Chapter 1: The Black Inheritance
Chapter 1: The Black Inheritance
"…. You see my dear nephew, although the Djinn has unlimited magical power, there is one rule that irrevocably binds them all. A Djinn could never hurt its own master."- Jhadar Ashwald, the Ghoulcaller, to his nephew
Harry Potter was used to waiting. For a decade he waited for an imaginary family to take him from his abusive relatives. They never came. For a year, he waited for the girl of his dreams to take notice of him. When she finally did, it was after the death of her boyfriend. And now he waited again, in the summer before his sixth year, he waited for a meaningful human contact; a letter maybe, a short chitchat, or even a friendly hello from a neighbor. He'll take anything. But everybody around him, maybe except for Dudley, avoided him like the plague. Harry suspected that it was 'for his own protection' like Dumbledore had always said.
For two weeks he waited for letters; be it from his friends, the order, Dumbledore, anybody really. He had hoped for consolation or words of kindness, things that people in grieving usually received from friends and family. Yet no owls ever came for him. He wrote countless of Letters to Ron, and even more to Hermione. And yet, Hedwig always came back with nothing attached to his leg. Harry Potter is once again left alone.
For a while Harry thought that this summer is going to be like the last one. No one to talk to. No news about the wizarding world. Boy was he wrong. This summer was nothing like the last.
Last summer he had Dudley and Cedric Diggory to think about. This summer the Dursley became bolder at the news of Sirius's death, the guilt of his godfather's death weigh heavily on his mind, and the memory of Cedric's death replayed night after night until Harry had simply given up on sleep. Last summer he wondered around the neighborhood to ease his boredom. This summer Harry stopped going outside, stopped going in for meals, and just waited by his windowsill, petrified by the memory of the veil.
'All of that, just for a prophecy.' Harry's heart ached as thought about the people who had died during the Ministry invasion. All for the babbling of some nut job prophet.
He couldn't care jack shit about the prophecy. He couldn't muster up the strength to even think about Voldemort. The total media blackout and complete lack of news certainly helped him in that regard, but even if he received news about Voldemort, Harry is simply too tired to want to deal with it. He hated everybody, he hated Dumbledore, he hated Ron and Hermione, but most of all he hated himself for the death of his Godfather.
So Harry stayed inside and kept waiting. His unruly hair grew to unacceptable length, but he didn't care. His lack of food has left his cheek hollow and made his face pale, but he didn't care. 'Its my punishment.' He thought. 'I should never be allowed happiness. Not after I killed Sirius.' He continued this behavior, wasting away near his windowsill, until one day he saw the silhouette of an owl appearing from the horizon. After reading the contents, Harry scrambled to gather his belongings and stuffing them into one chest. Hoping for the best, he raised his wand and hailed a ride from the Knight Bus. It may be his last salvation.
Jittery knees, cold sweat on his brows, his suitcase in tow. Harry Potter looked like a starving artist than a soon to be heir to one of the most noble and ancient wizarding houses. People kept looking at him as though he didn't belonged. Harry was too busy being nervous to even care about them. He kept glancing down to the letter, a boring blue Gringotts form with Sirius's unmistakable scrawl on it.
Gringotts Wizarding Bank LLC
Non-Bloodline Inheritance Form #1207327
Filling: Sirius Black
Date: 13th February 1996
Notary: Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Head Goblin, Grimface
"To my Godson Harry James Potter I bequeath;
All the fortune and property of the Black Estates,
Access to the Black Vaults (#801-813), with all of its entire contents.
The title of Lord of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black, along with its rights and ownership of all servants employed under the name.
Also all of my personal belongings, including Buckbeak the Hippogriff.
Grimface, Head Goblin
Note: All inheritance must be accepted by September 1 and will only be valid with a stamp notarized by the Head Goblin at Gringotts Wizarding Back"
It's a short and official form, with no other last words from Sirius, or letter explaining why he had done what he did. There was no final goodbyes, or sentimental 'I wish you well'. Harry refused to believed that the closest person that he had to a family would leave him a simple Gringotts form as his last goodbye.
That is why Harry Potter is waiting in line, with people judging his attire and his messy hair. He will find Sirius's letter to him. Maybe it is buried in one of the vaults so that nobody but him could see it. Maybe it is shoved in one of the drawers in those so called Black estates that he was left with. Either way Harry will find Sirius's letter to him, and maybe then he could find some sort of solace.
Harry tried to ignore the pointed look of a witch in a yellow pea coat, but her judging stare made him smooth his hair forward. He is way too underdressed to received a fortune from his Godfather's death.
"NEXT." The goblin lady at the counter hollered. The witch in the yellow pea coat turned her nose up and walked away from Harry, like his presence offended her. Harry sighed and tried to put the image of her disgusted face out of his head. His messy attire was partly intentional, so that nobody could recognize him. He even went to go as far as taking his glasses off. He didn't expected so much hostility though.
"NEXT." Harry jumped at the unholy screech, grabbing the multitude of his possession up as he struggled to walk up to the counter The goblin lady looked at him in disdain. "Form." She said, her head leaning on her hand, a nail file in the other. She was a perfect picture of an overworked, bored, and apathetic office worker. Harry handed the blue form to her, and watch in satisfaction as her eyes became wide as saucers.
"Harry Potter sir! I-I-"
"Psst!" Harry smiled as she stammered apologetically. "Its ok, its fine." He waves his hand. "I just need this form notarized. I rather do it quickly. Wouldn't want to cause a commotion you know." He said shrugging his shoulder.
"Right away sir!" The Goblin lady dropped her nail file and scampered off to a door behind her. Harry felt a rush of pride, coupled with embarrassment. It may be slightly nasccisictic, but doing these kinds of things really cheered him up.
The goblin lady slowly crept from behind the door."Mr. Potter sir," She started, clearing her throat. "Im afraid Mr. Grimface is not available today. I can arrange a meeting for you in two days if you like?"
Harry bit his lip, his brow creasing with weariness. In any other situation he wouldn't mind waiting for a few more days. After all, he is not a power crazed celebrity who wants everything done immediately. However, Harry is wary that Dumbledore and the Order might find out that he had escaped from the Dursley. He is not in the mood of a lecture after they had ignored him all summer.
'Screw it.' He decided. Why should he care if Dumbledore and his friends worry about him? They certainly didn't care about him enough to give him some emotional support after his godfather's death. Harry hoped that they realized that he wasn't in the Dursley, so they would run around looking for him like headless chickens. All he had to do is to refrain from using his wand, and nobody could trace him. "That's fine." Harry said decisively. "Arrange the meeting for 3 days from now. Its not like I have anywhere else to be."
In the next morning Harry woke up from his bed, his body aching and his stomach growling. He spent the night at the Sturdy Bucket, a new upstart Inn that is apparently in competition with the Leaky Cauldron. Harry liked the place because its new, its clean (well, cleaner than the Leaky Cauldron),and most of all its empty. Turns out, most Diagon Alley shoppers are loyal to the Cauldron, and would not give this new Inn a try. It's a pity really, since the inn was very cheap and discreet. Plus, its located on the outskirts of Diagon Alley, which is far enough to not hear the bustle of the town, but its close enough to shop around from.
He hungrily ordered a full English breakfast with a pot of tea, his appetite rising for the first time in weeks. It must've been because of the letter from Gringotts. Harry hoped that Sirius had left his something, a letter maybe, or even a memory in a pensive. He would accept anything that would soothe the sudden departure of his godfather from his life.
Harry shook his head, trying hard to not think about Sirius's death again. He knew that he is at fault, but he have to get up and buy some new supplies for the school year today. It simply wouldn't do if he were to slunk back into his depressive hole. He couldn't live like this, not since the reading of Sirius's will is only days away.
So Harry turned his attention to the big plate of hot food before him. There was an array of smoked meat product crammed into a comically large plate. Smoke thick cut bacon, juicy breakfast sausages, sautéed mushrooms, blood pudding, and some Heinz beans. (Even the wizarding world couldn't deny the convenience of factory-produced beans.) On a smaller plate, he had some hot butted toast with friend eggs and half of a tomato broiled to bits. Salivating, Harry stuffed his mouth until there was nothing on the plate but the tomato.
Seconds later, he was kneeling in the washroom and had his head halfway down the toiled. 'It seems like I shouldn't eat so quickly.' He thought to himself as food spewed out of his mouth. As delicious the breakfast was, he couldn't help but throwing it all up. His stomach was in shock after not eating anything for a while. After he was finished, he brushed his teeth and went back to his breakfast table. With a deep sigh, he ate his breakfast of a lonely tomato coupled with a cup of strong sweet tea.
'It might be a disappointing start to the day.' He thought. 'But I'm not going to be a shut in anymore. I'm going to go out and live my life! Today is going to be a good day.' Harry smiled to himself as he finished his mug of sweet tea. 'Today is going to be a good day.' He said looking out expectantly to Diagon Alley.
Harry Potter was not having a good day.
At first, he expected a nice quiet day of browsing through stores, maybe have a shopping a spree or two from Quality Quidditch supplies. He quickly realized how naïve he had been for thinking that a little hair growth and weight loss would disguise him from the public. After ten minutes of browsing Flourish and Bolts, a couple of first years began to point at him and said "Blimely! Its Harry Potter!" in an overly enthusiastic voice. Naturally, he sprinted into the next available shop and was promptly rediscovered by a different crowd.
He might have gotten away if the Daily Prophet hadn't had his photo plastered on every front page. Its always the same photo too, the one where he had a stupid look on his face while Dumbledore stood in front of his heroically. God, he hated how he looked like Dumbledore's helpless little sidekick.
So in the evening, under cover of darkness, Harry went into Madam Pimpernelle's Beautifying Potions to buy some disguise. Firstly he needed one of those muggle contact lenses to hide his distinctly green eyes, but the magic makeup store only had a potion that changes his eyes into a different color every few hours. 'This would work well enough.' He said as his eyes turned a deep shade of blue. He looked rather dashing in blue. Next he needed something to hide his hair. He first went for a temporary hair dye, hoping that some magic in a jar would disguise his distinctive black hair. The Magic hair mouse however, turned his hair into the color of seaweed, when what he wanted was blond flowing mane. He sighed and forked over two more galleons for a simple light brown wig. 'I'll looked washed out in blond anyway.' He said as he wore his disguise of brown wig and blue eyes.
On the second day Harry's day wasn't that much different. He opted for a robe this time, hoping that it would blend him in with the crowds. There was a few curious stares, but it was mostly because of his eye potion, which kept shifting into a new color every two seconds. So he let people stared. As long as he kept his scar covered, he would simply be a passing metamorphogus.
After an afternoon of mindless wandering and small chitchats with some stall owners, Harry saw a flash of red from the corner of his eyes. It saw Ginny. For a moment butterflies exploded in my stomach, and he rushed towards her. He stopped, his smile melted and his stomach dropped. She was smilling. Laughing. Swaying on the arms of Dean Thomas.
She was happy.
Behind her were the rest of the Wesley, moving along Diagon Alley without a care in the world. The family was moving briskly, with Ron and Hermione trailing behind them. They were like Ginny, happy, looing like they're without a care in the world. If Harry looked into a mirror he would see the physical manifestation of his mental scars. Sunken cheekbones, haughty eyes, Harry looked like a different person. The Weasley however, bears nothing but normalcy in their faces. Especially not Ron, who was too busy groping Hermione to pay attention to where they were going.
Hermione took Ron's hand and pulled him into the back of the storefront. Instinctively, Harry followed them, his hand clenched into a fist. He peered from a pile of stacked barrels, holding his breath. The two was kissing. Passionately. So passionately that Harry could hear their hitched breaths ten feet away.
"No Ronnie!" Hermione yelped and slapped Ron's away. The redhead persisted, his movement more erratic and urgent. "Come on 'mione. Just one more before we go home.." he pleaded. Hermione pushed him away. "Here?" she laughed. "I am not doing it here Ron." She said with a bite of arrogance that Harry never heard before.
"I promise you'll like it." Ron growled and pounced on top of Hermione, making her shriek and giggle. Harry wanted to jinx them so bad, just a small prank to teach them a lesson for keeping their relationship from him. Just as he began to mutter the words to the Blood Boil hex, he stopped. Ron was shrugging his robes off. "I just wanted to fit as much of this before we go back babysitting Potter." Ron scoffed. "That little bitch irritates me so much."
"Roooon." Hermione scowled at him. "Stop getting angry. You're with me now, so stop thinking about him." She leaned closer to give him a kiss. "We have a whole year with him so no need to rush back into it." She said, her fingers playing in his trousers, making the redhead moan.
"You think Potter will throw another hissy fit? For, you know, us ignoring him again?" Ron asked aloud. She rolled her eyes and groaned into the air. "Ugh who cares? We know his letters are all going to be about the dead dog. Besides, Dumbledore didn't ordered us to talk to him this year so we don't have to." She pushed herself closer to the redhead. "Now shut up and kiss me Weasley."
That little wimp irritates me so much.
His chest hurt.
His feet tingled
Dumbledore did ordered us-
Everything hurt, but he ran anyways.
He ran until he cant feel his feet and sounds of traffic filled the air. He was out of Diagon Alley. He literary ran out of the massive magical plaza on feet alone. He never knew anyone could exit Diagon Alley manually except through the Leaky Cauldron. Harry leaned back on a red telephone booth, trying hard to catch his breath and make sense of everything. No matter how hard he try to justify it, there is no reason for his friends to talk about him like that.
"Friends." He said out loud. What a ridiculous notion. All this time they were pretending. The adventures and promises they shared were just an act, probably staged by Dumbledore so that he could be attached to someone in Hogwarts. Every fun and brave things they have done together were merely coats of paint to white wash the lies they've been trained to fed him. To be honest he couldn't act so surprised. He could felt the distance between Ron and Hermione. At first he thought it was because he's the Boy-who-lived, but who knew that the truth would be so much more painful.
Since his boyhood Harry had always been friendless, so he never really knew the differences between true or false friends. He was happy enough about having friends that questioning them seemed wrong. But he must face the truth. Harry did not lose his friends. They were never his to begin with. They were simply a crutch that Dumbledore put in place so that Harry would enjoy being in Hogwarts. For five very long years, Harry Potter has been seeing the world through a skewed and distorted glass prison, one that Dumbledore crafted through his lies. But now he is blinded no more.
Yes. He can see it now. He can see everything.
"Get me the Head Goblin."
"It's concerning a most urgent and sensitive matter."
"Sir please! Its after hours and the bank is closed!"
Harry stopped his long strides and knelled until he is nose to nose with a scurrying goblin. "Get me the Head Goblin or the Potter and Black family will no longer be a patron at your establishment." He raised his bangs to show him his scar. "Now take me to him, or do I have to find him myself?"
The little creature shrieked and ran stumbling through his steps, clearly terrified by whatever threats Harry is forcing upon him. Harry followed him quietly, taking no pleasures in extortion or hand twisting whatsoever, though apparently he's rather good at them. 'No wonder the Sorting Hat wanted to put me in Slytherin.' He mussed.
He was taken into a lavish office, where an old decaying goblin apologized profusely to him and notarized his forms. Through all of it, Harry simply sat, calm, relaxed, and poised. He looked regally indifferent, but the truth was he was numb. He was numb to the compliments. Numb to the ass kissing. Numb to the bows, the apologies and to the fake smiles he saw much too often. When he was showed to his new vaults he was too numb to admire the mountains upon mountains of gold and rubies. He simply walked from one vault to the next and waved his hand to dismiss the Goblins. Harry Potter was obscenely rich, but more importantly he simply had stopped giving a shit.
When the last Goblin shut the door of the last vault, Harry crumbled to the ground and cried. He's crying because all his life he had surrounded himself with people who were ordered to be there. He's crying because when he was wasting his time with them, he could've missed out on his true friends. He's crying because from 12 massive vaults, Sirius never left him any letters, only a stupid blue form crumpled on the ground next to him. Never in his life has Harry Potter ever felt so alone.
So he allowed himself that little moment of weakness. He had been trying hard to be positive about his whole predicament, but the truth is he simply cannot do all of this alone. He can't go back to Hogwarts and play the little games that they have always played before. He couldn't bring himself to spend nine months of his life next to a bunch of liars and cheaters. Let Dumbledore find another hero, because Harry Potter refuses to be his little puppet anymore.
He stood up and walked past the rows of bookcases in this vault and sat down at a small drawing table on the center of the vaults. It was crammed full of papers and foreign scribbles, but amongst that chaos, there was a book that lay unperturbed on the center, it pages seemed to call for him. At first, the alphabets seemed foreign to him, but as he turned away, the words shifted and morphed into English. "Whoa." Harry approached the book cautiously. He had his fair share of magical books in his second year, and he would very much like to not have his soul sucked out like Ginny. However, curiosity overpowered his common sense. Harry took the book and began to read.
"Jhadar Ashwald, the Magnificent." He read those words out loud. For a moment, a warm sensation ran down his whole body. He was not frightened, he felt safe. Whatever the book is, Harry feels like they are not harmful to him, or to any Black descendant for that matter. As he scanned the pages, a wealth of information poured into him.
This book is an autobiography of Jhadar Ashwald, who the prominent wizard during 90 BC. Originated from Egypt, he later moved his philanthropy and education work to Greece, where his teaching flourished under the newly minted Roman Empire. He was a celebrated Egyptian figure, a beloved Roman senator, and a fierce conqueror. In his autobiography there was multiple exchanges between him and his nephew, who he favored very much. Behind the scene of his public life as an educator, leader, and face of the people, Jhadar Aswald was also known in the magical community as a advocate of newly discovered magic.
Harry became entranced by the life of this one wizard, who seemed to achieved so much for a mere mortal. He reached the end of the book, red eyed and tired, to find one surprising revelation hidden in a letter to his nephew.
"….. My dear Nephew, at my old age I long for the age where I am the palace educator, where life was simple and treachery was limited to physical harm. I long to sit by the Nile and wade to the realm of the dead. Before I die, I must confess to you one thing.
All the achievements and titles I have accumulated in this life is merely not the work of my own sweat. Since I was a childe, I have acquired the loyalty of a Djinn, a magical demon who grants your greatest desires. This demon has been more than a servant to me, he had been a friend where I have none, and a companion during my loneliest nights. Because of this, I seek to reward this demon by granting him freedom, but this decision has proved to be the greatest mistake that I have ever made.
The demon went on a rampaging massacre and built and army against me, comprised of Djinns that he had freed by killing their masters. The wretched demon gave his services to my enemies. He is trying to topple my final conquest and I'm afraid to say child, he will succeed. When this letter finds you in Alexandria, your uncle will be nothing but a dead body.
Despair not my Dear Nephew, for you can avenge my death. I will contract the demon again into the family of Aswald, and you will inherit him from me. Never again free the Djinn, but as you pass him down to your children, put him in the most wretched visage that you could think of, and let his wretched existence carry on until the end of time. This is will last wish."
Under the letter were a multitude of names and signature. Harry scanned the names, a cold chill ran down his spine as multitude of Aswald's descendant began to think of the most gruesome and humiliating creature to lay upon the Djinn. Once he was a minotaur. In another age, he was a rat. One of the more forgiving descendants gave him the visage of a dog, but there was never one descendant that has abandoned Jhadar's last will.
His eyes stopped at the end of the line, when the foreign names began to change into British ones. Trying to keep his heart steady, he finished reading the list.
Walburga Black: I bind Keacher, the house elf, to my services.
Sirius Black; I bind Keacher, the house elf, to my services.
"Keacher…" Harry whispered, his voice full of anger and malice.
A loud bang and a sinister drawl came from behind him.
"You called, Master?"