Hermione was tired, exhausted really. Tired of running, tired of fighting, tired of crying over Ron (the stupid git). But most of all tired of lugging around that stupid locket with the piece of Voldemort’s soul in it.
She wished they could just destroy the damned thing (quite literally it was damned) but they didn't know how.
That wasn't entirely accurate. Basilisk venom or Fiendfyre would both do the job. Trouble was, neither she nor Harry could control Fiendfyre. So they didn’t even try to produce it. Basilisk venom was a bit scarce at the moment.
They were still camped in the Forest of Dean. It was two days before Christmas. Hermione didn’t want to admit it even to herself. They needed to go to Godric’s Hollow and find Bathilda Bagshot. Maybe she would have some information that could help them. In the meantime, they needed to move again.
Closer to Hogwarts but not too close. Maybe one of the parks near Inverness. Hermione had visited that part of Scotland with her parents on a camping trip one time. Harry had never been anywhere.
She thought hiding in plain sight for a bit was a good idea. Polyjuice potion would help them blend in with the Muggles. They both could use the break and a good meal.
Harry had packed up the tent while Hermione was thinking.
“Hermione, are you ready to go? While I’m asking, where are we going exactly?”
“Inverness. There’s a public park. Also a bunch of tourist sights in the area. If we take Polyjuice, we might be able to blend in. We need a break and some real food. Maybe a bed. In an area with such a large concentration of muggles we can blend in for a bit. We’re both of age. We don’t have the trace on us anymore.”
“That sounds brilliant. How long are we staying?”
“Maybe a day or two. It’s almost Christmas. We should go to Mass if we can.” Hermione had been quite shocked to learn (given that witch burning was largely driven by so-called Christians) that many wixen were not only Christian, but Catholic.
Neville had explained it to her. Even though The Protestant Reformation happened before the Statute of Secrecy took effect, the Boleyn family were wixen. Henry VIII executing Anne made the rest of wixen society angry. As a result, wixen families didn’t get caught up in the Reformation. Most just went into hiding.
The Catholic hierarchy in fact knew about the Wizarding world just as the current Queen did. There was a special seminary in Italy to train priests who were also wizards. Two orders of wixen nuns also, one in France and one in South America.
Hermione and her parents were Catholic. So were her grandparents. She had never thought about it, but Neville had suggested she probably had a squib or two somewhere in her family tree. Most of muggle Britain belonged to the Church of England.
Hermione would have liked to research the whole thing, but she hadn’t had time before they went on the run. Something to look forward to if they survived the war.
Harry didn't practice any religion. He hadn’t been allowed to go to church with the Dursleys. They were Church of England, while Sirius was Catholic. Sirius had told Harry that he was baptized as a Catholic, and Harry had been asking Hermione and Ron questions about the Catholic church since Sirius died.
“Ok. Since you know where we’re going, can you side-along me?”
“Sure. Have your cloak?”
“Yep.” Harry had taken to traveling with the cloak at the ready in case they needed to hide right away.
With a crack, the two teens disappeared from England to reappear in a lovely park in a circle of Standing stones, that looked for all the world like a smaller version of Stonehenge to Harry’s eye. Unfortunately, they weren’t alone. Three men were standing on the other side of the middle stone facing away from them. Harry and Hermione ducked down immediately. Harry pulled the cloak over them both.
Without thinking about it, the two began to back away. Suddenly one of the men turned around and sniffed the air. Hermione gasped, recognizing Fenrir Greyback. The werewolf gave a feral smile.
“Come out, come out wherever you are. I can SMELL you little girl.”
Harry wasn’t about to go down without a fight, so he stood up and cast. “Sectumsempra!”
Normally it wasn’t a spell that Harry would use, but it was Greyback. Harry was fine with killing him.
Greyback was too quick though. The curse just caught the fleshy part of his arm instead of his neck which is what Harry was aiming at. With a snarl he started towards Harry.
“Run ‘Mione. RUN!!! I’ll hold him off.”
Hermione wasn’t about to leave Harry. The other two men turned, and raised their wands. Just like that... the fight was on.
Side by side, the teens began to fight. The three men started to herd them towards the center of the circle. Both Hermione and Harry started to hear a hum. The hum became louder, the closer they got to the center stone. Eventually the three men surrounded them. Greyback in the center and one on each side. With the stone to their backs, they were trapped.
“Give it up you two, there’s nowhere left to run.” "Stupify" Hermione shouted. One of the men went down.
“Repulso!!!!” yelled the other snatcher. The spell impacted and slammed Harry and Hermione into the large stone. They disappeared. With a howl, Greyback slammed into the stone after them and he too disappeared. The final man standing thought the stones must be acting as a portkey and dove at the large middle stone. He also disappeared.
At first all Hermione could hear was screaming. Indiscriminate screaming of hundreds of people. Then she heard Harry screaming her name.
“Harry!!!!! I’m here. Where are you Harry!!!” She felt herself fall. Hermione came through the stones and looked frantically around for Harry. She didn’t see him, but she did see the werewolf. Greyback came out right on top of her, grabbing her wrist.
“I’ll just take that wand little girl. Wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt, now would we?”
“No! Get away from me!” Hermione screamed. She thrashed and fought, but Greyback was a werewolf. Not fully transformed but incredibly strong, nonetheless. Hermione screamed again, while the wolfman laughed and licked the side of her face.
“Let the lass go.” Greyback looked over his shoulder and saw a petite dark haired woman. Next to her a very tall red headed man stood brandishing a sword. Wearing a kilt of all things. The werewolf started to laugh.
“Incarcerous” he said. Directed at Hermione, with her own wand. Ropes snaked out, binding her.
“You’re in luck little girl, looks like I get to work up an appetite while you anticipate my return. I’ll take care of the muggle and be right back.” He licked the side of her face again. “Don’t go anywhere now.”
He turned towards the man pointing Hermione’s wand at him. The man raised an eyebrow. “I dinna ken what ye think ye’ll be doing with that wee stick. It's no much use against a sword ye ken." He must be a muggle, Hermione thought.
Meanwhile, Harry had come through the stones. He was writhing around on the ground clutching his head. The other man came through the stones. He immediately cast at the muggle. “Crucio!!!” The man missed the muggle though and hit Greyback instead. Greyback dropped the wand. Hermione rolled on top of it.
The second man had realized his mistake and lifted the curse. Greyback growled, but kept his attention on the muggle, who raised his sword. Fenrir growled again charging. Which was stupid really, since the man took the opportunity to run him through with the large sword he was carrying. Harry yelled at the second man. The snatcher cast again, this time at Harry, who started screaming.
“HARRY!!!!! Stop it you bastard!!!! Leave him alone!!!” Hermione screamed.
The woman started towards Harry and the other man.
Greyback started to pull himself off the sword, growling the entire time. This was a little startling to the tall man, and he didn’t react right away. Hermione saw what was happening and yelled at the stranger, “CUT OFF HIS HEAD! IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO STOP HIM. QUICK! BEFORE HE GETS FREE OF YOUR SWORD.”
The man reached up with his knife to slit Greyback’s throat. Clutching at his throat, Fenrir tried to get off the sword faster.
“NO!!! YOU HAVE TO CUT IT COMPLETELY OFF, OR HE’LL JUST HEAL! HE’S A WEREWOLF!”
If this shocked the tall man, he didn’t show it. With a determined look on his face, he pulled the sword out of his opponent. With a mighty swing, the man cut the werewolf's head clean off. With Fenrir dead, the ropes disappeared from Hermione. Immediately she grabbed her wand and shouted. “Incendio!” Setting the body on fire, then the head. Immediate problem solved, she pointed her wand at the final man.
“REPULSO!” The man flew back into one of the stones. He smacked into it then fell, his head at an unnatural angle to his body.
Hermione crawled over to Harry, who was still lying on the ground clutching his scar.
“Harry, HARRY. What’s wrong? Let me see!!!!” His head was bleeding. He was moaning in pain and his eyes were closed. The Cruciatus removed, he wasn’t writhing anymore, just twitching a bit.
“Harry, move your hands. Please. Let me see. Is it your scar?” Hermione tried to get Harry to take his hands off his scar. She hadn’t forgotten about the man that helped her, but her priority as always, was Harry.
The muggle woman was checking the man at the base of the stone. After a moment she looked at the man with her and shook her head.
The muggle man spoke to Hermione.
“Lass? My wife is a healer. Perhaps she can be of assistance?”
“Unless she knows about curse scars, and coming through the stones, probably not, but thank you.” Said Hermione distractedly.
“I dinna ken what a ‘curse scar’ is, but she does know a bit about the stones, having come through them herself. What’s your name Lass? From when did you come?”
Hermione had managed to get Harry to show her his head. It was bleeding and the scar was open, but it looked smaller and the bleeding was slowing. She took her bag off her shoulder and “accio Dittany”.
“What is that? Dittany?” A new more feminine voice asked.
“It heals bleeding wounds. Well, most of them. It doesn’t work very well on werewolf or vampire bites. Or curse scars usually, but I don’t have anything else and Harry is in pain.”
“Excuse me, did you say werewolf and vampire bites?”
“Yes.” Hermione wasn’t really paying attention to what she said, being more concerned about Harry at that moment.
The Statute had already been violated. She would probably have to Obliviate the couple anyway. After a minute the Dittany seemed to help, Harry was still twitching periodically. Too winded to move, he lay on the ground trying to catch his breath.
“Harry? Are you alright? What happened?”
“I don’t know. We went through the portal or whatever and I heard this screaming. Then my head started to hurt. I heard more screaming, but it was like it was inside my head. I must have blacked out for a minute. The next thing I remember is you screaming my name. What did you use on my scar? It doesn’t hurt anymore.”
“Dittany. But that doesn’t make any sense, it doesn’t work on curse scars.”
“Hermione, you know as well as I do that it isn’t an ordinary curse scar. Not that I care. I’m just glad it stopped hurting. Are you alright?”
Hermione began to answer him, then got a terrified look on her face and started running her hands all over her arms and hands.
“What? Hermione, what’s wrong?”
“Are there any scratches!? Oh Merlin, did he scratch me?” Her movements became increasingly agitated as she became more and more frightened. Harry painfully pulled himself into a sitting position grabbing her hands.
“Hermione. Hermione! Stop. Let me check you over.” Ignoring his own hurts Harry carefully checked her over. “I don’t feel any broken skin Hermione. The blood isn’t yours. It's probably Greyback's from when I cut his arm. It’s ok. You’re ok.”
Hermione looks at Harry searchingly for a minute and he nods. She starts to tear up.
“Oh thank God.” Adrenaline and reaction set in. Hermione started to shake. Harry put an arm around her and they rested their foreheads against one another. After a moment Harry heard the sound of a throat clearing. Startled, he looks up to see a very tall man standing there with his arm around a woman.
"Um…Hermione? Who are those people?” Harry looked past her to the now silent couple.
Hermione had forgotten all about the muggle couple.
“I’m terribly sorry, thank you so much for your help just now. My name is Hermione. This is Harry.”
“Think nothing of it. My name is Claire Fraser and this is my husband James Fraser.”
Jamie and Claire had quietly agreed to let Claire make the introductions. The strangers were obviously from the future like she was. “May I ask what year you come from? I came through the stones in 1945.”
“1945? Wait! What's the date?”
“Monday October 14th, 1743.”
Harry and Hermione looked at each other in confusion. Then Hermione’s face brightened.
“Merlin’s pants Harry, it must be a time portal. I’ve read about them. I didn’t know that any were still active. They were all supposed to have gone dormant in the 60’s.” Hermione turned to Claire. “That would be the 1960’s. When we woke up this morning it was December 23, 1998.”
“Oh my. That is much farther than I traveled.”
“Wait, you traveled through the portal? So, you’re a witch then?”
Claire looked upset. “ What!? NO! I’m not a witch.”
Hermione and Harry both looked startled, then a little offended. Claire reddened and apologized.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. It’s just that three days ago Jamie had to rescue me from a mob that was trying to burn me for being a witch. It’s 1743. They still do that here you know.”
Harry looked understanding; Hermione looked exasperated.
“Wonderful, back home I’m persecuted and called mudblood for being a first-generation witch. I go through a portal, back in time so now I’ll be called evil and persecuted for having magic.”
“Hermione, this shouldn’t be a problem. Let’s just go to Diagon Alley. Then it won’t matter. I’m sure I can find some Potter relatives.”
“That’s fine for you Harry. What about me?”
“As far as I’m concerned, you’re my sister. I’ll even Blood-adopt you when we get to Gringotts.”
Hermione sighed. Then she startled when the man, Jamie, spoke.
“I’m not sure what ye just said, but I do think it would be better if we all got off this hill. There are still redcoat patrols in the area. I’d rather nae run into one if ye dinna mind.”
“Jamie’s right. There’s a cabin a short distance from here. We can show you to it if you’d like.”
Harry smiled. “Thank you very much, we’d appreciate that.”
“We have to take care of the other snatcher first.” Said Hermione. “The last thing we need is for him to wake up and come after us.”
“He won’t be waking up I’m afraid, his neck is broken.”
“What!?” Hermione turned a bit pale. She looked at Harry, then at the man. Hermione covered her mouth with her hands. “I… killed him? I… didn’t mean… I just… he was hurting Harry. I just wanted to...” Hermione started to cry. Harry hugged her tighter into his side.
Jamie crouched down in front of her. “Is this the first time ye’ve killed a man then Lass?”
“Yes, I didn’t mean…”
“Tis never easy takin’ another’s life. If it be any comfort to ye, ye were protecting yer man here.” Jamie’s face was understanding.
“Harry’s my brother, not my boyfriend.” Hermione was probably focusing on the wrong thing, but she didn’t want to think about killing the snatcher.
“Och, I’m sorry lass, ye dinna look anything alike.”
“We aren’t blood related. More like we adopted each other.”
Jamie realized that Hermione was distracting herself. So did Claire.
“Let’s get off this hill, shall we? Formal introductions can wait.”
"Just a second." Harry pointed his wand at the body. He didn't have the same qualms about killing that Hermione did.
Not anymore, anyway.
"Incendio." He slumped back. "Merlin. I'm tired."
Getting down the hill was a little more involved than anyone thought it would be. Harry was still in some pain and his vision wasn’t quite clear. Hermione, continued to shake as the adrenaline in her system dissipated.
Claire instructed Jamie to give Harry a hand while she walked with her arm around Hermione. Jamie offered to carry Harry, who bristled and said he could walk. It was more of a hobble.
"You should just let him carry you Harry."
"I'm not a baby Hermione. I can walk."
Hermione snorted. 'fine then. Men and their stupid pride.'
"I'm sorry, I don't know why I can't stop shaking." Hermione said to Claire.
“It’s the adrenaline, You’ll be alright. You need to get warm and get something sweet into you.”
“Yes, thank you. I’m sorry to be such a bother, this always happens after a battle.”
“I know, it was the same during the war, although we didn’t have woman soldiers. Do they in 1998?”
“Oh yes, although I wouldn’t call myself a soldier, I’m just trying to survive. Usually we just cast a hex or two and apparate away.”
Upon reaching the cabin, Jamie built up the fire. Claire got some water on to boil for tea. Both were shocked and fascinated when Hermione reached into her very small bag to pull out three sleeping bags, a box of tea, and four mugs. She laid one of the sleeping bags down for Harry as padding. Hermione then made him get into the second one.
“Hermione!” Harry hissed at her, “what about the Statute?”
“I don’t think it counts in this situation Harry. Claire is at least a squib, even if she doesn’t know it. She wouldn’t have been able to travel through the portal otherwise. Jamie is her husband so he can know too. Otherwise I would have had to Obliviate them and I hate doing that.”
Harry didn’t say anything knowing how sensitive the subject was to Hermione. She promptly changed the subject.
“How’s your head?”
“Better. My vision is still a little off.” Harry turned to Jamie. “Thank you very much for killing Greyback by the way. He was a monster long before he was a werewolf.”
Claire looked up. “I meant to ask about that. Now that we’re in a safe place and can’t be overheard, may I ask you some questions? There are a number of things you said on the hill that I don’t quite understand.”
Jamie nodded and added, “Aye, I’d like to know as well. I grew up in the Highlands. I’ve great respect for the superstitions of people, but I’ve ne’er met someone who knew a werewolf and lived to tell the tale. O’ course, I'm an educated man so I didna believe in fairies or selkies or witchcraft.” He grinned. “Nor travelers from the future until a few days ago. Yet here ye all are, and I’ve seen yer magic with my own eyes.”
“Of course, ask away. I’ll try and answer, although I don’t know everything.”
“You know almost everything Mione.” Harry smiled and Hermione smiled back.
“Thanks Harry. Not really, I’m just very good at researching.”
Claire and Jamie smiled at each other. A look passed between them, then Jamie waved a hand at Claire to indicate ‘ladies first’.
“I have several questions really. First I suppose, what exactly is a squib?”
“A squib is a person who has a small magical core. Enough to see magical creatures and use portkeys or the Floo or even travel through a portal like the stone back there, but can’t actively perform magic or carry a wand.”
“What is a muggle?” This was Jamie’s question. He had heard the wolfman call him that.
“A muggle is a person who doesn’t have a magical core. Just out of curiosity, do you hear the buzz that the portal makes?”
“If ye mean the stones, no. I canna hear a thing. Although I canna hear music either since I was hit in the head wi’ an axe a few years ago.”
“You were hit in the head with an axe?!” Harry was startled by that revelation.
“Aye, here on the back of me head.” Jamie showed them both the scar on the back of his head.
“You know, a healer might be able to do something about that. I don’t know how advanced magical medicine is in this time.” Hermione shook her head. “Sorry, we can talk about it later, I didn’t mean to get off topic.”
“That’s quite alright. So, there are Squibs, Muggles and Witches?”
“Well the general term is wixen. Women are witches and men are wizards.”
“Exactly like Merlin. He is considered the most powerful wizard in history. He helped create a lot of the wards that hide the magical world from non-magicals. Wizarding space we call it. Whole towns, the estates of the magical nobility, places like St. Mungos which is a hospital and the Ministry of Magic which is where the Wizengamot meets. The Wizengamot is like parliament for wixen.”
Hermione figured she might as well define the terms that were purely magical, to save Jamie and Claire from having to ask.
“I see. So, you have your own government, then?”
“Yes. I mean the reigning monarch always knows of course and the Prime Minister also. But then the Royal family have been squibs since the end of the War of the Roses. I don’t know if you are that familiar with English history, but Elizabeth Woodville and her mother were both witches.
Her children were all squibs, since she married a muggle. Then her children all married muggles as well. All the European royal families have wixen dotting the family tree. Elizabeth I’s mother was a squib as was her mother's brother. Their sister Mary was a witch. Mary Bolyen managed to hide it until she could escape England with her husband. There is some speculation that Elizabeth I was actually a witch, but I’ve never found anything definitive on her.”
Harry smiled at Hermione. It had been awhile since she went into lecture mode. He was glad, it was relaxing for her. He could tell, she was losing some of the tension in her shoulders. Harry just lay back and let her go. I can do with a rest anyway, he thought as he dozed off.
Jamie had another question, this one a bit more practical.
“How do ye plan to travel to this Diagon Alley? Is it nearby?”
“Not exactly. It’s in London. But traveling there won’t be difficult, we’ll just apparate. Which I can’t really explain, just that it’s a form of magical travel that allows wixen to cover large distances quickly.”
“Ah. And when did ye plan to go then?”
Hermione looked over at Harry who had begun to snore.
“I was planning on going in a bit, but Harry is sleeping. Since he doesn’t do that very often, I think we’ll probably just stay here for the night and go in the morning. It’s getting late. It will probably be dark when Harry wakes up. I don’t know what the Alley is like in this time so I’d rather not go after dark. We are going to need something to eat though. Is there a stream nearby? Maybe I can catch us some fish.”
“Dinna fash lass. We’ve plenty and I can go see about some fish. Perhaps even a rabbit or two.”
Hermione smiled tiredly up at Jamie (good heavens the man was tall). “Normally I’d protest, but really I am exhausted, so I’ll just say thank you very much.”
Jamie smile back at her. With a quick word and a kiss for Claire, he left the cabin.
Once Jamie left, Claire helped Hermione wash up and suggested she nap as well.
“I can keep watch until Jamie returns, you had quite a scare earlier. I don’t mean to offend, but you look completely worn through.”
“I am tired. Thank you, Claire I think I will try and get a little rest.”
Hermione lay down on the bed, but her mind was too frantic. After a fruitless few minutes, she sat up and asked Claire.
“How were you on the top of the hill anyway. You don’t live around here do you?”
“No. It’s a bit complicated.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry. Whatever reason you had, I’m glad you showed up.”
“You aren’t prying and I don’t mind telling you. It’s a relief really to have someone to talk to about it. Jamie said he believed me, but I don’t know if he truly did until this morning. He brought me here so I could go back. To my time.”
“Did the stones not work for you?”
“No, they did. I just… don’t want to leave Jamie.”
“Oh.” “Wait a minute. Didn’t you say you’re married? Why would he think you wanted to leave anyway? It’s not like you have to.”
Claire hesitated a minute. “I was married in 1945. To a man named Frank. When Jamie and I got married it was to keep an English officer from taking me prisoner. It was an arranged marriage. When Jamie found out about the time travel, he thought I wanted to go back to Frank. So he brought me here.”
“But you didn’t go.”
“No. I… couldn't, you all came through. And...I don't want to. I love Jamie. I mean I feel bad for Frank, I did love him too… just not as much as I love Jamie. I don’t know if that makes me a bigamist or something, but I can’t leave Jamie.” Claire looked down at her hands.
Hermione touched Claire’s hand. “I don’t know what a priest would say, but considering the men are two hundred years apart, I don’t think you’re a bigamist. I highly doubt this situation comes up very often, even for wixen.”
Claire laughed lightly. "No I don't imagine it does."
Hermione thought for a minute. “Were you married in the church both times?”
“No. I'm Catholic but Frank is Church of England. He and I married at the register office.”
"Were you and Jamie married in a Catholic ceremony?"
"Yes. His uncle had to bribe the priest to waive the banns, but...yes."
“I don’t know if this will make you feel better, but the church wouldn’t recognize your marriage to Frank as a valid marriage. According to the Catholic church, you were living in sin with Frank. You’re married to Jamie.”
“I don’t know if that makes me feel better either.” Claire sighed. “I wish I could send Frank a letter. At least to say goodbye.”
“Well, why can’t you? I mean if I’m right and you’re a squib, you can leave a message at Gringotts. The goblins will hold onto it and make sure it’s delivered to Frank in the 1940’s. You could even have them deliver it the day after you went through the stones. They deliver things to the muggle world all the time.”
“Sure, why not?”
“If I could, that would make me feel better. Could you Help me? I’d like to let Frank know...so he could move on if nothing else. Wait... Goblins?”
Hermione laughed. “I know. There are a lot of things that shocked me when I first learned I was a witch.” Hermione yawned.
“We can talk about it more later. Right now, you should get some sleep.” Claire was firm.
“Thanks Claire.” Hermione rolled over and was out like a light.
I want to make sure that everyone knows the following before I post the second chapter.
I've been reading fanfiction for over ten years now. I guarantee that I got some of the terms and ideas in this story from other authors. So. If you see something and are sure you invented the concept, please let me know and I'll credit you.
I already know that the term Wix I picked up from other stories and also the idea that Sirius refers to Hermione as Kitten. I'm not sure who posted it originally however. If you can demonstrate it was you...let me know.
Chapter 2: A cabin in the woods
Harry and Hermione catch their breaths. Jamie and Claire have questions. So many questions.
Several hours later Hermione woke up with a start. It was fully dark. For a moment Hermione didn’t know where she was. Then it all came flooding back and she sat up.
Harry was awake and talking to Claire, while Jamie was bent over the hearth stirring something. This struck Hermione as rather strange. She thought that women did all the cooking in this time period.
Not wanting to offend someone, she didn’t ask.
“Hermione! You’re awake. How are you feeling?”
“Better Harry thanks. How about you?”
“I feel loads better. Except something is still wrong with my eyes. Everything is all blurry, even with my glasses on.”
“Did you break your glasses again?”
“No. They aren’t even scratched.” Harry took them off. “Huh! I can actually see better with them off. Things are still a bit out of focus, but not as bad.”
“Hmmm. Maybe you should leave the glasses off then. We can probably get an oculist to check your eyes when we visit the Alley.”
Claire looked intrigued at that. “Is that similar to an optician?”
“Yes very, only wixen. If I remember correctly, magical medicine is far more advanced than muggle medicine at this time. I’ll have to do some research; I don’t remember all the details of the 1740’s.”
A thought occurred to Hermione. “Claire, how much do you know of the history of Scotland during this time?”
“If you mean about the Jacobites and the uprising in 1745, I know quite a lot.” Claire looked at Jamie, then back to Hermione. “In fact, it was something I planned to discuss with Jamie now that he knows about the stones. I just haven’t had time to.”
“I see. You do know that you can’t change anything, right?”
“What? Why not!”
“That is to say, you can’t change anything major. Like Culloden. It will still happen. You can change smaller things though. For instance, I’m sure you could keep Jamie out of the fight. Major events are fixed points in time.”
“Oh.” Claire looked thoughtful. “How big of a change is big? For instance, what if none of Jamie’s tenants fight either? Is that too big? I know Frasers fought. They have a stone on the field for their clan.”
“Is Jamie the only Fraser Lord?” Harry wanted to know.
“No. My grandfather Simon is the clan chief. I have a small estate and about fifty tenant families I am responsible for.” Jamie put in.
“Then keeping them out of the fight should be do-able.” said Hermione. “You just have to make sure you sign a loyalty oath to the King of England before the uprising. Many Scottish lords lost their property after Culloden.”
“Pardon me, but ye keep talking about an uprising. Does it happen soon then? I’ll assume the Scots dinna win if so many Lairds lose their lands. How badly do we lose?”
“The Scots lose everything, Jamie. Everything. It’s horrible what happens. The clearances, famine, banning the plaid and speaking in Gaelic; the culture of the highlands is almost completely destroyed.”
Claire was crying again. “I seem to cry at the drop of a hat lately. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
“Hush mo chride. With all that ye’ve suffered, it’s a wonder ye’re still standing.” Jamie put an arm around Claire.
“The food is ready. Let’s get somethin’ ta eat, Aye? You’ll feel better after.”
“I meant to ask about that. I thought women did all the cooking in the 1740’s” Harry asked artlessly.
“Harry!” Hermione hissed.
“What? It’s a reasonable question. Isn’t it?”
Hermione shook her head. Totally clueless that one.
Claire gave a small laugh. Jamie’s was louder.
“No, it’s alright. Harry is correct. Mostly it is women who do the cooking. I’m just so horrible at it, that Jamie does the cooking when it’s just the two of us.” Claire made a face. “I either end up burning everything or under cooking it and giving us upset stomachs.”
“Aye. Claire is more suited to healing people with her wee herbs. I was always the youngest ye ken, so I had to cook when I was on the run wit the lads. I found that I liked it, so I dinna mind.”
Hermione was shocked. Jamie was surprisingly progressive for a man from the 1700’s. It must have shown on her face because Claire then said…
“I assure you, Jamie’s attitude is NOT typical for the men of this time period. I consider myself extremely fortunate that he's the one who volunteered to marry me.” Jamie smiled bashfully but didn’t say anything.
“It’s alright, I do most of the cooking too.” Harry piped up. “Hermione isn’t quite hopeless, but I have a lot more experience cooking than she does.”
“Is that normal in your time then, the men cooking and the women working?” Claire asked, interested.
“Yes. Women can do whatever they want, and so can men. If a man wants to stay home with the kids he can, while his wife works full time if she wants. It just depends on what the couple wants to do. Everyone makes the decision that is best for their family.”
Jamie started to say something then paused. “I dinna want to offend ye... ye should ken that it is’na like that now. The men work the fields, the women raise the bairns and keep the house.”
Hermione huffed in annoyance. “Here’s hoping that the wixen men are a bit more enlightened. I don’t know how long we’ll be here, but I for one will not put up with a bunch of neanderthals acting superior just because they can pee standing up.”
Claire started to laugh, while Harry and Jamie both choked on their food.
“Hermione!” This time it was Harry who was embarrassed.
After dinner, Hermione and Claire did the dishes. It was only fair since Jamie had done the cooking. Harry lay back down, his head was pounding a bit. After they finished, Jamie and Claire went outside for a walk in the moonlight.
They had only been gone five minutes when Hermione gasped turning to Harry in horror.
“What Hermione? Could you not yell? That hurts my head.”
“Sorry Harry.” Hermione said more softly “Harry… where’s the locket?”
“I’m still wearing it. Why?”
“Do you want me to take a turn? It might help your head.”
“Sure if you don’t mind.” Harry took it out from under his shirt. They both stared at it.
The Locket was cracked in half and blackened.
It didn’t have that malevolent feeling they were used to it emanating, either.
“Harry. Do you think that maybe the stones...?”
“I don’t know. Should we check it?”
“We’d have to open it.”
“Ummm. Maybe not. At least not here. What if Jamie and Claire come back?”
No, you’re right.” Hermione thought for a minute. Maybe they can check it for us at Gringotts. I mean if we explain when we’re from…”
“Maybe. I don’t want to take it to the ministry no matter what.”
Me neither. Besides, the Goblins aren’t as upset about people using time travel either. As long as they don’t use it to steal.”
“How do you know that Mione?”
“I read it...”
“In Hogwarts A History.” Harry grinned.
“Oh Ha ha. No actually. I read it in A comparison between Wixen and Goblin Culture and it’s effect on the wars.”
“Yes really. All Binns ever did was drone on about Goblin wars from the wixen perspective. He never explained it from the Goblins point of view. So I asked a teller at Gringotts the summer after third year if he could recommend a book that did.”
“And he recommended that one.”
“Yes. It’s really fascinating. It was written by a Goblin and a wizard working together. I can lend it to you if you’d like. It’s in my bag.”
“Everything you own is in your bag Mione. Everything I own as well.”
“Which is a good thing considering that we’re 265 years in the past.”
“Can we get back do you think?”
“I don’t know. But honestly Harry, I’m not sure I want to.”
“How can you say that! What about Voldemort?”
“Well, that’s exactly it. If we stay here, we can make some changes that will maybe prevent him from ever being an issue.”
“I thought you said we couldn’t change history.”
“Noooo, I said that Claire and Jamie couldn’t change Muggle history. It’s a little bit different with magical history. If we make changes, it will just have a ripple effect and work like a mass obliviate on anyone with a magical core, changing everyone’s memories.”
“Ummm, and that’s a good thing?”
“I think so. What if blood purity never became a thing? Think about how many people wouldn’t die prematurely. How many more wixen would be born?" Hermione looked thoughtful.
"I don’t know if you realize this Harry, but the only reason that wizards aren’t extinct already is because of muggleborns. But even with muggleborns coming in, it isn’t enough to sustain the British magical population. The wixen world is dying Harry.
The only country with a sustainable population is the U.S. and that’s only because they don’t have a blood purity thing. Most of Europe has a big problem. Most of India and Asia too. The number of magical twins is on the upswing, but I think that’s because God is trying to save wixen from themselves.”
“God? Don’t you mean magic?”
“Harry, God created magic. Wixen are still part of God's creation.”
“Do you really believe that? That God created magic?” Claire and Jamie had come in as Hermione was speaking.
“Of course. The Devil can’t create anything, he can only destroy.” Hermione said confidently.
“Aye. That and tempt a man… or woman.”
“Magic isn’t good or evil. It just is. People are good or evil. Magic is a tool. Like your sword. You used it today to protect us. A bad person could use it for a bad reason.”
“Aye. I ken yer meanin’.” Jamie nodded, but Claire objected.
“But not everyone has magic.”
“Not everyone knows how to use a sword either. I certainly don’t.” said Hermione.
“It’s like yer wee herbs Sassenach. You use them to heal people. Others like Geillis use them for more… nefarious purposes. Some people don't use them at all.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“Hermione,” Claire turned to look at her. “Jamie and I have talked it over. If you are still willing to help us, could we travel to Gringotts with you? To leave a letter for Frank? Is that possible?”
“Yes, of course. You could even get a lineage test while we’re there. It would tell you for sure if you were a squib.”
“Oh. I could?” Claire looked at Jamie. “It might be interesting to find out. Why I can hear the stones and you can’t.”
“We could take Jamie to St. Mungo’s and have them look at that head injury too if you want.”
Jamie seemed hesitant. “Can I think on it o’ernight?”
“Of course. You don’t have to do anything you aren’t comfortable with.”
Jamie barked a laugh. “To tell ye the truth Mistress, I have’na been comfortable since I rescued Claire from Cranesmuir. I’ve been trying to take it all in ye ken… it’s just a mighty thing to have the world ye thought ye knew turn out to be something else entirely.”
Now it was Hermione and Harry who laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. I didn’t find out I was a wizard until my 11th birthday, when a half giant knocked the door in.” Harry grinned.
“A half, giant did ye say?” Jamie shook his head.
“I think we should wait until tomorrow to explain any more. If we keep overloading you with information, your head is likely to explode.”
Jamie suddenly looked very worried.
“Ummm. Jamie? She didn’t mean that literally. It’s a figure of speech.” Jamie still looked uncertain.
“Oh! Merlin, I’m sorry. I’m given to hyperbole on occasion.”
“Hermione, not everyone is a walking dictionary. You should probably explain what hyperbole means.”
Jamie shook his head. “Tisn’t necessary Harry. I did go to University. I ken what hyperbole means.”
“Oh really?” Hermione wanted to know. “Where did you study?”
“Well, I had a tutor as a lad, then Da sent me to University in Paris.”
“Paris? Parlez-vous français?”
“Oui, je parle français. I also speak Greek and Latin, English, Spanish and o course the Gàidhlig. I can read in all those languages as well. I hae a wee bit o Portuguese, and German, just enough to no gie offense though. ”
“Jamie is a polyglot.” Claire said proudly.
“That’s wonderful. I’d forgotten how comprehensive education was back then. I mean… now… Merlin, that’s weird.”
“You use the name Merlin like some people use the name of God.” Claire observed.
“I do. My grandmere would have a fit if I took the Lord’s name in vain. She’d probably become a ghost just to haunt me. So I got into the habit of using Merlin instead. He was a real person...and... he isn’t God. Sort of like when people say for Pete’s sake or something.” Claire nodded, but Jamie asked,
“And who is Pete then? Another wizard?” The other three started laughing, but it wasn’t a mocking thing.
“That’s evidently slang from after the 1700’s. Pete is Saint Peter. Merlin, I’m going to really have to pay attention to what I say. I’m really glad we met you first Jamie… Claire. I don’t even want to think about the amount of trouble we could have gotten into otherwise.”
“I’m glad we met you too. At least now, Jamie knows for sure that I’m not crazy. Although I may actually be a witch after all… or at least a squib.”
“It’s getting late Mione. If we’re going to go to Gringotts in the morning, we should probably get some sleep.”
“The lad’s right. Claire and I will bed down in front of the fire next to Harry, if ye’d like the bed Mistress Hermione.”
Jamie had a thought. “Were ye named for the Hermione from A Winter’s tale then?”
“Yes, I was.” Hermione missed her parents so much in that moment it hurt. It wasn’t Jamie’s fault. He didn’t know.
“A favorite of mine, from the Bard. He’s still known in yer time then?”
“Oh yes. Shakespeare is considered one of the greatest writers of all time. I will take the bed if you’re sure you don’t mind. I haven’t slept in a real bed in months.”
“We dinna mind. It’s too small for the two of us and I’d rather sleep next to Claire.”
“I’m fine where I’m at.” Said Harry from his pallet on the floor.
“Goodnight Jamie, Goodnight Claire”
“Goodnight people everywhere.”
“Nevermind Harry. Go to sleep.”
A shrill scream broke the silence of the night. Harry and Jamie both jumped to their feet ready to fight, Harry still in the sleeping bag.
The scream sounded again. Harry figured it out first. Hermione was having another nightmare. He scrambled out of his sleeping bag, crossed the room and put his arms around her.
“Mione. Hermione! you’re alright. It’s just a dream. Come on Mione, wake up. You’re ok.”
Hermione’s eyes flew open. For a second she looked at him blankly… “Harry?”
“I’m here Mione. You’re ok. It was just a dream.’ Harry paused. “That was a bad one wasn’t it?”
Hermione shuddered. “Yeah.”
Harry went to move off the bed and Hermione made a sound of protest.
“Can you just...hug me for a minute?”
“Sure. Do you want to sleep next to me? We can zip the sleeping bags together.”
“Ummm. Yeah. Maybe.” Hermione was a little embarrassed. “Sorry for waking you guys.”
“It’s alright Lass, ye aren’t the first to have bad dreams after a battle. I dinna think ye’ll be the last.”
Harry grabbed the sleeping bag off the bed and unzipped it along with his. Then he zipped the two together. Jamie was fascinated and watched the process intently.
"a Dhia. Ye took two bags and made them one. Is that more magic then?"
"No, it's just zippers. See?" Harry showed Jamie how it worked.
"We have zippers in my time too Jamie. In the regular world."
"Mhmmph." Jamie made a satisfied sound of understanding and lay back down.
Everyone lay back down. Hermione tried to go back to sleep. It took awhile for her heart to stop pounding, but eventually she drifted off.
Before anyone asks...yes Claire is pregnant.
As a Doula I've encountered way too many terrified first time mothers, due to the manner in which pregnancy and childbirth are presented in movies and books.
Most pregnancies are not fraught with danger. Most women didn't die in childbirth, even before the modern era. More did than now certainly, but not most.
It is one of my life goals to put more positive examples of pregnancy and childbirth into the world. Which is easier to do if a character is pregnant. :)
Chapter 3: Gringotts
Claire and Hermione go to Gringotts...where many things are revealed.
The first part of this chapter is the discussion between Claire and Jamie during their walk in the last chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
They had gone on a walk to give Harry and Hermione some privacy. For about 10 minutes they walked in silence. Next to one another, but not touching. Claire wasn’t sure what was going on, Jamie looked so sad. Finally, he stopped and looked at her.
“What’s the matter Jamie?”
He took a breath. Claire thought he seemed to be gathering his courage.
“Claire.” Long pause. “Claire, I ken ye did’na make it through the stones today, and I dinna think ye should go until we’ve given Harry and Mistress Hermione what help we can. After that, well...I can bring ye back.”
So that was it. Jamie still thought she wanted to go back.
“Jamie.” He kept staring at the ground.
“Jamie look at me.” Claire took his hand. It took a moment, then Jamie’s eyes met hers.
“I don’t want to go back.” She said.
“Aye.” “Wait! Ye don’t?” Hope lit his eyes.
“No Jamie, I don’t. I did when I first came through, and we’ve already talked about that. But then, something happened.” Claire smiled at Jamie. “I fell in love… with you.”
“You love me?” Jamie’s voice was full of wonder.
“Yes. I do. I thought I loved Frank, but what I felt for him... It’s nothing like what I feel for you.” Claire paused. “I feel bad for Frank, that he doesn’t know what happened. But Jamie...I want to stay.” Then she said shyly...”That is, if you want me to stay.”
Jamie looked at her incredulously. “If I want you to...Christ Claire, the idea of you leaving tore my heart in two. Of course I want you to stay.” He kissed her tenderly. “I love you.” He kissed her again with more intent.
Soon they sank to the ground, limbs entwined, performing the ancient dance of lovers. Assuring one another of their love, using their bodies instead of words to convey the depth of feeling between them.
After, they rested quietly Claire’s head on Jamie’s chest and his arm around her shoulder.
“Hermione told me that I could send a letter to Frank. That wizards could get it to him in the future.”
Claire went up on one elbow to look at him. “I don’t want to go back, but I do feel a little guilty that he doesn’t know what happened to me. If I know Frank, he’ll search until he finds the answer. He’s a historian and finding answers is what he does for a profession. If I send him a letter, he can move on.”
“And you can stop feeling guilty about it.” Jamie said.
Claire looked at him in surprise.
“You still have a glass face Sassenach.” He kissed her nose. “I think it’s a fine idea.” Jamie didn’t elaborate, but if she sent the letter, she’d stop worrying about Frank and they could forget him.
“Then, we’ll go to Gringotts with Harry and Hermione tomorrow.”
“Aye.” Jamie wasn’t sure he was ready for that, but he’d face it when tomorrow came.
Tuesday October 15, 1743
In the morning, there was some discussion. It was decided that Hermione would apparate to Diagon Alley with Claire while Harry and Jamie stayed at the cabin. Harry was still suffering the after effects of the Cruciatus.
While he was probably fine staying by himself, Jamie was still struggling to process everything he had learned so far.
“It isna that I dinna believe ye Mistress. I just think I need a wee bit more time before I try and take anythin’ else in, ye ken?”
“I do. Truthfully I’d rather Harry have some back-up anyway. Not that he can’t handle himself, but it’s always good to have someone you can trust at your back.”
“It is that. How long d’ye expect to be gone then?”
“I don’t really know. We may not be back before suppertime.”
Jamie shook his head. “Ye’re goin’ all the way to London, yet ye plan to be back fer supper.”
Hermione smiled. “I know. It’s a lot. You get used to it… eventually.”
“If ye say so Mistress. Will ye be alright?... I mean ye are wearin’ breeks ye ken. I’d hate for ye ta be mistaken fer a...well...” Jamie stuttered and blushed red.
Hermione laughed. “I’d forgotten about that. Thanks for reminding me.” Taking out her wand, Hermione transfigured her clothing into something similar to what Claire was wearing. She grimaced. “This is going to take a minute to get used to.”
Claire laughed. “It took me awhile. Especially the stays. Although really, they are surprisingly comfortable and supportive when you’re doing anything strenuous. The bum roll on the other hand...that I could happily discard.”
Hermione laughed too. “I don’t know what wix are wearing, but I can’t imagine the fashions are that different yet. The Statute of Secrecy has been in place for less than a hundred years. “
“Are wixen fashions that different in 1998?” Claire wanted to know.
“They are...or were... about a hundred years behind muggle fashion. The manners too. Going into the Wixen world for the first time was like encountering a cross between an Edwardian re-enactment and a foreign culture. I inadvertently offended a lot of people my first year of school because I didn’t get it.”
“Now that, I can relate to. I’m really very fortunate that Jamie was there to look after me. It took me a long time to find my feet in the 1740’s. I still forget myself at times.” Claire laughed. “Although I’m considered quite forward for a woman of the 1940's too.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “That’s one thing I really hope is different in the wixen world. I don’t think I could be subservient to men if I tried.”
Claire laughed again. “On our wedding night, I told Jamie I wasn’t the meek and obedient type. He said he already knew that and it didn’t bother him.”
Jamie laughed. "Tis true. It still does'na bother me. Now I just have a better idea of how ye became so strong minded."
Claire smiled thoughtfully. “Truthfully, I think people are the same no matter when they live. It’s whether or not a strong woman can be strong in public that changes.”
Hermione shook her head. “I have a slightly different opinion. Something my father told me actually. Once when I was about eight, we were at a restaurant and a man was yelling at his wife. She just stood there with her head down and didn’t fire back. I asked my father why the man was yelling at his wife like that, because my father certainly never treated my mother or I that way. I’ve never forgotten what he said.”
‘Hermione, as you go through life you will encounter two types of men. Men that are secure in their masculinity, and men who feel threatened by strong women. Never spend time with the second type. They are physically stronger than you are and when a man is threatened, he seeks to eliminate the threat.’
“I realize now that my Dad was oversimplifying, but I still follow the advice whenever possible.” Hermione looked wistful.
“You miss them. Your parents.”
“Yes, I always will.”
“But you don’t want to go back?” Claire was a bit confused.
“I wouldn’t see them even if I did. I wasn’t able to get them out in time.” Now Hermione looked angry and sad at the same time.
“Were they killed in your war?”
“Yes. All the plans had been made to send them into hiding. Death Eaters found them before I could get them out.” Her lip trembled, but Hermione was determined she was not going to lose it.
“Oh Hermione. I’m so sorry.”
Hermione gave Claire a slightly wobbly smile and sniffed. “Thanks Claire.”
Claire said nothing, just patted Hermione on the shoulder. Harry looked at her sorrowfully. Jamie did as well. They all knew what losing parents was like.
“What is a… Death Eater?” Jamie wanted to know.
“That’s what the people we were fighting called themselves.” Harry said
Jamie nodded. “Like the Redcoats then.”
Harry shook his head. “No. more like terrorists.” At Jamie’s confused stare he elaborated. “They don’t have a reason to fight, they just want to kill and terrorize as many people as they can.”
Jamie still looked confused. Before Harry could continue, Hermione squared her shoulders nodding decisively.
“We need to go if we’re going to be back by supper. I want to get to Gringotts before it gets too busy.”
Claire gave Jamie a kiss. “I’ll be alright Jamie, and I will be back. I promise.”
“I ken.” Jamie didn’t really look all that certain, but he backed away all the same.
“Alright there Hermione?”
“Yeah.” Hermione sniffed again. “Bye Harry.”
“Bye Mione, see you at supper.”
Hermione took Claire by the arm. “Now hold on tight.” With a crack they disappeared.
Jamie jumped. “a Dhia I dinna think I shall ever grow accustomed to that.”
“It is startling. I’ve been in the wixen world for six years and things still surprise me all the time.”
Hermione and Claire reappeared at the apparition point in Diagon Alley. Hermione immediately stepped away from it, bringing Claire with her.
“Wait, stop.” Claire was breathing through her nose, trying not to throw up.
“I know. I got nauseous my first time too. Side along is worse I think. Give it a second. We just needed to get off the apparition point so someone else could use it.”
“I see...” Claire breathed for another minute, then straightened. “I think I’m alright.” Claire stood up and looked around, taking in all the sights and sounds of Diagon Alley.
“Is that a Unicorn!?” Claire asked incredulously as she watched one pulling a carriage down the street.
“Yes. Yes it is."
“This is… I’ve never seen anything like this place.”
“I know, right?”
After staring around her for a few more minutes Claire said; “It’s probably a good thing Jamie didn’t come. He’s doing really well, but it’s a lot to take in. I think it’s easier for me because I already came through the stones.”
“Jamie might not be able to see anything.”
“Why not? I mean if something is there, you can see it. Jamie has better vision than I do.”
“That depends. If you were truly a muggle then everything would just be blurry to you unless you had a special badge from the Ministry. The fact that you can see the alley clearly proves that you’re at least a squib.”
“Alright. That’s… good I guess.”
“Come on. Let’s get to Gringotts.”
The goblin bank looked reassuringly familiar to Hermione, with it’s oddly leaning white marble columns. She bowed to the guards with a fist over her heart. Claire hastily followed her lead. The goblins bowed back, faces impassive except for their eyes, which twitched in surprise.
The two ladies entered Gringotts. They joined a queue and patiently waited for their turn. When they got to the front, the goblin looked at them but didn’t say anything.
“Good morning Master Goblin. May the blood of your enemies stain your blade.” The goblin grinned showing all his teeth. “May your coffers be overflowing witch. What may Gringotts assist you with this day?”
“My friend and I would like a line test please.”
“A line test?” The goblin was surprised at that. “Why would a wix knowing our customs need a line test?”
“I’d be happy to explain Master Goblin, but not in public.”
The teller looked at Hermione for a long moment, and then pressed a button on his stand. “If you’ll be seated, someone will be up to show you back.” After pointing to a bench, the goblin turned to the next customer.
Hermione and Claire went over to a row of benches and sat. They weren’t kept waiting very long, before a younger goblin came to escort them back to the offices. They entered and a very old goblin stood to greet them.
“Good morning witches. My name is Linetracer. I am the head of the bloodline archive offices. I understand you both wish for a line test. Are you of the same blood?”
“No Master Linetracer. We are not. At least I don’t think we are.” said Hermione.
“Well then. That will be 3 galleons for each test.”
“1 galleon.” Hermione countered.
The goblin grinned.
Hermione grinned back.
“1 galleon 10 sickles.”
“Done.” The goblin’s grin was almost feral now.
“Done.” Hermione sat back.
Linekeeper pulled out two pieces of parchment, a red quill, a small bowl filled with a black liquid, and a knife.
“I’ll go first Claire since I know what to do.”
Hermione picked up the knife and pricked her finger. She let three drops fall into the bowl, then pinched off the cut. The liquid steamed for a moment before turning blood red.
The goblin nodded and stuck the quill into the bowl. When all of the liquid had been sucked into the quill, he removed it and placed the tip against the parchment. Claire watched fascinated as it began to move all by itself, writing.
A family tree began to appear across the top. It went back seven generations then stopped. Below the family tree, lines of text appeared at the bottom of the page. When it had finished writing, the quill stopped; falling over onto it’s side.
“Let’s see what we have, shall we?” The goblin and the two women began to read.
The family tree was in three different colors. Brown, Royal Blue and a pale lavender.
On her mother's side, the names at the top were all Royal Blue. Then Hermione’s great-grandmother was a pale lavender. Her grandmother was also a pale lavender. So was her mother. The other names were brown. Hermione, however was Royal Blue.
On her father’s side, the top two lines had names that were Royal Blue then her great-great grandmother was pale lavender. The generations after were one lavender one brown name, until Hermione's father. He was lavender, just like her mother.
“What do the colors mean?” Claire wanted to know.
“Royal Blue is for wixen no matter the power level. Lavender is for squibs. Brown is for muggles." said Linetracer
“Huh.” said Hermione. “I thought I probably had wixen ancestors on one side of my family, but I didn’t expect both. I never got the chance to take a line test, before I came back.
This means my parents didn’t need badges. They would have seen everything anyway.
I wonder why Professor McGonnagall didn’t suggest a line test when we first came to Gringotts.”
Hermione continued to read the tree. Two names stuck out. Dagworth-Granger on her father’s side, Black on her mother’s. “Shite.”
“What? What’s wrong?” asked Claire.
“Nothing’s wrong, exactly. I’m just not sure how Mum’s relatives are going to react. In my time, The Ancient and Noble house of Black isn’t too fond of muggleborns.” Hermione shook her head. “I’ll deal with that later. Let me finish reading first.”
The lines of text revealed a few things.
Name: Hermione Jean Dagworth-Granger
Birthdate: September 19, 1980
Status: Reclaimed blood
Power level: Mage
House claims: Noble & Ancient House of Dagworth-Granger, (Primary)
Noble & most Ancient House of Black
Linetracer sat back. “You’re a traveler. That explains what you meant by coming back.” he paused. “If you plan to stay in this time, you realize we shall have to inform both heads of house. House Dagworth-Granger has primacy of course. House Black may refuse to claim you, although perhaps not. They already have a traveler in their house.”
“I plan...we plan to stay. My friend here is a traveler too. My adoptive brother is still in Scotland, with her husband. My brother was...injured but he’ll be in when he recovers from...the trip. We came through a time portal near Inverness.”
“Very well. Shall I inform them now, or would you like to wait until we have performed the other line test?”
“I’d like to wait please. I don’t want to leave Claire by herself, she was just introduced to the Wixen world yesterday. Oh! My adopted brother belongs to house Potter. You should probably inform his head of house too.”
Linetracer inclined his head. “Given the family names, I would recommend that you speak to your heads of house separately Mistress Dagworth-Granger. They are not on good terms with one another at this time.”
“Oh Merlin. Are they engaged in Blood Feud?”
“No, they do however, belong to different alliances in the Wizengamot.”
Hermione sighed. “Politics blechh. Plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes.” (The more things change, the more they remain the same.)
So did Claire. “It’s true. Sometimes I find that comforting. Sometimes it just makes me angry.”
Linetracer nodded his head. “Indeed. We should proceed with your test Mistress.” He held out the knife to Claire.
Claire looked at it skeptically. “Can we sterilize the knife before I use it? No offense Hermione.”
“None taken. Don’t worry about it, the knife is automatically sterilized every time they use it. That’s one of the reasons only The Goblin Nation has the right to do a line test. Goblins understand the value of trust. All their things are spelled to vanish any excess blood right away. If I remember correctly, there is only one clan that works in the archives and they all have to take an oath of secrecy.”
“You remember rightly witch. I am Linetracer VII. Our clan has been responsible for the archives since 902 as you wix count the years. The head of the clan takes on the name Linetracer upon ascension to the headship.”
Claire took up the knife. “That’s really fascinating. I’m a bit confused though. What does keeping things sterile have to do with trust?” She watched as three drops fell and then pinched her finger.
“Blood is powerful. If we kept wix blood we could wreak terrible vengeance with it. Not that we would. We’ve never broken a treaty.” By his demeanor, the goblin made it clear that wixen had.
Claire wasn’t sure what to say in response, so she didn’t say anything and watched the quill.
When the quill stopped, they all looked at the parchment. The top three lines of Claire’s parchment on her mother’s side were all Royal Blue.
On her father’s side only the top line was blue.
The second and third line had two lavender names.
On the fourth line, there was one lavender and one brown on her father’s side and two lavender names on her mothers.
On the fifth line it was one lavender and one brown for each.
Her parents were both lavender and so was Uncle Lamb.
Then came a shock. Claire’s name was Blue. Even more shockingly...so was Jamie’s. There was a line beneath their names, but no further names were printed.
“Wait. I thought I was a squib?!”
“I thought you were too.” Hermione looked down to the text
Name: Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Fraser
Date of Birth: October 20, 1918
Status: Reclaimed Blood
Power level: Enchantress
House Claims: Noble House of Beauchamp,
Noble & Most Ancient House of Black
Noble & Most Ancient House of Potter
Noble & Ancient House of Fraser (marriage)
“Well. That explains some things. It also creates some further questions. No house claims Primacy over you. Oh look. You’re related to Harry and I.”
Hermione looked at Linetracer. “You should probably go ahead and inform the house heads.” The goblin nodded and excused himself.
Claire huffed as the door closed. “Well can you explain it to me? I still don’t understand.”
“Sure. There are four levels of wixen, based on power level. From bottom up…
A squib is someone with a magical core but no ability to do magic. They can use magic items and see magical animals, see through the secrecy wards, stuff like that.
An enchanter or enchantress is the next level. They have more power than a squib and are usually tied to nature. They can’t use a wand, but they are amazing with potions. Enchanters tend to be healers. Most don’t have power levels high enough to go to Hogwarts, so most coming from squib lines don’t even know they have magic.
Elementals are the next level. My friend Neville is an elemental. They have enough power to be invited to Hogwarts, but really only excel in one area. Neville is an herbology prodigy. He’s pants at potions though, and average in the wand classes.
The highest level is mage. They have the highest power levels. Seers are mage level too. Just with a specific focus. My friend Luna is a seer, and has mage sight which not all seers have. I didn’t realize that at first. I thought she was scatterbrained. It took awhile and some research to figure out. The world just looks so different to Luna that she can’t describe things the way I do.”
“And you’re a mage?”
“I am. I don't have a specific focus, so I’m pretty good at a lot of things. Wards are what I’m best at, I've used those the most. Harry is a Battle Mage. His power levels are completely off the charts. I mean I’m pretty powerful but Harry...he’s on a whole different level. Battle Mages tend to be like that.”
Claire nodded. Then commented. “That’s why you work so well together. Your skills are complementary. I wonder if Jamie is a battle mage.”
“Probably not. If he had that kind of power he would have gotten a Hogwarts letter. Although...if he’s a wix Jamie should be able to hear the stones.”
“Could it be his head injury do you think? Maybe the scar tissue is blocking his ability to hear them, somehow.”
“I don’t know. It might have something to do with his head injury. We really have to get him in for a line test. If he’s a muggle Lord, there might be something in the goblin archives that explains the connection to the wixen world.
Linetracer re-entered the room. “The heads of house have been informed of claimants, with the exception of House Fraser which has no head of house at this time. Lord Dagworth-Granger was already in the bank. He will arrive momentarily when he has concluded his meeting with his account manager.”
“Well, I should probably talk to him first then.”
“I shall have young Griphook escort you to a conference room, to wait.”
Hermione wondered if it was the same Griphook, but she didn't know how to tell.
“Thank you.” Claire and Hermione both rose and bowed slightly to Linetracer, who bowed just as slightly in return.
After waiting approximately 20 minutes during which time they were served tea and scones by yet another goblin, the door opened and a human man walked in.
It was obvious that he was a member of the nobility. His robes were high quality well fitting.
Both ladies stood and faced him.
“Which of you is my relative?” The man inquired.
Hermione dropped a beautiful curtsy. “I am sir. My name is Hermione.”
“Yes. Linetracer gave me a copy of your line test. I am Lord Leonard Dagworth-Granger, your head of house.”
Hermione hesitated. “You are one of them sir. I am also connected to House Black.”
“Yes well, we have primacy. Besides you cannot want to have anything to do with that house. The Blacks are...” Lord Dagworth-Granger paused. “Let us just say that they have very different ideas of how things should be done.”
“Besides, you are only linked to them through your mother’s people. If you declare for House Black, you will be married off to the third son of one of their vassal houses with nothing but a small cottage as dowry.” He drew himself up. “Whereas I have no heirs. You would be much better provided for by the Dagworth-Grangers.”
Lord Dagworth-Granger continued. “From reading your line test, it is apparent that you are descended from my daughter who is a squib. I have no sons and am unlikely to sire any. I would declare you my sole heiress. We do not observe primogeniture; you would become head of house after me.
You will have to marry of course, but I would not force you into a match you dislike. There are several young men of high birth to chose from. With your looks, you can have your pick I daresay.” He smiled at Hermione.
Claire’s jaw dropped. Hermione didn’t know whether to laugh or scream. This was straight out of a Jane Austen novel. However, until she figured out what to do, it wasn’t smart to burn any bridges. Hermione took her time formulating a reply, thinking back to all the etiquette lessons she’d had as a child.
“I thank you...” Hermione began.
“You may call me Grandpapa if you wish. It is the truth after all, in a manner of speaking.”
“I thank you Grandpapa. It is most generous of you to accept me so unconditionally. I would be happy to declare a connection to house Dagworth-Granger.” Her newly discovered Grandpapa preened.
Hermione continued carefully. “I am sure you will understand, that I must discuss this with my adoptive brother, as he has been responsible for me up to now. Of course I must also give some consideration to House Black. It is only polite.”
“Hmmmmph. Quite.” Leonard grumbled. “I am gratified to see that you have been raised to understand the social niceties. It is comforting to know that everything is not lost in the future.”
“My grandmere taught me from the time I was a small child… Grandpapa. My mother’s people were quite well off and she wanted to make sure I could mix with the ‘right sort of people’. My father’s mother had already passed by the time I was born you see.“
Hermione decided not to add that by the time she was born her father’s people were decidedly middle class. Her maternal grandmother had disapproved, thinking that Hermione’s mother had married beneath her. It wasn’t relevant to the present circumstances, and would only stir the pot.
Lord Dagworth-Granger stood up. “This has been a most productive morning. I shall take my leave of you momentarily to speak to my account manager about setting up a trust vault. Am I correct in assuming that you will be needing a wardrobe and other necessities?”
Hermione looked startled. “Oh. Yes. Thank you Grandpapa. Although, I’m not sure...”
“Never fear. I’ll send a message to my daughter Anthea. She can make the necessary appointments with Twilfit and Tattings, the bootmaker and whatever else you may need.”
“Thank you… Grandpapa.” Hermione curtsied again.
“Don’t mention it my dear. Welcome to the family. We will get you settled into your new life here.”
Lord Dagworth-granger left the room. Claire stared at Hermione, mouth still agape.
“What WAS that?”
“What was what?”
“He waltzed in, declared you were his Granddaughter, starts talking arranged marriage and leaves to open a trust vault.… Which I assume is like a bank account for you, and is making plans to buy you a whole new wardrobe.”
“I know. It’s a little overwhelming.”
“You don’t seem all that surprised though Hermione.”
“I’m not really. Grandmere Noire-Le Fere was like that.” Hermione smacked herself on the head. Noire Of course. I should have realized that she was a Black.
“Wouldn’t he want proof that you’re his descendant?”
“He already saw the line test. They can’t be faked. Besides. If he doesn’t have a living heir, he’s probably desperate to keep the family name from dying out. By opening a trust vault, he can make sure I’m provided for without giving me access to the main family vaults until he’s sure I’m a worthy heir.”
“Oh. It still seems rather precipitous to me.”
“Bloodlines are really important to the upper classes. It’s like that in the muggle world too you know.”
“Yes. I know. I just hadn’t really seen it in operation first hand before.”
Hermione sat back down. Claire joined her.
“Now we just have to wait for the Head of House Black. Then we can meet your family.”
“Family. I’ve never had anyone but Uncle Lamb. I wonder if he knew he was a squib.”
“Probably not. Most squibs living in the muggle world were disowned. Short sighted if you ask me. Of course most wix don’t realize that a squib can give birth to a wix later on down the tree.”
“Hmmm” Claire went to say something else when the door opened.
Griphook stuck his head in.
The head of House Black has arrived. He has brought his heir as well.”
“Really? Is that typical? For the heir to come with, I mean.”
“No. In this case however, the heir is also a traveler. It was thought he could help to ease your transition into this time.”
“Hmmm. I hope he’s not a blood purist.” Hermione muttered.
Hermione jumped up out of her chair and whirled around.
Dunn Dunn Dunn!!!!!
Of course you know who called her Kitten...right?
Chapter 4: Sirius
Reunion between Sirius and Hermione.
Hermione’s brain froze.
Sirius had fallen through the veil. Bellatrix had cast the Avada at him and he had fallen through the veil.
“Surprise.” He was smirking at her. Just like Sirius used to.
“Sirius?” Hermione could not make herself believe what she was seeing.
“It really is me Hermione. Who else calls you Kitten after all.” Sirius’ said his smirk growing into a grin.
Despite her bravado and appearance of invincibility, at the end of the day, Hermione was an 18 year old girl.
A girl who had spent the past six months on the run; after learning that her parents had been murdered by people who then began to hunt her.
Hermione had hidden out in a tent in the woods with Harry and Ron. She’d worn a horcrux around her neck. Supported her adoptive brother even when her sort of boyfriend had bailed on them. Starved herself to make sure the boys ate.
Then yesterday while fighting snatchers and a werewolf she had fallen through a time portal over two hundred fifty years into the past.
Hermione had been strong for a very long time.
Seeing Sirius alive finally broke her.
Running across the room, she threw herself at Sirius. He lost his grin looking startled. At the last minute, Sirius opened his arms catching the little witch as she slammed into him.
Hermione collapsed against him sobbing.
“You’re alive. Oh My God!!! You’re alive!” After all of the people she had lost over the past year, getting one back was so overwhelming to her. Hermione couldn’t properly process or articulate what she was thinking and feeling. She could only cry.
Sirius didn’t know any of this.
So he didn’t understand why his godson’s friend had suddenly thrown herself at him (literally) and was now clutching at him… or why she was crying... sobbing as though her heart was broken. It didn’t matter. Sirius had always had a soft spot for Hermione. She obviously needed someone to lean on for a minute.
Picking her up, he strode over to the chair Hermione had vacated. Sitting down with her in his lap, Sirius held her as she cried.
Several minutes later Hermione was still crying.
Sirius was pretty sure that she would be horribly embarrassed when she calmed down, but for the moment, she was falling completely apart. So he just rubbed her back and made soothing noises to let her know that she was safe.
‘How did she get to this time? Was she alone? What had happened to Harry? Did they defeat Voldemort?’
Sirius had so many questions, none of which he could ask while Hermione was falling apart on his lap. So he tried to be patient.
Eventually, the tears slowed down. Sirius pulled out a handkerchief and handed it to her.
Hermione mopped her face, blew her nose, then looked at Sirius turning beet red.
“Oh Merlin. Sirius, I am so sorry. I don’t even know why I fell apart like that. It’s just been…”
“Hermione. It’s fine, really. You’ve obviously been under a lot of stress. I’m glad I was here to be a familiar face. This isn’t the easiest of time periods to fall into. Did you go through the veil too?”
“No. Harry and I came through a time portal in Scotland. Oh Merlin! Harry! He’ll be… I can't even tell you how happy he’ll be that you’re here and alive.”
“Did Voldemort die?”
“No. We, Harry and Ron and I were trying to track down his…” Hermione whispered, “horcruxes.”
“Horcruxes?! As in more than one?” Sirius whispered back. Horcrux was not a word you said out loud. Even the concept was disgusting.
Hermione nodded. “Yeah. He had six. So far two maybe three have been destroyed.”
“Six!? That is grotesque. Wait you maybe destroyed three? You’re going to have to explain that.”
Sirius rubbed the bridge of his nose, and prayed for patience.
“Ok. So Harry destroyed one in his second year. That diary he stabbed with the Basilisk fang was one.
Then Professor Dumbledore destroyed one that was a ring.
We found a third one, it was a locket in your house actually, but we haven’t figured out how to destroy it. It looks like it might have been when we came through the stones at Craigh na Dun. I don’t know for sure though, so maybe.”
“There was one at Grimmauld Place?!” Sirius whisper-shouted.
Hermione nodded. “Kreacher had it. He said Regulus died trying to destroy it.”
Sirius turned pale. “Reggie? Tried to destroy it? He was defecting?”
“I don’t know. I think so.”
Sirius sat for a moment and then shook his head. There was time to think about that later. He went back to the topic at hand.
“Ok so you kids are trying to find the rest of them?”
Hermione nodded again.
“Why isn’t anyone helping you? Where’s the Order? Where the Hell is Dumbledore?”
“Most of the Order are in hiding. Those that aren’t are spying at the ministry. Professor Dumbledore was killed by Snape a year ago.”
“Of course. It would be Snivellous.” Sirius looked angry for a moment. “If I wasn’t stuck here I’d go back just to kill that traitor.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore Sirius. Harry and I aren’t going back. We decided to stay, to try to change the future. It’s too messed up now. We have to figure out where it went wrong and fix it.
This whole blood purity thing needs to be exposed as the lie that it is. Muggleborns aren’t really muggle-born. They’re squib born. Somehow that gets forgotten. We need to make sure it won’t be.”
“Wait. Muggleborns are descended from squibs? Where did you learn that?”
“From the goblins. They used to conduct line tests for every reclaimed that came into the bank. But somewhere along the line, the term muggle-born was coined and the professors stopped asking for the tests for them.”
“Why didn’t the goblins say anything?”
“They can’t. Some treaty prevents it.”
“I need to tell Uncle Arcturus.” Sirius paused. “But I can do that. You and Harry can go back to our time.”
“Sirius, we don’t have anything to go back for.”
“What about Ron’s parents? What about your parents for that matter? You have to go back.”
“Ron didn’t come with us. He left a few weeks ago. My parents…” Hermione started to tear up again.
“I obliviated them and suggested that they sell their practice and move to Australia. But I wasn’t...wasn’t quick enough. Death eaters came to their office and killed them along with the rest of the office staff.
The muggle authorities blamed a gas leak. Said it was carbon monoxide poisoning. It wasn’t. Kingsley checked. They were all Avada’d.” Hermione was crying in earnest now.
“Shhh. I’m sorry Kitten.” Sirius hugged her hard. “Merlin, no wonder you fell apart. You’ve had a helluva year."
After a minute of Hermione sniffling Sirius said,
"You know it wasn’t your fault right? If your parents were squibs, they would have been targeted anyway. Death Eaters went after squibs pretty hard the first time round. I wonder if Voldemort knew they were the source of muggleborns?”
Hermione was calming down. “That… doesn’t make sense. Voldemort was a half blood. He was considered a muggle-born when he went to school.”
She nodded. “Yeah. His real name is Tom Riddle.”
“Ok. That doesn’t make sense. Of course most of what Voldemort did was crazy. It doesn’t really matter now, I guess. If you plan to prevent it from getting to that point. So. You plan to stay then? And Harry?”
“Yes. Neither of us have anything or anyone to go back to.”
“What, no boyfriend?”
“No.” Hermione didn’t look angry, just resigned.
“You’re kidding me. What about that Krum kid?”
“He was nice but really we were just friends.” Now Hermione looked embarrassed.
Sirius was a flirt but he wasn’t cruel. This was obviously an uncomfortable topic for Hermione.
“Alrighty then. We should probably talk to my Uncle about getting Harry.”
“Ok. We need to get Claire back to her husband anyway. Turns out they’re both wix and didn’t even know it, which is really weird.Claire I understand, she’s an enchantress, but Jamie is listed as a Battle Mage. That doesn’t make any sense. Does it?”
“Frankly no. Even in this time, Hogwarts letters go out. We should really tell Uncle Arcturus. Are you ok to talk to him?”
“Yeah. I’m ok. Thanks Sirius...for you know.” Hermione looked embarrassed again.
While Sirius was occupied and Hermione was having a well deserved and long delayed breakdown, Claire turned to the other man who had entered.
If Lord Dagworth-Granger’s appearance hinted at nobility, this man’s shouted it. Fine fabrics and exquisite tailoring whispered wealth. The intricate folds of his neck cloth, the high polish of his boots stated that the attentions of a valet were part of his everyday life.
It was the man’s bearing however that made his station in life the most clear. Whoever he was, this man was a member of the elite. The highest reaches of society. Claire looked at his face, particularly his eyes. The face was stern, haughty, aristocratic. The eyes...Claire gave a mental sigh of relief. The eyes were kind.
Claire dropped a curtsy to him. “Good Morrow my Lord. My name is Claire Fraser.”
Lord Black, (for it was Lord Black) nodded his head in acknowledgement. “I take it you are one of the claimants to house Black, Mistress Fraser?”
“Yes my Lord.”
“Why have you not pressed your claim before?”
“I wasn’t aware that I was a wix my Lord. I am an orphan. According to the line test, I don’t have enough magic to have been invited to...” Claire couldn’t remember the name of the school.
“Hogwarts. I see. Well, you have manners. Therefore you could not have grown up in an orphanage. Who raised you?” Lord Black asked abruptly.
“My Uncle raised me, Lord Black. I had tutors and learned from the locals where ever we were digging.”
Claire prayed for patience. Lord Black was more than a bit autocratic. She supposed it was like dealing with royalty. They didn’t mean to come off as arrogant...it was a natural part of their life that everyone deferred to them, that all questions were immediately answered to their satisfaction. Besides, she didn’t want to cause trouble for Hermione, who had clearly reached the end of her rope.
“Digging!? What on earth would a gently born woman be digging?”
“Uncle Lamb was an archeologist.” At Lord Black’s blank look Claire elaborated. “He and his team excavated tombs and lost cities, seeking to learn about ancient cultures. Uncle Lamb was sponsored by Oxford University.” Lord Black’s face cleared.
“I see. He took you with him?”
“Yes. He tried to leave me at boarding school. I wouldn’t have it. I’d already lost the rest of my family. Uncle Lamb was all I had left.” Claire paused. “All that I knew about anyway. I had no idea I was a wix until Hermione told me yesterday I must be, since I had traveled through the stones.”
“Ah yes. About that.” Lord Black gestured to the chairs. “Shall we sit? This may take some time.”
“Oh, yes of course.” Claire led the way and sat. Lord Black waited until she was seated, then sat down in the chair he had levitated from against the wall.
“Would you like some tea Lord Black?”
“No, thank you.” Lord Black smiled at her, then frowned. “Young lady, being new to the wixen world, there are some things that you might not be aware of. I feel it incumbent to take upon myself the responsibility of educating you, whether you declare for house Black or not.”
“Educate me about what precisely?” Claire said cautiously.
“Time travel is not that common. There are time portals scattered throughout the world. Although all wix can hear them, not all wix can successfully navigate them. It would be much safer for you, for all of you, if as few people as possible know that you can.”
“I don’t understand. The goblin...Linetracer, didn’t say anything about keeping it a secret. I have claim to three different houses. He said he was informing all of the heads of those houses. Should he not have done that?”
Lord Black shook his head. “That isn’t what concerns me. All heads of the noble houses know about the time portals and have taken oaths on their magic concerning the use of them. I assume you are linked to noble houses are you not?”
“Yes Lord Black. House Beauchamp, House Black and House Potter by birth and House Fraser by marriage.”
Lord Black looked surprised. “House Potter and House Fraser? Now that is surprising. House Black is not connected with either house. In fact House Fraser is dormant.” Lord Black shook his head. "We shall come back to House Fraser. Let us discuss your connection with House Potter first."
“The connection with the Potters comes from my Beauchamp relations.”
“That makes much more sense. Beauchamps and Potters are both light magic families.”
Claire looked confused at that. “Light magic? What is that?”
“It is a political designation. There are three factions in the Wizengamot. Light, Neutral and Dark.”
“What are the differences between the factions?” Claire didn’t want to oversimplify, it couldn’t be as basic as good, neutral and evil. Evil people didn’t think they were evil, usually.
“The ideals and causes the factions support tend to overlap for the most part. Light and Dark come into conflict over the question of interaction with the muggle world mostly, while the neutral faction mediates.”
Claire glanced over at Hermione. She seemed to be calming down a bit, and was talking to the man, Sirius. Claire turned her full attention back to Lord Black.
“There will be ample time to teach you about your heritage. For now I think we should see to the formalities of accepting you into house Black. If you wish to declare for our house that is.”
Claire nodded. “I agree Lord Black. Thank you for answering my questions. I’m sure I shall have many more in the coming weeks and months. I am not quite sure what declaring a house entails and I would like to speak with my husband before doing so.”
Lord Black nodded graciously. "Of course my dear."
Looking up at Hermione, who came walking towards her, Claire asked...
“Are you better Hermione?”
“Yes, thank you Claire.” Turning to Lord Black, Hermione dropped another beautiful curtsy. “Please forgive me Lord Black. I had thought Sirius dead and became overwrought at seeing him alive and well.”
Lord Black smiled. “Prettily done apology my dear. Think nothing of it. If you come from the same time as Sirius, I imagine you were caught up in the same war. Please, join us. Sirius, you too. There are matters that must be resolved as quickly as possible.”
“Yes Uncle Arcturus.” Sirius levitated his chair over next to Lord Black for Hermione, who sat down. Then Sirius levitated over a fourth chair from against the wall, which he seated himself in.
Lord Black addressed Hermione. “As I was telling your companion, it would be better if fewer people knew about your ability to access a time portal.”
“I think so too.” Hermione agreed readily. “I certainly don’t want the ministry to know. There is one thing I don’t understand though. If not everyone can access them, why were Greyback and the other snatcher able to follow us through?”
“That my dear, is precisely why you would be in danger if the wrong people found out. You opened the portal. Once a traveler opens a portal, it remains open for a minute or two allowing others to follow, even if they can’t travel by themselves. The ability is much sought after, especially by those who would use the travel to change the outcome of conflict or enrich themselves.”
“Oh. So if people find out, they’ll come after us.” Hermione looked upset again. “I definitely want to keep it a secret. I’m done with people chasing me.”
“Me too.” Claire added her sentiments.
"Although, it might have been Harry that opened the portal. We came through together." Hermione said thoughtfully.
Lord Black leaned back in his chair. “You needn’t fear your house heads revealing anything. It’s part of our oaths that we physically cannot. If Sirius hadn’t traveled himself, I wouldn’t have been able to tell him either.”
Now then. With that settled, we should move on to which house you ladies plan to declare for. We will of course accept you both as members of House Black. However, it might be in your best interest to allow another house to which you are tied, to accept primary claim. I would say House Fraser has primary claim to Claire, but there is a complication there, which we can discuss after I meet your husband.”
Hermione nodded. “Yes Lord Black. I would be happy to declare as a member of House Black. I do however, plan to declare house Dagworth-Granger as my primary house. Lord Dagworth-Granger has already been to talk to me. He offered to declare me his heir.”
Lord Black grimaced slightly and then nodded. “I’m not surprised. Leonard has no heirs. His only daughter is a squib and he was cursed in a small skirmish about 30 years ago. He’ll sire no more children. As his heir, you’ll be given his house protections, and have a great deal more power. House Black will add their protections too of course. Has Leonard spoken to you of marriage? I assume you are unmarried?”
“Yes Lord Black, I am unmarried. In my time, 18 is still considered quite young to marry.” Hermione said demurely.
Sirius was surprised and a little bit impressed with Hermione’s restraint. The girl he remembered would have gone on a long tirade about feminism, self-determination and agency by now. Which would be amusing, but wouldn't go over well with Uncle Arcturus. Hermione had learned to pick her battles it seemed.
“We shall have to find you a suitable match then. I shall confer with Leonard as to your prospects.” Lord Black grimaced again. Lord Dagworth-Granger wasn’t a bad man, just light. A pain in Arcturus’ side in the Wizengamot.
“Grandpapa Leonard said that I wouldn’t have to marry someone I didn’t like.” Hermione was quick to point out.
“Besides. I need some time to get used to...everything.”
Sirius jumped in. “Uncle; Hermione told me that my Godson came through the portal with her. I’d like to go get him and bring him back here before we make any additional plans. He’s a Potter, so we should probably go before Fleamont arrives.”
“I’ll have to go with you, Jamie is likely to run you through if you just show up and try to take Harry.” Claire said hastily.
“We can all go. Griphook said that the Potters won’t arrive until later this afternoon and the Beauchamps are in France. They can’t come until later in the week.”
“Oh! That reminds me. Claire’s husband is a wix.”
“What!?” Exclaimed Sirius and Lord Black together.
“He is the grandson of the head of Clan Fraser. He personally is the laird of a fairly new branch. His father was the first Laird Broch Tuaroch.”
“Who is his Grandsire?” Arcturus demanded of Claire.
She was taken aback at his vehemence. “I...I’m not sure my Lord. Jamie and I have only been married for a few months. It was an arranged marriage. I only know his mother’s family, his mother’s Uncle Dougal arranged the match.”
“No matter. I shall ask the young Laird himself.” Lord Black was convinced that there was something nefarious going on with house Fraser. He turned to Hermione. “Now where are we headed?”
“Harry and Jamie are staying in a cabin at the foot of Craigh na Dun.” “I’ll have to make a couple of trips. I don’t think I can side along more than one person at a time. I haven’t had my apparition license for that long.”
“No need. I’ve been to the Craigh. I can take Sirius if you would take Claire.”
“Alright then. Should we let the goblins know before we go?”
Lord Black strode to the door. “Griphook.”
“Yes Lord Black.”
“Please inform Linetracer that we have gone to fetch the rest of the travelers. We shall return shortly.”
“Yes Lord Black.” Griphook bowed. Lord Black bowed back.” Hermione was a bit shocked.
Lord Black saw the look on her face. “I do not consider goblins of higher status than myself. I do consider all goblins to be members of a foreign nation, and observe their customs. They bow to one another as a mark of respect. I bow to goblins as a mark of respect as well. They are an honorable warrior culture, deserving of such.”
Then Lord Black leaned over and said into Hermione's ear, “It is also the height of stupidity in my opinion to insult the beings who guard my vaults.”
Hermione laughed at that. “Very wise indeed my Lord Black.”
“Just so. Let us depart then.” Stepping out into the sunlight, they made their way to the nearest apparition point. Hermione and Claire went first. Lord Black followed with Sirius.
Chapter 5: Meanwhile, back at the cabin
Jamie and Harry talk. Harry explains some things.
(At the Cabin, just after Hermione and Claire leave)
Harry looked at Jamie. Jamie looked at Harry.
“How are you doing really? This is a lot of stuff to process.” Harry wanted to know.
Jamie rubbed the back of his neck self-consciously. “It’s no a matter o… processing. I grew up on tales o selkies and auld ones and the fae, ye ken. ‘Tis more a matter of tryin’ to reconcile the teachings of the catechism with what I know of Claire, of you...and Mistress Granger.”
“I get it.” At Jamie’s skeptical scoff, “No really, I get it. My aunt and uncle raised me after my parents died. They HATED magic. Wouldn’t even let anyone say the word in the house. Every time it came up they said it was demonic. So my whole life, that’s the message I got.
Then I turned 11 and all this weird stuff starts happening. The first day I got one letter. My uncle wouldn’t let me read it. He ripped it up. The second day there were two. Then four, then eight, then sixteen...you get the idea. My uncle got more and more freaked out. By the end we were camped out in this shack on an island. At midnight an eight foot tall guy breaks the door down.” Harry smiled.
“That was Hagrid. His full name is Rubeus Hagrid, but everyone calls him Hagrid. He was my very first friend.” Harry gets lost in the memory for a minute, then shakes his head and continues.
“Anyway, so Hagrid tells me I’m a wizard and that my parents were wixen also. I’m standing there in this shack, trying to wrap my brain around it, when I find out that my aunt and uncle knew all the time.
Uncle Vernon gets into an argument with Hagrid. He tells Hagrid I’m not going to ‘that freak school’. My aunt says a bunch of mean stuff about my Mom. Calls her a freak, then says she knew I would be just as strange and abnormal as my parents were. So Hagrid yells at them some more, then asks me if I want to go with him.”
Harry starts to tear up, shaking his head angrily.
“I said yes. I mean, I knew that magic was supposed to be evil, but Hagrid was the first person to be nice to me. To say he knew my parents. That they were nice instead of lazy drunks. So even if magic was evil, it was better than where I was, you know?”
“I ken.” Jamie said gently. He didn’t understand everything Harry was saying, but he understood enough.
“Yeah. Anyway…” Harry sniffs. So… Hagrid takes me to Diagon Alley and man, I can’t even describe it to you. You’ll have to see it for yourself.”
Harry skips a bit here, not wanting to explain all the details.
“So I go off to Hogwarts and everything is magic. Most people are nice, I make friends, and there are arseholes just like in Surrey. At Hogwarts though, all my friends agree that the arseholes are the ones with the problem instead of blaming me.
It took me that whole first year to stop staring like an idiot every time I saw some new thing about magic. For that first year... I heard my aunt’s voice in the back of my head...calling me a freak.
After awhile though, I figured it out. It’s like Hermione said yesterday. People are the ones that are good or bad, not magic. Magic is just a thing. A skill, like...”
Harry tried to think of something Jamie would understand. “Like, horseback riding or shooting or something. Some people can do it, some people really suck at it. Just with magic you have to be born with the ability.”
Harry looked at his new acquaintance sheepishly. “Does that make sense?”
“Aye. It does.”
“Now, I’m not Catholic...or well I guess I am, but I wasn’t raised Catholic. So I’m not sure what they teach about magic. Hermione is Catholic, and a bunch of the people I go to Hogwarts with are Catholic. Some of them are prats and arseholes, but they aren’t...evil.
One of the nicest human beings I know is a wizard, his name is Neville. He’s brilliant at herbology, he’s kind, he's a wizard and he’s Catholic.
Hermione’s been answering my questions. She says there are wix who are priests, that the Pope knows all about it. So...maybe the church doesn’t think magic is evil or only some kinds of magic are evil, like Necromancy.”
Harry fell silent and Jamie did too. After a minute, Harry said. “Hey. Jamie, I’m sorry for the info dump.”
“Dinna fash...I dinna ken for sure what an info dump is, or necro...mancy, but if ye mean you apologize for unburdening yourself, you dinna need to. It helps sometimes, just to speak it to another soul. I am honored you chose me to speak to.
It also does help me to… wrap my mind around it ye ken.”
“Oh. Well, I’m glad it helped you too.” Harry sat for a minute.
“By the way Jamie, an info dump is giving someone a lot of information all at once. Necromancy is trying to talk to dead people or bring them back to life, things like that.”
Jamie shuddered. “Wixen can do that?” “Bring back the dead?”
“Yeah, it’s possible, but it’s ten different kinds of illegal. Even if you bring someone back they’re still… you know, dead. Most wixen are totally grossed out by the idea. It’s just the bad ones that even try stuff like that.
Sometimes the dead send messages to someone in a dream. A few will be afraid to move on or have unfinished business when they die and become ghosts, but...mostly no one messes with that kind of thing.”
“It put’s my mind at ease to hear that.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Then Harry said, “Hey Jamie, would you mind if I took a nap? My head still hurts a little bit, and I haven’t been sleeping that well lately.”
“No, I dinna mind. I need to spend some time with Donas at any rate. If he eats too much grass he gets lazy. I’ll be just outside.” So saying, Jamie left the cabin, closing the door after him.
Harry slept for a couple of hours. When he woke, the sun was high in the sky and he heard voices. Hermione came into the cabin.
“Harry! Oh good you’re already awake. How are you feeling?”
“My head feels better. I'm still a little tired, but...” Harry shrugged. “How did it go at Gringotts?”
“It went great. Better than great. I…you... Oh Merlin.” Hermione struggled for a minute, then said...
“Just come outside Harry. You won’t believe me until you see him.”
“Him? Him who?”
“Just come outside.”
Harry shrugged and got up. He put his shoes on. Hermione was acting weird. Happy, if a little manic. He wondered if someone they knew had come through the stones or something.
Walking from the dim cabin out into the sunlight, his eyes took a minute to adjust. Even though Harry could see, everything was still a little out of focus.
Claire was standing next to Jamie. They were talking to another man, who was dressed fancy. Kind of like Malfoy Senior, 18th Century style.
A little to the left of them was Hermione. Standing next to her was…Harry squinted. ‘Wait a minute. That looks like’…
Harry just stared in disbelief. He was frozen...he couldn’t move. Sirius did instead. He took the two steps and engulfed Harry in a hug.
After a second, Harry’s brain caught up. He hugged Sirius back with everything he had. “Sirius… Sirius...”
Harry was crying, but he didn’t pay any attention to that. Just held onto his Godfather like a drowning man, struggling to speak. Finally he got out, “So sorry.”
Sirius pulled back enough to look at him. “What the bloody Hell are you sorry for Pup?”
“If I had learned Occlumency like Dumbledore told me to, I wouldn’t have fallen for Voldemort’s trick and you wouldn’t have...wait a minute… How are you not dead? How are you here?”
Harry pushed away from Sirius to look at him accusingly.
Sirius laughed. “I’m not dead because Bellatrix missed. I’m here because the veil is like the stones... except the veil is a one way trip.”
“oh...kay. What exactly does that mean?”
So Sirius explained to Harry (and incidentally Jamie) what it meant to be a traveler and how the stones (and the veil) worked.
“So...those whispering voices I heard from the veil, they were people who got trapped...like the screaming voices in the stones.”
“Yes. Only travelers can open a portal. It’s only open for a few seconds. The Unspeakables don’t know that, and I don’t intend to tell them. The only reason I know is because of the Black Family Library. The voices you hear, are people who went through following a traveler, then got stuck because the portal closed on them.”
Harry shuddered. “Oh man. That’s creepy. Ok Hermione. I am totally on board with not going back. Even if I am the one that opened it and I could get back through, I’m not taking the chance. They’re just going to have to kill Voldemort without me.”
“Voldemort? Flight from death? What sort of a name is that?” Asked Arcturus.
Harry snorted. “A made up one. The guy’s real name is Tom Riddle. His mother was a witch named Merope Gaunt and his dad was a muggle, also named Tom Riddle. Tom Jr. didn’t like muggles, so he made up the name Voldemort as an anagram of his real name.”
“Why didn’t he simply claim his mother’s house? The Gaunts are a bit on the decline, but it’s still a respectable name.” Arcturus wanted to know.
“He probably didn’t know he could, Lord Black. The only reason I knew about line tests was that I was polite to the goblins and interested in learning about their culture. A goblin told me I should get one, but didn't explain why. I never did end up getting one until today.” Hermione put in.
“What do you mean he didn’t know? How could he not know? All children of reclaimed blood are given a line test when they are brought to Gringotts for the first time. Now we don’t have that many reclaimed blood children you understand. Most intelligent families don’t cast their squib children out, but a witch or wizard born to a squib does occasionally appear in the book of names.”
Harry and Hermione gaped at him. So did Sirius.
“Ummm, what happens when one does appear? I mean you can’t just owl them a letter. Not in 1743.” Harry wanted to know.
“Someone from the Ministry Reclamation Office investigates. If the line has been dormant for several generations, the parents are usually ignorant of wixen, and some subterfuge is required.”
“What kind of subterfuge?” Claire had a sudden suspicion.
“As soon as the name appears, a member of the Reclamation Office begins to search for the child. Most of the time, thankfully, they find the child as an infant. The ministry official takes the child, replacing it with a golem. The child is then brought to Gringotts, a line test is performed, and one of the houses to which they belong declares for them taking them into the house. If no house will take them, another house will volunteer to blood-adopt the child.”
“What happens to the golem?” Claire’s suspicion was stronger now and Jamie was beginning to catch on.
“It appears to sicken and die naturally. A not uncommon occurrence with muggle children unfortunately.”
“Changlings.” Jamie said.
“I believe that’s the muggle name for it, yes.”
“But you can’t just do that!” Claire was horrified. “Just steal a child from their parents! That isn’t right.”
“Would you prefer we wait until the parents kill the child for being possessed? That is what happens if we don’t find the child in time.” Arcturus retorted.
“A loving parent wouldn’t do that.” Claire shot back. Jamie put a hand on her arm.
“Claire. I ken that it may hard for ye to reconcile, however, Lord Black is correct. At least in Scotland. If a child were to...show magic, his parents would call for the priest. If an exorcism did’na work, they’d kill the child for being demon possessed.”
“That’s barbaric.” Claire exclaimed, horrified.
“Jamie’s not wrong though. I’m sure you’ve read histories of the witch burnings. A fair number were children.” said Hermione.
“I dinna like it either. A child is usually smothered first, then the body burned. It’s considered merciful.” Jamie offered sadly.
“I don’t find that particularly comforting.” Muttered Lord Black.
Hermione, Claire and even Harry all looked at Jamie in horror. After a minute or two the three recent travelers looking horrified, Jamie looking sad, Arcturus looking impatient and slightly offended, Sirius spoke.
“It’s quite different in the 20th Century. Today, most people don’t fear wixen or think they are demonic. There is no Reclamation Office. We call them muggleborn. No one knows that they come from squibs. Such children are left with their parents until they’re old enough to attend Hogwarts.
“That’s preposterous. How do they prepare the reclaimed to assimilate into wixen society? Individual tutoring would take years. Or are there only a few from long dormant lines? Have people stopped being idiots and casting squibs from their families?” Arcturus exclaimed.
“Actually no. More muggleborns come to Hogwarts than wixenborn these days...I mean in our time.” said Harry.
Arcturus opened his mouth to say something else and Hermione interrupted.
“Lord Black, obviously things have changed in our time. I’d be delighted to discuss this with you. In fact I’d really like to ask you some questions, but we still need to get Harry and Jamie back to Gringotts. Lord Potter will be there just before lunch.”
Lord Black inclined his head regally. “You are quite right Lady Hermione we should go.”
Hermione asked Jamie.
“Did Lord Black explain everything to your satisfaction Jamie? I don’t want to drag you off to Gringotts without a clue as to what’s happening.”
“He did yes. I think Claire’s test was wrong. I ken who my people are. I dinna think I am a...wix. No that I’d be ashamed to be one ye ken. I just...I canna even hear the stones.”
“Yes well, that might be your head injury. The goblin test is never wrong. Harry are you alright to apparate yourself?”
“Yeah. I can’t take anyone else though.”
“It’s ok Pup. I can take Jamie if Hermione will take Claire?”
Jamie looked nervous, but held out his arm. Sirius clasped it and said...” hold on tight.”
Hermione and Claire wrapped their arms around one another’s waist. They nodded. Then Jamie shouted. “Wait!!!!”
They all looked at him, and he blushed. “Donas. I need to do something wit’ my horse. I canna leave him unattended, he’ll be stolen before we return.”
“Quite understandable young man. Horses are valuable animals after all.”
“Tuppy.” There was no sound, then a house elf stood there.
“You called, Lord Black?”
“Yes. Tuppy, look after this young man’s horse. Answers to the name of Donas. Take him to the stables at Ravensmere.”
“Of course Lord Black.”
Arcturus turned to Jamie. “Tuppy is my head groomsman. He will take care of Donas and I will see that he is returned to you when we have concluded our business today.”
Jamie was gaping. “Ye employ brownies?”
“Not brownies, house elves. They are cousins to the elves you call brownies but slightly larger, with a far better grasp of the King’s English. House Black has approximately 200 bonded elves.”
Hermione looked at Sirius and opened her mouth to say something. Sirius shook his head. ‘later’ he mouthed at her. After a second Hermione nodded.
“Now then. Shall we go?”
They all apparated away.
Chapter 6: Well now isn't that interesting
The group returns to Gringotts.
They landed at the apparition point and exited the area quickly. Jamie was promptly sick.
Hermione waited until he was done heaving...”evanesco”.
“Thank ye Mistress.”
Hermione smiled at him. Jamie was getting used to magic...at least he didn’t look shocked when she vanished the sick.
“Lots of people get sick the first time. It will get better.”
“Tis not unusual for me to get sick Mistress. I get sick in boats, also any closed coach. It’s only in an open wagon or on the back of a horse that I don’t.”
“Hmmm.” Hermione made a mental note to mention that when they went to St. Mungos.
The group walked down the Alley to Gringotts. Claire was still staring at everything. Jamie was being more discreet. He looked at all the wonders, keeping a hand on the hilt of his dirk. He just wasn’t open mouthed about it.
When they reached Gringotts everyone bowed to the guards, who bowed back. Eyeing Jamie, the goblins bowed just a bit lower to him. Jamie responded in kind.
“It’s the sword” Sirius whispered to Hermione at her questioning look. “Goblins respect warriors.”
In Linetracer’s office, Jamie took a line test. He found it interesting that the test used blood. (Lord Black haggled the goblin down to one galleon, which annoyed Hermione.)
Jamie’s family tree was the most surprising of the day.
The top five lines were all blue on his father’s side. His father was pale lavender.
The top five lines on his mother’s side were blue. His Uncle Colum was blue, as was his mother. His Uncle Dougal was lavender.
Jamie was blue, Jenny was lavender.
Lord Black looked at the family tree. “Ah. That explains it. Simon, Lord Lovat is a bigot and a pompous blowhard. Of course he’d disown a squib son.” He turned to Jamie. “Congratulations to you and your wife Heir Fraser.”
Jamie who was still trying to make sense of the fact that his Uncle Colum was a wizard, turned to Lord Black confused. “I thank you, but I’m no quite sure what you are congratulating me for.”
“On your impending fatherhood of course.”
“WHAT!!!???” Claire and Jamie exclaimed at the same time.
Sirius clapped his hand over his face.
“I don’t think they were aware Uncle.” To Jamie and Claire he said. “See the line below yours with no name? That means, ummm...”
“Claire’s pregnant.” Said Hermione. Sirius nodded.
Jamie and Claire looked at one another. Jamie grinned from ear to ear, placing a hand on Claire’s stomach. “A bairn.” He whispered in awe. Then he looked at Claire. She was frowning. Jamie’s smile faltered.
“I’m pregnant?” She turned to Lord Black. “Are you sure I’m pregnant?”
“Of course I’m sure. It’s right there on Lord Fraser’s family tree. Goblin line tests are infallible.”
Claire smiled a wobbly smile at Jamie. “A baby! Oh Jamie, we’re going to have a baby.”
She threw her arms around Jamie and started to cry. He was confused. Claire seemed happy, but this much emotion seemed a bit of an overreaction. Jamie rubbed her back looking at the others in bemusement.
After several long minutes, Sirius was the one who finally figured it out. “You thought you couldn’t have children...didn’t you?”
Claire nodded, hiccuping. Jamie laughed in relief. He kissed his wife. “Well, it seems ye can. Are you happy mo ghràidh?”
“So happy Jamie. So happy.” Claire was still teary, but she was smiling.
Lord Black bowed to Jamie and to Claire. “I do apologize for announcing your news in that manner. I assumed you must know.”
Claire held out a hand. Arcturus took it. “It’s alright Lord Black. You probably did us a favor. I really thought I couldn’t have children...it would have taken me a long time to figure it out on my own.”
“You are very gracious my dear. Thank you.” Arcturus patted her hand before releasing it.
Hermione cleared her throat.
“Jamie, you should probably look at the rest.” She and Sirius had already looked at it.
The text read…
Name: James Alexander Malcom Mackenzie Fraser
Date of Birth: May 1, 1721
Status: Pure blood
Power level: Battle Mage
House Claims: Noble & Ancient House of Fraser
Noble & Ancient House of Mackenzie
Noble House Lovat (repudiated)
Title and House: Heir apparent Earldom of Fraser, of House Fraser
Jamie was shaking his head in disbelief. Claire asked the question…
“I don’t understand. If Jamie is a mage, why didn’t he receive an invitation to Hogwarts? Why can’t he hear the stones?”
“I cannot say for certain why Lord Fraser cannot hear the stones. That would be something to have a healer look at. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say it is most likely the result of a curse of some sort.
As to not receiving an invitation to Hogwarts...Given what I know of Simon, he may have neglected to inform your Father of your invitation Lord Fraser.
Invitations go to the head of house. It is up to them to accept or not. for the head of house must pay the cost of the schooling. Lovat is just petty enough to deny you an education, thinking he repudiated your father therefore owed you nothing.”
Lord Black looked at Jamie, “I apologize if my characterization of your Grandsire is offensive to you.”
“’Tis no offense to me. I have no great affection for the man. My Da’s Mam was kind, but I only e’er saw her a handful of times before she passed. Da said ‘twas my grandmother who insisted I be sent to University in Paris and she who gave him the coin for it.”
“Your grandmother was Eleanor Fraser then?”
“The Fraser line follows primogeniture, but they don’t have a power level requirement. Even as a squib, your father would have been in direct line for the title. There are other Frasers, but they are all cadet branches. Your father descends from the main line. It would only move to a cadet branch if there were no male heirs left with the name in the primary line. Frasers do not cast out squibs.
Your mother also had a brother. Geoffrey was an elemental. He inherited just after Edgar, Eleanor’s brute of a father; sold her in marriage to Simon.”
“Sold her?!” Hermione and Claire exclaimed together.”
“Sold her.” Lord Black affirmed. “House Lovat is noble but not Ancient. Lovat paid quite a bit of money for the connection to the Frasers. He also had to take on the Fraser name.
Eleanor’s father died shortly after the wedding. Her brother ascended to the Earldom and tried to have the marriage annulled. Unfortunately for Eleanor, she was already pregnant with your father.
Eleanor only gave Simon one son, Brian; who turned out to be a squib. House Fraser invoked Primacy as soon as he was born. Brian was known by his mother’s surname and was invested as the heir to the Fraser title in infancy. Lovat repudiated the boy, to force the Frasers to pay for his education. Eleanor never fell pregnant again, which must have infuriated Simon.
Eleanor’s brother was killed about a year ago. There was some scandal there. I don’t remember the details. My wife might. The Fraser seat on the Wizengamot is currently dormant. There is currently no seat in the muggle House of Lords, although we could look into that and see if there is one that is dormant.”
Arcturus shook his head, then went on.
“Poor Eleanor. I knew her when she was younger. We attended Hogwarts at the same time. She was a gentle soul, and died very young.”
“Aye. Then my Grandsire remarried. He has a son and two daughters.” Jamie shook his head. “It does’na really matter I suppose.”
Arcturus looked at Jamie. “Well then, it only remains for you to decide what to do with the knowledge you have gained today.”
Jamie looked at Arcturus shrewdly. “What are my options Lord Black?”
Lord Black laughed. “That will take quite a bit of time to discuss. After Lady Fraser and Mr. Potter have spoken with Lord Potter I invite you all to Ravensmere, my home. It will take several days to sort everything out. That is best done behind strong wards.”
Turning to Harry. “Mr. Potter, you might want to have a line test done, before Fleamont arrives. It will provide documentation that you do indeed have claim to his house.”
“Ok.” Lord Black handed over a galleon to Linetracer, who got out another parchment without protest.
Hermione huffed and Sirius grinned at her.
After Harry’s test was complete, they all looked.
On Harry’s father’s side, all seven lines were blue.
On Harry’s mother’s side, the first three lines were blue, then four and five had one lavender and one brown coming down the maternal line. Line six was his mother and she was blue. His aunt Petunia was lavender. Uncle Vernon was brown and Dudley was lavender. Harry was blue. Then came the text:
Name: Hadrian James Potter
Date of Birth: July 31, 1980
Power Level: Dragon Mage
House Claims: Noble & Archaic House of Peverell
Noble & Most Ancient House of Potter
Noble & Most Ancient house of Black
Titles and Houses: Heir Apparent Dukedom of Peverell of House Peverell
Heir* of House Potter Last of line
Lord Black, Sirius and Hermione all gasped. Then Lord Black gave Harry a calculating look.
“What? What does that mean? Dragon Mage. Does that have something to do with being a parselmouth?” Harry wanted to know.
“Yes, it does Heir Potter. It also means that you are very powerful. Whichever houses you claim will be most fortunate. What interests me the most however, is that you are heir apparent to the Peverell title. That ducal seat has been dormant since the middle ages.” Lord Black still had that look in his eye.
“Uncle Arcturus.” Sirius cautioned. We’re going to have to be careful. He’s a Potter, they have Primacy. Besides, in Harry’s time, he’s the LAST Potter. Fleamont's wife is pregnant. That’s why he’s listed as an heir, but not heir apparent to house Potter.
In Harry’s time he’d be the Heir apparent. At the moment, the title has another heir apparent. This is tricky time-wise. We have to consult with Lord Potter and see what he wants to do.”
Lord Black looked irritated now. “I see your point Sirius. We’ll wait to discuss this with Fleamont. The Potters are light. The Peverell title was traditionally dark, which further complicates matters.”
Harry looked at Hermione, who was following the conversation avidly. “Hermione! You said I was probably a battle mage. Can you explain what’s going on?”
Hermione took a deep breath. “Harry… a Dragon Mage is a battle mage...just more powerful than normal and able to command dragons if they have the training. The last Dragon Mages were Merlin and Morgana. The Peverells are descended from Morgana’s son Mordred.”
“WAIT!! WHAT???!!!” Harry fell into the nearest chair.
“No wonder you could produce a corporal patronus in third year.” Sirius said. “It makes a lot more sense to me now.”
Harry still looked confused. “Ok, I’m powerful. I get that, but what does it mean exactly?”
“I’d like to know too.” Said Claire. “It’s obviously something rare.”
“What is a… parselmouth?” Jamie wanted to know.
“A parselmouth has the ability to talk to snakes.” Said Harry.
“And Dragons.” Said Lord Black.
“Dragons exist?!” Claire exclaimed. After a moment she shrugged.
“Well, I saw a unicorn this morning, so dragons aren’t that farfetched I guess.”
“I can talk to Dragons? I wish I would have known that fourth year.” Harry grumbled.
Griphook opened the door and poked his head in. “Linetracer, Lord Potter is here. Should I show him into your office, or send him to the conference room?”
“Show him to the conference room, we’ve finished the tests.” Griphook bowed and shut the door.
Turning to the group in his office, the goblin said.
“I shall have copies prepared and send them along while you meet with Lord Potter. For the time travelers, the date of birth will be changed on the copies for you and for the ministry to preserve the secret. The originals will be kept in the archive office of course.”
Recognizing dismissal, everyone bowed to the goblin, who bowed back. Leaving the archive office, the group followed the passage to the conference room they had met in earlier in the day. Upon entering, Lord Black bowed to the man in the room.
“Lord Potter.” Lord Potter bowed back, "Lord Black". Then he held out his arm which Lord Black clasped.
“Arcturus? What are you doing here?”
Lord Black smiled. “It’s been an illuminating morning Fleamont. Allow me to introduce you.”
“The Lady Hermione Dagworth-Granger, Heir of House Dagworth-Granger and member of House Black.”
Lord Potter bowed, Hermione curtsied.
“The Lady Claire Fraser, member of House Fraser, House Beauchamp, House Black, and House Potter.”
With a raised eyebrow, Lord Potter bowed again, and Claire curtsied.
“Her husband, James Fraser, Heir Apparent of House Fraser, member of House Mackenzie, repudiated member of House Lovat.” Now both eyebrows went up. “House Fraser? I thought the last heir of that house was a squib. The seat is dormant.”
“I’ll explain Fleamont, I promise.”
Lord Potter nodded and exchanged bows with Jamie.
“Last but not least, Heir Hadrian James Potter, Heir of House Potter, Heir apparent of House Peverell and member of House Black.”
“House Potter!? ... House Peverell?!”
“Yes. In fact, young Hadrian is the Last Potter at the moment.” Lord Black looked at Lord Potter. “They’re all travelers with the exception of Lord Fraser. They came through the stones at Craigh na dun in Scotland.”
Fleamont looked at Lord Black in exasperation. “Illuminating you say. That’s probably the most ridiculous understatement I’ve ever heard Arcturus.”
“There is more Fleamont. Young Hadrian is a Dragon Mage.”
Lord Potter sat down heavily and ran a hand down his face.
“This is going to take time to unravel Arcturus. I’m going to need a drink perhaps several while we do so.”
A goblin entered, handed several parchments to Lord Black, bowed and left again.
“Are those the line tests?”
Fleamont stood. “We can’t do this in Gringotts, Arcturus. It will take too long which will annoy the goblins.”
“Quite. I’ve invited everyone to Ravensmere to hash all this out. You are more than welcome to join us.”
“I think I shall Arcturus, thank you. Let me send a message to Euphemia not to expect me home for supper.”
Jamie looked uncomfortable. “Will we be needing to apparate again?”
“No. We can floo from here. House Black has floo privileges from Gringotts, as does House Potter.”
Leading them out of the room and down the corridor to the floo room, Hermione explained floo travel to Jamie and Claire.
“You step into an actively burning fireplace?” Claire didn’t sound very confident. “Maybe we should apparate.”
“Can’t. Anti-apparition wards won’t allow it.” Sirius was matter of fact.
“Prevents people from popping in unannounced.” Hermione explained.
“Literally.” Claire said under her breath.
“That reminds me. Sirius, does St. Mungos exist yet?” Hermione asked quietly.
“Yes, but you don’t want to go there. It’s a charity hospital in this time. People go there to die. Why? Does Harry need a healer? Or do you?”
Hermione shook her head. “Jamie’s the one who needs to see a healer. Someone, Jamie thinks his Uncle Dougal; hit him in the back of the head with an ax. He can’t hear the stones. Your uncle said that he’s probably been cursed. Claire should probably have someone check her over too. Especially since she side-alonged twice today. I don’t want to freak her out, but...”
“Ah. I can have Uncle Arcturus call the family healer when we get to Ravensmere. I’ll have a word with him. He has to go first to adjust the wards anyway.” Sirius strode ahead to catch up with Arcturus.
They reached the floo room and Arcturus paid the goblin the fee for everyone. “I’ll go first to adjust the wards. Give me five minutes, then follow.” Throwing some floo powder into the fireplace he called out, “Ravensmere.”
After waiting the requisite five minutes, Fleamont went through. Then Harry went with Claire and Hermione with Jamie. Sirius went last, bowing to the goblin as he went.
Chapter 7: Ravensmere
The group withdraws to the Black ancestral home to continue their discussion.
Enjoy. There is some exposition and a fair amount of world building the the next few chapters.
I remind everyone...this will be a slow burn. A verra slow burn.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Ravensmere was the primary seat of the House of Black. The original keep had been built before the time of William the Conqueror. The first Lord Black had been one of the few Anglo-Saxon Nobles that supported William in his war against Harold. The keep still stood although it appeared as a ruin to muggle eyes.
The current manor house had been built during the Tudor period. Being a wixen house it had many large windows. Hermione thought to herself it would be ruinous to heat the house without magic, but kept the observation to herself.
Lord Black was greeting a lady obviously his wife. “If we could have tea in the blue room I think that would be best Bella.”
“Of course Arcturus.” “Kindle.” A house elf in a pinafore popped silently into the room.
“You called Lady Black?”
“Yes Kindle. Tea in the blue room please.”
“Yes Lady Black.” Kindle popped silently back out.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present my wife Isabeau.” “Bella, you know Lord Potter, this is Lord and Lady Fraser, Lady Dagworth-Granger and Heir Potter.” Courtesies were exchanged.
If Lady Black was curious about the invasion of her home by so many unknown people, it didn’t show on her face.
“Allow me to show you to the blue room.”
Once they were all seated and tea was poured, Fleamont turned to Arcturus. “Alright Arcturus. You said you’d explain...”
Arcturus relayed everything that had occurred that morning at Gringotts to both Fleamont and Isabeau. When he reached the story of the Frasers and Lord Lovat he asked his wife, “I seem to remember a scandal there, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. Do you my dear?”
“Yes, of course. There are a number of scandals. I think the one you refer to is the murder of Lord Fraser just after the murder of his heir apparent. They never could prove who did it. Lord Fraser was a victim of the blood boiling curse. I don’t remember how the heir apparent was murdered. The seat is dormant as the heir’s son never claimed the title.”
Jamie spoke up. “Being as I am the heir’s son, I never knew the title was there to claim. My father was no murdered though. His heart stopped. My Uncle Dougal said he just fell down dead.”
“Hmmm. That is a curious discrepancy.” Isabeau looked at her husband. He nodded but didn’t say anything. To Arcturus it sounded more like the man had been cursed. He would investigate. It did no good to upset the young Heir until he found the truth of the matter.
Lady Black continued. “At any rate, that might explain why you didn’t know to claim the title. Except for the fact that your grandfather Lord Lovat and your Mackenzie relations all knew you were the next in line. Which begs the question, why did none of your relations inform you?”
“That isn’t the only question Bella. Young Jamie is a battle mage who never received his Hogwarts invitation. The lad just discovered he was wix this morning. Along with his wife who is of a reclaimed bloodline. With your permission?” He looked at Jamie and Claire who nodded. Hermione and Harry nodded also.
Lord Black produced the parchments with the line tests containing the altered birth dates for Isabeau and Fleamont to peruse. While they did so, he excused himself to summon the family healer to attend them.
“This is outrageous.” Fleamont exclaimed. “It’s nothing less than line theft.” Isabeau nodded.
“I know.” Arcturus said walking back into the room. “Fleamont, we need to call Simon Fraser and the Mackenzie brothers before the Wizengamot. This cannot be allowed to stand.”
“I agree. We should also ask for the maximum in penalty. No matter their excuse, the damage done is incalculable. Heir Fraser will never get the time back. He is currently woefully unprepared to take his seat.” Fleamont turned to Jamie. “Am I correct young man in assuming that you’ve had no magical training whatsoever?”
“You are sir. I did’na even ken I was a wix until an hour ago. Are there tutors that might help me gain such training?” Jamie was intrigued.
“Yes, there are.” Fleamont started to say something else and Arcturus subtly shook his head.
“I can recommend some names if you are interested. You’ll need to claim your title in the Wizengamot. I understand that you are already known as Laird in the muggle world. Here you are Heir Fraser until you claim your title. Then you will be Lord Fraser.” Fleamont said instead. Arcturus must have something in mind, and Fleamont trusted him this far. Line theft was something they both abhorred.
Jamie nodded in understanding.
“I would like that list. At the moment there’s a price on my head along with a host of other matters I need to resolve before claiming my place in wixen society.” Jamie looked at Claire, who nodded. Yes, they had much to discuss later.
"A price on your head? Whatever for?" Isabeau exclaimed.
"Murder, though I did'na do it." said Jamie.
"If it's in the muggle world that will be easily dealt with. We can attend to the matter later this week if you like." suggested Arcturus.
"I appreciate any assistance you may render Lord Black." Jamie inclined his head in gratitude.
Sirius interjected… “I’d like to offer you my services, as mentor Jamie. I can’t imagine having all this dropped in your lap as an adult. However, I do have some frame of reference. After all, I was dropped 265 years into the past. That required quite a bit of additional tutelage on the part of my Aunt and Uncle. I'm also quite comfortable in the muggle world."
“Thank you Sirius. I would be most grateful.” Jamie smiled. He liked Sirius.
Fleamont looked grumpily at Arcturus. “This is going to play right into your agenda on the retention of squibs in wixen society. Dammit all if I can’t say I haven’t changed my position on the question.”
“I trust you also realize I had no idea about this situation. Nor would I have, if three of the four people tested weren’t also members of House Black. It does perfectly illustrate my concerns about the dangers of casting squibs out. Bloody Hell, what has happened to my family in the future?”
Arcturus held up his hand. “No, don’t answer that. With any luck now that you’re all here, whatever happened...won’t.”
“Arcturus my love?”
“Yes my heart?”
“This situation is going to require a great deal of thought, planning and most of all, conversation with the principle participants.” She waved a hand at the other occupants of the room. “I suggest we adjourn for luncheon. I know you men will want to plot all afternoon. I think you’ll accomplish more if you have sufficient sustenance. Wouldn’t you agree?”
Arcturus laughed. “Yes dear. I know how you hate having your schedule disrupted.”
“Really Arcturus! You know it’s the elves. They get very upset if they think we’re going to miss a meal.”
Rising, Lady Black led the way to the dining room. Arcturus chuckled and followed.
Sirius rose. “He does love to tease Aunt Isabeau. I’m sure you’re all hungry. Let’s go have lunch. We can continue this discussion after.”
Luncheon was interesting. House elves dressed in livery served. The conversation was lively and varied.
Isabeau wanted to know all about fashion in the future. While Claire and Hermione did their best, neither one paid much attention to fashion.
While disappointed in their lack of fashion knowledge, Lady Black was happy to see that both ladies had impeccable table manners. It spoke of good breeding. Young Lord Fraser, she observed also had those manners. Heir Potter on the other hand... He was polite and tried to observe the others. It was painfully obvious to Isabeau that he lacked training.
Isabeau mentally added etiquette classes to the schedule she was mentally composing. She’d have to contact Euphemia Potter. Phemia would never forgive her, if Bella left her out. Perhaps Anthea Dagworth-Granger as well. It wouldn’t do to be accused of poaching from another house. Anthea had impeccable taste in fashion.
Another house elf dressed in the clothing of a butler entered, going to Lady Black as they were enjoying some fresh fruit to end their meal. He spoke softly into her ear and the lady nodded.
“The healer has arrived. Now, who is in need of her services?”
“Harry, Jamie, and Claire.” said Hermione.
“Hermione and Jamie.” said Harry.
“Jamie, Harry and Hermione.” Said Claire
“Claire, Lady Hermione, and Heir Potter.” said Jamie.
Isabeau laughed. “I recommend Cassie looks over everyone as long as she is here.”
They returned to the Blue room and the healer entered. Arcturus made the introductions. “Please allow me to introduce Cassiopeia Black, my niece and the family healer for House Black. Cassie, This is Heir James and Lady Claire Fraser, Heir Hermione Dagworth Granger and Heir Hadrian Potter.”
“Good afternoon.” The healer bowed. “Where is my patient?”
“You have four patients Cassie.” said Isabeau.
“Please examine Claire/Hermione first”, said Jamie and Harry at the same time.
“I recommend Claire first. I’ll go second.” Said Hermione. “She’s pregnant and went side along twice today.”
“Is that bad?” Claire wanted to know.
“It depends on how far into the pregnancy you are.” Said Cassiopeia. She waved her wand over Claire, casting a diagnostic spell. The healer read the parchment that was produced. “You are relatively healthy, just lacking some nutrients. I shall prescribe a nutrient potion. The baby is fine and developing normally. The side along hasn't affected anything although I do recommend that you floo from this point forward. Do you suffer from morning sickness?”
“Not yet, I just found out this morning that I’m pregnant.”
“I shall prescribe a second potion for morning sickness in the event you need it.”
“Give the list to Asphodel before you leave Cassie, she shall see to it.” Arcturus directed.
Cassie raised an eyebrow at that, but didn’t comment.
Hermione went next. Upon reading her parchment, the healer frowned. “You are severely malnourished young lady. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’d been starved. You’ll need a nutrient potion as well, but a slightly different formula to address the malnutrition.”
Hermione blushed but didn’t reply. Harry looked angry.
“Hermione.” was all he said, but the look Harry gave her while he said it caused the young woman to blush even harder.
Cassie looked between the two. There was a story here. Without commenting further, she cast a diagnostic on Harry. His parchment caused her to go pale. It was significantly longer than the other two had been. “You have a quite comprehensive list of issues Heir Potter. I shall come back to you I think.” She turned to Arcturus.
“Uncle, I shall need you to call a cursebreaker. I’d prefer Cygnus if he’s available.” Arcturus nodded and stepped out of the room.
Setting Harry’s parchment aside, Cassie cast a diagnostic on Jamie. After reading his parchment she looked at him. “I’m going to assume Heir Fraser, you didn’t know you were under an active curse at this time?”
Jamie looked back at her, startled. “I’m under a curse? What kind of curse?”
“It’s more of a cursed wound that was never treated, centered at the back of your head. Do you get headaches?”
“Do you have trouble accessing your magic?”
Arcturus stepped back into the room. “He just discovered he is wix this morning. I’m not sure he would know how to answer that Cassie.”
“Hmmm. I’ll need the cursebreaker to look at you too. If you’ve never accessed your magic, releasing the curse could cause it to flare and that will require help.” Cassie said to Jamie. She then turned to her Uncle.
“I’m not going to get details am I?”
“Other than those necessary for you to heal them and prepare testimony for the trial concerning Lord Fraser’s injury, no.”
The healer sighed and nodded. “I thought as much. While we are waiting for the cursebreaker… did you reach Cygnus, Uncle?”
“Yes. He shall arrive directly.”
Cassie nodded. “Good. Cygnus is the most skilled cursebreaker in the family. As I was saying, while we wait for Cygnus, I can begin to discuss Heir Potter’s condition with him and Lord Potter.”
“Heir Potter, due to the nature of your injuries and their severity; would you prefer to have this conversation in private?”
“What? No, that's ok. Hermione probably knows about everything anyway. Jamie and Claire saw what I got hit with yesterday. Sirius is my Godfather… so it’s alright.”
“Alright. There is evidence of long term malnutrition which has affected your growth. I can prescribe some potions to help. You may gain an inch or two in height, but that would be the most you’ll see at your age.
You have a number of old breaks that didn’t heal properly. Mostly in your fingers of both hands, though the left tibia also has scarring which indicates it was broken at one point. It also did not heal properly. Thankfully it didn’t happen on a growth plate. You might want to vanish the bones and take skele-gro.”
Last but certainly not least, the scar in your forehead has curse residue in it that I don’t recognize. The curse is no longer active, but was removed quite recently. I believe it affected your vision. An oculist may be able to repair the damage after Cygnus removes the residue.”
By the time Cassiopeia finished speaking, Harry was bright red. Isabeau, Arcturus, Fleamont, Jamie and Claire looked concerned although Claire was also pale. Hermione and Sirius both looked ready to kill someone.
Sirius was the first to find his voice. “Who broke your fingers pup?”
“My cousin Dudley broke the ones in my left hand, he slammed a door on them. I didn’t know there were any broken in my right hand.” Harry whispered. Sirius swore under his breath and hugged his Godson. Harry shrank in his embrace.
“Harry James Potter. You have done nothing to be ashamed of. It was your horrible relatives fault. So don’t you DARE act like you are somehow at fault for this.” Hermione found her voice next. Knowing Harry, she recognized that he was blaming himself.
“Of course he isn’t at fault.” Claire said in a matter of fact tone. “You needn’t be embarrassed either, Harry. I’m quite sure you didn’t realize the diagnostic test would be so in depth. I certainly didn’t, and I am a nurse."
Claire’s no nonsense manner brought Harry out of the shame spiral he was going into. She had used the same tone when cajoling wounded soldiers to find the will to live.
Cursebreaker Cygnus Black chose that moment to walk into the room. “Cousin, you called for me?”
Arcturus shook himself slightly. “Yes. We have two young men here for you to look at. One with curse residue.” pointing at Harry. “One with an active curse on the back of his head.” Pointing at Jamie.
Jamie stepped forward. “Good morrow Cursebreaker. My name is Heir James Fraser. If you could look at my cursed wound first I would be obliged to ye.” Jamie thought it would be better to draw attention away from Harry for a bit.
“Of course.” Cygnus waved his wand, then looked at the results of his scan. “Ooh that’s a nasty one. Someone hit you with an axe.”
“You’re lucky you’re alive at this point. If you weren’t a mage you wouldn’t have survived the blow. I can remove the curse. You’ll need to be lying down. The removal will be somewhat painful as the curse is so old, and you are likely to lose consciousness.”
“Cygnus, he didn’t know he was a wix. He’s never consciously used his magic.” Cassiopeia cautioned.
Cygnus raised an eyebrow. “Alright, he’ll need a warded room to lie down in. Wards will prevent problems if his magic flares upon the removal of the curse.”
“Heir Fraser. I invite you and your wife to be our guests here at Ravensmere. It will allow you to receive treatment and to recover in a safe environment.” Isabeau also wanted to take Claire to Twilfit and Tattings, but she kept that to herself.
“I thank you Lady Black. On behalf of my wife and myself I accept your kind invitation.” Jamie said with a bow.
“Wonderful. I shall have the elves make up a chamber for you.” Isabeau swept out.
Arcturus spoke to Fleamont. “I know he’s a Potter first. I’d never try to poach, but you know as well as I do that Cassie and Cygnus are the best in their fields. Would you like Heir Potter to receive treatment here at Ravensmere, or would you prefer to take him back to Potter manor?”
“How about you ask Harry what he wants to do?” Interjected Hermione somewhat acerbically.
“They come from a time that allows them far more autonomy Uncle. Please take that into your calculations, it will make interacting with them far smoother.” Sirius suggested.
“Right. Heir Potter. Would you prefer to stay here at Ravensmere or remove to Potter manor?” Fleamont wanted to know.
“Ummm. I’d really rather stay with Sirius and Hermione right now if that’s ok.” Harry said looking back and forth between the two Lords.
“Fleamont, you are welcome to make free of the house in order to become acquainted with your relative while he decides which house to declare for.” Arcturus offered.
“My thanks Arcturus. It is I believe the most prudent course of action, to keep the four all together for the present. There are many things that must be very confusing to them. With Sirius here Ravensmere would be the better option.”
“I’ll let Isabeau know so she can have additional rooms prepared. Also, Fleamont can you contact Leonard Dagworth-Granger? He has primacy over Hermione and should probably be included in these discussions.”
Fleamont nodded. Both men stepped out of the room.
OK. A couple of things.
Everyone's reaction to Harry's list of issues depends on how well they know his history. Claire had a slightly stronger reaction because she's a nurse, and with a child, (which at 17 she'd consider Harry to be) Claire would suspect abuse.
Hermione and Sirius KNOW Harry's relatives treated him badly and that his cousin bullied him. I didn't stray too far from canon here in which he was neglected and emotionally abused by the adults and beat up by his cousin.
My other note concerns Jamie. In canon that man miraculously escapes death so many times that it's easy to attribute it to magic. At least that's what I'm doing in this story.
Chapter 8: Plans
Over a meal the party make plans.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Isabeau arranged for her guests to have rooms adjoining one another in Sirius’ wing. Leonard Dagworth-Granger and his daughter Anthea were expected to join them for supper.
Isabeau had sent Fleamont to Potter manor with an invitation for Euphemia to join them as well. The three ladies could plan the travelers introduction to society. Meanwhile the men would be plotting to see justice done.
Cassiopeia and Cygnus would begin treating Hadrian and James after supper was over. Both would need to sleep after treatment.
Supper was pleasant. The men all congregated at Arcturus’ end of the table, the women at Isabeau’s end. The conversations, were similar. Planning for battle. Only the adversaries differed.
(The women’s end of the table)
“The first thing we need to do is attend to your wardrobes. It would be simpler I think, if we simply made an appointment at Twilfit and Tattings for the entire day. There are too many of you to be seen to in the normal length of time. I’d rather not be interrupted once we begin.” Anthea declared.
“I quite agree. I know that Arcturus doesn’t want anyone to know about our new family members until all plans are in place, and the Wizengamot summons go out.” Isabeau put in.
“Why do we need an entire wardrobe? Hermione and Harry I understand, but Jamie and I already have enough clothes.”
“Yes… if you’ll forgive me Claire...you need clothing made in wixen fabrics. You also need clothing that is more suited to your station in life. The fabric quality and style of your current dress is more suited to, well, not the noble class to which you belong.” Euphemia said blushing a little.
Hermione nodded and turned to Claire. “I think I understand. Someone tried to steal Jamie’s title. So it’s even more important that he look the part of Lord when he tries to claim it before the Wizengamot. You are his wife. How you are presented matters too. Especially in society.“
“Exactly. You Hermione are now the Heir to our house. Papa is going to tell everyone you were being educated abroad. It is essential that you be perfect when presented as you are older than the usual age of sixteen. In addition to your wardrobe you’ll need all sorts of training in a number of areas.” Anthea privately hoped that they had enough time.
“The society lessons I had will mostly translate to England I think (and the 1700’s Hermione thought). I may need some additional tutoring, particularly in English etiquette. My dancing masters were quite up to date. Claire might need a little help too, since her tutors were from many other countries outside England.”
It was a delicate dance, trying to address the discrepancies without telling the ladies they were time travelers. Any differences of speech and manner could be attributed to being in another country, but only up to a point.
It was actually easiest for Claire and Jamie. They hadn’t known they were wixen. Claire had already had to adjust to this time period. So their manners were alright for the time period, if not precisely their proper station in society.
Bella knew there was more to the story than what she was being told. Just as she knew about Sirius. Arcturus and Isabeau had not been blessed with children. They had blood adopted Sirius, in order to make him the heir. Even with that proof of their acceptance of him, Sirius had needed a great deal of time and mind healing when he came into their lives.
Both of which Isabeau and Arcturus were only to happy to provide. It had helped to work through the memories of his childhood with him using Arcturus’ pensieve. At first, Sirius would only let Isabeau see what his upbringing had been like. Isabeau had been appalled. Eventually with much coaxing Sirius had let Arcturus see the memories. He had been so angry at Walburga’s treatment of her sons that he hadn’t been able to speak for over an hour.
After that session it had been easier. Sirius had begun to talk about his demons with a professional mind healer. Eventually he had come to peace with most of it. Sirius still had nightmares occasionally, about his Godson mostly. Isabeau hoped that now the Godson had joined them, the nightmares would cease.
“Don’t you agree Isa?... Isa!?” Anthea was trying to get her attention.
Isabeau shook her head. “I do apologize, I was woolgathering. Could I trouble you to repeat the question?”
“Would you like to contact Archibold Tatting or shall I?”
“You go ahead Anthea. You know him better than I do.” Anthea blushed. She was quite sweet on the tailor. Archie was just as sweet on her. Sadly, his father had forbidden a match because Anthea was a squib.
At the men’s end of the table, the discussion covered a wider variety of topics.
“The first thing you need to do Hadrian is decide if you will take up the Peverell ducal title and seat. There is a corresponding title in the muggle world. Sadly it’s been dormant since The mad Tudor king went after the church. It shouldn’t be difficult to reinstate if you wished to. The current Prime Minister is a squib. Pelham sees the sense in wixen titles being restored. He would advocate to King George for the restoration.” Fleamont led.
“Would it be helpful to reinstate it?” Harry looked at Sirius who looked at Fleamont.
“Yes, I think so. The more wixen there are in the house of Lords, the sooner we can pass laws that outlaw killing people suspected of witchcraft. There hasn’t been a witch burned in England since 1727, but the laws remain on the books. They still put people on trial in Scotland. It’s a barbaric practice that needs to be stopped. The only actual wixen they kill are children. All the adults are muggles. Not that I condone their killing either.” Fleamont was quick to add.
“What about squibs?” Jamie asked.
“Not that I know of. Squibs living in the muggle world are usually far more circumspect than wixen. They have no magic to protect them. I’m not saying it’s never happened, just not recently that I know of.” Arcturus contributed.
“It would also give you a seat in the Wizengamot. I understand that you are the last Potter in your time. I know that the line gets down to one in 1981. Now that you are here, I hope we can change that. Sorry, I’m straying from the main topic. If you take the Peverell title you will open those vaults which will make the goblins happy. You’ll have your own ancestral manor, and gain a very powerful seat on the Wizengamot. My wife and I are expecting a son, who will be my heir. I’ll declare you heir presumptive of the Potter seat, until my son reaches his majority. If you have your own seat, you’d be able to protect his from unscrupulous guardians.”
“I don’t mind claiming the title, but... I don’t know anything about politics or... or being a Lord. I spent the first eleven years of my life sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs! I’ll end up screwing up and embarrassing myself and all of you.” Harry knew what they were trying to coax him into doing, he wasn’t sure he could.
“Cupboard under the stairs?” Fleamont and Jamie asked together.”
“His horrible relatives didn’t give him a bedroom, just stuffed him in a storage cupboard.” explained Sirius.
“Yes. I know that now. I think I knew it then, but I couldn’t do anything to change it. Can we not talk about it please?” Harry said.
“Of course Hadrian. My apologies.” Fleamont looked at Sirius who nodded. Harry would be talking about it later.
“So. Back to the Peverell seat.” Arcturus said.
“Can Sirius sit in the seat for me? Like my second or something?” Harry asked desperately.
“It’s called a proxy pup. Yes you can name me your proxy, and yes I’ll do that for you.” Sirius held up a finger.
“Until you’ve been trained on how to do it for yourself. I know this makes you nervous, but you’re smart Harry, and you have good ideas. Being raised by muggles you’ll have much better ideas about how to protect vulnerable wixen from muggles without becoming abusive towards the muggles.”
“Ok.” Harry took a deep breath. “Ok. I can do that. You’ll help me right? Teach me what I need to know?”
“Of course I will.”
“I shall help you also Hadrian.” said Fleamont.
Arcturus offered, “If I know my wife, she already has a schedule in mind to help all of you learn the things you need to in order to thrive in society. I’ll ask her to add political lessons. Leonard if you would care to join us, we can give the young people all three points of view, Light (Fleamont) Grey (Leonard) and Dark (myself). What say you?”
“I would be amenable to that. I am surprised however. I would think you’d want to mold them in your image.” Leonard said gruffly.
“There’s no sport in that Leonard. I’m interested in keeping the balance. If all wizards were dark there would be no one to test my ideas against.” Arcturus was grinning. “Besides, Sirius is more grey than dark. If anything your faction would have an advantage.”
Leonard chuckled. “Oh Arcturus. I will enjoy debating you in these lessons.”
“Right. Well, moving on to James’ situation.” Sirius decided it was time to change the subject.
All three older men’s faces darkened. “That should be no problem.” Leonard growled. “If there is one thing that unites us all, it is abhorrence of line theft.” He turned to Jamie. “That it was your blood kin makes it worse. They could not claim the title for themselves, but would deny it to you. I find their behavior despicable.”
“I recommend we visit the ministry to request an investigation, once Heir Fraser performs the ritual of inheritance.”
“What exactly does this ritual entail?” Jamie wanted to know. Everything was moving very fast. He was trying to keep up, but the term ritual made him nervous.
Arcturus provided the description. “You’ll go to Gringotts and ask the goblins for the Fraser ring. They will bring it to you, you put it on. The Fraser family magic will decide if you are the rightful Lord. If you are, the ring will size to fit your finger. If you are not, the ring will disappear from your finger and reappear in the box. it’s relatively simple.”
Jamie relaxed slightly. “That does’na sound difficult.”
“What did you expect? The sword in the stone?” Sirius laughed.
“Wait! Is that a real thing?” Harry exclaimed.
“Yes pup. But Arthur didn’t have any children. So until he wakes...”
‘WOW’ Harry mouthed.
Arcturus coughed. “As I was saying. After Heir Fraser claims his title, we can go to the ministry and ask for his relatives to be summoned before the Wizengamot to answer the charge of line theft.”
“How do ye intend to prove it? I did’na ken it existed.”
“All we have to prove is that Simon received your letter and didn’t tell your father or you. The fact that you didn’t go to Hogwarts is that proof.” Fleamont explained.
“The old fox could always say that he told my father and it was my Da that did’na tell me.”
“He could, if we didn’t use veritaserum.” Put in Leonard.
“It’s a potion that compels whoever takes it to tell the truth.” Sirius said at Jamie’s blank look.
“Ah. Veritas. That’s marvelous. Could we give it to my Uncle Dougal to prove he’s the one hit me with the ax?”
“Yes, we could. I highly recommend it. Of course they can counter by demanding you take it as well.”
“I dinna mind. I’ve nothin’ to hide.”
“Except for the fact that Claire came through the stones.” Arcturus cautioned.
“Would they ask about that?” Harry asked.
“They might ask about Claire. If they word it correctly it might put her in danger.”
“Then no.” Jamie was not about to do that.
Leonard spoke up then. “I have an idea. You told me earlier that your Uncle Colum was always supportive of you. He wanted you to become regent for his son Hamish instead of Dougal. Is that right?”
“Aye. That’s why I dinna understand why he kept this from me.?”
“I don’t think he did. In fact I don’t think Colum knows you are a mage, not a squib. If I’m right, I could ask Colum to be the one to accuse Dougal and Simon. You wouldn’t be the accuser. Therefore, they couldn’t require you to take veritaserum. Colum and I were friends in school.”
“That would work. It would have to be soon though. He’s in verra poor health.”
“I’ll contact him in the morning. To determine his culpability and whether he can help.” Leonard paused a moment.
“Cygnus, when you remove the curse, make a record of it for me would you?”
“With your permission of course James. I need the proof to show Colum along with a copy of your line test.” Leonard added.
“Ye may make the record and the copy and show it to my Uncle.”
“Well. That is a good beginning.” Arcturus sat back satisfied for the moment.
Fleamont raised a cautionary hand. “It is a beginning. There is much to do.”
“Yes we need to be very thorough in planning this. The repercussions if we don’t are enormous.” Leonard said.
In my head canon, Anthea is Mia Wasikowska and Archibold Tatting is Ewan MacGregor. Leonard Dagworth-Granger is Charles Carson
Arcturus Black is Jeremy Irons, and Isabeau Black is Jennifer Connelly
Fleamont Potter is Colin Firth, and Euphemia Potter is a young Michelle Pfieffer.
Cassiopeia Black is a young Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Cygnus Black is Matthew McConaughey
Everyone else so far is who was cast in the movies, except Claire is a little shorter than Caitriona.
This is who I see when I write. If it helps you, I'm glad. If not, feel free to cast your own characters!
Chapter 9: Curse removal
Cygnus and Cassiopeia treat Harry and Jamie.
It had been decided that both Hadrian and Jamie would be treated directly after supper. Harry went first. He had more issues, yet none required a great deal of energy on the part of Cassiopeia or Cygnus. Sirius went with him.
Hermione stayed in the sitting room talking with Lord Black and the Dagworth-Grangers. They didn’t really cover any new ground, opting to get to know one another instead. Hermione would rather make plans when Harry could be there too.
The Potters retired for the evening. Euphemia was due in a little less than two months. She needed her rest.
Isabeau escorted Claire and Jamie to their chamber, then returned to the sitting room with the others. Two large baths had been prepared in the adjoining chamber. Night clothes had been laid out for them. A soft warm nightgown for Claire and a nightshirt for Jamie. Claire was ecstatic at the bath. She quickly disrobed, sinking into the warm water with a sigh.
It took Jamie slightly longer to enter the bath. He enjoyed the view of his naked wife first.
After they were finished, there was a warm cloth for each to dry themselves with.
Jamie had bathed inside before. Just not in a tub that large, or with water that didn’t get cold. Claire declared hot baths a major selling point for staying in the wixen world. “The thing I missed the most from my time was hot baths, and flush toilets.”
“What is a flush toilet?”
Claire tried to explain but didn’t think she quite made Jamie understand.
Jamie had also never heard of a shirt just for sleeping in, but found that he liked being able to don something clean after the bath. It was nice and soft, cotton flannel Claire called it. Claire’s nightgown was made of the same material. She seemed to like it as well.
“Would you brush out my hair Jamie?” It was difficult for Claire with her curls to brush it out without pulling, even with a mirror.
“Of course mo ghràidh.” Jamie took the brush and began working it through his wife’s hair.
“How are you coping with all of this?” Claire wanted to know.
“Some parts are easier to understand than others. I spoke with Hadrian after you and Hermione left this morning. The lad was eleven when he discovered he was a wix. Talking through things helped me to… reconcile my faith with the idea of magic.”
“What do you mean?”
“I was taught ‘don’t suffer a sorceress to live’. It’s in the Bible ye ken. Hadrian told me he was raised with the same beliefs. He told me that certain types of magic are banned in the wixen world, such as...necro... mancy or calling the dead. That divination isn't taken seriously by most wix. It is only true seers that are regarded as speaking prophecy, and they don’t even know or remember what they say.”
“That makes sense I guess. It could also be that seers always existed, just aren’t called that in the Bible. I mean there are whole books devoted to prophecy. Hermione told me that most wixen are Catholic.”
“Hadrian told me that as well. Something about the Boleyn family being wixen.”
“Yes. Evidently they were all squibs except Anne’s mother and her sister Mary.”
Claire closed her eyes. “This is nice Jamie. I might ask you to brush my hair every night. I always end up pulling on it which makes my head hurt.”
“I’d be happy to do it for ye. It’s calming for me too.”
Meanwhile, in Hadrian’s room…
Harry had taken a bath and put on the night shirt. “Sirius...where are the bottoms?”
“There aren’t any. No pants either. People just sleep in the shirt.”
“Oooohkaaay. What about during the day? What do people wear for pants?” I don’t have to go commando do I?”
Sirius started to laugh. “You sort of do. Men usually wrap the bottom of their shirt around their... package. You get used to it after awhile. Girls have it worse. They wear stockings a shift and stays, but that’s it.”
“I do NOT want to know that Sirius. I wonder if Hermione does though. Never mind!” Harry said when it looked like Sirius was going to speak again. “She’s like my sister. I do not need that information in my head.”
While Sirius was still laughing, Cassiopeia and Cygnus entered the room. Harry climbed into the bed pulling up the covers.
Cygnus went first. “Alright, let’s see what we have, Heir Peverell.” Cygnus cast the diagnostic charm, read the results and recoiled, cursing. “Oh that is disgusting!” Then at Harry’s offended look “Not you Hadrian. The curse. Are you aware that you were harboring a horcrux in your head?”
“He was WHAT!!”
“That answers that. You were not aware. Good.” He turned to Sirius. “I know Uncle Arcturus said to document everything, but I can’t document this. If the Unspeakables get wind of it, they’ll take Hadrian for study. We’ll never see him again. There has never been a case of a horcrux being destroyed without the vessel holding it also being destroyed.”
Cassie was nodding. “Cygnus, you should probably obliviate me of that knowledge. In the report, just call it curse residue that was too degraded to identify. Sirius should probably retain the knowledge for Harry’s sake.”
“I have a better idea. Sirius, after I treat him, you should obliviate both Cassie and I. We don’t need this information. Don’t tell anyone else. What people don’t know, they can’t accidentally tell someone.” He turned to Harry. “If you don’t know Occlumency Hadrian, you need to learn it as quickly as possible.”
Sirius nodded. “We can start working on that tomorrow or the day after. Now that my mind is more stable, I can teach you. Hermione too if she wants to learn it.”
“Moving on.” Cassie started. “No Sirius. You and Hadrian can talk about the Horcrux later. After we leave.”
“Moving on...Cygnus, remove the residue and write up your report. I’ll vanish the bones and give you the Skel-gro. You’ll need to have braces on your hands overnight. Thankfully what scarring you have is minimal. I’ll leave a lotion for you to apply topically for ten days and a potion to take with it. I’ll also leave a nutrition potion with the elves to give you at meals. That you’ll need to take for a month. Have you ever had Skele-gro before?”
“Yes. One of my professor’s vanished the bones in my arm my second year at Hogwarts. Madam Pomphrey, the medi-witch was so mad!”
“What did the healer say?”
Harry looked at Sirius. “Ummm, there wasn’t a healer at my school. Just a medi-witch.”
“That’s dangerous. Where on earth did you go to school?” the healer huffed.
“Off topic Cassie.” Sirius interjected.
“Right. Well, then. Here you go.” She handed Harry the Skele-gro. He tossed it back. Sipping made no difference and it tasted terrible.
“Why do potions always taste so bad?” Harry grumbled.
“Because it’s a potion, not a dessert.” Cassiopeia retorted.
“Alright then. I’ve finished. Cassie is your report done as well?”
“Yes. I wrote mine this afternoon. Hadrian, don’t forget about seeing an Oculist soon. Sirius if you would.”
“Obliviate.” Sirius did the spell quickly and planted the alternate information in his cousins’ heads. They were disoriented for a moment, then snapped out of it.
“Thank you both. Is is alright if I stay with Harry?”
“Yes. In fact Sirius, he shouldn’t be left alone tonight. You might want to have the elves bring a bed in for you.”
“I’ll do that.” Shaking their hands, Sirius led them to the door. “Lord Fraser is in the suite two doors down.”
“Thank you Sirius.” The two left and closed the door behind them.
“Are you ok Pup?”
“Not really. I had a piece of Voldemort’s freaking SOUL in my HEAD! How can I be alright?”
“I understand. The good news is that you don’t anymore. Even the residue has been removed. Bonus, it didn’t kill you.”
“No, it’s really not Harry. I’m glad it turned out ok, but the very idea of even a small piece of that monster being near you makes me want to throw up. I’ll talk to you about it whenever you want, but Cassie is right. We can’t tell anyone else.”
“I think Hermione already suspects. Before you say anything else, NO I’m not ok with obliviating her.”
“No Sirius. Hermione has been there with me through absolutely everything. Even when no one else was. I’m not going to repay that by casting a spell on her that she already has issues with.”
“I know. She told me about her parents.”
“Well then you know why that isn’t an option. Besides. I trust her. Teach her Occlumency. It’ll be fine. She’ll learn it faster than me probably.”
Sirius looked at his godson for a long moment. “Fine. Hermione. After she learns occlumency. But No one else.”
Harry nodded. “Thanks Sirius.”
Harry played with the blanket for a few moments and then asked...
“Can Padfoot sleep with me tonight?”
Sirius changed into Padfoot and leaped onto the bed, settling next to Harry on top of the covers.
Harry put his hand on Padfoot’s side, falling asleep a few minutes later. Padfoot huffed then did the same.
Claire was in the bed already, when Cassie knocked on the door. Jamie got up from the chair to answer it. He escorted the healer and curse breaker into the room.
“Claire, I’m sorry, you’ll need to sleep in another bed tonight. I can have one of the house elves bring one here if you want to be in the room.”
“I’d prefer to stay, yes.” Claire started to move the blankets.
“I can take the other bed. There is no reason for Claire to get up.”
“Jamie.” He gave her a look and Claire huffed, sinking back.
“That's a good idea actually. Cassie ask for a warded bed. It would be easier.” She nodded. “Kindle.”
“Yes Mistress Cassie.”
“Can you bring in another bed for Lord Fraser? One with wards built into the frame.”
“Yes Mistress.” Kindle snapped her fingers and a double bed appeared in the room next to the large bed Claire was in.
“How does that fit? I didn’t think the room was large enough.”
“Expansion charm.” Cygnus said.
“Oh. That’s handy.” said Claire.
“Lord Fraser, if you could lie down please.”
Jamie climbed into the bed, his look cautious.
“If you could lie on your stomach?”
“Oh Cassiopeia, I meant to ask. Is there any treatment that would help the scars on Jamie’s back?”
“What scars? They didn’t show up on the scan.”
“They weren’t caused by magic. Does that make a difference?”
“Yes if it doesn’t involve bone or deep tissue damage.” Cassie asked Jamie… “What caused them?”
“I was flogged.” Jamie said shortly.
“Flogged?!” Cygnus was horrified.
“I see. If you could remove your shirt Lord Fraser? I need to see them to treat them.” The healer braced herself.
Jamie sat up, and shrugged out of the nightshirt. He kept the covers over his bottom half, for modesty.
Cassiopeia was too professional to gasp. She couldn’t quite control the look of horror before Claire saw it.
“And muggles call us evil.” Cygnus muttered, looking as though he was about to be sick. Cassie gave him a look.
After a moment the healer said, “You can re-dress Lord Fraser. Lady Fraser, I’ll leave a lotion for you to apply topically. The scars are too deep to remove completely without vanishing and regrowing all the tissue. It’s a long and slightly painful process but may be worth it. The lotion will help them fade somewhat and restore some elasticity to the skin until you decide.”
“Thank you.” Jamie said.
“Of course.” Cassie inclined her head.
“Now if you could lie on your stomach Heir Fraser, I can remove the curse from the back of your head.” Cygnus waited until Jamie was prone, then spoke again.
“Cassie activate the bed wards if you please. Heir Fraser, please remain as still as possible.”
Cassiopeia activated the bed wards and Cygnus began to chant, waving his wand in a particular pattern. Claire watched, fascinated. Jamie’s eyes were closed, his head pillowed in his arms.
A soft glow began to appear around the scar on Jamie’s head. It grew brighter and brighter. Jamie grew increasingly rigid. Not making a sound or moving, but obviously in pain.
“Shite. Cassie, give me a hand. The curse is fighting removal.”
The healer took out her wand, adding her voice to the chant. Brighter and brighter the light became, until Claire had to shade her eyes to keep watching.
Jamie began to make noises of distress, panting as though he were running. He didn't move his head though.
The light grew even brighter. Cygnus yelled. “Kindle!!!!” The elf popped in. “Take Lady Fraser from the room. Then get Arcturus and Isabeau. Quickly.”
Kindle grabbed Claire’s hand and popped her into the sitting room with the others. The elf let go of Claire, then grabbed Arcturus and Isabeau, popping back out. Everyone else jumped to their feet.
“What’s happening?” Hermione asked Claire.
“I...I don’t know. Cygnus said the curse was fighting removal. Cassiopeia was helping him. They were trying for a long time. Then he yelled for Kindle. He told her to take me out and bring Lord and Lady Black to him.”
“There was a light centered on the back of Jamie’s head. It kept getting brighter and brighter. It was hurting Jamie. I’ve seen that man shot and stabbed after suffering a dislocated shoulder earlier in the same day. He didn’t react the way he was just now.”
Claire started to tremble and looked worried.
“It will be alright Claire. Remember what Lord Black said about Cassie and Cygnus being the best.” Hermione put an arm around her new friend.
Before anyone else could reassure Claire, there was a loud crack from upstairs. A wave of light washed over everyone, making those standing stumble.
“What the Devil was that?” Leonard exclaimed.
Several minutes later Arcturus, Isabeau and Cassie came into the room looking tired. Cassie fell into a chair. Isabeau was slightly more graceful when she sat. Arcturus was pacing.
“What happened? Is Jamie alright?”
“He’s alright. The curse was deeply embedded and didn’t want to be removed. It took all four of us to dislodge it. If the bed hadn’t been warded, the backlash would have caused an explosion. Cygnus is still with Lord Fraser, removing all the residue. That will probably take another hour he said.”
“Can I see him?”
“Yes. I’ll take you to him now.” Cassie got to her feet.
“I can take her Cassiopeia. You sit for a bit.” Isabeau turned to Claire. “This way Claire.”
“Hermione. Can you come with me? Please?”
The three ladies left the room.
Chapter 10: Healing sleep
Harry and Jamie sleep it off.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When the ladies reached the bedchamber, Cygnus was still waving his wand. Muttering over Jamie, who was now unconscious.
“Why did he lose consciousness?” Claire asked. Clinical observation was helping her stay calm.
“Because the removal was bloody painful. If I had known in advance I would have given him a sleeping draught first. I'm absolutely astounded that he didn't start thrashing around.”
Cygnus paused and added..."I'm glad he lost consciousness before then end or I might have had to bind him. I'm not sure how that would have impacted the curse removal." Cygnus was angry with himself for not thinking of it before he started removing the curse.
“He will be ok...won’t he?” Hermione’s turn.
“Yes, he'll make a full recovery. He’ll probably sleep through the night and into tomorrow. Lord Fraser will also have a terrible headache when he wakes up, which will last several hours. A standard pain potion should help. The biggest concern I have is how long it will take him to gain control of his magic.”
“Why?” demanded Isabeau sharply.
“The curse included a binding on his core. Now that it’s been released, Lord Fraser will have outbursts just the same as a child does...except his core is already fully grown.”
“Did the binding cause any damage to it?”
“Thankfully, no it did not. If he were a weaker wizard it probably would have. I explained this to Arcturus, who took a core reading before he left the room. It’s strong. Not quite Dragon Mage, but at the high end for Battle Mage.”
Cygnus sighed. “The binding may have actually increased his core strength. I don’t have enough information to be sure.”
“Why do you think the curse had something to do with it?” Hermione inquired curiously.
“The curse was applied before his final core expansion. Fighting it caused the core to grow in strength before then.”
“I see. What do you suggest Cygnus? How can we help?” Isabeau asked.
“Get him a tutor as soon as possible.”
“Lady Fraser.” Cygnus now turned to Claire. “I don’t know what your immediate plans were, but Lord Fraser cannot return to the muggle world for any reason until he masters his magic. The potential for breaking the Statute of Secrecy is far too high. Not to mention the damage he could do if he has an accidental outburst.”
“I see. I’ll talk to Jamie. We’ll plan to stay until he’s better then. Thank you Curse breaker Black for your help today.”
"Call me Cygnus. We are related after all."
"Cygnus then. I'm Claire."
He nodded. “Isabeau, I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon to do a follow up check. I want to make sure all the residue is gone.”
“Cygnus, if you’d like to stay the night, I can have the guest room next to this one prepared for you.”
After thinking a moment, he nodded. “Yes. I think that might be a good idea. I need to return home to fetch a few reference books. I’ll pack a bag while I’m there. I’ll likely need to stay a week or so cousin.”
“That’s fine cousin.” Isabeau said.
Bowing, Cygnus said “Ladies.” He left, going to the floo room.
Claire looked at Isabeau. “I know you invited us to stay...” Isabeau cut her off.
“Truly Claire. You are welcome to stay as long as you need to. Sirius is already planning to mentor Jamie and I’m quite sure that Arcturus is thrilled at the prospect of teaching him about the Wizengamot.
Those two have been working on introducing laws to protect the world for future generations of wixen and muggles, since Sirius came to us from his original time. They need more allies that understand that balance must be kept.”
Hermione startled. “I thought heads of house couldn’t talk about time travel to anyone who doesn’t already know.”
Isabeau smiled a Slytherin smile. “They can’t. The information about time portals is a very closely guarded secret. I was the heir of my family until I was 22. My baby brother was born to my father’s second wife. I was already married by then, so didn't agree to being obliviated of the knowledge. I’m under the same geas as anyone else who knows.” she reassured.
“Does Lord Black know that you...”
“That I know? Yes. I have no secrets from my husband. Sirius knows as well. However, no one else outside this room does, as my father is dead. I’ve told the two of you, so you realize I understand your disorientation. I’d like to help you. You may tell your husband Lady Fraser. I’m sure you’ll want to tell Heir Peverell also, Lady Hermione. I do request that you tell no one else.”
“I thought we were under a geas also?” Claire was a little confused.
“You are not. It is in your best interest not to tell anyone. Nothing prevents you from doing so.”
“Except the threat of the Unspeakables dissecting us to figure out the secrets of the portals.” Hermione said dryly.
“There is that.” Isabeau nodded.
“Quite a…” Claire yawned… “compelling argument.”
“You should go to bed Claire. Lady Hermione let me show you to your room.”
“Just call me Hermione. At least when we aren’t in company. Please.”
“As you wish. Please call me Isabeau or cousin both of you. We are after all related, if distantly.”
“Of course cousin.” Hermione smiled. Isabeau was older than her mother. Cousin felt more respectful.
“Goodnight Claire.” said the ladies together.
“Goodnight Hermione, Isabeau.”
All the travelers slept late the next morning. Cygnus had returned and was monitoring both Harry and Jamie.
Neither woke the first day. Claire kept to their chamber. She occupied herself with reading, watching her husband sleep, and processing all the new information she had received the day before. Sirius stayed with Harry. Isabeau checked in on both of them and sent trays of food in at mealtimes.
Hermione was the only one to leave her room. Even so, she didn’t appear until almost eleven ‘clock. Upon coming down the stairs, she encountered the house elf Kindle.
“Good morning my lady. Would you like some breakfast? We are preparing the dining room for luncheon, but I can bring you a tray in one of the morning rooms if you’d like.” The house elf said with a curtsy.
“Oh. I can wait until luncheon. Perhaps a cup of tea?”
“Certainly my lady. Allow me to show you to the ladies morning room. Lady Black is attending to her correspondence.”
“Thank you Kindle.” Hermione was so confused.
After showing her into the room Kindle popped out to fetch the tea. Sinking into a chair, Hermione sat rubbing her temples.
“Is there something the matter Hermione?” Isabeau set her correspondence aside joining Hermione in the sitting area.
“Yes. No. I’m just really confused.”
“Perhaps I can help?”
Hermione hesitated for a moment, then said... “I don’t want to offend you, or Kindle. I just don’t understand. Kindle wears clothes, speaks perfect English and you don’t treat her like she’s a slave.”
“A what?” Isabeau said laughingly.
“A...slave?” Hermione said.
“Where on earth did you get the notion that house elves were slaves? That isn’t even possible.” Isabeau said.
“No. House elves choose to be bonded to a wizard. Wizards choose to bond with an elf. It is a mutual bond, that can be broken by either side.”
“So...is that why your elves wear clothes?”
“Why wouldn’t elves wear clothes? They can’t very well perform their duties naked. It would be improper.”
“I’m so confused. So they’re more like regular servants in this time then.”
“Well, not exactly. Not the way muggles mean it. Elves enjoy looking after wixen. Sometimes I think they regard us as children.” Isabeau laughed.
“Then...they can leave whenever they want to?”
“Of course, though not many leave a house once bonded. Their loyalty to the house is almost inviolate. Without a bond to a wizarding house the elf’s magic can be difficult for them to control. Elf magic is VERY strong. When an elf is bonded, they can push the excess magic into the wards of the house they serve.
This gives the elf greater control over their magic, which benefits the elf. It makes the wards incredibly strong which makes the people inside safer. That benefits the wixen house. The more that happens the stronger the elf’s bond to the family.
But it’s never coerced. It must be completely voluntary on the part of the elves. May I ask where you got the idea that elves were slaves?” Isabeau was curious.
“There was an elf named Dobby that was friends with Harry. He belonged...er was bonded to a house, where the family mistreated him. Dobby referred to them as his masters. Harry tricked the head of house into freeing Dobby. He went to work at Hogwarts, but he always said he was a free elf. I thought that meant the others weren’t.” Hermione said in a progressively smaller voice.
“Ah. That explains some of it. The elves that work for Hogwarts are considered free elves in the sense that they haven’t bonded to a specific house. They bond with the school, which belongs to all wixen. I'm not sure what happened with Heir Potter's elf friend. Any kind of bad behavior on the part of any wix should have been reported to the High elf council immediately.”
“The High elf council?”
“Yes. The High elves oversee all of elf-kind and mediate between them and other sentient magical species.”
“Wixen are only one magical species. There are many others.”
Hermione’s head hurt. “I’m beginning to understand why Lord Black said that it would take years of private tutoring to learn everything we needed to assimilate. I thought all other magical species were considered creatures.”
Isabeau drew back in surprise. “How insulting to other species. Is that what you were taught at Hogwarts?”
“No...well we weren’t really taught anything about other magical beings, except for in Defense against the Dark Arts. But those were all dark creatures.”
“That’s appalling.” Hermione and Isabeau turned to see Fleamont Potter and Arcturus Black standing in the doorway.
“I’m beginning to think a lot of what I know of Wixen society is wrong and appalling. Lord Black, Lord Potter… would you be willing to help me sort through all of the false information I have? If Harry and I are going to stay here I would like to try to improve things for the future.”
“I am willing. Arcturus?”
“I think we must do something. Just from what I’ve learned in the past few days, I’ve become very concerned about the future. For both wixen and muggles.”
Isabeau smiled. “It’s going to get very busy around here. I can hardly wait.”
Thursday October 17, 1743
Harry woke just after noon on the second day, to find himself alone in the room. Not for long though.
A house elf must have been watching him, because one popped into the room with a tray of food about five minutes after he woke up.
“Good afternoon Heir Peverell. My name is Jomy. I have been assigned by Kindle as your valet while you are at Ravensmere.” The elf greeted with a bow.
“Oh. Uh, good afternoon Jomy. Do you know where Sirius and Hermione are?”
“Yes Heir Peverell. Heir Black, Heir Dagworth-Granger, Lords Black, Potter and Dagworth-Granger are all in the library. I can take you to them after you have eaten and bathed if you like.”
The elf set the tray on the table next to the bed. Harry immediately dug in. After he finished eating Harry asked,
“Umm, Jomy? Do you know where my clothes are?”
“Lady Black had some things sent from Twilfit and Tattings until you could be measured for a wardrobe. They are in the armoire to your right. Would you like me to draw you a bath sir?”
“Oh. Yeah, that would be great. Thanks. Jomy.”
The elf bowed again before going into the bathroom. Harry got up and went over to the armoire. There were several outfits like the ones he had seen on the other men. Thankfully they weren’t so different that he couldn’t figure it out. Harry chose a vest and breeches in shades of blue along with a white shirt.
He laid them on the bed and walked into the bathroom. Jomy pointed out what looked like a sheet for him to dry off with and then left the room.
When Harry came back into the bedroom, Jomy had added a pair of long socks and a black coat to the clothes on the bed. There were also a pair of shoes on the floor.
“Do you need assistance sir?”
Harry blushed scarlet. He did need some help. “Yeah. I’m not really sure how all these things go on.”
“No trouble at all sir. I can either magic the clothes onto you or I can help you into them and explain the fastenings as I go. I helped Heir Black when he first came to us. He was a bit confused as well.” Jomy offered.
Harry felt better knowing that. He didn’t think Jomy would laugh at him or anything so he said, “Can you help me and explain please?”
It took a lot longer than Harry was used to, but at last he was dressed. It felt super weird to not be wearing pants under the breeches. The stockings were a little strange too. Harry supposed he’d have to get used to it if they were staying in this time period.
As he was buckling his shoes, there was a knock on the door. Harry called out and Sirius came into the room.
“Hey Pup. How are you feeling?”
“Better, except for my eyes. Could we make an appointment with an oculist, like Miss Black suggested?”
“Call her cousin Cassie. We have more than one Miss Black in the family.”
“Oh, ok. Well, can we?”
“Sure. Jomy, could you make those arrangements please? We’ll be going to Twilfit and Tattings tomorrow. Can you make the appointment for then also?”
“Of course Master Sirius.” Jomy bowed again and popped out.
“So. Jomy said everyone was in the library?”
Sirius nodded. “Yep. Well, almost everyone. Jamie is still asleep. Claire doesn’t want to leave him .”
“Is Jamie ok?”
“Cygnus says he will be. Just exhausted right now. It was a nasty curse he was under. Ready to go downstairs?”
Whew. I'm ten chapters in and we've only been with our merry band for four days. There will be some time skips at some point, putting these two stories together is requiring a bit of careful world building and exposition.
Chapter 11: Learning, Part 1
Learning schedules and curriculum are discussed.
Earlier that day…Thursday October 17th 1743
Leonard and Anthea had come to Ravensmere shortly after breakfast. The party had all retired to the library, to plan the next few months. It was October, which meant they had roughly six weeks before the beginning of the next social season.
Fleamont and Euphemia had spent the night again. They would be returning home after the visit to Twilfit & Tattings.
Hermione needed to be ready for her presentation by then, since she was being invested as the Dagworth-Granger Heir. It was customary to refer to the person in line for the title as the Heir, regardless of gender.
Seeing that Claire and Jamie were already married, there wasn’t such a rush for the two of them, although they needed tutoring on wixen customs.
Hadrian was another question entirely.
“Shall we begin?” Anthea inquired.
“Just a moment. Let me get something to take notes with.” Hermione got a notebook and fountain pen out of her bag.
“What on earth is that?” Euphemia asked.
Hermione had forgotten that not everyone knew she came from 1998. “It’s a notebook. I got it on my travels, I don’t remember where. The wire is twisted to hold the paper together neatly.”
She held up the pen. “This is called a fountain pen. It holds the ink in a tube and there is a small mechanism that exerts pressure to control the flow of the ink through the tip. Fewer ink blotches that way.”
“What a brilliant invention. It’s a shame you don’t remember where you got it, that set up would be much easier for school children than parchment, quill and inkpot.” Arcturus said dryly.
“Yes. It would. I would be happy to try and replicate it for study, if you’d like.” Hermione couldn’t look at Arcturus. For some reason he was the person she most wanted to please. Probably because he reminded her of her Grandmere. She had always been closest to Grandmere Noire-LeFere. Exacting standards and kind eyes. That had been Grandmere. Cousin Arcturus was exactly the same.
“I would. Later. First we need to plan out the next few weeks. Shall we start with social or practical?
“I would say social. Harry won’t care about that. Jamie and Claire probably don’t need it.”
“Perhaps not in the basics of etiquette. They will both need tutoring on wixen culture and customs.” Isabeau put in.
“Also, before I forget, I’ve engaged Twilfit and Tattings for the entire day tomorrow. Archie assures me that if we go tomorrow he can have something finished for everyone in time for Mass on Sunday. The rest of the wardrobes would take a couple of weeks he believes.”
“Let us hope Heir Fraser is awake by then.” Fleamont remarked.
“He should wake sometime this afternoon.” Cygnus informed them.
“Very good. That should be fine then Anthea. Thank you for making the arrangements.” Arcturus said.
“Now to the tutoring. Jamie and Claire will both need tutoring on using their magic. I think Cassie would be the best one to work with Claire. She’s an enchantress also.”
“She is? I thought she was a mage. Cousin Cassie seems so powerful.”
“That’s why many enchantresses go into healing. Their magic is most compatible therefore easiest to channel with the healing spells. Potions as well. For other things, Cassie cannot channel sufficient energy. Transfiguration and offensive spells specifically. Some charms also.”
“That’s fascinating.” ‘But, she has a wand. Maybe enchanter level wixen go to Hogwarts in this time? That would explain all the empty rooms. Why don’t they go anymore I wonder?’ Hermione thought but didn’t voice. Something to ask about later. She made herself a note in the margin.
“What about a tutor for Heir Fraser, Arcturus? Have you thought of one?”
“I have. I would like to engage two that are not family. Adrian Bones would be good for sword work and basic fighting technique.
“He would. Do you think he would be willing to take on Hadrian as well? It might help the both of them to study together.” Fleamont wanted to know.
“We can ask. Sirius will want to be present of course. That is a good idea though. It will take some of the pressure off of them individually.”
Leonard turned to Cygnus. “Would you be willing to tutor my Heir in warding? She informs me that she has a particular affinity for it.”
‘This is going to take getting used to. I hate being spoken about as though I’m not in the room.’ “That would be lovely cousin, if you have the time? I’m also interested in curse breaking.” Hermione said sweetly.
Leonard looked startled to hear Hermione speak. “I don’t know that curse breaking is an appropriate field of study for a woman.”
Hermione took a very deep breath. “Grandpapa. If we are to get on, you must accustom yourself to the fact that I have been raised to think very independently. I have also been raised with the concept that your gender should not limit your education. I mean no disrespect. Please consider that if I am to be a worthy heir for your house, I must be able to lead that house as well as a man would.”
The room was silent for a moment, then Hermione heard applause coming from the doorway.
“Very eloquently phrased Kitten.” Sirius couldn’t stop grinning. He’d been in this time period for almost two years now. Sirius missed girls with a strong sense of their own worth. Every girl his Aunt had thrown at him was a perfect example of breeding and manners. They all bored him to tears.
Maybe Hermione would stir up society and give some of those pampered princesses the courage to speak their minds.
“Harry!” Hermione leapt to her feet and rushed over to hug the brother of her heart.
“I’m so glad to see you awake. How are you feeling? How’s your head? Did they fix your eyes yet?”
Harry laughed. “I feel much better Mione, thanks for asking. Sirius made an appointment for me to see an oculist tomorrow, when we go to get clothes. Other than that, everything is fixed I think.”
“I’m sorry we interrupted. I do agree with Hermione though Leonard. If she is to be a worthy heir you should educate her the way you would a male child.” Sirius was determined that Hermione get her way in this. He couldn’t tell you why.
Leonard wasn’t as impressed. 'I can see the girl’s point, but if she doesn’t learn her place in the world I’ll never find a husband for her.' A product of his time, Leonard thought girls such as Hermione were too forward and difficult to marry off.
Isabeau watched the by play with an entirely different perspective. Sirius had been with them for over two years. He had gone through two seasons already. Dutifully dancing with every young woman presented to him. Attending every soiree, dinner, ball and house party Isabeau asked him to. In all that time, Sirius hadn’t given any girl a first look, never mind a second. His response to Hermione was unusual.
For one thing Sirius had a pet name for her, which indicated affection. For another, Hermione’s outbursts amused him rather than repulsing him. Finally he advocated for her to get the education she wanted, as unusual as it was. Maybe that was what Sirius needed. A girl from his own time, with a shared worldview. The age difference of twenty years was immaterial. Isabeau was used to the man being much older than the woman. Her own Arcturus was thirty five years older than she was.
Lady Black exchanged a look with Anthea who nodded slightly. ‘Good. Anthea sees it too.’ There was no need to involve the men just yet.
Anthea for her part, patted her father’s hand, then squeezed it slightly. Leonard didn’t give an outward sign that he understood except to change the subject. He did understand though. The women would handle Hermione. Leonard gave a mental sigh of relief.
“Yes well. What say you Cygnus?”
Cygnus Black looked at his Patriarch. Arcturus nodded.
Of course Lord Dagworth-Granger, Lady Hermione. I would be honored to tutor you in warding...and cursebreaking.” Hermione grinned at him.
“Moving on. Who was the other tutor Arcturus?” Although he didn't participate, Fleamont didn’t miss any of the silent conversations. His concern was Hadrian, the others only concerning him insofar as their situation impacted his descendant. Until Claire declared for his house, he was willing to let her husband be responsible for her.
“Filius Flitwick. He is an international dueling champion. What’s more he’s half-goblin. He can teach James and Hadrian things no human instructor could.”
Hermione and Harry exchanged astonished looks. Then they looked at Sirius. He nodded at the unspoken question. Yes. It was Professor Flitwick. Sirius spoke up to explain without giving them away.
“Oh yes, I’ve heard of him. Youngest dueling grand master in history. He has a very long career ahead of him too. Goblins can live to be over five hundred years old. Even as a half goblin, Master Flitwick retains the longevity of goblins.”
“Will he do it though?” Euphemia wanted to know.
“I think I can persuade him.” Arcturus all but purred.
“I’ll add to that persuasion.” Fleamont knew that retaining Flitwick was going to cost an obscene amount of galleons. He didn’t care. Arcturus was correct. The training he could give was beyond price. Furthermore, as a member of the Goblin Nation, he could be told about Hadrian’s traveler status. That would only aid Hadrian.
“I shall contact both as soon as possible.”
Isabeau spoke up now. “Between Euphemia, Anthea and myself, we can tutor everyone who needs it in etiquette, dancing, history and customs. We will need to engage a language tutor for anyone who doesn’t speak French.”
“Could we also be tutored in Latin? I don’t know about Harry, but I for one would like to improve my knowledge of that language since all spells are Latin based.”
Everyone in the room except Sirius and Harry looked at Hermione in shock. Hermione turned to Sirius with a look of confusion.
“Kitten. Not all spells are Latin based.” He whispered in her ear. “I’ll explain later.”
Hermione blushed a bright red. “I’m sorry. I...”
“That’s quite understandable my dear. You should not apologize for the gaps in your education. This meeting is about learning what they are in order to correct them. Language tutors are very necessary. I think individual plans should be made concerning those.” Isabeau covered for her.
Hermione nodded. Perhaps it would be best if she didn’t interject anything more until she had a chance to talk to Isabeau and Sirius in private.
“That covers social. I know it seems a lot but we’ll focus on what you need for your presentation first. Then we can catch up your other studies as we go. Hadrian, I would like to suggest that you not go into society until next season. You are only seventeen and not yet ready to look for a wife. This would give you an additional year in which to fill the gaps in your education without putting unnecessary pressure on you. You can go into society at any point, a man doesn't need a formal presentation, just an introduction by a hostess."
Harry looked at Sirius.
"I think that's a good plan pup. You can learn at your own pace and not worry so much about screwing up."
“Wonderful. Let’s move on to politics. Both Hadrian and James need to be thoroughly educated in the Wizengamot and all that entails. I’m hopeful that we can have them take their seats in time for the winter session.”
“When is the Winter Session Grandfather?” Fleamont had told Harry to call him that. It was less confusing than adding all the ‘greats’.
“The Winter session is in January. The Autumn session is in progress right now.” Fleamont responded.
“How many sessions are there a year?” Hermione wanted to know.
“There are four, to correspond with the seasons. October, January, April and July. Each begins on a full moon and ends on the new moon. Unless an emergency session is called, which happens periodically. The last emergency session was in 1714 to decide if we would help the Catholic heir regain the English throne. It was decided that we should stay out of it.”
“That’s fascinating. I would think you’d begin on the new moon.” Hermione commented.
“No. Those members that suffer from Lycanthropy would be too volatile during the voting sessions if we did it that way. Voting takes place in the last week of the session.”
Hermione and Harry wisely didn’t say anything this time. Hermione did make another note in the margin to ask about it later.
“Alright. I believe we have a rough plan for going forward. If you could contact the tutors you mentioned Arcturus, we can proceed from there.” Fleamont was ready for some lunch.
“I shall take my leave then. I am sorry I can’t stay for luncheon though I thank you Isabeau for inviting me. I have a meeting with my solicitor that I cannot put off. Anthea, I shall see you at home later.” Leonard rose and made his farewells. An elf dressed as a footman was waiting to escort him to the Floo.
Isbeau rose gracefully to her feet. “Shall we adjourn to the dining room?”
Chapter 12: Jamie wakes up
Jamie finally wakes up and learns more about his inheritance.
It's still Thursday. So Harry and Hermione have been in 1743 for 4 days at this point.
Jamie finally woke about 4 o’clock on Thursday. Claire was seated in a chair next to the bed reading a book.
He opened his eyes and immediately closed them, groaning.
“Jamie? How are you feeling?”
“My head hurts as though someone took an ax to it again.”
“Here take this. It’s a potion for the pain.”
Jamie sat up and drank the potion, making a face. It tasted terrible. He sank back down and put a hand over his face.
“Let me call for Cygnus. Thrift?” A house elf appeared in the room.
“You called Lady Fraser?”
“Yes, could you tell Cygnus that Jamie is awake please?”
“Of course My Lady.” Thrift popped silently away.
“Claire? Is there water, I’m thirsty.” Jamie whispered.
Claire poured a glass of water and then helped Jamie sit up so he could drink. She didn’t say any more as it was obvious that he was still in pain. Cygnus had told her that it would take a few minutes for the potion to work. Rather like aspirin.
Cygnus entered a few minutes later. The pain potion had obviously had an effect, since Jamie was able to open his eyes and answer the curse breaker’s questions. After running a final diagnostic charm, Cygnus pronounced Jamie curse free.
“There is no remaining residue that I can detect. That is very good, but as I told your lady...you must stay in the wixen world until you’ve learned to control your magic. Your power levels are very high, even for a battle mage. It’s absolutely criminal that you were denied a proper education as a child, and it does present some extra challenges now.”
“What sort o challenges? Will I no be able to control it then?” Jamie began to look worried.
“Of course you will. I didn’t mean that. It’s just easier if a wix learns before their final core expansion. A child has less power than an adult. So the consequences of accidental magic are less...dangerous.”
“Ah. I think I understand. Tis better to train a horse as a foal, before the animal realizes it can flatten ye.”
“Just so.” Cygnus nodded. “Lord Black has already discussed tutors with Lord Potter. It’s my understanding that they intend to hire tutors to work with you and Heir Peverell together. Since he’s a dragon mage it will help you both to learn the necessary control without being as concerned you’ll permanently harm your opponent.”
“You can discuss all of that at supper. I have no further recommendations for you except to rest when you are tired and let me know if you suffer any more headaches.” Bowing, Cygnus showed himself out of the chamber.
Claire watched her husband for a moment then asked him, “What are you thinking Jamie?”
“I’m thinking I don’t know what Lord Black wants.”
“Dinna mistake me, I’m grateful that my head has been healed and for his hospitality.” Jamie shook his head. “He’s a Duke. A man with that much influence does’na do anything without a reason.”
“You are correct.” Arcturus stood in the door. “May I come in?”
“Of course.” Claire stood. “Jamie, talk to Arcturus, I’ll go tell Hermione and Harry that you’re awake. They’ve been very concerned.” Leaning over the bed, she kissed her husband briefly. “Cousin Arcturus.”
“Cousin Claire.” Claire left the room.
Arcturus took the seat that Claire had vacated.
Sitting in the bed Jamie should have felt at a disadvantage. He did not give any appearance of it, and Arcturus was impressed despite himself. This was not a man he could manipulate. A good thing he didn’t intend to, Arcturus thought.
“Heir Fraser... James. I understand you are wary of my motives. I would be too. Three days ago, you had no idea that wixen were real, much less that you were a mage. With that in mind I’m not only going to be very direct with you, I shall also take an oath on my magic to be honest.”
“I Arcturus Orion Black, do swear that the words I will speak to James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser shall be the truth as I understand it, and only the truth. So mote it be.”
There was a slight glow which faded from around Lord Black as he finished speaking.
“There. I realize that you have only my word, but I am not an oathbreaker James.”
“I believe you Lord Black.” Jamie did believe him, but caution remained.
“Call me Arcturus. Now, you wondered why I’m helping you. There are several reasons, which boil down to the fact that an injustice has been done to you.
I have a moral responsibility to correct that injustice. Your wife is a member of my house. That makes you connected to my house as well. Blacks protect their family.
I will also freely admit that publicly humiliating Simon Fraser will give me great personal satisfaction.”
“Why?” ‘Here it is’ Jamie thought to himself.
“He once tried to compromise my Bella’s reputation. If I had not spoken for her, she would have been forced to marry the bastard.”
Ah. Revenge. That was something Jamie could well understand.
“Most importantly however, your situation makes a very strong case for the advancement of my agenda. Helping you seek justice will further my political goals.”
“What are your political goals? If ye dinna mind me askin?”
“I don’t mind at all, however that will be a very lengthy and complicated conversation. I promised Fleamont and Leonard that I would not try to unduly influence you to my position. With your permission I’d like to defer answering that until we are all together.”
Jamie inclined his head in acquiescence.
“Thank you. While you were sleeping, the three of us met along with Sirius and Hadrian, to make some plans for going forward. One of those plans involves teaching you and Hadrian about the Wizengamot. Hermione, if I’m not mistaken will also want these lessons. Whether Leonard puts up a fight or not remains to be seen.”
Arcturus laughed then. “I don’t think poor Leonard is used to a woman expressing an opinion of her own. Anthea is a lovely girl, but she wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Her mother was the same God rest her soul.”
“And you are? Used to women expressing an opinion I mean.” Jamie wondered.
“Oh yes. Blacks are strong minded. The men and the women. My wife is the same, though she’s far more subtle. Make no mistake, our women know how to conduct themselves in public so as not to cause scandal. In private is another matter. The Black men want a woman they can talk to as an equal. Isabeau challenges me regularly. I like to think it makes me a better man. Unless I’ve greatly misread the situation, Claire is a strong woman too.”
Jamie nodded. “All the women in my life have been strong minded. My mother, my sister Jenny, and Claire. I dinna mind it...usually.”
The two men smiled at one another in camaraderie. God love strong women, though they could be exhausting.
“Getting back to politics, I am of the Dark, Fleamont is of the Light. Leonard is of the Grey, and Sirius is more inclined to the Grey also. Those are the three factions on the Wizengamot, although the Grey is referred to as Neutral politically. Our plan for lessons, is for each of us to present the position of our faction, then let you and Hadrian choose which faction you wish to align with.
I don’t know why the others agreed, but I am of the opinion that if I can’t honestly persuade you that my goals are the best path forward, then you won’t be a stable ally to have. I’d rather have allies I can count on to go the distance. You see?”
Jamie nodded. “I do see. I look forward to the discussions. Cygnus also mentioned tutors for controlling my magic?”
“Ah. He explained the challenges you face?”
“He did. I think I understand, although I’m no sure what to do about it. Cygnus said we canna leave the wixen world until I do, but I have no other home than Lallybroch.”
Arcturus waved a hand. “Actually you do. Fraser Castle is in wizarding space.” Jamie went to speak and Arcturus continued. “I know, the house on the muggle side was burned to the ground. The actual castle is hidden behind wards that muggles cannot see through.”
“Oh.” Jamie said bemused. “Is it very large?”
“Yes, with about 50 bonded elves and two hundred tenants all wixen. You are also responsible for the tenants on the muggle side. If I remember correctly, they've been paying their rents to Simon, since the muggle manor burnt and your uncle died."
Jamie scowled. "Has my grandsire cared for the tenants too, or just collected the rent?"
"Thank I do not know. Something to make inquiries about to be sure. It may be worthwhile to rebuild the muggle manor, for the sake of the muggle tenants." Jamie nodded.
“That will take some time however. Isabeau has already assured your wife that you are welcome to remain as our guests for as long as you need to.”
Jamie moved to protest and Arcturus held up a hand. “Hadrian and Lady Hermione shall be staying here as well. We thought that keeping all four of you together would help put you more at ease as you all adjust to...the new situation you find yourselves in. It will also give you time to decided what you want to do concerning the needs of your estate.”
“I assure you, Ravensmere is more than large enough to accommodate you all. The wards are strong enough to absorb any accidental magic. James, I’m sure Cygnus explained to you the dangers of accidental magic as an adult.”
“He did. Though he did’na explain what causes accidental magic.”
“Strong negative emotion. Anger or fear primarily, although frustration can cause it too. Depending on what Simon has done to your inheritance, you may need a safe place to deal with your emotions.”
Jamie still looked uncertain and Arcturus thought of how to convince him. An idea came to him and he chuckled.
"If the strength of the wards doesn’t persuade you, perhaps knowing that Isabeau is giddy with the prospect of preparing the ladies for the upcoming season will be enough to convince you to stay.
She’s never had a daughter to present before. I imagine she will conspire with Anthea and Euphemia to make your wife and Hermione the talk of society.”
Arcturus rose then. “You can take some time to think on it. Regardless of what you decide, I’m happy to go with you to open Fraser Castle. You and the elves will need to renew the bond at any rate. Talk with your wife, and let me know. I shall take my leave and allow you to prepare for supper. Thrift.” The elf popped in.
“This is Thrift. He has been assigned to attend you during your stay.” Bowing, Lord Black exited, leaving Jamie looking at the elf with a bit of trepidation.
The elf bowed. “Shall I draw you a bath Lord Fraser?”
Jamie startled. “Oh. Yes. Thank you.”
“Of course my lord. Lady Black has also sent some clothing for you and your lady to keep you, until the visit to the tailor in the morning.” Thrift waved at the wardrobe and the door opened. “If you would like, I can choose something for you, or you can make the selection.”
“I’ll select for myself. Thank you Thrift.” Jamie was used to servants. Not of a different species though. He had always preferred to choose his own clothing regardless.
Rising, Jamie went over to the wardrobe. There were breeks, but also a new plaid in Fraser colors. He chose the plaid, he was more comfortable in that. A fine silk shirt, vest and velvet coat in a Hunter green were also chosen. It wasn’t quite the same color as his wedding coat, being a bit darker.
The boots and belt had been polished but they were his own. The stockings were thinner than Jamie was used to, and of a material he couldn’t quite name. It felt almost like silk, but wasn’t.
Claire re-entered the room as Thrift was helping Jamie into the coat. He had taken longer in the bath than he planned. The water never got cold and if the elf hadn’t drawn his attention to the time, Jamie could have stayed in the tub longer.
“Oh my, don’t you look handsome.” Claire was already dressed in a lovely gown of Royal Blue. Her cap was white and of a material so thin that Jamie could see her lovely hair through it. He bowed with a flourish.
“Thank you My Lady. I dressed in my very best so as to be worthy to be seen with you.”
Claire giggled at him and gave him a kiss. “Let’s be off then soldier.”
As they walked down to supper, Jamie filled Claire in on his conversation with Arcturus.
“What do you think Sassenach? Should we stay? I dinna sense that Arcturus is being anything but truthful...I just dinna ken enough to ken for sure.”
“I think we should, at least for now. Harry and Hermione will be here and they’ve been very truthful with us so far. There’s strength in numbers too. Maybe the four of us can sit down and talk after supper?”
“There is one other thing Jamie.” Claire hesitated a minute then forged ahead.
“Harry and Hermione and Sirius come from the future, just as I do. For the first time I feel...comfortable with someone. No, comfortable isn’t quite the right word. I’m not saying this well...” Claire thought for a moment. “I don’t have to explain certain things to them. Sometimes I don’t have the words to describe modern things. I’ll make a comment and you don’t understand.”
Jamie nodded, though he looked a little hurt.
“Jamie, please don’t mistake what I mean. I know you believe me, and I know that you are very intelligent. It’s just that you don’t always have...a frame of reference. You can’t put cars or asphalt or aeroplanes into context because there isn’t anything compatible in the world yet.”
“I never realized I missed talking about those things, until we met Harry and Hermione. They come from even farther into the future than I do, so everything that is new and innovative to me, is old and mundane to them. Hermione has said some things that I find difficult to believe. I’m beginning to realize what an amazing person you are because you accepted that what I told you is true.”
“It’s just...with Harry and Hermione and Sirius...It’s almost like...well like we grew up in the same town. I don’t have to explain because they just...know...and I’m sorry, I’m just babbling now.” Claire subsided.
The hurt had left Jamie’s eyes as Claire talked, and now he lifted her hand to kiss it.
“I do ken what ye mean Sassenach. Ye feel as though ye’ve found kin, and ye want to spend some time with them, aye?”
His wife deflated in relief. “Yes. Is that alright? I want to see Lallybroch and meet your sister, but I don’t want to leave just yet. Do you mind that?”
“No. I dinna mind. It will be some time before we can leave anyway. I need training to control my...magic. Lord that sounds strange.”
Claire giggled. “To me too. Cassie has offered to train me in healing and potions, she’s an enchantress like I am. I’m relieved I don’t have the same level of power that you do, so I’m not likely to knock over a wall or something.”
“I could bring down a wall?” Jamie was a little disconcerted at the thought.
“So Hermione tells me.”
“What do I tell you? Jamie! I’m so glad you’re feeling better.” Hermione was standing near the door of the drawing room. She reached out and gave Jamie a hug. He hugged her back after a minute.
“Sorry. I hug everyone. It took Harry some time to get used to it too.”
“Dinna fash. Claire is very free with affection as well. So was Geillis now that I think on it. Is it usual then, to hug your friends...where you come from?” Jamie didn’t know if everyone was aware of when Hermione was from and he didn’t want to put anyone in danger, least of all Claire.
“It depends on the person. Some people are comfortable with hugs and some aren’t. Harry and Sirius aren’t so much. I still hug them though. They both had rotten childhoods, and it’s good for them both to understand that touch doesn’t always mean pain.”
Jamie raised an eyebrow and Claire grimaced.
Hermione blushed. “Those aren’t my stories to tell...I just...well, anyway…that’s why I hug them. If it bothers you I can...try...”
Jamie took her hand.
“It does’na bother me Hermione. You are a good lass wit a kind heart, just like my wife. Besides, ye and Claire are kin. That makes ye kin to me as well. Family should always make us feel welcome, aye?”
“Yes. I’m so glad. I didn’t have much family growing up. Just my parents. I had Grandmere but she died before I went to Hogwarts. I wish she could have known.”
Claire put an arm around Hermione’s waist. “I bet she did. From what you’ve been telling me, a lot of the etiquette she taught you sounds more wixen than not.” she said softly.
Hermione nodded but couldn’t reply as her throat felt a little tight.
Sirius came up to them and clasped arms with Jamie. “It’s good to see you recovered James. How are you feeling?”
“I believe I have recovered. I would like to speak to you and Hadrian after dinner if ye are amenable to that?”
“Sure. I have my own study, we can talk there if you’d like privacy.”
“I would. Thank you.”
Turning to Hermione, Sirius offered his arm. “Aunt Bella asked me to escort you into dinner Hermione.”
“Oh. Thank you Sirius.” The two couples began to walk down the hall to the dining room. “Is Harry escorting Anthea?”
“No Leonard and Anthea went home. It’s just family tonight. Fleamont and Eupehmia were going to stay, but decided to go home and meet us at Twilfit's in the morning. I think Phemie wanted her own bed." Sirius smiled.
"Harry is escorting Cassie. She’s trying to explain why potions are so difficult for a Dragon Mage.”
Hermione laughed. “Good. Anything that helps Harry feel better about himself.”
“You and I are going to talk about that later Kitten. Did you know he was being mistreated?”
“I suspected, but Harry never talked about it until we were on the run. I think that stupid necklace made him relive some stuff.”
“What necklace?” Claire asked.
“It was cursed. We knew it but didn’t know how to break the curse. I planned to ask the goblins about it tomorrow.”
“Anyway. I’ll talk with you about this later Sirius. In private.”
“I’ll hold you to that.”
“Are we visiting Gringotts again tomorrow?” Jamie wanted to know.
“Yes. You need to claim your title and arrange access to the Fraser vaults.”
“Vaults? As in more than one?” In Claire’s understanding there was only one vault in a bank.
“Oh yes. Individual vaults are used, mainly because the goblins store everything from money to jewelry to furniture. The Frasers are more than wealthy enough to have an account manager, so I assume they have more than one vault.”
Didn’t you know?”
Jamie shook his head. “No. I did’na ken anything about my Da’s family. I know my mother’s family much better. They fostered me as a lad.” Jamie remembered then. “Claire, I forgot to tell ye, I have a castle with 50 elves and 200 wixen tenants and more tenants on the muggle side.”
“Lord Black told me when we talked earlier.” He looked at Sirius. “I did’na ken about that either.”
“Hmmm. That’s something to add to the criminal charges. Getting back to the vaults, the goblins will be thrilled to have your account back in circulation. They despise money sitting idle when it could be invested to make more money.”
“All bankers are like that. Regardless of the species it seems.” Claire said dryly.
The four laughed and went in to supper.
Chapter 13: Who to trust...
Jamie has questions. Sirius and Harry try to answer them.
As soon as the ladies had left the men to their cigars and brandy, Sirius rose.
“Uncle, with your permission... I’m going to take Hadrian and James into my study. James wanted to discuss training.”
“By all means. I’m sure Fleamont and Cygnus can keep me sufficiently entertained.”
The three men stood and bowed, Harry slightly after Sirius and Jamie. Sirius led them down the hall and to his private office. Upon entering he waved them both to a seat while he locked and warded the door.
“Privacy charm. Whatever you want to discuss can’t be heard by anyone not in this room. Not even the elves.”
Jamie nodded. “Thank you Sirius. I’m no even sure what all I want to ask ye. It’s been a verra confusing few days ye ken. Your uncle invited Claire and I to stay here while I master my...magic.” Jamie shook his head. “I dinna ken if I’ll ever get used to saying that.”
Jamie turned to Harry. “Should I accept the invitation? Is it safe? I dinna mean to insult Sirius or his uncle, I just dinna ken if I...”
“Can trust them?”
“Aye.” Jamie looked a little embarrassed. “If it were just me, I would’na worry so much. With Claire, and now, the bairn...”
Harry nodded. “I can understand that. I didn’t trust anyone’s motives for the first year or so. I still don’t trust most people, other than Hermione and Sirius.”
“Not even the Weasleys?” Sirius wanted to know.
“Not really. They’re nice and all, it’s just...well they didn’t really help me. Fred and George did, and sometimes Ron, but...sometimes, he would get jealous or angry and...”
Harry shook his head. He wasn’t going down that road. “Anyway, Hermione has always been there for me. Since first year. I’m not saying she always made the right choices, but she never abandoned me. You didn’t either. You broke out of Azkaban to try and save me from Wormtail, and you came to the Department of Mysteries...you died trying to keep me safe.”
Harry turned to the confused Scot.
“Anyway Jamie, I know exactly what you mean. This is all new and strange and you don’t know who to trust. For what my opinion is worth, you can trust Sirius and I think you can trust his uncle and Lord Potter too.”
Jamie nodded at Harry. “Thank you. You’ve been nothing but honest with me since I met ye. I will trust your judgment unless something happens to make me doubt it.”
Jamie looked to Sirius. “Now, I understand we’re to be sharing tutors? What can ye tell me about that?”
Uncle Arcturus recommends two. Adrian Bones for sword fighting and Filius Flitwick for dueling magic.”
“I already ken how to use a sword though.”
“Well yes, in a muggle fight. Using one in a wizarding duel or even a battle with magic is not exactly the same. Your time with Adrian will probably consist of him teaching you how to incorporate what you already know with your magic. As you are a battle mage, you’ll probably be using your sword and dirk as your foci rather than a wand.”
“Wait. You can do that? I’ve only ever seen wands.” Harry was surprised.
“I know Harry. I’d seen other foci but not in British wizards. There was a auror from Vietnam that used a beautiful Katana for his foci. Kingsley Shacklebolt’s father used a staff. In this time it’s a lot more common for a battle mage to use his weapons as foci. The switch to all wand foci probably came sometime in the 19th century when swords fell out of use on the battlefield in favor of firearms. Firearms don't work very well as foci.”
“That makes sense I guess.”
“Anyway Jamie, you’ll probably find it more comfortable since you already know how to use sword and dirk. Actually Harry once you learn sword work you might find it’s easier to focus using one as well.”
“Maybe. My lessons are going to take a lot longer than Jamie’s though. I’ve only used a sword once and I wasn’t very good at it.”
“That was killing the basalisk yeah?”
“You killed a basalisk?!” Jamie exclaimed.
“You know what a basalisk is?!” Harry exclaimed back.
“Of course. A large snake that is verra deadly. They’re mentioned in the Bible ye ken.”
“You’ve read the Bible?”
“My Mam taught me to read using the Bible. Tis the first book I read completely through.”
“How old were you?”
“Wait a minute I thought you were Catholic.”
“I am Catholic.”
“I thought Catholic’s weren’t allowed to read the Bible.”
“That’s a common misconception Pup. It’s not true. Catholic’s need to read a translation that’s approved by the church, but they’ve always been officially encouraged to read the Bible. In fact, before the printing press was invented, whole towns would chip in to buy one Bible. It was chained to a podium in the church so anyone could read it without worrying that it would be stolen. The parish priest also taught the children of the town to read using it. Most education was done by the parish priest as primary schools weren't established yet”
“Aye, all the children in Broch Morda and at Leoch were taught by the priest. Most o the parents dinna have the time like my Mam did.” Jamie put in.
“Huh. Sorry. I guess I learned a lot of things that aren’t right.”
“Don’t worry about it. You can ask me anything.”
“Me as well lad. I may not ken as much as a priest, but my Mam made sure I knew my Catechism.”
“Thanks, both of you.” Harry said somewhat embarrassed.
“Returning to the topic at hand, which was training, you’ll also be learning from a half goblin dueling master named Filius Flitwick. He’s the best dueler in Europe and will remain so for another hundred and fifty years before he retires to go into teaching.”
“Man. I wish I would have known that when I went to Hogwarts. I could have learned so much from him.”
“I know Pup, me too. We can learn now though.”
“I take it the two of you ken this half goblin in the future.”
“We do. He ends up teaching charms at Hogwarts starting just after the muggles have their first world war.”
“Claire told me that she was a nurse in the second one. The numbers of dead she told me about are hard to comprehend.”
A knock sounded at the door. Sirius took down the wards and answered it, to find Claire and Hermione standing in the hall.
“Can we join you? Cousin Arcturus said you were talking about training?”
“We are and by all means join us.” Sirius invited.
The ladies came in and sat down. Hermione took the last chair and Claire sat on Jamie’s lap.
“So, where was I? Oh right dueling with Flitwick.”
“Can all four of us learn?”
“I don’t see why not, but you are going to have to convince Leonard that it’s proper.”
“If I put it in terms of learning to defend myself I hope he won’t put up too much of a fuss. Honestly, I’m starting to regret declaring for his house.”
“Don’t be too hard on him Hermione. Leonard is a product of his time.”
“I know. I don’t blame him exactly, it’s just frustrating to have to try and justify my right to learn something, just because I’m a woman and not a man.”
“I don’t know that I want to learn how to duel. I’m not a mage for one thing and I’d rather heal an injury than cause one.” Claire remarked.
“For you Claire, I’d recommend some basic self-defense lessons, but not formal dueling. You’re right, you don’t have the power levels for it really, and going on the offense isn’t compatible with your magic. Don’t worry though, there are other things the four of you can study together. Latin for one. I remember how pathetic Latin training was at Hogwarts and Jamie and Claire never even had that.”
“I already ken Latin. I studied it at university. I dinna have much o an opportunity to speak it ye ken, but I can read and write in the language.”
“I am SO jealous. I studied by myself, but I never had formal lessons.”
“I only know what I got from nurse’s training and my interest in Botany.”
“I know how to pronounce the spells I learned.”
“Hmm. Well, we’ll hire a tutor and Jamie can help the rest of you.” Sirius said smiling.
“This is going to take years!”
“Maybe not. It might take years before you no longer need tutors, but that won’t prevent you from taking your place in society. Jamie will need some intensive training to control his magic, but that can be accomplished in a few months I think. It really just depends on how quick a study you are Jamie.”
“So when could we go visit his sister? I’ve never met her or seen his home.”
“For a short visit probably a couple of months. To stay permanently? A year or more. Although once you’ve both learned how to use your magic, you may not want to live in the muggle world permanently. Especially in this time. It’s hard to watch someone struggle or even die, and not be able to use your magic to help.”
“You sound like you’re speaking from experience Sirius.”
“I am. I was in London and a small child was run over by a coach. The street was very crowded. I picked up the child and raced to get him somewhere out of sight so I could heal him. He died in my arms before I could.”
Sirius was looking at someone the rest of them couldn’t see. He didn’t mention that the child had reminded him of Harry. Shaking himself, Sirius smiled at the group. Hermione was looking at him with sympathy. There was something in her eyes that gave him the idea she suspected why the unknown child’s death had affected him so much.
“I know what you mean Sirius. There was a...well I guess it must have been a golem, but I didn’t know that. I thought it was a baby. The parents had left it in a tree and I found it. I didn’t understand, the… golem died in my arms. The parents testified against me when I was tried as a witch.”
“Aye. It was a hard thing to watch for me as well, and I knew about the practice of leaving changlings for the fae to claim.”
“I ken it seems so. To the parents, there is a logic and a hope to it. As I explained to Claire. If ye believe that the bairn is a changeling, ye can live with it dying because then your child is happy and living with the fairies. It helps with the grief.”
“I suppose.” Hermione still didn’t sound happy.
“Actually I feel better knowing it’s a golem. I felt terrible when I thought that I could have saved the baby if I was in my own time.”
“Oh my we have drifted. We were discussing tutoring and Jamie visiting his family.”
“Jamie! What about Murtagh? He’s still at Leoch but you said he lived at Lallybroch. Should we, I don’t know, send him a letter or something so he knows you’re alright?”
“I dinna ken. Sirius, what do you think?”
“Well, it would depend on whether or not he knew of Wixen.”
“True. I dinna ken if he does or no.”
“Jamie. I have a question, but I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“Ask your question, I can always choose not to answer it.” Jamie told Harry with a smile.
“Ok. Well, it’s just… sometimes your accent is really thick and other times it isn’t. I just wondered why.”
“I’ve never noticed to be truthful.”
“I have." Claire said. "Jamie’s accent tends to be thicker when he’s around other Scots or when he’s comfortable. His diction improved when he was talking to the Duke Of Sandringham or Lord Black.”
“I’ll take it as a compliment that it’s thicker around us then.”
“Aye. Claire feels a kinship wit ye, and I’m beginning to feel the same.”
Claire and Hermione both yawned at the same time. The men all copied them a moment later.
“On that note...let’s go to bed. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”
The chaining a Bible to a podium so everyone could read it is true. Before the invention of the printing press, every Bible was handwritten and therefore incredibly expensive. So everyone in town would chip in to buy ONE Bible, which was then chained to a podium in the church so everyone who could read had access to it without worrying about it being stolen. The Library of Congress has one such Bible in it's collection.
Chapter 14: The Sacred 28
Our group goes to Gringotts and claims their rings...
Friday October 18, 1743
Friday morning saw a large group headed towards Gringotts. Lord and Lady Black led the way, with the entire extended group behind them. Isabeau and Cassie stopped at Twillfit & Tattings, to begin the arduous process of selecting fabrics to suit the coloring of each person being fitted that day. Euphemia and Anthea were already there. Lords Potter and Dagworth-Granger stepped outside to continue on to Gringotts. Cygnus stayed with the ladies as escort.
When they reached Gringotts, a goblin stepped up immediately to escort the party back to a conference room. Fleamont had requested one the previous day. Two goblins were waiting for them.
“Good morning gentlemen, ladies. I am Ragnok, Chief of Gringotts London. I manage all inactive accounts, as well as this bank. This is Steelclaw the Fraser account manager. We’ve brought up the lordship rings for the Peverell and Fraser accounts I had Ironjaw retrieve the heir ring for Lady Dagworth-Granger as well. He is not with us today as he is engaged with other duties.”
“Good morning.” Everyone replied. Hermione wondered about Ironjaw, but didn't ask since it didn't seem to perturb her Grandpapa.
“Right. The first order of business is for Lady Dagworth-Granger to be invested as the official Heir. If you would take up the ring my lady?”
Hermione took the heir ring and put it on the second finger of her left hand. There was a glow as the magic tested her claim, then it settled and the ring sized to fit her finger. It was signet much like Leonard’s only smaller as befit the heir.
“Very good. Here is the key to your trust vault Hermione. Anthea has my letter of credit to see to your wardrobe and any other purchases today. The trust vault is for fripperies.”
“Thank you so much Grandpapa. I did have one question?”
“Are books fripperies?”
“Say yes sir. Hermione with an unlimited book budget is a scary idea.” Harry said grinning.
Leonard chuckled. “Purchase what you will child. I’m sure our vault can withstand the cost of a few books.”
“Ooooohkayyy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Harry sing songed. Hermione glared at him and he just smiled wider.
Leonard said to Arcturus, “Now I shall take my leave of you. I have several meetings that I couldn’t reschedule. One of those is with Colum Mackenzie. Are we still meeting tomorrow to begin political training Arcturus?”
“We've decided to wait until Monday Leonard. To give James and Hadrian time to recover fully. At Potter Manor rather than Ravensmere. Neutral ground and all that.” Lord Black smiled disarmingly.
“If Mackenzie is able and willing to help, I shall be able to inform you then. Ladies.” Leonard bowed and exited the room.
“Now then, if Heirs Peverell and Fraser would take up their rings to officially claim their respective titles.”
Jamie and Harry nodded to one another and taking up the rings, put them on simultaneously.
Jamie wasn’t sure what to expect. He felt a tingling sensation travel from his finger, down his arm and then across his entire body. A slight glow enveloped him, then faded. The ring sized to his finger. Simple and painless, as Lord Black had described it.
Harry’s experience was different. It began with a sharp prick to his finger that drew blood. Then the same tingling Jamie and Hermione had experienced. It didn’t stop with tingling however, The magic enveloped him, testing him until it was almost painful. A glow enveloped the young man but this was much brighter than before.
The room seemed to pause. Everyone except for Harry appeared to be frozen.
They are not frozen. You are between moments so that I may speak with you. The voice sounded feminine but not. Harry wasn’t sure.
‘Who are you?’ Was Harry speaking? Or just thinking. He didn’t know.
I am Azrael, Angel of Death. I have had a connection to the Peverells since the very beginning of your family line. You are the last descendant of Ignotus. It was he who was first chosen. It is his line that is responsible for keeping the balance.
‘The balance of what, exactly?’
The balance between life and death. Many men have tried to upset the balance. In the beginning, God decreed that the Host could not interfere. So men were entrusted with keeping the balance. The chosen were gifted with what you call magic to assist them in doing their duty. Many have forgotten their duty. Many have forgotten they are human and that their magic is a gift. Their children are being born without the gift.
You call them so.
‘So is it all Wixen?’
No, not all. Some are descendents of the Nephilim. They were not chosen because their fathers were disobedient. They retain the gift because the children were innocent of their fathers’ disobedience.
‘Do I know any of the chosen families?’
The House of Beauchamp was entrusted with helping to keep the balance between Sickness and Health.
The House of Black was entrusted with helping to keep the balance between Good and Evil.
The House of Fraser was entrusted with helping keep the balance between Progress and Tradition.
The House of Longbottom was entrusted helping to keep the balance between Nature and Industry.
The House of Peverell was entrusted with helping to keep the balance between Life and Death.
These are the houses you are closely allied with. There are others. The sacred 28.
‘What about the Weasleys? Mrs. Weasley said they were one of the sacred 28’ Harry put the others to one side for a moment, to concentrate on his most immediate concern.
Cantankerus Nott spreads falsehood out of jealousy. His family are not of the chosen. Neither is House Weasley. The 28 had nothing to do with so-called Blood purity or what humans call England. The 28 were those families entrusted with serving mankind, by doing what the Host was forbidden to do.
‘What is this host you keep referring to?’
The Heavenly Host; angels, archangels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominions, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim.
‘Oh. So which are you?’
I am archangel.
‘Ok. So, you what? Give people jobs?’
We may guide. We may not interfere directly unless commanded by the Father. The Father commands very rarely. When the Son took human form, he saw the frailty of humanity and asked the Father to give mankind as a whole additional responsibility in the form of balance keepers. That is when the 28 were chosen.
‘So the 28. Are they all from England?’
Azrael made a sound that was sort of laughter...but a lot prettier.
No. The only three families from this part of the world, I have already named. I do not always speak to the holder of the duty to life and death. Only if he is needed do I speak.
‘Three? You named five families.’
House Beauchamp originated in what humans call France.
House Black originated in what humans call Rome.
‘Oh. Ok. Do you speak to all the holders of duty?’
No. Only to those which hold duties in my sphere of oversight. Life and Death. Others speak to holders of the duty in their sphere as they are commanded. Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, they all speak to the holders as they are commanded. The healers are special to Our Queen. She speaks to them.
The Queen of Heaven. Theotokos. The Virgin.
‘Oh. Mary… Ok, so since you’re speaking to me… I’m needed then?’
Yes. You have come to this time for a reason. The sister of your heart is correct. Wixen are dying. You were sent through the stones in order to stop it.
‘Me!? I don’t know what I’m doing half the time.’
That is why you were tested.
‘So, Jamie is chosen but not needed.’
No. He is also needed, but was tested before today.
‘Wait a minute. What about all that stuff I went through before?’
You were a child then and thought as a child. You did not choose then. It was chosen for you by others. Today, you chose and so were tested.
You must do your duty, son of Ignotus. If wixen do not repent and change their ways in this generation, their kind will end, and all mankind will lose the assistance the Son asked for.
If the balance is not kept, it will make it much more difficult for any to find the narrow way that the Son died to provide. Many are lost already to Hell. Heaven weeps that this is so.
Harry squared his shoulders.
‘Alright. What am I supposed to do?’
Master your magic. Heal. Teach the wixen that they must stop discarding their children. To save humanity, wixen must stop seeing themselves as superior and begin to see themselves as servants. They keep the balance that allows mankind to discover the narrow way.
‘Ok. I can try.’
If you ask the Father for help, and remain steadfast, you will succeed. Learn of the Father. The one you call Padfoot, and the one you call sister will aid you. As will the healer and the Warrior. You five are all of the chosen.
‘Can I show everyone this memory? So I can ask for their help?’
You may show those present and the Lady Black.
The Angel breathed on Harry and then disappeared. Everyone started moving again.
“You ok there pup? You look a little pale.”
Harry shook himself and smiled at Sirius. Does Cousin Arcturus have a pensieve?”
“I do Hadrian.”
“OK. If it’s alright, I need to show everyone a memory later.”
“You can’t just tell us?” Sirius asked.
“Nope. You have to see it. I just had a conversation with Azrael, the Angel of Death.”
“What?!” Everyone in the room exclaimed. Harry nodded and his companions all made the sign of the cross, including Ragnok and Steelclaw.
“a Dhia” Jamie muttered.
“Peverell. Of course. You are needed then?” Fleamont asked.
“According to the angel, yes. All five of us are needed. Sirius, Hermione, Claire, Jamie and me. The angel said I could show everyone the memory to explain.”
“A discussion for later.” Arcturus said. Fleamont looked at his long time friend and nodded.
“Well then. Shall we continue?” Ragnok held up several keys and a stack of parchment. “These are the Fraser vault keys and financial statements for the past ten years. Steelclaw if you could summarize?”
“Of course. Lord Fraser the vaults have been inactive since the death of your Uncle four years ago. Your Grandsire tried to access them, but was turned away as he was not the Lord or the Heir.”
“Has anyone besides Simon tried to access the vaults?”
“No Lord Fraser. Current investments are going well. There are some that I’ve indicated that you might want to review and perhaps withdraw your support from.”
“Thank you. I shall review these. I’m sure I will have questions.”
“I would be happy to meet with you and go over any concerns you might have Lord Fraser” said Steelclaw.
Ragnok took over. “Lord Peverell. These are the vault keys and most recent financial statements for House Peverell. As the vaults have been inactive for over two centuries, there is no recent activity. I would greatly appreciate being able to activate them again.”
“Oh. Yeah go ahead. You invest the money to make more money, right?”
“Yes. The existing investments continued when the vaults went inactive, so there has been income.”
Harry looked at Sirius. “Ummm You’ll help me figure this out, yeah?”
“Of course Pup.”
“If that is all Manager Ragnok, we shall take our leave?” Fleamont said bowing.
“That does conclude this morning’s business.”
Steel Claw spoke up. “Lord Fraser, if I may...I would like to make an appointment with you to go over your holdings when you’ve read the statements.”
“Of course Manager Steel Claw, that seems a most prudent idea. Shall we say two weeks from today?” Jamie said.
“I shall mark the date Lord Fraser. May the blood of your enemies stain your blade.” Steelclaw bowed.
“May your sword remain sharp Master goblin.” Jamie said returning the bow. The goblin left the room.
“Ragnok, I know you aren’t my account manager, but I was wondering if the goblins could look at this?” Hermione produced the necklace.
“That is a Slytherin heirloom. How did you come by it?”
“Um...it was given to us by an elf. It had a curse on it. We think the curse is gone but aren’t sure.”
Hermione and Harry looked at one another. “I need to tell you privately.” She said.
“We can step out and wait for you if you’d like.” Sirius offered. Arcturus gave him a sharp look and he shook his head. They didn’t need to know.
“Why don’t you tell him Mione. I’ll go with the others… oh wait a second. Ummm, don’t I need to visit my vault before we visit the tailor? Or get a what did Lord Dagworth-Granger call it, A letter of credit?” Harry asked Ragnok.
“No. As the Lord, you need only use your signet.” Said Ragnok.
“I’ll show you how to do it when we get there Pup. You too Jamie.”
“Sure thing. Come on let’s step out.” The men and Claire all offered their courtesy to Ragnok and left the room.
“Ok. So this had a horcrux in it.” Hermione said bluntly. Ragnok recoiled. “We think it was trapped in the stones when we came through, but I want to make sure. I was wondering if the goblins could do that and then return the necklace to it’s rightful owner.”
“We can. I won’t even charge a fee for this task. A horcrux is an abomination. It is our duty to destroy those we find.”
“You’ll get no argument from me on that. It is an abomination. Will you return it to the Slytherin family or to the goblin clan that made it?” Hermione wondered.
“Ragnok gave her a smile that was all teeth. “You did say to return this to the rightful owner did you not Lady Hermione?”
“Yes. I did. I meant it too. I know that some families pay a fee to keep goblin wrought items through the generations. I know some don’t. The Slytherin family stopped paying sometime in the 1600’s if I remember correctly. So that necklace should go back to the goblins.”
Ragnok gave Hermione a deep bow. “I foresee an amicable and profitable relationship with House Dagworth-Granger in the future my lady.”
Hermione curtsied. “I certainly hope so Master goblin.”
Hermione turned and left the room. Everyone was waiting just outside for her.
“Shall we proceed to the tailor?”
“Yes. Let’s.” The company took their leave of Gringotts.
A reminder...this is a work of fiction. Some of the explanations in this chapter and in the wixen world in general are NOT real.
I've tried not to write anything blasphemous, but just in case I wanted to clarify that wixen and the explanations of Angels, Nephalim and the chosen were made up and aren't actually true.
I encourage you to go look up the actual teachings of the Catholic church for anything you aren't sure about. Or ask me, and I'll try and explain as best I can.
Chapter 15: Of lost things...
The tailor and the oculist.
The trip to the tailor was anticlimactic and tedious for most of the group.
As they were walking, Claire asked… “Is talking with angels a common occurrence for wixen?”
“Indeed not. An angel only appears when they are commanded to do so. The Bible has only a handful of references to angels speaking to men.” Fleamont explained.
“Thank Christ.” Jamie said. “I dinna think I could speak with an angel and stay standing for the fear.”
“Well who knows. Your family are among the chosen.” Harry commented.
“Chosen?” Hermione wanted to know.
“Yeah. Azrael said that Cantankerus Nott got it all wrong. The Sacred 28 has nothing to do with blood purity. You’ll see in the memory.”
“Let us put this aside for now, we have arrived.” Arcturus cautioned.
They went in and spent the rest of the morning being measured and having various bolts of cloth held up to them. Then matching those bolts to various patterns that were on display. It seemed excessive to everyone.
Harry was the most overwhelmed though. He’d never had options at all before, much less options of all brand new clothing.
His uniforms didn’t count, they were all the same.
Jamie insisted on an additional plaid, then left himself entirely at the mercy of his wife and Anthea.
Claire and Hermione both had a great deal of fun, once Anthea convinced them that this was armor for battle.
“Men wear armor when they go into battle. Make no mistake, society is a battlefield, and our armor is fashion. Our place in society can make or break alliances, gain us access to needed intelligence and help our men fight their battles in the Wizengamot.”
“When you put it that way...” Claire said thoughtfully.
“Alright. Teach me how to do this.” Hermione declared with a look Harry recognized.
“Oh Lord, Sirius. Hermione’s on a mission now.” Harry whispered.
Sirius threw back his head and laughed. The women turned to him with matching quizzical expressions. He waved them off. “Nothing. Just a stray thought.”
The ladies went back to their discussion.
After Harry was done, Sirius paid for it all and told the clerk to send everything to Ravensmere. Then they excused themselves to meet with the oculist.
The visit was fairly short. It took two potions and some fairly complicated transfiguration work, but when the oculist was finished, Hadrian could see without glasses.
“Now for the next several days, go gently Lord Peverell. Try to avoid bright sunlight and don’t read for longer than thirty minutes at a time. You need to give your eyes time to settle into their new position.”
“Thank you ma’am.”
“Twas a pleasure my lord.”
Sirius and Harry walked back towards the tailor to meet up with the others. “Sirius?”
“If an oculist could fix my eyes in 1743, why couldn’t one fix my eyes in 1991? Or my Dad’s for that matter.” He asked quietly.
“The knowledge was lost by then. When I first came to this time, I spent the first several months being absolutely amazed by things that are available now, that I never remembered seeing before. Then I remembered Remus telling me that a lot of the books that were in the library when we went to Hogwarts had been removed.”
“Who removed them?”
“I don’t know.”
“I wonder if this has something to do with what Azrael said.”
“I don’t know that either...but it wouldn’t surprise me.”
It was a very tired group that returned to Ravensmere. It was suggested that they retire for a nap after luncheon and then meet in the blue room for tea and conversation. Jamie was still recovering from the curse removal, Claire was pregnant. Harry and Hermione were both recovering from malnutrition. The suggestion was followed by all four.
Anthea and The Potters had gone to their respective homes from the tailor’s.
Arcturus and Isabeau took the time to have a discussion with Sirius in Isabeau’s study.
The conversation centered around a schedule for all of the newcomers.
Hermione would be the easiest. She needed education in politics, specifically the Wizengamot. In most other areas, she was either well trained or just needed a bit of additional polish.
“Are you going to try and convince Leonard to let her sit in on the lessons?”
“Yes I am... and you Sirius are going to help me.”
“I’m glad to, what do you need me to do or say?”
“I don’t want you to lie, but if you could...imply that you are looking for an educated woman to take to wife, I think Leonard would allow Hermione to take lessons alongside Hadrian and James.”
“Ok, you’ve lost me. How is that going to...oh. Oh.... No....! He’ll try and make a match between Hermione and I.”
Arcturus made a face. “I didn’t say you had to marry the girl. Just give Leonard the impression that you find educated women appealing.”
“I do find educated women appealing. But I’m not putting Hermione in that position. Harry would kill me. Or worse, Hermione would kill me and there wouldn’t be anything left for Harry.
Isabeau gave Sirius an exasperated look.
Sirius, you must realize that you are the most sought after man in society. Every marriageable aged girl and their parents are trying to catch you. Leonard knows that too. If you do what your uncle suggests, it would be easier for Hermione to sit in on the lessons without a fight.”
‘It will also further my plan to marry you off to Hermione. You’ve shown more interest in her than anyone else I’ve presented to you.’ Isabeau thought but didn’t voice. Fortunately her occlumency skills were excellent.
Then Arturus offered his opinion.
“It will also benefit Hermione when she’s presented. If Anthea is able to spread the rumor that you find her attractive, other men will wonder why. It’s not only the ladies that watch you my boy. Many of the young bucks follow your lead.”
Arcturus knew of his wife’s plan. He approved, so planted the idea that others would chase Hermione. Arcturus was used to playing the long game.
“I...I’ll think about it.” Sirius knew he had a soft spot for Hermione. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to poke that particular beast. He wasn’t good enough for her anyway. His Kitten deserved someone who wasn’t damaged.
(It didn't occur to Sirius that he thought of Hermione as his Kitten.)
“That’s all I ask. Now, you plan to teach Hadrian and Hermione Occlumency already. Would you be willing to teach Claire and James as well?”
“Of course. I meant it when I offered to mentor Jamie. From what Harry and Hermione told me, he had absolutely no reason to interfere when they came through the stones. Jamie helped them anyway, and killed that monster of a werewolf before he could...violate Hermione. I owe him a debt just for that.
Besides, the more time I spend with Jamie, the more I like him. Jamie and Claire both. They’re good people, that got a raw deal. Claire I can understand. Her parents were killed when she was five and both were squibs anyway. They might not have even known they were wixen. Jamie on the other hand...I sincerely hope Leonard’s meeting with Colum bears fruit.”
“I do too. Those bastards deserve everything the Wizengamot can throw at them.”
“Later Arcturus. Let us finish organizing the lessons first. I can serve as Latin tutor, although if James can already read and write in it, he could just as easily tutor Hadrian. It would bond them I think and embarrass Hadrian less than learning from a woman would.” Isabeau was quite fluent in Latin as it was easier for most of the elves to speak in that language. Only the upper staff spoke fluent English.
“I don’t know that it would embarrass him, some of the best professors we had were women. I do agree that it would help him and Jamie to bond. Hadrian can return the favor by helping Jamie with spell casting.”
“I would imagine there will be quite a bit of back and forth between those two young men. Jamie has gaps in his education and so does Hadrian. Fortunately it seems as though the gaps don’t overlap too much.” Arcturus observed.
"Although, Harry needs a French tutor. Poor kid didn't get any education from those damned relatives of his." Sirius was still planning to talk to Hermione about details, but he knew enough to be angry.
Isabeau nodded and looked back at her list. “There is also dancing and etiquette. Again, Hadrian is going to need the most help from what I’ve observed. Hermione says that she plays the pianoforte quite well. Her maternal grandmother, a squib who incidentally was a Black, apparently gave her lessons in dance and social graces. I don’t know about James or Claire, I haven’t had a chance to discuss it with them yet.”
“Well, how about if we assume they at least need a review? It will be easier for Harry if he learns dancing and etiquette with other people present, since most occasions where he’d use the lessons will take place in a group setting. Euphemia probably can’t dance right now, but Anthea could partner Harry and I can partner Hermione, while you and Uncle demonstrate.”
“That’s a very good point Sirius. I shall ask Anthea then.” Isabeau made a note.
“One last thing Aunt Bella. All four of them are going to need lessons on properly interacting with elves. Jamie told me Fraser Castle has about fifty bonded elves and it would be better for everyone if they renewed the bond soon. So I’m going to suggest we teach them all about wixen-elf interaction after dinner. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours to explain the basics. It wouldn’t even take that long except I know Hermione. She’ll have a million questions.”
Isabeau laughed. “She’s already asked me several.” Turning to her husband Lady Black said, “Poor thing was so confused. Hermione thought elves were slaves.”
“WHAT!? Good God in Heaven. What on earth were they taught at Hogwarts?”
“About elves, probably nothing. I wasn’t taught about them there either. Hermione and Harry were both raised in the muggle world. It’s assumed when you enter Hogwarts that you possess a certain level of knowledge. Students raised by muggles don’t know any of it. If I know Hermione, she tried to learn what she could, but her grandmother was dead by then, so...”
“Hermione wasn’t even aware of all the gaps in her knowledge.” Isabeau finished for him.
“That poor child. It must have frustrated her terribly.”
“You have no idea. She spent the whole summer between their fourth and fifth year camped out in the Library at Grimmauld Place trying to read everything. I had to go through and remove some books so she wouldn’t get hurt.”
“That still disgusts me that my descendants would try and keep knowledge from a wixen based on their bloodline.” Arcturus said acerbically.
“Yes well, it didn’t thrill me either. The longer I’m here the more I realize what was lost between now and when I was born. Harry confided in me that he and Hermione and I were all sent back to keep that from happening. So hopefully we can make a better future than the one we remember.”
“Oh yes, that had slipped my mind. Isabeau, young Hadrian was visited by Azrael this morning in Gringotts when he donned his lordship ring. The Archangel gave him permission to show us the memory.”
“Oh goodness. A visitation means he’s needed. That cannot be good.” Isabeau fretted.
“Actually Harry told me that Jamie and all of us travelers were needed.”
“That’s frightening. Maybe we should look at the memory first and worry about elven/human relations later.”
“No, aunt Bella, I think we should look at the memory in the morning. That way Fleamont can be here also. According to Harry, Azrael was very specific about who could see the memory and Fleamont is on the list. Leonard and Anthea aren’t sacred twenty eight. So I don’t know if they should be here for that. I’ll have to ask Harry.”
“He’s correct Bella. Elves tonight. They’ve already had a very long day and elves are a relatively simple subject. I don’t want to overwhelm them with information.”
“Harry’s pretty close to that point now.”
“That reminds me. Sirius, do you think that young Hadrian would benefit from mind healing?”
“I think so, of course we have to get him to agree to it which might be a harder sell.”
“A harder sell?”
“Sorry, twentieth century expression. It might be difficult to convince Harry that he needs mind healing. I’ll talk to him about it though. It helped me a lot.”
Kindle entered the room. “Dinner will be ready in 30 minutes ma’am. Shall I instruct the personal elves to wake their charges?”
“Yes Kindle, thank you.”
“Yes my lord?”
“Would you and Jeeves be willing to help us explain elven/human relations to our guests this evening? They need the instruction and I would prefer for the elven point of view to be presented by elves.”
“I shall be delighted my lord. Would you like me to inquire of Jeeves?”
“Yes please if you would.”
“Of course my lord.” Kindle curtsied and popped out of the room.
Chapter 16: About House Elves...
In re-reading this, I've discovered a number of plot hiccups. I've gone back and edited the story so everything should be consistent. If you see something that isn't please let me know.
Also... I've always found it super awkward to click to outtakes and then back, so I've incorporated the two outtakes into the main narrative.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
There were no guests for dinner that evening. Cynus had returned home after Jamie woke up, so it was just the seven of them.
“We had a talk with Sirius while you were resting and I think we’ve created a workable schedule to prepare you for the Wizengamot and your presentations.” Isabeau began.
“When are we to begin then cousin?” Hermione asked.
“After dinner. Jamie, you said you have house elves?”
“According to Arcturus, yes.”
“Well then you need to renew that bond as soon as possible for the elves sake and your own. Perhaps tomorrow or the next day Arcturus?”
“It can’t be tomorrow. We are reviewing Hadrian’s memory in the morning. James and I have a meeting with Leonard in the afternoon to discuss whether Colum Mackenzie will help bring charges against Simon and the uncle who cursed James.”
“Alright then the next day is Sunday, so it will have to be the day after.”
“That is acceptable. James?”
“Monday is soon enough?”
“Yes, it is. You and Claire will both need to be present. I can accompany you or Sirius can.”
“Either is fine with me, thank you Arcturus.”
Lord Black nodded his head in acknowledgement.
“Wonderful. This evening I thought we could relax a bit. I’ve asked Kindle and her husband Jeeves to come to the sitting room after dinner and help explain the relationship between elves and humans to all of you. Whatever is so amusing? Claire, Hermione?” Isabeau wondered.
As soon as Isabeau had said the name Jeeves, Hermione and Claire had started giggling. When Isabeau asked her question, they looked at each other and giggled harder. Eventually they had put their silverware down and held their middles, howling with laughter. Jamie and Harry both looked confused, while Sirius had a smirk on his face. When it became apparent that the ladies couldn’t get control of themselves enough to explain, Sirius did.
“Jeeves is the name of a fictional valet in a series of books written in the early twentieth century. I assume both ladies have read the books and find it entertaining that you have an elf with the same name.”
Hermione nodded still laughing. “Oh ohh… I’m so sorry cousin. It’s just… there’s been SO much… and I loved those books when I was a child. For some reason it struck me as hilarious that the name was taken from a Black house elf.”
Claire was calming down some and added, “My Uncle had the entire set. I used to read them when we were on a dig. After everything, it was just so funny to finally recognize something in the Wixen world.”
Isabeau smiled at them. “I understand. This has all been very overwhelming for all of you I’m sure. As we are dining en famille this evening, no harm done. I’m quite sure I don’t have to warn you that you need to keep your composure when in company?”
“Of course cousin. I do apologize for giving in to the hilarity of the moment quite so thoroughly. As you said, it’s been a very overwhelming week.” Claire was more embarrassed than Hermione, although both ladies had rather pink cheeks.
“Well then as I was saying, the elves will attend us after dinner. Although I should mention that Jeeves is not a valet, he is the head chef.” Picking up her fork Isabeau continued eating.
The remainder of the meal was spent engaging in small talk. Their wardrobes were set to be delivered within the next week or so, and the outside tutors were engaged to begin in two weeks. This would give the men time to prepare the list of charges to bring against Simon Fraser and Dougal Mackenzie.
Everyone made themselves comfortable for the conversation with the elves.
Isabeau began with a brief history of the relationship between elves and humans.
“Elves have existed since before recorded history. There are many different species of being that are considered of elven kind. This evening I will only speak of house elves and briefly, high elves. There are different categories of High elf, some light, some dark. We shall only concern ourselves with those on the high council. They are Sindarin elves and are light. They oversee all of elvenkind and mediate disputes between elves and other beings. They also mediate in disputes between elvenkind.”
“So Tolkien got that right then?” Hermione looked at Sirius.
“For the most part yes. He was a squib of squib parents you know.”
“I did not know that!” Hermione started to continue when she saw Isabeau patiently looking at her with a raised brow.
“Sorry. Please cousin, continue.”
“Wixen don’t often interact with High elves, although you will occasionally see one, usually at the Ministry or in Diagon Alley. Wixen do interact with house elves regularly. Each house elf family has a bond or relationship with a wixen family. When this began I do not know. Perhaps Kindle or Jeeves will.”
At the sound of their names, the elves in question popped into the room.
“Ah. There you are. Could you explain for us please how your kind came to bond with wixen?”
“Of course my Lady.” Jeeves and Kindle shared a look. Kindle inclined her head that Jeeves should begin.
“When the Redeemer entered human history, he saw how man struggled to stay on the narrow path. The Morningstar and his followers prowl the world, seeking the ruin of souls. They wish to drag all of humanity down into the pit, to make them suffer as the fallen suffer.”
Kindle took up the tale. “After his Ascension, the Son asked the Father to give the humans additional aid, to grant humanity additional graces in order that more would find the narrow path. The Father granted his request.”
Jeeves resumed speaking. “There were many helps that were given. One such help was the choosing of the families to help maintain the balance. Our species... the small elves, were asked to bond with the chosen families, to assist them in keeping the balance. Humans you understand, even humans with magic, have only so much time and energy to devote to their duty. The elves agreed and bonded with the chosen families in order to take on such tasks as were suited to elves. We serve and protect. This allows the chosen families to be stronger, and also safer.”
“Thank you Jeeves, Kindle.” Lady Black said. “Now do you have any questions my dears?”
“I have one.” said Harry. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I knew an elf and he didn’t speak nearly as well as the two of you or Jomy for that matter. Is it...is it normal for elves to be able to speak properly?”
“If you mean in your language, no. Human languages are very difficult for all except high elves to learn. Other elf species don’t generally master human language for several hundred years. Some elves never do at all.”
“Wait! Elves have their own language?” Harry exclaimed.
“Of course! Sindarin and Quenya are actual languages aren’t they?” Hermione said.
“What you call Sindarin and Quenya are high elven languages and closer to human language. Small elves also have a language, which is nothing like a human language at all. We don’t often speak any elven language in the company of humans.”
“But you can learn human languages? Are any of them easier than English? To learn I mean.”
“We can learn any human language. Latin is one of the easier languages for Elves to learn, although Welsh and the Celtic languages aren’t terribly difficult either. English is the most difficult as it borrows from a number of other languages and the grammar is quite complex.” Kindle responded.
“Oh. That makes sense I suppose.”
“I have a question.” Claire spoke up. “You said that elves bonded with the chosen families. So not every family has elves then?”
“No. Most families don’t in fact.”
“Well, then what happens if a chosen family dies out? I’m the only person left in my family, or at least on the non-magic side.” Harry wanted to know.
“No chosen family has completely died out. If the chosen do die out, then the elves bonded to their family will be released from the bond and return to Elven lands. Our magic is stable in the Elven lands. It is only in the human sphere that it becomes difficult to control.”
“So are there wards around the elven lands then?”
“Yes. The wards are powered by all elven and we don’t have to consciously push our magic into them. In human lands we must choose to share our magic.”
“Hmmmm. A lot of things make sense now, that didn’t before. I do have one more question, though. Can an elf have a mental illness?” Hermione wanted to know.
“What is that?” Kindle asked.
“Ummm. Can an elf go crazy?” Harry said bluntly.
“Harry! Don’t call it that.”
“Hermione, it’s 1743. I don’t think they have the same hangups about calling someone crazy that we do.”
“I apologize young sir, I still don’t understand the question.” Kindle said with a confused expression.
“Can an elf’s mind fail him? As it says in Sirach?” Sirius asked.
Kindle’s expression cleared. “Oh, yes. It is possible, but rare. The elf would have to be exposed to evil for a very long period of time for that to occur.”
Hermione and Harry both nodded. “Well that explains Kreacher then.”
“What explains Kreacher? He was a foul little beast when I was little. Just got worse when I was older.” Sirius muttered.
“Sirius. Grimmauld Place was full of cursed objects. Things that Kreacher had to touch and clean and live around. How old do you think he was?” Hermione objected.
“Kreacher the elf is currently 7358 years old as humans count the years.” Jeeves stated. “He is the same age as my great grandfather. I am a young elf, being only 3002 years.”
“Holy Cow! That means that in our time he was 7612 years old.”
“Kreacher was serving the Black family in your time? He should not be. When Kreacher reached 7000 years he was required to return to the elven lands for a period of 1000 years. This allows his magic to rest. No elf between 7000 and 8000 years leaves the elven lands. He is in the elven lands now. Only in an extreme emergency would he have left.”
“Kreacher was there when I was born. He was a foul little git even then. I remember when I was three, he held me down while mother was...” Kindle interrupted Sirius.
“I am sorry Master Sirius, that should not have happened. No small elf is ever to participate in the punishment of someone of any species. No wonder he lost his sense.” Kindle turned to Arcturus. “With your permission Lord Black. I must inform the council. If they know about this, they can prevent it’s occurrence.”
“Of course Kindle. Take whatever time you need.”
“Thank you Lord Black. I shall inform them directly. I will return within the hour.” Kindle popped away.
“Are there any other questions Lord Black?” Jeeves inquired.
“Does anyone have questions?” Arcturus asked.
Hermione answered first. “I don’t have any right now. Harry?” Harry shook his head.
“I don’t have anymore either.” Claire said.
“I did have one Jeeves. What exactly do I need to do when I bond with the Fraser elves?” Jamie asked.
“That is a simple matter of exchanging blood oath with the elves to support and defend one another. It doesn’t take very long, although with fifty elves it will take a little time Lord Fraser.” Jeeves explained.
“Will Claire need to take the oath as well?”
“No she will not. Lady Fraser will have to be present for the wards to recognize her and so that you may introduce her to the elves, but as you have a covenant marriage she will be recognized by the oath along with yourself.”
“Thank you Jeeves. If you could assist in keeping the household steady while Kindle is with the council I would appreciate it.” Isabeau smiled at the elf.
“Of course Lady Black.” Jeeves bowed and popped out of the room.
“That as they say, is that.” Arcturus said.
“Do the Dagworth-Grangers have elves?” Hermione asked.
“No. Well, they do, but the elves aren’t actually bonded to their house. They belong to a connected house that is one of the chosen. I’m not sure which one actually. The chosen houses have far more elves than are needed to maintain the property. So younger elves are lent to wixen families in order to learn their duties and practice their English. It is likely that young Hadrian’s elf friend was such a one.”
“Ok. That gives me some more questions, but I think I want to wait and ask them later. My brain is already trying to process almost too much information as it is. I do like that they call themselves small elves instead of house elves though. I forgot to ask why.” Hermione said.
“I'm sure you could ask Kindle in the morning." Isabeau said kindly. "For now we should seek our beds. We have another busy day tomorrow and a good night’s sleep will help.”
Reminder...this is fiction. Catholics don't really believe in elves, and we certainly don't believe that we have another species helping us get to Heaven.
Chapter 17: Saturday October 19th 1743
Sirius begins teaching Occlumency
I'm a bit behind on my posting schedule...real life kept me quite busy.
Saturday October 19, 1743
Saturday morning at breakfast, an elf in livery entered the room escorting Lord Dagworth-Granger. He looked rather smug as he poured himself a cup of tea from the sideboard and filled a plate with breakfast food. Seating himself at the table, Leonard said his good mornings and began his account.
“I met with Colum Mackenzie yesterday as you know. He had no idea that young Lord Fraser was a mage, he had been told James was a squib. When I explained what I knew and presented the documents, Colum grew very angry. He would like to meet with his nephew at the earliest opportunity.”
Before Leonard finished speaking, Jamie was shaking his head.
At Arcturus’ raised eyebrow Jamie elaborated.
“I dinna trust him. When Claire was arrested and put on trial for witchcraft, Colum did’na inform me or try to defend Claire. He was angry that I had married a Sassenach. He saw the trial as an easy way to get rid of her without dirtying his own hands. If Claire had been burnt as a witch Colum would have tried to marry me off to a Mackenzie girl, so I could become regent for Hamish.”
“You will have to meet with Colum at some point, in order to gain his aid.” Isabeau pointed out.
Jamie paused for a moment. “Aye. But not at Leoch. Colum can come here where Claire is surrounded by her family, and safe.” Arcturus and Isabeau both smiled, though neither said anything.
Jamie paused again in thought, then continued in a formal manner... “Lord Dagworth-Granger, if you would also be so kind as to inform Colum that the first words out of his mouth had better be an apology to my wife followed by an apology to me, I would be most grateful.”
Leonard looked uncomfortable. The trial would go much easier with Colum’s assistance and Colum was a proud man. To carry that message would most likely cause Colum to withdraw his support. Leonard looked at Arcturus pleadingly.
Arcturus cleared his throat. “James, if I may offer a word of advice?” Jamie nodded.
“I understand your anger. That being said, don’t begin the conversation with a demand for an apology. You of all people know what a proud man your uncle is.” He continued when Jamie began to object...
“Don’t misunderstand me, he deserves censure and a strong rebuke for putting Claire through the terror of a witch trial. I simply feel that he will take it better if such censure comes from me.”
Jamie looked skeptical at that, so Arcturus continued.
“Remember, Claire is a member of House Black, which outranks House Mackenzie by quite a bit. If you will allow me to address the matter with Colum, I am certain you will get your apologies, without the danger of Colum refusing to help bring Dougal before the Wizengamot.”
Jamie thought about that for a minute. “Alright. I can see your point. I would ask that any meeting I have with Colum include your presence at least Lord Black. I dinna trust myself to keep my temper if I’m alone with him.”
“I think that is a most sensible course of action young man.” Leonard said a little patronizingly.
“I can join you as well Jamie, if you like?” Sirius offered. Jamie nodded gratefully.
“Do I have to be present?” Claire asked suddenly.
“Do you want to be?” Jamie responded.
“I don’t particularly. If Sirius and cousin Arcturus are there, you’ll be protected. I’m rather angry with Colum myself. I did everything I could to ease his pain and he repays me by leaving me to be killed. I don’t know that it’s a good idea for both of us to be in the room and angry with Colum.” Claire turned to Arcturus. “Although, if you think it necessary cousin I will attend.”
“Oh, I can’t imagine that it would be, do you my love?” Isabeau put in. “After all, Lord Mackenzie will most likely stay to a meal. Any apologies can be made to Claire then, in front of all her family.”
A slow smile curved Arcturus’ lips. “Of course my heart. A brilliant idea. Be sure to invite Cassiopeia and Cygnus as well. I’m sure they will want to reassure Colum that Claire has suffered no lasting harm.”
Isabeau began to laugh. “What a wicked, wicked man you are my love. I shall do just that.”
The rest of the party looked confused. Of course it was Hermione that asked the question. “What are we missing? What is the significance of inviting Cassie and Cygnus?”
“Mr. Mackenzie had quite a crush on Cassie’s mother when they were younger. If his father hadn’t insisted on Letitia, Colum would have offered for Andromeda instead. Given that Cassie has taken you on as an apprentice, he will have to apologize to her as well. Since my dear niece is the exact likeness of her mother and has the full expression of the Black temper, the fireworks should be quite entertaining.”
Jamie began to chuckle. “Aye. Seeing my Uncle discomfited will go a ways to ease my anger.”
“Then that is how we shall proceed. Now then. The next step is planning for the next session of the Wizengamot. I would like to call for an emergency session, in two weeks on Lá na Marbh. Most sitting members will still be available as the regular session ends on October 30th.”
“Lá na Marbh is November 1st. You all would know that as the Feast of All Saints.” Sirius remarked.
“Just so. Although most Wixen are Catholic not all are. We use the Celtic names for Wizengamot sessions in order to differentiate between political practice and religious practice.”
“Is that enough time to prepare the charges?” Leonard asked
“Should you call for a session before Jamie can safely use his magic?” Claire didn’t know what would be expected of Jamie, but she didn’t want him going into a trial at a disadvantage of any kind.
Sirius agreed with Claire.
“Uncle, I know you are anxious to move matters forward, but it might actually be better to wait until the regular session in January. It will give James a chance to learn Occlumency and given that he’ll probably hear things that will anger him...”
Arcturus sighed heavily. “Yes yes, Sirius. I see your point. Alright then, we’ll wait for the regular session. But I want you to start Occlumency lessons today then.”
Sirius nodded. “We can begin right after breakfast if that’s alright with everyone?”
“All four of us?” Claire asked
“Yes.” Jamie replied. “As your cousin explained to me yesterday, Occlumency is the art of protecting your thoughts from magical attack. You need that more than anyone, with yer glass face.” He kissed her hand to take the sting from his words.
Claire laughed self-consciously. “I see your point.” Turning to Sirius she asked… “Will that really help? I don’t want to put anyone in danger, but Jamie is right. I’m terrible at subterfuge.”
“I don’t know if it will help your facial expressions, but it certainly won’t hurt.”
“Alright then. I’ll try anything that will help keep us safe.”
“Splendid. While you five are working on that, Leonard and I will work on a schedule for Political lessons. Bella, could you work on an overall daily schedule? If we don’t impose some sort of order right at the start things could get missed. There is a great deal of material to cover after all.”
Breakfast finished quite pleasantly, with little conversation as everyone applied themselves to their food. Fleamont entered just as they were rising from the table. He bowed to the company and Isabeau smiled at him.
“Good morning Fleamont. How is Phemie this morning?”
“Tired of being pregnant so she tells me.”
“When is she due?” Claire wanted to know.
“Just before Christmas. Although the midwife says it could be Christmas. First babies are often late I’m told.”
Claire nodded. “Yes, they are.”
“Well. I shall be in my study working on the schedule.” Isabeau shooed everyone out of the room so the elves could clear the table.
Sirius led the other four to the library. It was large enough and calm enough for Occlumency. Everyone found a seat and he began.
“Occlumency has two parts to it. The first is organizing your mind. You’ll find that once you do, your memory is better and you have an easier time controlling your emotions. The second part is about building mental defenses to prevent a Legilimens from entering your mind without your permission.”
“What!? Like mind reading?”
“Yes Claire, exactly like mind reading. It’s illegal to do so without permission, but in my experience those with criminal intent don’t care whether something is legal or not.”
“Ok, so what do we do?” Hermione broke in. They could discuss the philosophical implications later. Right now she wanted to be doing something constructive.
“Right. So the first step is to center yourself. They called it meditation in the 70’s but really it’s just sitting still. Then you need to construct a mental image that will help you organize your thoughts and memories. I use a library, but however you like to organize is fine. It could be filing cabinets or a garden or a pantry, or anything that says ‘organized’ to you personally.”
“Neville used a greenhouse he told me.” Hermione remarked.
“I can see that. Neville loves plants.” Harry said.
“So the most important thing is that everyone needs to concentrate, so no talking.” Sirius cautioned.
“Once you have the image in your mind, begin going through your memories and filing them away in your storage system. You can either begin with your earliest memory or your most recent memory. It doesn’t matter either way.
You’ll probably have a random thought pop up periodically, one thing reminds you of something else. That’s ok. You don’t have to go in chronological order, just file the memories in a way that makes sense to you.
This part will take several days. The older you are, the more memories you have and the longer it takes. I’ll stop you when it’s time for lunch, it’s not helpful to go longer than a few hours a day. I’ll stay in the room to monitor everyone. Any questions?”
All four shook their heads. Sirius’ explanation had been thorough.
“Alright then. Go ahead and start whenever you’re ready.”
For the next four hours there was no sound in the room except breathing and the occasional turn of a page in the book Sirius was reading.
At lunch Harry asked a question.
“Why didn’t you use Legilimancy on us?”
“Why would I? You haven’t even organized your memories yet, much less built defenses. I won’t be checking in for awhile. Once you think you have all the memories sorted I’ll do a quick check to establish a baseline for each of you and then probably check in once a week to test your defenses.”
“Oh.” Harry didn’t say anything else but looked a little disgruntled.
“Why do you ask?” Sirius was suspicious.
“Ummm… no reason.” Harry said lamely.
“Pull the other one. Why?” That suspicion was stronger now, but Sirius wanted Harry to say it without being led.
“Snape. Well… he, um… did it differently.” Harry looked down.
Hermione noticed and paused in her conversation with Claire to ask, “What’s going on?”
“Harry was just telling me about his Occlumency lessons with Snape.”
Hermione got a disgusted look on her face. “Those weren’t lessons, they were more assault.”
“What did he do Harry?” Sirius sounded calm...on the outside.
“Well, he would just...tell me to shield my mind and then cast Legilimens on me. It kind of hurt.”
Sirius started to say something… paused, tried again and then abruptly got up from the table and swiftly left the room.
Isabeau looked at Arcturus and he nodded, got up and followed Sirius. “He isn’t upset with you Hadrian. Please understand that. Your description just brought up some very unpleasant memories for Sirius. His mother taught him Occlumency using a similar method to the one you describe.” Isabeau wanted to ease the look of devastation on Harry’s face. “Occlumency should never be taught using that method. It’s a violation of your mind.”
“Violation is one word for it.” Hermione hated that Snape had done it and Harry never told anyone. She only knew because he kept having nightmares about it. From Harry’s description it sounded like rape of the mind to her.
“Hadrian. Look at me please.” Isabeau wasn’t about to let him feel guilty over this. When the young man raised his eyes to her she continued.
“You did not ask for this to be done to you and you also had no control over this Snape person. Any guilt or embarrassment you feel is misplaced. The only one at fault is the person who violated your mind, and the Headmaster who instructed you to receive lessons from him. I cannot believe that he was ignorant of the teacher’s behavior.” Hermione was nodding before she finished.
“See. It’s not just me that thinks so Harry. You need to stop taking the blame for what other people do. It isn’t healthy. If we were in our own time I’d suggest you see a therapist. I’d see one too if I could.”
“Therapist? You mean a psychiatrist?” Claire asked.
“Yes. I know that mental health was largely ignored in the 40’s but by the 90’s it was understood that sometimes you needed a doctor for your body and sometimes for your mind and neither one was something to be ashamed of.”
“I see. You are speaking of a mind healer?” Isabeau asked.
“Do you have such a thing?” Hermione was surprised.
“Yes. Sirius has been seeing one for almost a year now. It took him a long time to admit that he needed to. At first he would only speak to me, and then Arcturus. Eventually he agreed to speak with a professional mind healer. Tiberius comes once a week now. He comes on Mondays actually, which is why you haven’t met him yet. We didn’t meet you until Tuesday.”
“Wow. It hasn’t even been a week yet. That’s...kind of amazing when I think about all the changes of this week.” Hermione was trying to get Harry to smile. He still hadn’t said anything since Sirius walked out.
“Harry.” Sirius had come back in the room. He crossed to Harry’s chair. Kneeling down, he caught his godson’s eye. “I’m sorry Pup.” Harry looked at him incredulously.
“You’re sorry? What for? You didn’t do anything.”
“I didn’t protect you. Snape should have never done that to you. No one should ever do that to you. It’s abuse.” Sirius held up a hand. “Before you tell me it’s alright, NO it isn’t. It’s mind rape. It’s against the law. It is now and still is in the future. He should have gone to Azkaban. The only reason he got away with it is because no one bothered to teach you kids your rights.”
Sirius shook his head. “The longer I stay here and the more I learn about your generation’s experiences compared to mine the angrier I get. If I hadn’t already been trying to make changes I’d certainly be on board with the idea now.”
He stood up. “Harry, I’d like to talk to you privately this evening. In the meantime, let’s put this topic aside and finish our lunch.
“What’s on the schedule for this afternoon Uncle?”
“It’s been a very busy week. I thought perhaps we could go riding after lunch? Most of your tutors will be here on Monday and Isabeau has a tentative schedule that we can go over this evening. For today though, some relaxation seems to be in order.”
“Riding? Horses?” Jamie asked excitedly.
“Yes, or Abraxans or brooms. Whichever strikes your fancy.”
Claire started to giggle. “You actually ride brooms? Like real brooms?” Sirius and Hermione both smiled widely. Harry smiled slightly too.
“Yes. Harry is amazing on a broom. I don’t like heights, so I’ll stay on the ground. I love horses. I used to ride all the time before Hogwarts. I rather miss it.”
“Well then. Riding it is. Fleamont, would you be able to visit tomorrow afternoon? We still need to view Hadrian’s memory of his conversation with Azreal, and Leonard doesn’t plan to return until Monday.”
“I have no other engagements, I will be able to visit. Would three o-clock do?”
“Certainly. It will give us enough time to view the memory and discuss it, while allowing you to return to Euphemia for the evening meal.”
The company finished their meal and slowly conversation resumed although Harry was quiet for the rest of the meal.
Chapter 18: Learning to Fly...
Jamie and Claire encounter flying. Everyone relaxes a bit.
The afternoon was tremendous fun. After a short demonstration, Claire opted to try broom riding. Jamie decided that riding an Abraxan was his preference. Arcturus rode with him giving pointers on controlling a flying horse. After fifteen minutes the two men took off for a fly about the estate.
Harry of course rode a broom and gave Claire help in riding one also. Isabeau showed her how to mount astride without showing an unseemly amount of leg.
“It’s not like a horse you understand. There are no sidesaddles on brooms. Of course you don’t have to worry about being dragged by a broom so much either.”
Claire took to flying much as she did everything else. Fearlessly. Soon she and Harry were running races over the grounds laughing and teasing one another.
Hermione laughed with them watching with soft eyes as Harry came out of his shell and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Isabeau stood next to her.
“You love him very much I think.”
Hermione nodded. “Yes. I do. Harry was my first friend. He was the first person to accept me just as I am.”
“What about your parents...your Grandmere?”
Hermione shook her head. “Grandmere loved me, I know she did. But she was always trying to turn me into her idea of a perfect society maiden.”
“My parents are more complicated. They loved me, but I was a bit of a disappointment to them. Mummy was very popular in school and so was Daddy. I was an only child just like they were and so of course they both thought I’d be just as popular. Things...didn’t quite work out that way.”
Hermione’s parents had both been attractive social people. Hermione herself was shy and while she wasn’t ugly, she had been an awkward child with slightly protruding front teeth. Coupled with her incredible intelligence, other children had one of three reactions. They mocked her, ignored her, or tried to use her to do their schoolwork. She said none of this to Isabeau though. Shaking her head, Hermione continued.
“Anyway, then I turned 11 and got my Hogwarts letter. One of the professors brought it personally. I was so excited to finally have an explanation for all the odd things that happened when I was upset. My parents were supportive, but they didn’t really understand why I wanted to go so badly.”
“Why did you want to go?” Isabeau asked.
“It was a chance to fit in. To make friends. To be normal.” Hermione said wistfully. Then she laughed.
“At first I failed miserably just as I had all the other times. Then I was attacked by a troll.”
“A troll!!! Where on earth did you encounter a troll?” Isabeau gasped, horrified.
“In the second floor girls bathroom at Hogwarts.” Hermione said dryly. Isabeau simply stared at her in disbelief.
“Let me back up a bit. It was Halloween and one of our classmates named Ronald, was having a hard time mastering Wingardium Leviosa. I tried to help him and he got angry, thinking I was being a show-off. I wasn’t really, but I was so desperate to prove I belonged that I overdid it I think. On the way out of the classroom he said some very hurtful things about me that I overheard. I ran past him and Harry, and locked myself in the bathroom to have a good cry. I had just decided to write my parents and ask to come home when the troll came in.”
“How on earth were you not killed?”
Hermione smiled fondly. “Harry and his ‘saving people thing.’ They had all been sent to their dorms and Harry realized that I didn’t know about the troll. So he guilted Ron into coming with him to look for me. They saw the troll going into the bathroom and locked him in. Then Harry heard me scream. He rushed in and jumped on the troll’s back.”
“Oh good Lord. How was Hadrian not killed?”
“Believe it or not Ron actually knocked out the troll. He used Wingardium Leviosa to levitate the troll’s club and then drop it on his head. It knocked the troll out and then the professors arrived.”
“After that, we were friends. Ron still picked on me sometimes and wanted me to do his homework, but Harry never did that. He also told Ron to knock it off when he got too obnoxious.”
Sighing, she finished her story. “It got easier for me after that and I made more friends. But Harry was always my best friend. It was really hard after Sirius...left. Harry thought that it was his fault that Sirius had well, died. He grieved for the entire next year. Ron and I didn’t know how to help him and he lashed out sometimes. But… I knew it was just the grief, so I didn’t hold it against him. Then when my parents were killed… Harry was there for me. Just like I’d been there for him. When we were hiding from Death Eaters we got even closer. Ron left after awhile, got mad said some things and took off. It was easier without him. Less stressful.”
“And now you see Hadrian as a brother?”
“I’ve always seen him as a brother. An annoying younger brother sometimes, but one I’d defend with my last breath. Even with everything he’s gone through, Harry has this innocence about him, that I wanted to protect. Besides...” here she chuckled “he is younger than I am by almost a year.”
“That sort of relationship is rare, even among biological siblings. No wonder you cherish it. I do wonder whether or not it will withstand the two of you marrying other people though. As he is not your biological brother, most men will not understand the nature of your relationship.”
Hermione scoffed at that. “Any man who doesn’t accept Harry’s place in my life is not one I’ll consider marrying.”
Sirius had heard the entire conversation. He’d been coming from the barn to ask Hermione if she wanted to go riding on one of the Freisians. He remembered quite well her dislike of heights. Hermione hadn’t seen him, but Isabeau had. Sirius walked back into the barn and listened from the shadows. His Aunt pretended she hadn’t seen him.
When Hermione finished speaking Sirius waited a moment and then walked outside as if he were just exiting the barn.
“Would you like to go for a normal ride Kitten?” He asked. “We have a number of breeds of horse in the stable that don’t fly.”
“Oh that would be lovely. I even know how to ride sidesaddle.” Hermione had come to the stables wearing a lovely dark blue riding habit complete with hat, in hopes that there were normal horses.
Sirius offered his arm and led her back into the stables. Isabeau smiled a small smile. She couldn’t have planned that better if she tried.
Arcturus and Jamie took an aerial tour of the estate. While they were riding, Jamie asked a number of questions about running a wixen estate. After answering several Arcturus commented, “I’m glad to see you taking such an interest in the wixen part of your holdings. I confess I was mildly concerned that you would neglect them for the holdings you’ve known all your life.”
“Once perhaps I would have. But Claire is also a wixen and I know that she is overjoyed at having found family in the wixen world. Even in her own time she was an orphan and mostly alone. Besides, my sister Janet has been looking after the estate since my father died. Once she marries, I’ll most likely sign Lallybrock and it’s lands over to her and her husband. I can’t sign it to her directly as unfortunately women aren’t allowed to inherit. I can give it to her oldest son though, and she can run it until he’s of age.”
“A most sensible solution that provides for your sister as well. Will you tell her that you are a wizard?”
“I… I’m no sure. Janet has education, my Mam would’na have settled for anything else, but she’s never been more than five miles from home. I don’t know how she would take the news, and although I’ve not seen her since I was arrested, we’ve exchanged letters. She’s my sister… I wouldn’t want to lose her regard.”
“Well, you have time to make a decision. Do you plan to visit her soon?”
“Yes, as soon as I can. I’m not yet sure when that will be, but even if it’s only for a day or two, I’d like to check on her.”
“We could probably pop in for a visit in a week or two...perhaps on your way to seek your pardon. Then she could be introduced to Claire and the rest of the family. There is a small Black family estate in Scotland, not too far from Inverness. We can all floo there and take a carriage to Broch Tuaroch.” Arcturus offered. It wasn’t entirely altruistic. He had claimed Claire as family, even if she hadn’t formally declared for them yet. Blacks protected their own.
“I think I’d like that. I know Claire would. Thank you.”
“Very well, I shall make the arrangements for a visit when we go to bond with your elves. Now let us return to the stables, it’s almost time for dinner.”
Dinner that night was quieter. People weren’t exhausted, but the day's activities had given way to a more contemplative frame of mind for everyone. Gathering in the sitting room, Arcturus asked Isabeau to explain the schedule she had come up with.
“As you all know, there are a number of gaps in your educations. I realize that it will take some time and that a rigorous schedule can’t be maintained indefinitely, but for at least a few months, here is what I think will allow for the most rapid progress.
She passed around a copy of the schedule to everyone.
7-8 am Breakfast
8-10 am Occulmency with Sirius
10-12 pm Latin
Claire and Hermione with Isabeau
Hadrian with Jamie and Sirius
12-1 pm Luncheon
1-4 pm Weekly Lesson
Monday & Wednesday: Hermione, James, and Hadrian - Warding and Cursebreaking with Cygnus
Claire – potions, herbology and healing with Cassiopeia.
Tuesday,Thursday & Saturday: Politics and History with Arcturus, Leonard, Fleamont and Sirius
Friday: Dance and Etiquette with Isabeau
4-6 pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Swordsmanship and Duelling
Tuesday & Thursday: Magic practice
Saturday: Magical Theory
8-10 pm Conversation or society until bed
They all read it over. Arcturus cleared his throat. “It is a very busy schedule I realize. However, we have a limited time to prepare you all for your formal introductions. Some of you can use a time turner, but Claire cannot while she is with child.”
“Then I will’na either.” Jamie wasn’t sure what a time turner was, but he was certain that he wouldn’t do anything that Claire couldn’t.
“Jamie, it’s not a bad thing. I’ve used one before. It’s just a bit of magic to give you more time.”
Jamie narrowed his eyes at Hermione. “How, exactly?”
“Well the one I used would allow you to repeat up to eight hours in a day. For instance, I would wake up at 10:00am on a Saturday, study until 6:00pm and then use the time turner to go back to 10:00 to study for another eight hours.”
“So basically instead of a 24 hour day you had a 32 hour day.” Claire said.
Hermione nodded. “There were limits of course. I couldn’t repeat more than eight hours every twenty four.”
“How old were you? I assume you were still at Hogwarts.” Arcturus asked.
“I was fourteen. I used it third year.”
“They gave a time turner to a third year? Did they at least restrict your access to it?” He demanded.
“Well, no. I mean it was a secret and I couldn’t tell anyone. I didn’t even tell Harry and Ron until the very end of the year when we used it to rescue Sirius.”
“Not now Arcturus.” Isabeau cautioned. Her husband grumbled but didn’t pursue his questioning.
“At any rate, it is possible to use one carefully. For the classes that Claire will not be taking for instance. She will be with Cassie then. Or when she’s napping you could take an extra hour of study.”
Jamie looked thoughtful. “I suppose that might be useful. Hadrian and I could work on Latin or Duelling.”
“Just so. Hadrian will need to use one for his French lessons at any rate since the rest of you are already fluent.”
Claire had a question. “Tomorrow is Sunday. Will we be attending Mass?”
“Of course. The Black family chapel is where we usually attend, you are all of course welcome to join us, unless Hadrian and Hermione wish to go with their respective primary houses.”
“I’d rather go with Sirius” Harry said quickly.
“I’d rather attend here too.” Hermione said. She knew that Harry was self-conscious and would have questions. Particularly since it would be the old-style Mass. Hermione knew it because her Grandmere flatly refused to attend what she called the Novus Ordo. The old Mass was very different than the one Harry was used to attending with her.
Claire yawned. “Ohh. Do forgive me. I believe I shall retire. It’s been a long day.”
“Of course Claire. Sleep well.”
“Thank you cousin.” Jamie helped her up and bowing to the room said his good nights as well.
“I think I’ll go up too. Night everyone.” Harry left the room to follow the Frasers up the stairs.
“Are you ready to turn in Kitten?” Sirius wanted to know.
“Not really. Cousin Arcturus, would it be alright if I chose a book from the library to take to my room?”
“Of course Hermione. Sirius, would you escort her please?” Isabeau worded it as a request, but Sirius knew it was more of an order.
Rising, he offered his arm to Hermione.
Chapter 19: It depends on your definition...
Sirius asks Hermione about Harry.
Trigger warning...this chapter describes how Harry was treated by his relatives.
I've kept it to canon because quite frankly I think canon was horrific enough, and adding more minimizes just how abusive Harry's environment was in canon.
Physical abuse is terrible, but deliberate neglect and emotional abuse leave deeper and longer lasting scars. Particularly since Harry lived with Dudley who was abused in the other direction by being over-indulged.
Of course other authors make different choices. These are mine.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
They walked in silence to the library. Once the door had closed, Sirius spoke.
“Hermione, I have a few questions about Harry. Would you answer them for me?”
“I’ll try...but be warned if it’s about his home life you probably won’t like my answers.”
Sirius grimaced. “I probably won’t, but I need to know anyway.”
Hermione sat down and Sirius began to pace. After several minutes, he visibly braced himself and asked… “Did his aunt and uncle abuse him?”
“It depends on what you mean by abuse. If you mean did they hit him, not really. At least, not regularly. I know his aunt hit him with a frying pan once and that his uncle boxed his ears occasionally, but they didn’t systematically beat him.” Hermione took a breath.
“Most of his physical injuries were caused by his cousin Dudley. Harry’s cousin had a gang that would chase Harry and beat him up when they caught him. He already told you about the door incident. I think that most of that happened before he went to Hogwarts though. Not that it makes it better.”
“Emotionally, I do think his aunt and uncle abused him, and I think it was bad. They called him a freak and basically put him down a lot. I don’t know everything because most of what I know I’ve pieced together by listening to him talk in his sleep. I think he had to do all the chores around the house, and I know he did most of the cooking. When we were on the run, Harry was pretty amazing about making a palatable meal out of almost nothing.”
Taking a peek at Sirius who was still silent but looking angrier by the second, Hermione finished her tale.
“What I can tell you for sure is that they neglected him. Harry is still smaller than anyone in our year group and his muggle clothes were always way too big for him. I think they were hand-me-downs from his cousin who was a lot bigger than Harry. His glasses were the same all seven years. I mean it was the exact same pair of glasses. He got really good at using Oculis Reparo on them. I don’t wear glasses but I know you have to get your eyes checked once a year. I find it hard to believe that his prescription didn’t change the whole time we’ve known each other.”
Sirius was sitting across from her, still and silent. Hermione reached out and touched the back of his hand. He looked up, and her heart broke for him. This had shattered him, and she felt guilty for being the one to tell.
“Sirius, you can’t blame yourself.”
“Why can’t I.” He snarled in self-disgust. “If I hadn’t been so reckless, so stupid… if I hadn’t gone after that rat bastard Peter...” Hermione shook her head.
“I don’t think it would have made a difference.”
“What do you mean? Of course it would have.”
Hermione shook her head again.
“No, I don’t think so.” Sirius looked ready to object and Hermione held up her hand. “Wait. Let me explain. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this since we went on the run. I’ve also found out some things about Professor Dumbledore that changed the way I view him. I don’t think he would have let you raise Harry no matter what, and I suspect that if you hadn’t been thrown into Azkaban you would have had an… accident. One that really would have killed you.”
“What!? Why would you think that?” Sirius asked. “He had you rescue me for crying out loud.”
“I know, but I think that had more to do with keeping control of Harry than actually wanting you free.”
“Wow. You really did lose faith in Dumbledore. What on earth happened? You never used to question anything he said or did.”
“It was a lot of different things. Did you know that Professor Dumbledore had Harry’s parent’s will sealed before you were arrested or the Longbottoms were attacked?” Sirius shook his head.
“Well he did. Why would he do that? Unless there was something in it that didn’t suit his plans. Now I don’t know what the wills said, but I can’t imagine that Mrs. Potter would have wanted Harry to be raised by the Dursleys. She at least had to know how her sister felt about magic.”
Sirius looked poleaxed. “She did. Lily hadn’t spoken to her sister since her parents died. They got into a huge fight at the funeral when Petunia blamed Lily for their deaths. It was a house fire, and death eaters were suspected.”
“Exactly. I don’t know for sure, but I think it very likely that either you or the Longbottoms were listed as Harry’s guardians if they died. It was war time, of course Harry’s parents would have made plans for...just in case. So the only reason Professor Dumbledore would have had to seal the will, was to prevent that from happening.”
“Wait a second. How do you know it was sealed before I was arrested?”
“I made some inquiries of the goblins the summer after our third year. I knew by then that Harry’s home life was rotten and then you were on the run again because Pettigrew escaped. I wanted to see if there was anything in the will that would help you. The goblins couldn’t tell me anything except that the will was sealed by order of the chief warlock, which was Professor Dumbledore. I don’t think they were supposed to even tell me when it was sealed. I’m not sure why the goblin I talked to did. I do know that I was the first person to even ask about it, because the goblin told me that too.”
“You were looking for evidence to help me? Why? You barely knew me.” Sirius looked surprised by that.
“I knew you were innocent.” Hermione said simply.
Sirius laughed at that. “I’m anything but innocent.” He said and waggled his eyebrows at her.
Hermione smacked his arm. “I meant innocent of betraying the Potters, you prat. Besides, you were important to Harry. That made you important to me, even before I got to know you.”
“And when you got to know me?” He asked, half-joking.
“Then you became important to me for yourself.” She said earnestly. “Even with being in hiding and everything you were going through… you still tried to be there for Harry when he needed you. You’re a good man Sirius Black and… well… I’m glad you’re here, and that we’re you know… friends.” Now she was blushing.
Sirius’ smile became something gentler. “I’m glad we’re friends too. It does give me some consolation that Harry still had you when I… left.”
Shaking his head, Sirius returned to the goblins.
“You know, I wonder if the goblin you spoke with was the Potter account manager. He would have had a little more leaway to give out information if he thought something fraudulent was happening with the account.”
“I don’t know. It wasn’t very helpful at the time. I couldn’t find out anything so I didn’t say anything. No sense in getting Harry’s hopes up just to disappoint him. But after Professor Dumbledore died, I started thinking about all the things that happened to Harry and putting some pieces together. It made a really...ugly picture.”
Hermione took another deep breath. “Ok… Well, Every year something happened to Harry. And every time either it was something that Professor Dumbledore set up or something he didn’t stop. First year he set up the Philosopher’s stone at Hogwarts. Those challenges were easy enough for three first years to get through, but were supposed to stop Voldemort. I call B.S.”
Sirius smiled a little, but didn’t want to interrupt, so stayed quiet to let her continue.
Second year, the basalisk that lived under the school went around petrifying people. The Headmaster is tied to the wards of the school. How could he not know what it was, and yet I as a second year muggleborn could figure it out and figure out how it was getting around. It’s nothing short of a miracle that no one was killed.”
“Third year, he invited a werewolf to teach DADA.”
Sirius started to object at this and Hermione held up her hand. “Wait. I don’t have anything against Professor Lupin, in fact he was the best DADA teacher we ever had. I’m simply pointing out, that the only reason the Headmaster hired him was to help catch you.”
Hermione knew she had to be careful about this, but Sirius needed to hear it. She took a deep breath.
“Ok, this is going to be difficult to listen to, but please...let me say it.”
“All that time you were in prison, Remus never tried to visit you. Not even to ask you why. He never tried to visit Harry. Even when he was our professor, he didn’t really talk to Harry about his parents. He spent all that time alone with Harry, teaching him the Patronus and not once did Remus offer to tell Harry anything about people who were supposed to be his closest friends. Then, when you finally are close to catching the rat, he forgets to take his Wolfsbane. Or says that he did.”
Sirius didn’t interrupt, just looked at her. Hermione kept laying it out.
“He remembered to take it every single month, except for when it mattered most? So Pettigrew escapes and you are captured, at Hogwarts. Which incidentally, plays right into Dumbledore’s plan. He doesn’t want you dead because you can help control Harry, but he doesn’t want you free either. So instead of hiding you or helping you escape, the Chief Warlock has Harry and I, two students use the time turner to rescue you. You spend the next year on the run and Harry has to go back to the Dursleys.”
Hermione didn’t belabor the point, Sirius would either realize that he couldn’t trust Remus, or not. Since Remus wasn’t in this time with them, it didn’t matter so much. She continued talking about Harry’s school experiences.
“Dumbledore could have gotten you a trial. If not in Britain, before the ICW. He did neither, instead the headmaster/chief warlock/supreme mugwump let you live as a fugitive. You could contact Harry and give him some hope, but you couldn’t really do anything to mess up Dumbledore’s plans.”
“Fourth year, you’re out of the country and Harry’s name comes out of the Goblet of Fire. Professor Moody was supposed to be a close friend of the Headmaster’s. Yet we had an impostor teach us for the entire year and the headmaster never figured it out? Really? I mean come on, there is no way Dumbledore didn’t know! So there’s the whole tournament and all it’s related dangers, ending with Harry being captured by Voldemort and dueling for his life. And seeing Cedric killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Hermione sighed. “I think that part messed him up more than anything. Harry still thinks it was his fault that Cedric was killed.”
“Fifth year, well… Umbridge, who used a blood quill for detentions, and again the Headmaster does nothing. Even Professor McGonnagell didn’t do anything when Harry went to her. Just told him to keep his head down. Voldemort feeding false visions to Harry, Snape and his so-called Occlumency lessons all of which ended with you going through the veil and us thinking you died.”
Hermione tears up a little. “Sorry. I know you’re ok, but we didn’t know that then.” Sirius takes her hand, but still doesn’t say anything.
She sniffed and went on. “Sixth year was in some ways the worst. The headmaster pretended that he was teaching Harry what to do in order to defeat Voldemort, but what he was really doing was setting Harry up to hunt horcruxes. Something had happened to Dumbledore’s hand over the summer and I think the Headmaster knew he wasn’t going to be able to find them all. So he taught Harry how to look for them.”
“So at the end of the year, Dumbledore takes Harry to this cave which is full of inferi, makes Harry feed him some potion that, I don’t know, causes hallucinations or something and then when they get back to the castle, Draco sodding Malfoy had let Death eaters into the castle. Instead of letting Harry help fight them, the headmaster petrifies him and covers Harry with his own invisibility cloak. So Harry can’t do anything but stand there and watch as first Draco tries and fails to kill Dumbledore and then as Snape does kill him.”
“Yeah. Although, there’s something fishy about the way that went down. Harry unfroze when Professor Dumbledore died and of course, of course he went chasing after Snape. Who could have very easily killed him, but not only didn’t try to, he stopped Bellatrix Lestrange from doing it too. He just knocked Harry’s wand out of his hand, said something snarky and then left. I mean...he didn’t even take Harry’s wand. Why?”
“I...I don’t know.” Sirius looked very shaken.
“I think I do.”
Hermione paused, took a deep breath and shared her conclusions. “I think that Professor Dumbledore has seen Harry as a chess piece not a person, since that prophecy was made. I also think that Professor Dumbledore went out of his way to keep Harry ignorant so it would be easier to manipulate him into doing whatever Professor Dumbledore wanted him to do. Last but certainly not least, I think that Professor Dumbledore was dying from whatever happened to his hand and worked it out with Snape so Snape would kill him.”
“What!?” Sirius said again, weakly.
“Think about it Sirius. When Snape was on trial after the first war, Dumbledore spoke for him. Said that Snape was his spy and helped at great personal risk. Then he hired him to teach potions. Snape was a terrible teacher. If it had been the muggle world he wouldn’t have lasted a year treating students the way he did. But if he was a spy, being at the castle would help if Voldemort ever returned. Which I think the headmaster always thought he would. By killing Dumbledore, Snape would be guaranteed to be seen as a loyal death eater, and could keep spying for the Order of the Phoenix.”
After a long minute in which Hermione sat and played with her fingers, Sirius spoke.
“You truly are the brightest witch of your age.” Sirius gave her a lopsided smile. “I think you’re right.”
“You do? Really? You don’t think I’m just being cynical?”
Sirius barked a laugh. “No I don’t think you’re being cynical. When you lay everything out like that, it makes perfect logical sense. Even Remus. I was so relieved that he believed me, that I didn’t stop to think about anything else. I wonder if he knew what Dumbledore was doing to Harry.”
“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter now though. Remus is in the twentieth century and we’re here. We can help Harry heal and learn what he needs to, so he can take his place in wixen society. If we make the right changes, then Professor Dumbledore will never be in a position to manipulate anyone like he did Harry.”
“That bastard. That manipulative Fu...” Sirius stopped and ran his hand through his hair. He breathed heavily for a minute or two and then nodded decisively.
“You’re right. It doesn’t really matter now. What does matter is that we can fix this. So... I have a couple of other questions.”
“Why did Harry get so upset when Cassie read your diagnostic?”
Hermione paled and then blushed. That was the last question she expected. “Well, umm…”
“Hermione...” He looked at her glaringly. Prevaricating was not an option he would handle well.
“Alright, alright.” She huffed. “Harry was mad because I kept giving him and Ron all of the food. That’s one of the reasons that Ron finally left. There wasn’t enough food. I could forage sometimes, but we spent so much time hiding that I couldn’t do it much. Sometimes I could buy food from a Tesco or something, but I was always so afraid of being seen that we didn’t risk it very often. Then the snatchers got close two or three times in a row and we ran out of everything except a couple of cans of beans. I gave it all to Harry and Ron. I wasn’t hungry by then anyway. It wasn’t enough and Ron got mad and left.”
“After that it was...better. Less stressful. There still wasn’t enough food for both of us though and Harry was already underfed. I figured I could do without more safely than he could. He would argue with me if he caught me at it, so… I would ummm. Transfigure something to look like food and then push it around on my plate.”
“Harry was already under so much pressure. The headmaster had him convinced that he was the only person that could stop Voldemort. It was a lot worse when it was Harry’s turn to carry the horcrux, so I tried to carry it as often as I could. It didn’t seem to bother me as much as it bothered the boys.” That last was said in a very small voice, and she couldn’t look at Sirius.”
To Hermione’s surprise, he didn’t yell at her or even scold her.
“That was remarkably generous of you.” Was all he said after a minute.
“Not really. Harry is my best friend. You would do the same thing for James I bet.”
He nodded. “I would.” He said simply.
Hermione started to say something else, but whatever she meant to say was lost in an enormous yawn.
“It’s late. You should go on up to bed.”
“Are you ok Sirius?”
“Not really. But I’ll talk it over with Tiberius on Monday. That will help.”
“Tiberius is your mind healer, right?”
“Do you think he’d be willing to talk to Harry and I?”
“I don’t know but I can ask him.”
“Thanks.” Hermione yawned again and stood up. She picked up the book she’d been reading earlier. Crossing to where Sirius sat, she bent down and gave him a hug.
“He’ll be ok Sirius. We can’t change his past, but we can help him have a better future.”
Hermione left the room closing the door quietly behind her.
Sirius sat in the chair quite late, thinking and staring into space. Finally his valet came looking for him and shooed him off to bed.
Before falling asleep, Sirius made a silent vow to give Harry a better future… and to make sure that Albus Dumbledore was never in a position of power anywhere.
This was a difficult chapter for me to right. In no reality should Harry have been sent back to the Dursley's after Hagrid came for him the first time.
I know Voldemort was written as the villain of the piece but in my opinion Dumbledore was far worse. Harry was willing to put himself in danger so often because he didn't feel he had worth. Dumbledore put Harry in an environment that fostered those feelings of worthlessness. There's a special place in Hell for people like that.
Chapter 20: Sunday October 20, 1743
The family attends Mass and has breakfast. Claire gives Hermione some good advice.
Sunday October 20, 1743
Everyone was up early on Sunday morning. Mass at the Black family chapel was usually at 7:00 am as Lord Black was an early riser and a twelve hour fast was required in order to receive the Eucharist.
Harry sat between Hermione and Sirius, who took turns whispering instructions and explanations to him. Harry didn’t receive communion of course, and surprisingly neither did Claire. Everyone else however, did.
Walking back up to the house afterwards, Harry kept up a steady stream of questions, which Sirius answered. The ladies all walked together, chatting about botany.
Breakfast was substantial, and the entire party lingered at the table, adjourning to the morning room afterwards.
“Now, I haven’t anything planned for the day, however, if anyone has questions or concerns about anything, I am at your disposal.” Isabeau said.
Harry spoke up first. “I went over the schedule last night before I went to sleep… I’m willing to try, but I don’t know if I can learn everything. I didn’t do so well in school. Except for in Defense against the Dark Arts.”
“Defense against the Dark Arts? I’ve never heard of that class. What is it?” Isabeau looked to Sirius.
“Learning about dark spells and creatures...and how to defend yourself against them.”
“What exactly are ‘dark’ spells?” Arcturus asked. "I get the impression that you are not talking about spells cast by someone with a dark core."
“Anything that could hurt someone mostly, although the Unforgiveables were definitely considered dark.” Hermione explained.
“Yeah. The Imperius, The Cruciatus and The Killing Curse. Unforgiveables.” said Harry.
“I don’t understand. The Imperius and the Cruciatus are used by healers. The the killing curse is a farming spell. It’s an instant and painless way of slaughtering livestock. Why would they be considered unforgiveable?” Arcturus was confused.
Harry, Hermione and even Sirius were shocked speechless. “That… that isn’t what they were used for in our time.” Sirius finally said.
“We’re getting a bit off topic. Let’s table this discussion for tomorrow when you begin instruction. Hadrian, I understand that you were deprived of quite a bit as a child, particularly in the area of education. However, in the brief time I’ve come to know you, I’ve observed that you are intelligent, observant and very good at following direction. With all of us helping you, it is quite possible for you to learn everything you need to in order to succeed.” Harry blushed as Isabeau praised him.
“Aunt Bella is right Pup. You sell yourself short. You’re smart. You can do this. Besides, according to Hermione, in your entire school career you’ve never been able to just focus on learning. You’d be surprised at how easy it is when you aren’t worried about avoiding hexes in the halls or teachers that are out to get you.”
“I guess I can try, I just… I don’t want you to be disappointed in me.” Harry said softly, looking at his godfather.
“As long as you give it an honest effort I won’t be. I promise.”
“Really?” Harry didn’t mean to sound so insecure...he just wanted Sirius to be proud of him.
“Really.” Sirius’ voice was firm.
“Now that’s settled, are there any other questions?” Wrangling this group was exhausting sometimes. Isabeau finally understood why mothers looked so tired.
“I have one. I ken that I won’t be going into the muggle world for a time, but when I do… I still have a murder charge laid against me. Arcturus said we could arrange for a pardon, and I dinna wish to forget to do so. Is it something that would be difficult? Whom should I speak with about it, and would I need a solicitor?”
“A pardon should take very little time or effort. It’s simply a matter of contacting my solicitor and having him present your complaint to Pelham. He knows me and he knows Fleamont, as we both have titles in the muggle House of Lords. With the two of us speaking for you, it will be no trouble at all.”
“Would it be possible to do it soon? There’s a redcoat officer, a Captain Randall that has a very unhealthy obsession with my husband, and I’d really like to see him brought up on charges. Black Jack is the one that flogged Jamie.” said Claire, forgetting that only Cassie and Cygnus knew about that.
“Flogged?” Arcturus turned to Jamie. “Does Cassiopeia know about this?”
“She does. Claire asked her to look at my back the night Cygnus removed the curse. She said it could be healed, but that it would be painful and require some time to accomplish. I’m more or less used to the scars, and haven’t decided whether to have them removed or not.”
“I see. So you still have the scars now?” At Jamie’s embarrassed nod, Arcturus clarified. “Alright. I know that Fleamont has already spoken with Pelham about reactivating the Peverell seat in the muggle House of Lords. House Fraser also has a muggle title, one of the few Scottish families that does. It goes back to the time of James I, and is an Earldom just as the wixen title. With your permission, I can request that it be reactivated also. It has been dormant for lack of an heir willing to claim it.”
“I don’t have an objection to having the title reactivated. How will that help me receiving a pardon?” Jamie inquired.
“It will allow us to bring the officer that flogged you up on charges. You are a peer of the realm. Whether or not you knew it at the time, it’s a capitol offense for anyone to lay hands on you. Even if you did commit murder, only the House of Lords has the authority to try you. This officer, Randall can be brought before the House of Lords and punished for it.”
“I think you should do it Jamie. That bastard deserves to be shot for what he did to you.”
“And for what he did to you mo ghràidh, and to Jenny.”
“What did he do to Claire?” Several voices asked simultaneously.
“He tried to rape me twice and he punched me in the stomach, then had a private kick me in the stomach. If Dougal hadn’t rescued me, he probably would have hurt me worse.” Claire wasn’t particularly bloodthirsty, but if she could see Black Jack Randall punished, she’d tell anyone what he tried to do.
Sirius and Arcturus exchanged a furious look. Arcturus was the one to speak.
“I see. I shall speak to Pelham tomorrow then, right after breakfast and before we visit House Fraser. I caution you that I don’t know what happened to the Fraser lands in England, the Scottish properties may be all you have left.”
“I dinna mind about that. The Fraser vaults at Gringotts are more than enough to keep us comfortable for generations, even if I did nothing to improve them. Although… I certainly intend to invest the money. It does no good just sitting in a pile in the vault.”
“Very good then. I shall also speak to him about your pardon and add assault on a member of my house to the list of this Captain Randall’s crimes.”
“That’s wonderful. I’ll be very happy when Black Jack is no longer a threat to us.” Claire said in satisfaction.
“Cousin Arcturus, I did have one other question. I haven’t yet met my Beauchamp relatives, and they aren’t listed as my primary house. I do wish to meet them, but I believe I’d like to declare for the House of Black. Will that offend them do you think? Or can I ask to be a member of more than one house? I wouldn’t mind being officially related to Hadrian as well as Hermione.” Claire was happy to claim as many people as family as she could.
Lord and Lady Black exchanged a look. “There is nothing that prevents you from declaring for more than one house, and we would be delighted to claim you as a member of House Black. I’m sure Fleamont will claim you for house Potter as well, although you will of course have to confer with him on that… As for house Beauchamp, I really couldn’t say. They are a French house with no ties to England, and I don’t know the current head of house, or their stance on reclaimed bloodlines.”
Arcturus tried to be diplomatic, but he suspected that House Beauchamp might have difficulty claiming a member who was also a member of house Black.
Isabeau took up the conversation. “The only thing you can do is meet with the head of house when he arrives and ask him. Even if he refuses to claim you, your place in English society is assured. You’ll already have ties to three houses, and of the three, House Fraser has the least influence at the moment...although I suspect that will change dramatically once James takes his seat in the Wizengamot.”
“Can I claim Claire for House Peverell?” Harry asked abruptly.
“You could, if you wished, through your house Potter connection. It might require blood adoption into House Peverell if you wanted to give her house protections though. We’d have to ask the goblins.”
Harry told Claire, “I would you know. If… it helps keep you safe and you want to, I mean.”
Claire smiled at him. “Thank you Harry. I don’t know if it would make a difference, we’re already cousins through House Potter. It’s very sweet of you to offer nonetheless.”
“Claire is correct Hadrian. Due to her existing house affiliations she has ample protection both legally and socially, and you have an existing connection through house Potter. This connection would allow you to stand as her protector should the need arise.”
“Ok. I just want to make sure everyone is safe. I’ve lost enough people in my life.” Harry muttered the last bit.
“Of course you do. You’re a very nice young man Hadrian.” Isabeau favored him with a fond look.
“Now if there are no more questions, I plan to spend the rest of the morning in the library reading. You are all welcome to make free of the house and grounds. Fleamont is expected at three. We have our main meal early and as breakfast was so substantial we do not have a formal luncheon on Sunday.
Should anyone feel peckish, there will be a light luncheon laid out for those who wish it, in the main dining room at 12:30. I will see you in the library at three. We will view the memory and then have dinner and discuss things at table.”
“I shall join you my heart. It’s been a very busy week and I believe I could do with a nap while you read.” So saying Lord Black offered his arm to his lady and they left the room.
“A nap sounds lovely. I haven’t had any morning sickness, thanks I think to Cassie’s potion, but I am more tired than usual.” Claire rose and kissed Jamie. “You stay and talk to Sirius and Harry if you want. Or go outside and do something. I know you are used to being out of doors and this week has been a lot of inside things.”
“I think I shall mo chride. Would ye like me to walk ye up first?”
“I’ll be fine Jamie. I’m just walking up a flight of stairs.”
“I can walk with you Claire. I agree, a nap sounds lovely. I was up rather late last night reading.” Hermione stood also. “You should go out with Jamie, Harry. Go ride a broom for awhile and clear the cobwebs.”
“I might. Thanks Mione. Want to come flying with me Sirius?”
“Sure Pup. I used to be pretty good back in the day.”
Everyone exited the morning room together and separated at the stairs. Jamie kissed Claire soundly and whispered something in her ear which made her laugh. The two ladies continued up the stairs and Hermione couldn’t help but ask, “Is he always so affectionate?”
Claire smiled. “He is. It took me a little while to get used to. Frank was...well, Frank was very reserved. I know he loved me, but except for one time at the train station he never kissed me in public. I think the only reason he did that day was that everyone was kissing their sweethearts goodbye. We were all leaving for France, to staff the military hospitals.”
Her smile grew. “Jamie though, he doesn’t care who’s around. He loves me and isn’t afraid to let the whole world know it. I quite like it. It makes me feel… cherished. That he loves me so much.”
Hermione sighed. “That’s beautiful. I wish I could meet someone who would love me like that.”
“Well how do you know you won’t? You’re only eighteen. Maybe I’m a romantic, but I think everyone has a perfect match out there. It’s just that not everyone meets theirs.”
“I don’t know that I agree with that. I’m self-aware enough to realize that I would be very difficult to love. Certainly to the extent that Jamie loves you.”
They had reached Claire’s door. Dragging Hermione into her room, Claire closed the door and gestured to a chair. She slipped off her shoes and sat on the bed.
“There is no way I’m going to let that be the end of the conversation. I’m going to lie here and rest and you are going to explain yourself. What makes you say you would be difficult to love?” So saying Claire leaned back against the pillows and fixed Hermione with a stubborn look.
Hermione fidgeted for a minute and then at Claire’s continuing stare huffed in exasperation. “I’m a bookworm, I get obsessed with my projects, I’m horrible at small talk, I don’t care about fashion, I’m bossy, I’m not good at cooking except for breakfast, and while this may sound really shallow...I’m not very pretty. Even less so now that I’ve lost so much weight. What man in his right mind would find that attractive, much less fall in love with me?”
By the time Hermione had finished her tirade, Claire was giving her a look that was half amused, half sympathetic.
“Hmmm. Let’s take those one at a time shall we? You’re a bookworm...so am I. So are lots of other people, and some of them are men. You get obsessed by your projects? You’ve never seen me with healing. I completely forget anyone else is in the room and I’m downright rude sometimes because my whole focus is on healing the patient. I’ve yelled at doctors even. I think lots of people are horrible at small talk and the right man won’t care. As for fashion, you may not care about it, but you know how to use it. I saw you at Twilfit & Tattings. You have a good eye for color, and style. You just don’t focus on it to the exclusion of all else.”
“It’s alright that you’re bossy. Some men like bossy women. You aren’t a shrew, just protective and there’s a difference. I’ve seen you with Harry. You boss him when you think he isn’t taking care of himself. I do the same thing with Jamie. He gets irritated by it, usually when he’s injured and wants to do something before he’s completely healed.”
“Harry does that too. All the time. It’s super annoying.”
“Exactly. Now about cooking. Who cares if you can’t cook? You know I can’t and Jamie does most of the cooking for us. He doesn’t care and he’s from this time. Besides… you’re the Dagworth-Granger heir. I can’t imagine you’ll be doing much cooking yourself, you’ll have house-elves to do it for you.”
“That’s true.” Hermione conceded. “It doesn’t matter though. Even if everything you said is true, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m… well… on the plain side. I’m not ugly, but I’ve got freckles and a head full of curls I can’t do anything with… and I’m way too thin. Although even when I wasn’t I didn’t have much to speak of in the way of… curves.”
“Hermione. You don’t have too many freckles, just a few across your nose. You have a lovely complexion and your hair can be tamed, you just have to learn how. I bet if we ask Anthea she’ll help. Her hair is pretty curly too and it looked lovely the other day. I wonder if there isn’t a spell or two that she knows. You are too thin. I can’t argue with you there. But you won’t be forever.”
Hermione started to object and Claire talked over her. “None of that matters though. The right man will think you are the most beautiful woman in the world and he’ll be right. To him, you will be. Not because you’ve suddenly turned into Doris Day or Greta Garbo, but because the right man will see you. Who you are on the inside and he’ll think you’re beautiful.”
“Maybe.” Hermione was still skeptical. “Even if he is out there, the chances of him being considered an acceptable match by Grandpapa are not high.”
“Oh, you never know. Stranger things have happened. After all, I traveled two hundred years into the past, fell in love with an 18th century Highland warrior and then discovered that I’m a witch. And I saw a unicorn on Tuesday.” Claire said smugly.
Hermione was giggling by the time she finished.
“Thanks Claire. I don’t know why I’m such a pessimist about this. I mean, I’ve only really had one boyfriend and he was really nice. We didn’t even break up really, he just lived in another country and with the war, we lost touch.”
“I think that happens a lot in war. Be patient. There isn’t a war going on here, and you have time to be choosy. The right man for you exists. You’ll find him. Or he’ll find you.”
“Yeah. Well, I’m going to go to my room and take a nap, so you can take a nap too.” Hermione leaned down and gave Claire a hug. “Thanks. Really.”
“Anytime...cousin.” Claire said brightly. She loved being able to claim family.
Hermione went to her room and laid down on top of the covers. She tried to think about what Claire had said, but she was exhausted and fell asleep almost instantly.
Every woman deserves to feel cherished. My husband makes me feel that way every day. If I could be granted one wish it would be that every woman was treated by her significant other the way my Beloved treats me.
Of course the flip side of that wish is that every man was treated the same way by his significant other.
Chapter 21: Memories and birthdays
Jamie plots with Sirius and Harry.
Harry's memory of Azreal is viewed.
Sirius, Harry and Jamie walked toward the stables. Once he was sure they couldn’t be overheard, Jamie began…
“Sirius, could you answer a question for me?”
“Of course Jamie, what do you want to know?”
“How do you celebrate birthdays… in your time I mean. Is it the same way Claire would have in her time?”
“Sure, pretty much. Some people have large parties, and some have a nice dinner with family and friends and a birthday cake.”
“Ye have cake for a birthday?”
“Yes. Cake is a must.” Put in Harry, who hadn’t had one for the first eleven years of his life.
“Why do you ask? Is Claire’s birthday coming up?”
“It is. Today is her birthday. I dinna think she remembers or if she does, she does’na want to make a fuss. So many other things have happened in the past two weeks ye ken.”
“Well. We can’t let a chance to celebrate pass us by. Kindle!” Sirius called. The elf popped next to him.
“Yes Master Sirius?”
“Today is cousin Claire’s birthday. Could Jeeves make a cake for dinner tonight?”
“I’m quite sure he would be delighted to do so.” Kindle turned to Jamie. “Does Lady Fraser have a dish she particularly enjoys?”
Jamie shook his head. “I dinna ken. I did’na even ken it was her birthday until last week when I rescued her from Cranesmuir.”
“No matter. I shall leave it to Jeeves to prepare something then.” Kindle popped away.
“Thank you Sirius.”
“How old is she now?” Harry asked.
“She said she was born in 1918, and it was 1945 when she came through the stones. So that would mean that she’s… 27. I think. Time travel confuses things a bit does it no?” Jamie said.
Harry and Sirius both laughed. “Yes. It does, somewhat. But that’s ok, you just have to be more careful with the math, er arithmetic.”
The reached the stables and Jamie was convinced to try a broom. After a short tutorial, they settled for an easy ride around the quidditch pitch to give Jamie time to become accustomed to the different sensation of being on a broom rather than a horse. They continued the conversation.
“How old are you Jamie?” Harry asked him.
“I’m 22 years old.” Jamie replied.
“Ahhh, so you married an older woman.” Sirius teased.
“Of course. An older woman kens what she likes. She kens how to please a man and can teach him to please her.” Jamie waggled his eyebrows.
“Oh gross. Stop. Please!” Harry groaned.
Sirius laughed. “Some day you’ll meet the woman for you Pup and you won’t find that so gross.”
“I’ve had girlfriends already Sirius.” Harry said repressively. “I just don’t want to hear about other people’s… you know. It was bad enough when Ron was dating Lavender Brown and they were snogging each other in public all the time.” He shuddered at the memory.
“What is… snogging?” Jamie asked cautiously.
“Kissing. But like…really aggressive kissing. In public.” Harry explained.
“Ah. So, does it bother ye then?”
“Does what bother me? Kissing? Not really… I mean, not the way you kiss Claire or Cousin Arcturus kisses Cousin Isabeau. You don’t look like you’re eating each other’s face.”
Jamie made a face at the mental image and Sirius laughed loudly. “I can see Ron being a little too much into public displays like that. We never did that. Broom closets yes. The middle of the common room no. Even in the 70’s it would have damaged the girl’s reputation too much.”
“In this time it would even damage a wife’s reputation to treat her so in public.” Jamie declared.
“Enough about kissing. You ready to ride for real Jamie?” Harry wanted to know.
“I think so.”
“Then let’s race. I need to blow off some steam!” Harry put action to words and took off down the pitch. Sirius and Jamie exchanged a look and raced after him.
Claire woke up feeling well rested. Calling for Thrift, she washed and dressed for tea. It was 2:30 when she made her way downstairs to Isabeau’s study. She had a particular question to ask, and she wanted to know before they viewed the memory of Harry’s visit with the angel.
Arcturus was no longer in the room, which relieved Claire. She would have asked with him present, but preferred not to.
“Good afternoon cousin, are you feeling rested?” Lady Black greeted her with a kiss to the cheek.
“Yes I am. I may need to begin napping more often if I’m to keep to the schedule.”
“We can always modify it you know.”
“I do.” “Cousin, may I ask you something...well delicate?”
“Of course my dear.”
“How… open minded is your priest?”
Isabeau raised both eyebrows. “Open-minded? About what?”
“Well, this is the delicate part. Before I came through the stones, I was married. Hermione says it wasn’t valid because it wasn’t a Catholic wedding, but I’m still not sure of my exact standing with the Catholic church. Jamie and I were married in a Catholic ceremony, and I do feel as though I’m his wife… but…”
“You aren’t entirely sure whether or not Holy mother Church agrees with you.” Isabeau stated.
“Is that why you didn’t receive the Eucharist this morning?”
“It is. I may be a nominal Catholic, but I do remember that I shouldn’t receive unless I’m in a state of Grace to do so.”
“Hmmm. Well, I think the best thing to do would be to make an appointment with Father Percival and discuss it with him. I can ask Kindle to check with the sacristy elf for available times.”
“Oh, yes. Thank you. I would like that.”
Lady Black made a note to ask Kindle about it later. “You are most welcome.” She rose to her feet. “Now let us go into the pensieve room and join the others shall we?”
Arcturus and Fleamont were already waiting in the pensieve room. The two ladies joined them and chatted about inconsequential things while waiting for the rest of the group. Hermione came into the room a few minutes later, and ten minutes after that the three remaining men came in laughing and windblown.
“Did you have a good ride Harry?” Hermione asked with a wide smile. It was nice to see him laughing. He didn’t enjoy himself nearly often enough in her opinion.
“I did. Thanks Mione. Did you have a nice nap?”
“Now that we are all present, shall we begin?” Lord Black inquired.
Harry nodded and taking his wand, withdrew the memory and placed it into the pensieve. Claire and Jamie watched in fascination.
“Now if you will all place a finger in the pensieve, we can view it together.”
“Wait. We don’t have to stick our face in?” Harry was confused.
“No. A single finger will suffice.” Fleamont replied. "It would be very difficult for everyone to fit, if we had to put our faces in."
“Huh. Weird.” Harry shrugged and place a finger in the basin.
Everyone else followed suit and Arcturus activated the rune on the side that began the playback of the memory. Kindle was present in the room to watch over their bodies while they were viewing the memory as they wouldn’t be aware of their bodily surroundings for the duration of the viewing.
When the memory ended and everyone returned to awareness of the room, the reactions were varied. Jamie and Claire were of course the most discomfited by the experience, mainly due to the newness of the wixen world and their lack of experience with it. Everyone, including Harry was full of questions.
“Let’s have dinner and we can discuss it over the meal.”
“Cousin, may I bring pen and paper to the table?” Normally I wouldn’t ask, but if I don’t write things down I’m afraid we’ll miss or forget something important, and I’m sure you’ll agree that in this case we shouldn’t do that.” Hermione asked.
“I will allow it this time, for this specific purpose.” Isabeau said graciously.
They all proceeded to the dining room and began their meal. Once the initial hunger was satisfied, they began to talk about what they had seen.
“So, I don’t understand one thing.” Hermione began.
“Only one thing?” Claire asked sarcastically.
“Well, I don’t know how we’re supposed to accomplish what Azrael told us to, but I understand that part. What I don’t understand is how I can be considered one of the chosen. I’m a Dagworth-Granger. They aren’t a Sacred 28 family.”
“Ah. That may be true, but consider Hermione that you are also a Black and we are Sacred 28.”
“But that would mean that every descendant of one of the families is chosen.”
“Of course. The nonsense about blood purity stems from the knowledge that God may call any member of a family of the sacred 28 at any time. Historically, those with ties to the sacred 28 tend to be the ones chosen. Some idiots took that to mean that they shouldn’t marry outside of the 28 families, which then expanded to not marrying the descendants of squibs no matter their lineage. Squib descendants aren't taught wixen history, and so wouldn't understand the purpose of the sacred 28.”
“That… makes so much sense and also makes me really angry.” Hermione declared. “All the wizarding wars of the 20th century could have been completely avoided if people hadn’t forgotten about the real reason for the twenty eight and their responsibilities.”
“Right. So the real question is, how do we fix this? Azrael said that’s why we went through the stones. It’s probably why Sirius fell through the veil too, since he’s part of this.” Harry was panicking and overwhelmed, it showed on his face.
Fleamont, who was sitting next to him, patted Harry on the hand. “Azrael told you how to fix it Hadrian. Heal. Learn. Take your place in society. Work to remind the wixen world of their responsibilities and the duty that goes along with the blessing of magic.”
“Your grandfather is right. Don’t worry so much Harry. This will be way easier than hunting horcruxes.” Hermione said breezily.
“Hunting HORCRUXES!?” Fleamont and Arcturus exclaimed loudly.
Sirius slapped a hand over his face. “Nice going Hermione.”
“What?” Hermione didn’t understand what the big deal was.
“Um...Mione, that was kind of supposed to be a secret, that Riddle made horcruxes.”
“If we were still in the 1990’s I would agree with that. No wait, actually I wouldn’t.”
“No Sirius, I mean it. Half the crap that Harry had to go through was because of Dumbledore and his secrets. I’m done with that. Azrael said we had to work together to fix this. They said that Harry could show all of us the memory so they could help.” She paused to take a deep breath and then continued.
“Look, I get it that we can’t go around telling everyone. But the people in this room, right now are all going to be working together to save the wixen world from itself. I absolutely refuse to keep secrets from you all. I don’t know everything. Neither do you, neither do any of us. But if we ALL have ALL the facts then we can work together with all of our knowledge to do what the Archangel told us we need to.” Hermione was earnest and vehement.
“The lass is right.” Jamie had been listening to everything while turning the problem over in his mind.
Claire chimed in too. “We all bring different experiences and knowledge to the table. If everyone shares what they know, it will be much easier to accomplish what we need to. I have to wonder if that’s why so many of us came through time to be here. I’m from the 1940’s, Sirius is from the 1970’s Harry and Hermione are from the 1990’s. But all of us lived through a war and were actively involved in fighting it, in our various ways. Me through healing, but I was a field nurse close to the front. Even Jamie has fought in France as a mercenary. There must be some reason that the five of us were the ones picked for this.”
Claire fell silent and everyone sat quietly for a moment, thinking about what had been said thus far.
Then Harry piped up… “I can tell you one thing. If my job is to heal and learn everything I can, then I’ll do my level best, and be grateful that I’m not being asked to fight a dragon.”
Sirius and Hermione both started laughing. Fleamont shook his head and Isabeau smiled.
“I do have a question. Not about the task, but about the wixen world in general. Are things always so… fast-paced? Today is Sunday, and I’ve had a nap; but I’m still exhausted with all the things I’ve learned today and trying to absorb it all.” Claire said ruefully.
“No, before Tuesday I would say that my life was quite placid, even with Phemie expecting our heir.” Fleamont said with a grin.
“Not to worry my dear. It has been an unusually busy week. I believe the next one will be as well, in order that we may settle James’ situation. After that lessons will begin in earnest and there will be more time to relax and simply learn.”
“I’m looking forward to that.”
“Oh, I almost forgot. Arcturus, we’ll need to take James and Claire to Ollivander’s tomorrow before we go to Fraser Castle. James at least will need one to claim the wards.”
“Can I ask about that? In our time Enchantresses don’t carry wands. In fact no one carries a wand except wixen who attend Hogwarts.”
“It’s true. I never really thought about it, but Hermione is right. At least in England. It wasn’t the same elsewhere in Europe, Kitten. For instance during the Tri-Wizard Tournament the Beauxbâtons champion was part Veela and the Headmistress was part giant. There were a number of full Veela that attended the school as well. They all carried wands.”
“That’s true. But weren’t they all elementals or mages?”
“No. In fact both Durmstrang and Beauxbâtons had classes for all power levels of wixen. Most healers went to France as the enchantress level is particularly suited and skilled in healing magic.”
“Well what about Madame Pomphrey. She was English.”
“She was, but I think she trained in Japan.”
Hermione clutched at her head. “OOOH. I’m getting a headache.” Turning to the older people in the room she said. “I know you promised to help me sort out the misinformation but I’m beginning to think it would be better if I just assumed that everything I’ve been taught is rubbish and start over.”
Isabeau smiled sympathetically. “Do not be troubled my dear. I had planned to explain wixen culture to James and Claire as part of the etiquette training. If you and Hadrian would like to sit in on those discussions we can approach things in an organized fashion and you can always ask questions as topics are covered.”
“Yeah Mione, relax. You don’t have to learn everything all at once.”
“I know that Harry.” Hermione huffed.
“I can see your brain overloading from over here. Azrael didn’t day we have to fix everything in a week. In fact, I’d be willing to bet it will take the rest of our lives. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t live our lives in the meantime.”
“What about changing the future? If we change wixen future won’t that spill over into the non-magical world?” Claire asked.
“It may do. It is impossible to predict all of the effects. I suppose if certain things that you know to have happened...don’t, then we’ll know. I would imagine that only pertains to large scale events though. Unless one of you is an historian?” Fleamont inquired.
The time travelers all shook their heads.
“Well then, I say we proceed as we have planned to, and let events unfold as they will.”
“A sensible plan Arcturus. Now, if you will excuse me, I’ll be going. Thank you very much for the meal Isabeau.” Fleamont stood. “Now when is the meeting with Colum?”
“Originally we had planned it for Tuesday, but I asked Leonard to push it back to Wednesday. James would like to check in on his sister when we go to claim Fraser Castle. He cannot spend the night, but with Sirius and I both there he should be safe for a visit, particularly after bonding with the elves and claiming the wards. His magic will have been used and not be as likely to slip his control.”
“Well then. I shall see you all on Wednesday. Ladies.” Fleamont bowed and left the room.