Chapter 1: Prologue
Romulus Lestrange heaved a sigh of annoyance. “Doxies. How inconvenient.”
“Sanni is being very sorry, Master,” the little elf apologized for what must have been the fifteenth time.
“Yes, just ensure the infestation is sufficiently cleared out before my next visit,” Romulus commanded.
The house elf took her duties very seriously, and was distraught that she had missed the signs of the Doxy infestation. Romulus didn’t need to punish her further. He found wizards who over punished their house elves distasteful. There was no need for such harsh treatment of beings who simply wished to serve.
“Yes, Master, Sanni will see the cabin is being completely cleared of those bad Doxies,” Sanni shifted anxiously.
“Very good,” Romulus nodded curtly.
Without another option Romulus turned to the Floo. He certainly wasn’t going to stay in a home infested with those foul little beasts. The cabin was small, by wealthy pureblood standards. Nevertheless, Romulus vastly preferred staying in the cabin when he was in Britain. He hadn’t stepped foot in Lestrange Manor in almost ten years. The manor held too many painful memories for him now.
The painful memories were one of the many reasons he no longer lived in Britain. Romulus only returned to his homeland a few times a year so that he could visit his sons in Azkaban. It hurt to see them there, however, he would endure it so that his sons would be given a brief respite from the terrible effects Azkaban wrought upon them.
Romulus was only permitted to see his sons a few times a year, and he made sure he never missed an approved visitation. He was allowed to see them on their birthdays and Yule, and that was all that was permissible. The minimal contact was due to the severity of their crimes. His two boys were high-level prisoners, though, Romulus knew they did not deserve such a severe punishment.
Did they participate in the crime? Yes, however, they attempted to stop it before it went too far. They should not have received the same sentence as Bellatrix and Crouch Jr.
Romulus stepped smoothly out of the Floo into the grand parlor of Lestrange Manor. He had already sent several house elves ahead of him to clean the main areas of the massive castle, and to check for Doxies. The manor was tightly sealed behind wards that were far more powerful than the cabin was. Romulus had high hopes that there wouldn’t be any unseemly infestations.
He strode across the black marble floor shot through with silver. His surroundings were achingly familiar even though he had not stepped foot in his ancestral home for almost decade.
Thankfully there were no Doxies in the manor. Even if they somehow managed to get in, the magic that dwelled within Lestrange Manor was probably far too Dark for the disgusting little creatures.
Romulus spent a quiet evening in the old castle. As much as he tried to avoid it he spent his time reliving his memories. Being in his home, where he had raised his sons, had posed too much temptation. Romulus looked through albums of when his sons were children. He was suddenly grateful his wife had insisted on recording every detail of their sons’ childhood. Romulus even pulled out the Lestrange family book.
The Blacks kept a tapestry. The Lestranges recorded their lineage in books.
Romulus flicked through the pages to his own family tree. Witches in his family used to show up as flowers. Romulus had changed that particular spell. He thought it was just as important to know the names of witches in their family as it was the wizards. It had been even longer since he looked at his family book than it had since he’d been in the manor.
A smile curled across his lips as his family tree began to take form, growing upwards right off the pages. No one was around to see his composure break.
Romulus watched the name of his grandparents, and then father and mother take shape at the bottom. His own name, his wife’s, and then sons’ were soon follow. Bellatrix’s joined the tree attached to his oldest son’s branch. Romulus assumed that would be the end of it. He wasn’t expecting another branch to grow.
He was quite certain he would have fallen over if he hadn’t already been sitting down. Even sitting Romulus still felt like he might topple over at any moment he was so incredibly astounded.
There was a new name attached to oldest son’s branch, and from between the two names a new branch had grown, a new Lestrange. Well, not new. Romulus’s grandson was eleven, almost twelve, years old.
“Sanni!” Romulus called.
“Yes, Master?” Sanni appeared with a small pop. The small elf clutched a wriggling Doxy in one hand.
“Don’t worry about the infestation at the cabin for a moment. I want the entire focus to be on cleaning up the rest of the manor. A full restoration. Have all of my personal items moved from the home in Austria back into the manor. It appears I will be staying longer here than originally anticipated.”
“Of course, Master Lestrange,” the little elf gave a deferential nod, and disappeared once more.
He could count on Sanni. She was the most efficient and no nonsense house elf he’d ever had.
That taken care of he went to change into some more formal robes. Romulus was going to the Ministry. He was going to get his grandson, and no one would stop him.
Chapter 2: Chapter 1
Harry sighed as he carefully dried another dish from the pile of yet another large breakfast Harry had cooked for his relatives.
“Stop complaining, boy,” Aunt Petunia snapped.
Aunt Petunia was closely monitoring him to make sure he completed the task correctly. His aunt was convinced that Harry had somehow forgotten how to properly wash dishes after his months away at Hogwarts. It could have also been because she had nothing better to do than to stare at him.
He wished he had forgotten. But he couldn’t exactly forget a task he’d been forced to do since he was barely tall enough to reach the counter.
“Sorry, Aunt Petunia,” he muttered. Arguing with his aunt that a sigh didn’t exactly count as complaining was useless. Arguing with his aunt about anything was always useless. Harry could never win when it came to any of the Dursleys.
Harry wished he didn’t have to return to Privet Drive and to the Dursleys. He’d asked Dumbledore if he could stay at Hogwarts but the headmaster had gently denied him. Nine months away at a magical school where he had friends and people who actually treated him like he was a person had been wonderful. Harry could have done without being famous but it didn’t ruin his experience at Hogwarts too much.
Harry had learned so much. Hogwarts was the best thing that had ever happened to him. He finally had a reason for all the strange things that he could do.
For years he had searched through the library of his primary school for an explanation as to why he could change the color and texture of his hair and the color of his eyes. The only answers that could be found were inside comic books or fantasy novels. Harry could even change his facial features. His aunt and uncle refused to answer a single one of his questions growing up. The only time they would even acknowledge his abilities was when they were screaming at him or punishing him for using it.
Harry hadn’t been allowed out of the house until he learned to control it.
When he’d been little he used to mimic Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and Dudley’s features. He had been trying to get them to like him but it only made Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon angrier with him. At the very least it had gotten Aunt Petunia to finally show him a picture of his parents. She insisted that he keep his looks modeled after his parents and not the Dursleys, thank you very much. He would never be a part of their family even if he looked like them.
From then on Harry focused on keeping his eyes a bright green like his mum’s, and his hair black and messy like his dad’s. He chose to use his dad’s nose, and his mum’s chin. The rest of his features he tried to keep as similar as he could to his natural ones. It made things easier that way. It was less draining on him. When Harry wore his natural features there was always a sense of rightness to them. He felt more relaxed. There was no need for the constant energy he had to put in when keeping up his appearance.
Harry had known what he could do was strange and entirely unexplainable. But he loved it, and he certainly wouldn’t have traded it if he could. Harry had enjoyed letting loose in the safety of his cupboard. He would flash his hair and eyes through a variety of different colors. He would change the shape of his face to outlandish proportions. The shifting was second nature, and came as easily as breathing. It was not shifting that was difficult. What had taken him a long to learn was control.
Getting his Hogwarts letter and discovering he was a wizard finally provided him the answers he had so longed for. Not only was he a wizard and could perform magic his ability to transform himself at will even had a special name. He was a metamorphmagus. It was a rare ability, and something that a witch or wizard had to be born with.
Harry quite liked being a metamorphmagus. He loved being able to change his appearance at will even though he didn’t reveal his ability at Hogwarts. Years of being forced to hide and only shifting while by himself had kept him from immediately revealing his ability until he was certain his ability would be accepted. Even after he became comfortable and discovered he wouldn’t be ostracized he decided it would be best to just continue hiding it.
Being a metamorphmagus was a rare and fairly revered ability among wizards. Harry was already famous enough. He didn’t want to draw more attention to himself by revealing his ability. Harry figured he would eventually share what he could do. He thought he would share it first with his friends, and see how they responded when they all returned to Hogwarts for their second year.
Harry put the last dish away, and turned expectantly towards Aunt Petunia for his next set of chores.
The blonde woman looked down her nose at him, and opened her mouth.
However, her next command was cut short by a knock on the door.
Aunt Petunia huffed. “Who could be knocking at this time of morning?”
His aunt would have complained about anyone knocking on her door at anytime time of morning or anytime really. She stalked out of the kitchen towards the front door.
Harry was just grateful that she was momentarily distracted. He grabbed a few leftover pieces of toast and bacon to gobble down. His mission was derailed when he heard his aunt shrieking at whoever she had found on her doorstep.
Harry couldn’t resist peeking into the hallway to see what was going on. Aunt Petunia was arguing with a man and woman who were clearly a witch and a wizard. The wizard was short and round, and was wearing bright orange robes. The witch was taller, and looked quite professional in her well tailored plum colored robes.
“Mrs. Dursley, we understand this visit is unexpected and unwanted, however, if you’d just allow us to do what we came here for we will be here and gone before you know it,” the witch proclaimed.
“We have legal documentation that requires us to carry out this action,” the wizard held up the scroll for her to see.
“I don’t care! I want you to leave. You’re dressed outlandishly, and right where the neighbors can see you!” Aunt Petunia shrieked.
“We can’t leave, Mrs. Dursley. Not until we have seen our task completed,” the witch repeated sternly.
“If you absolutely must stay, at least have the decency to come inside where the neighbors can’t see you, and go about your business quickly,” Aunt Petunia snapped, and ushered them into the hallway.
She shouted for Harry, and he quickly made his way into the hallway to the front foyer to join them. As soon as Harry arrived Aunt Petunia promptly left him alone with the strange wizards that had shown up to Privet Drive.
“Hello, Mr. Potter,” the wizard greeted, shuffling his feet and fluttering his robes about his round body.
“Hello,” Harry tentatively returned the greeting his eyes darting between his two unexpected guests.
“Mr. Potter, my name is Lucilla Runecorn. I am a solicitor representing the Noble and Most Ancient House of Lestrange,” the witch informed him firmly.
“And my name is Everard Bode. I work for the Ministry of Magic more specifically in the Department of Magical Inheritance,” the wizard introduced himself.
Harry frowned glancing between the two. “Ministry of Magic? I don’t understand. Did I inherit something from this noble and whatever else it was you said house?”
It was the only plausible explanation that Harry could come up with. Why else would a solicitor and a wizard come here to Privet Drive to see him? How had they even managed to find him? He thought Dumbledore said no one knew his location, which was why Harry had to stay at Privet Drive for his protection.
“In a way,” Bode glanced nervously at the witch, and nervously fiddled with his robes some more.
“We will be happy to explain as we complete the test we have been sent here to do,” the witch stern stated.
“Test?” Harry’s eyes widened.
“Yes, we are here to conduct a preliminary heredity test,” Runecorn eyed him closely, letting her eyes linger on his features.
“Heredity test?” Harry knew he was just echoing them at this point but he was too confused to do otherwise.
“There’s no easy way to say this, Mr. Potter, so I will try to say it as simply as possible. I am afraid your parentage has been called into question. A request has been filed in the Inheritance Department to look into your parentage. We have been authorized to complete a blood comparison test to see if these claims are true before further action is taken,” Runecorn explained.
That was certainly not the response that Harry had been expecting. They couldn’t be implying what he thought they were.
“You mean one of my parents might not actually be one of my parents?” Harry could barely get the words out.
“Lord Lestrange certainly seems to believe so,” Bode bobbed his head in a nod.
“Why do they care?” Harry looked to the witch who had told him she was the Lestrange family’s solicitor.
“Lord Romulus Lestrange has provided proof that his son is one of your parents,” Runecorn explained.
“Not concrete proof, simply enough for us to look further into the matter,” Bode butted in.
“A family tree from a Noble and Ancient House cannot easily be tampered with, Mr. Bode,” Runecorn stated sharply.
“Right, so how do we find out for sure?” Harry’s fingers nervously twitched in the fabric of his overly large shirt.
He was ready for this entire event to be over with. When he woke up this morning Harry certainly hadn’t expected to have to face such a revelation.
“At this time we only have permission to test for a connection to the Lestrange family. If the test proves correct, and you are related to the Lestranges then we have permission to bring you with us to the Ministry for a more thorough genealogy test,” Runecorn informed him.
“What do I have to do?” Harry’s shoulders slumped.
He didn’t want this but he didn’t think there was anything he could do to stop it. Harry supposed he could refuse. But where would that get him? If they were from the wizard Ministry they could probably force him to do it or they could just keep sending people until he did it. Right? Besides if there was some truth to this claim then he wanted to know.
“We have a simple Parentibus Potion with us, and a vial of blood from Lord Lestrange’s son. This particular hereditary potion can tell us if there is a close familial connection between two individuals. Namely between a parent and a child,” Bode told him.
Harry just nodded to show he understood.
Bode produced a small stone bowl, and set it on the table in the hallway. Aunt Petunia would have fit when found they were performing magic in her house. The thought made Harry smile. The wizard pulled out a vial with a purple potion, and poured it into the bowl. The witch handed Bode a small vial of blood she had tucked away in the leather briefcase she carried with her, and Bode stirred that in with a silver rod.
“Now we need a drop of blood from you, Mr. Potter,” Bode handed him a small silver needle.
Harry carefully pricked his finger, and let a single drop of blood fall into the bowl. Bode stirred the potion once more, and then stepped back.
“If the potion turns white then Lord Lestrange’s son is your parent. If it turns black then he isn’t. Simple as that,” Runecorn explained as an afterthought as she watched the potion.
Harry watched the potion warily. He honestly didn’t know what the results were going to be. Harry had wondered about this before if he was being honest with himself. When his aunt first showed him pictures of his parents he had noticed how different he looked from them. Only with his metamorphmagus abilities did Harry look anything like James and Lily Potter.
Harry had only really started to realize what him not looking like James and Lily might mean when Hagrid had given him the photo album with a plethora of pictures of his parents. Looking at those pictures with older, wiser eyes, Harry realized just how odd it was that he had to make himself look like his parents.
He knew children didn’t have to look exactly like their parents but Harry didn’t share even one common feature with them. That’s when he’d gotten the first inkling of doubts about his parents. This visit was not as entirely unexpected as it should have been.
It was with a detached air that he watched the potion turn from its vibrant purple to a smooth, pure white.
“Well… this is most unexpected,” Bode stuttered.
“No, it is just as Lord Lestrange has repeatedly stated. We could have had this sorted out months ago if Dumbledore and the Ministry hadn’t been stalling to complete the test. Once the request for the Parentibus Potion was finally approved Dumbledore refused to provide Mr. Potter’s home address or produce him to the Ministry or even provide a blood sample so the test could be completed,” Runecorn snapped.
Bode flushed and glanced nervously at Harry. “I don’t know what you are trying to accuse the Ministry of but I think this is hardly the time or place for such accusations.”
Harry’s mind was racing. This Lord Lestrange had been trying to get a heredity test for months? Dumbledore had known his parents might not be the Potters months ago? Why didn’t his headmaster tell him about it? Harry had only spoken to the wizard once before but still shouldn’t his headmaster have let him know this was happening? Shouldn’t someonehave told Harry what was going on? Wasn’t someone claiming that his parents were different people than he believed them to be something Harry should know about? At least then he wouldn’t be blindsided like he was now.
“Now that we have proof, Mr. Potter, you need to collect all of your belongings, and come with us to the Ministry,” Runecorn stated.
“Okay,” Harry easily agreed, a bit too stunned to even consider arguing.
“There’s no need to be hasty. Surely Mr. Potter doesn’t need to bring all of his possessions for this particular trip. We have no idea if Mr. Potter’s guardianship will be transferred,” Bode protested.
“We now have concrete proof that Mr. Potter is Lord Lestrange’s grandson. The same proof the Ministry has been insisting upon before even considering transferring custody to Lord Lestrange. If the Ministry won’t do it based on the results the Wizengamot will see him rightfully placed with Lord Lestrange,” Runecorn glared.
Bode adjusted his robes, and glanced at Harry looking highly uncomfortable by the entire situation.
“Go on now, Mr. Potter, we will explain the situation to your…aunt,” Runecorn ordered.
This time Bode didn’t protest.
Was Aunt Petunia not his real aunt? Lord Lestrange’s son was apparently his father. Did that mean his mum also wasn’t his mum? Did he have a different mother as well as a different father? Is that why the solicitor hesitated to refer to Aunt Petunia as his aunt?
He had too many questions and not enough answers.
Harry moved mechanically up the stairs to gather the few precious belongings he kept in his room. He had managed to sneak his invisibility cloak, photo album, wand, and a few books up into his room to protect them from his relatives. Hedwig was out delivering some letters to his friends, and hadn’t yet returned with their responses. In fact he hadn’t gotten any letters from his friends so far this summer. But it was still early on in the summer. They’d only been out of Hogwarts for a week and a half now.
Harry tossed his few precious items in an old knapsack, and then he changed into some of his nicer clothes. Once he was dressed in the only pair of semi-respectable slacks and shirt he owned he went downstairs only to be treated to the sounds of more arguing.
The orange robbed wizard looked even more flustered than before. Runecorn on the other hand looked incredibly smug as Aunt Petunia signed a parchment.
“What’s going on?” Harry demanded.
“I have explained the situation to Mrs. Dursley, and she has made the gracious decision to relinquish her guardianship of you so that you might be with your true family,” Runecorn explained.
“If you’ve got other family that’s your sort that you can stay with then you certainly don’t need to be here bringing all sorts of riffraff into our home,” Aunt Petunia sniffed, and that was that.
There was no amount of protesting that could change her mind, and Bode seemed to realize that. Harry’s life at Number 4 Privet Drive was over.
Aunt Petunia returned the quill and the parchment to the stern witch. Runecorn tucked the parchment securely away in her briefcase. Aunt Petunia unlocked the cupboard under the stairs to collect his school trunk. Bode shrunk his chest with a tap of his wand, and let Harry put it in his pocket. With that done the witch and wizard escorted him from Privet Drive for what felt like the last time.
Harry couldn’t find it within himself to care. Never having to return to life with the Dursleys at Number 4 Privet Drive certainly made this entire situation worth it.
Chapter 3: Chapter 2
Harry was positive that he greatly disliked apparation. The trip through a phone booth was much more to his liking, and he supposed the Ministry of Magic’s main lobby was rather grand with all the gold trimmings. But he didn’t have time to closely examine things as Bode and Runecorn quickly rushed him into a nearby lift. No doubt they were trying to avoid anyone recognizing him, and causing a commotion. Harry keenly remembered his first and only trip to Diagon Alley, and the swarm he’d endured in the Leaky Cauldron.
They rode in silence until they reached the necessary level, and then he was once more ushered out. Harry only caught quick glimpses of the Ministry and the workers around him as they made their way through the winding hallways. Paper airplanes flew above the heads of witches and wizards who were going about their every day routine. It would have been interesting to watch the every day work lives of witches and wizards if they had the time. Harry really didn’t know anything about the Ministry or jobs witches and wizards could have there.
Their journey came to an end in a small conference room. There was a small round table with a few chairs in the center, and an old sofa pressed against one wall. There were a few tattered old books and magazines on a small stand beside the sofa, and underneath the stand were a few worn looking toys.
“You can wait in here, Mr. Potter. While we sort things. We will need to conduct a more thorough genealogy test called the Familia Sanguini. It will provide us with a family tree of your lineage all the way to your great grandparents. However, I need to report our current findings to my department head first,” Bode explained still looking more than a little frazzled.
“We also need to contact Lord Lestrange,” Runecorn butted in.
“Surely that can wait until we have the official results,” Bode dithered.
“Absolutely not, the results of the Parentibus Potion alone should be grounds for guardianship. The only reason the Ministry wants further testing is because of Mr. Potter’s status as the Boy-Who-Lived. Now, I will be Flooing Lord Lestrange,” Runecorn swept from the room.
Bode trailed reluctantly after her.
With nothing better to do, Harry sat himself on the beat up old couch. He poked through the magazines on the stand but he really didn’t have any interest in reading something called Witch Weekly. He really didn’t have any interest in doing anything at the moment not when his future was suddenly so uncertain.
Harry hated the Dursleys but at least he knew what to expect from them. Now, that he had Hogwarts Harry knew that he would only have to put up with them for short periods of time. He didn’t know what to expect from whoever his relatives really turned out to be. What could he expect from someone who was apparently a lord?
Harry didn’t know how long he waited with his thoughts spinning. But eventually he became aware of the sounds of more arguing. This arguing definitely sounded angrier, and it was getting closer to his current location.
He had climbed to his feet by the time the door swung open. On the other side was a small group of people. For the most part they were familiar faces, there were only two that he didn’t recognize.
Harry had immediately recognized the oldest wizard in the bunch of adults. Albus Dumbledore was wearing bright lilac robes with twinkling silver stars on them. His headmaster was currently frowning at one of the unfamiliar wizards.
The wizard was old. But not as old as Dumbledore, he was probably in his sixties. He had thick, dark brown hair that was shot through with strands of silver. His olive skin was lined with a smattering of wrinkles. A dark, neatly trimmed beard graced the lower half of his harsh featured face, and he had a pair of shockingly familiar catlike amber-gold eyes. The robes he wore were a deep burgundy, and looked quite expensive. He was tall and broad shouldered despite his age, and carried himself in a stiff and regal manner.
Harry knew immediately this severe looking man had to be Lord Lestrange.
Behind the two wizards stood Runecorn and Bode along with an unfamiliar witch with dark blonde hair.
“Harry, my boy, so good to see you,” Dumbledore greeted him, his face morphing into a smile when he looked at Harry. “How has your summer been?”
“Hello, professor. My summer’s been fine,” Harry murmured, his eyes darting briefly to the headmaster before returning to the other wizard.
Lord Lestrange’s eyes were raking over Harry’s features his austere face was unreadable.
“I know this entire situation must be quite confusing for you, dear boy. Have no fear we’ll have everything sorted in just a little bit,” Dumbledore reassured.
“Yes, we will,” Lord Lestrange’s deep voice stated as he confidently entered the conference room. “Hello, Harry, my name is Romulus Lestrange. I am your grandfather. It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance.”
“Nice to meet you too, sir,” Harry greeted politely, accepting the older wizard’s firm handshake.
“Now, Romulus, we don’t know that for certain,” Dumbledore chided.
“The Parentibus Potion is a reliable measure,” Lestrange argued.
“It can be if brewed and administered correctly,” Dumbledore nodded amiably.
“That potion was provided by the Ministry. Are you insinuating the Ministry brewed the potion incorrectly or their employees administered it incorrectly?” Lestrange lifted one eyebrow.
“Certainly not. You always had a way of twisting words, Romulus,” Dumbledore’s blue eyes twinkled merrily despite Lestrange’s sharp tone.
“I can assure you both that the Ministry was following the correct procedures and all of its potions are brewed to satisfaction,” the blonde witch stated firmly, stepping into the room. “Now, let us not waste any more time or make Mr. Potter wait any longer to learn the truth of his origins.”
“Well said,” Lestrange inclined his head to the witch.
The no nonsense witch quickly settled them all at the table, which had to be magically expanded because of the size of the group, and set about conducting the meeting. She set up a piece of parchment and a quill that wrote down whatever was said aloud.
“I am Idessa Ives. I am the Head of the Inheritance Department. We are here to determine the placement and guardianship of the minor Harry James Potter due to credible information of his parentage being called into question by the motion filed by Lord Romulus Corvus Lestrange on April 11th, 1992. Furthermore, the results of a Parentibus Potion between Harry James Potter and Rodolphus Romulus Lestrange were shown to have a positive connection. We will be conducting the Familia Sanguini to ascertain the truth. If it is found to be correct then we will be altering guardianship of Harry James Potter to Lord Romulus Corvus Lestrange.”
Dumbledore made to interrupt but the blonde witch, Ives, just kept on talking completely ignoring the revered headmaster.
“As per wizarding law handed down by the Wizengamot the custody of an orphaned minor will be granted to the closest living blood relative. If the relative refuses custody then it is the Inheritance Department’s duty to find the next available relative until a placement is found for the orphan in question. Now, here in front of several witnesses we will conduct the Familia Sanguini, which will provide a family history of the minor Harry James Potter to his great grandparents. Any questions?”
“Is this all really necessary? Harry is the natural child of James and Lily Potter,” Dumbledore insisted.
“The motion has been filed, and the actions have been approved and signed off by the Ministry. It is too late to submit any further injunctions or delays. We will be carrying out the motions today,” Ives responded swiftly.
“On what grounds?” Dumbledore demanded.
“We have been over this several times already during our previous hearings. It seems your memory is a bit faulty as of late, Albus. It is well established that family tapestries and family tree record books are powerful, and not easily fooled pieces of magic. The evidence is more than sufficient, and should have been completed months ago,” Lestrange declared, catlike eyes sharp.
“Evidence that I have not had a chance to examine,” Dumbledore cut in.
“Several offers were made, however, you were unavailable for all of them. If the Lestrange family record book hadn’t been personally validated by our department than the authorization for the Parentibus Potion would not have been approved. We would not be here, and you would have grounds for dismissal. However, it has been validated, the Parentibus Potion proved there was a connection, and thus we will continue with the Familia Sanguini,” Madame Ives countered.
“I understand, however, there are a few rare spells that can alter tapestries and record books,” Dumbledore explained knowingly.
“Are you suggesting I tampered with my own family’s book?” Lord Lestrange demanded in a voice like ice.
“Of course not, Romulus. Someone else might have,” Dumbledore placated.
“That would require them to break through the wards of my ancestral manor without alerting me. So forgive if it sounds like you’re accusing me of falsifying information,” Lord Lestrange snapped back, not the least bit placated.
Harry’s eyes darted back and forth between the old wizards. They obviously didn’t like one another.
“The evidence of the family record book was sufficient,” Madame Ives took control of the meeting once more. “We willbe conducting the Familia Sanguini today on Mr. Potter to determine the truth of his parentage.”
“Very well, I see that we must proceed. However, I must know how did you find the home of Harry’s relatives, Romulus? As I assume it was you since it was your solicitor who contacted Mr. Bode to accompany her to their muggle residence. That location was meant to be kept private to ensure Harry’s privacy and protection,” Dumbledore stared at Lestrange.
“Since you refused to provide the location or a blood sample, even after we were granted permission for a preliminary heritage test, I hired Ms. Runecorn to look into the matter for me,” Lestrange nodded to the stern faced witch.
“Once I determined the name of Lily Potter’s muggle sister it was a simple matter to look up her records, which included her name and address in a muggle directory. The muggles call them phonebooks,” Runecorn plainly elaborated.
Dumbledore appeared utterly flabbergasted by this answer. Harry figured Dumbledore didn’t think wizards would ever bother to use a muggle method to find Harry’s location.
“I see,” Dumbledore nodded slowly, folding his hands on the table.
“Do you have any questions before we complete the test, Mr. Potter?” Ives turned her attention towards Harry.
It was the first time since they had sat down that anyone had even so much as looked at him. This entire thing was about him but the adults seemed to keep forgetting he was actually in the room with them.
“What do I have to do to complete the test?” Harry asked dully.
“Three drops of blood onto this canvas will suffice. It has been treated with the Familia Sanguini potion, and there is nothing known that can trick it when it comes to matters of blood relations,” Ives produced a pale shimmering square sheet of canvas.
The blonde witch handed him a small needle, and Harry pricked his finger open for the second time that day. He squeezed his thumb against the small cut, and carefully let three drops of blood fall. Harry would have popped his finger back into his mouth like he had done before but a strong grip prevented him from doing so.
Lord Lestrange pulled Harry’s hand towards him with his own large hand, and with a quick tap of his wand he healed Harry’s cut finger.
“Thank you, sir,” Harry murmured.
Lord Lestrange simply nodded back, turning his complete attention to the canvas that Harry had dripped his blood onto. Harry turned to watch as well.
His blood quickly started to spread across the surface of the parchment. It formed names in swooping calligraphy, and connected them by straight blood red lines. Harry’s own name was set at the top, and the other names swiftly branched off. His heart was thudding in his chest as he watched his family tree take form.
Aunt Petunia had never even told him the names of her parents, and he had no idea about James Potter’s parents. Now, he had the names of his family members all the way to his great grandparents. It was just too bad that the names of his parents weren’t the ones they should have been. Harry didn’t recognize either of the names.
“Now are you all satisfied? Everything is just as I said it was. Here is irrefutable proof that this boy is my grandson. You cannot deny me custody of him any longer,” Lord Lestrange’s deep commanding voice cracked across the room like a whip.
“These results must be incorrect. This isn’t possible. Harry looks so much like James and Lily,” Dumbledore pointed out.
“It must be some sort of glamour the Potters placed on him,” Lord Lestrange argued.
Harry shifted guiltily in his seat.
“Harry?” Dumbledore had easily caught on to his discomfort.
“Er, well…you see. I sort of don’t really look like this,” Harry admitted.
“You don’t?” Lord Lestrange leaned towards Harry his eyes alight.
Harry shook his head.
“How do you know?” Dumbledore frowned.
“I’m sort of… a metamorphmagus. I don’t look like my parents so I changed myself so I would look more like them,” Harry confessed.
“A metamorphmagus,” Lord Lestrange murmured, looking incredibly intrigued.
Dumbledore sighed. “I think it would be best if you showed us, Harry.”
Taking a deep breath, Harry allowed his natural features to shift into place. His messy black hair that stuck up in all directions fell into thick black curls, and his eyes went from brilliant emerald green to the same catlike amber-gold as Lord Lestrange’s. His cheekbones rose to become more sculpted, his jaw became stronger, more defined, and his nose arched slightly. His skin took on the same olive tone as Lord Lestrange’s.
The adults stared at the alterations with eyes wide with shock. Harry ducked his head self-consciously. He couldn’t remember the last time he had worn his natural features in front of another person let alone a room full of them.
Lord Lestrange loosed a quick laugh, and flashed Harry a warm, pleased smile. “A metamorphmagus, a gift from your Black ancestors.”
“Yes, your claim has been proven beyond a doubt, Lord Lestrange,” Ives announced.
“Indeed, now, I expect that the proper forms will be signed and filed so I can take my grandson home with me immediately. I believe I’ve waited long enough,” Lord Lestrange intoned.
“Now, Romulus you can’t just pull Harry from the home he has grown up in. The Dursleys have—”
“Signed away their guardianship rights,” Runecorn smugly removed the scroll of parchment that his not-Aunt Petunia had signed earlier from her leather case.
Dumbledore reached for the parchment but Ives intercepted the scroll. The blonde witch quickly scanned the document, and waved her wand over the parchment. Aunt Petunia’s signature glowed golden.
“The signature is valid. You witnessed the signing?” Ives glanced at Bode for confirmation.
“Yes, Madam Ives,” Bode nodded and the orange robed wizard looked like he wished he could be anywhere but where he currently was at the moment.
“Mrs. Dursley was not bribed or in any other way coerced?” Ives pressed.
“No, she signed the document with full knowledge and consent of the situation,” Bode shook his head.
“Very well, this certainly makes things easier. Petunia Dursley has fully renounced all legal rights to guardianship of Harry James Potter. With the results of the Familia Sanguini the Inheritance Department recognizes his paternal family’s right to guardianship. With both of his parents unable to assume responsibility of their son Lord Romulus Corvus Lestrange is awarded full custody of Harry James Potter,” Ives announced.
Dumbledore looked crushed. Harry didn’t understand why. Yes, it was sad that James and Lily weren’t his biological parents but he now had a family besides the Dursleys. It sounded like both of his parents were actually alive. But he did wonder why they were unable to take him in.
Unlike the Dursleys, Lord Lestrange actually wanted Harry. The wizard had gone through all of this trouble just to get custody of Harry. Besides, Harry couldn’t imagine that the wizard would be worse than the Dursleys had been. Harry was just grateful he wouldn’t ever have to go back to Number 4 Privet Drive.
“I expect my grandson’s records to be officially altered as soon as possible,” Lord Lestrange stated coolly.
“Yes, guardianship papers will be drawn up, a new birth certificate will be issued, and all official documentation will be altered accordingly,” Ives nodded.
“The name on the documentation will be Herakles Rodolphus Lestrange,” Lord Lestrange ordered.
“You’re going to change my name?” Harry blurted out.
“I know this is sudden, however, your change of name is necessary. You aren’t a Potter, Harry, you are a Lestrange. Herakles can be shortened to Harry,” Lord Lestrange declared.
Harry’s mind was whirling. He didn’t know if he exactly liked the idea of the change in name. But Lord Lestrange was right. He wasn’t a Potter so he understood changing his last name even though it hurt. Harry didn’t understand why he had to have proper wizarding first name but he was grateful that it was still something that could be shortened to Harry. But he truly didn’t understand why they had to change his middle name.
James Potter may not be his father but he had died trying to save Harry.
“Can I keep James as my middle name?” Harry requested.
“It is traditional among wizards for the eldest son to have their father’s first name as their middle name,” Lord Lestrange answered.
“Oh,” Harry was disappointed. But Lord Lestrange was right. It was obviously tradition since his current middle name was James.
Lord Lestrange gave him a curt nod before returning his attention to Ives. “I assume we are now free to leave?”
“Yes, Lord Lestrange, thank you for your patience in this matter,” Ives nodded.
“I had very little choice in the matter, Madame. Ms. Runecorn will remain to receive copies of all of my grandson’s new legal documentation,” Lord Lestrange stated.
“I’ll personally copy and hand them to her the moment the forms are completed. There will most likely also be an inquiry into the matter done by the Aurors as there is no record of James and Lily Potter adopting Harry. We will be sending Aurors to Azkaban to question your eldest son and Sirius Black,” Ives commented.
“Good, I would like to know what they uncover immediately. I have spoken to my son on this matter. He was completely unaware he had fathered a son with Sirius Black. Unfortunately, as I am not a relative or law enforcement, I was denied my request to speak to Sirius Black about the matter,” Lord Lestrange stated curtly.
Harry’s stomach twisted in knots. His father hadn’t known he existed. Why hadn’t his mother told him? How had he ended up with the Potters? Thoughts of being stolen or switched at birth ran through his head. And what were Aurors and Azkaban? It looked like both of his parent were there.
“I will speak to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and inform them of your request. I am positive you will be notified as soon as they learn anything,” Ives answered neutrally.
“I’m sure they will,” Lord Lestrange’s smile was tight, and his tone was sarcastic. “Now, I believe that is all. Thank you all for your time.”
Ives gave a curt nod and swept from the room. Bode quickly followed after her.
“Romulus, may we speak?” Dumbledore requested.
“No, I am afraid not, Albus,” Lord Lestrange got to his feet. Harry was once again reminded of what a tall man he was, and even age had yet to stoop his broad shoulders.
“I really must insist,” Dumbledore likewise stood up.
“And I really must refuse, Albus,” Lord Lestrange replied icily.
Harry eyed the two powerful wizards warily as they glared at one another. Harry had never seen Dumbledore angry. He was always so jovial during the meals at Hogwarts.
“Another day then,” Dumbledore conceded, a smile that didn’t reach his eyes stretching across his face.
“Of course,” Lord Lestrange agreed even though Harry believed he was anything but sincere. “Do you have everything, Harry?”
“Yes, sir,” Harry nodded and scrambled to his feet. “Bye, professor,” Harry gave a little wave to Dumbledore.
The old wizard watched him leave still without the characteristic twinkle in his eyes. “Goodbye, Harry.”
Harry turned and followed Lord Lestrange from the small conference room.
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
Lestrange Manor was less a manor and more of a small castle. It was made of dark stone and twisting towers. Of course it wasn’t as massive as Hogwarts was but what lacked in size it made up for in sheer magnificence and elaborateness. It also had Hogwarts beat in the fact that it was carved into the side of a mountain.
Inside the manor the floors were made of black marble with streaks of silver. Dark wooden paneling with carvings of various magical creatures lined the walls along with beautiful, moving wizard paintings. Moving murals and elegant chandeliers covered the ceilings. Large marble statues sat in the corners along with all sorts of other magical artifacts Harry couldn’t hope to recognize.
That was only scratching the surface of the incredible castle that was now supposed to be his home. There was too much for him to take in at the moment.
Harry glanced over at the older wizard. Lord Lestrange, his grandfather. He never thought he’d have a grandfather. His only point of reference was Vernon’s parents. They spoiled Dudley even worse than Vernon and Petunia.
Honestly, Harry didn’t know what to make of the stern wizard. Harry had never been around someone like him. The old wizard held himself so properly, and spoke with such confidence. Lord Lestrange was obviously wealthy as well considering he lived in a castle, and he was a lord.
“I would be pleased to give you a tour of the manor once you have settled into your room, and we have had some lunch. You must be hungry. It has been a very long morning,” Lord Lestrange commented as he led Harry up the grand winding staircase.
Harry nodded. He hadn’t been able to grab anything to eat after making the Dursleys breakfast this morning. He’d been whisked off to the Ministry before then. It had to be past noon by now, and his stomach was complaining about the lack of food.
Four flights of stairs later brought them to the residential floor.
“This floor is exclusively for our family. My room is the Lord’s suite at the end of the hallway,” Lord Lestrange pointed to the large dark woodened door at the end of the long corridor.
Wizarding portraits whispered and stared at Harry. Many of them bore familiar catlike amber eyes. Name plaques were set beneath each frame but there were far too many of them for Harry to keep track of.
“Your room will be right here. Next to your father’s room,” Lord Lestrange stopped in front of a dark woodened door on the left side of the hallway.
Lord Lestrange swung the door open, and swept Harry inside the massive room. It was larger than the room he shared with four other boys in Gryffindor Tower. A massive four-poster bed made of dark wood, and covered with dark blue curtains and a dark blue comforter dominated the room. Across from the bed was a grand fireplace. The dark wooden furniture was elaborately carved and freshly polished. It looked brand new compared to the well-used things he had at Hogwarts, and the broken things he had received from Dudley. A beautiful rug with a large crow laid across the marble floor, and a large window looked out across a massive forest.
“You have your own private bathroom right through that door,” Lord Lestrange pointed to the only other door in the room.
“It’s great, thank you,” Harry was stunned that this was all his. Never in his wildest dreams would he have thought he’d have a room this nice all to himself.
“There is no need to thank me, Harry. I am only providing you with what should have always been yours. This is the room you should have grown up in. You should have played in these hallways, your laughter echoing through these corridors just as your father’s and uncle’s did when they were children,” the older wizard’s eyes were distant, imagining a past that could never exist.
“That would have been nice. The manor is incredible,” Harry wished more than anything that the old wizard’s words were true.
What would his life have been like had he grown up here instead of with the Dursleys? He’d only known Lord Lestrange for a short time but he had already proven to care more about him than the Dursleys ever had in all the years he’d lived with them.
“This manor was built by our ancestor, Renatus Lestrange. It was meant as a tribute to our wealth and power. Powerful wards fortify it. No one may enter without the permission from a Lestrange. Our family has a long and rich magical history. I am greatly looking forward to sharing this history with you, Harry,” the older wizard smiled warmly down at him.
Harry smiled back. “I would like that.”
He’d never known anything about his family history beyond the fact that his parents were supposed to be lazy drunks. Petunia never spoke about her own parents. At Hogwarts he’d learned Lily and James were not in fact drunks but heroes. Now that he thought about it that’s really all anyone told him about them.
Part of him felt guilty for being so excited. James and Lily had given their lives for him even if they may or may not have illegally adopted him. But Harry didn’t remember them. He didn’t know anything personal about them. He felt terrible but Harry didn’t feel any connection to them. Harry hoped they wouldn’t be upset with him for wanting to learn about his birth family.
“The manor has nine levels. There is a ballroom, grand dining room, library, potions lab, dueling court—your father and uncle were quite fond of the dueling court—there are twelve different sitting rooms, thirty-two bedrooms, and so much more,” Lord Lestrange expounded.
“Whoa, that’s huge,” Harry’s eyes felt like they were going to fall out of his head. It was mind boggling to think that he was going to live in a place that had thirty-two bedrooms, well, a place that wasn’t Hogwarts.
“I am sure you will quickly come to know every inch of the castle,” Lord Lestrange winked at him.
“I hope so. I don’t want to get lost,” Harry was surprised at the playful teasing and smiles Lord Lestrange was sending his way.
He hadn’t expected it from the stern wizard he’d met in the Ministry. Harry also wasn’t used to an adult teasing him or smiling at him.
“If you ever did you could simply ask one of the portraits for directions, though, preferably I would not ask Great Uncle Reynard. He is a bit of a trickster,” Lord Lestrange confided with a conspiratorial grin.
The thought didn’t worry Harry. In fact it made him laugh.
“What about my dad? What is he like? You also said I have uncle?” Harry was curious.
Lord Lestrange pulled out Harry’s trunk and re-enlarged it. “I will tell you a bit about your father and uncle as we get you settled in. Would you prefer the house elves to put your belongings away or would you like to do it yourself?”
“What are house elves?” Harry frowned.
Lord Lestrange looked at him in surprise. “You don’t know what house elves are?”
“No, sir,” Harry shook his head.
“Please call me grandfather, Harry,” Lord Lestrange implored.
“Grandfather,” Harry tested it out. “I’ve never even heard anyone mention house elves before.”
“They are magical creatures who live to serve wizards. A bond is created between wizards and house elves to connect them. The bond was developed centuries ago. House elves receive protection from larger magical creatures who like eating them, and in return they care for wizarding homes. They mostly cook and clean for us. However, they have a few other skills as well,” Lord Lestrange explained.
“Do all wizards have house elves?” Harry wondered.
“The majority of wizards have at least one or two. Wealthier families like our own have many. Although Hogwarts probably has the most in one place.”
“Hogwarts has a lot of house elves? I didn’t see any when I was there.”
“House elves tend to remain unseen unless specifically called on.”
“They sound very useful. But I think I’ll unpack for myself,” Harry wanted to make sure he knew where all of his things were.
There was a large wardrobe and dresser to hold his clothing. Harry barely filled a single dresser drawer with the clothing he owned. The few school robes he had, which were a bit too short for him now, were the only things that he had to hang up in the wardrobe.
Lord Lestrange noticed his minimal amount of clothing. “I will have to owl my tailor so he can craft a complete wardrobe for you.”
“You don’t have to do that, s—grandfather. I’ll be fine with what I have until I go to buy my school robes,” Harry rushed to reassure.
“Harry, our family is very wealthy as you no doubt have realized from our surroundings. I have more than enough money to provide you with all the clothes you will ever need. From now you will not buy your own robes. I am your grandfather and I will pay for anything you might need. Furthermore, you will be living in the wizarding world full time from now on. You no longer need your muggle clothing. And I must say, I do not understand muggle clothing choices. What is the purpose of owning ripped clothing that is several sizes too big?” Lord Lestrange scowled at the drawer containing the over large hand-me-downs from Dudley.
“Thank you, grandfather,” Harry had never had an adult who wanted to provide for him. The Dursleys constantly told him what a burden he was for them financially. It was quite a novel experience.
Harry kept silent about the muggle clothing choices. The older wizard clearly didn’t know a lot about muggles if he believed muggles actually chose to wear things like Dudley’s stretched old castoffs. Harry wasn’t about to dissuade him from this assumption because it would just open up topics Harry didn’t feel comfortable talking about. The Dursleys were in his past now.
“It is my pleasure, Harry,” Lord Lestrange gently patted his shoulder. “I have greatly missed having family around.”
Lord Lestrange helped him tuck away his first year school textbooks on his very own bookshelf. Hermione would be jealous of the huge bookshelf he now had all to himself. Lord Lestrange even set up a broom rack on the wall to display Harry’s Nimbus 2000.
“Your father and uncle both played Quidditch,” Lord Lestrange informed him as the two of them stood back to admire Harry’s sleek broom where it was now proudly displayed on his new bedroom wall.
“Really? What position did they play?” Harry was eager to find a connection to his newly discovered father.
“Rodolphus, your father, was a keeper, and Rabastan, your uncle, was a seeker just like you.”
“You know I’m a seeker?” Harry asked in surprise.
“Yes, when I discovered you were my grandson I learned what I could about you. I even attended your last Quidditch game. You are an excellent seeker, and an even better flier,” Lord Lestrange praised.
“I didn’t notice you there,” Harry was very pleased by the compliment, and that Lord Lestrange had actually taken the time to come and see him play.
“I was not meant to be noticed. Dumbledore would have certainly sent me away had he known I was there,” the older wizard informed him.
“What? Why would he do that? You’re my grandfather,” Harry frowned.
Harry could understand the headmaster not wanting to send Harry home with Lord Lestrange until he had absolute concrete proof he was Harry’s grandfather. But why would he have sent him away for just watching Harry play Quidditch?
“Dumbledore is not overly fond of me, and the feeling is quite mutual I’m afraid.”
“It did look like the two of you didn’t like one another at the Ministry,” this was the first time Harry had ever heard of someone not revering Dumbledore.
“Indeed, sometimes it is difficult for me to hold my tongue in the face of Dumbledore’s nonsense. His distaste of me is why he fought quite so hard to keep me from gaining custody of you. I am simply pleased you are here now,” his grandfather smiled at him.
“Me too,” Harry smiled back. “Do you know if my mum played Quidditch as well?”
“Your mother?” Lord Lestrange frowned.
“Yes, her name is Sirius Black, right?”
Lord Lestrange burst into a fit of unexpected laughter.
“What? What is it?”
Still chuckling Lord Lestrange answered. “I apologize for laughing, Harry. You simply took me off guard. You believe Sirius is your mother?”
“Well, yes? You said your son is my dad so Sirius must be my mum, right?” Harry had seen the name Sirius Orion Black beside the name Rodolphus Romulus Lestrange on his family tree. Harry thought it was a rather odd name for a woman but all wizard names were odd to Harry.
“I suppose we never specifically stated Sirius was male during our conversations,” Lord Lestrange still appeared highly amused.
“Sirius is… a man. But then…who is my mum? Why did Sirius Black’s name show up listed as my parent on the blood test?” Harry was truly confused now.
“I suppose no one has explained to you some wizards are born with the ability to conceive and carry children.”
“No, I definitely would have remembered someone mentioning it,” Harry was once more shocked.
“I see we are going to have to schedule some lessons in wizarding culture and history for you this summer. Nonetheless, that is a matter to be dealt with later. What you need to understand now is that Sirius Black, although male, is your parent. Wizards who are able to carry children are commonly referred to as bearers. Typically children will call them papa.
“The ability only crops up in the older pureblood lines, and only quite rarely nowadays. Many wizards used to have the ability. It was developed due to the mixing of creature blood in wizarding bloodlines. Several centuries ago it became quite a common and accepted practice to intermarry with humanoid magical creatures. Wizards and witches believed it would bolster their children’s magic, give them magical gifts they wouldn’t otherwise have.”
“Did it?” Harry was curious.
“It did. However, those children grew up and had children with each other until our bloodlines were impossibly intermingled with all sorts of different creature blood. It caused all sorts of bizarre gifts. Eventually the practice fell out of style when the ideology of keeping wizard blood pure gained popularity. Still it left behind an imprint on wizards and witches in the form of odd little quirks.”
“Like metamorphmaguses,” Harry pointed out.
“Yes, exactly like metamorphmaguses. It is a trait typically seen in the Black family just like we Lestranges have our amber eyes. The eyes come from a distant ancestor who decided it was a good idea to woo a sphinx, and somehow successfully managed it,” Lord Lestrange smirked at him.
Harry sincerely hoped his grandfather was joking. He hadn’t learned about sphinxes at Hogwarts but he’d heard of them in primary school. “Don’t they have the body of lion, and just the face of woman?”
“They are capable of taking a fully human form when the fancy strikes them,” Lord Lestrange chuckled at his horrified expression.
“So technically I have two dads,” Harry tested out the words.
“Yes you do, and to answer your original question, Sirius did in fact play Quidditch. He was a beater I believe. He was only a couple of years younger than your Uncle Rabastan so they played matches against one another. Your father and bearer never played a match against one another. Your father is several years older than your bearer therefore they never attended Hogwarts at the same time.”
“What houses were they in?” Harry wondered.
One of the key reasons why he had wanted to be in Gryffindor so badly was that both of his parents had been Gryffindors. What if that wasn’t actually the case?
“Sirius was a Gryffindor.”
Harry felt a bit of relief at the knowledge.
“And Rodolphus was a Slytherin. The majority of our family was in Slytherin. In fact the majority of the Blacks were in Slytherin as well. Sirius was a bit of an outlier,” Lord Lestrange stated in amusement.
“Like me,” Harry murmured, not sure how he felt about all of his family members apparently being Slytherins. Did that mean they were all Dark wizards? His grandfather didn’t seem like he was a Dark wizard. He’d been very kind to Harry so far.
“Yes, like you,” his grandfather replied neutrally.
“Does it bother you that I’m in Gryffindor?” Harry’s eyes turned to fiddle with a few of his belongings.
“As long as that is the place that truly fits you best,” Lord Lestrange nodded.
“Right,” Harry winced when he realized he sounded less than convincing. But how could he when the memory of the Sorting Hat whispering to him that he would do well in Slytherin was playing through his mind?
“Harry,” his grandfather eyed him shrewdly.
“I don’t have anything else that I need to unpack,” Harry changed the subject.
The older wizard clearly knew Harry was being evasive but he didn’t push him. “Good, let us go have some lunch, and we can continue to talk about your parents.”
His grandfather made his way towards the bedroom door.
Harry eagerly followed him. He couldn’t wait to learn more about his parents.
The two of them made their way to the other wing of the residential floor. It contained the private family dining room, sitting room, and family library.
“Only someone with Lestrange blood or someone who is married to a Lestrange can step foot on this level of the manor without severe consequences,” Lord Lestrange informed him as they settled in what was apparently the small and private family dining room. It was still larger than the Dursley’s living room and kitchen put together.
The large stained glass window overlooking the countryside was quite lovely.
“What about the house elves?” Harry wondered.
“Yes, the house elves are permitted on this level, and pets as well,” Lord Lestrange sat in the high back chair at the end of the table.
“That’s good to know. I have a snowy owl. Her name is Hedwig but she’s away delivering a couple of letters to my friends right now. She’ll be able to find me here right?” Harry suddenly worried, sitting down in a chair beside his grandfather.
“The wards around the manor are impenetrable. However, we can still receive owls. Your owl will eventually find her way here,” Lord Lestrange assured him.
Harry’s shoulders slumped in relief. He bolted upright once more when a pop sounded through the room. A strange little creature appeared beside the table. It had large, floppy pointed ears, and bulbous eyes. It looked like it would barely come up to a man’s waist, and was wearing a doily for a dress.
“Lunch is being served, Master,” the little creature chirped. She snapped her fingers, and plates of sandwiches and tea appeared.
“Thank you, Sanni. Sanni may I introduce you to my grandson, Harry. Harry this is Sanni, she is the head elf of the Lestrange family. She can help you with anything you might need. If you would like a snack, need directions in the manor, or anything else, simply call her name and she will come to your aid.”
So that was what a house elf looked like.
“Nice to meet you, Sanni,” Harry smiled at the elf.
Sanni smiled and then bowed low to Harry. “It is being my honor to meet you, Master Harry. Sanni is being very happy to finally have another Lestrange to serve. Enjoy yours lunch, Masters.”
Lord Lestrange nodded to Sanni, and the house elf disappeared with another small pop.
“Go on, have a sandwich,” Lord Lestrange encouraged, reaching out to take a sandwich for himself.
Harry didn’t need to be told twice. He quickly chose one with roast beef, and began eating. The first bite proved it was as delicious as it looked, and his hunger reared its head. He finished half the sandwich before he remembered to breathe.
“You were hungry,” Lord Lestrange arched a single eyebrow at him.
Harry flushed in embarrassment. He wasn’t starved at the Dursleys but he only had access to leftovers and scraps. It had only been a little over a week but Harry desperately missed the food he’d gotten at Hogwarts. The sandwiches here were even better than the ones he’d had at Hogwarts.
“It is all right, eat as much as you want. I will tell you about your father’s first year at Hogwarts while you eat,” his grandfather smiled fondly.
Harry grabbed another sandwich, and eagerly leaned forward to listen to the story Lord Lestrange shared with him about his father.
Chapter 5: Chapter 4
Harry laughed. “I can’t believe he did that!”
He had been utterly enthralled by the tales his grandfather was telling him. The most recent story was about his father getting into a fight with an older student who had been taunting him.
“Your father was not one to back down from a fight even if it was someone older and more experienced than he. He was far too stubborn for that,” his grandfather chuckled. “Rodolphus surprised the older student with his spell casting. He got a few good curses in before the older student realized he was actually a threat, and won their skirmish. It made your father all the more eager to learn how to duel.”
“I would like to learn how to duel,” Harry leaned forward excitedly. He would like to know how to defend himself, and how to cast spells. His confrontation with Voldemort over the Philosopher’s Stone made him realize he wanted to try harder, and do better with his magic.
All of his life he’d had to dumb himself down because his relatives refused to allow him to have higher marks than Dudley. They couldn’t accept the thought that their freaky nephew might be smarter than their own son. Harry learned how to hide his intelligence. He spent his primary school years in the library while getting marks that just barely allowed him to continue on to the next grade.
Harry had just assumed Hogwarts would be the same. He thought the Dursleys would receive a report card of his marks just like they had from his primary school. His relatives may have hated magic but he thought they would hate it even more if he did well at his magical school. So he established the same routine he developed in primary school. Harry became an average student doing just enough in order to pass his classes no matter how much he wanted to learn more about magic.
It actually worked out well because his seeming lack of motivation towards schoolwork earned him a friend in Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger for very different reasons. The red haired boy despised studying, and despite her complaints Harry could clearly see that Hermione enjoyed teaching Harry and Ron things. He hadn’t wanted alienate his new friends.
It had been easy for him to become complacent in regards to his schoolwork. That backfired under the trapdoor in the third floor corridor. He realized just how unprepared he truly was. It was Hermione who knew all the spells, and Ron who knew wizard customs. Harry had felt rather useless in comparison.
As far as he knew the Dursleys never received any type of report card or progress report from Hogwarts. Not that it even mattered anymore since he was never going back there. It was wonderful to know he never had to see them again. Harry had a family now. He had a grandfather who cared for him, and was looking forward to actually teach him things about the wizarding world.
“Then it will be yet another area of study we will make time for this summer in addition to lessons on wizarding culture and our own family history,” Lord Lestrange agreed easily.
For a Slytherin, Lord Lestrange didn’t appear to be very sinister or snooty like Draco Malfoy. The older wizard was certainly very proper, and he had a strict air about him that wasn’t unlike Professor McGonagall. Harry’s grandfather may be stern but not harshly or unfairly so, not like Snape or the Dursleys.
“Wicked,” Harry was excited about learning more about his heritage and magic in general.
“Indeed, now if you are finished with your meal we can have a more thorough tour of the manor,” Lord Lestrange stood from his seat.
Harry followed along beside him as his grandfather led him through the manor. The older wizard continued to tell him stories about his father’s days at Hogwarts, the manor, and the Lestrange family. Harry absorbed every word enjoying the cadence of his grandfather’s deep voice. There was no fear in asking questions or asking for clarification on things he didn’t understand. His grandfather was always happy to explain things to him.
For even after having spent ten months in Hogwarts, Harry still didn’t know hardly anything about the wizarding world. Speaking with his grandfather had made him realize just how little he actually knew about the wizarding world.
“What is Azkaban? That’s where my parents are, right?” Harry finally felt comfortable enough around the older wizard to ask him. “Madame Ives made it sound like both of my parents are there, and it’s the reason they can’t take custody of me.”
Lord Lestrange’s features didn’t change but Harry could see the pain that flickered through the older wizard’s eyes. “Come, let’s take a seat.”
The two of them settled down on a couch in the Lestrange family sitting room. It was just as beautiful and richly furnished as the other rooms in the manor but it was also more comfortable and lived in. It wasn’t just for decoration like some of the other rooms.
“I will not lie to you, Harry, what I am about to tell you will be quite difficult to hear. I will do my best to explain and answer all your questions,” the strong and stern wizard’s expression became quite somber.
“Thank you,” Harry’s heart was pounding, suddenly regretting he had asked the question in the first place.
“Azkaban is a prison located in the North Sea. It is highly regarded as the most forbidding and fortified prison in the wizarding world. In fact perhaps only Nurmengard can hope to compare,” Lord Lestrange wore an expression of disgust across his harshly handsome features.
“Prison?” Harry felt his stomach drop, and disappointment surged through him.
“Yes,” Lord Lestrange nodded somberly.
“Both of them?” Harry was in shock. He had living parents but they were in prison.
“Yes, both of them. As I said this is difficult to hear, however, there is so much more to your parents than just being in prison.”
“Why are they in prison? Did they commit a crime together?” Harry gasped out.
“They are in for separate offences. Rodolphus and Rabastan were part of an attack against a couple of Aurors.”
“Aurors?” Harry needed clarification. He remembered the term being mentioned earlier at the Ministry in connection with the investigation into his adoption. But he hadn’t bothered asking at the time.
“I believe they are similar to what muggles call the police. Aurors enforce the Ministry’s laws and investigate instances of breaking the law.”
“Did they kill them?” Harry almost dreaded the answer.
“No, the Aurors did not die. They were damaged irrevocably. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, Harry. Your father and uncle did participate, however, they were not the instigators. They should not have been given life sentences,” his grandfather stated firmly.
“What about Sirius? What did he do?” Harry felt like he’d reached his limit for the day, and he just wanted to get this over with.
Lord Lestrange released a small sigh. “Sirius is supposedly the one who turned Lily and James Potter’s location over to the Dark Lord. Later he killed Peter Pettigrew while he was purportedly trying to escape Auror custody. Pettigrew was assumed to be confronting Sirius over his betrayal of the Potters. A few muggles were also caught in the spellfire and were killed.”
“Why do you say supposedly?” Harry latched on to the detail. He didn’t want to believe his own parent had told Voldemort where to find him, knowing that the Dark wizard was going to try and kill him.
“There are a number of inconsistencies. Sirius never had a trial, and he was thrown into Azkaban on unsubstantiated information. Your bearer was James Potter’s best friend for seven years. They were in the same year and house at Hogwarts. I’ve heard it said that they were as close as brothers. Sirius even lived with James’s family after Sirius ran away from home when he was sixteen. Now, knowing he is your bearer it furthers my belief that he’s not guilty. I didn’t know Sirius well, nevertheless, I can’t imagine he would have turned his own child over to die when it was well known that he opposed the Dark Lord,” Lord Lestrange shook his head.
Harry’s head swam. “I think I would like to go to my room for a bit.”
“Of course, Harry, you’ve had a long day. Call for Sanni if you need anything. I will see you at dinner,” his grandfather gave him a comforting pat on the shoulder.
Harry was able to find his way back to his room. He only had to ask one of the portraits for help. Luckily it hadn’t been Great Uncle Reynard. He flopped down on the massive bed that was now his. But the bed and the beautiful room came at the price of being the son of two criminals.
It did make Harry wonder about himself. The Sorting Hat had wanted to put him in Slytherin. But then Sirius had been a Gryffindor so apparently it didn’t really matter what Hogwarts you were in. A person could still be a traitorous murderer and still be a Gryffindor.
Would he turn out just like his parents? His grandfather didn’t seem like a bad person. But Harry couldn’t dwell on those thoughts at the moment. Soon exhaustion swamped him from the events of the day, and he was dragged into a deep sleep.
Romulus heaved a sigh as he watched his grandson leave the sitting room. The boy was a bit pale and his hair had turned a sickly green without his grandson even noticing.
The day had to be quite overwhelming for the eleven-year-old muggle-raised boy. Romulus hadn’t wanted to push him too far too soon. He didn’t want to start their relationship off on rocky footing, not when he had to work so hard to simply get custody of Harry. There would be plenty of time to instruct him in the art of pureblood manners, and to slowly begin to correct the idiotic notions Dumbledore had no doubt filled his head with.
His grandson had so much potential. The boy was inquisitive, powerful, and had proven to have a sharp eye for details. It gave Romulus hope for the future of their house. In the years since his sons’ incarceration he had resigned himself to the eventual dissolution of the Lestrange name after his death. His sons didn’t have heirs of their own, and they never would have a chance to father heirs now that they were locked in Azkaban for the rest of their lives.
Harry had been a wonderful surprise.
It would have been equally wonderful to know about the boy sooner. Nevertheless, Romulus had all the time in the world now that he had been given custody of his grandson. There was no one who could challenge him in this. All the Blacks were dead. It was a shame really, and yet it also made everything easier. Arcturus Black had been a fierce opponent, and would have no doubt tried to pry Harry from his grasp. It also meant that Harry was directly in line to inherit the Black lordship. Lucius Malfoy would be infuriated about that. Harry was much farther up the line of succession than Lucius Malfoy’s son for the Black lordship with Harry legitimized.
Not even Dumbledore with all of his power could reverse the order, and if he tried well Romulus had been very comfortable these last years in the Lestrange Austrian estate. He was sure Harry would like it there as well, and Durmstrang was a better schooling option with Dumbledore ruling over Hogwarts.
Many of the incarcerated Death Eater’s children attended Durmstrang as their partners and children had been chased away from their homes. Both of Augustus Rookwood’s, Rodolphus’s closest friend, children attended Durmstrang. Rookwood even had a son close to Harry’s age. Romulus had met the boy several times at various functions, and found him to be quite mature and intelligent for his age. For a moment he allowed him to entertain the idea that the two boys might even become close friends just as their fathers were.
Romulus was getting ahead of himself. He would see how Harry progressed through the summer, and then decide where he would send him to complete his education. Pulling him away from Hogwarts, a place Harry clearly loved, would not endear him to Romulus.
Now, he needed to send a letter to the Ministry requesting a special visit with Rodolphus. Meeting ones son for the first time certainly met the necessary requirements needed for a visit outside the allowed visitation schedule. However, it wouldn’t be the first time he was denied access to one of his sons despite regulations being in his favor. Romulus had at least been able to tell Rodolphus about Harry’s existence during the allowed visit on Rodolphus’s birthday. His oldest son was rightfully stunned, and yet Rodolphus was very eager to meet his son. Rodolphus had always wanted to be a father.
Romulus would do whatever was necessary to ensure his son got the chance to meet his only child, preferably before the next allowed visit on the Yule holiday.
He also sent a letter to request a visit with Sirius Black for himself and Harry. His grandson deserved to meet his bearer at least once, and Romulus hoped to get some answers out of Sirius. It was unacceptable that Sirius hadn’t informed Rodolphus of his pregnancy.
The letters he sent to the Ministry were firm yet polite. If his requests were denied then his second request wouldn’t be quite so polite. Romulus had something to fight for now. In the past decade he hadn’t bothered to make the effort. The years after his sons were sentenced to life in Azkaban he had desperately fought to get his sons another trial, a separate trial from Bellatrix and Crouch Jr. in order to lessen their sentences. He had been denied at every attempt. There were no legal channels he could take. There weren’t even any illegal ones either.
After the Dark Lord had fallen all of his followers were either put into Azkaban, or killed. A lucky few managed to flee the country and even fewer managed to completely escape any form of imprisonment. All Dark wizards left behind in Britain were far too out numbered to stop the changes Dumbledore and his ilk kept pushing through the Wizengamot. Romulus didn’t even bother attending the sessions anymore, and so his seat had sat empty for years.
Romulus had very few allies in the English wizarding world to aid him. He kept in touch with those who had left Britain behind just like himself. They got together with some regularity to reminisce, and bemoan the state of their homeland. Romulus watched the grandchildren and children of his friends grow up while his own sons wasted away in Azkaban.
Now, he sent them letters informing them of the fact that Harry Potter was his grandson. It would be quite difficult for the Dark Lord’s loyal followers to accept, however, Romulus could be persuasive when he wished to be, and he still held quite a high position among them. Romulus had been one of the Dark Lord’s original followers, he came from a powerful pureblood family, and was a powerful and formidable wizard on his own merits.
They would come to see just as he had that Harry was not at fault for the Dark Lord’s downfall. He was just an infant at the time after all, and couldn’t have willfully done anything to harm their Lord. Romulus was leaning more towards the idea that it had been the Potters who had done something. This was also an opportunity. Harry’s fame could be used in their favor or at the very least he would no longer be the shining symbol of the Light anymore.
It would also help ease his fellow’s chagrin to know that they would be receiving the information before it was splashed across the newspapers tomorrow morning. The records were supposed to be confidential. Romulus knew it wouldn’t stop the information from getting out. The story was far too sensational for that. Harry Potter not being a Potter but the child of two Death Eaters wizarding Britain would lose their minds. The tide of public opinion would turn when it was discovered Harry Potter was actually the son of two notorious dark families, and both of his parents were in Azkaban for heinous crimes.
By the time he completed and sent off all his letters it was time for dinner. He walked to Harry’s bedroom door and knocked. When he received no response he carefully opened the door to find his grandson curled up in the middle of his bed fast asleep.
Romulus carefully approached the sleeping form of his grandson. The image conjured memories of Rodolphus and Rabastan when they were young, and he would check in on them at night to make sure they were sleeping comfortably.
Without his metamorphmagus abilities to alter himself Harry did look remarkably like Rodolphus. Well, Harry was a bit handsomer. Not that his son wasn’t handsome it was just that the Blacks had been well known for being as comely as they were mad. Sirius Black in particular had been a very attractive young wizard, powerful and talented too. It was too bad he had been drawn in to the Light side. Romulus still didn’t believe the young wizard had become Death Eater, let alone was the Dark Lord’s right hand man.
Romulus had been very close to the Dark Lord, and was privy to information others weren’t. He was aware of a very important detail that the public wasn’t. Peter Pettigrew was a Death Eater. If only Sirius hadn’t killed Pettigrew then perhaps he wouldn’t have been locked away in Azkaban for what was most likely Pettigrew’s crimes. Pettigrew would have been taken in and his deception discovered.
There might still be a chance to get the younger wizard out. Romulus was planning on using his visit with the young wizard to get some answers. Depending on the information he received from Sirius, Romulus may or may not try to help the younger wizard clear his name of his crimes. However, there was no guarantee even if Sirius name was cleared of being a Death Eater. He had still killed Pettigrew, and quite a few muggles.
Clearing Sirius’s name would benefit Harry, and that was Romulus’s goal. He would do whatever he could to ensure his grandson had a bright future.
Romulus stroked a hand through his grandson’s Black curls before moving to gently shake his shoulder. “Harry, it’s time to wake up.”
Chapter 6: Chapter 5
Harry was woken up to a deep voice calling his name.
He blinked his eyes open to find an older wizard looking down at him. It only took one look at the wizard’s face for Harry to recognize him and for the day’s events to all come crashing back down on him.
“What time is it?” Harry sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
“Time for supper. I woke you up because I did not want you to miss it. You can freshen up if you’d like, and then meet me in the dining room,” Lord Lestrange left him alone after that.
Reluctantly, Harry got up from the bed. It had been very nice to shut his brain off for a little bit. It had been a very long day. He’d found out he was illegally adopted, and his birth parents were in prison with life sentences. One for attacking and permanently injuring a magical police officer, and the other for aiding in the murder of his adopted parents and just plain murder.
How would everyone react when they found out about who his real parents were? What would Ron and Hermione think?
Harry quickly washed his face and found his way back to the dining room. His grandfather was waiting for him, sipping a dark liquid from a crystalline glass, and reading a book. The book was tucked away as soon as Harry entered.
“Did you sleep well?” Lord Lestrange inquired as Harry sat down beside him.
“Yes, thank you. It was just a lot to take in.”
Some signal must have occurred because a beautiful roast with steaming vegetables appeared on the table. It smelled amazing, and both wizards quickly dug in.
“I imagine it will take quite some time to process it all. You may come to me with any questions or concerns you might have,” his grandfather told him sincerely.
“I will,” Harry was grateful for the older wizard. He supposed having convicts for parents wasn’t so bad as long as he had a grandfather like Lord Lestrange. “Actually, I wanted to ask. Is everyone going to learn about who my real parents are?”
“I’m afraid so Harry. The records should be sealed, however, your particular status and your parents’ notoriety will most likely ensure it will be top news in the paper tomorrow or the next day at the latest. Would you really want to spend the rest of your life living a lie? Being someone you’re not?”
“No, of course not. I just…”
“You are afraid of what your friends will think of you?”
Harry nodded relieved his grandfather understood.
“If they turn their backs on you, then they weren’t true friends to begin with,” his grandfather stated firmly.
“I know you’re right, it’s just…I didn’t have any friends before I went to Hogwarts,” Harry admitted, looking down at his plate.
“You didn’t?” his grandfather looked surprised by this.
“My cousin, well I guess he’s not really my cousin, he used to beat up the other kids who wanted to be my friend until they didn’t want to be my friend anymore. And sometimes Au—Petunia would tell the other mums nasty stories about me so they wouldn’t let their children play with me,” Harry ducked his head self-consciously.
His grandfather looked absolutely astonished at this, and it took him a moment to gather himself. “How dare they do such a thing!? Did none of the other muggles see this and stop it?”
Harry shook his head. “No the Dursleys were very upstanding citizens, and they hated me because of my magic. They didn’t let me leave the house until I learned how to control my metamorphmagus abilities.”
“Were there no wizards or witches who came to check on you?” Lord Lestrange demanded.
Harry had asked Dumbledore a similar question at the end of this year when he’d been asking to stay at Hogwarts for the summer. “No, Petunia didn’t want any wizards around. Dumbledore said he wanted to respect her privacy, and he also wanted me to grow up away from the fame of the wizarding world.”
“Unbelievable,” his grandfather spat.
It was more than a little pleasing to see how angry his grandfather was getting on his behalf.
“Did they ever hurt you?” Lord Lestrange growled.
“Not really,” Harry shifted uncomfortably.
“Not really?” his grandfather probed, his tone gentle.
“They just didn’t like magic so they didn’t like me,” Harry answered vaguely, unwilling to share anymore about his life with the Dursleys.
His grandfather’s catlike eyes narrowed on him. “We will speak more on this matter another time.”
Harry didn’t respond. He turned his attention back to his dinner. His grandfather told him another story from his father’s Hogwarts days. This time it was a Quidditch story. Harry found himself enjoying it despite himself.
After dinner Harry returned to his bedroom. He showered in his large and private bathtub. He brushed his teeth, and changed into a pair of pajamas. Harry had just settled into bed when a knock sounded on his bedroom door.
“Come in,” Harry called.
The door opened and his grandfather stepped inside. “I wanted to see if you might like me to read you a story before bed. You may say no if you think you’re too old for such a thing. However, I thought you might like to hear some wizard fairytales. Your father and uncle always enjoyed them until they grew too old for such things.”
“Yes!” Harry answered eagerly.
No one had ever read him a bedtime story before. Dudley always complained about it when Petunia had done it for him. But Harry thought it sounded nice.
Lord Lestrange smiled warmly at him. “Wonderful, I think we’ll start with The Tales of Beedle the Bard. They are some of the most popular children’s tales, and all wizard children have them read to them in their childhood. The first tale we’ll start off with will be The Fountain of Fair Fortune. It was one of your father’s favorites as a child.”
Harry listened to his grandfather’s deep voice as he read the story about three witches and a knight as they journeyed to the Fountain of Fair Fortune. Despite immensely enjoying the story he was barely able to keep his eyes open by the time the story came to an end.
“Goodnight, Harry,” Lord Lestrange stroked a gentle hand through his hair.
“Goodnight, grandfather,” Harry murmured.
The older wizard tucked him in, and slipped out of the room.
Harry was asleep by the time his head hit his pillow.
Rodolphus Lestrange sat curled in the corner of his prison cell on his moldy straw mattress. The one thin raggedy blanket he had was wrapped tightly around his gaunt frame. It was a useless gesture. The blanket that didn’t really even deserve to be called a blanket couldn’t hope to combat the chill emanating from the very stones of Azkaban, and from the silent wraiths that guarded the prison.
At the moment Rodolphus had a reprieve from the Dementors. The black shrouded wraiths had descended to the lower levels to torment the other prisoners for a change. It allowed Rodolphus time to collect his thoughts, and conserve a bit of strength before the next bout.
Inevitably his mind turned to the information his father had shared with him. He had thought of little else these past months. The lack of new information was driving him a bit insane. Or more insane considering he had spent the last decade rotting in Azkaban; although, he was faring much better than some of his fellow prisoners. Rodolphus accredited this to his skills in Occlumency. A fortified mind seemed to mitigate the effects of the Dementors.
Rodolphus had desperately wanted to be a father. He had been so hopeful of achieving this goal when he and Bellatrix first married. The Black and Lestrange bloodlines had yet to intermingle, and the match had thrilled both of their families.
He was well aware that Bellatrix didn’t love him. He didn’t love her either. It was simply the way things were in pureblood marriages. The two of them did develop a close friendship as the years of their marriage progressed. However, the years passed and no children were ever produced from their union. Not from lack of trying. Rodolphus may have been the one who genuinely wanted to be a father but Bellatrix was also keen to have heirs of her own. She may have lacked the maternal instinct but she wanted to pass on her knowledge, and skills to the next generation.
Their lack of progeny made both of them consider that either one of them or maybe both of them were infertile. They never seemed to quite get around to testing themselves to find out the problem. They always managed to come up with one excuse or another not to go through with it.
Rodolphus knew for himself that he had been terrified of discovering the answer. It would have devastated him to find out he was incapable of fathering children.
In fact his fear led to him going out one night. His best friend, Augustus, had just discovered he and his wife were going to have their second child. Augustus and his wife had been married for a shorter amount of time than Bellatrix and he. It had bothered him more than he cared to let on that they were already expecting a second child when it looked like he and Bellatrix would never have one. Instead of sharing his feelings with someone he ended up in a dingy pub in Knockturn Alley drinking his sorrows away.
He’d gone to the pub for anonymity so of course he had to stumble upon another Black, the only Black who had decided to join Dumbledore’s vigilante club. Sirius Black had been nearly as inebriated as Rodolphus had been that night when the former Black heir literally bumped into him. It was the only explanation as to why the younger wizard even consented to speak to a Lestrange let alone decide to spend the night with one.
Rodolphus had no idea what he’d been thinking, bedding Sirius Black. Well, that was partially the problem he hadn’t been thinking, or well thinking anything beyond how attractive Black was. The next morning when he was sober, and back to being more levelheaded he realized what a mistake it had been. Rodolphus never spoke of the night he spent with Sirius Black to anyone. Not his father, brother, or even Augustus. He certainly never told Bellatrix he had slept with her second most hated relative. The first being her sister Andromeda.
Rodolphus believed it was just going to be one of those secrets he took to his grave. He never thought anything would come of it. Black obviously hadn’t told anyone about their encounter, as Rodolphus had never been confronted about sleeping with the enemy. He certainly hadn’t been expecting his father to turn up for his annual birthday visit with the news that Rodolphus was a father. He had a son. He had a son with Sirius Black, and that son was none other than Harry Potter.
Rodolphus had lost it just a bit. The child he so dearly wished for existed. He wasn’t infertile like he had so feared himself to be. It was a bit of a relief. Yet Rodolphus would never get the chance to raise the child he had so longed for. Worse still he had missed eleven, nearly twelve years of his son’s life. His son was also the one that was blamed for the death of his Lord.
On his way back to his cell after speaking to his father he’d lunged at the bars of Black’s cell, and started screaming at him. He had been so angry with the other wizard, and Rodolphus had wanted answers. How different would his life have been if only Black had told him he carried his child?
Black had panicked, howling in rage, gray eyes wide in terror that someone had discovered his deception. Needless to say the other prisoners had become very much aware of the situation before the guards managed to wrestle Rodolphus back to his cell. The level of Azkaban Rodolphus was imprisoned in consisted entirely of the most dangerous Death Eaters. So now all of his fellow Death Eaters were aware of his indiscretion with Black, and that he had fathered Harry Potter.
It had caused quite the uproar in their cellblock. Bellatrix had been more scandalized that he’d slept with her hated cousin than the fact that he had an affair in the first place. They had a very open marriage.
Harry Potter being his and Black’s son had opened up a lot of discussion for the Death Eaters. They had nothing else to do, and didn’t have to worry about being overheard since the guards only ever bothered with them when it was absolutely necessary, which was when they were bringing the morning and evening gruel. The discussions had led to several different theories.
Several of them had been aware of the prophecy. It swiftly became apparent that Harry no longer fit the description as the child of the prophecy. Black may have defied the Dark Lord three times but Rodolphus certainly hadn’t. However, it didn’t change the fact that their Lord was still destroyed after attempting to kill Harry when he was a baby.
Some of the Death Eaters badgered Black for information. They got it into their heads that Black had colluded with the Potters and Dumbledore to set a trap for their Lord. Black eventually broke when Travers accused him of using his own child as bait. Snarling that he’d let the Potters adopt his son to keep his child away from Death Eaters.
Rodolphus believed him. He didn’t think it had actually been some grand conspiracy. Black may have been a fool and completely besotted with the Light but Rodolphus could clearly see he cared about their son.
The sound of a door clanging drew Rodolphus from his thoughts. It was time for the morning meal. He could hear the shuffling of the other prisoners as they were served their barely edible breakfast.
Jacobs, one of the fouler guards, appeared in front of his cell. A nasty grin adorned his ugly face. Along with Rodolphus’s breakfast he slid in a stack of newspapers. “Thought you and Black might like to catch up on some of the recent events.”
Rodolphus would have loved to snatch up the papers as quickly as possible but he retained his pureblood composure. He refused to give a Mudblood like Jacobs the satisfaction.
Only once Jacobs had moved to the next cell did Rodolphus snatch up the papers and magazines. A quick scan of the headlines proved them to be all on one subject. The ones that caught his attention were: Harry Potter Not a Potter,Harry Potter: Son of Two Death Eaters,Harry Potter is Herakles Lestrange,Will Herakles Lestrange Join Parents in Azkaban?, andHarry Lestrange: Savior or Future Dark Lord?
Rodolphus quickly read through the plethora of articles. They got more and more ridiculous and outlandish as the dates passed. But the outlandish was what sold papers. It was of some comfort to finally discover that his father had been given custody of his son, and hopefully his father would sue these news outlets for smearing the name of a minor across their pages.
Unfortunately there wasn’t a single picture of his son that accompanied these articles. A few had pictures of James and Lily Potter while others had pictures of Black, and Rodolphus. Most often the pictures of Rodolphus, and Black were of their Azkaban intake pictures. In case anyone had forgotten Black and he were dangerous and insane criminals.
Rodolphus regretted not trying harder to dissuade Bellatrix from going after the Longbottoms that night. In the end he’d let her persuade him that it was the only way they would find out what happened to their Lord. He should have gone to his father or at the very least he should have stopped Bella and Barty before things escalated. Perhaps then he wouldn’t be in Azkaban, and he would have discovered his son far sooner.
“Why would they do this!?” Black’s cry of outrage reverberated off the stones.
He’d finally got a look at his own newspapers that Jacobs so helpfully had provided him with.
“You should know by now, Black how quickly they turn on anything perceived as Dark. Isn’t that why you’re here in the first place?” Antonin Dolohov crooned from a couple of cells down.
Dolohov’s cell was directly across from Black’s. The old wizard had made a hobby of picking away at Black’s faith and confidence of the Light side these past eleven years.
“Shut up you barmy old bastard,” Black snarled.
“They just saw your name, Black, and you were instantly guilty of the crime. No trial because they never stopped thinking of you as a Dark wizard. Not one of your Light friends stood up for you. Dumbledore let them cart you off to Azkaban without so much as a word in your defense,” Dolohov continued.
Rodolphus had to admit the old wizard was merciless, and about as vicious as they came. He was one of the Dark Lord’s original followers just as Rodolphus’s own father had been. They had all gone to Hogwarts together, and been in Slytherin together.
“I’m not Dark,” Black snapped back.
“Of course you’re Dark, you’re a Black it’s your name and in your blood. You can’t run from it Black as hard as you try. To the Light it’s all you’ll ever be. Why fight it especially when you’re here? The Light never stood up for you did they? And now they smear the name of your child when previously all they did was sing him praises. All because of what name he carries,” Dolohov murmured, voice still calm and level.
“Please as if you don’t do the same thing to muggleborns,” Black scoffed.
“Yes, we do,” Dolohov agreed with hesitation. “They come in to our world, and push their own ideas and wants into our culture that has existed for centuries. They are destroying us, and soon there will be nothing left of our history.”
“Don’t be so dramatic,” Black huffed.
“In my lifetime well over a hundred different spells and rituals that were used for centuries have been outlawed because they were deemed too Dark. It’s deplorable,” Dolohov hissed.
“Well said,” Augustus called from the cell directly beside Rodolphus.
There were murmurs of agreement from the others.
Black and Dolohov continued their argument but Rodolphus tuned them out. He focused on the newspapers Jacobs had been so kind to deliver to him. He knew the guard was hoping to distress him but Rodolphus was eager for any information he could learn about the situation on his even if 90 percent of it was complete hogwash.
Rodolphus was even more determined now. He would get out of here someday. He would be a part of his son’s life.