Summary: After the war, reconciliation between enemies is necessary to create a better future, one that is only possible if one embraces the past. Begins during the final chapters of Deathly Hallows, ignores the epilogue. Will eventually be Harry/Draco. Disclaimer: Harry Potter, his friends, his enemies, and the lovely world they live in all belong to JK Rowling.
Chapters Posted: 19
Words Posted: 122,783
Notes: Thanks to rosskprfor beta reading and giving good suggestions. She has been very patient with me. Thanks to my readers for their patience, too! To reward you for this patience, this time there will be TWO chapters posted today - both of which are multi-part chapters due to length!
Comments and questions are always welcome. I find they inspire me to write further, knowing someone else cares about the story.
On to the Chapter:
Of Blacks and Magic
May 17, 1998
He Apparated to the Tonks’ house, now housing only Andromeda and Teddy. The joy of being able to legally Apparate without fear of the Ministry coming down on him, no matter who ran it, was muddled with the complex combination of guilt and sadness for Tonks and her father. And Remus. At the thought, a quiet murmur of calm flowed from the back of his mind.
He shook his head to clear his thoughts, took a deep breath and knocked.
The door opened, and Mrs Tonks, still disturbingly similar to Bellatrix, opened it. “Teddy is down for a nap, so we have some time to talk without distraction.”
Harry nodded. He hoped he would get to see Teddy before the end of his visit, even if just to look down on the child’s sleeping face. He would have many opportunities to visit him when Teddy was awake, he promised himself.
They settled into the living room, Harry on one sofa, and Mrs Tonks on a cushioned chair. She poured tea, and let them both take a few sips before asking, “How have you been feeling lately, Harry?”
“Fine.” The word crossed his lips automatically, before he stopped to think. He had mostly been getting enough sleep, despite nightmares of the final battle, and of walking to his death. How had he ever had the courage to do that? He remembered feeling exhausted, as if he had used up all of his emotions. It had been so clear, that his whole life was culminating in that moment, as if he had finally realized what he was here for. Not to kill, but to be killed. Only now, his purpose was neither. He wasn’t sure what to make of that.
Mrs Tonks must have seen something on his face. “In order for me to teach you what you need to know, we are going to have to learn to trust each other. You will need to trust me as your teacher, and I will need to trust you as the head of my family. We will have to be able to rely on each other.”
Harry suspected this was part of what it meant to be a family—to have someone to turn to, and to have someone who would intrude into your life because they had the right, not out of authority or power, but because they cared. Andromeda Tonks did not yet have that right. He didn’t feel it yet. The sense in the back of his mind told him he should; that he, Andromeda Tonks, and Teddy were all the other had left of family.
“So, let’s start again, how have you been?”
“I’m really not sure. I’m glad it’s over. But now what? I get to have another year of school, which is good, but after that, what? I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”
“And the Blacks? Have they been settling in? Have they been bothering you?”
“I haven’t thought about them much, since the funeral,” Harry admitted. “I’ve been doing other things.”
“You’ve been avoiding them, you mean.”
Harry’s guilty silence was enough answer.
“That is not a good idea. Family magic will insist on being recognised, especially to the head of the family.”
“I’ve been dreaming about them, I think.”
“You aren’t sure?”
“Well, I had one dream about ... being Slytherin. As if the Slytherin common room felt like home.”
“That would have been strange, for you.”
“Maybe. Gryffindor has always been home since the first time I saw it, so I suppose I can understand how Slytherin would feel like that to others.”
“Probably not in the way that you think. But yes, we found like-minded people. I don’t mean people who had the same beliefs, necessarily, but people who approached problems the same way. People who understood when you were cryptic, and who were... intelligent in a particular way.”
“Like Ron can be brilliant and clueless at the same time.”
“I don’t know Ron as well as I suspect I will, over time. But probably exactly like that, only reversed.
“So, what am I supposed to do?”
“You are dreaming because you haven’t accepted Black into you as fully as you need. You are resisting.”
“I suppose. It’s just that...” Harry didn’t want to tell her about the link he had had to Voldemort. “Hearing voices isn’t exactly a sign if sanity, is it.” It wasn’t a question.
“It is when there is a reason for them to be there. You have joined with the family, it is only right that they welcome you. You are head of the family, it is only right that they inform you.”
“Sometimes it feels like they want to control how I think. They keep telling me—no that isn’t right. But sometimes it is as if I am seeing things using someone else’s eyes.”
“You are using Black eyes. As you accept Black, they will be your own.”
“I have my own views on things!”
“Yes. You are feeling stressed now, because you are integrating a new perspective. It will diminish, over time, but never go away. Harry, this perspective will continue to inform you, but you are the one who is in charge. You are the head of the house, it is not head of you.”
“That’s not what it feels like sometimes.”
“Their role is to provide information to you, from the strength of their own experiences, but at present they only have access to your subconscious. That is probably why it feels like they are trying to control your feelings. So let’s work on bringing your connection with them, and the knowledge they provide, to conscious awareness. Only then will you have the ability to use the ancestors as they are meant to be used, as advisors.” She pushed a book across the table to Harry.
“This is a History of the Black family.”
The book was bound in black leather – well, hide, Harry thought. He didn’t know enough to tell cow leather from the hide of any of a number of magical creatures, but he was pretty sure it was not dragon or snake. No scales.
The lettering were gilded and cursive, and had curlicues wrapping around each letter. He almost snickered when he saw the title. Toujours Pur. Did the Blacks feel the need to put that on everything?
Andromeda must have seen the look on his face, for she raised an eyebrow.
She looked less like Bellatrix like that, but a little more like Snape. That was disturbing. Harry had always thought her face was gentler than her sister’s, but he also saw the aristocratic lines. Sometimes she could look so formal, so... pure-blood.
“Just the cover, Mrs Tonks,” Harry said. “The Black motto. It’s everywhere.”
She looked startled for a moment. “Harry, we haven’t spoken of this, but we should. We are family. Why have you not called me by name?”
“I don’t know. I guess I figured you would offer if you wanted me to.”
“You do realize that between us, you are the higher authority? According to tradition, you should be the one to offer.”
“Oh. I just thought—you are older—“
“Thank you for that,” she said wryly.
Harry flushed. “It’s also that you are teaching me.”
“Yes, our relationship is complicated. But you are the head of my house. You are the one who welcomed me back into the house of my birth. Without you, I would not even have the Black family to claim as my own. It is only right that I offer my services to the head of my family, even if those services involve taking on the role of teacher. What does the Black family say?”
“In my head you are Andromeda. I have to keep reminding myself to use the more respectful address...”
“The Black family is steeped in tradition Harry. They will not impel you wrong in matters of correct behaviour.”
“Except when it comes to house elves and Muggleborn.” Harry clapped his hand over his mouth.
“Perhaps I should have said in matters of etiquette. So, since we each have the right to offer... shall we dispense with formality between us, as we are indeed family?”
“I’d like that. Andromeda.” Harry felt a bit silly saying it.
“Good. Now that that is out of the way, let’s look at this book. I’d like you to read the biographies.”
Harry opened the book and flipped to the table of contents. The cover was startlingly soft, as if it massaged his fingertips. The pages of the book were thin, and there were more of them than seemed possible in a book the size of one of Hermione’s novels. The table of contents went on for several pages. “How many of the biographies do you want me to read?” His voice came out a bit exasperated, but this was like school! At least he wouldn’t be reading about interminable goblin wars.
Mrs Tonks—Andromeda—gave a wry smile. “Eventually, all of them. For now, read those born within the past three hundred years.” She tapped the book as she said that, and some of the names in the table of contents brightened into shining green letters.
“Hermione would love that spell,” Harry commented.
“You’ll have to teach it to her.”
“It isn’t some Black family secret? It won’t dissolve the wand of a Muggleborn that dares to use it?”
Andromeda smiled, looking nothing like either of her sisters. “No. It is a spell commonly known among researchers. You may feel free to teach it to your friend without any fear for her wand, or her fingers.” She gave a wry grin. “If it were a Black spell, it would target Muggleborn fingers that dared to touch an instrument of magic, before harming a wand!”
Harry shuddered. “Please let me know if you teach me any of those! Would it even be safe for me to learn such a spell, given my mother?”
“You have been accepted by Black. That takes precedence.”
She motioned with her wand, and the table of contents faded to normal. “The incantation is verba luceat.”
Harry repeated the words to himself until he thought it sounded about right.
“Have you never learned Latin, Harry?”
“I’ve picked up a bit in my Hogwarts classes, but...”
“It is useful to learn it. While you can use spells without knowing Latin, your casting will be stronger and more focussed if you know what the words mean. Most wizarding children learnt it at home before Hogwarts.”
Harry sighed. Another thing to learn. He doubted Ron had learnt it growing up, or he would have said something. Hermione knew a bit of it, but that was Hermione.
Andromeda must have seen the look on his face. “In this case, the incantation means “let the words shine. While you cast it, you must keep in mind the topic you wish to study.” The wand moves so,” and she swept her wand horizontally across the page, ending with a quick loop upwards and sharp flick down toward the page.
“Try it on this book first, I don’t mind if it is damaged.” She handed him a copy of one of Gilderoy Lockhart’s books, one about werewolves. Harry snorted. He thought of the concept of werewolves, and tried the spell. Half the table of contents lit up. It figures.
“To cancel the spell, sweep the wand across the page, and flick upward, like so.” She moved her wand and the words faded.
Harry tested it again, this time with the idea of “winner of the award for best smile” firmly in his mind, and was unsurprised to see all the chapter headings, including the index, light up. He cancelled the spell as Andromeda had described, and grinned.
“Very good! Now, why do you suppose I want you to read these biographies?”
Harry thought. “To learn about the family I am somehow Head of?”
“That is true, but there is another reason. When you know who they are, when you have been introduced to them, you will eventually be able to distinguish which of the Blacks is providing information to you by their – their ‘voice ’. By knowing them, you will know what their biases are. I have read that to an untrained head of house, the suggestions come through insidiously, as if they were your own instincts.
“In the past, we have had heads of house that were unprepared, when the previous head died before training them properly. The Black history at your disposal is made of the gifts of magic back to the family, but they carry the personality of their last holder with them. Some of them were very strong of will. Some of them were mad. Some of them were both. Heads of house with insufficient will have succumbed.”
“You mean I might—“
“I have no fear that you lack the strength of will, Harry.”
Harry remembered throwing off the Imperius curse. He supposed that might be a symptom of a strong will.
“Once you know the members of your – chorus”— her lips quirked in amusement at the word—“you’ll start to hear the individual voices. You will know which voices to trust, and which to take in context,” Andromeda continued.
Harry sighed. Things never stopped being complicated.
After they finished their discussion, Harry did indeed have a moment to look in on Teddy. He was curled up on a small bed. He had obviously been squirming, as the green blanket lay twisted around him like a nest, but did not cover him. One corner of it was bunched in Teddy’s fist. The tips of his hair matched the colour of his blanket.
Harry smiled, remembering Tonks. Teddy was too young for Harry to recognize Remus in him, but then knowledge was enough. He would have a bit of Remus in Teddy. An echo of comfort washed through him. Remus? Who else would it be? The comfort flared into something else, and he suddenly remembered Sirius likening him to his father.
He would not do that to Teddy. Harry would always remember that Teddy was Teddy, not just Remus junior. Harry promised himself he would be around to find out who Teddy was.
Chapter 1 (If you've not read the story yet, start Here...)
Chapter 18 Part 1 (if you missed the previous chapter, click here)
Chapter 18 Part 2
Chapter 19 Part 1
Chapter 19 Part 3 (Yes, Three parts! Apparently the HTML adds enough to the character count that the chapter doesn't fit into two parts. ALMOST, but not quite!)