondered if he could see that his priority order was skewed.
Tony just smirked. “You know that saying probie, I want never gets .”
Gibbs was looming. “Time to get to work, we got a body in Arlington.”
Tim was wrinkling his nose. “It’s a cemetery.”
Tony snorted. “Yes, McObvious, but sometimes criminal sorts tend to enjoy using that little fact to their advantage.”
The three of them had made it to the dump site of their victim and Tony could tell much more than previously. He guessed he should take a few tracking courses to explain his newfound skills. The body had been dragged and he could smell the scent permeating from the ground.
He decided to walk off and follow his gut.
“We boring you, DiNozzo?” Gibbs asked pointedly.
Tony just put his hand up as if to say wait for it. He kept walking towards the treeline. “Found it!”
Gibbs frowned. “How’d you know?”
Tony played it cool. “The grass and branches were all out of place.” It was the best he could offer for he smelled the decay this way.
Gibbs offered. “Good catch.”
Tony smiled and looked at the body. The shoes were gone and so was the wallet. It was made to look like a robbery but you would have to be a highly-skilled fighter to rob a marine. “Boss, you know the thing about shoes - they make an outfit.”
“To you, DiNozzo. Point?”
Tony angled his head to the crowd watching them. “Well, when you have a guy wearing $400 shoes with an outfit from Target. It stands out.”
Gibbs looked at the man Tony was hinting at and he ran. He didn’t need to say anything as Tony was tearing after him despite the man’s 250-yard head start. DiNozzo had always been quick but he seemed quicker. It was like the yards just gave him a challenge and Gibbs, although he was running, could see the joy of the chase in Tony’s eyes.
The chase ended with the perp clattering to the ground in a full-body tackle. “So is he our murderer?”
Tony had hauled him to his feet and it was like the weight was no issue. He would love to find out what regime Tony had put himself on for rehab. “That or a scumbag who steals off heroes bodies.”
“I didn’t do it. I just need the shoes and it wasn’t like he needed them.” The scumbag answered.
Gibbs sneered. “Have McGee book him and keep him for questioning.”
Tony handed him off to McGee and kept looking around the scene. He was pretty sure the idiot was a scumbag opportunist but he wasn’t the killer. So that meant they needed to find more clues. “The kill site was here, and he dragged him to the grave.”
Gibbs nodded. “So where did he wait for him?”
Tony huffed. “He would have to have been smart.”
Gibbs looked through the records. “The victim was black ops - so beyond paranoid.”
Tony thought through the problem and had to put himself in the victim’s shoes. “So either he was far away, to begin with, or I knew him and didn’t see him as a threat.”
Gibbs looked around the area one more time. “I’m a sniper and I don’t mind this location.”
Tony had guessed the same but didn’t have the expertise in the matter that Gibbs had. “So I knew my killer.”
“So this’ll be premeditated.”
Tony nodded as that would be his guess. “We’ll run the details and I get McGee and Abby looking into finding out what they can about their lives.”
Gibbs nodded his agreement. This Tony was calm and centred and one that would have people do as he requested just because he asked. He didn’t know what had caused this change but he liked it and knew the others might struggle to accept the adjustment.
McGee was in Abby’s Lab. “I don’t get Tony.”
Abby looked away from her microscope. “What do you mean, Timmy?”
“He’s different but he won’t explain Europe.” McGee offered. He couldn’t explain all his feelings because he didn’t fancy the lecture from Abby.
Abby bit her lip. “Look, I miss Ziva but she left Tony when he needed back up. At least that’s what she told me. It was her reason for leaving. She was too angry to follow Gibbs’ rule.”
McGee’s eyes widened. “She admitted it?”
“Yeah, why?” Abby asked suspiciously.
Tim looked alarmed but tried to play it cool. “No reason. It’s just Tony’s all GI Joe. You should have seen him chase down the perp and find the kill site - it was like he just knew where it was, Abby, with no reason at all.”
Abby scoffed. “Tim, he was a cop for five years and has been a Federal Agent for nearly ten. He was bound to develop his own gut for things.”
Abby said it like it was all so reasonable but Tim knew there was something more going on. However, he couldn't figure it out this case - it turned out the killer was his friend and went to retrieve his weapon thinking no one would be there.
He hated dumb criminals. He would keep an eye on Tony and see if he could figure out the changes and the reasons for them.
Chapter 4: Children are a blessing?
It had been two years since Ziva had left the team and to be honest - they were flourishing. As it had been a full moon weekend - Remus and he had disappeared to his cabin to run under the moon. It had been worth the cost of the cross-state portkey to pull it off.
As a result of his weekend, Tony had gone into work feeling mentally refreshed. So he could have done without Kort darkening their bullpen. It had taken one comment and he’d set off Tony’s instincts. They were still sky-high from the full moon which had only occurred the night before.
It had taken only one growl for Kort to grew wary of him. Tony didn’t bother to hide his grin, and he let his fangs flash for a second.
“Are you going to call your attack dog off?” Kort asked Gibbs.
Tony kept his gaze frosty even if he hid his fangs and Kort couldn’t meet his eyes. Tony knew that Kort believed all the crap about his masks. Still, Tony knew better - he was not the same puppy that had followed Gibbs to NCIS. He’d grown a lot since that disastrous hunt to Europe.
Gibbs looked amused at Kort’s discomfort and clearly wasn’t going to do anything. To Trent’s annoyance, he didn’t say a word to his SFA. “Nope. You made your bed, Kort, now you can lie in it.”
Tony was too in control to actually wolf out in the middle of the bullpen no matter the temptation. He was practical too - if he was going to eat Kort, he’d wait until there were no witnesses because Remus would make him sleep on the couch if he was caught.
Kort glared at him but there was no way Tony was going to back down in front of idiot prey. Tony had figured out Kort, he wasn’t all bark and no bite. In fact, Kort’s type was the worst, they thought they were clever so became too arrogant.
He proved he was stupid by attempting to goad Tony further in his bid to save face. “Sorry, did I hurt a nerve with your girlfriend?”
Tony didn’t care anymore what others thought of him, plus, he wasn’t ashamed of Remus. “There is nothing girly about my lover.”
Kort’s eyes bugged out in shock and, knowing he’d lost this round of verbal sparring, he decided to exit stage left and sharply. “Wow. So I’ll ask around and see what I can find out.”
Tony smiled sweetly. “You do that.”
Tony turned around having taken a second to reign in his instincts to attack. He didn’t roll his eyes at the shocked looks from McGee and Bishop. He was so not in the mood.
“What?” He growled out, perhaps not having fully reined in his instincts.
McGee was the one to say it. His brain was struggling to comprehend what he'd just heard. He couldn’t recall Tony ever giving a hint that he’d liked the same sex. He was smart enough to not make a comment about gender even if he was in shock. “You have a lover? As in permanent and for more than one night?”
Tony rolled his eyes at the tone from the junior agent. He kept his smile tight but his sass fierce. “Don’t sound so surprised, McJudgy.”
Tim flushed and looked away, not equal to staring Tony in the eyes. Good, if you want to be a sarcastic little shit then you need to be up to the task. Tony had kept his attitude strong and firm ever since Europe and Tim had never figured out the cause.
Bishop though, she was keener and wanted to find out more. He really did adore her energy. She asked Tony eagerly. “What’s he like?”
“Refined and stunning,” Tony replied with a fond grin showing just how much he cared.
In Tony's mind, it was too difficult to encapsulate Remus in a few words. He’d overcome so many difficulties and struggles and yet never lost his caring or compassionate nature. It was a credit to his strong character and Tony loved the fact that in America he’d been able to go back to teaching. He was so relieved that there had been an opening in Ilvermorny for his lover.
Tim looked up and was about to say something acerbic but stopped seeing the look on Tony’s face. He changed his mind at the last second, clearly deciding that discretion was the better part of valour. “I’m happy for you, Tony.”
Tony nodded his head in acceptance. “Thanks. Now back to work. We need to know why they were looking for Ziva.”
He kept getting looks from both McGee and Gibbs through the evening. He couldn’t explain that any feelings he had for the woman disappeared when he’d ended up as a werewolf thanks to her vendetta.
Tony was so proud of himself because he’d got through the day with perseverance and not growling at a single person apart from Kort. Although, there were a few close calls as everyone seemed to think that he had an express line direct to Ziva. She’d been his work partner and nothing more and, after ditching him during the wolf attack, less than that. There were some events that even someone as loyal as Tony couldn’t forgive. The only thing she had done right in his book was resigning before he’d come back to work and at least giving the team some clue about what happened.
He was glad that he still drove home instead of apparating as it let him settle his whirling thoughts. The drive had been a good way to get order to his thoughts. He used his key to open his door and he was glad Remus was already home.
Tony snorted at his dorky lover as he threw down his keys. “You know it’s me, Remy.”
The man quirked an eyebrow as he dropped his book down. Tony was so glad that Ilvermorny didn’t insist on boarding students so he got to see Remus every day even during term time.
The fact that day in day out he would be unable to escape the students at any point in the day was kind of any teacher’s worst nightmare.
Remus pulled his mate down onto the sofa. He wanted to scent mark him after a day’s separation and he knew that Tony was more likely to speak the truth with skin contact. “And how was your day?”
“Well, I showed my inner wolf to that bastard Kort.” Tony explained and he wasn’t the least bit repentant. The bastard deserved more than just him showing his fangs.
Remus was bemused but knew that Tony was talking about his spirit, not his literal wolf. “Why?”
“He made a crack about Ziva being my girlfriend and I lost my temper. Here was the best part ... he asked Gibbs if he was going to control his attack dog.”
Remus was silently laughing and Tony could feel it as he lay back on his chest. “You should be careful to avoid temptation.” He warned his mate, as he didn’t want Tony to have that type of attack on his conscience.
“Nah, Gibbs is like immersion therapy. If he hasn’t set off my anger, no one will.”
Remus wondered about Tony’s team leader. He sounded like the muggle version of Mad-Eye Moody. He was all about justice at the expense of being civil - it certainly wouldn’t win him any friends. “I suppose you have a point.”
Tony sighed. “I’m concerned, Remy.”
“You’d be foolish to ignore your instincts. Why in particular today?”
Tony couldn’t quite put it into words yet but he would try. It was more than likely because of Ziva’s name being brought up today. He’d moved on from the attack, or so he thought. It seemed perhaps that he still had some unresolved feelings. “People are looking for Ziva and that has never ended well for me.”
Truer words and all that.
“Well, stay alert and you better bite the bitch before you let her harm you.” He replied.
Tony snorted in shock and disbelief. He didn’t think he could ever imagine the words coming from his lover’s mouth. He rolled them over, uncaring that they fell on the floor. “Your mouth both shocks and delights me, professor.”
Remus grinned as he flipped them back over. Tony may be the trained agent but he was the experienced werewolf. “Is that so?”
And proceeded to distract his mate from any dark thoughts by replacing them with sexy ones. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. Sirius would have laughed himself into his animagus form if Remus told him.
Tony was at NCIS when he noticed Orli come in clutching the hand of a very young girl. He knew immediately this was Ziva’s pup. “Hey, little one. You’re just like your mother, aren’t you?”
Orli stiffened and Tony just kept a grin on his face when he looked at the little girl. “Is it as bad as news as I suspect?”
She nodded her head, not quite sure how to break the news to the little angel that her mother had passed. “Yes, an attack on her home left the place decimated.”
Tony just tucked a hair behind her cute little ear. It was ironic to think that someone so innocent could have come from someone like Ziva. She was so angry at the world, it is hard to imagine how she would have been as a mother.
“And who has Ziva listed as guardian?” He asked, managing to keep his tone fairly even. He wondered but somehow he knew what Orli was going to say before she confirmed it.
“You’ve been listed as her father.”
Tony felt his legs buckle. The girl wasn’t his because when she’d been conceived was right around the time he was fighting to retain his humanity. Still, he looked in the little girl’s eyes and couldn’t condemn her for her mother’s choices. “Oh boy, I need to have a chat to Remy.”
The girl held out her arms and while he could resist Abby and her eyes, he was powerless to resist this little girl. “Oh you are dangerous, aren’t you?”
She just grinned at him crookedly. This little girl would unwittingly have a stupid number of enemies being Ziva David’s little girl. Tony though, he had magic on his side and money. He figured with that mix they might be able to figure out a solution.
They say children are a blessing and he was about to find out.
Chapter 5: The New Normal
Chapter 5: The New Normal
Gibbs had watched a gentleman unknown to him make his way through the bullpen. He was noticeable in that he looked more like a professor than an agent. In truth, Gibbs was in shock at the news of Ziva’s death. He was still impressed at how no one seemed to challenge the man - it was like no one was even noticing him and yet he was making his way straight for their part of the bullpen.
The man spoke, finally revealing he was a Brit. “I am looking for Agent DiNozzo.”
Gibbs growled, not liking this straight after finding out about Ziva. “Who are you?”
“You know, don’t you?” The man countered, staring him in the eyes. He was calm despite the outward show of anger. Now Gibbs was even more impressed as very few people could stand up to him without blinking.
Gibbs sighed, wondering just what might ruffle the man. He was guessing not much in reality but he did answer the indirect question. “You’re Tony’s person, aren’t you.”
“Yes, I am.” Remus didn’t even bother to deny the statement because it was true. “Now, where is he exactly?”
He had received a message about an emergency at work and he would be really glad if Remus could come to him ASAP. He was there as soon as his lesson had finished because in the two years they were together - he’d never had such a message.
Tony had commandeered the conference room space while Orli and Vance argued over some details. He kept wondering if he could do this, what was Remus going to say? This was not how he’d envisioned this case going. He and Remus had discussed having children or at the very least adopting someone but with their jobs and past didn’t feel it prudent.
He kept a keen eye on the little poppet as she kept drawing with her crayons. He wasn’t sure the pattern was too clear but no doubt he could put it in a gallery and it would sell for thousands. She proudly presented him with the finished article. “Wow. That is awesome.”
She pointed at the grass. “Abba.”
Tony froze because he wasn’t too sure about that right now. The last thing he wanted to do was give the child false hope. “English, kiddo.”
She pouted and went back to scribbling but her crayon was pressed down extra hard - just like her mother when she didn’t get her own way. He did know one thing, whatever faults he may have with Ziva the child did not deserve to suffer for it.
The door opening had Tony reflexively moving to cover the little one. Remus knew all he needed to know seeing that, Tony was reacting to the girl like she was his own. “So what’s our daughter’s name?”
Tony froze but let out a shaky grin. “Tali. Last Name to be determined.”
Remus smiled softly, always being at ease with children. “Hey, little one.” In fact, Remus often liked children more than adults as there was no artifice with them.
She waved at him, smile as big as the moon. She was going to be dangerous as she grew older. “We will need a minder for full moons.” Remus reminded his lover.
“Are you really okay with this?” Tony asked, as this was too big a decision for him to make just on his own. It didn’t matter to him that he really wanted to be a father if it would put his relationship at risk.
Remus countered. “Are you? If this one has enemies it might be best to come to Ilvermorny. It would mean leaving NCIS.”
Tony looked at the young girl and knew he would do whatever it took to keep her safe. “A job is a job, and I have magic even if I don’t use it every moment of the day.”
“You’ve always been magical to me.” Remus replied, tongue-in-cheek, wanting to lighten the mood.
Tony shook his head, relaxing to the idea. Tali’s demands to be hugged had worked as she was slung on his hip. “Tali, your Av is silly, isn’t he?”
Remus froze as the little one made eye contact. It also was quite the picture, his mate with a pup on his hip. It was impressive for one so young, it was like she was trying to understand him. “Av?”
Remus held out his hands, wanting his wolf to know the scent of their pup. “Yeah, Tali. Av.”
She jumped into his arms and Tony didn’t think he could love Remus any more than he already did but he did in that moment. Remus asked him softly. “If I am Av, what are you?”
“Abba, I’m Tali’s Abba.”
She grinned at Tony, like she knew she was right from the beginning she was right. “Abba?”
“Yeah, Tali, I am.” Tony confirmed. He just knew whatever Ziva's might have been - she might have just given him the gift of the century.
Gibbs listened as Tony told him he was leaving to accept a new job. He kept sanding his boat as it was clear that Tony needed to get a few things off his chest. It was like he was justifying his reasons for leaving and it boiled down to one - he had to if he was going to keep Tali safe.
Gibbs wasn’t keen on it but knew that Tony’s reasons were sound. Tony was already putting the needs of the child above his own needs. He could stand in the way but he imagined what he would do if someone stopped him with Kelly. And just like that, any thoughts of objecting disappeared. “You’re going to make a great Dad, DiNozzo.”
Tony looked pained. “I hope I can be.” Gibbs was more than aware of his childhood baggage. He had shared what he could, just not mentioning the word magic.
“There is no hope , you just do it.” Gibbs declared definitively like it was just that simple.
Tony chuckled. “You don’t look like a green jedi master.”
Gibbs just gave him a look. “I can rock a robe but I’ll stick with my boat.”
Tony laughed but it was chock full of emotions. He was sad to leave NCIS even if it hadn’t all been good feelings. “I may be leaving the firm but, boss, but we’ll drop by the house when we’ve made it safe.”
“So you and the professor will make things safe?” Gibbs was asking a question there and Tony chose to deftly deflect it.
“We have a few tricks. Gibbs, we’ve been together for so much but I have a new mission, and Ziva’s enemies know where to find me here.” Tony confessed.
Gibbs did an uncharacteristic thing, he hugged Tony. “I will miss you, Tony.”
Tony managed a weak smile, “This isn’t goodbye forever, boss.”
Remus was already back at their apartment and a new room had been temporarily made using magic. Little Tali had settled quickly asleep, tired out from all the day’s events and now the couple could finally see each other and figure out their game plan for the future.
“So are we going to live-in at Ilvermorny? Moira will be happy.”
Tony snorted because it wasn’t a question. “Yes. It will be for the best. Remy, I also think we should do an inheritance ritual.”
Remus knew it was smart. By using the inheritance ritual she would be added to the family bloodline without having to use their blood. It would mean she would be accepted by the family magic. “That would mean we have to formally register our marriage.”
“Sweetheart, I have been gone on you since the cabin. I’ve been waiting for you to catch up.” Tony confessed, knowing that for him, he was all in and had been for a long time.
Remus pulled him in close, “Oh, have I been clueless?”
Tony grinned going back to their old joke. “I was close to putting it in a book. Merlin, we have a kid.”
“Yes, we do. She will be fine because we will not tolerate any harm to her.” Remus responded, and for once not hiding the wolf in his voice. If there was one thing his time with Tony had taught him was the wolf was part of him and not something he should fight.
“Oh that is a fact.”
The best thing about magic was they could have fun times and soundproof the room so Tali couldn’t hear and wake up but charm their girl to make sure she slept soundly.
Tony and Remus had headed to the local bank of the goblins. It didn’t matter where you were in the world - there was always a branch of Gringotts that would be available. As Tony stepped through the door for his appointment, he was already being greeted by his account manager. He may have been hiding in the muggle world but had not left his magical legacy to whither away.
“Lord Paddington, you’ve requested an inheritance ritual and a bonding ritual, is that correct?”
Tony nodded as that was more than enough for one day. “Yes, thank you, Ragnoz. I hope your enemies are suffering under your revenge and your gold is plentiful.”
Ragnoz smirked showing wickedly sharp teeth. “Always, my Lord. Always.”
Tony would have loved to protest the title but he was aware that when it came to getting things done - it helped. “So we plan to annoy all of the British Aristocracy today.”
“Excellent goal. Let us get started.”
He and Remus already had mating bites but the bonding ritual would make it formal in the eyes of wizards all over the world. Tony wasn’t quite ready to dive head first into the magical world without careful observations but he would do anything to protect his family. He knew as archaic as it might sound, by making Remus the Paddington Consort it would be a layer of protection from haters.
The rituals hadn’t taken long but it showed someone was paying attention as Remus received a letter via phoenix fire. He rolled his eyes and tossed it to Tony.
Tony quirked an eyebrow at his mate, and now husband. “I wonder, are you allowed to breathe without permission?”
Remus snorted in agreement. “He does seem to think that he has the right to interfere in our lives.”
Tony pursed his lips, and didn’t say what he wanted. He was well aware that the man had crafted the best personna possible to get what he wanted. He also knew Remus was still overly respectful of the wizard. “You’re my mate, and husband. He cannot interfere in the noble protocols even if he wanted to.”
Remus chuckled, knowing that he was now the worst nightmare for the most of the pure-blood fanatics. He was a werewolf and he was the Paddington Consort which was not without its protections.
And the best part - neither of them cared enough to deal with other peoples’ comments. There was a tug on his hand. “Av, ice-cream?”
The ritual had seen little Tali’s colouring to change to match Tony’s. He may not have been her biological father but magic had taken care of that little detail. “Yeah, poppet, let’s go and get ice-cream.”
The wizarding community in America was a little different to the one in Britain. It was not about preserving tradition but rather it was about innovating and it was fascinating to Remus.
His mind was whirling with all the things that would need to be done. “So we need to get you and Tali some wizarding robes.”
Tony rolled his eyes and recognised it was time for him to embrace his heritage. “I know but I am not going to get rid of my jeans. Not for anyone.”
Remus smirked over his cup of tea, he was willing to adapt to America but he refused to surrender his tea - not even for Tony. “I wouldn’t dream of asking you to. I like you in jeans too.”
They kept the conversation clean with little ears close. Remus tilted his head. “So what house were you in at Ilvermorny?”
Tony chuckled because they’d covered a lot about Hogwarts but they’d yet to get around to his own schooling. They’d been too busy making sure Tony was able to handle his new wolf.
“Well, we don’t have a sorting hat but in some ways it is just as imposing. As you well know. So which statue do you think laid claim to me?”
Remus, as a professor at the school, was well aware of the differences between the Ilvermorny ceremony and the one he went through at Hogwarts. The Ilvermorny students would stand in the middle of the Gordian knot and one of the four statues would lay claim to their students. “I suspect you got a roar of approval?”
“You would be right that I was in the Wampus house.” Tony confessed.
Remus chuckled. “Well, you have always been a warrior, I suspect. Just sneakier about it. I know that the headmistress is greatly looking forward to your return.”
Tony groaned realising that Remus was going to hear about every one of his indiscretions at school. Still, he wouldn’t change his family for the world.
Families do tend to grow over time
Chapter 6: A Family Grows
Chapter 6: A Family Grows
Tony and Remus had settled into Ilvermorny. The two professors fascinated the students by being together in all things. Remus was well-liked as the defence professor and Tony had unwittingly ended up as a professor of physical education. It hadn’t been his original plan but he found he loved the role.
The current headmistress, Moira Boot, had realised that unless the students liked to play quidditch their physical fitness was greatly reduced and thus impacted their ability to be effective in duelling. She had encouraged Tony into being the one to launch the new programme into the school.
Moira was, however, not impressed in this very moment. She definitely did not like her unexpected visitor and she was not the type to be overly friendly with anyone who couldn’t answer simple questions. “What the hell do you want with two of my favourite professors?”
Albus Dumbledore was put out by the attitude but should remember that he was no longer in the UK. There was no way he was going to receive deferential treatment on this side of the pond. “I have a young charge in my care, who should have been placed with them before now.”
She may be just shy of a hundred but she was no one’s fool. “And why wasn’t Harry Potter brought to them before now?”
The man looked old and weary. “A foolish man’s belief that family should trump everything.”
She looked at his young charge who was currently sleeping. “I will take you to them but I am not going to make them behave.”
And she was true to her word, although she stuck around for entertainment purposes and to make sure that he didn’t try anything with Remus or Tony. She was not going to part with them without a fight. She wasn’t disappointed.
“You, you stupid meddling goat, are deluded if you think I’ll accept what you’re suggesting,” Tony hissed, listening to the story of young Harry’s early years.
Remus choked on his mate's comment but didn’t rush to his former professor’s aide. After all, he could still hear Padfoot’s cub harshly breathing through the bruised ribs. He had to focus on Harry or go on a murder spree, which was his back-up plan. He knew a few curses that would mean there wasn’t a single part of the body left to identify.
“It was for the greater good.” Dumbledore insisted.
Tony sneered at the ridiculous notion. “You know, the last time I did something for the greater good ... Greyback took a chunk out of me. Thankfully, I’m American and rich thanks to Voldemort’s stupidity.” He would have preferred his Uncle to still be living instead of having the wealth but he wasn’t above using the money to achieve his aims. “I’m going to devote my time and money into ruining you if you don’t leave Harry with us.”
Albus frowned. “I don’t follow.” He’d planned to leave Harry with them as being raised in America away from his fame was the best plan until he was ready for Harry to train at 11 with him at Hogwarts. He didn’t see how Remus’ brash husband could cause him any personal difficulties though.
“I’m the Paddington Lord remember - you sent a note of beratement to my husband. And I am the last of my line, how many people have tried to claim my votes in the Wizengamot?” Tony asked with a smirk.
He was of the personal opinion that if you had an unknown quantity in play - you should investigate them. Instead, what he’d discovered about the English nobility is that that they seemed to operate on an out of sight, out of mind policy. You would have thought someone of Dumbledore’s influence would learn of such strategies.
“You didn’t train at Hogwarts under my staff.” Albus said like it was a given that he should have.
Tony shook his head as he hadn’t - that was true. His mother’s parents were ashamed of the fact their daughter had picked an American muggle. So much so they’d practically disowned her, and if it hadn’t been the first blood war they might have fully disowned her. As it was, it was prudent not to and Tony had ended up as Uncle Clive’s heir. As a result, to preserve his existence, Clive had insisted that he train at Ilvermorny and he had stayed in America to keep the family line safe. Sadly, Uncle Clive has passed away and Tony had stayed in America. However, he wasn’t ignorant of traditions and ensured through Ragnoz that the family estate was well-managed.
He was aware that thanks to the Potter heir, Voldemort had been stopped but his life in America was too entrenched and then there was the whole werewolf affair that saw him heading back more towards his magical side.
Of course he shared none of this with the British headmaster. Instead, he chose to draw his line in the sand. “No, I didn’t train at Hogwarts but I can be your worst nightmare. I am rich, entitled, vicious and perfectly aware of how to turn public opinion against you.”
“They would never accept your lycanthropy.” Dumbledore said, suddenly unsure of the man in front of him. He would have to rely on old prejudices. He hated that he was reduced to such tactics but it was all for the greater good.
Moira chuckled but had to goad the old wizard. “Haha, you really are clueless aren’t you, old man?”
Tony’s grin was positively feral and he shared a knowing grin with his boss. “You see, old man, that’s where you’re wrong. I am a special snowflake, Albus, and I’ll be devoting my time to reversing such crap towards Remus. We were just looking to see Tali a little older.”
“Harry has a lot of enemies.” Albus pointed out because he wanted Harry’s guardians to keep a low profile - not make themselves more of a target. He had a feeling that may be difficult with Remus’ husband but he didn’t see he had a choice in the matter now.
Tony rolled his eyes because he wasn’t stupid as he pretended to be on occasion. “Well, who better than a vicious godfather.”
“Remus is one of the most even-tempered wizards I know.” Albus responded, letting Tony know just why he was trying this crap.
Tony snorted because that wasn’t even up for debate. “He is. I meant me. So we’ll take our godson and just maybe he’ll appear at 11 if we feel Hogwarts is safe and intellectually stimulating enough for him that is.” It was an unspoken challenge and not even Dumbledore was wizard enough to resist it.
“It will be the first time he will have practised his magic, he will need to learn the basics.”
Tony rolled his eyes because he never got the British philosophy regarding that policy. “It’s only the UK who start teaching their young so late. Harry will be enrolled in classes from next year. Plus, you know the whole dark wizard thing. We won’t leave him unprepared.”
“Voldemort is deceased.” Dumbledore reminded them.
Tony snickered because even Dumbledore didn’t believe what he was saying. “The fools who believe in your greater good may swallow that but I don’t.”
“Whatever do you mean?” Moira asked because she’d seen Dumbledore flinch at that question.
Tony showed a glint of the wolf in his eyes, wanting Dumbledore to know just what thin ice he was on. “If he was, you wouldn’t be so invested in Harry. You want him ready to fit some picture of the future. I just don’t like the way you assume you know what the greater good is as if you have some roadmap.”
Dumbledore was impressed even if he didn’t like someone challenging his authority. He was glad that young Anthony had set up shop with Remus in Ilvermorny even though he initially had reservations. He wasn’t sure the Wizengamot was ready for the young Paddington Lord. He did know that should Fudge get it in his head to challenge for Harry to gain popularity that this wizard would burn down the building before letting Harry out of his sight.
It might be a risk but he felt it was only right to share the contents of the prophecy.
Tony listened and looked at the small boy who was asleep on their sofa. He looked younger than Tali even though he was older. The bloody British expected this kid to fight the evil they couldn’t. He’d never been a fan of cowardice and stupidity was even worse in his book. “He will be staying with us, Headmaster.”
Albus could have fought the decision but looking into the eyes of the young Lord he suspected that he might lose. He wondered if it was a sign he was getting old. He would monitor young Harry and how the Lupin-Paddington Household interacted with the world.
Moira had personally escorted the meddling old bastard back to the portkey zone. She wouldn’t be letting him back in a hurry - it would just require adjusting the wardstone. She went back towards the apartments she’d just left not five minutes ago. She could see the two men huddled over Harry casting various spells.
“Well, congrats. It’s a boy.”
Tony chuckled and handed her some fire whiskey figuring they all could do with one glass. “Would I cause an international incident if I cursed the old goat?”
She shook her head and encouraged him. “As I understand it, you’re entitled nobility over there. You just don’t flaunt it.”
Remus, though, had to snigger. “He is not asking in the hypothetical are you, my love?”
Tony shook his head. “In my defence, it was curse him silly or bite him. He didn’t feel it though, isn’t he supposed to be the big kahuna over in England?”
She sat back laughing because of course, Tony would curse him. “What did you do?”
“He won’t be able to wear anything but monochromatic clothes no matter what colour they start.”
It was an unusual curse but he’d been listening to Remus’ stories about Hogwarts and knew it was the best choice. It was clear that the old man used the bumbling headmaster as a cloak for his other activities.
Moira smirked at Tony. Wow. He must be serious to reveal just how sneaky he could be if he chose to in the right circumstance. “You know I still think you should have been one of the horned serpents.”
Tony gave her a clue. “You know what they say, the most dangerous serpents are the ones who hide in plain sight.”
She couldn’t disagree in his observation and she had a feeling that this family, and that is what they would become, would destroy anyone who stood in their way. In fact, she was rather looking forward to the chaos they were going to wreak when they went.
She was too canny, though, not to get everything she could get out of her staff. “Your boy has a dark curse around his head. You need to get that checked out.”
Tony was so glad that Ilvermorny had a way more diverse hiring practise as it meant that the infirmary was run by a six hundred-year-old goblin who had dealt with all the little hobgoblin’s in her own horde so went off to discover new and interesting ones that could amuse her for another century.
The Wizarding world was about to enter some interesting times.
Chapter 7: Sibling Mischief
Chapter 7: Sibling Mischief.
Tali woke up the next day to see there was a small boy on the sofa. “Who is that, Papa?” She called Remus papa, and Tony father or daddy depending on what she wanted. Now she only reverted the Hebrew forms when stressed.
Remus had not slept due to trying to deal with all his whirling emotions. He’d made Tony sleep as one of them should be well-rested the next day. “That is going to be your older brother.”
“Why has he only just got here?”
Remus had to love a child’s logic. “Well, you see a very old wizard decided to make decisions that led to Harry being hurt by people who were supposed to care for him.”
“Family don’t hurt each other, and if they do they make it right.” She declared fiercely as it was the second rule in their family. Rule One was - bite, kick, scratch, stab or curse whoever might want to do you harm. You keep yourself alive and they could take care of the details afterwards.
Remus chuckled and patted his lap. “Yes, well, Harry’s family were careless with him and I just knew we could care for him better. You will help me, right?”
She nodded. “And if they’re mean, you and Daddy will eat them, right?”
Remus chuckled at the blood-thirsty comment coming from such an angelic face. “If the occasion calls for it.” Although he knew Tony too well - there was no way his no-maj relatives would escape the situation without someone punishment.
There was no worry about the two children squabbling. They were quite overjoyed to each now have a sibling that they were fiercely protective of. So once they’d figured that out - they moved on to causing their parental figures as much stress as possible with their mischief.
Tali had been found to have magic, whether it was through the ritual inheritance or her biological parent, no one was sure - but it didn’t matter. She loved practising spells with her brother. Their appetite for research and practice was kind of scary considering that Tali was 6, and Harry was 8. Still, Remus and Tony were of the opinion that if they were willing to do the research then they could gain whatever answers they sought - within reason.
Tony should have known better and found himself bellowing. “Talia and Harry, get out here.”
They knew with their father’s current tone that they shouldn’t be slow to appear. Harry was the one who could face their father’s anger better out of the two of them. “In our defence, we didn’t do it.”
He watched as Papa flitted through the entrance to their quarters. “What have you two rapscallions done now?” He asked as he threw off his teaching robe, he’d had a class so was unaware of what they might have done.
Tony was the one to answer him with a clue rather than a direct answer. “Oh, ask them how they will keep us company on a full moon.”
Remus stopped in shock. “Are you serious?”
Tony nodded. “I figured out what was bothering us about their magical signatures - they’re animagii, love.”
Harry was ten now and had in the last year managed to gain some of his natural weight and height. It meant that he looked like Tali’s big brother. “It’s true. In our defence we were just reading but as we thought through the steps we just sort of did it.”
Remus just looked exasperated. “You two are too precocious sometimes. I am not sure if I should hug you or shout at you.”
Tony snorted because that was exactly his quandary. “I was going with proud, so very proud. AFTER I’d yelled a lot for scaring the crap out of me.”
Tali giggled and cheekily asked, “Can we skip to the proud bit as we know it was dumb-ass move?”
Remus winced at the butchering of their language. Still, children were children. “Oh, I think a research project into why it was a bad idea would work out nicely.”
Harry groaned as he knew the catch. “How long?”
Tony smirked. “Ten inches and no broom until it gets an E to Papa’s standards. It goes for both of you. You scared us way more than any dark wizard. You’re too important to us.”
The kids looked sorry but streamed forward for hugs. “We’re sorry but we don’t want to leave Papa alone for the full moons.”
Remus’s heart grew and he couldn’t believe how lucky he’d gotten to have this life. “I am so lucky to have this family. So what do you turn into?”
He should be cross but it was done now and all he could do was be proud of the accomplishment. The other excellent bit was they were American citizens, Tony had ensured it - not wanting to let the British play games they weren’t willing to engage in it. The handy part was they could register with MACUSA and not have to say a damn thing in England until they moved there permanently.
“A Gryphon,” Harry said with a grin. His guardians had always referred to him as a little Gryffindor - too brave for his own good.
Tali was more excited. “I can fly like a hawk, papa.”
Remus was impressed. “Well, we can have some fun, I’m sure, but no transformations unless your father and I are around. Clear?”
They nodded in understanding - they were smart children and knew what they achieved, while momentous, could also be troubling. Still, in the end, it gave them another way to protect themselves and being so young they had no reason to actually register their animagus forms with the ministry in the US or the UK.
Tony slid into bed next to his husband. “So today was interesting.”
He didn’t think there was a parenting book that covered your children accidentally achieving an animagus transformation before they reach 11.
Remus chuckled, kissing his husband’s neck right next to his mating bite. “I’ll bet.”
He was used to such things, having grown up with James and Sirius who’d both been dripping in magic in the same way Tony and Harry were by being one of the last few of their lines. He was just relieved their forms were sturdy enough to help them should they be attacked.
Tony groaned at the feather-light touches. Remus always had known how to drive Tony wild. “Are you trying to distract me?”
Remus kissed a trail down his side, dipping lower. “Is it working?”
Tony rolled them over, letting his own eyes flash. “Yes, very much so.”
Any chance to take it any further than that was stopped by an owl at their window. Tony growled and if you didn’t know how badly he hated their private time being interrupted you’d think he was slipping to his wolven form.
It didn’t take Remus long to read the missive and his temper made his aura flare for a second. Remus was also dripping in magic but had never really been willing into it until Tony had help him accept who he really was in both forms. “Dumbledore is inviting Harry to Hogwarts in September.”
Tony grimaced because he knew it would happen but now the moment was there - he wasn’t so sure. “We work well here.”
It was a truth they couldn’t deny. Remus had flourished as the defence teacher, and MACUSA had written notes of thanks to him for sending them less bait and more Aurors - in their words. “We do but Harry has a history in England that will catch up to us.”
Tony groaned. “But they’re complete dicks to you and that makes me furious. You get cross with me when I get defensive.”
Remus smirked, knowing full well his mate was being obtuse. He did make Tony a promise that was so easy because it would be fun and necessary. “Then you can channel your inner Gibbs and make them regret coming at our pack.”
“That’s a promise.” Tony agreed, his eyes glinting with the spark of the wolf.
There was no more talking - they’d make plans in the morning. For now, they would lose themselves in each other and reconnect at a primal level.
Tony couldn’t believe he was finally back in Britain. It had taken a month from the arrival of Dumbledweeb’s letter to get the whole family ready. He’d made sure the Paddington townhouse had been aired, thoroughly cleaned and made ready for their family.
Tony wasn’t going to hide where he was but he’d also had the Goblins make their wards as lethally protective as they desired.
It turns out that the Goblin King was beyond happy with Tony. Tony had no idea that his account manager was the King’s nephew who’d relocated to America to keep an eye on Tony and the family accounts. So now that Tony was back in the UK, so was his nephew. To then be given the gift of making creative and nasty wards - well let’s just say he had gone to town.
If you tried to gain entrance to the Paddington townhouse without being keyed into the matrix, a first offence would see you in the middle of the Sahara in a minor magic dead spot. If you were bold enough to try a second time, you would end up in a pike pit that if you got magical help you would survive - just be punctured for a while. If you went at their mansion for a third attempt then there was no helping someone that stupid - you would be dropped in the mid-Atlantic trench. The only question would you die by drowning or the magma first. The goblins were hoping for a test case - for science (they’d left recording equipment to see).
It was ironic that in years gone by Remus would have assumed he didn’t have the right to enter the Wizengamot. Today he stood in the finest wizarding robes. Tony had ensured they both had the best, finest quality ones to blend in with the others. He was ready to walk in side by side with his husband to enjoy the fun and confusion their return would cause.
It may only be July but Tony and Remus both agreed that the British public should get used to them over the summer. Although Tony had already enjoyed the way they’d been both ignored and stared at - for politicians, none of them were very subtle. To be an asshole, he’d kept his American accent strong to wind them up.
The other thing that might have surprised some of the Lords was the fact that Tony and Remus had brought both Tali and Harry with them. The reason was simple - it was so Harry could learn who to watch out for, and for Tali it was so she didn’t didn’t feel left out
Harry was looking around the atrium. “So we’re going to where the laws are made?”
Tony nodded at the question. “Yes, but our family will have our own box.”
Harry grinned. “I have one of them, don’t I?”
Tony chuckled ruffling his hair. “Yes, and when you defeat your first dark wizard on purpose , or, you know, pass your OWLs ... you can claim that Lordship.”
Harry grinned but spoke from his heart. “I don’t mind you using my vote, father. At least I know it won’t go to waste.”
Tony smirked. “Never a waste.”
A blonde man who could only be Lucius Malfoy walked up to his box. “You know this is reserved for the elusive Paddington Lord.”
Tony out on a vacant smile, and touched the seal showing the ancient magics recognised him as such. “You lot didn’t look very well, you would have found me if you had come to America. I’m here now, and so are my family.”
“Lupin is a werewolf.”
Tony gave him a thousand-yard smile that would have made Gibbs proud. “You will find that is the Paddington Consort you’re accusing and we’ve never been fond of insults towards our family. Plus, you shouldn’t throw stones now should you, Lord Malfoy, about consorting with dark creatures.”
He got a thin smile. “You should be careful who you align within this country,”
Tony dropped his American accent and was pure upper-class Brit at that moment. “You know, I am on the side of my family. Whoever wants to make war on them, makes war with me.”
“A bold statement.”
Tony was equal to that glare. “Are you telling me you wouldn’t do the same for your family, Lord Malfoy?”
“Of course, I would.”
In all the verbal sparring, Lucius hadn’t been introduced to the children or he would have realised his misstep. With the call to order, he went to his own box to sit next to his Lady.
The call to begin the session had come not long after and the boxes all went active and quiet as the order of business started.
Dumbledore looked at Tony and his family. “And it is with great pleasure that we welcome back Lord Anthony Paddington and his consort, along with their two children, Talia Paddington and Harry Potter. He has been spending time in the US in order to raise his children in peace.”
The disorder could be heard all the way in Edinburgh Tony was sure. He just sat back and revelled in it - after all, the lack of control would annoy the other families especially as it had been so public on their part.
They should all know, though, that Anthony Dante DiNozzo Paddington-Lupin was a stubborn wildcard that didn’t like the word impossible. He would also tear apart anyone who came after his cubs or mate.
Chapter 8: Playing Politics
Tali was sitting next to her brother, and couldn’t help but whisper to Harry. “Why are they all staring? Don’t they know it’s rude?”
She sat in the box behind her parents and took in her first Wizengamot impression. It was as rowdy as lunch at Ilvermorny. Too bad she couldn’t ask her favourite elf for passionfruit and cream. It was her favourite pudding, much to the amusement of her Papa.
Harry chuckled at the innocent question but answer as honestly as he could. In truth, he knew why he was here as soon enough he would be forced to take up his own box in order to honour his magical legacy. Right now though, he was impressed, or should that be unimpressed, with their behaviour. “No. They don’t, or, maybe they don’t care.”
She sniffed haughtily. “I thought they were supposed to hide what they’re thinking? Isn’t that what Pops says?.”
Harry and Remus both snickered and thankfully his Pops answered as he didn’t want to make a misstep. He’d been drilled on expectations of him as a Scion of an Ancient and Noble House. “They usually do but your Father and Harry have been hiding for a long time so are quite the surprise.”
Tony’s only response was to smirk at his family before he engaged with the first person to venture close to their box. It turns out the man really shouldn’t have bothered as Tony hated people too sloppy to do their own recon properly.
Albus Dumbledore had not taken his eyes off the small family unit as they had cut through the crowd. The other members of the Wizengamot only started to pay attention when they realised he’d entered the Paddington box. It was amusing to see Malfoy lose his composure even if it was only for a second.
Albus would commit to memory Malfoy’s look when young Tony tapped to activate the box. Malfoy prided himself on being above visible reactions but he failed on this day.
Minister Fudge kept looking at the Paddington box. He had no warning that the Lord would be once more back in the UK. He also had no idea that Lord Paddington had been the Potter guardian.
“I call upon Lord Paddington to explain why he took Harry Potter out of the country.”
Tony stood up and stared directly at Fudge. “Does the minister often have the right to demand information about a Noble and Ancient Family?”
“Yes, well, you had the boy-who-lived.” Fudge blustered.
Tony rolled his eyes. “Yes. I did. He was brought to me as the guardians you left him with were inept and, even worse, they were abusive. That was whilst you were overseeing his care. As you can see he is now whole and hearty. He is informed and educated about his magical legacy and will be interacting with society on the correct level. Please tell me what you think I did wrong.”
“He was meant to be in the UK!”
Tony smirked at the Minister because this idiot was definitely not winning any points with him. “Who said? You see, Lily asked for Lord Black or Consort Paddington to be his guardian.”
“Yes, well, your Consort ...”
Tony levelled a glare at the woman who was about to speak. “Lady, that is my husband you are talking about and if you utter one word of unsubstantiated rumour or bile against any member of my family I will ruin you and every other member of your house.”
Albus watched as the toadish woman paled. “Ms Umbridge, you have been warned about your views.”
“It is the law, and I not be threatened by this outsider.”
Tony snorted. “My Lady, you should understand me clearly. I don’t threaten, I was making a magical promise, and you are not very observant, are you? I am a Lord, duly recognised by the magic of this fine establishment. What exactly are you Lady of?”
Malfoy knew he’d made a misstep earlier and he needed to backtrack quickly. “We’ve tried and never found out?”
Tony raised an eyebrow. “You would think that Minister Fudge would be careful with my opinion - it is an election year.”
“Are you threatening me?”
Tony just shook his head with a resigned air. “As I told your little pet, I don’t threaten. Do remember, Minister, that as it stands, I currently hold the Paddington, Potter, Gryffindor and Morte votes. So what can’t I do?”
It was bold to announce it but Tony knew one thing about this side of the pond. They were cowards and tended to follow those they believed had the most power. It was true that Harry didn’t beat Voldemort with skill but the power side couldn’t be ignored.
Dumbledore, who still had the twinkle in his eye, could honestly say he was enjoying this session far more than any in years. “Holding the Gryffindor votes means you could demand the sitting minister be removed and insist on new elections should you desire it."
Tony smirked and he had no doubt his wolf was close to the surface given how some of the closest family lords flinched. “Well, it is a good thing that I am more invested in raising Harry Potter than influencing British Politics I would say.”
The Minister sat down in a huff - It was clear to all, who had won that round. It was obvious that they would need to gain this new Lord’s measure quickly if they wanted to figure out the best way to get him onside.
Tali and Harry were moving around the book shop with awe. They’d been raised to understand that knowledge was power and yes they should play but should always aim to educate their minds.
“What’s our limit?” Tali whispered, looking at the rows of books.
Remus smirked. “Since when has your father ever given you a book limit?”
She had to concede that point. She had a budget for clothes and movies and fun entertainment but if it was books then she could go crazy just like her brother. She had a massive grin. “Awesome.”
Remus walked past them aiming to get some books for himself. He may have ended up as the Defense Professor at Hogwarts this year but that didn’t mean he didn’t have other passions to pursue.
“What is Daddy going to do?”
Remus smiled at the question. “Well, he doesn’t like the attitude England has towards your brother so he is going to devote his time to fixing it. Plus, he wants to improve understanding towards werewolves and vampires as England is quite backwards in their position.”
“Is that so Uncle Louis can visit?” Tali asked, asking about one of the professors at Ilvermorny who was her favourite. It was mainly because he never treated her like she was a little kid.
Remus snorted. “Louis tends to get invites wherever he goes. It’s when he deigns to let Uncle Lestat close that they run into trouble.”
She grinned. “I don’t mind Uncle Lestat, he lets me go hunting with him.”
Remus didn’t know what said love like a well-known hedonistic vampire choosing to go vegan for Louis. “Well, he appreciates the help, little hawk.”
“It’s not as fun as the family runs.” She declared definitively.
Remus ruffled her hair with affection. He adored how loyal and fierce their daughter was and knew she would grow up into a fine lady. “You may be right but we are awesome as Harry often says.”
She sighed. “Does he have to go to school at that stuffy place?”
Remus could guess she was going to miss her big brother. “You know you will be staying in that stuffy place with me, and your father.”
She rolled her eyes. “I know but Harry will go with all the other boys.”
He chuckled. “You know it will be your turn in two years.”
She smirked. “What about if I want to go to Ilvermorny and be in Wampus House?”
“Then you will amuse your father and your Aunt Moira immensely.” Remus answered, knowing that if their little cub did want to go to Ilvermorny then they would make it happen. It would seem their timeline of getting stuff sorted may be moving up. The only reason why they were back in this country was to ensure that Harry got to gain access to his full magical legacy and to put a stop to the Death Eaters that were seemingly popping out of the woodwork. “Let’s go and see if your brother has picked out his books.”
Harry felt his magic twinge when a blonde appeared in front of him. He was pretty in the way only a Malfoy could be. “Hi, I’m Harry Potter.”
“Father mentioned you’ve finally come back to the UK. How are you finding it?”
“Cold.” Harry answered quickly as it was - he’d had to figure out a warming charm that stuck to his clothes. His Dad had challenged him to make his magic adapt to his needs.
The blonde poked his hand out. “I am Draco Malfoy.”
“Nice to meet you, Draco. So I have my books and my father is somewhere amongst the books. Mind what you say - he will be the defense professor.”
Draco smirked. “I will mind my manners. I heard your other father nearly caused the Lords to have a fit.”
Harry chuckled. “It was epic and he’s only just getting started. He has a lot of opinions about everything.”
“YOU should not be friends with him. He’s dark, you know.” A new random boy declared.
Harry frowned at the ginger-headed child wondering why he thought he could lecture him on anything. “His magic is pure and light - unlike your bigotry.”
Draco stiffened a fraction because the only way someone could make that judgement was if they were very strong in their magic. It was practically admitting that you had mage sight. It was well known that Dumbeldore’s appeared in his thirties and that was considered precocious. “It would clash with my hair otherwise.”
Harry smirked and was pleased by the change in direction. “You trying to be funny about my hair?”
“I wouldn’t dare to make fun of the Boy-Who-Lived ... I am sure I would be lynched.”
Harry snickered. “Oh no. The press leaves me alone. My father sued the hell out of them for using my image without permission. If you print something now the editor demands a truth spell be cast first.”
Draco tilted an eyebrow because that wasn’t well-known but impressive. It would also mean the ministry would be unable to print fake news about the family. The annoying ginger was still there.
“Didn’t you hear me!?!?”
Harry snorted. “Yes, Mr Weasley, I did hear you. I just wonder why you believe I can’t think for myself. I prefer to make my own opinions about people. My fathers would be unhappy with me otherwise as they raised me not to be judgemental based on history or other’s expectations.”
The Weasley youngest wasn’t catching a clue. “I’m Ronald.”
Harry shook his head. “That would imply familiarity and friendship. Come on, Draco. Let me introduce you to one of my fathers.”
And just like that, another one of the headmaster’s plans were thwarted.
It would probably be no comfort but that whole exchange also thwarted one of Voldemort’s plans as well.
Chapter 9: All about the Journey?
Harry had gone to the platform even when it was stupid considering he’d been based out Hogwarts for a week. He wondered if his sister had managed to wrap Snape even further around his finger. It was honestly one of the most hilarious things he’d ever seen.
Dumbledore had explained to the staff that Lord Paddington, and Talia, would be staying in the rooms with Remus. It had been a long time since a teaching family had been at Hogwarts but there were precedents in the past. It wasn’t so odd as Tony had agreed to implement the same programme as he had at Ilvermorny on a trial basis.
As it was Remus who needed to get ready for teaching, Tony was the one to take him to platform 9 and 3/4’s. Harry looked around the train platform and it was heaving. It was to be expected he supposed as the whole school boarded this one train. So many kids were shaking and looking as nervous as hell, which was just odd.
Harry had to ask. “What will you be doing while I take a pointless train journey?”
His father grinned and everyone should be wary as it was his
I am going to cause mischief
grin. “I need to go and smack down the Daily Prophet after I see you off, per tradition.”
“Why do they need smacking down?” Harry asked.
Tony had to smile at the innocent question. “They keep printing bigoted crap and I’m not the type to tolerate your image, or stories about you, in any shape way or form. They will have to put up with my wishes from now on.”
Harry saw the grin grow and he knew for certain now. “What did you do, Daddy?”
Tony smirked, but thanks to his use of a privacy charm he let Harry know. “I bought the bleeding paper. Let’s see how they do once they have a code of conduct to print only verified stories.”
Harry giggled as that was perfect because first Dumbledore was monochromal and now Rita Skeeter had to be truthful. He wondered when he would get the nickname of karma inducer or some such. “Where will Rita Skeeter write?”
Tony snickered but he did agree with his adoptive son. “I have no idea, kiddo, I doubt it will be for our fine wizarding paper.”
Harry wasn’t shaking like a leaf but he had the added advantage of already having been to Hogwarts. He’d made his way to one of the empty carriages, as he would prefer to find a carriage he could choose before they filled up. He found Draco and Neville had a similar idea to him.
They’d made acquaintances and friendships over the fact they were heirs/scions and being bored at the Wizengamot. His father had said nothing about his choice of friends. “You’ll make your own circle of allies, kiddo. You can charm snakes, after all.”
Harry grinned at that because he really could - Ilvermorny’s healer had removed the Horcrux from his head but he’d been a natural parselmouth from the Potter line.
It was not a safe journey. First, Harry had gladly shared a carriage with a Longbottom and a Malfoy but an annoying ginger had bothered them, interrupting their fun conversations.
“Haven’t you learned your lesson?” The Weasel demanded to know.
Harry looked up from his book. “No, you clearly haven’t learned your lesson. I am not inclined to let anyone choose my friends for me.”
“You don’t have good taste in friends,” he sneered like his opinion was somehow better.
Harry frowned. “Let’s see - we have had a fantastic conversation about charms versus transfiguration, and I believe we were about to debate quidditch v physical education. Your opinions are not wanted so off you go.”
Harry took a deep breath when the prat stormed off down the carriage. “Merlin, he is annoying.”
“That is Ronald Weasley. His family is close to the Headmaster.” Neville warned him. “He will make comments about who you would best be served to be friends with when you get there.”
Harry snorted. “Good for him but I can think for myself and if he says that crap around my fathers they will verbally eviscerate him. My dad is the one who cursed the headmaster’s clothes when he refused to listen to reason.”
The two other students stared at him. They didn’t know of anyone who would take on the headmaster. Harry knew his papa would have been reluctant before he met father. “Lord Paddington caused his monotonal shift.”
“That is golden!” Draco was assimilating that information.
“Woah.” Neville said because he couldn’t imagine anyone having the guts to curse Dumbledore. Although he knew his Grandma wanted to send a fruit basket to whoever did it in congratulations. He would have to let her know in the first letter he sent to her. “So how do we get sorted. I keep hearing all types of stories.”
Harry chuckled as it was somewhat of a time-honoured tradition, and least that was why he’d been told the story. He didn’t think it would ruin everything if he spoiled it for his two friends. “Papa and father always argue over whose sorting ceremony was worse.”
“Papa is a Hogwarts Alumni as you will soon find out, and father went to Ilvermorny.”
Neville grinned. “Yeah, Grandma was laughing after he revealed he’d been living in the US.”
Malfoy smirked. “No, I found it funny that despite every stunt they tried no one could find anything to reprimand him for.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “He checked with Gringotts, he had an account manager, he ensured that the Paddington legacy was maintained and kept me safe. I don’t see what anyone has to whine about.”
Malfoy smirked. “It is exactly that, he hasn’t put a foot wrong and he is an unknown quantity and that makes everyone nervous, including father.”
Harry had been at the first meeting between Lord Malfoy and his father. “Yeah, he didn’t like it when my father snapped the Paddington Seal showing his legitimacy.”
“I think it’s the votes he now holds.” Malfoy pointed out, not at all sorry. His father’s lesson had always pointed out that he should have all the information at his fingertips before taking any rash action. Draco’s father had failed to take his own lessons and would now be forced to backtrack.
“So, ceremony?” Neville reminded them as his anxiety was growing on the matter.
Harry snorted. “Well, it is most egregious ... you will be forced to walk in front of the whole school and sit on a stool.”
Draco wrinkled his nose. “There must be more to it than that!”
Harry nodded, enjoying he could tease his friends but he wouldn’t string it out too far. “Then Professor McGonagall will drop the sorting hat on your head. It’s old and has been on every head of every Hogwarts student and it rummages around your head to decide which house you should be in.”
“I will be in Slytherin.” Draco declared as if it was a foregone conclusion.
Neville grimaced. “My grandmother will probably send a howler if I don’t get into Gryffindor.”
Harry smirked. “I’m thinking Hufflepuff as it is the house of loyalty.”
Draco tilted his head to the side. “Is that your dominant feature?”
Harry grinned sweetly. “No one ever expects the Hufflepuff to be dangerous. Plus, you know that, while you’re okay, there are plenty in Slytherin who will want to sacrifice me on Halloween for killing their precious Dark Lord.”
Draco nodded as he couldn’t deny the analysis. “I’ll be sure to give you their names so you can plan to watch your back.”
Harry grinned as that was quite the statement of friendship for a Malfoy. He then looked to Neville, “No doubt you will be Gryffindor but so will that brash fool and I will go to Ilvermorny for my remaining school years before I have to stay in a dorm room with him.”
“What about Ravenclaw?” Malfoy asked intrigued.
Harry snorted. “You know the thing about smart people ... they assume they have nothing left to learn. My fathers would kick my ass if I thought like that.”
Malfoy leaned back on his chair as he contemplated Harry as a Hufflepuff and it made him smile. “You’re going to give people so many shocks.”
Harry’s grin grew. “If I don’t then I’m not doing it right.”
“I can’t wait.”
His journey on the train didn’t suffer any other heinous events but then there was the boat ride. The idiot Weasel boy had jumped in after the other three boys and was in high form tonight. He got so wound up flapping his arms as he lectured Harry that he capsized their boat!
Harry calmly swam back to the boat and used his wand to invert it back to the purpose it was intended. He next levered himself back into it, he was so glad that father insisted on him doing the running. He then levered Draco and Neville back onboard first and dried them using a charm. He then, once he’d made sure his friends were comfortable, levitated the idiot back onto the boat.
He didn’t offer him a warming charm - he figured he’d done enough stopping the annoying git from drowning.
Malfoy was back in fine form and grinned crookedly. “Excellent use of charms. Top-notch. I’d award points if I could.”
Harry smirked. “I was researching charms last year. I asked a question and Professor Lupin-Paddington gave me a fourth-year charms book and told me to research.”
“Then you should get an O!”
Harry chuckled. “Thankfully he agreed, so I get a Nimbus for my birthday.”
Draco looked at the imposing building. “Well, let’s get on with our first year.”
It was sure to be interesting.
Chapter 10: mischief abound
Remus was waiting at the high table along with Tony. Talia had no interest in sitting for high tea so was playing with their sitter, a fine and experienced house-elf. Remus hadn’t minded Harry having to go on the train, knowing he already was seen as so extraordinary that he would want to fit in as much as possible.
He’d heard from Pomona that there had been an incident on the train but Harry had apparently been integral in stopping it from becoming an issue. It didn’t mean he didn’t expect answers. “I heard there was an incident.”
The headmaster sighed and didn’t like the new Remus who seemed content to question anything he pleased. “It seemed that the older years decided to scare the first years. The youngest Weasley fell out of his boat, and caused his fellow passengers to fall. Young Harry seemed to have his wits about him and brought them all back to the boat. No one was harmed as a result.”
Tony smirked because there had been a discussion about the fact he’d purchased Harry an auror grade wand holster. He wasn’t stupid and the whole family had one, even Talia who was still too young according to British Law. “He had a wand holster so he would have swam back and then levitated the others.”
Flitwick perked up. “The levitation charms are third years. He can already perform them?”
Tony rolled his eyes because he’d never been a fan of restricting someone based off something as arbitrary as age. “Yes he can, Professor Flitwick. In the US, you are taught anything that improves your self-sufficiency once you turn ten.”
“Then I applaud the American system.” Snape replied. After all, he long since complained about the states of the UK system of leaving students to be ignorant of their magical education until 11. “Has he learned the warming charms?” It would be useful for the potions lesson if that was the case. He might not like the boy’s biological father but he did approve of Lord Paddington - he approved of the man’s idea of revenge. It was something he’d been denied by the Headmaster. He’d gone anyway only to discover he was too late.
Remus watched as the first years lined up just in front of the head table. He gave his cub a smirk as he was one of the few who weren’t a nervous wreck. He could see who Harry considered a friend as he shared the sorting ceremony with them. He pointed out to the other teachers. “I’d say so, Harry is dry and it appears so is Draco and Neville.”
Minerva pointed out. “It would appear that Ronald Weasley wasn’t afforded the same courtesy.”
Tony felt it was only fair to point out and also to make the headmaster realise something new. “The child in question has already deemed it appropriate to tell our son who he should be friends with based off family prejudices.”
“Those happen to be quite ingrained here, Lord Paddington.” Albus said lightly as if the institutional prejudices should be accepted as they were so ingrained. If that was the case Tony wasn’t impressed and he wasn’t shy in sharing his opinion.
“No, we raised Harry to be tolerant and to judge an individual based on their own actions.”
There was approving nods from around the teachers at the table. Minerva nodded but it was time to sort the first years. “I hope we can eradicate that nonsense this year. Let’s see where our new students end up then.”
The first part of the evening was always the placing of the students and it became a blur as one student followed another. The names of interest for Tony and Remus were as follows.
“Hermione Granger.” - The hat was placed on her head and she was nervous. “RAVENCLAW!”
“Neville Longbottom.” - The hat audibly hummed. “GRYFFINDOR you should go.”
“Harry Potter” - The hat stayed silent for a long time. It was obvious to the hall that the boy was arguing with the artefact.
“Although the heir of Gryffindor you may be. HUFFLEPUFF you shall go to your father’s house.”
“Draco Malfoy.” Harry wanted to laugh at the way it hadn’t touched his head before it declared. “SLYTHERIN.”
Remus remarked. “Interesting how they cross the four houses.”
Tony and Remus knew something about Hermione Granger that they had no intention of sharing with anyone at the table no matter whether they were trusted like Minerva, or treated suspiciously like Dumbledore.
The headmaster stood to give his opening address and Remus and Tony were amused incredibly so by the fact that everyone kept looking at Harry as if he had done something terrible by being sorted into somewhere other than Gryffindor.
Dumbledore had tilted his head. “What happened to Harry’s distinctive scar?”
Tony knew the question wasn’t being asked as innocently as the others around the table perceived. “A fantastic Goblin healer refused to allow Harry to labour under a dark curse and removed it. She was quite thrilled to win out against the damn thing. It took hours but she managed it.”
“I see.” The headmaster said, trying to preserve his all-knowing persona.
Tony didn’t sneer because he knew he had to tread carefully. The old man garnered a ridiculous amount of deference in this country. He might have defeated a dark wizard but all actions should be viewed with accountability in mind.
Remus whispered. “Don’t forget he has no idea what you did to the Dursleys.”
Tony nodded because he didn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt and Albus couldn’t do a damn thing about it because he had used no-maj methods using the laws to their advantage. Those cowardly relatives deserve to be in jail forever but he’d settled for donating compensation and prison sentences for both of them. It meant the son had a shot at changing his life’s path. Tony didn’t care but they would never cross his son’s path again.
It just so happened that Tony was invited to speak with the Headmaster. Remus smirked. “He thinks you’ll go alone.”
“I swear it is his age.” Tony replied vexed because once Remus had done his rounds on his corridor he intended to sleep and now he had to go and have cryptic conversations with a goat.
“I think it is the monochrome look. It has made him lose his edge.”
Tony growled. “He goes after either of our pups and he will lose more than his edge.”
Remus reeled him in for a kiss. “I forgot to ask in all the excitement of the day. How did the purchase go?”
“We own the Daily Prophet and the Ministry is not aware of it and all employees stood before me and swore a magical vow to write the whole truth and nothing but the truth or risk losing their magic.”
Remus was shocked and delighted because that would be the way to ensure true reporting. It also meant that the paper couldn’t be used to manipulate the public against Harry. They had no doubt the ministry would try some ill-conceived idea against their pup. It was more a question of when.
“There is no way Rita Skeeter signed that!”
Tony shook his head. “No she didn’t but I did challenge her to debunk the great Lord Voldemort myths. I said it was sure to be a bestseller.”
Remus snorted. “You didn’t tell me you went into publishing as well as paper printing.”
Tony snickered. “It’s a new venture. If it takes off it can be Tali’s to play with as she pleases when she comes of age. You know how she adores books.”
That was true - they’d brought her a pocket library so she could store all her books. It was on one of those book hunting trips that Harry had bumped into Hermione and things had taken an intriguing turn. They were letting that one whirl at the kids' pace and Tony was all for a glacial understanding.
Talia was asleep, having enjoyed been read to by Tony - it was their deal. She would go straight to sleep provided they read one chapter together. It was a tradition that Tony would keep up for as long as his little firecracker would allow.
“Shall we?” Tony asked with a grin.
“If you say off to see the wizard , I will turn all your shoes red in retaliation.” Remus threatened.
Tony gasped. “You don’t threaten a man’s shoes, what kind of consort are you? You are supposed to be on my side.”
“I adore your movies, just not your puns.”
Tony rolled his eyes but wisely said nothing. It was now becoming public knowledge that you should cross Tony at your peril - but it was Remus you should watch out for as he was more sneaky about it.
The password at the bottom of the stairs was lemon drops. Remus and Tony entered the Headmaster’s office. “Ah, I see you brought Remus along.”
Tony smiled stiffly as he sat down. “I assume you wanted to discuss Harry.”
“The lack of scar concerned me.”
Tony frowned because the old fool better watch what he said next. Tony wasn’t going to allow anyone to be a threat to his cub. “Why?”
“I believed it to be a very dark and evil type of magic.” Albus confessed.
Tony stayed stiff but already his plots were spinning in his mind. The old man had just made an enemy out of the House of Paddington - he just didn’t know it. Still, it didn’t mean Tony was going to let him off. “You know, it was just that. Which is why I am going to ask once. Why in Merlin’s name did you allow a Horcrux to stay in my boy’s head for five years?”
Chapter 11: Held to Account
Author Note: Check out this great artwork for this story by StarWatcher
Chapter 11: Held to account
Dumbledore let his aura explode for a second as he’d never been so openly questioned in his life - not since he’d defeated Gellert. He calmed down realising it might not be the right tactic and sighed wearily. “How was I to know?”
Tony rolled his eyes because he had no doubt the man traded off his old-man-wise-powerful wizard shtick. It might work on people who’d been raised to believe such stories but Tony wasn’t drinking the kool-aid. “People over here treat you like a modern-day merlin. I’m not impressed as Moira took one look at him and knew it for what it was. You do hold a mastery in Defense?”
“You know I do, Lord Paddington.” Albus felt like he was being interrogated like a naughty schoolboy. He was the leader of the light in the first war with Voldemort and he would be again when Tom inevitably rose through some dastardly plan.
Tony sat back calm and in control, if Dumbledim hoped his little parlour trick had bothered him - it failed. He was also not the type to be distracted by flashy tricks. “You know I still have yet to hear a reason why you thought leaving the Horcrux in him was a good idea.”
“It could prove to hold a benefit. You know - of the prophecy.” The headmaster tried to explain himself.
Tony snorted because if that was his excuse he was not interested. “I think that’s a load of dragonshite, much like your reasoning.”
Remus snorted but kept a hand on his husband’s arm. He could tell that Tony was itching to curse the wizard silly. “Be fair, love, he was a great leader.”
Tony smiled sweetly. “Great leaders know when to hand over the reins. They don’t allow a young child to be raised in the worst abusive circumstances to appear to a saviour. You would think, given what happened with Tommy, that you would do better. It was like you wanted a mark II of Voldemort.”
Remus snickered. “You wouldn’t raise a dark-lord. It is one of the family rules, after all.”
Tony smirked. “1 - Don’t die. 2 - Don’t rely on just your wand. 3 - Don’t ever be a dick, or turn to the dark side as that is just lazy.”
“No! I am working for the greater good,” the Headmaster insisted.
Dumbledore was realising that Anthony Paddington was a lot more of a mover and shaker than he’d predicted. He’d assumed that he would continue to be isolationist and Harry would be shown the ways of British Society by his allies.
And yet, since the Paddington family had arrived in the UK nothing had gone right. Harry had made friends with the Malfoy heir and not the youngest Weasley. He had already made contact with the girl and seemed to have found his godbrother. None of this was the plan.
Not even this meeting was going to plan as he’d intended to have a chat with the Paddington Lord. He’d feed a few of the lemon sherbets and plant a few suggestions that he was a good leader of the light. Instead, he’d found that the Paddington Lord had mental defenses consistent with an auror.
Feeling the need to pace, Tony stood up. He was spitting mad. He’d never had a problem with his control but this old goat was pushing all of his buttons. “Greater good? You left him with abusive muggles, and a soul leech draining his natural magic. Their abuse could have killed him as he was struggling to defend his own body from the very people who should have protected and loved him!”
Albus sighed because that had not been his finest moment. He’d wanted Harry in the UK and Sirius was too powerful to take custody so he’d plucked Harry from the man’s hands by appealing to his sense of duty. “How was I to know their sentiments?”
“You had the supposed saviour of magical Britain in a house and you didn’t think to monitor it.” Tony remarked sarcastically. He could still remember that first night when Harry came to them and hearing his broken raspy breath.
“They were his family!”
Tony sneered. “Not everyone understands that term, Headmaster, so don’t spout it off like it is gospel.”
Remus agreed. “You would know, Albus, think of my own.”
“We’re your family now.” Tony reminded his husband fiercely, uncaring of their observer. He would say it loud and proud in front of anyone that asked me.
“What else did the Goblin healer tell you?” The headmaster asked. He wanted to know how much the family had gleaned.
Tony stood up. “I am not obliged to reveal to you any secrets concerning my family. I will give you a clue though, as I don’t want you to get it in your head that I’m dark. I will protect my family from all threats and that includes fate. I have never been the type to believe a child should fight my war. If that stupid bastard somehow has cheated fate, I will kill him long before he gets near my son.”
Tony refused to stay in this infuriating conversation any longer. He was tired of having to fend off the mental attacks and there was something that was niggling him and he needed it checked. If he was right, Harry was about to gain an Uncle and he was going to tear the corrupt ministry down to its bones and he’d dance on its ashes, even if he needed a dragon to do it.
Tony stormed through the portrait with anger still radiating off him. Remus suspected that the meeting would not go well and called a house-elf as soon as they arrived back in their quarters. Mipsy handed him a cup of coffee knowing that the Firewhiskey would help settle his anger.
They cuddled on the couch and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that they were once more alone apart from Tali sleeping in her room. “I can’t believe the old coot actually said it!”
Tony snorted. “I told you he knew about the damn Horcrux.”
Remus growled in his disappointment at the man who had appointed himself as the leader of the light. “He is so trusted by everyone!”
Tony nodded. “Yep, and despite his best efforts he doesn’t know that we’ve hunted down the others ... we’ll get the damn snake once it slithers out of the forest.”
Remus snorted. “We need to find out what he will possess to slither out of the forest.”
Tony chuckled. “We will. I trust our spies to do their job.”
Remus nodded because they’d set up a foundation where werewolves could find a job. It had actually made money because the workers were so keen to a) support other werewolves and b) they were fiercely competitive so wanted to try and outdo everyone else. There was nothing like wanting to show someone else what they missed out on for revenge. “It was a stroke of genius to set up the Dark Curse foundation.”
Tony smirked. “I know and did you know Narcissa Malfoy has asked to become a patron.”
“That would be distancing herself from her past, and we know the dark wraith is out there.” Remus pointed out. He, like most, knew that Lucius Malfy was pretty much Voldemort’s right-hand man but he’d been cleared during the trials. Tony wasn’t convinced but he’d give the man one chance.
“Oh, I have no doubt that she does as well. I can imagine the tattoo still binds Lucius to his master and she is eager to find the get-out clause.”
Remus knew his husband too well. “You intend to let her come on board don’t you?”
Tony snickered. “I do, as she seems like she can deliver a put down just as well as I can.”
“No, I don’t think much will top your first Wizengamot session.”
Tony wasn’t going to spoil it but he had plans for his second session. He had no doubt Fudge would try some shit in retaliation so having the Malfoy’s join their side might work. He needed them to see that he was not part of Dumbledore’s little crony club but he had no doubt that Draco would have already reported about Harry rejecting the Weasley overture of friendship. “We might not like them but they will have their uses.”
Tony could have stayed curled up on the sofa with Remus forever but he to ask his next question carefully. “When did Sirius have his trial?”
Remus froze. “Why?”
Tony didn’t tense up. “I think something’s up. Right now it’s just a hunch but I want to make sure there isn’t a miscarriage of justice.”
Remus was racking his memory. “I never went to it. I was so angry that I retreated to a pack in the forest.”
Tony stroked his back. “And that was logical but why can I not find a date for the trial?”
“He was the Secret Keeper,” Remus remarked.
Tony took a deep breath knowing what he was going to say would more than likely hurt his partner but it had to be done. “Was he though? Did anyone ask Dumbledore outright who he made Secret Keeper?”
“What are you thinking?”
Tony spoke honestly. “Tactically, I would have switched it up. Let Black be it publically but make it Pettigrew in reality.”
“He was too weak, we always had to protect him in Hogwarts.”
Tony nodded. “I know from the stories that you’ve told me, he is the one I would target if I had wanted to come at your group.”
Remus whimpered. “How long has he been in Azkaban?”
“You would know the answer better than I would,” Tony answered softly.
“You really think he is innocent?” Remus couldn’t keep the anguish out of his voice.
Tony shrugged. “I don’t know but tomorrow while you teach the darling young minds I am going to meet Narcissa Malfoy and see if we can’t agree on some mutual chaos.”
“Why would he have kept Sirius in jail? He is the Black Lord!”
Tony kissed his husband softly because he still liked to believe the best in people but Tony didn’t. He’d seen too much in his job and could guess. He needed Remus to see so that he could keep his guard up. They’d give Harry the choice to go to Hogwarts or Ilvermorny, and he wanted to go where the Potter’s and Remus had gone to school. Tony could get why the allure of somewhere new would be interesting but the only condition they had to see Harry’s choice was that Remus was part of the staff. It was for the simple reason that neither Remus or Tony trusted any of the British with their son.
“Harry came to us because we were living in the US and he screwed up with the Dursleys,’” Tony responded. “He needed to control the narrative for Harry. He hoped the fact I was hiding in the US would continue.”
“To what end?”
“We know that Voldemort’s still drifting around in the Albanian forest. Well, so does Dumbletwat . He’s just holding that card close to his chest.” Tony tried to remain cool but he hated those types of people who always tried to couch their deviousness in the cloak of light.
Well, Dumbledore better hope he can handle the spotlight that was about to be on him.
Chapter 12: Unexpected Dinner Guests
Tony had breakfast in the Great Hall with everyone. It was better to keep the headmaster guessing on what he was going to do. The old man would soon start to scheme and plot against him and Tony intended to be five steps ahead when the Old Goat realised he needed to be concerned.
“Uncle Severus said I could be his potions assistant if you’re agreeable.” Tali upped the big eyes. “So can I?”
Severus smirked at Tony so he was guessing that man knew he had a meeting planned. The by-product of freaking out the faculty was a bonus for the potions master.
Tony smiled at her antics, she so was a future Slytherin in the making. “As long as you follow every instruction, with all the commandments.”
“I will, Daddy.”
Tony turned to Severus. “Thank you, I appreciate it and as business is taking me to Diagon Alley. Do you require anything?”
“I have a rare potion ingredient that I need to be collected if you would be amenable,” Severus replied.
Tony grinned. “Consider it done.” He looked at the staff around the table. “What?”
Severus snorted. “You seem to be brave enough to talk to me, and I haven’t bitten your head off so they are confused.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I have no tolerance for silliness before my first coffee.”
Quite a few heads turned back to their breakfast except for McGonagall who just smirked at Tony.
Tony walked through the bowels of the restaurant. It wasn’t like the more popular pub but this was where the rich elite did business. “Lord and Lady Malfoy, a pleasure.”
“Please be seated.”
They all sat down and Tony listened as they explained how intrigued they’d been by the Dark Curse Foundation. “You’ve given those labouring under a curse a chance to survive.”
Tony shrugged. “Blame my American upbringing. We don’t pass judgements based on species, just actions.”
“It is a worthy way of living.” Lady Malfoy answered.
Tony was trying to decide if she was sincere but he tilted his head in acknowledgement and then looked at his menu. “I do find this side of the pond to be very different.”
“You have certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons, as we say.”
Tony chuckled at Lucius’ comment, feeling very pleased, “So let’s get down to true business. First of all, can you tell me why the Minister chose to ignore the law and not give Lord Black a trial?”
Narcissa frowned. “He was the secret keeper.”
Tony shook his head. “No, he wasn’t.”
She put her cutlery down and looked at her husband just as much as Tony. “What would Fudge have to gain?”
Tony snorted. “The headmaster could keep control of the Boy-Who-Lived.”
“He didn’t keep it,” Lucius pointed out and it was still amusing to him.
Tony returned his smirk. “Well, you see, I have a soft spot for kids and I refuse to let anyone bully me.”
“The last time someone tried, Lestat ate his way through a coven.” Lucius replied, “Or at least that is how your tribune reported it.”
Tony took a deep breath and knew he needed to show his fangs metaphorically speaking. “He wasn’t alone. His mate, myself and Remus all went to that party. I see you have now done your homework.” Louis refrained from hurting humans but even he’d wanted to bathe in their blood for snatching Tali.
Lucius inclined his head. “You made a fair point and no one wants to get on your bad side.”
Tony smiled. “Good - mission accomplished. I think having more allies with the Foundation would be great. Your help, Lady Malfoy, would be most appreciated. As you might know, I have a low tolerance for stupidity.”
“In that case, we may be seeing new elections soon.” She remarked while sipping her tea.
Tony chuckled. “I do believe we might. If you draft the statement the Daily Prophet will post it in their next edition.”
Lucius sighed. “The ministry will not appreciate it.”
Tony snorted. “Too bad the new owners don’t care, and I have yet to see any reason to be intimidated.”
“What do you intend to do regarding the fate of my cousin?” Narcissa asked. She may be a Malfoy now but she would never forget the house of her birth.
“I’d say the ministry should have to answer why he never received a trial.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Lucius replied. “However, if he wanted to challenge you for your guardianship...”
Tony put down his drink. “Lord Malfoy, while I want Harry to see his Uncle Sirius I have grave reservations until he has undergone serious healing for his stay in Azkaban.”
Lucius caught the message. Lord Paddington was not afraid to play dirty if it was to protect someone he cared for a great deal. It wouldn’t be his first choice but that told him a lot. He hadn’t wanted to be marked but his father had given him no choice. Lucius wasn’t the type to cry over spilt milk so went about making himself indispensable to the Dark Lord. He didn’t respect the man but he did respect the power he yielded.
“I hope you are employing a lawyer to seek reparations.”
Tony smirked. “I have a Goblin looking at the precedents and all the people who should be named in the suit. He has come up with five people so far.”
“Would it be crass to ask for names?”
Tony shook his head. “Not at all.” In reality, it wouldn’t matter as the suit was being served as they spoke if he wanted to interfere. The timing of their dinner had been two-fold, only Dumbeldore's was being delayed until the evening.
“It names Minister Fudge, Under Secretary Umbridge, Chief Mugwump Dumbeldore, Barty Crouch Senior and Former Head Auror Alastor Moody.”
Narcissa just looked at him in open shock. “You intend to see if there are more names?”
“Yes. I have always had a passion for seeing justice served, and a miscarriage of justice on this level smacks of a conspiracy. I presented the case to the Goblins who agree. They are quite apocalyptic at the amount of money lost on the Black accounts that have been left to languish for ten years.”
“You were of which House at Ilvermorny?”
Lucius stood up and offered his hand. “It is a pleasure to see another Lord so invested in the law.”
Tony held out his hand to reciprocate. “You know, I think we can do great things together.”
“I am sure we can. Please, my friends call me Lucius.”
Tony didn’t say a thing because he could already tell this was going to be a pivotal alliance. “And I prefer Tony, or Anthony.”
And just like that Voldemort’s fate took another blow.
Tony had made it back to Hogwarts in time for the evening meal. There was no way he was going to miss this as he wanted to see the stupid goat lover’s face. Tony had used the floo system to head directly to his quarters.
Remus was waiting for him. “How did your dinner go?”
“I made two new friends I think, and they are going to add to the pressure for Black.”
“Why?” Remus didn’t get it, Lucius was well-known to have Fudge in his pocket. “Fudge is Malfoy’s puppet.”
Tony chuckled. “Sometimes, you need to cut the strings if he has become a risk.”
Remus pulled him close. “Did you have enough time to check on our other aim of the day?”
“To have Talia and Severus confuse everyone?” Tony asked tongue in cheek, being purposefully obtuse.
“You know that wasn’t what I meant.”
Tony pecked his husband on the lips and waltzed out of the room. “I’ve organised some evening entertainment for you.”
Talia ran into Tony’s arms because she was excited to see her Daddy. “I have had the best day.”
“Is that right, little Hawk? What did you do?” Tony asked, loving the fact he could have a conversation with no reservations or guarded doublespeak. It was refreshing.
She grinned. “I was keeping an eye on ingredients and preparing some elements for the first years.”
Tony grinned. “What mischief did you cook up with Uncle Severus?”
She snickered. “I helped him annoy his sixth years by showing them that they don’t know everything. They still need to study even if they did know the basics.”
Severus grinned. “I trust your afternoon was fruitful.”
“Yes, it was. It seems Lord and Lady Malfoy wish to join the foundation as they are impressed by its values.” Tony explained as he handed over several phials.
Severus smirked. “Your daughter makes an excellent assistant, Lord Paddington. She also helped me extol the importance of reading.”
Tony ruffled her hair. “She is awesome. What do you say, Talia?”
“Thank you, Uncle Severus, and let me know when I can help again. Purlease .”
“I will.” Severus promised.
Tony turned to give one last message. “I think you will enjoy tonight’s meal. I would hate for you to miss the entertainment.”
“Is that right?”
Tony nodded but said nothing else - there was no fun in that.
Chapter 13: Setting the Scene
Severus had done a lot of thinking this year and come to some startling realisations. He had allowed himself to get twisted up in the aura of Albus Dumbeldore and that rankled with him. He had been forced due to his stepfather’s grandstanding to bow and scrape to the Dark Lord. He had no idea in trying to break free he would end up serving another egotistical nightmare.
Anthony Paddington had been a breath of fresh air in England and made him ask himself some difficult questions. It wasn’t something he’d enjoyed but he’d never been a fan of wallowing. It was much more his style to take action once he was aware of an issue.
He started to cast off the past and move to what he wanted in the future. He could see that Paddington was definitely not hanging around.
He might not ever like James Potter, or Black, but he could see past Lupin’s species. Whatever his hair to skin ratio was the man was frighteningly clever and very willing to be sarcastic.
He was intrigued enough to go to dinner this evening even though traditionally it was his night off. It seemed like Tony had pulled something clever off, apart from getting the Malfoy’s onside. He could admit that he was very curious to see what that looked like.
Amongst the student population, there was only one student who had an inkling about what was coming. He couldn’t help but imagine the scene, it had been amusing him for hours. It was a good job he already knew the charm or Flitwick would have been seriously annoyed with him. Harry was trying to listen to Draco explain something but he kept zoning out. “Sorry.”
Draco shook his head. “You are not usually this absent-minded.”
“My father went to talk to your mother and father this afternoon,” Harry replied, assuming it answered everything.
Draco tilted his head adorably. “Voluntarily?”
Harry chuckled. “Hey now, your father is an excellent conversationalist compared to Dumbeldore.”
“That is hardly a compliment.”
Harry smirked. “It wasn’t meant to be one.”
Draco stopped short as they went into the great hall. “That’s odd.”
“Uncle Sev is at dinner, it is his evening to hide in his quarters as he says.” Draco explained, “and it looks like he’s waiting for something.”
“I wonder what that could be?”
Minerva was as surprised to see Severus as his godson, as he usually avoided the Wednesday evening meal. It was an unwritten rule that the teaching staff could miss one meal within the week if they so wished. As a result, the senior staff tended to pick one member of the week. “What brings you here on your day off?”
“Young Talia asked me, and I don’t think even you can resist those eyes,” Severus remarked. “Plus, it’s as though you’re not happy to see me.”
She swatted his arm because it was well-known that they were good friends, apart from their house rivalry. She merely said, “She is a remarkable young child.”
Severus snorted because that was an understatement. “She is more than that, Lord Paddington has seen to her education. She will outstrip even the brightest child here.” He didn’t say that lightly.
“Even Bill Weasley?” Minerva didn’t ask about Lily Evans knowing what a sore point for her friend it would be.
Severus nodded, and shared an amusing fact he’d learned. “Yes, he may be enjoying curse-breaking but she has apparently given the goblins ideas for their offensive wards.”
Minerva tilted her head because that was quite the notion. She shook her head in disbelief wondering how such a sweet child could have inspired such a blood-thirsty concept. “I see.”
The two professors sat down continuing to converse about the new year. It was always a time for intrigue, to see what students are like. To see if any had improved their dispositions from the previous year, or even worsened from before. Of course, the newest intake was always a curiosity, each year they seemed to get younger and shinier - or was it they got more cynical.
Minerva couldn’t help but observe. “Flitwick is overjoyed with one of his new students. How about you?”
“In his house, you mean young Ms Granger?” Severus replied. She’d already impressed him, not that he’d shown it in front of the class. He knew her type, she needed to be challenged if she was to achieve her true potential.
Minerva knew the name. “Ah yes, one of our cross-party students.”
Severus snorted because it was one of the funniest things he’d seen in a long time. All four of them were loyal to their houses, but still sat with each other, or were openly friends. He supposed it helped to have Harry Potter as part of the group. The boy may be a born Gryffindor placed in the Hufflepuff House but he’d already seen smooth Slytherin moves from the boy. He was a credit to Lily and his adoptive fathers. He was impressed that Paddington had managed to raise the boy to be both aware of his heritage and grounded.
“How does young Mister Malfoy explain his friendships?” Minerva asked him.
Severus snorted because Draco wasn’t the only Malfoy seeking a friendship with that family. “You didn’t know? Lord Paddington went to tea with Lord and Lady Malfoy today.”
“And his friendship with the young muggle girl is well received?” She asked once more, she couldn’t believe that Lord Malfoy would accept it considering his past politics.
Severus shrugged as he still had no idea but he marvelled at his godson’s. “I can honestly say I have no clue.”
“She seems quite close to both Draco and young Harry.”
Severus just played it coy but he had a suspicion of something but he would need to consult the old books. The trio represented quite a few of the trinities of magic in their character and backgrounds - he was curious to see just how many trinities. He would ask but only once they were alone, or in trusted company. It was abundantly clear to him that Lord Paddington did not trust the headmaster. “Who knows how the young make their friends.”
She chuckled and picked up a roll. “When will you be holding your quidditch tryouts?”
Severus thought about it. “Monday, I suspect. I shall talk to Flint about it.”
As the starters were nibbled on the rest of the evening food appeared not a few minutes later but that wasn’t the best thing. Nope. As students settled down for food the doors to the Great Hall opened and a flood of owls appeared with a special edition of the Daily Prophet.
The buzz around the room started immediately as the Prophet never posted an evening paper unless something momentous had happened during the day that couldn’t wait until the morning. In fact, the last time was when Voldemort had picked a fight with Harry when he was a baby and lost.
Tony smirked as he sipped his pumpkin juice knowing full well what it said. It paid to own the newspaper as there was no way for the Ministry to suppress the information. He’d made sure of that, and what do you know, Rita Skeeter had actually relished reading the article.
LORD BLACK HAD NO TRIAL - MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE?
Our intrepid reporter has uncovered the fact that Minister Fudge, Under Secretary Umbridge, Chief Mugwump Dumbeldore, Barty Crouch Senior and Former Head Auror Alastor Moody have all conspired to keep the Head of an Ancient and Noble House in jail by failing to allow him a trial over the murder of the Potters.
Tony watched Dumbeldore as he read the first paragraph and it was enough. The man had a moment of glaring at Tony before announcing to Minerva. “You’re in charge!” and storming out of the Hall.
Minerva stood up and addressed the now silent students. “You will continue your meal and once completed, prefects - you will ensure all students are seen to their dormitories.”
Severus merely sipped his pumpkin juice to hide his smirk. He saw Minerva's questioning look. "I guess he has a few questions to answer."
"It's how bloody long he will be gone I need to know."
Severus had an inkling but didn't say it. "I suspect that all depends on the answers he gives."
Chapter 14: Truth Will Out
13: Truth will out
Madam Bones looked at the list of facts being presented. “Just why are you bringing this to me?”
Skeeter preened, sitting more comfortably in her chair. “My sponsor is keen on truth and civic duty. I feel it is important that the truth is outed to the public as a whole.”
She’d been expecting many things from Rita Skeeter but what she hadn’t expected was good, honest reporting. “Who exactly is your sponsor?”
Rita smirked. “I am bound to confidentiality, Madame Bones.”
She looked at the files and was alarmed at what she read. “Why!?!?”
Skeeter shrugged, knowing just what part she’d gotten to and knew why she was surprised. “I am afraid the late, great Dumbledore will have to be the one to answer your questions as I can’t give you the insight ... just the facts.”
“He is not dead.”
Skeeter grinned. “You see, I do believe he has upset my sponsor a great deal and he is now intending to return the favour.”
Skeeter threw a copy of the Daily Prophet on the desk. “A favour from my old boss.”
Amelia would have choked on her drink. “There is no way the Minister will let this be published.”
Skeeter snickered. “The new owners can’t be bullied and you misunderstand me, I think you will find it has been published as a special edition.”
Huh. So that was new. Wow, Fudge would be beside himself and she couldn’t help but wonder how he would spin this without the paper and it wasn’t like Dumbeldore could prop him up.
“WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS?!?!”
Amelia arched an eyebrow. “You can sit, Headmaster, or you can leave my office. You may hold
power elsewhere but this is my place.”
He sat down in a huff and realised something too late. “What have you done?”
“An honesty hex. I have some questions I seek clarification on.” She leaned forward, pleased at finally having the upper hand. It was a rare day you could catch the great Albus Dumbledore out at anything.
“I can’t be placed under an honesty hex!”
“Why not? Do you have something to hide?” She asked tartly.
“I hold many secrets.”
Ameilia snored. “Don’t play coy with me, old man. I want to know one simple question. Was Sirius Black the Potters’ Secret Keeper?”
The old bastard was actually trying to resist the hex. Good. Her’s was designed to harm the resistor and the longer they went - well, it was punitive.
“No.” He choked out.
She was furious to point even a known adept would be able to read her aura. “You let an innocent man go to jail.”
“No one was listening to me.”
She sneered. “That is the weakest excuse I have ever heard. When you stand for judgement you should be kept in purgatory, you wicked man. He was a good man you left to rot in Azkaban.”
“It was not my judgement,” Dumbledore stated as if that placated him of all responsibility.
“You actually believe that, don’t you?.” She couldn’t believe the utter tripe coming out of his mouth.
“There is a perfectly good reason for everything I do, you know I always work for the greater good. It is all I have ever done.” He said in his most earnest voice.
She snorted in disbelief because the sad thing was she could tell that he actually believed what he said. She couldn’t decide if it was sad or tragic. Sadly, she decided it was both. “You wanted Potter in your control.”
Dumbledore shook his head. “Of course not. I sent him to his relatives.”
She snorted. “You sent him to abusive relatives, knowing full well what they are. Your crimes are too numerous and sadly I don’t think you will ever answer for them.”
“I’m the leader of the light.”
She snickered. “No, that is the Auror Corp.” She froze, “What have you not said?”
Albus grimaced as he once more resisted the pillow. “Nothing that needs to concern you right now.”
She didn’t like the sound of that, and the man was good but she was even better when it came to people trying to evade the truth. “And what might concern me in the future?”
“Voldemort made Horcruxes.”
“You stupid egotistical bastard. Aurors, see him placed under guard.”
Dumbledore looked shocked. “You mean to arrest me?”
She rolled her eyes and privately thought maybe she should have added senile to her summation of his character. “Yes.”
Merlin - she would need to convene the Lords of the Wizengamot as soon as possible.
The missive came through with the lunchtime meal. “Headmistress, we are needed in the Wizengamot,” Tony announced.
She frowned. “This is not a usual session.”
Tony shook his head. “All the Noble Lords have been requested for a special session.”
“Would you wish to leave Talia here?”
Tony looked at his daughter. “What do you want to do, Little Hawk? Your father and I will be required to attend.”
She grinned toothily. “Uncle Sev has his dunderheads, I could keep him company.”
Severus snorted. “You’re right. I would welcome intelligent help, Ms Paddington.”
She loved when her Uncle praised her as she knew that he meant it. “Awesome.”
Minerva nodded. “Go with speed and hurry back safely. We seem to be dropping teachers at an alarming rate.”
Tony made no promises - he was not going to allow that man back into Hogwarts if he had anything to say about the matter.
Madam Bones stood in the place Albus would have normally stood to convene the session. She was in an awkward position considering she was a Lady of a House herself. Still, this mess warranted a constitutional mess so had recused herself from the vote.
“My Lords and Ladies, I require you to read through a transcript.”
“THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.”
Tony snorted because he was sure Lord Nott thought so, dark bastard. He would oh so love an opportunity to seize the government. “It was outrageous when you all allowed him to hold three key positions ... he had more power than Voldemort ever hoped to accrue and you all let him.”
Wow, the whole hall was silent. Remus just smirked because the space in the US had allowed him to see what was broken in the English system. The only reason they’d come back was because threats against their pup were swirling. They’d taken the UK and they’d trusted allies to hunt Albania for them.
Nott sneered. “It’s easy for you to say.”
Tony stood up. “You mean when my boy was brought to me with broken ribs because that old goat decided to leave him with abusive relatives against Lady Potter’s wishes? And he didn’t want me to take action? You mean, when I returned to the UK to take up my seat fully to protect my family legacy ensuring my child could defend himself! What part was easy?”
The man flushed in embarrassment, and considering what Tony knew of the man’s proclivities - it was stunning.
Madam Bones smirked. “How familiar are you with dark curses?”
Tony knew why she was speaking in doublespeak. “You mean the one that originally connected them? I had a Goblin healer removed it and I have friends hunting down others.”
She nodded, and the whole chamber was curious but it was clear that Lord Paddington was fighting against Voldemort - whatever his agenda might be.
Lucius read through the information supplied and kept the conversation moving swiftly knowing that they did not want the Wizengamot to focus on the potential Horcrux issue. He stood up and addressed the chamber, “Are you saying the five named in the paper transpired to keep my cousin imprisoned? Who was the Secret Keeper, if not Black?”
Bones grimaced as this was not her favourite part of the discussion. “Dumbledore cast the spell on Peter Pettigrew for the Potters. He’s an apparent Deatheater as well, it transpires.”
Remus stood up. “He should be released immediately into our care.”
Bones held up her hands, “As soon as this session is over I intend to lead you there personally, Consort Paddington.”
He felt better but not by much. One of his pack members had been hurt grievously thanks to the greed of wizards. It made him furious in a way he didn’t want to put into words.
Tony put a hand on his shoulder knowing how badly this would be fraying his mate’s legendary patience. “I call for the Nobles of the House to strip all named parties of their roles, due to being dishonest and unfit to run the country.”
“I suppose you think you should take his place?”
Tony smirked at Nott because wow, he thought Slytherin were supposed to be good at hiding their feelings. “Good grief, man. I have two young children and I don’t want to be headmaster. Minerva McGonagall will turn Hogwarts into a first-class institution, one we would be proud to send our children. Plus, I have no interest in politics. I simply want to raise my children in a safe land.”
Amelia privately thought that he would be very good at politics but it was clear right now that he had other priorities even if he wasn't confessing just what they were. “No, they can’t serve. Who will serve as an interim minister while we have elections?”
Malfoy stood up. “I think we can all say that you are a trusted figure.”
She looked horrified. “Me as Minister?”
Bones chuckled and should have known where good intentions led. “As you wish, then the first act will be to detain Former Minister Fudge, Supreme Mugwump Dumbledore, Former Undersecretary Umbridge and Crouch Senior, Allistor, are all remanded into custody while charges are reviewed.”
Sirius was being led down the hallway, and he assumed it was to his death. He shuddered but realised that for once there were no Dementors on the corridor. It begged the question - why?
He saw the door open into the sunlight and had to squash down hope. He didn’t get to have nice things - he’d been responsible, however indirectly, for the death of Lily and James.
“Get the damn chains off him!” The newbie demanded.
Sirius was startled to look up. “Remy?”
The man walked forward and pulled him into a deep hug. “Yeah, Siri, it’s me. I am so damn sorry I believed his lies.”
“Whose lies?” He managed to croak. He hoped they would let him stay for some time.
“Dumbletwats.” The other guy spat out. “I’m currently seeing he is stripped of every bit of power he has accrued.”
Sirius didn’t remember him but then again, thanks to the Dementors, his memory wasn’t what it used to be. “I don’t remember you.”
“Lord Anthony Paddington, and I’m this one’s husband.”
Sirius grinned. “You got game.”
“He helped me out when I got into a sticky incident. We’ve stuck together since.”
Sirius managed a weak smile. “Remy has always deserved love, he just never believed he should have it.”
“You do too, you know.” Tony gently replied. “We have much to catch upon. You should know the basics - that you’ve been cleared and once you’ve got help there’s a very eager boy who wants to twist another Uncle to his whims.”
Remus smiled with tears in his eyes because the name was said with such longing. “Yeah, Siri, Tony and I have custody and we’re rabid in our protection.”
Sirius snorted. “Since when?”
“Tony’s encouraged my meaner side to come out to play.”
Sirius shook Tony’s hand. “Then it seems like I have a lot to thank you for.”
Tony shook his head. “Nonsense. Now let’s get you to Gringott’s and healed so I can let you in on the plans I have to ruin every wanker’s life who has looked at Harry funny.”
Sirius smirked and knew he and Paddington could become great friends.
Chapter 15: Stepping on the Bones
- Stepping on the bones.
Sirius knew where they were going. He stopped in front of the steps of his childhood home. “I don’t want to spend time here.”
Remus nodded, showing he completely understood the reasoning. “You won’t have to, old friend, but it is your seat of power. We have a house in Hogsmeade that you can use. Well, hope you would.”
“You’re living at Hogwarts?”
Remus nodded. “Yeah, I am the defence professor although with Albus’ troubles I suspect that there might be a few changes.”
Sirius nodded, then he heard his shrewish mother start. “Listen, you old bat, I just spent too many years in prison. I have no problem in seeing if burning this whole place will get rid of your damned portrait.”
“Why are you out?”
“Lord Paddington here cut through all the bribery and corruption.”
She frowned but was blessedly quiet. This was not the plan. She’d been so sure that all potential threats to the dark plan had been killed. “Clive’s boy was killed.”
Tony snorted as he’d heard that a few times. “Yes, he was but you missed the American nephew - that is me.”
Sirius laughed at the affronted face on the wicked bat’s face. “Oh, that is just too good. I have a few things and I then intend to seal the wards. I am done with this place.”
“I will be all alone.”
Sirius shook his head. He may be mentally fragile, he wasn’t unaware that Remus seemed to be clutching something that seemed to be radiating positivity. “Oh mother, that is terrible. I insist the house-elf, Kreacher stays with you.”
As he insisted and he was the head of the family it was as good as an edict.
“You can’t do this!”
Sirius was weak, and in desperate need of food, the outdoors and more than probably a few mind-healers but he could smile right now. “Oh but I can. Bye for now.”
The house was set just away from the village offering some privacy. Sirius shivered as he could feel the wards. He could breathe though once he passed them. “Those are some wards.”
Tony smiled and it was all teeth. “I am rabid in defence of my friends and family.”
“I can sense that, how lethal?”
Tony smirked. “The warning one, sends you to the centaur stead in the forest, the next to a volcano mouth.”
“That is disappointing.”
Remus snickered. “Not when I add it is underwater in the middle of the Atlantic.”
Sirius grinned brightly. “That’s genius.”
“Thank you, the Goblins have set up monitors. They are hoping someone is stupid enough to breach them so they can catalogue the effect.”
Sirius tilted his head. “That is quite the experiment.”
Tony shrugged. “Like I said people shouldn’t come after me or mine.”
Sirius chuckled. “I can tell we’re going to be great friends.”
“I hope so,” Tony replied. “Plus, once you are back on your feet. You can help me play with the Wizengamot.”
Remus shook his head. “Sirius, he already has Lucius onside, and Fudge and Dumblebumble on the out.”
Sirius took a deep breath. “So what is the plan for me.”
Tony smiled. “I have a goblin healer who is willing to treat you.”
“Sounds too good to be true.” Sirius confessed.
Remus chuckled because for Tony he had none of their normal prejudices and as such got a lot more from other more diverse friends. After all, not many could say they had two old vampires willing to hunt down threats to their offspring. “The goblins treat him as a kindred spirit.”
Tony and Remus had reluctantly left Sirius in the care of the Goblin healer but they had to get back to the school. They were not unaware of the fact they’d potentially caused chaos to the inner workings of the school.
They stepped out of the floo and Remus checked his improved version of the marauder's map. He didn’t know where the original map had ended up but the minute he’d settled into his role as a professor he’d produced another one.
“Tali is on her way with Severus to the hall.”
“Good let’s go see our baby girl and greet the new headmistress.”
“Will she thank us?”
Tony chuckled. “Possibly not but I feel a whole lot better about letting our children be educated here than before.”
Remus smirked. “Moira will be annoyed.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “She knew my plans - I used her as a soundboard along with you. She is the one who suggested Rita Skeeter. She pointed out wisely ... you don’t need to do the dirty work if you can get someone else to do it for you.”
Tali ran to see her Daddy and Papa. It was clear she had enjoyed her time with her Uncle. Tony guessed if they were both happy, then with time he would let it happen whenever it suited the potions professor.
She asked him primly. “Did you have fun, or was it boring?”
Tony chuckled at the question that had others gasping. He led her to the staff table where the other staff were clearly waiting to hear what was said. The only thing he said in response was, “It was more intriguing.”
He handed the acting headmistress an official missive as they ate. She read it and just sighed.
“Stupid meddlesome old man.”
Tony chuckled. “Sometimes you cannot help a person.”
“You may well be right. I did warn him.” She said wearily.
Tony understood, having been partners with Gibbs for so long. He could do with organising a trip back there but wasn’t sure how he’d fit it in. He’d put things in motion within the wizarding world, well aware that it would cause chaos. He wouldn’t be a responsible human being if he just left them to it. “There is a saying, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”
Minerva snorted. “I found with wizards if it is firewhiskey ... they will happily drown.”
Tony chuckled because she wasn’t wrong. “Well, given the litany of complaints against the former headmaster you can imagine the governors are keen to see him removed from his post. You are to take the reins full time. Madame Longbottom and Lord Malfoy asked me to pass this on.”
She asked a simple question, taking into account the fact that the staff was still around them. “How serious is the trouble?”
She nodded and asked nothing else. She was well aware of what Albus may or may not have done. She’d trusted him once - her mistake had been in continuing to let him do what he thought was right.
She was now going to be very busy keeping all the students safe. At least it will keep her busy. She wasn’t sure whether she should thank or strangle Lord Paddington and his consort.
No. Actually she had a better idea.
She had waited until the end of the day and until all students were back in their respective areas before going to the Paddington quarters.
She knocked on the door. “You going to invite me in?”
Remus swept his arms wide in invitation. Tony showing he was the perfect host. “What would you prefer to drink, headmistress?”
Tony grinned. “I can do that.”
She made her way to the sofa area of the living quarters. She liked the way the Paddington’s had moved in and made it comfortable. She had to smile at the way Hogwarts had helped accommodate the family. She took the drink and sipped it.
Tony sat with his husband and it was clear that this was a true couple and not a match. She was pleased as she hoped Remus would find someone who could accept all of him. From what she could tell, Lord Paddington did exactly that for Remus. In fact, he went one better and helped him accept himself.
Tony knew what she wanted. His reasons for triggering all the recent events,
I didn’t care about his games for the most part.”
Minerva snorted, “Your actions beg to differ, my Lord.”
Tony smirked, “Would you have let anything happen to your little lions when you were in charge of Gryffindor?”
“No.” Her tone was resolute and hinted at just what she was prepared to do in defence of her charges.
Tony smirked. “Exactly, he threatened our pup with his actions. He’s lucky I just stripped him of his power ... I wanted to rip out his throat.”
“I’d say you did worse than that, you took his power.”
Remus was the milder one of the two. “He wanted to mould our pup into a saviour so when Voldemort came back he’d sacrifice himself to get rid of a Horcrux.”
Tony snorted. “He liked to think of himself as one.”
Minerva tilted her head. “Funny, you don’t look like a Mordred.”
Tony shrugged. “I can be whoever I need to be to protect my family.”
She could respect that position. “I understand you received one of the highest results for Defense at Ilvermorny.”
Tony was weary. “Yes.”
She smirked. “Good. Now, as I need Remus to take over my transfiguration classes would you be willing to take over Defense whilst I find a replacement?”
Tony chuckled, he felt considering it was kind of his fault. “Do you want us to take over the role as Gryffindor Head of House?”
She nodded with a grin. “Yes, but I will let you do that jointly.”
Things sure were getting interesting.
Chapter 16: Werewolves 2.0
- Werewolves 2.0
Minerva had planned to look in on her lions. She had so far managed to hold back on her impulse of going back to her previous domain wanting Remus and Tony to settle into their roles. However, given the time of the month, she was expecting Remus and Anthony to be indisposed on account of the full moon. As she entered through the portrait she was most surprised to see the young Lord holding court over the older years about duty and honour.
She looked outside and could clearly see the full moon was high. Paddington actually winked at her, he was so cheeky. “Hello, headmistress. We were just having a session about honour and setting the example for the lower years.”
“A worthy lesson.” She replied, and it was a good one. For once, she said it without a hint of sarcasm.
“The youngsters are so annoying.”
She snorted. “Yes, Master Wood, would consider someone to be younger at such an advanced age yourself. “ She looked at the group. “Be off with you all, I want a word with Lord Paddington. Do ensure you are in bed within thirty minutes - I will know.”
It was the best part of the deal - Hogwarts told her of when students were misbehaving and would, thanks to the magic of the castle, show her a picture of the perpetrator. It was a teacher’s dream.
They waited until the common room was empty before heading to the wall. The magic of the castle had linked their room to the Gryffindor common room - in case of emergencies. She waited until they were back in his apartment.
“I must say I am confused.”
Tony chuckled at the attempt to sidestep what she really wanted to say. “No, you’re not.” He wanted her to see it was okay to ask. “You want to know why I am still on two feet when you suspect it should be four.”
She nodded. “I had to assume you shared all things with your husband. Your language in regards to your children would be big hints.”
Tony smirked and let his eyes flash, “You’d be right but think of me as a more stubborn breed. I am more animagus than tied to the moon. I call myself a werewolf 2.0.” It was a muggle reference but he figured she got the gist of what he was saying.
She tilted her head and was definitely intrigued. “You’re not tied to the moon?”
Tony shook his head. “Not since my first shift after killing Greyback.”
“You’re the one who did it?” She sat down and took the glass of fire whiskey that was silently offered. “You know, the Aurors could never figure out how he died.”
Tony shrugged because it was not his job in this world. “I told the psychotic bastard I would kill him, and I was right.”
“Forgive me, but how did you do it.” She asked and Tony could tell it was more academic than purient interest. Tony also knew she was referring to how he killed Greyback rather than his werewolf oddities.
“Bullet through the eye. It turns out magic couldn’t stop it.”
She had a vindictive smiled. “Good. It is no less than that monstrous man deserved.”
Tony snickered. “He was surprised too.”
She smirked. She had always hated the bastard for his predilection of biting the children of those he deemed his enemies. “You have a habit of doing that.”
Tony shrugged and he didn’t seem the least bit remorseful. He couldn’t even pretend to be remorseful when he felt nothing but satisfaction. “You know the only reason I came back to the UK was because the dark wanker’s forces are stirring. I will not allow a threat to my family to rise so I came here to snuff it out.”
Minerva had to laugh. Here was a man who had turned wizarding society on its head and all for his child. She had no doubt that Lily and James would be happy their son was now in the charge of Remus and Anthony. “You are quite the character, my lord.”
“Oh, I think we can share a few stories.”
She finished her drink. “We may but I think you should look after your consort right now.”
Tony grinned and she could see the wolf lingering just under the surface. “I will do just that. We’re glad for you to drop by anytime.”
There was someone in Hogsmeade who wasn’t so glad about their visitor.
Sirius had a hard taskmaster in charge of his recovery. He had no idea how Remus’ husband had found a Goblin who would willingly treat wizards. It turns out, Leander was a 600-year-old Goblin healer, whos sister was apparently in charge of the infirmary at Ilvermorny.
Leander’s glare was fierce enough for Sirius to answer a question not even asked. “I am doing as you asked.”
She snorted at the petulant tone but didn’t let him have any excuse. She was not willing to indulge in deflection tactics. “You are not a child in terms of wizards young man. So don’t pout at me.”
Sirius’ pout grew, which he was aware did not help his case. “This sucks.”
She snorted as she sat down herself to face him. She sensed they were on the precipice of a breakthrough. She had been waiting for a week for this moment. “Yes, you don’t want to talk about your feelings but you need to! There is no way you will heal and move on if you don’t.”
“Why should I?!?!” Sirius zinged straight back. It was too raw.
She sat up, looking pleased by the explosion of anger even if it was only for one second. It was exactly what was needed. “Why shouldn’t you?”
“No one thought to fight for me.” Sirius replied, deflating at just the thought.
“Lord Paddington has seen to your release.” She reminded him.
Sirius bowed his head. “Do you know I only kept my sanity due to my animagus form? The dementors are the worst type of punishment as I got to relieve my greatest failure.”
She gently prodded. “And what did you relive?”
“Their faces ... their dead faces ... and Harry’s crying.”
She sighed because emotional pain was the most difficult to treat, especially when it was tinged with guilt. “I can imagine that was upsetting but young Harry is safe now, and well-protected.”
Sirius sighed softly. “Not by me.” The weight of his failure was also something that clearly weighed on his mind.
She shrugged as ultimately he’d faced a rather severe consequence for his poor choice. He had more than paid his dues for chasing Pettigrew down without telling anyone of his plans.
“So are you going to dwell in the past?” She challenged him.
Sirius growled. “I have the right to regret my mistakes.”
She nodded, it was a fair point. He did have the right to mope and dwell on the past but it wasn’t the healthiest choice. “Yes, but the past is not where you are living. You can dwell, brood and not move on from the past. It will be satisfying in the short run but then would lead to ... nothing. No joy, no friendships or relationships. Oh, and of course, Dumbledore would have succeeded in taking your whole life.”
And that thought stopped him cold. He had had a lot of time to figure out that Dumbledore was pulling way too many strings not to be the one at the centre of it all. He had been fighting the dark for so long he had become what he feared - dark. The worst part of the whole thing was the fact that Dumbledore didn’t even see it.
“You are a mean counsellor.”
She gave him a sharp grin. “I am a Goblin, Lord Black. You see, I understand your family made revenge an artform. So much so that your ancestors have even impressed our King. Are you going to continue to wallow in your misery or show us just what happens when a Lord Black is crossed?”
Sirius sat up straighter because she was right. He had been wronged and certain people should pay.
She grinned. “And that is why I am here. You will give me an hour of time each week - that is non-negotiable. You are free to plot to ruin your enemies with the Paddington family.”
“I am not sure I can repay you for what you’ve done.”
A razor-sharp grin. “Gain your revenge in an entertaining way. You wizards have become so predictable and boring in this age. You’ve lost the art of finesse.”
Sirius didn’t bother to hide his evil smirk. “You won’t be disappointed.”
Across the country, in Malfoy Manor, a curse was being uttered. The report was back on the heritage of one Hermione Granger. There was something niggling the back of Lucius’ mind that needed answering so he had sought answers and was surprised by the results. This was going to shake a few things up and when the trinity formed it would create one hell of a power bloc.
“That contemptible bastard.”
Narcissa had swept through the floo at just the right time to catch just the end of the exclamation. She didn’t react to the curse, instead quirked one eyebrow. “Who in particular?”
Lucius handed her the paper.
She looked up in surprise. “It is confirmed?”
The investigator nodded. “I had the tests and the family tree tested by three independent and discrete experts.”
That pathetic light-clinging wizard had a lot to answer for when all his sins were revealed. She would never say she approved of the Deatheater standards but they never stole children from their parents.
She would get revenge on her cousin's behalf although she figured Paddington would get there first.
There was going to be hell to pay when the news broke.
Chapter 17: Complicated Families
Starwatcher has made awesome art for this and a massive thank you!
Remus had recovered from the full moon quicker than ever. Severus had actually refined the potion so that he suffered very little moon fever any longer. He walked into their eating area to find his husband pacing and spitting mad. He looked more like an angry puffed up cat than the wolf he knew him to be.
“What has you so vexed?” Remus asked him.
Tony spat out, still mad at just the thought. “The bastard took a child from their living parents!”
Remus staggered back against the cupboard, his brain was fighting a memory. There was only one reason he would face such an onslaught of pain. It was a sure sign he’d been memory charmed. He looked at Tony, who was hovering with concern. “Fight the block for me, I don’t have class until after lunch.”
Tony grimaced as it would not be his first choice to have that occur. “You know this will hurt.”
“Not as much as the person who memory charmed me.” Remus replied silkily and Tony should not find that as hot as he did.
Tony sighed, knowing that if he didn’t do it Remus would find someone else who would. “You know it’s more than likely it was Dumbledickface .”
Remus could concede that there was a high possibility of that being the case. “I need to know and I need it to be you. You’re one of the few who I trust to pull a wand on me.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “At least sit on the bed.”
Remus did and braced himself for the onslaught of memories. Little Tali showed how smart she was by racing to the bedside table, pain reliever and pepper up potion were placed on the sideboard. He stroked her cheek. “Thanks, little one.”
She rolled her eyes just like her father had not too long before. “You shouldn’t be in pain if it isn’t needed. You are the one that lectures Harry and I about that, Papa.”
Tony looked at him with mixed emotions. “I love you.”
“And I love you. I never doubted it once.” Remus assured him.
And with that said - Tony uttered the spell and Remus fell backwards, clutching his head.
Tali jumped into Tony’s arms, seeking comfort. She would always do it when upset and he would always catch her. It would always be part of their ritual. He reassured his daughter but was doing the same for himself.
Talia asked. “Will he be okay?”
“Yes. We know something is very wrong with your brother’s girl.” Tony explained without going into too much detail. He was still mulling over all the angles. Although, it was clear to everyone that Harry was keen on both Draco and Hermione over everyone else in their year.
“Does he have a boyfriend or girlfriend?” She asked in confusion. She couldn’t tell if it was Draco or Hermione he wanted to date.
Tony chuckled. “What if I said it was both of them?”
“Huh.” Tali waited and considered the point from all angles. “Cool.”
Tony knew there was a little more to their ever closer friendship. He knew where it would end up which is why he made nice with the Malfoy’s. He knew what could happen and took steps to prevent a future where Voldemort rose once more and Lucius ended up as his right-hand man as he saw no other choice. “It will be.”
They both kept a silent vigil on Remus who was still on the bed, dealing with the breaking of the memory block. Tony wanted to kill whoever was responsible for the single tear he could see roll down his husband’s face. Remus had learned to hide his pain due to his dual-nature a long time ago. It was one of the things they were both working on.
Remus was tumbling through the years. It was jarring to be suddenly fifteen years in the past. He was at a cafe on Diagon Alley with Lily, James, Sirius and Lysander.
Remus wanted to gasp but he was viewing his memory like he was watching it run past his mind. He was being transported once more ...
Now they were in Sirius’ place in the Cotswold and his friend was so excited. He was going to be a father and Sirius was asking him to be godfather. Remus had freaked because no one would trust him as a werewolf ...
The child had been born and it was a happy, beautiful day. The sun was shining and Siri’s daughter was so magical and beautiful. You could tell she would be powerful by the aura she held even as an infant...
Then it was ripped apart...
Albus was standing in the hallway telling Sirius that his wife, Lysander, and baby Hermione were dead. It had been a death eater attack and Lily and James would be next if they didn’t go into hiding ...
Remus trying to console his friend as he fell apart in his grief, separated from their closest friends. He hated it and nothing he did could reach his friend ...
Albus stepping in promising that he had a solution. He could block the memories of the family from Remus and Sirius. Sirius rejecting the idea as the pain was terrible but he refused to forget his stunning family. He would not dishonour them ...
The meeting turning sour as Albus told Sirius that he was too naive and he didn’t kill the wife and make his heir disappear for him to ruin plans in motion. Remus watched as Albus had the gall to promise that he would ensure his daughter was raised well as long as Sirius did his part of the plan.
Remus shot up in the bed. “It was all him.”
Tony frowned. “What do you mean?”
Remus looked at their daughter in Tony’s arms and he didn’t want the darkness to touch her. She was so precious to both of them and she didn’t deserve to have this darkness. “Hey, Tali ... Can you go and pester Harry into acting like a human being on the weekend?”
She giggled because the castle would help her with her plans if she asked nicely. ”Okay.” She ran forward and kissed his cheek. “Glad you’re okay, Pops.”
“How can I not be with you and your father watching over me?”
Tony waited and gently sat on the bed next to Remus. “Talk to me.”
“It was Dumbeldore’s plan. He murdered Siri’s wife. He took Hermione from her damn cot.” Remus took a deep breath and pushed down his feral feelings because this was his goddaughter. “She was taken and Sirius was a mess. It was right at the time that Lily and James were conveniently sent into hiding.”
Tony’s mind reviewed the information. “By gods, we thought he was inept ... not orchestrating to get events that he wanted.”
Remus looked stricken. “He can’t see the light of day.”
Tony nodded in perfect agreement. He would see personally to things if the Wizengamot didn’t do the right thing. It didn’t sit right with the lawman in him but some people were just too dangerous to allow to live. He was well aware that a figure like Dumbeldore would always pull fanatics. “So how do you tell a child that she is actually an heiress to a very Ancient and Noble House?”
Remus snorted. “No idea. The same way we break the news to Siri, I suppose.”
Tony groaned. “This is going to be such a headache. I hope you realise they’re going to merge the Blacks, Malfoy and Potter families.”
Remus started to laugh. “And I like their chances. It is a good thing that Tali will take the Paddington title or the Wizengamot might really hate them.”
Tony snickered. “Yeah, but it is not like Tali won’t support her brother.”
Remus nodded and knew it was a power bloc that would see power and reason rule over the Wizengamot for years to come. They just needed to take care of the Dark Shadow that loomed over a potentially glorious future. “Oh yeah. So we need to take care of Dumbledore and the dark wanker.”
Tony had a wicked grin on his face. “We could always Portkey them both into a sealed room and see who would come out on tops. Hell, we could sell tickets and create a few orphanages.”
Remus had to kiss the wicked grin off his husband’s face. “You should suggest it and watch Notts’ head explode.”
“I doubt there’s anything that could dent that bastard’s sense of arrogance.”
Tony and Remus had headed to Sirius’ house on the weekend. They’d received the report from Leonore’s sister that Sirius was as well as he could be.
Sirius hugged Remus. “How are you doing?”
Remus shrugged. “I am Joint Head of Gryffindor House. I am sure it is Minerva’s revenge for going along with all the Marauder’s plans when we were young.”
Tony snorted. “I have heard the stories. You’d like the Weasley Twins, although no creative discussions until after they’ve graduated.”
Sirius threw his head back and laughed. “I promise.” He looked at the couple and could see the tension in their frames. “What has you both as nervous as a kneazle in a floo?”
Remus spoke first. “I think we should all sit. I have asked Lucius and Narcissa to come too as they are bringing extra information with them. Then we can plan our attack.”
Sirius frowned because his friend wasn’t usually so vitriolic. It took a lot to anger him even if he was now more in touch with his wolven side. “What has happened?”
The Floo system alerted him to a requested arrival. “It is Cissy.”
“We need to hear what they have to say.”
Sirius could tell he wasn’t going to like the news. “What is it?”
Remus shared a look with his husband. “What would you say if I say Albus stole more than your freedom?”
Sirius sat back. “How can he take more than my freedom?”
Tony prodded him gently. “Have you looked at the Black family tree recently?”
Sirius was still getting used to having his magic and his new wand. He’d taken the Black legacy wand from the bank as it was now the only wand. Still, the genus spell was a charm taught in the fifth year so without further hesitation he cast.
The names spread out and Sirius saw the name Lysander Black darken, showing death. It, however, wasn’t what had him standing there in tears. It was the name shooting off from them, Hermione Aurora Black.
“She is alive?”
Tony nodded. “She is alive and in Ravenclaw. She has Harry and Draco wrapped around her fingers.”
Sirius didn’t understand. “Why?”
Tony didn’t answer. It was Lucius who did. “You know your group of friends were pretty invincible together. I think Dumbledore believed you could void the prophecy.”
Sirius’ mind was racing and his first thought was to thank Paddington. “Thank you for insisting I see a healer.”
Tony snorted. “You’re family and we don’t let family down.”
Narcissa handed him a file. “She’s not enjoyed her home life since the magic reveal. She was an illegal adoption of a pair of muggle type of healer. She has no idea.”
Sirius’ voice took on a dangerous edge. “Define not enjoyed .”
Tony’s curse was intriguing and also definitely not biologically impossible even with magic. “I am told Black’s make revenge an artform?”
Sirius nodded, and Narcissa smirked. “It was one of our squib relatives that started the Borgia dynasty.”
Tony grinned. “Good - because we have so many people on a list that need to go down for this clusterfuck that I need help.”
Chapter 18: An Art Form
- An Art Form
Hermione was surprised to see the Professor’s Paddington waiting for her and Harry. She assumed they wanted to talk to Harry. They did their best, she noticed, not to unduly single him out but still, it made sense that the fathers would occasionally need to talk to their son. It must doubly be true considering the fact that Harry was learning about estate management as an heir, and soon-to-be Lord of an Ancient and Noble House when he took over running the Potter estates.
Harry asked cautiously. “Pops, is Talia okay? And who has Dumbledork ruined today?”
Hermione nearly choked at the way he casually butchered the man’s name. She had seen in the papers that the once legendary name of Dumbledore was getting his name thoroughly dragged through the mud. If the wizard was guilty of only a fraction of his crimes he was almost as bad as Voldemort. Perhaps, she believed, even worse as he didn’t even realise he was a monster.
She felt a pang at seeing the close relationship between Harry and his parents. She wished she had that with her own parents. They were too involved in their jobs as dentists and had grown even more distant towards her with the magic reveal. It was a little too foreign for their scientific minds to comprehend. “I should leave you.”
Lord Paddington shook his head. “Nonsense. In fact, if you wouldn’t mind, we would like to talk to you both.”
She nodded, smiling shyly. “Okay, I just thought you wanted family time.”
The Professors led them up the floors and finally to a quiet corridor. “Where are we going?”
Harry had a wicked grin. “You found the room then?”
Tony nodded. “Indeed, your Pops and I found it and need to discuss something important and don’t want ears.”
Hermione gasped as the door appeared. “This is the lost room, isn’t it?”
Remus chuckled. “The elves of Hogwarts call it the Come and Go Room but it’s also known as the Room of Requirement.”
They all sat around the cosy fire and Remus had to smile at the books. He was aware that both himself and Tony would have asked for a room that set the young girl at ease.
“So we have questions that we hope you will answer honestly.”
“About what?” She asked innocently.
Tony looked at her softly. This was always been one of the harder aspects of being a cop or an agent. “I have a report that perhaps you are not gaining full support at home.”
Hermione blinked owlishly. “My parents are busy. They are always working but I have a roof over my head and food.”
Tony had suspected it to be so. “You know there are how many types of neglect.”
She sighed but quoted the definitions. “According to safeguarding rules adopted by muggles, there are four types of neglect that they are required to report to the authorities; physical, educational, emotional and medical neglect.”
Remus was gentle. “And would you say your guardians have been deficient in any of those?”
She tilted her head to the side, she contemplated the language used. “You said guardians and not parents.” Her eyes narrowed. “Why?”
Harry smirked seeing the shocked look on his pop’s face. “She is very bright. You’ve said it yourself.”
Hermione’s mind was racing. She was abnormally powerful for coming from a non-powerful background. She also shared no physical characteristics with her supposed parents. She had dismissed that though with her study of genetics assuming she had dominant traits from her grandparents. She sagged down in her seat. “Was it legal?”
Tony shook his head. “Not as far as we can tell. Your father is very keen to meet you but is conscious that he is not the person who has been raising you for the last eleven years.”
“I’m a Black, aren’t I?” She asked, voice breaking slightly as all the information and implications of it ran through her.
“The heir; Hermione Aurora Black.” Tony said, confirming what she already knew to be true in her heart. His voice was gentle as he carried on. “There was an attack and your mother perished. The former headmaster stole you away and told your father you had also died.”
“And before he could piece together the clues, the Potter attack happened and he was arrested.” She finished, knowing it was the only thing that made sense.
She had tears in her eyes. “They never really wanted a child, I think I was a status symbol as all their colleagues were having children.”
Harry asked the important question. “Do you want to meet your father?”
“Yes - more than anything.”
Remus and Tony were relieved, not knowing how they would have broken the news to Sirius if it had been a negative reaction. They would have done so because as badly as their friend had been treated - the welfare of the child would always come first. “Well today is a Hogsmeade visit and I suggest that yourselves and Draco head to our house.”
Harry grinned. “I just can’t wait to see Talia aim to twist Aunty Cissy and Uncle Lucius to her ways.”
Tony smirked. “You better stay nice to your sister when she takes over the world.”
Harry snorted. “ Purlease , we’re going to help.”
Remus and Tony knew that even though they were being sarcastic right now - there was an element of truth to it. Their children and the power bloc forming around them would be pretty unstoppable. It was a good job that they’d been raised right - or he might have been worried. It was yet another reason that Tony was hunting down the dark arsehole who was stopping Harry from having the world he deserved.
Sirius was pacing and Lucius just growled. “Sit down, man. All of them will be here soon enough.”
“She’s my heir, Lucius, and has never even seen me.” Sirius replied, letting the pain in his voice bleed through. It had been all he could think about since discovering the truth. He would have suffered a hundred more years in Azkaban to see his daughter live a happy and safe life.
In truth, Lucius couldn’t conceive being in the man’s position. He would tear down any bastard who dared to take his son away from him. “I get that, I do, but infernal pacing is just going to aggravate Narcissa ... Surely you would rather her ire be directed at your enemies?”
It was such a deceptive question and in truth, it went without saying. Narcissa Black was a formidable woman who tore down any enemy that came at her family and she often didn’t even lift her want. She was a Black after all, and they were taught to utilise all weapons at their parents’ knees as bedtime stories. “Of course, we’re comparing notes.”
Lucius could have said something about two Black’s plotting but he was smart enough not to redirect their anger his way. “What have you decided?”
Sirius had a demented grin on his face, sharing a conspiratorial grin with Narcissa as he offered a summary of where their thoughts were right now. Having listened to the plans, it reaffirmed Lucius’ thoughts regarding not upsetting the cousins.
It was the demented grins that Paddington and his consort walked in to see. Lucius loved the fact that he didn’t blink. “What have you already planned for and how can I help?”
Sirius stopped and looked at them eagerly. In fact, if he was in his animagus form then he was sure the man would be whining. “Did she want to see me?”
Remus nodded. “Yeah, Siri. We need you to look after the kids while we go and take care of a few muggles.”
“Do I want to know?”
Remus and Tony were in full agreement. “No, greet your kid without any anger. We’ve dealt with stupid muggles before. It’s becoming a hobby for us.”
Lucius remembered hearing that Harry had suffered at the hands of abusive muggles before coming under the guardianship of Tony and Remus. He could tell just by their dark look that they did not let the incident just pass by with no reaction
Hermione was freaking out. She didn’t know how to handle this and Harry and Draco weren’t saying anything! Honestly, boys.
Harry spoke gently. “Look, Uncle Sirius is amazing, all things considered, and you deserve to know both your parents.”
“I still don’t know why Dumbledore would want to take me.”
Harry grinned. “You know you are pretty amazing and just think how stymied we would have been if we had both been raised outside of the wizarding world.”
Draco snorted. “Oh and I imagine the old goat would have controlled the flow of information to you perfectly to get the desired results.”
It was a terrifying thought and one the trio had discussed in the room of requirement. “He was made to forget me?”
Harry nodded. “Yeah, my pops was made to forget you too, and father had to beat through the memory block. He was so upset.”
She had a watery smile. “It has always just been me.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “Well, now you have the might and power of the Black family, which I have no doubt you will learn how to handle by the end of Yule.”
“That’s in three weeks.”
Draco had a razor-sharp grin, knowing he’d hit a nerve. “Are you telling me that you are not up to the challenge?”
Hermione huffed at him. “Don’t be rude, Draco. I may have had a shock but I haven’t lost my brain.”
Harry helpfully had to point out. “Well, we’ve made it.”
As soon as he said it, the house became clear, and wow, that was some spellwork. “Nice place.”
“Thanks. It’s where my Dads arranged for Uncle Sirius to recover.” Harry gently nudged her. “Remember, you want this and Draco and I will be standing right next to you.”
She took a deep breath and walked up the steps, knowing you couldn’t get anything if you didn’t go after it. She opened the door and the only person in the hallway was someone infamous. Also - that someone was her father.
She was frozen until his arms opened. “Come here, baby girl.”
Chapter 19: Raised the Right Way
Hermione raced into Sirius’ arms and just savoured the hug. She’d not understood the difference or really understood why children raced in the arms of their parents until now. “Hey, F...Dad.”
Sirius’ grin could have powered England. He looked down at his beautiful daughter, not really believing that she was there with him. His look was full of paternal pride. “Hey, Darlin. Sorry, I’m late and I promise to do better in the future.”
She burrowed into the hug. “I’m just happy that you’re here now and will be from now on.”
Sirius choked up because he would do his best. He felt like it should be much harder. He hated that he’d been made to forget her existence. Still, if there was anything that life had taught him - it was not to make promises. It did seem like he was fate’s bitch. “I will do my best.”
Draco was glad to see the reunion and shared a relaxed smile with Harry. It was easier to do when they were alone and not having to act in the way expected of them. “This is all very sweet and you don’t have to let each other go but can we at least go and sit down?”
Hermione snorted at his parents’ horrified faces but she was more than used to his attitude. She found it funny as long as it was directed against annoying people. “You’re all heart, Draco.”
Draco rolled his eyes at her sarcasm. “I am, and I’m also going to help ruin everyone who helped keep you two apart. Does that not count?”
The commotion was witnessed by all the other adults through the open door. They all felt it was only right that the initial reunion was between the Black family.
Sirius chuckled but didn’t let go of his daughter and addressed Lucius. “It is nice to hear the kids growing up right, I think.”
Harry smirked and reassured him. “I intend to use every trick my father h as ever taught me.”
Lucius could guess, considering the profound effect the man had already had on the Wizengamot, that it would be interesting to see Potter when he took up his Lordship. He and Draco would make a formidable team, and with the young Black heir joining them it would be a major power bloc. It was the type of power accrued that others would attack but thankfully, Draco and Harry had been raised to be vicious in defence of them and others.
Hermione sat on the longer sofa next to Sirius. She thought she would be nervous but she wanted to stay close. She found herself asking the room the most pertinent question at the front of her mind. “Who is going to make the former headmaster pay?”
The floo flared to life and Tony and Remus stepped out. “Ah, perfect timing. You are all here.”
Narcissa smirked. “Young Hermione was asking about our plans for the former headmaster.”
Tony grinned brightly, adoring the fact she didn’t want to shy away from the difficult questions. He was quick to reassure her. “Don’t worry about that, Ms Black. You will find that myself and Lord Malfoy have been taking turns to make him miserable. Oh, and we have only just gotten started.”
Lucius snorted as he informed the group, letting them know a taste of what had happened. “You’ve won that competition so far. The symmetry of making him rot in Sirius’ former cell was perfect poetic justice.”
Tony looked directly at Sirius, who unsurprisingly hadn’t let go of his daughter. He saw the vindictive smile. “He will be tried and convicted of a very long list of crimes that, quite frankly, is too long a list. He won’t ever see the light of day again. I had to add the crimes regarding young Miss Black.”
Hermione pursed her lips. “He is old so the dementors might finish him off too quick if he’s sent permanently to Azkaban.”
Draco chuckled and loved the poise Hermione was showing as she handled the whole situation. He doubted if his whole world had been turned upside down he would have handled it with such grace. “Spoken like a true Black.”
Narcissa smirked. Sirius’ daughter was a diamond in the rough for certain. She would happily teach her anything she would need to know to make her way confidently through the world. “Yes, indeed. Have no fear, young one, I have ensured that while they will be close enough to tax his memories they will not go so close that they finish him off ... not until he has spent exactly the same amount of time in that wretched place as he forced your father to stay.” She paused, “I should imagine though that he will find it very difficult to present a calm mask at his trial.”
Sirius helpfully added. “I have spoken to Amelia ... she assured me she was building a nastier, stronger honesty hex for the witness box to ensure his lying, cheating ass has no room to hide . Her words, not mine.”
“Good,” Hermione said firmly. “He deserves so much more but I like that best. If he was killed ... I would be asking who knew a necromancer.”
Sirius started to laugh. “Oh, sweetheart, the Blacks invented that branch of magic due to a previous Lord being wronged and the person dying before they could take revenge. You wouldn’t need anyone else - just a few days research in the Black Library.”
Remus thought about it and he had to shake his head in bemusement. “That figures.”
Hermione quietly asked the question that bothered her most. “What do you do to the pair who adopted me? I don’t want them in Azkaban. They’re non-magical - they wouldn’t last.”
Lucius sneered. “Adoption implies that it was legal, young one. At your request, we made sure they have signed over your guardianship so, in both worlds, Sirius Black is now once more recognised as your guardian.”
It hadn’t been the preference of the adults in the room but they had taken the wishes of Hermione into account. He’d been ready to skin them alive because there was nothing worse in his mind than child abuse. No, tell a lie, he was willing to drop them in the middle of the Albanian Forest and tell the local pack they were cub snatchers.
However, it had been Harry who was the voice of reason - reminding them that Hermione would not want an act of bloody revenge that would satisfy a werewolf’s spirit. It was disheartening but he changed his tack of revenge.
It didn’t mean he couldn’t take a transatlantic quick trip. He’d visited Gibbs and caught up with his old mentor. He also asked his mentor if he would be willing to do him a favour to go after the Grangers. His old boss definitely had a soft spot for children. He’d been given a preview of the a uthorities that Gibbs intended to sic on them. By the end of the day, Gibbs would have their taxes reviewed and a very public raid of their place of work. It was the little things that would hurt their reputation, and it would be devastating when combined with Hermione’s disappearance that couldn’t be explained.
It wouldn’t be the bloody revenge he desired but in some ways it would be more fitting because he could see it ending in a trial and prison in the long term.
Hermione had a watery grin. Then a horrible thought struck her that she was now playing by a whole new set of rules. She had thought herself a muggle-born witch to find herself very much elevated in status. “I know nothing about being a Black heiress.”
“You are a smart witch and you just so happen to have two best friends that do know quite a bit.” Remus counselled her. He could see the nerves had kicked in now reality had sunk in.
She took a deep breath. “Sorry, it’s just knowledge is power and I always wanted to know as much as I could about this world as I thought I was new to it.”
Remus smiled softly as he had been much the same way in Hogwarts. He had a different reason, though, feeling like he needed to keep up his good grades to justify his place. “You are not as new as you believe but you are a Ravenclaw for a reason.”
She nodded in understanding. She looked at the adults. “Did you really leave the people who raised me alone?”
Tony snorted, impressed at the question. It spoke well of her ability to handle herself. “I will be honest, I used to be a Federal Agent and I have reached out to a friend to see they are investigated.”
She sighed and opened her mouth to add something.
Tony cut her off. “Ms Black, whether they were well-intentioned or not they broke the law and you know they were wrong. I can understand wanting to draw a line under the whole affair and it is clear that you are willing to embrace your new role.” Tony paused.
“However - how would you feel if, through your inaction, they take another child.”
She gasped, not having thought through that angle. “Who will investigate?”
Tony smirked. “I asked someone, and he will ask those involved in trafficking, tax evasion and general police checks to take place. Remember, if anything happens to them it is they who have broken the law and I instigated it without a single regret.”
Harry spoke up and clued in the other adults to some of his own past. “He did the same to my Aunt and Uncle. Only they were guilty of crimes so got sent down so my cousin is being raised somewhere else. I just hope it is for the better.”
She wiped tears away from her eyes. She was annoyed that she was crying for them considering what they’d done. “I just want to forget they exist.”
Tony nodded in understanding. “You know what... you can. Do you trust me to seek justice on your behalf?”
She giggled despite her previous tears. “You are very efficient.”
Tony snorted. “It’s the way I was raised but the list was getting too long so I enlisted some help.”
Hermione grinned. “I think this will be fun.”
Sirius spoke up, trying to deflect some of the sadness. “I have been challenged to make my revenge worthy of a Goblin’s entertainment.”
“Ask Talia.” Harry, Remus and Tony all said at the same time.
It got them odd looks from the whole room, Black’s and Malfoy’s alike. Tony was the one to answer. “Don’t look at us like that, she watched a lot of muggle movies and then warped some of the more creative ideas to help the Goblin’s improve their war wards.”
“That is quite an imagination.” Lucius said diplomatically.
Narcissa tilted her head. “Is that from being raised by you, or natural talent?”
Tony smirked. “You know Remus can be devious as well.”
“So, you then.” She surmised. She was contemplating any witch or wizard being devious enough to earn a goblin’s respect. The fact that said witch was only eight years old just added a whole new dimension that she would be one fearsome witch when she grew up and how brilliant it would be when she was the Head of a Noble house.
“Okay, so Dumbledore and Fudge’s trials are next week and I want us to be prepared for the order of flaming morons to try and free
“What about the other three?”
Tony snorted. “The ministry workers all hated them on various levels so will ensure they stay right where they are. Oh, don’t worry, I have found four with the most severe grudges and asked the temporary minister to ensure they are on guard duty and running point on their security.”
Tony said nothing else and just smirked. He was proud of his family and how they worked together and he had no doubt they would protect each other. He had so many plans and he was only just beginning. The first phase was to take care of the threats in the UK, and then he could truly go after the Dark Wanker.
So all they had to do was start their revenge against those that had wronged Harry, the Black’s and in reality, the whole wizarding world. The next week was going to shape the next generation and it was going to be a hell of a ride.
Chapter 20: Dog Days are Just beginning Pt 1
So the finale is bigger than I expected so there may be a few more chapters (At least one more)
Dog Days are just Beginning
Tony woke up, and speaking to his state of mind, he woke up on four legs instead of two. He was determined to protect his family and that meant he delved into the wolfy side of his nature. The irony was that whilst he wanted to be protective it would be a bit harder in this form.
Of course, Remus was a very sympathetic husband. He woke up feeling Tony stir and just laughed at him seeing his current predicament. “You look like an adorable puppy curled up at my side.” Remus remarked with a teasing grin.
Tony mock growled and then had a smirk knowing exactly how he could take his revenge. He prowled up his husband’s chest and licked his whole face with the wolf equivalent of a smug grin. His revenge delivered he jumped off the bed, transforming back into a wizard and disappeared into their ensuite to get ready. Any aggravation on Remus’ part died seeing his husband’s ass. He was a smart wizard so chased after him.
This day was going to suck but he intended to start the day sated at the very least. It was all about priorities and time management. Well, that was how Remus was justifying it in his own head.
The Great Hall was buzzing with energy but, in reality, Tony knew it would be the whole of wizarding Britain. The build-up in the papers had kept it at the forefront of everyone’s mind - today was the day of the trial. It was ironic, it was like Fudge as the former minister of magic was the undercard for the real event of Dumbledore’s trial.
You could tell that it was a serious day as Tony had arrived in the hall, not in his professor garb but his traditional Wizengamot clothes. He had prepped whatever was needed to kill whatever weak defence the bastard tried to mount but he was leaving nothing to chance. He and the Malfoy’s were going to see to that all day long if necessary. It helped that Sirius was going to be there too as he was now feeling strong enough to face the bastard.
Tony wasn’t naive - there was nothing like seeing the victim impact statement live and in person. It also would be doubly powerful as the victim was the head of an Ancient and Noble House. When crimes were committed against such people they carried harsher sentences.
Minerva looked directly at him. “Go, and take the others with you. Do make sure that justice is served. If he escapes it I will ensure his heart is eaten by the crows in the Forbidden Forest.”
Tony’s grin was positively wolvish. “I’ll bring you his heart if it comes to that.”
“You are a good man, Lord Paddington.”
Tony hoped he was a good man. He was willing to do things in defence of his family that he would never have imagined before he was turned into a wolf. He did know that he was happier here in the magical world than when he played at being non-magical. He wondered what the group at NCIS, apart from Gibbs, would think if they knew him now. In reality, it was irrelevant and he figured that would probably burn more.
The end of breakfast was signified by the plates and goblets of drink disappearing. So the waiting was now over and Remus, Tony, Tali, Hermione, Harry and Draco all remained behind in order to travel to London.
Tony looked over the group. “Are you all ready?”
Draco smirked. “Of course we are, Lord Paddington.”
Tony knew he could have insisted the boy call him by his name but in the chambers of the Wizengamot the old rules applied. “Okay, we’re heading to the entrance and I’ll make us a portkey.”
It was one of the best parts about his peerage - he could make his own portkey’s, and, he wasn’t required to submit a plan.
They landed just outside the building where Lucius and Narcissa were waiting with someone who, on the surface, looked like another Malfoy. Tony started to laugh. “I thought that Narcissa was the one to join the Malfoy family.”
Remus did a double start. “That is odd.”
Hermione giggled. “I am glad the plan worked. You are so lucky that you could morph your appearance, father.”
Malfoy and Harry had taken a moment and then adapted quick enough. It was the best thing about being young, they found it easier to adapt to their circumstances. Harry looked around and groaned. “Come on, I feel like I’m part of the zoo.”
Draco smirked. “Just be glad it’s not a petting zoo.”
The adults looked amused for a moment but didn’t seem to be inclined to say why. Sirius was looking a bit nervous but he was ready to face Dumbledore. As far as he was concerned, he had lost too much of life to the bigoted old bastard and had no intention of letting him take any more. He looked down as Hermione squeezed his hand with a tentative smile. He was ready to face his past and move forward with his daughter. “Shall we go and sit in our box, daughter mine?”
She had a radiant grin. “Sounds wonderful, father.”
The good thing about magic was the boxes of the Wizengamot rearranged to suit the whims of the power blocs forming so the Black, Paddington, and Malfoy boxes all aligned to be together. All three families walked together and split to go into their assigned boxes.
The fact that the Black crest was once more its own box had people speculating. They were surprised to see not only the Malfoy member but also the newly found heiress, Hermione Black, in the box.
In the Black Box, Hermione smirked. “I think now is the time to drop the glamour. You have confused too many of them.”
“It’s not hard. Like you said, it’s the inbreeding.”
Hermione snorted knowing just how horrified the other families would be if they could hear their conversation. The boxes were automatically provided with a silencing charm so no one could hear the conversation of each house. The boxes could be linked as they had done in their case.
“Didn’t the others get taught it is rude to stare?” Harry asked, pointedly echoing his sister from their first visit. He got enough of idiots staring at him every time he walked into the Alley. He’d learnt to phase it out but it didn’t mean that occasionally he didn’t feel self-conscious.
Draco preened. “Hey, we’re all stunning and powerful. They can stare in awe all they like.”
The adults just smirked but were glad it had helped to relax the children. Lucius just sneered at the room as a whole. “Yes, but some of the older families know better than to show their emotions on their face. It is not the best policy when you need to keep your plays to yourself.”
Amelia Bones looked regal and proud to be standing in the middle of the members assembled. “I realise we are all assembled here to hear complaints against Albus Dumbledore however first on the docket is the Former Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge.”
They all watched as the former minister, who had once lauded his authority over them, all be frog-marched into the room. He looked bedraggled and harried. Sirius wondered if his conscience was found, or, looking at Lucius and Tony, if they’d been responsible.
No, it wasn’t them. It was Remus. He knew his best-friend had the capacity for mischief on a level that put the old marauders to shame. Just what did he do?
Hermione was beginning to learn more about her Dad and grinned. “He didn’t tell anyone but his husband, according to Harry.”
She nodded her head. “Even Harry tried to find out because he said whatever it was had Lord Paddington laughing raucously.”
Sirius was intrigued because what he’d learned of Remus’ husband was the man was good and kind but rabid in his protection of his family and had no problem pursuing injustices to the ends of the earth. “It must be good.”
Hermione shrugged. “Harry thinks so.”
Cornelius Fudge stood in drab grey clothes, not looking like he’d showered in days. His wand had been confiscated on his first day of confinement. “I must protest my incarceration.”
Amelia smirked. “Do sit down, Cornelius. The house has some questions.”
He looked terrified by the sheer notion he would have to be honest. In truth, it would be a corrupt politician’s worst nightmare. “No. I can’t.”
Amelia quirked an eyebrow and just shot a stunner at him. He stumbled back in shock. “I never said you had a choice, you stupid man. Don’t even bother to object, Hawkins.”
The man hadn’t even fully stood up before sitting down once more. He had the worst job but his law firm had tasked him with representing Fudge. He’d been relieved to find that Dumbledore insisted he could defend himself.
Fudge simpered. “You know yourself that we have secrets we can’t share with the populace, Minister Bones.”
She rolled her eye. “Thankfully, the House is not after State Secrets. Just your actions in regards to the First Blood War, Lord Black and the potential kidnapping of his young daughter.”
Hawkins asked hopefully. “Are those all of the crimes he is being accused of?”
Amelia nodded to the court announcer who proceeded to list a litany of charges for the next fifteen minutes.
She waited until there was quiet once more. “Now, speak your defence for your actions,” adding under her breath, “you cowardly twerp.”
Tony was more than aware that the governing body was supposed to be impartial but he couldn’t exactly pull her up on being truthful. He was all of that and more. She was at least being polite about it.
“It was the War and Dumbledore told me that I needed to act in order to protect Harry Potter. He implied that Lord Black had been the Secret Keeper.”
Bones looked aghast. “You mean to say you sought no verification before denying the Lord of an Ancient House a trial? You could have seen the House of Black fall with your idiotic behaviour.”
“I trusted Dumbledore! We’ve all trusted him, he defeated Grindelwald.”
Tony snorted. “He was the man’s lover. It was more likely a lover’s quarrel.”
Remus just gave his husband a droll look. “Well, are you going to keep that fact to yourself?”
Tony shook his head. “Nope, Rita’s turning it into a book. Although I think she is getting ready to publish an article to whet the appetite and increase sales.”
“Is there something you would like to add, Lord Paddington?”
Tony could hear the note of censure in her voice but he was a professor now, and he had learned how to have the teacher’s voice down pat. “Just not that all of us were taken in by his aura, Minister Bones.”
The disquiet ran through the hall as actually most of them had been taken in.
She snorted indelicately. “I don’t know whether to thank you for stopping us from going over a dangerous precipice or berate you for my extra workload.”
Tony had a wicked grin, “Let me know after today, Minister Bones.”
Her pursed lips suggested she knew he was playing a long game but ultimately it was in defence of magic so she would go along with it. It was nice to take action in defense of it compared to all the inactivity she had been forced into under Fudge’s calamitous leadership.
She knew by the end of the day the shape of wizarding Britain would have changed course as she had no doubt Fudge’s guilty verdict was a mere formality - it just remained to be seen whether Dumbledore would slither away.
Chapter 21: Dog Days are beginning (or it all falls down)
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Dog Days Are Beginning (or) It All Falls Down
Tony had wondered how the former headmaster would try and play his defence. It had been decided that Fudge would be sentenced to Azkaban and there was a certain irony in that he was now going to be surrounded by the creatures he’d used to suppress other witches and wizards. Tony could appreciate that type of justice but Fudge was just the patsy. In Tony’s mind, Dumbledore was the real danger to his son.
Dumbledore was being dragged to the chamber by two elite Aurors. It was clear he was wearing suppressor rings but Tony would give the old bastard credit. He still managed a dim aura show of strength. The only trouble was - it wasn’t impressive and in combination with the bedraggled appearance really didn’t let him project the image he was hoping for.
Tony shared a smirk with Lucius as their little competition had no doubt contributed to his current state. What a shame.
“I still say I hold too many secrets to be subjected to this monstrous invasion of privacy.” Dumbledore declared imperiously to the chamber. It had zero effect.
In the Lord’s boxes, Tony had to smile at the gobsmacked expression on the Acting Minister’s face because it conveyed everything she wasn’t saying.
Remus has to shake his head. “The old coot believes it.”
Tony smirked. “Darlin, all self-important people believe that they are the centre of the universe even when they are not.”
Hermione sneered. “Not everyone grows old gracefully.”
Sirius snickered in delight. “You should know that when I get past a hundred I plan to act as disgracefully as possible.”
Hermione smiled sweetly. “I am sure you will but remember Draco, Harry and I will be the ones to clear it up and will expect something in return.”
Sirius quirked an eyebrow. “I thought Draco was the Slytherin between you?”
Hermione smirked. “You know the best snakes are the ones who don’t rattle.”
Tony raised a glass, as did Lucius, in salute to the comment. It was true. He’d raised his kids with Remus to be true to themselves, not be dicks and make sure they put down any threats who would get in their way. This whole day was Tony’s way of exemplifying what he meant. He’d known, when coming back to the UK, the full implications. He’d known he would have to get dirty in politics but most of all, he’d known he would need to take out Dumbledore for Harry to have the life he deserved.
“You know they all think the darkwanker is the one to fear.” Remus pointed out.
Tony sneered. “No, Dumbledore is worse because he doesn’t even know he is the bad guy. There is nothing more dangerous than a righteous bastard.”
As if to perfectly illustrate Tony’s point, Dumbledore stood up in futile anger at the last question that had been directed at him.
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”
Tony was two hundred percent done with the deluded old bastard. He let the privacy ward be lowered and spoke to the chamber. It was unorthodox and the leways as one of the Noble Lords was quite frankly ridiculous. “Understand what? That you couldn’t handle that you are now past it? That the public was moving you to the side and soon there would be a new hero of the country?”
Dumbledore shook his head, his look was so dark he would have made Voldemort cower. “No, that I am the one that can see fate is fulfilled.”
“You stunningly arrogant bastard. I don’t know whether we should pity you, or kick your ass.”
Sirius, following Tony’s lead, had also lowered his charm, and couldn’t help but add his two cents at that last comment. “I vote we kick his ass.”
Tony smirked and showed just how little he cared for such a problem. “I think the Dementors have done that on your behalf.”
“Yes, and that was another thing against the law that the Wizengamot has perpetrated against me.” Dumbledore finished to the shock of the whole chamber.
Tony didn’t just laugh at the humongous hypocrisy on show. He actually full-on cackled at the absurd comment. “You have got to be kidding me. You put Lord Black there for 11 years and you object to not even 11 weeks? Let’s see if you survive the length of time Lord Black did.”
Tony could see the way several of the Lords started to smirk. You see, that was the best thing with revenge etc. You needed to do it in such a way that they think it’s their idea. He’d planted a seed of the idea and when it came to judgement - they would think they came up with it on their own.
The best of it, the arrogant bastard had chosen to represent himself and put his own case before the Wizengamot so he didn’t even have a lawyer to object on his behalf.
Amelia’s small smile suggested she liked the idea more than she could admit given her position.
“How are you explaining your inaction regarding Voldemort?” The acting minister challenged him. “You know he has a chance to return and you chose not to share it!”
Dumbledore looked ashen. “I couldn’t reveal the objects. It could have facilitated his return before Harry was prepared.”
She didn’t look impressed with his justification. “So how was putting a child in an abusive and unloving environment initially considered in any shape, way or form preparation?”
Tony knew the answer seeing the clarity and wow, the more and more he figured out of Dumbledick’s plan the more he just wanted to put a bullet between the old bastard’s eyes.
Tony’s voice was cold and flat and interrupted him trying to put a positive spin on things. “Oh, it was perfect. You see, Harry would hate the muggle world at 11, and be ignorant of his wizarding legacy and the kind old headmaster who steps in as a mentor, well, he would be able to craft the perfect weapon. You stupid bastard - you picked the wrong muggles and then you got scared.”
“I took him to Remus who was the last link to the Potter’s.”
Tony sneered. “Yeah, and if you’d done your research and realised he’d married the missing Paddington Lord I wonder would you have been so quick to place him in my consort’s hands.”
The challenge wasn’t met - Dumbledore stood silent and looked away. It was clear who had won that round and it wasn’t Grindlewald’s vanquisher. Tony smirked, looking smug as he should. “Like I thought then.”
Hermione, the genius child, asked her father loudly a question that carried around the hall as the privacy charm was down. “Do you think he suffers from that muggle disease? You know the one where the mind wastes away as you age?”
Sirius patted his daughter’s shoulder. “I have no idea, daughter, but it is as good a reason as any I suppose.”
Draco had perfected his masks on his father’s knee but damn he wanted to smile. He looked at Harry and he could tell that his best friend also wanted to do the same. “Maybe that is why his father hated muggles?”
The whole of the chamber seemed to fidget as they were being reminded about several uncomfortable truths that had seemingly been wiped out of their minds.
Dumbledore stood up. “I have done nothing but serve the light.”
Tony added in a sweet voice. “And the years you were courting Grindelwald was what? Gaining information on how the darkness worked?”
Remus had to smirk at the tone it was delivered as it was said so cordially and yet cut to the core. He could see Narcissa enjoying the delivery too. He couldn’t wait until this evening as Remus had decided that the first of Rita Skeeter’s explosive articles should be released today.
“I was the one to end his threat.”
Tony snorted. “That isn’t as magnanimous as you would like us to think. After all, how long did you let him run amok spreading his views?”
Dumbledore was getting more and more frustrated and wasn’t able to hide it from his face. “You’re twisting my words.”
Tony sneered. “No, old man, I am aiming to see you held to account. You twisted fate and caused so much damage to so many people and all so you could stay relevant in society. It smacks of greed and hubris on a monumental level.”
Amelia had to comment. “I think you would have made an effective lawyer, my Lord.”
Tony grinned. “I take counsel from those more learned than myself. I prefer to investigate mysteries.”
She smirked. “I can’t speak for all the Lords but I think I have heard enough of his lies. Does anyone need to hear anything else?”
Remus helpfully added. “I do believe Ms Skeeter’s first sensational part of the biography is being released in an hour for any additional things that need to be said.”
Tony loved the way it was added nonchalantly into the closing arguments. He could see the ripple of excitement race around the room and it was more than obvious that the others wanted to grab a copy. The only boxes who didn’t seem too keen were the Blacks and the Malfoys as they’d already read the full book.
Narcissa had, in fact, chosen to act as editor for the book and Rita Skeeter had enjoyed a masterclass in refined venom - her words.
Minister Bones had the vote in her hands. The guilty verdict had passed 28 to 0 so no one had been convinced by the weak arguments. Or, as she suspected - no one wanted to get in the way of the freight train of Lord Paddington.
She had a wicked thought and knew just who should pass judgement. He would have the most right to pass judgement on the old bastard.
“Lord Black, please do tell the chamber what you feel would be a justified punishment.”
Sirius had been prepared for it - apparently Tony and Lucius had been lobbying for him to have the final choice. It wasn’t like anyone could argue with him having the right.
Hermione whispered in his ear and, oh, he liked that idea a lot. “I would like for Albus Dumbledore to continue to reside in my previous cell BUT, I want him to work on day release as a prisoner in Gringotts. It would appear that the Goblin Nation have a few scores to settle and I figure he can clean a few tracks etc to clear that debt.”
The whole chamber winced at the thought of having to be an indentured prisoner under the care of Goblins. Harry and Tali high-fived, suggesting they’d either been the true source of the idea, or, had paved the way for facilitating the arrangement.
Amelia, though, absolutely adored the idea, and if it helped improved wizarding-goblin relations considering the Fudge years then it was even better.
The pictures that the papers would lead with the next day were the three boxes of Malfoy, Paddington and Black standing tall as they watched with inscrutable faces as a raving Dumbledore was taken away.
The day was not done and Tony still had a dark wanker to find and end before he even looked at his son funny.
And yet, he could breathe easier today knowing that Dumbledore was taken off the table. This wolf was just getting started, the year wasn’t done and he was going on a hunting holiday in the summer if he could get the Blacks and Malfoys to watch the children.
So thus ends Story 1 of what I (hope) will be three stories.
After all Tony/Remus have to go and kill Voldemort (and Dumbledore)
and, I want to tell the story hinted at from the kids POV.
Huge thanks for all those who have read, reviewed or left kudos. Massive thanks have to go to Edronhia who makes the TLBB Stories readable.