A/N: I wrote this for April 2018 Rough Trade. The challenge was to write a Harry Potter story.
The starting point for this story was a conversation between Sirius and Arcturus Black in “A Marauder’s Plan” by CatsAreCool found on AO3. The conversation was about why Arcturus didn’t get Sirius out of Azkaban and Sirius was told that a seer friend told Arcturus it would be a bad thing if he did. This story twists that and explores what might have happened if Arcturus had acted and Sirius had reacted as the seer predicted. But, as always, Harry is a wild card. This story has nothing else in common with CatsAreCool’s wonderful story.
The majority of the warnings are for safety’s sake. The racism is as it is in the magical world, blood purity and muggles. This story is exploring the Dark and what it has meant and done in recent history, and what it once was and is meant to be. There will be dark themes and discussions of Harry’s childhood abuse. There will be character bashing, definitely Dumbledore, definitely Sirius, definitely Arabella Figg, probably eventually many of the Weasleys, likely Remus though he may end up being redeemed, lots of the Order and Light Side. Several of the Dark faction will be on our hero’s side, like Lucius Malfoy, Barty Crouch, Jr, and possibly Severus Snape. Voldemort WILL NOT be redeemed.
Warnings: Abuse child, character bashing, dark themes, death major character, death minor character, discussion child abuse, discussion murder, discussion rape, discussion sexual abuse, discussion torture, murder, racism, torture, violence canon
Summary: Harry Potter discovers as a young child that magic exists, he is a wizard, he is being spied upon and that those who should have been caring for him have listened to another and left him in hell due to fear of the Dark. He decides to show the world what Darkness really is.
Harry Potter: Sacred Darkness
Harry Potter wiped the sleeve of his shirt across his forehead as he bent over the garden bed he was weeding. It was surprisingly hot for a Saturday in late April in the suburbs near London. The five year old boy was exceedingly grateful for the shade that the large wooden fence he was working near provided. It had been three hours since his Aunt Petunia had sent him to work on the entire back garden and most of it had been in the direct sun.
Aunt Petunia would never let him come in for a drink. And he couldn’t legitimately use the hose for the garden and sneak a drink that way until he finished the weeding. And it wasn’t worth trying it. At his height and with the curtains on the windows that were easy to see through from the inside but hid things from the outside, Harry couldn’t tell when she was watching him do his work, making sure he wasn’t slacking off. And getting caught would mean not only a lecture and punishment from Aunt Petunia but a punishment from Uncle Vernon. Harry wasn’t that thirsty.
The young boy estimated that he had about another hour or so until he was done the weeding and planting. Then he could water the yard, and clean up. Harry knew that his estimate was fairly accurate. He had been responsible for this chore since he was three years old.
As he struggled with the stubborn weeds inside the sticker bush, Harry heard voices from the other side of the fence. From what he could tell, it sounded like people at his babysitter’s house. Old Mrs Figg looked after him whenever Aunt Petunia needed to be out of the house with Dudley or when the Dursley family took a holiday. The woman’s house stunk of cat – she had seven of them – and she was very cranky and boring.
But Harry wasn’t stuck in a cupboard there nor expected to cook or clean. Sometimes she had him help her make tea or feed the cats or brush the cats or pick up cat hair from the sofa or well, things for her cats. But he didn’t have to do laundry, or make beds, or do dishes or cook large dinners or vacuum. So Harry looked upon these visits as his own foreign holidays. Not the best time but a change of pace. It was how Uncle Vernon often spoke of their trips abroad.
Harry’s mind returned from thinking about Mrs Figg’s house to hear a man’s voice say something about him. Or at least, he said something about a Harry. Curious and suspicious, Harry inched closer to the fence and cocked his head to hear better as he continued to pull weeds.
“I know it’s just a few years until he’s old enough for Hogwarts and I can see him and tell him everything he needs to know and all. But James and Lily wanted me to raise him. I could do it. I love him. Harry was the cutest baby. And he loved me. And I could raise him and take him to quidditch games and teach him to use a broom and I would never teach him the pure blood crap I was raised with.”
Mrs Figg’s voice filled the air. “I know, Sirius. But you agreed this was for the best.”
The man, Sirius, huffed out a breath. “When Dumbledore got me out of Azkaban I agreed. I mean, Harry was settled with Petunia and happy. He was always such a happy baby.”
Harry’s eyebrows arched. He was obviously the Harry in question and settled with Aunt Petunia, but happy with her? Harry shook his head briefly as he listened.
“And you get to see him, Sirius.”
“Yeah from out of windows or using spells to scry when I’m at your place and in the wards. His parents wanted me to have him. I am his godfather. And I can teach him about his magic better than Petunia can. She isn’t even a squib. Just a muggle. Not that I think anything is wrong with being a squib, or a muggle, Arabella. But Harry is a wizard. And I know Dumbledore thinks he’ll get a big head growing up in the magical world but I could keep him happy and grounded. He’d be wonderful and laugh and giggle and swoop around on his broom chasing the cat.”
Mrs Figg’s voice was harsher. “That was years ago, Sirius. You agreed not to fight for custody of Harry. To leave him here when Dumbledore got you out of Azkaban. You agreed that it was best for Harry to stay in the muggle world until Hogwarts and then in the summers after until he was of age. James and Lily may have named you as his guardian in their wills but you decided not to take that on. And I am sick and tired of hearing you whine about that decision every month when you come to catch glimpses of your godson. You know he’s perfectly fine, healthy and happy with his family. Every visit you say the same things but you never change your mind. And you never will. You’ll do what Dumbledore told you because he knows best. And you know it. So grow up, Sirius Black. Stop whining before I include in my report on Harry that you shouldn’t be able to come to see him as much as you do. That would probably be better for your mental health anyway.”
“No, Arabella. I’ll stop. I didn’t realize – I guess I just miss them so much. I want that connection, you know. But it isn’t like I can even talk to him or interact. Not until he’s eleven. Or nearly, anyway. But Dumbledore promised I can deliver his letter and tell him about Hogwarts and magic, things that Petunia can’t tell him about since she’s never really been to the magical world since Lily turned eleven.”
Mrs Figg’s voice softened. “Yes. But he’s only five now. Just in his first year of muggle primary. Don’t torture yourself like this. Let’s go inside, Sirius. Harry obviously isn’t coming back into the yard again. You can have some cake and tea before you go.”
“Yeah. Alright. And maybe – maybe I won’t be back for a few months. Just – just keep me posted on how he’s doing, yeah? How he plays with his cousin and their friends, tag and races and all.”
The voices get fainter, but Harry hears, “Of course, Sirius, you know how boys play togeth-“ before the sound of a door firmly closing met his ears.
Magic? Spells and wizards and riding brooms and a magical world? Harry pondered what he overheard as he made his way down the flowerbed, sticking as close to the fence as he could. He did sometimes have unexplainable things happen to him or around him. He’d never thought, really, to say it was magical. Uncle Vernon quite disliked that word. And Harry always tried not to aggravate him. But it was a possibility, the boy supposed. It was also possible that the man, Sirius Black, and Mrs Figg were insane. More proof was going to be needed. And Harry would research what he could at the school library before term was over in a few months. It was his go to place to escape his cousin’s ‘playful’ attentions anyway, so it was no hardship.
Harry slouched against the wall of his cupboard under the stairs. He had finished his chores for the day and was trying to get cool in the darkness. It was difficult because the vents were shut. Uncle Vernon disliked having to cool that extra little space for only Harry’s sake and often closed them when they had the cooling air on.
It didn’t help that in Uncle Vernon’s mind, Harry was still under punishment for the horrible crime of doing well in his first year of primary. When the year had ended and the only report of the year had gone home, Harry had glowing reports from his teacher and a folder of highly marked papers. His cousin Dudley, on the other hand, had a report discussing his laziness, lack of effort and bullying tendencies. His folder was full of poor effort worksheets filled with badly written scratches of writing. Even Dudley’s alphabet worksheets had letters wrong. Not backwards or with extra limbs on letters or disconnected lines that many children struggled with. No, Dudley wrote the wrong letters completely as he didn’t pay attention to the directions or wrote one or two lines when there should be five repetitions.
Somehow, to his aunt and uncle, Dudley’s stupidity and laziness was because Harry had done something. Harry couldn’t possibly actually be better than Dudley in school. Dudley was perfect. Perfectly fat, perfectly stupid, perfectly spoiled, perfectly mean. But not to his parents. They praised him when he was slow or when he gorged himself or threw a tantrum or hit Harry.
Therefore, Harry had cheated and Dudley was simply a misunderstood angel. For the past three weeks since school had ended for the year, Aunt Petunia had restricted. Harry’s ration of food more than even before, Uncle Vernon had given him ten strokes with his belt every night, buckle end every Friday and Wednesday – a new development since previous punishments consisted of swift smacks with a ruler to his bum twice or thrice – and Dudley was given three new video games for his Nintendo Entertainment System that he had gotten for his birthday in June.
That hadn’t been enough for the spoiled baby though and he had convinced his parents through repeated tantrums and complaints about Harry’s supposed turning teachers against him to get a weekend trip to Alton Towers theme park. Of course Harry wasn’t going with them. But even they couldn’t leave a nearly six year old by himself locked in the house for two and a half days. So, Harry would be staying with Mrs Figg.
Normally this wouldn’t be something Harry would look forward to particularly but for the last three months since that overheard conversation in the garden, Harry had been trying to find out if magic was real. The school library didn’t have much information. There were lots of fictional stories featuring magic in various shapes and sizes, there were books filled with fairy tales like Cinderella which featured magic and fairies. But in the non-fiction section all Harry could find was things like the witch trials in the Middle Ages and speaking about how less advanced cultures called things magic if they didn’t understand the science of it – like eclipses and plagues. He even found some information in an encyclopedia about King Arthur and Camelot, the tales of the Round Table and the Holy Grail were filled with magic and Merlin the magician. But nothing about magic now other than stage magicians and card tricks and things like that, sleight of hand.
But there had been no need for Harry to be left with Mrs Figg since that day in the garden either. And if anyone would have factual info on something that seemed secret it would be the woman who had mentioned it and spoke like it was normal and well known with the man, supposedly Harry’s godfather who dumped him on the Dursleys rather than care for Harry and raise him himself.
When he had first thought about it, Harry had considered confronting Mrs Figg the next time he had the opportunity. She had the information to tell, after all. But further thought – and several books about the witch burnings and the Spanish Inquisition – had made Harry reconsider the idea. She obviously knew his family, and he didn’t mean the Dursleys. And she was either really lucky with where she lived when he was put here or someone had arranged her to be here after he arrived. Logically, it was the latter. Likely that Dumble guy that had come up several times.
So, Mrs Figg was a spy, placed to be his babysitter so she could report on him for some reason. And she had never mentioned his parents or godfather or anything about magic in the dozens of times he had been at her home. Therefore, telling her that he knew about what she had revealed that was a secret could lead to bad things for Harry. The Dursleys were bad, granted, but things could always be worse. And who knew what magic could actually do – assuming it was real and not a shared delusion of Mrs Figg and the man. Or, Harry supposed that it was possible – unlikely but possible – that Mrs Figg was actually both of those voices and she just thought there was some man there when it was actually her talking in different voices because she was really bonkers.
Harry didn’t really think that was the truth though. So, he had thought things through and researched and finally come up with a way to have time to explore her house the next time he was babysat. When Dudley had gotten his way, Harry had begun gathering the supplies he needed and hiding them in his cupboard. Now, in a few hours it would be time to try it and hopefully get his answers.
Mrs Figg waved goodbye to the Dursley’s car as it pulled out after Harry got out. Harry hitched his backpack onto his shoulder and followed her into the house, wrinkling his nose at the smell.
“You know where the guest room is, Harry. Just put your things there. It’s almost teatime and I need your help in the kitchen.”
Harry nodded and smiled as went up the stairs to the smallest bedroom. He put his pack with some clean clothes on the bed and slipped his hand under the bottom layer, grabbing a small napkin bundle. He placed it in the pocket of his huge hand me down shorts and made his way to the kitchen. He had known this was coming. She always had him help her make and serve the tea. Harry had counted on it.
“You look tired, Mrs Figg. Are you feeling well?”
Mrs Figg sat at the kitchen table and smiled. “I have been feeling a little off. Just a headache, I think. I was up late with Mr Tibbles. He didn’t want to settle down. I think he got into some catnip.”
Harry nodded. “Well, I think I can make the tea. Why don’t you just sit and relax. I don’t want to be a bother and I’d like to help.”
“You’re so sweet, Harry. I’ll just go sit in the parlor. Be careful with the teapot. The water should be hot soon.”
“I will, Mrs Figg.”
Harry watched the old woman shuffle off and he grinned widely as he turned to the whistling teapot. He made his own cup and then poured hers. He slid the napkin bundle from his pocket and opened it, dumping the contents into the old woman’s cup. “Two sugars, right Mrs Figg?” Harry called.
“Yes, dear. And I think a dash of cream today.”
Harry placed two sugar cubes and the cream in the cup,and stirred it, with its special additive, quickly disappearing without a trace. He placed the cups on a little tray and added the plate of biscuits from the counter and went into the parlor.
The old woman took her cup and smiled after taking a sip. “You did wonderfully, dear.”
Harry looked down at his cup and smiled. “Thank you, ma’am. You taught me well.”
Over the next several minutes, Harry slipped his tea and took surreptitious looks at the clock in the corner. Mrs Figg finished the tea and a few biscuits and sat back, just watching him nibble his own biscuit while she pet one of her cats.
After ten minutes or so, the signs Harry had been waiting for began to appear. Mrs Figg shifted, seemingly uncomfortable and began rubbing her stomach. Then Harry heard noises, gurgling and gassy sounds from the babysitter. After several more minutes, Mrs Figg rose to her feet with an alacrity that she never displayed before and ran for the powder room in the hallway.
Harry bit his lip and took the time to look around more carefully then he ever had before, not rising from his seat just yet. After another ten minutes, Harry made his way down the hall to the closed door. He rapped lightly on the wood. “Are you alright, Mrs Figg?”
A quavering voice answered, “Just a stomach problem, Harry. Why don’t you go wash up the tea things. I shouldn’t be too much longer.”
“Alright, Mrs Figg. Let me know if you need anything.” Harry turned away, knowing her estimate was far off. The amount of laxative he had put in her tea would keep her needing the toilet for several hours.
He did as she had asked, washing the tea cups, and removing any proof of his actions, having already shred the napkin and placed it deep under lots of other trash in the bin. Harry decided to begin his hunt upstairs. He would hear her coming and could make it back to ‘his’ room before she reached the top of the steps.
Harry started his search by just looking around Mrs Figg’s bedroom. He had never been in it before and found the cat smell even worse than most of the house. The old-fashioned furniture, complete with canopies on four posters around the bed, were odd considering the modern-ish nature of the rest of the house, including the guest bedroom that Harry used. Most of the stuff in the house looked like it had been bought in the 1950’s or 1960’s or maybe the early 1970’s if you were generous and included appliances like the refrigerator and stove. So, Aunt Petunia would consider it old-fashioned and out of date. But Mrs Figg’s personal bedroom – it was like centuries out of date rather than decades. Harry thought that most of it wouldn’t be out of place in a period drama on the BBC set in the 18th century. It was odd.
The few exceptions that were in plain view were picture frames on the bedside table. They were angled to be seen from the mattress and when Harry looked, he saw they were of a man dressed in an odd suit coat and what could only be a young Mrs Figg in a long dress wearing a bonnet. The weirdest thing – and the one that solved the mystery of whether the old woman was simply delusional – the figures in the photo moved. The man grabbed the woman around the waist and swung her in a circle and they both seemed to laugh, though there was no sound. The other frames held similar photos, most featuring a younger Mrs Figg with other people who shared features with her. And they all moved as if they were a short movie clip. Magic. It was true.
Harry eased open the drawer under the pictures and found a long wooden stick sitting on some handkerchiefs and a few odd silver and brown coins. He closed he drawer with care and continued his perusal of the bedroom. It was all normal for an elderly, slightly batty, woman obsessed with cats, until he found the treasure trove that was the closet – a shelf with some bowls and several boxes in the back of the closet.
The contents of the shelf were fascinating. There was a stack of exactly thirteen large gold coins and two ceramic bowls, one filled with the smaller silver coins from the nightstand and the other with the brown coins which Harry figured out must be bronze because the shade was off for pure copper.
The boxes were a source of more treasure, though not as overtly. In them Harry found several picture albums filled with photos that moved, including one what was obviously Harry as a baby seeing as the infant in the photo had Harry’s scar and another photo of a man with messy dark hair and glasses and a woman with long red hair and green eyes holding a dark haired baby that looked just like the baby in the earlier photo but without the scar. The woman was lifting the boy’s hand and getting him to wave at the camera while the man laughed. Harry took the photo out of the album and slipped it into the pocket of his shorts.
In the box furthest back were a series of seven books, all relatively short – under thirty pages each – but hard backed. They were all titled oddly like “Goblins and You” or “Transit for the Floo-less” but shared a subtitle and author: When You Can’t Use a Wand But Have Magic Family by INSERT PUNNY NAME.
Harry placed them to the side as he went through the rest of the contents of the boxes, not finding anything else terribly intriguing but lots of long dresses with lots of buttons similar to the ones hanging behind Mrs Figg’s normal dresses in the closet but smaller or a lot larger.
The one other thing Harry found that he just felt drawn to was a soft stuffed golden colored ball with wings. When he squeezed it with his hand it made him feel safe and warm. It wasn’t very large but it couldn’t fit inside his closed fist, though it was close. Harry bit his lip and then nodded to himself. It wasn’t going to be missed. He slid it into his pocket next to the photo of the people who were likely his parents.
Harry resealed the boxes as they had been, stacked them in the correct order, and grabbed the small stack of thin books as he left the closet. He left Mrs Figg’s bedroom and hid his ‘treasures’ in Dudley’s old backpack amidst his oversized hand-me-down clothes.
After checking in on his babysitter, still in the powder room, Harry carefully explored other new to him areas of the house. In the laundry room he found several of the odd coins, just the silver and bronze ones, no gold ones. They were on the floor partway behind the washing machine. He pocketed them. He found several other photo albums with moving pictures and a few boxes with books with titles like ‘Nature’s Nobility: a Wizarding Genealogy’ or ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’. Several of them intrigued the small boy but his bag was only so large and much more on it would make it bulge suspiciously so he left them where he found them.
After his explorations, including checking under furniture and cushions, Harry had thirty-six bronze coins and twenty-five silver ones. He made his way back to Mrs Figg’s room and into the closet where he stared at the stack of gold coins. After a debate with himself, Harry slid a single coin from the stack. After all, thirteen was an unlucky number and she owed him for spying on him and lying to him.
Harry spent the remainder of his free time while Mrs Figg went through the laxative’s effects in the guest bedroom reading the first short book, ‘The Ministry and You: If You Can See It, You Exist’.
Harry hurriedly took a seat in the back of the Knight Bus and settled in. He tucked his feet up as he scratched up under the false beard he was wearing. This day had been a long time coming but the months that had passed until the timing was right had just given him more time to perfect his plan.
It had taken Harry several weeks to read through all of the books he had – borrowed – from Mrs Figg’s closet stash. It had really helped him get lots of basic information about the Wizarding World. He learned about the money he had found, the goblins who ran the bank, the main shopping districts – Diagon Alley in London and Hogsmeade in Scotland near the main Wizarding school, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the governing body of the Wizengamot and the Ministry of Magic and its many departments, the magical hospital of Saint Mungo’s, the main branches of magic as taught at school, and lots more. The most important at the present moment being Wizarding transportation.
Harry was too young to apparate – plus he didn’t know how, he didn’t have any portkeys or brooms or even an illegal magic carpet. So, he was left with the so-called ‘emergency transport for stranded witches and wizards’ – the Knight Bus.
The section of the book on this method of transport had a number of warnings within it, most notably the fact that it was a very bumpy ride if you tried to keep part of yourself, like your feet, on the floor. The chairs that made up the seating during the day and the bedsteads during the night were enchanted to absorb and disperse the nausea inducing magic of the bus’ frame. But if you were in contact with it, the dispersement was negated and you felt the full effects. Both the driver and the conductor of the bus only touched the floor when the bus was stopped to let passengers on and off.
Another issue that Harry had to overcome was how to summon the bus. Luckily, the author of his books had the solution. The bus was summoned by its passengers when they raised their wands near a curb or street. Harry was too young to have a wand but the books were written for people who didn’t have wands either. They referred to those people as squibs. And each book of the set had a pocket in the back with a long, thin stick in it. They looked like wands but were made for squibs, called unoriginally enough squwands.They gave off a magic pulse when touched in a certain way and enabled squibs to do things like summon the Knight Bus, open the passageway between Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron, and release magic held within runes to do things like shrink or re-size a trunk.
Only one of the books had an empty pocket and Harry figured it was the stick he had found in Mrs Figg’s bedside table. So Harry was able to use the squwand to call for his transport.
Over the past nine months, since he had drugged up his babysitter, Harry had thought things through. A lot. And getting to London was all well and good but even wizards would find it odd to see a young child of Harry’s age on his own. So, after a great deal of thought and a fair few forays into his school’s junk closet where they kept all the old costumes from Christmas pantomimes and spring festivals, Harry had scrounged up a disguise. He wore a long dark brown beard, a floppy deep brimmed hat, and a long – on him – trench coat. His shoes were boots from the Santa costume that he had stuffed with socks to make them fit. He was going for the look of a very short wizard or maybe a dwarf or something. He wasn’t sure if they were real. He knew goblins were, since they ran the bank. But he wasn’t sure about other fairytale races.
And the disguise had worked so far. The conductor of the bus hadn’t even blinked at his attire. And now he was on his way to London and Diagon Alley. He wanted to see the goblins. They not only kept the money of the Wizarding World secure they also dealt with inheritances and wills and things. And Harry wanted to know what the will of his parents said. He had heard that Sirius Black guy say originally that he was supposed to raise Harry according to James and Lily. Harry hoped to find out if he could force him to do so, or if his parents had left other options than that deadbeat jerk.
Harry had a nice little stash of wizarding money which he had found laying around Mrs Figg’s house over the last school year. If his math was right, he had about seven galleons in currency. He had even found two full galleons in the garden of the old lady’s house. They were on the ground near the base of the wall under the back porch. Harry speculated that they were probably dropped by that Sirius guy when he was there and trying to spy into the Dursleys’ yard or house and see Harry.
Another thing that Harry had learned over the last year was a bit of the state of the Wizarding World. Everytime after that first drugged occasion, and Harry’s sly encouragement of Dudley’s spoiled nature created many opportunities for Harry to be left behind while Dudley got trips to the cinema or arcade or out to dinner, had allowed Harry to snoop more. And one of the things he always found was a small stack of old newspapers called The Daily Prophet. The pictures in the paper moved and the paper itself was old-fashioned and so was the layout.
Harry learned that the current Minister of Magic was Millicent Bagnold and she would be retiring in a few years and people were already maneuvering to take her place, namely a man named Cornelius Fudge, a woman named Marvinia Parkinson, and another man named Parchibald Callister. They each seemed to be working to get their names into the press and making all kinds of speeches about the state of the Wizarding World. They talked about the prosperity since the fall of You-Know-Who at the hands of the Boy-Who-Lived.
Harry found it ridiculous. Neither the villain who fell, nor his defeated were ever actually named. And what kind of moniker was ‘boy-who-lived’? Obviously he lived, he won the battle or whatever against You-Know-Who. Which, no, Harry didn’t know who, thank you. What kind of newspaper didn’t actually name the historical figure it was speaking of? And what kind of politicians never called a defeated enemy by name but only a fear mongering title like that? Barmy ones.
Harry also learned that the one who Mrs Figg and Sirius Black were referring to that first spring day a year before was Albus PWB Dumbledore. He was the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, the Headmaster of Hogwarts School, one of Britain’s representatives to the International Confederation of Wizards or ICW where he was trying to be appointed to the head position of that body called the Chief Mugwump. He had a lot of power and was maneuvering to get even more. He was even the headline on today’s Daily Prophet someone had left behind across the aisle. “Dumbledore to ICW: Britain Prospers”. And somehow he had controlled Harry’s life somehow. It just wasn’t on. No, he wasn’t going to stand for it. Thus, his trip today.
The Dursleys were off for a fortnight vacation on the Caribbean. And Harry was of course left to Mrs Figg’s care. But Harry had bought himself some time. The Dursleys left very early this morning and through several hints about things to Dudley, Harry had him convince his parents that they didn’t have time to take Harry to Mrs Figg’s if they were going to keep their promise to take him out for a special breakfast at a restaurant known for their huge breakfasts near Heathrow that Dudley had been whining about for months. Aunt Petunia had Harry get his bag and told him to sit in the park until the sun was up and then go right to Mrs Figg’s house. Harry knew his aunt was sure he would never disobey, he acted his part too well around his family. Instead, he had informed Mrs Figg the week before that the Dursleys weren’t leaving until tomorrow morning, instead. Which left Harry with an entire day to make his way to London and see the goblins before he was expected anywhere.
“Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley, London,” announced the conductor.
Harry climbed off the bus and it sped away, disappearing into London traffic before just plain disappearing. He gazed at the dingy looking door under the swinging sign and squared his shoulders. He adjusted his fake beard and opened the door. A quick glance around showed him the hallway that led to the alley entrance his books spoke of. He took quick but deliberate steps, not meeting anyone’s gaze but not being overly submissive and looking down either. He had practiced in the mirror a look that he felt said, “I’m in a hurry but I know where I’m going. Don’t bother me.” And it, with his disguise, seemed to work as after only a few glances from patrons and the bartender, he was ignored as he made his way out the rear door of the pub.
The wall was just as described and Harry let the door fall shut behind him, leaving him alone as he took out the squwand and found the bricks he needed to touch with it. As the bricks formed into an archway, his breath caught and he held in a gasp. Reading about the entrance and seeing it form in front of his eyes was totally different. He bit his inner cheek and again straightened up as he saw the towering white marble building that was shown in pictures in his books. The wizarding bank – Gringott’s, run by goblins.
As he approached the doors, the goblin guards opened them and nodded to him. He nodded lightly in return and entered the lobby. He approached the floor manager rather than get in line for a regular teller. He suspected that he might have money – a vault according to the books – here but had no key and also was in disguise. The books had been thorough though. The goblins offered more services than just a teller window and trip to the vaults. Harry nodded his head at the floor manager and after a swift look at the podium said, “Greetings, Manager Bandok. May your gold flow like the River Thames. I would like to make an appointment with an inheritance manager as soon as can be arranged.”
The books had been clear. Greeting goblins with their ritual greeting forms was the best way to get good service unless you were mega rich. And the books were written for people who definitely weren’t that. But not fawning or wasting their time. A swift greeting followed by your business.
“Yarblok will take you to the area you need to be. Yarblok!” Bandok said something in his own language to the other smaller goblin and waved his hand, shooing them away.
Harry nodded his thanks and quickly said, “Thank you. May your day be prosperous,” before hurrying without running after the departing Yarblok.
ADD SCENE WHERE GOBLINS CHECK HIS BLOOD AND TELL HIM HE NEEDS HIS MAGICAL GUARDIAN TO TAKE OUT ANY MONEY AND THAT SINCE SIRIUS ABROGATED HIS RESPONSIBILITY THEN IT FALLS TO HIS HEAD OF HOUSE, ARCTURUS BLACK.
Harry looked up as the door opened and an older couple entered the room. They both had silvered hair and looked very haughty and distinguished. Even though he didn’t know styles or fabrics, Harry could tell that the robes they were wearing were high end and posh, the wizarding equivalent of what the muggles would call bespoke. The man seemed wary and kept himself angled slightly in front of the woman who kept her arms together, her hands up the sleeves of her robes, grasping the opposite forearm.
Libshog rose from behind his desk and spoke, “Greetings of the day to you, Lord Black, I see you. Light of the day to you, Lady Black, I see you. I am Account Manager Libshok.”
The man’s posture relaxed significantly though he didn’t so much as slump and the woman’s hands fell to her sides. “Profit and victory to you this day, Account Manager Libshok. I see you.” The man nodded his head briefly.
The woman smiled a small tilt of her lips. “Magic’s blessings to you and enemies fall to your cunning, Account Manager Libshok. I see you.”
Lord and Lady Black took seats, looking from the corner of their eyes at Harry. “Why are we here exactly, Libshok? Your letter made mention of an abrogation by our heir?”
Libshok gestured to Harry. “This is Hadrian James Potter. He came to the bank today to find out if he could access his finances. He took an inheritance identity test and the results showed that his guardian is listed as your heir, Sirius Black II. However, Hadrian physically lives with his maternal muggle relatives, Petunia and Vernon Dursley.”
“And? I think it is wrong for a magical child to live with muggles but plenty do. Why are we here?”
Harry spoke up, after all, it was his story to tell. “They don’t like me. They hate me. They hate magic. I know I am young but I also know that it is wrong for a child to be fed a single meal of old bread and hard cheese once a day, if he is lucky. It is wrong for a child to sleep in a cupboard under the main stairs. It is wrong for a three year old to spend four hours weeding and tending a garden, for a four year old to cook on the stove with live flames, for a five year old to be beaten nearly unconscious because he did well on his school report.”
“I am thankful for the gardening chores though. I was hidden behind the fence and weeding last year and heard the crazy cat lady who is my babysitter and lives out back talking to your heir, Sirius. Talking about how he knew he was supposed to raise me, my parents’ will said so but Dumbledore said otherwise and Sirius agreed to leave me there because the man wanted it.”
“I found out the old lady is a squib and she’s there to spy on me for Dumbledore. But not to keep me safe. She knows how they treat me. She’s to keep me away from here, from magic, from anyone magical. This is where I belong. Here. The magical world, not with the muggles. And your heir is letting me be abused and neglected after being entrusted with my care. He has abandoned me and ab-rogated his duty. Libshok said that you could take me and take over the guardianship because he has failed in his oaths and it is a stain on the family honor.”
Lord Black nodded his head once. “He took the godfather vows?”
Libshok inclined his head. “It is listed on Heir Potter’s identity forms. He took the vows on August 1, 1980. They are listed as fractured on October 31, 1981 and broken completely on January 8, 1982.”
Lady Black sighed. “Fractured on the night that Lord and Lady Potter died and Sirius went hating off after that Pettigrew man rather than care for his sworn godson.”
Lord Black nodded. “Yes, it could have been repaired as if he had been successful magic could have seen it as vengeance on the boy’s enemy and betrayer. But it broke completely the day of his trial I got him. He dismissed even speaking to me and heaped praise on the man who worked hard behind the scenes to get him locked up and kept there. He must have agreed to abandon Hadrian after he was found not guilty.”
Libshok nodded. “That was my supposition as well.”
Lord and Lady Black shared a look. “Very well, Hadrian. My wife and I shall take you in and raise you properly. Hopefully, this will erase the stain on our family’s magic caused by my disappointment on an heir. As a first step, you should put on your heir ring. Normally, this would not be done until age eleven but as you are the last of your line and have been raised poorly until now, the ring should help you. It has many protections on it and your family magic may even teach you things while you sleep. Some do. And it wouldn’t surprise me given your circumstances.”
Harry smiled. “Thank you, Lord Black, Lady Black. I am very grateful.”
Lady Black smiled. “Nonsense. We are grateful for the chance to fix this horrible situation. And do call us Aunt Melania and Uncle Arcturus. Your paternal grandmother Dorea was a cousin to my husband. Unless you would prefer not to use aunt and uncle do to – associations.”
“Thank you for the option but it is fine, Aunt Melania. I rarely addressed them directly so the associations are small.”
Harry turned to the goblin and took the box he held out. The ring within was silvery but Harry could tell it wasn’t silver, it shimmered in the light of the office. It was topped with a blackish green stone with hints of red. A griffin was etched in silvery lines on it. Harry could feel power dancing along his skin as he picked it up and carefully slid it onto his right index finger as instructed.
The air grew thick and heavy and Harry could hear Aunt Melania gasp and from the corner of his eye he saw Uncle Arcturus gripping the arms of his chair hard. But his gaze was centered on the two people that appeared before him. But they weren’t people, Harry could tell, these weren’t everyday witches or wizards. Their entire beings screamed more and the power that seemed to shimmer around them made it obvious, they weren’t human, they were more.
The female – so very overwhelmingly female, nothing androgynous about her – spoke. “Hadrian James Potter, you have accepted your legacy, our gift.”
The man – the very essence of male, masculinity in every pore – continued. “The world you seek to enter has become stagnant, our gift dies. We charge you with renewal here on this world or it will be destruction of all.”
The woman’s voice echoed in three, “My child of night, of dark, of power and emotion, you are Our Chosen, Our Child. No longer hidden but cunning enough to learn the truth before blinders are set in stone upon thine eyes. You are named Donnchadh for you are our dark warrior.”
The man laid his hand on Harry’s head from where he had fallen to his knees – when had he done that, he couldn’t recall. “Arise and take your mantel, Hadrian James Potter, Donnchadh, Lord of Dark.”
Harry stood on knees that shook but felt held up by the very magic that had caused his involuntary fall. The woman, the goddess took his hands in her own. “The blessings of magic upon you. Difficult tasks lie before you but We have faith in thee. And always shall we keep faith with thee as long as thou keeps faith with Us. Find thy court, thy consort, thy advisors, thy queen. Find thy counterpart, the true Lord of Light. Beware the false ones who claim titles not their own. Bring renewal and hope before destruction utterly reigns.”
The god turned his attention to the others in the room as magic swirled around Harry and the goddess. “The time of reckoning is here, Arcturus of the House Black, Melania born of the House MacMillan, Libshok of Clan Rognorack. The true lords of magic shall be gifted by my lady Danu and I, Lord Aratron. Magic is our domain and we dislike what you have done with our gift. Not just the humans, Libshok. So, too, have your own people turned from the True Ways. Few beings, whether they be human, goblin, centaur, feels, or other still pay us our proper thanks. Donnchadh shall find his court and his counterpart, our beloved child Chirag the guiding lamp of light and together they shall either lead you to a new era of renewal of our gift or call upon us to lay waste to the land and the people who disregard what they are. Guide him well. Keep him from the influence of the false ones. I have removed the magic of the false ones which poisoned and tracked Our Chosen. I have applied it to a seeming at the residence of his false family. The rest is up to you. Keep Our Faith.”
With those words the god and goddess vanished and Harry collapsed into the chair behind him staring at the tattoos on his hands and wrists, runes that circled them in shining silver edged with black and the ring on his hand, now paired with another that held a black stone and another rune.
Arcturus swallowed heavily. “Well, we have more to do than I thought.”
“Indeed,” echoed from the other two adults.