After the war, the survivors try to find a way to cope with the losses they have incurred and move into a future they have yet to create. As they try to find ways to save themselves, they realize that perhaps the best way is to save each other.
This story will eventually be Harry Draco Slash. It will probably take a while to get there from here. This chapter is rated for general audiences.
Posted so far: 15 Chapters / 84,268 words.
Thanks to my beta rosskpr .She reviewed this chapter not once but twice, with good suggestions and comments each time.
Harry Potter, his friends, his enemies, and the lovely world they live in all belong to JK Rowling. I play here.
Finally! Harry and Draco in the same place... however briefly. More to come! This chapter is in two parts, as it is too big for LJ to handle.
One of the things that has helped me get back on the writing horse is the Harry Potter Last Author Standing Challenge. See my profile for more information. I'll be posting some of the stories (all under 1000 words) that I wrote for it soon, but except for one, they are not in SPS-verse. The one that is, I'll wait to post, as it contains spoilers.
As always, reviews and critiques keep the creativity flowing! Let me know what you think!
On to the Chapter
A Funeral in Black
May 8, 1998
He didn’t sleep much that night, not only because he had been forbidden to go back to Gryffindor Tower until a bunch of Aurors and Unspeakables had scanned it with an odd device one of them carried. They had needed to fiddle with the settings multiple times. Each time, the loud tone emitting from it went up or down. Finally, they let him in, but left behind a smaller device that would have been at home with the many spinning and squealing instruments in Dumbledore’s office... before he had destroyed half of them. They told him that it was just a precaution, but if the device started making a sound, any sound, he was to go see Madame Pomfrey immediately.
That, combined with worries about the funeral, kept him up half the night. When after an uneasy slumber he woke up at the first light of dawn, he gave in and sat cross-legged on the rumpled blankets, once again going through the parchments Mrs Tonks had sent him.
One of them was a chant he would have to sing. The parchment was charmed to sing the chant to him so he could practice. At the funeral, others would join in, but as Head of the Black family, he would have to lead it. He was beginning to wonder if it had been a good idea to accept the role... except it was somewhat of a gift from Sirius. He had ignored one gift from Sirius, and lost him because of it. An ache clenched at his belly at the thought. It was the same twisting ache that he felt every time he thought of the mirror that could have saved Sirius’ life. He was not about to repeat that mistake.
After a few hours, the chant was as good as he could make it. He could only take off and put on his robes so many times, and the mirror showed (and told) him that even his magically grown hair, now tied back in a neat ribbon, was a bit too wavy on top and still looked tousled, no matter how many times he took the ribbon off and re-combed it. He wondered what Malfoy’s hair would look like without the gel. He hoped it was just as messy as his, and that that was the reason Malfoy used so much shellac.
Harry shook himself out of his ridiculous musings and made his way to the Headmistress’ office. He arrived early, despite the need to navigate his way through various detours marked with bright purple streamers and warning signs.
He’d been waiting with McGonagall for half an hour when Mrs Tonks came through the Headmistress’ floo in a flare of green flames.
Even though she held Teddy in a carrying basket, Mrs Tonks’ severe black robes made her look more distant. She looked like the pureblood Harry knew she was. He was not sure if he was comfortable with the idea. It was disconcerting how the formal black robes emphasized the resemblance to Bellatrix Lestrange. He did not want Mrs Tonks to be sucked into the darkness of the Black family. He wondered if his own magic would be woven into the Black magic. Would his magic change the Black family, or would it change him? Why had he not thought of this before?
But Sirius was a Black, despite the fact that his magic would never come home. It was such a strange way of thinking. It was almost as if, once he assumed the Head of Family role, the good of the family was always present in his mind. As if there was another presence in him that was the Black Family, and he carried it with him always. What would happen when he accepted the Potter family? What if the good of the Potter family conflicted with the good of the Black family? Harry laughed at himself. He was the Potter family. He was all that was left. In a way, he was the Black family as well: he and Andromeda Tonks, and little Teddy. None of the ones left in the Black family were Dark. Harry grinned at the thought. He could reclaim the family, change the meaning of what it meant to be Black. It would be the ultimate prank, played to honour Sirius. Wouldn’t that set them all on their arses! He could imagine Narcissa Malfoy’s expression when she realized that he was head of the house she was born to, and that he would be changing its direction. He was glad she had married out.
At the very thought of her name, Harry felt a pull. He could feel a sense of duty toward her. It was muted, but it was there. And he knew that did not come from Harry Potter… unless… She had lied to Voldemort for him. Was that what he felt? Was this what a life debt felt like?
He shuddered at the thought. He did not want to owe Narcissa Malfoy anything.
Mrs Tonks was giving him a strange look. He tried to remember the past few minutes, then realised she had asked him a question. Probably. “Sorry?” Harry asked.
“I asked if you were ready to go,” she repeated gently, transferring the baby basket to her other hand. It looked heavy.
“Sure. Professor McGonagall, we’ll see you later? At the funeral?”
“Of course, Harry.”
Harry followed Mrs Tonks through the corridors and out of the castle, and on out of the grounds past the Apparition wards.
They had just reached the apparition barrier, when Luna’s call reminded Harry of their conversation of the day before. Surely it couldn’t be finished already!
“Here you are, Harry.” She handed him a small, cloth wrapped bundle. He looked at her, and she nodded encouragement, so he unwrapped it. It was a painting of Remus, looking out at the viewer. Luna had captured how he always seemed just a little tired, but she also caught the warmth in his eyes, with a hint of golden flecks. The barest hint of a crescent moon was in a starry sky behind his face.
“He wanted to be painted as close to the new moon as possible,” she said softly, looking at the picture. She could be referring to a conversation with Remus when he’d been alive, but with Luna, it was difficult to tell for certain. Had Luna and Remus spoken about this? Harry didn’t know if the thought made him happy or sad. Had Remus sensed he would die?
“Since I did most of my painting last night, I couldn’t paint him in the daylight. Besides, then you wouldn’t know what time of month it was.”
Somehow, Luna’s words made sense to Harry. Even at their craziest, somehow, they always did.
“Thank you Luna. This—this means a lot to me.” He wished he could have a painting like this of Sirius. Maybe he could commission her to do one. Remus wasn’t alive like the Hogwarts paintings, but she had caught him so well, he seemed to be.
Luna nodded and turned away. Harry suddenly felt bad that he hadn’t thought to add her to the list for Mrs Tonks. “Luna!”
“Go ahead, Harry. This is for you. I have a conversation scheduled with the Squid. She’s been upset by all the commotion.”
Harry nodded as if that made sense.
“Ready?” At his quick nod, Mrs Tonks wrapped her free arm around him, and Apparated them both to the Black estate.
Upon arriving, he could feel the wards reach out and recognize him. Upon an impulse, he sent a greeting back, and was surprised at the feeling that returned. He would not exactly call it warmth, but it was welcoming. It was as if he had been tested and found worthy, the last time he was here, and now was recognized as belonging. It was like a nod of respect from an ally across the room, and it warmed him.
They made their way to the small mausoleum in the field beyond the fence from the main house, and Mrs Tonks pulled a small box out of her pocket. She unfolded it, until it formed a large, flat disk. Touching her wand to it, she murmured an incantation. The disk was suddenly covered by various items, some of which Harry recognized from George’s funeral.
“Transfer Portkey,” she explained, seeing his look. “Once it is keyed to the things you will need, it can be activated to transfer those items from storage to your location. The spellwork is difficult and the disks themselves are a challenge to create, so are mostly used for moving large amounts of things.”
Harry thought how useful that would be. As he had at the Weasleys, he helped her set up the miniaturized chairs and benches, these much more ornate, and then watched as she cast the charm to return them to their original size. He tested the charm on one chair, and when it became chair-sized instead of exploding, repeated the action.
These were not transfigured chairs as they had been at the Weasleys. They had been reduced in size, but were actual furniture as far as Harry could tell. The chairs had black ribbons looped around their backs, to tie in the back. They were somewhat shiny, like satin. Directly above the bow was the Black family crest. Yes, this was a Black family funeral, and there would be no mistaking it, despite the fact it was not in the large Black mausoleum. While outside of the main property, it was inside the outer wards, and that is what mattered. It was Black land, and would call to Tonks’ magic, and through hers, it would call to Remus’.
“Harry, I’ll need your assistance to get the next thing. It’s in there.” Mrs Tonks gestured to the large, old mausoleum. Harry had glanced at it several times, curious as to why Tonks had feared it. She had not been the kind of person who feared much.
As soon as he stepped foot into the large mausoleum, Harry understood. It was frightening. It wasn’t just that it was under-lit, but there were stone statues of horrendous beasts, some of which Harry didn’t recognize from any Care of Magical Creatures class. Harry found himself startling at the movement of the many things that shouldn’t move and yet did, like the statues at Hogwarts. The statues never bothered him, but these unnerved him just a little.
There were glass urns with dark red fluid inside. There were twists of what looked like desiccated hair, hanging from strands as thin and sticky as spider webs. Some of the bodies were dusty skeletons, resting on their shelves. Those were okay with Harry. That was what was supposed to happen.
What made his skin crawl were the three bodies that lay on their shelves as if they had just lain down. Dark black hair lay in coils beneath their heads, spilling off their shelves in loose draping curls. The skins were soft and did not look dried out like he would have expected. The robes were soft and luxurious, with a vague silky sheen, in the fashion he’d seen in some of the older Hogwarts portraits. He couldn’t tell what era, not really having had the time or inclination to pay attention to ‘fashion through the ages’ when there was a Dark Lord after him, and frankly, when there was Quidditch to play and just about anything else to do. He could only tell that the style wasn’t the same as now.
Even with all his exposure to magic over the last seven years, Harry could not repress a shudder. Every bit of him rebelled at the sight of those disturbing, lifelike corpses. Mrs Tonks explained that those were the Blacks who had not allowed their magic back into the family, ritually keeping it for some purpose of their own. Until the purpose was fulfilled, their bodies would stay exactly in the state they had been at death. In some cases, she said, the spirits were bound as well as their magic, and could neither live on as a ghost nor pass onward. While that did not seem quite as final as a Dementor’s kiss, the thought still made Harry shudder. He had been willing to die in the forest, but part of that willingness was that he knew his parents would be waiting for him, and Remus and Sirius.
The first floor of the mausoleum was huge enough. But the stone stairway down into the earth gave evidence that there was more. The cold, dank air that drifted out of the opening downward hinted at more than low temperatures below. Harry shivered. He could well understand why Tonks would be unnerved by this place.
“It’s over here.” Mrs Tonks had not taken the time to gawk as Harry had, and was standing by an alcove in the wall. Inside the alcove was a bottle. It was as smooth as one of the glass bottles that Snape had stored potions ingredients in, but it was not glass. On closer look, Harry realised it had been carved out of stone.
“I can’t touch it. Only the head of the family has the right.” Mrs Tonks told him.
“What is it?”
“You might call it a potion. It has been here, in this vessel, for more generations than anyone remembers. No one knows how it was created, but there has never been a need to create more. It has never run out.”
“What’s it for?”
“It is the essence of the Black family.” It sounded as if that was all she was going to say on the subject.
He reached toward it, then, remembering the little room that was the Heart of Black, he paused. Mrs Tonks gave him an encouraging nod. “You are the only one who can touch it, Harry. Go ahead.
He closed his fingers around the gracefully thin neck of the bottle, and lifted it from its alcove. It seemed rather anticlimactic when nothing happened.
He pulled the stone stopper, wondering how it could remain sealed. No vacuum packaging to keep it fresh. He sniffed cautiously at the opening, thinking of all the times he had cleaned the Dursleys’ refrigerator. Old milk, old mushrooms, rotting vegetables each had a distinctive smell that had sent him gagging. This did not.
It smelled of copper and herbs, of the dust of ages, and of power. Harry had not realized that power had a smell until just then. As soon as the scent touched his nostrils, something in him relaxed.
“That’s enough for now. Seal it up, we’ll need shortly.” Harry did as she asked and sealed the flask, and followed her back outside, not understanding what just happened. “When the time comes, you need to anoint Nymphadora with the liquid in that flask. Here,” she gestured to her forehead, “and here,” she placed each middle finger on the palm of the other hand, “and on the soles of her feet.”
He followed Mrs Tonks back outside. The sun was bright after the gloom of the mausoleum, and Harry blinked several times to get his eyes adjusted, then, after placing the bottle carefully against the wall of the new, smaller mausoleum, he returned to work.
After setting up the chairs near the new mausoleum, they set up a stand on which Harry leaned Luna’s portrait of Remus. He had finally examined Remus’ plaque last night. It was perfect. The plaque was bronze. He’d rejected the craftsman’s suggestion of silver, feeling that Remus would not have been comfortable with that. Magically etched into the bronze were the words:
Remus J Lupin
The dearest friends are those who last the longest,
whose loyalty is a statement of the truth in their hearts.
Hero of the Wizarding Wars
Beloved Husband and Father
You will be Missed
Harry pulled the plaque out of his carryall, and then removed it from where it was nestled in its box and carefully adhered it to the stand with a sticking charm, just above the portrait. He draped the stand with black cloth.
Mrs Tonks levitated a solid stone and set it next to Remus’ memorial stand. The stone was almost waist high, and six foot long, and wide enough for a body. She laid herbs on the bier, some of which Harry recognized from Herbology. He tried to remember their purposes, but that was veering into Potions, and the very thought of Potions made him tense and sad and angry.
When the herbs were carefully strewn, Mrs Tonks looped swaths of black fabric around the bier in such a way that the stone could be seen through them and the herbs would be in contact with the body.
Finally, Mrs Tonks Apparated away, then returned with a loud pop carrying her daughter’s body in her arms. Harry had expected a coffin, or at least a stretcher, hovering under control of her wand. Suddenly, he no longer saw the strong woman who had been carrying him through the arrangements. This was a mother holding her lifeless child. He felt like an intruder. After one glance at her face, he went over to help arrange Tonks on the bier, gently straightening her arms and legs and robes. The robes looked ceremonial, and more formal than he’d ever seen her in, with the possible exception of the Auror’s full-dress robes. Her feet were bare.
Tonks’ hair was brown. Harry couldn’t remember if he had ever seen her with her natural hair colour. It should be bubblegum pink, or purple, or Slytherin green.
Her face was somehow less symmetrical than he had ever seen it as well. Had she just instinctively made herself appear as she thought of herself?
“It’s been so long since I’ve seen her like this. I missed seeing my daughter.” Andromeda Tonks echoed Harry’s thoughts.
Harry understood. There were so many people he missed. But as he watched Andromeda Tonks lay her hand on her daughter’s cheek, caressing it softly, he wondered if he could ever understand, and if he wanted to. Harry had lost many people in his life, and felt each loss like a pain tearing at his heart, but this was something different. Each of those that Harry had lost was beloved, and each was either part of his history, of where he came from, or a symbol of his failures. Mrs Tonks had lost her daughter, her future. Only Teddy was left to carry her magic forward. The strange perceptions crept into his mind, as if he had inherited a second soul along with the second House, but he pushed the thought away.
The quiet ravages on Mrs Tonks face, even though she held back tears and held her expression as calm as she could, called to Harry. He reached out to her and laid his hand on her shoulder in comfort.
She stilled, breathing quietly. After a few moments, she nodded, then raised her hand up to lay it on top of his, resting there for a moment before gently removing his hand from her shoulder and walking into the smaller mausoleum.
This building was everything the large one was not. There were windows, letting in sunlight. The shelves with the bodies had stones sealing each alcove, which had presumably been levitated into place, each with an inscription. The floor was dusty, yes, but a spell made quick work of that. The walls were painted a greenish blue that somehow suggested the warmth of summer days, and between that, the sunlight, and the white stone, it reminded Harry of pictures he had seen of Greece.
Mrs Tonks went to an empty alcove halfway up one of the walls, cleaned it out with a slow sweep of her wand, as if even this needed all the attention she would have given her daughter, could she but have her back. She laid herbs into the corners of the bier, then paused to look at Tonks’ final resting place.
Harry felt even more bereft than he had before. Remus would not have this. Sirius never got this. Neither would have a place to rest, to be remembered. He turned away and squeezed his eyes shut, fighting back the thickness in his throat. When he opened them, Mrs Tonks beckoned Harry back toward the bier, and he saw that he saw she had cut a small niche next to that which would contain Tonks body. It would fit Remus’ plaque. It wasn’t the same, but... Remus would be remembered here. She laid some of the same herbs in there, carefully shaping them as if following an inner vision.
“It won’t hurt him.” She told Harry. “It will draw his magic to intertwine with Dora’s, and that will make it part of yours as head of the Black family, just as these will bring a bit of Nymphadora back to me.” Harry found he wanted that with all his heart. Remus couldn’t replace Sirius. But he could take his own place in the flow that had been in the back of his mind since Tuesday afternoon. If his parents had lived, he would have had them, and Remus and Sirius, all as family. He could hold onto one of them.
He wondered if the Potter family felt like that. Had his parents’ funeral used this kind of magic? If he accepted his own family in the same way he accepted Black, would he hear his parents in the back of his head, and feel their magic? He yearned for that. He longed to hear their voices, and to feel their presence. The only Black he had close connection with was Sirius, and he would never be part of the connections he sensed, just out of reach. If Andromeda taught him about the Black Family and Traditions as she said she would, and about the jumble of whispers in his mind, he would have a chance to learn from them, and maybe to use that knowledge to sense Remus as well, if his magic really did get woven in as she said. He looked forward to strengthening those links to little Teddy, and to Andromeda, as if he really had family.
* * *
The sound of voices indicated that the first few guests had arrived. Andromeda Tonks sent a quick glance around the funeral site, ensuring that the preparations were complete, and then walked toward the voices. Harry followed.
The first to arrive had been Mrs Weasley, with Ron and Hermione in tow. Harry grinned at the horror the Black estate felt at welcoming Blood Traitors, but Harry was the Head of House, and his choice overrode family tradition. He could feel it in the wards, this reluctant welcoming. But there was Black blood directly in the Weasley line, and even though they were Blood Traitors, they still had a right to be here, and Hermione--
Hermione froze. Harry could feel the wards vibrating, readying themselves. He could feel the resentment. There was an outsider here—someone who never could belong, worse than Blood Traitors. He felt the visceral cry of Mudblood from the wards. “Just a second, Hermione. I need to…” Harry sunk into that sense of what the Black family needed. It was crying with outrage, crying ‘impure!’ He sent back images of Hermione, standing by his side, from the moment she fixed his glasses on the train all the way through the Horcrux hunt.
He felt as if he was overpowering the desires of the Black family, which was what Mrs Tonks had warned him against, but this was… this was unconscionable, that she would be excluded.
He traced his own sense of her, that she was his family, that he was of Black, therefore she was the family of the head of house Black. The wards shivered. He heard howling in his mind. He almost heard Sirius’ mother, screaming at him. “Quiet! She is one of mine!”
With that mental shout, the din in his mind subsided. He realized what he had done. As far as the magic was concerned, he had claimed her as a possession. Like a house elf. That wasn’t what he had meant. She was family—they were part of each other; she and Ron and Harry had grown into a kind of family. They each had blood family of their own, which he’d tried very hard not to envy, but this was something else. He couldn’t imagine life without either one of them. He shook his head. For now, he wouldn’t fight it. Hermione would be outraged, but it meant she could be there during the funeral. He would have to work with the family energies later. He would have to lead them to understanding how important this change was.
“Come on in. Sorry about that, Hermione.”
“What was that?”
“The wards, erm…”
Understanding suddenly filled Hermione’s face. It was, after all, a Black property, and she was very good at making connections.
“It’s safe now. For now. I’ll work on it.”
* * *
The wards in the back of Harry’s mind flickered, reaching out and welcoming new arrivals. He glanced around, wondering who would cause that kind of a reaction in the wards. When he found them, outrage rose in him, as if the blanket that had been separating him from his emotions since the final battle had given way. Narcissa and Draco Malfoy were crossing the wards, accompanied by two Aurors.
Malfoy’s face was a still mask, as was his mother’s. Neither showed the fear or desperation that had been visible when Harry last saw each of them. It was as if the war left them untouched, despite what he remembered to the contrary, despite the Aurors at their arms, despite the fact that they were at a funeral! Harry saw Mrs Malfoy lean toward her son to murmur something. Malfoy nodded. Harry wondered what they had said, and decided he didn’t care.
Harry felt betrayed by the wards, which had nearly attacked Hermione, and yet were yearning for Draco and Narcissa Malfoy as plants for the sun. Today was supposed to be just right, the first time he ever got to mourn for... for someone who cared like a parent. Remus’ friendship with Harry’s parents somehow made him part of them, connecting Harry to what he had lost. This was his last chance to honour them: his parents, Sirius, Remus. Nothing was supposed to mess it up. Why were the Malfoys even here? He was ready to stomp over and eject them bodily, regardless of the disruption it would cause, for at least then it would be quick and done with, when Andromeda leaned over and whispered a gentle reminder. “She is my sister, and they are both of the Black line. I forgot you knew young Draco.”
Harry’s mind couldn’t encompass all that was wrong with that. Bellatrix Black was also a sister to Andromeda Tonks, and she killed both Tonks and Sirius. Sisterhood alone was not enough reason to let Narcissa Malfoy intrude, as far as he was concerned. Malfoys had no business here. He wasn’t even sure they had any right to be free to move around.
He repressed the memories of glimpsed scenes that revealed that perhaps Malfoy was not the willing Death Eater Harry had always assumed: scenes of Malfoy, crying in a bathroom, and later looking terrified, forced to torture for Voldemort’s pleasure. He didn’t want to feel anything ambiguous toward the blond Slytherin. It didn’t matter if they were free or not, he just did not want them here! Still...
“Why aren’t they locked up?”
“Compassionate leave, Harry. They are family.”
He forced himself to calm. He wanted to be selfish and send them away from Remus’ memorial. This was his. It was his chance to grieve for Remus, and extending from that, to grieve for all the rest, for Sirius, for his parents, for all his lost family. The look on Mrs Tonks’ face stopped him.
Suddenly, he realized how very strange the war had been for people like Mrs Tonks. He kept forgetting that Mrs Tonks was also Bellatrix’ sister. For her, it was sisters fighting sisters, and cousins fighting cousins. Her own sister had killed her daughter. Harry couldn’t imagine how that would feel. He remembered seeing the Black family tapestry, and seeing so many familiar names: Longbottom, Weasley, even Potter! If the wizarding world was as interconnected as that, then for those born and raised in it, the war had been against members of their own families, or at least kin.
Harry had always thought if only his parents had lived, his life would have been so much better. But what if he’d been in Mrs Tonks position? Having to choose between family and what was right? What if he’d had other extended family, who supported Voldemort?
Suddenly it was all just too complex. All he wanted was to have his chance to remember Remus, and to remember Tonks, to mourn all that he had lost, and not to have to think so much.
At least Lucius Malfoy wasn’t there.
* * *
Draco did not know if he could do this.
He had always taken pride in his family. The Malfoy family was one of the oldest pure-blood families, and had been influential in the wizarding world for generations. Malfoys had guided the thinking and the direction of politics, education, and the wizarding financial world, starting where goblin control ended. They had adhered to wizarding culture when so many other families had weakened, letting Muggle ways influence them.
He was also proud of his mother’s family. The Malfoy family was old, the Black family was ancient. The Black family didn’t merely hold to the old ways, they clung to them. The family had existed when the old ways were new, and their will and their wands had directed the evolution of what Draco held sacred. Draco had always been proud to be of direct Black descent.
He’d agreed to come to this partly because of that pride. That ancient blood flowed in his veins, and the House of Black deserved his respect, and his protection, whether he was the recognized Head of Black or not. It was despicable that there were so many in the House that had no idea what it meant to be of the line of Black, what the traditions meant. A blood traitor, a half-blood, a werewolf, and worse yet, their progeny. He repressed a shudder. He understood the other reasons for being here. He knew he had to make nice to the victors, if his family were to survive.
He did not know if he could stand through the funeral with that smug git Potter usurping the role of head of the family. He stood there, greeting people, putting on a tragically brave face as if only he knew what it was to lose people. Potter didn’t know anything of sacrifice. The ponce had won the war. He had no right to look as if he had lost everything.
Just the sight of him made Draco want to punch him in the face.
His mother had always been too good at sensing his emotions. She put a calming hand on his arm. “Now is not the time to make a scene, Draco.” His mother rarely made a scene. Her control was another thing that he took pride in. When Narcissa Malfoy made a scene, she orchestrated it. Every nuance planned, every word, every adjustment in volume. Even now, with Harry Bloody Potter taking over as the head of the family she was born to, she was cool, gracious. “Rule 8, Draco.”
His eyes widened. He loved his mother. Slytherin Rule 8: There is always advantage.
They had talked about the benefits and risks before making the decision to attend, but holding the rules in his mind helped clarify things to him and keep him calm despite the provocation that Potter embodied. His mother always knew just what to say.
He took a deep breath. The air smelt of grass and sunshine. Even if nothing else came of this, he’d been able to get out of that room for a few hours.
Turning to examine Potter more carefully, Draco noticed he had cleaned up for the funeral. One could almost mistake him for a pureblood. Someone must have loaned him decent robes. Someone had possibly helped him dress. His hair was even the proper length for his assumed role in the event. What was the proper hair length for an interloper? Draco would have to look that up.
It was obvious that Potter knew nothing of proper hair care potions. Even at the length for his assumed role, and bound back in an appropriate queue, his hair still looked like he’d just got back from playing Quidditch. In a windstorm. He stood awkwardly in the fine robes. Draco hoped Potter would not make even more of a farce of the funeral than it was likely to be, honouring a blood traitor half-blood and a werewolf.
At least the bier had been set up properly. He could smell the herbs on the breeze, and identified them: hemlock to call the magic of the deceased, bay laurel to reawaken it into the family, and ivy to weave it in. He could see the bright red holly berries, preserved for just such occasions, mixed in with other herbs chosen more specifically for the one in the bier. Despite her rejection of the culture that had given her birth, the Blood Traitor had apparently remembered what was necessary and was following the true ways in this. Draco didn’t know whether to be impressed or offended. To hold a traditional funeral for the spawn of a Blood Traitor, and to include a werewolf in the magic, it was almost insulting, yet at least the magic would not be wasted. It could come back to the family to be wielded by more suitable hands. His own, for example. At the very least, his mother’s. Unfortunately, it seemed most likely that the wand to direct the magic would be Potter’s. For the moment.
His mother was directing their movements toward the grieving mother and Potter. He stopped. Narcissa paused so as not to visibly pull on his arm, where her hand had been resting. “It is necessary to pay our respects.”
Draco swallowed. Respect? Respect for the Boy Who Lived? Respect for a Blood Traitor? His thoughts must have shown on his face, or at least his revulsion, for his mother replied as if he had spoken. “Respect for the head of the family of my birth, and for my sister, who grieves her daughter. While I cannot take joy in her choices, she is my sister, and she is the only one of my family yet alive.
“You don’t have to swallow your pride, Dragon. You merely have to find enough to greet them with your head held high. A friendly overture toward the winners of this war does not damage your pride. It is too strong to be damaged by allowing others to feel equal to you, whether or not they are.”
Draco gave a resolute nod, and they continued, side by side, trailed by the Aurors who followed like the servants Draco pretended them to be, to where Potter stood, surrounded by consoling hangers-on. They backed off when the two approached, except for the Weasel and Granger, who stood protectively by his side as if he would hex Potter in the midst of a funeral full of powerful people, and a Black funeral at that.
Potter stared at him as if willing him away. At least he got to ruin a part of Potter’s day. Suddenly he felt a bit ashamed. It made no sense, but to all appearances Potter cared for the werewolf, and was honouring him with good, pure-blood custom. Today was perhaps not a day to ruin for him. Tomorrow, he thought, ignoring the fact that he would be locked up with his parents. He would ruin Potter’s day tomorrow.
“Potter.” Draco gave him a brief nod, as if Potter were a peer, proud that his voice was calm, with none of his resentment in it.
Potter glanced at Aunt Andromeda, then took a deep breath as if greeting him were hard work and he needed the older woman’s encouragement, before finally replying. “Malfoy.” Wonder of wonders, Potter nodded back. Perhaps he had been coached in proper behaviour. Potter couldn’t keep the dislike from his face, although it did not twist into a scowl as Draco had expected it to.
Narcissa had reached out her hand to grasp Aunt Andromeda’s. He was surprised to see a touch of warmth on his mother’s face, such as was usually reserved for him and his father. His mother drew the other woman aside, murmuring softly, leaving Draco and Potter relatively isolated, except for his two followers. And therein lay the problem.
* * *
“What are you doing here, Ferret?”
Hermione put a restraining hand on Ron’s arm, but it did nothing to calm him.
Harry sighed. Ron was just saying what he had been thinking, but while he appreciated that Ron stood stalwart next to him, Harry knew it was more about how Ron felt toward Malfoy than loyalty to Harry. With the fury vibrating in Ron’s voice, Harry did the only thing he could.
Turning to Malfoy with gritted teeth, he said the words that whispered in his head. “I see you.” That part was easy. It could be the warning he intended, but he also felt a resonance, as if those words mattered. He felt the echoes of that single sentence filter through the wards, and knew something had happened. He just wished he knew what it was.
In the piles of paper Mrs Tonks had sent had been the formal words he should have said, but he couldn’t remember them exactly. He knew that he was supposed to thank Malfoy for coming, but he couldn’t. Harry would rather have said the truth, that Malfoy didn’t belong anywhere near Remus’ memorial service, that this was his, not Malfoy’s, and the git didn’t deserve to be free and mingling with the people he and his family had fought to destroy. Except Malfoy didn’t belong in Azkaban either. Harry had seen Malfoy drop his wand, unable to kill Dumbledore; he’d seen how Malfoy hated casting the curses he had on Voldemort’s orders. Harry had seen him broken, both face to face and in his mind. After surviving Voldemort, after choosing death and then choosing life again, after finally completing the prophecy that had destroyed his family and his childhood, Harry found that Malfoy was too small to hate. He wished he knew what to do with Malfoy. He found he didn’t want Malfoy hurt, he just wanted him gone.
With Ron vibrating like a restrained Rottweiler, he couldn’t give in to his own reactions. It would only escalate. He wasn’t going to let Malfoy, or Ron, or anyone, spoil his chance to grieve like everyone else got to.
Grabbing Ron’s shoulder, he turned his back on Malfoy. Surely Malfoy wouldn’t do anything in plain sight. Harry touched the three wands in the pocket of his robes. He had not yet returned Dumbledore’s to the tomb, and he didn’t dare return Malfoy’s. He wished there was somewhere he dared keep the other two wands, but he felt safest keeping them with him. Without his wand, Malfoy could do nothing.
“What are you about, Harry? He’s a Death Eater! He should be in Azkaban, for all he’s done, not free to mess up your funeral!”
Harry choked. “My funeral?”
“Professor Lupin’s funeral, I mean. And Tonks’,” he added as an afterthought. “Look, Harry, I know how important this is to you.”
Harry just stared, all thought of Malfoy momentarily forgotten.
“Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?”
Ron grinned briefly, then turned serious. “You were there to mourn for Fred. I know you came because you liked him, but you also were there for all of us. So we could be together. I get it. I’m not going to mess it up for you. But why would you want him here?”
“I don’t. Mrs Tonks does. It’s part of the price. I could have had a private memorial, just for me. I wanted to do it like other people got to, surrounded by friends and family. You and Hermione are here for me. They’re here for her.” Harry paused. “Well, they’re probably here for themselves, but she wants them here.”
Ron stared at his hands, then looked up to search Harry’s face. Apparently finding what he was looking for, he said, “All right. But I’m keeping an eye on him.”
Harry grinned, feeling happier than he had in awhile. Ron was still Ron. The smile was still on his face as he turned to face Malfoy, whose hands clenched briefly. Malfoy swallowed, then stepped forward. “You’ve followed the customs, Potter. I can respect that.” He swallowed again, looking as if he had swallowed something sour. “I regret to hear of your loss.”
Not sure what Malfoy was playing at, Harry just nodded.
* * *
Silence stretched between them. Draco reminded himself that Potter was an ignorant lout, but it still infuriated him that he had turned his back on Draco immediately after uttering formal recognition. He was proud of himself that he managed the proper words, in the face of such disregard. He took a deep breath, wishing he could insult Potter as he deserved, or find the appropriate thing to say. What is the proper protocol when an uncouth usurper recognises you as connected to the family, then immediately turns his back? Draco looked around. His mother was still talking with the blood traitor. She had her hand on her arm, as if consoling her. He didn’t know how she did it. More silence.
“So how’d you get the Mu—Granger on Black Land?” The words were out before Draco could stop to think, thankfully adjusted at the last minute.
Potter’s face, which had been calmer than Draco had expected, turned cold. “I don’t think that’s any of your business. If you’re only here to cause trouble—“
“I’m here because I am of the line of Black, and my mother was born a Black. I’m here because Family is important to me. I can see why you wouldn’t understand that—“
“You have no idea what I understand. You have no idea how important family can become unless you’ve lost it, Malfoy. You—“ Harry stopped himself. “You’re not worth it.” He turned away.
Draco’s skin burnt with fury. “I don’t know how you made yourself head of my mother’s family, Potter, but I’ll find out! The Malfoys may not have the influence we did before, but we still have the skills we were bred to. Politics is in my blood, Potter. Wizarding history runs through my veins!”
“It won’t do much good there, Malfoy. It has to get to your brain.” Potter looked over his shoulder at Malfoy. “Perhaps that’s been your problem all along… relying on what is in your blood instead of what is in your head.” Potter stopped. Turning to face him head on, Potter continued, “This is a funeral, Malfoy. A funeral honouring those I care about. If you can’t behave yourself, tell me now, and I’ll arrange to have you sent back to where you came from. Mrs Tonks wanted your mother here.” Potter looked at Draco’s mother, still in close conversation with Aunt Andromeda. “Mrs Tonks has lost her daughter, I have lost people—“ Potter’s voice faltered.
Speaking slowly and deliberately, he continued, “I won’t let you ruin this, Malfoy. Mrs Tonks doesn’t need it, I don’t need it, and Remus and Tonks don’t deserve it. Your mother is—“ He glanced to the two of them, “exhibiting more care than I would have expected.” Potter’s eyes turned thoughtful, as if remembering something. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I have reason to know that she cares for her family, perhaps even more than I thought. But you, Malfoy—is family more than bluster and pride to you? Now’s your chance to prove it.”
Potter held Draco in his gaze, as if evaluating his worth. Draco felt the flush rising in his cheeks. How dare he presume… He straightened his shoulders and tilted his head so he could look down at Potter. “I know how to behave at a wizarding funeral. Do you?”
“Then do that, Malfoy. Prove to me that you can. If you cause any disturbance, Malfoy, you’ll regret it. I’ll make sure of that.” Potter nodded to the Auror who had been watching the entire exchange.
Draco realized he had completely forgotten her presence. Potter always managed to make him forget himself. He really had intended to use this opportunity to show both the Auror and the other attendees, all victors in the war, that he could behave with honour, and could be trusted to be free. How did Potter always cause him to sabotage his own goals? Did he do it on purpose? That would be an approach worthy of the most Slytherin of Slytherins. He watched as Potter walked away.
* * *
Harry took a deep breath, calming himself. People had arrived while he’d been distracted by Malfoy, and he hadn’t had a chance to greet them. He made his way over to Mr Weasley, who had Portkeyed in with Bill and Fleur. The wards had no problem with Fleur, Harry noticed. He tried to think if they’d target any of the other people who would likely be there. He’d felt them twinge a few times, but nothing like with Hermione, and he’d been too distracted to see who they were responding to. It was the same blood-purity rubbish Voldemort spouted, and Harry didn’t want to have to think this way.
Before he’d reached the Weasleys, however, people started moving to sit down. He realized that Mrs Tonks had moved toward the bier, her posture that of patient waiting. He supposed saying “Okay, listen up, everyone,” as he had in the DA, would not be appropriate. Still, it was amazing that she didn’t even have to say anything to let people know the service was starting. He joined her, standing next to Remus’ plaque.
It was hard to see Tonks lying there, even in her formal robes, subject to the eyes of the old-style purebloods who had gathered. There were more of them than he had expected, not just the Malfoys, but also some others he didn’t recognise as having been in the war on either side.
Tonks looked somehow vulnerable without her brightly coloured hair, without her smile and her humour. Even the pig snout gave her more strength, more of a defence against the world, than the slightly uneven face that looked like Tonks, but not completely. Mrs Tonks had said this was the Nymphadora she remembered, the one she had raised.
It was harder still that Remus was not lying there. He should have been put to rest with Tonks. Sirius should have been buried here too, and then Remus and Sirius could have romped together in the afterlife. He expected they already were, truthfully, given what happened with the Resurrection Stone. But their magic should weave back into the family. Sirius should never have been exiled. He should have been Head of House Black, instead of Harry, who understood so little of it, who had never been prepared.
When the time came to remember the dead, it was not like the funeral with the Weasleys. Harry silently rehearsed the chant he had practiced earlier. He was sure he was no good at all, and hoped he wouldn’t disgrace Remus. Andromeda had explained that the chant was old magic, and helped draw the family magic back in. Tonks was of the line, and her husband had married in. The Lupins were not even a cadet family... Andromeda mentioned that while both Mr and Mrs Lupin were magical, Mr Lupin was a Muggleborn, and Remus’ mother was of Muggleborn ancestry. Not having his own magical family, when he married Tonks, he was able to become of the line of Black, if he desired. Harry had no idea if Remus would desire this. He hoped his old Professor and ersatz godfather would not mind being woven in so his magic and Tonks’ could reconnect, and so that Harry would be able to feel him amidst all the voices in the line of Black.
When Mrs Tonks rose, she didn’t tell funny stories about Tonks. Harry could remember some, but he would not be asked to relate them either. After the formal ritual, during the social time, that was a time for remembrances, according to this tradition. Harry was alright with that. He thought he might not make it, if he were expected to tell stories about Remus, how he’d taught him the Patronus charm, how lost he looked when confronted by Sirius, when everyone still thought Sirius was a murderer, and how he had grabbed hold and hugged Sirius when the truth came out.
Just before it was time to sing the chant, Mrs Tonks nodded toward the bottle they had retrieved from the old mausoleum. Harry turned to pick it up, and at her murmured instructions, poured barely a drop onto his fingertip. Feeling somehow as if he were being too intimate with her body, he smudged the drop onto her forehead, each palm, and the soles of each bare foot.
The chant was eerie. Mrs Tonks had said something about it being in a minor key, which was supposed to make it feel sadder. Whatever it was, the melody was haunting. Other voices carried the tune. Some of the voices were stronger in the words, supporting his own faltering singing.
He could feel the song echo in the wards. He could feel it reaching out, calling to family, weaving the magic together. He could almost see Tonks’ changeable face in his mind, and suddenly Remus’ gold-brown eyes looked straight into his.
Suddenly, he didn’t feel awkward and uncouth, he stopped being aware of the wandering of the tune, and the fact that he was nobody’s idea of a singer. Instead, he felt the land beneath him call to his own magic, made part of the Black family by his grandmother’s blood and his own choice. He felt the magic awaken in his voice, and heard his voice get stronger. He felt others of the Black family singing, adding their own magic to the calling. And he felt the response. He could almost see Remus and Tonks, joined together. But even if he could not quite see them, he could feel them.
Something in him settled, feeling the magic return. It was like he hadn’t truly lost them. They were no longer with him, but they weren’t completely gone either. He opened his eyes, scarcely aware that he had closed them, and he saw a look of peace on Andromeda Tonks’ face.
This is what he’d wanted. This is what he’d needed. A sense of continuity. He had felt adrift all his life, growing up with people that hated him, never knowing true kin. He felt that connection now. He could see Andromeda Tonks would still grieve her daughter, but he knew that Tonks was not completely lost to her. Her magic would continue on in the family. It was at that moment that he fully understood how much that mattered.
After the chant, a black cloth was wrapped around Tonks, and Mrs Tonks cast a levitation charm to carry her daughter into the crypt. Harry followed with Remus’ plaque held in his hands. The metal was warm against his skin. Once Mrs Tonks had positioned her daughter into the alcove, Harry moved to place the plaque. He could feel something. Mrs Tonks said the herbs helped weave the magic back into the family. Harry didn’t know what they did, but the web of connections that he was coming to understand was the family Black felt more complete. That was his job, as head of the family, he suspected... to look after the continuity of the family, and keep the magic whole. When the brightness of the new magic had woven back into the web, a sense of satisfaction filled him.
He turned to Mrs Tonks, and saw she had tears in her eyes. He suspected he did as well. But he wasn’t sure they were grief.
* * *
After the service, those who were not close to Remus or Tonks left. This included the Malfoys, fortunately. The rest of them adjourned to a tent that had been set up... a wizarding tent, with tables and chairs and food. Even though the service could not have been more different from Fred’s, the gathering afterward was very similar. Here, now were the stories of the two of them. Here now was the release of laughter and crying, as they shared with each other all that they knew of two people, two lives lived and now ended.
Chapter 1 (If you've not read the story yet, start Here...)
Chapter 14 (if you missed the previous chapter, click here)
Chapter 15 Part 1 (This is a two part chapter. Make sure you start at part 1)
On to Chapter 16