Chapter 10: Dissolution of Estates
Unable to bring himself to look at the letters, Severus prepared the paperwork for Lupins claim and reviewed the contents of Potter Library. Begrudgingly, he was impressed. Some of the books within he had only ever dreamed of owning. Reviewing Lucius' request, Severus signed with a flourish, effectively removing said books from his library and depositing them in Malfoys study. He then cross referenced the lists of books from his other libraries and sent any duplicates to Malfoy Investments to be auctioned off.
Deciding he could delay no longer, Severus was crossing his study to the box of letters when he felt his wards activate to admit a port key. Kasha must have found the—Lupin. Spinning around, he came eye to eye with the other man.
"You look like Hell, Lupin," he sneered.
"I've looked worse, I assure you."
They were silent for a moment.
"I received your missive and I must admit I was a bit surprised. What business would we have in common?"
"Several things, apparently. Have a seat. Would you like a drink?" inquired Snape.
"Tea would be lovely," Remus returned politely.
"I was thinking something a bit stronger, but perhaps tea will suffice for now."
Surveying all the boxes Remus couldn't help but ask. "Severus, are you moving?"
"No, Lupin, I am not. I have actually come into a bit of an inheritance and I thought it wise to sort through it a little at a time."
Remus nodded. "And my presence is required, why?"
"I don't like you Lupin, but something tells me that once upon a time I did, so I shall try to remain civil. Gringotts found the wills of your friends," Snape paused, "how much do you know of recent events?" he asked.
"Very little, I'm afraid. I've been on a mission for the Order and only returned at your urgent request."
"Then I am afraid I must question your allegiances. Are you loyal to Dumbledore? Or to ending the war?"
"Dumbledore has been arrested. At best he faces life in Azkaban. At worst, he will be kissed, a sentence I, and several others, are fighting to see carried out. Hear me out Lupin! Dumbledore has wreaked havoc all over the wizarding world. More than two dozen people have been completely obliviated and inundated with whole new memories, myself, and even you I would wager, included; and countless others have had varying degrees of memory charms placed on them. He has seen certain debilitating laws passed, people imprisoned, and powers bound, all so he could not, and would not, be challenged."
"What are you talking about?"
"Dumbledore knew Sirius was innocent! He knew the mutt wasn't the Potters secret keeper, and he knew he didn't kill all those muggles. He let Sirius be imprisoned falsely so that he would have uncontested access to Harry. He hid the wills of your three friends and wiped everyones memories so that no one would question him. I called you here to present your inheritances, but also to ask you for help in sorting it all out. For the time being, you will know more than I do," Severus admitted.
"Why was I not notified of an inheritance before?" questioned Remus.
"So that Albus could keep you under his thumb. You may not be filthy rich, but you will live comfortably from now on, I am sure. Enough so that you needn't grovel to others."
"And why should I trust you?" Remus asked with narrowed eyes.
"Because I need your help to help Harry. His whole world has been turned upside down, and he deserves answers."
"Very well," conceded Remus. "For Harry. Where do we begin?"
"With a shot," said Snape, handing Remus two fingers of Ogden's Finest, and downing his own.
"Black left everything to Harry, save $100,000 galleons and Grimmuald Place, which he bequeathed to you. As he was recently declared innocent by the Ministry and given a full pardon, the entire Black Estate was released to him, and therefore was inherited by Harry as well, making him the 49th Lord of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black."
"S-he left me his house? But…but what about Harry?"
"Harry is well provided for, I assure you."
"$100,000 galleons? I don't even know what to do with that," Remus spluttered.
"I suggest a new wardrobe," said Severus dryly. "That is not, however, your entire inheritance. James left you $100,000 galleons, and a letter, which is in Vault 312 at Gringotts. Lily," pause, "Lily left you Vault 393. I know not what it contains beyond a letter and her entire collection of charms and transfiguration research, which she requested you complete and publish for credit. She also named you in her will as a desirable choice for Harry…and his sister…should all else perish."
"Sister? Harry didn't have a sister," Remus frowned.
"Dumbledore, again. I shall accompany you to Gringotts to settle your inheritance. You may read their wills then. I would suggest requesting the goblins inspect Grimmuald before you take possession. It is a nominal fee of $20,000 galleons, but well worth it. I would also suggest investing some of your newly acquired wealth to ensure it lasts, and to be on the lookout for patrons to fund your research."
"Why are you being nice to me?" Remus asked.
"Because it is high time that we put our petty differences aside. Harry needs us, and he will be better served without our incessant arguing."
"Friends then?" asked Remus, extending his hand.
"If you insist," said Severus, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"Let me check on Harry, and we shall be on our way."
Remus raised an eyebrow.
"For Merlin's sake! When is the last time you participated in civilization? I have had legal custody of Harry for neigh two weeks! I was not about to deliver him to the old coot once I realized something was amiss."
"Oh," was all Remus said.
"Come on," said Severus, grabbing his box of letters and storming off with Remus following quickly behind.
Severus knocked gently on Harry's door listening for any sounds of life. He heard a muffled sniffle and a soft 'come in'. Severus slowly opened the door and stuck his head in. Harry was sat on the bed, surrounded by tissues, face hidden by a curtain of hair (when had it grown so?) looking at a photo album.
"Harry, I must go to Gringotts with Remus so he may collect his entitlements. Is there anything you require?" he asked gently.
"Is Remus here?" asked Harry softly.
"He is in the hallway. Do you wish to see him?"
"Very well," said Severus retreating and turning to face Remus. "Harry wishes to see you," he offered. "I shall be in my study when you are ready."
"Thank you, Severus."
Snape simply inclined his head and departed. Remus cautiously entered the room.
"Cub!" he gasped, his heart breaking at the sight in front of him. "Harry. I know that it is no excuse…but I am truly sorry that I have failed you," he offered.
Harry was out of his bed and in Moonys arms in a heartbeat. Hot tears spilled from sore, red eyes.
"Why?" he cried. "Why did he do this to me?"
"I don't know Harry. I don't know," said Remus, assuming Harry was referring to Dumbledore.
"I could have had a family Moony! I could have been loved!"
"Oh Cub! You are loved! You are so loved! I loved you the moment I laid eyes on you. The wolf in me claimed you as part of my pack. I even fought for you, but Dumbledore said I had no legal grounds, and given my condition, well, no one was going to let me adopt you."
"My p-my mum, she listed you as someone she wanted to take me if her and my dad, my real dad, died."
"She did? Dumbledore said she named him. I just figured that she and James thought me the spy and struck me from their wills."
Harry shook his head.
"Moony, did you know? About…about James not…not being my dad?"
Remus was stunned.
"Who told you that? Who lied to you?"
"No one. It's in their wills. James and my mums. Professor…Severus is my father. He and mum were…were married. James was a cover, but I don't know why."
"Harry I—" Remus trailed off.
The more he studied Harry, he more he saw the subtle differences. His hair was longer, and tamer. His nose was slightly stronger, more pronounced. His fingers were longer, and more delicate.
"Harry, be that as it may, I love you just the same. It would be nice to have a piece of James still here, but I love you for the person you are, not for who your parents were."
"Dumbledore stole your memories too, then," he said in a cold, harsh voice.
"It appears so," said Remus sadly.
"You should go. Severus is waiting for you. I think I'll go back to bed," said Harry dejectedly.
"Have you spoken to him yet Harry? I'm sure he is just as lost as you are."
"No…I don't know what to say."
"Well, think on it, okay Cub?"
Harry cracked a slight smile.
"Thank you, Moony."
Severus was sitting in the study loathing the fact that he could not get drunk. He had so much still to sort through, school was upon them, and like a smack in the face he realized that his sons 15th birthday was in just four days. Opening the box of letters, he pulled out the one from James to Sirius and began to read in hopes of understanding that which he could not remember.
My Dearest Sirius,
If you are reading this, then I am dead. I would like to imagine that we grew old together, surrounded by our God-children, and their children, but I fear that will not be the case. I do not expect I will survive the war. It is my deepest wish that you come out of this war unscathed, but you never did know how to back down from a fight, or keep your nose out of trouble. (Don't even blame that last part on Padfoot.)
Enclosed you shall find the Potter bonding rings. Hold onto them for me. If the war ends, and we both survive, I intend to make you my bonded, and if that chance never comes, know this. I have loved no other. There was only ever you. I love you my darling, and I am not afraid to die, especially if it is protecting someone I care for. Fear not, Padfoot, for I know you are not the traitor. Dumbledore seems to think it is Remus, but something is amiss there. I do not trust the old coot, and you shouldn't either.
Please, never forget us. Don't let go of what we had, and don't ever think that I considered Lily anything more than a sister. Stallion would kill me. In the phial are my fondest memories of us. I fear I must go, it's dinner time, and Lily needs help with the twins.
All My Love,
"Who is Stallion?" asked Severus without looking up.
"I have no idea. Who referenced it?" asked Remus.
"James." He sat the letter down. "Did you know that he and Sirius were lovers?"
"Harry told me. About you and Lily I mean. Now I guess it makes sense. James and Lily acted like an old married couple. No passion between them, but they were comfortable. In my mind I always wondered. We all knew each other for the same amount of time, but Sirius and James always seemed to have a special bond. Like they could have an entire conversation with just one look."
"Yes. Lily and I were the same, until…"
"The 'M' word came out," said Remus.
"Yes…" said Severus.
"It doesn't make sense. I've never heard you use that word since, and perhaps Lily forgave you in private, but, I just can't see her marrying someone who became a death eater willingly," mused Remus.
"I never wanted to be a death eater." Severus thought for a moment with a frown on his face. "I can't even pinpoint when it happened. It was after fifth year I am sure, but it was definitely before I turned twenty."
Both men sat lost in thought before Severus spoke up.
"Come, let us wrap up your business at Gringotts, and perhaps we can fit in a new wardrobe for you."
And with that the two men floo'd to Diagon Alley. 45 minutes later Remus had opened a vault in his name, arranged for #12 to be inspected and cleansed, given Severus $50,000 galleons to 'wisely' invest, and had all of Lily's research shrunk and sent to Snapes study. Letters in hand they sat off to Madam Malkins for Remus a new wardrobe.
"I don't see the use in new clothes. With Dumbledore gone, no one will hire me. Who knows when a job will present itself," he argued.
"Exactly. With Dumbledore gone, and access to a monthly dose of Wolfsbane, who knows what jobs may present themselves. Besides, you have mountains of research to sort through, and winter is coming. You would do well to invest in a few work robes at the least, and one good set of dress robes, although we should go to Twilfit & Tattings for those," mused Severus.
"T-Twilfit & Tattings? Who do I need to impress?" asked Remus bug-eyed.
"Investors, for one. You will need ample work space, and materials to experiment on. You may also try finding a lady friend to keep you company, unless wizards are your thing…" Severus trailed off, eyebrow raised suggestively.
Remus blushed. "I assure you, I find women most attractive. They just do not feel the same for me."
Severus snorted. Three outfitters later, with an impressive new range of clothing, Remus and Severus found themselves back in the study at Dartmoor Manor.
"I suggest you start on your research tomorrow. As you obviously have much to sort through, and your dwelling will not be ready for a week, you may make use of the room next to Harrys."
"Thank you, Severus," said Remus.
"Harry's birthday is in four days and I am at a loss as to how to proceed. Has he ever had a real party?"
"Yes. He has celebrated the last two years at the Borrow, though how wise that may be considering the circumstances I cannot say. Have you spoken to him about any of this? He is quite lost."
Severus shook his head.
"I wouldn't even know where to begin."
Remus smiled sadly.
"Funny. He said the exact same thing."
Severus eyes widen in shock.
"Go ask him what he wants for his birthday. He is easy to please. And let him know he is wanted. I assume, now that you know of your relationship, you wish to nurture it?"
"Good. Tell Harry that. He is so used to being a burden that he won't ask for anything else."
Severus knocked quietly on Harry's door. When there was no answer, he knocked harder. He was answered with a harsh 'go away'. Sighing he opened the door.
"I'm afraid I cannot go away, Harry," said Severus sitting down.
"I don't want to talk. I don't care," said Harry hoarsely.
"You do not have to talk, just listen," said Snape. "Harry, I owe you an apology. Several in fact."
"No, let me finish. I am deeply sorry for my abhorrent behavior towards you these last four years. I would like nothing more than to blame it on Dumbledore's meddling, but that would be a lie. I could have made the choice to rise above something as petty as my fabricated rivalry with your father. I could have even worked past the pain of seeing your mother every time I looked at you. Your attitude was the crux of it though. You are defiant to a fault when confronted, and while I blamed it on your fath-James, it was really that you reminded me so much of myself at your age, and all the what-ifs took over my control. I am sorry that I did not intervene on your behalf sooner. Perhaps…" he trailed off. "I am sorry that I did not keep my promise to your mother. I promised to keep you safe, even when I thought you belonged to James, and I failed. I am so sorry that the adults in your life failed you Harry. I know that I do not deserve forgiveness, so I will not ask for it, but you more than deserve my apology. I only hope that it is not found wanting."
"Thank you. For saving me. And for the apology. I'm sorry for the way you were treated in school, for what it's worth. And I'm sorry for the way I've acted towards you. I'm sorry you got stuck with me—"
"No!" Severus cut him off. "I was not 'stuck' with you. I saw you that day at your uncles' house, and had in fact watched you for several days. I made the decision to take you in, if not to give you some place you were wanted, to at least give you some place you weren't a burden. I never imagined I would be in the position to have a family. My parents did not love me, and I had no desire to procreate, fearful that I would be no better than they were. Given the information we received two days ago, I have had a lot of thinking to do."
Harry looked down.
"I understand Sir, if you don't—"
"Harry! Look at me!" Severus said firmly. "You are wanted. I want you. I may never have pictured myself as a father, but that does not chance the fact that you are my son, and I don't want it to. I have a lot to learn I will admit, but if you will have me as a father—"
"You…want me?" Harry asked uncertainly.
"More than anything! It is amongst the highest privileges to be granted a son."
"Would you have wanted my sister?" asked Harry sharply.
Severus' breath caught, and his chest constricted painfully.
"Harry, it is my greatest hope that your sister is alive, even if she does not wish to return to us. I have already hired someone to find her, and I will not give up until she is found. No matter the cost."
"Why have you been ignoring me?"
"My apologies again, Harry. I was so consumed in finding answers, it did not occur to me to give you the ones I already had."
Harry was silent for a while.
"I think my sister; I don't think she's alive here. I think you are looking for a grave. I've been reading about time travel. She wouldn't be able to come if she already existed here. The whole situation would end badly."
Severus nodded. "Can you feel her? I was an only child myself, but I have heard that siblings, especially twins, can sense one another. Perhaps you could contact the Weasleys?"
Harry shook his head.
"I don't know. I don't think so. I haven't really tried. And I'm not entirely sure about the Weasleys. Molly is a huge supporter of Dumbledore."
"Very well. I thought we could go and settle your inheritances next week, if you would like. I still have a few affairs of my own to get in order, and there is the matter of your birthday. Is there anything special you would like?"
"No. It's just another day to me," sighed Harry.
"Come Harry, surely there is something you desire?"
"Treacle Tart," Harry smiled.
"Treacle Tart," Severus laughed.
"Sir, what am I to call you now that everything has changed again?"
"I am still Professor Snape in class, and Sir at school. I did not have a relationship with my father so I referred to him as Sir. Draco calls Lucius 'Father', so in private that will be acceptable."
"Father," Harry tried out. "Will I still be 'Potter'?" he asked.
"Mr. Potter shall have to suffice for now. Though if you wish I will still refer to you as Harry in private."
Harry nodded. "I've never been someones son…so…if you wanted to…" he trailed off.
"Son…" Snape said. "I think that will be acceptable."
"But no one will know right? I mean that you and I are…"
"Harry, never think that I am ashamed of you, but for now it is easier for me to ensure your safety if I am simply your guardian."
"I understand. And Monday will be fine. I have to face it sometime. Right?"
"Don't ever think that I will not make time for you. If you need me for anything, even if I appear busy, do not hesitate to come to me, do you understand?"
And with those two simple words, Severus' heart grew.
Remus sat staring at the two unopened letters before him. All that he thought he knew had been a lie. It was obvious that at some point the Marauders and Severus had been friends. Friends enough for James to sacrifice himself. And Lily and Severus? Not to mention Padfoot and Prongs. It was all overwhelming to say the least. Remus had looked briefly at Lily's work, and while it was meticulously organized it was all literally written in a secret code, and he hadn't the foggiest idea how to break it. Running a hand over his face, and grabbing a tumbler of fire whiskey, Moony opened the letter from his fellow Marauder.
"Moony," James had scratched.
The letter appeared to have been hastily written, and was hard to read.
"He's coming. There isn't much time. Keep Padfoot safe! Promise me! I know he isn't the traitor, and neither are you, but it's too late for all that now. If Stallion is away tell him Flower, Cub, and Starlight meet at the shore. He'll know what you mean. Dumbledore is not to be trusted. Keep away from him at all costs. Marauders Til The End, Prongs"
James had been speaking in code, but why? Had he feared he wouldn't finish the letter in time? Or was he fearful Dumbledore would find it instead? Voldemort was there, most likely delayed by wards. Keep Sirius safe. James had entrusted Sirius' safety to him and he had failed. Dumbledore had sent him to parlay with the werewolves the night before. He would not return until two days later, when it was already too late.
James had worked out that Peter was the turncoat, but how? And when? There was mention of Stallion again, whoever that was. Cub was obviously Harry, and Flower must have been Lily. Lily's will had mentioned a daughter; could she have been 'Starlight'? And what was this about meeting at the shore? Lily died in Harry's room, Harry was found in the ruins of his crib, and there was sign of another child being in the home.
'Don't trust Dumbledore'.
The old man knew something still. Hoping that Lily's letter held more answers he set James' aside and pulled out several pieces of parchment. The first three pages, thank Merlin, were the keys to Lily's code. He would need to hire an assistance to help with the translation, just as soon as he found a patron.
It is All Hallows Eve, and I can feel an end in the air. I do not believe I will live to see the morrow. James has assured me that should even the worst come to pass he can buy enough time for the children and I to get away. I have argued repeatedly that such a sacrifice would be for naught. I refuse to let my son becomes Dumbledore's weapon. He is after all, just a boy. Peter is the traitor. I found him being tortured by a fellow death eater. I saw his mark. The death eater is no more; I could not let him return to his master. Peter now owes me a life debt, and I intend to collect. I told Albus what I had seen. He, of course, said there must have been a misunderstanding, and refused to recast the Fidelus even though James offered himself, and instead proceeded to tighten the wards. I didn't hear what he cast, but I am convinced the wards have been altered, not strengthened. The atmosphere is oppressive, and it feels akin to being unable to breathe. I have not yet had a chance to see if –"
And there the letter stopped. Lily had been right. Voldemort had come. It pained Remus' heart to know that the last words his dearest friends had ever written had been to him. He looked up thoughts disturbed, when he heard footsteps coming down the hall. Forcing a smile he said, "did you have a productive chat?"
"I don't suppose you can make treacle tart?" the dark haired man inquired.
"No," Remus chuckled. "Cooking was never my forte, I'm afraid."
"I feared as much." Surveying the papers spread across the floor he asked, "any luck on your end?"
"Some. Lily, Merlin rest her, left me the key to her code. I was thinking of hiring someone to help translate it all. And I read their letters. It appears they were both written just moments before their deaths. Feel free to read them yourself," he said offering the letters to his new (old) friend.
Severus quickly scanned James letter, brow furrowed in thought.
"It's in code," he said, to which Remus nodded. "Voldemort was dueling with the wards. James knew Sirius was going to do something stupid. Did he not realize you were out of the country?" Severus queried.
"No. I left in a rush. Only Albus knew I was gone."
How…convenient," snorted Snape. "Who is this Stallion? James mentioned him in his letter to Sirius."
"I think it's you," offered Remus.
"What a ridiculous code name!" scoffed Severus. "Why ever would I agree to go by that?"
"Maybe you were a Stallion in the bed," chortled Remus.
"Very funny," said Snape dryly.
"Perhaps a reference to your patronus?"
"No. My Patronus is a doe, for Lily. It has never changed."
"Do you have animagus abilities?"
"Not that I am aware of, though, if we were close in school, and I can only assume that was so based on what we have seen, then it would make sense, perhaps that was the form I took? It would be plausible that I no longer possess the ability, because I no longer possess the memories of learning."
"True," agreed Remus.
"Who are Flower, Cub, and Starlight?"
"Cub, I imagine, is Harry. That is my nickname for him. And Flower would be Lily, obviously. Would Starlight be your daughter perhaps?"
Severus heart skipped a beat as he thought about the daughter he never knew, and would probably never get the chance to meet.
"Lily's will said we named her Kaelyn. Kaelyn is the English form of the High Elven name Ilmarë, which is Pure Starlight. She once said that all light is sacred to the Eldar, but what Elves love best, is the light of the stars. That starlight is memory. Precious and pure. Her father…her real one…was High Elven. I remember…we named Harry after James, but Harrison, or Aranmar in High Elven, means 'king of the homeland'. Lily believed that names made a child strong. That what they were named, dictated how they lived. I guess, in a way it's true. Harry is now meant to lead us all."
Severus reviewed the letter again.
"What is this bit about meeting at the shore?"
"Haven't the foggiest. Lily's letter was unfinished. Maybe you can get more from it than I did. You definitely seem to be remembering something."
Severus read Lily's letter, and read it again. He laughed sadly.
"Lily put little stock in the art of divination, but I swear there were times when she would hit the nail on the head… It sounds as though we had an escape plan. Why was it not executed? Do you think she ran out of time?"
"I don't know. I was not privy to much of what went on for fear that I was the traitor."
"What would make the wards feel oppressive I wonder."
"I'm afraid I don't know that either."
More time passed in companionable silence before Severus spoke.
"How quickly do you think you can translate Lily's work?"
"By myself, months. With help, maybe a few weeks?"
"Hire an assistant. Two if you must. Lily left you this for a reason. I shall donate $50,000 galleons to pay them for their skills, and their silence."
"You need patrons, and I have more money than I know what to do with. Argument over."
"Don't thank me yet. We still have Lily's Estate to reconcile. I have thus far, amassed all of Harry's inheritance into one section of vaults and Kaelyns into another, but they will still need reviewed."
"What is left?"
"Vault 392 went to Sirius, and by default to Harry. I need that transferred to Harrys vaults, and the letter retrieved for my review. Vault 391 was left to James, and defaulted to Kaelyn, thus needs transferred to her holdings, save the letter which needs brought to me. Vault 389 goes to Harry, and the letter comes to me. Vaults 390, 370-379, all deeds, and $100,000 galleons from Vault 395 are to be transferred to Kaelyns holdings. The letter from Vault 390 comes to me. I shall floo Lady Malfoy, eventually. Vault 394 comes here for my review, as do vaults 387 and 388. If there is anything left from Vault 395 bring it here as well, and have all aforementioned vaults closed. The Ministry needs copies of both wills filed with them, and Dumbledore's trial starts Monday."
"When will you start on Harrys Vaults?" asked Remus.
"I had thought Monday, but my presence is required at the trial, so most likely when that concludes. I still need to meet with my solicitor, and Lord Malfoy. "
"Give me your stamp. I shall handle Gringotts and file the wills. You handle your solicitor and the Malfoys and we can recap over dinner, which I think you should require Harry to eat."
"Master Lucius, Master Severus be in the floo. He requesting to come through to speak with you and Mistress Cissy. He be saying it's bout Kaelyn," squeaked the elf.
"Kaelyn?" questioned Narcissa to her husband.
"I am afraid it is not my story to tell. You will have to hear it from Severus."
He turned to the elf.
"Let him through in the parlor. Set out tea and biscuits. Bring the fire whiskey."
"Lucius!" admonished Narcissa.
"It is a requirement, I assure you."
Severus was just removing the soot from his robes when Lucius and Narcissa entered the parlor.
"Severus, Dear, are you well?' asked Narcissa.
"I have been better, if you must know," came his honest reply.
"Shall we be seated?" interjected Lucius. "Good. Now, what brings you to the Manor, Severus?"
"Lily? Lily who?" asked Cissy.
"Lily Evans, Darling, remember?"
"I take it Lucius hasn't told you anything," sighed Severus.
"Obviously not," came her dry reply.
"Lily was not a muggleborn. She was adopted by muggles and kept from her inheritance. For how long, I do not know. She was a Gray. Lady Gray in fact. And she was not married to Potter, that was a ruse."
"She was, it seems, married to me. Harry is my son, and, we had a daughter. In one of James letters, he said they were twins. Her name was Kaelyn."
"Starlight," whispered Cissy.
"You were her Godmother, Cissa."
"I have a Godchild? Why have I never met her?"
"You have. At least once, though I suspect your mind has been tampered with. You would have attended her Wiccaning Ceremony on 3rd August, 1980. James was her Godfather."
"Lucius?" she looked at her husband.
"That bumbling idiot no doubt," he sneered.
"Lily left you $100,000 galleons, and custody of Kaelyn, should she and I perish. Oddly enough, you are the only one she did not leave a letter to, though I suspect she ran out of time. She perished before she could finish Remus', it left off mid-sentence."
"And where is Kaelyn now?" demanded Narcissa.
"I wish I knew. Harry seems to think she is dead. He says he cannot sense her presence, although it may be that he simply does not know what he is looking for."
"Have you started looking for her?"
"I have. As has Lucius. That is part if why I am here. I spoke with Lady Greengrass. She was most helpful once I informed her that she had been named as Harrys Godmother, and that after everything he has gone through, he finds he has a twin sister who is missing."
"What did she have to say?" inquired Lucius.
"The Ministry has no record of Kaelyn ever being born. Her birth certificate, and Wiccaning record have disappeared, and there is no death certificate on file for her. Harry's birth certificate even has him listed as a single birth."
"So what now?"
"Lupin has agreed to help sort through Lily's things. I know you are absolutely overwhelmed in the office, and Mr. Woods is tied up preparing for Monday. Hopefully we find something from her."
"Severus, I want you to take my $100,000 galleons. Convert it to muggle money if you have to. I am not above offering a reward for fruitful information on my Godchild. I doubt Dumbledore will tell you anything, but someone, somewhere, must know something."
"Thank you, Cissa."
"I have a private buyer coming to peruse certain artifacts tomorrow, and Lord Bishop will be stopping by Friday. Word had it he is in the market to furnish a home for his mistress and their soon to be born illegitimate child."
"That's what he gets for being a dog," sniffed Cissy. "Poor Delilah."
"The sooner we are rid of it, the better, I don't care who buys it," said Severus.
"I'll keep you updated on all leads Severus," said Lucius.
Severus simply inclined his head and floo'd to his solicitors' office.
"Mr. Woods is just finishing up a meeting and he will be right with you, Lord Prince," the secretary offered immediately. "Would you care for some refreshments?"
"No, thank you," he replied kindly.
Five minutes later Mr. Woods greeted his client.
"So sorry for the delay Lord Prince. If you will step into my office…"
As soon as Severus was seated Mr. Woods began.
"I have received offers for Balfour Castle and Ivy Combe. Lord Bishop wishes to purchase the later in light of his recent…familial situation, and a company, DragonStar Enterprises, offered $50,000 galleons more than the asking price for Balfour. They appear to be a fairly new company, but as they are represented by Delacour, Lefebvre, and O'Shea, the premiere solicitors in Paris, so they must mean business. Lady Delacour herself is handling the account, and says she has money in hand for an immediate transfer should you approve."
"Very well. Where do I sign for both?"
"I have it all taken care of. I shall finalize both sales once our meeting is over and have the money immediately deposited to your accounts at Gringotts. What brings you here today?"
"The Estates of Lord Black and Lord Potter have been divided and finalized. I am…working on Lily's as we speak and copies of all the wills have been forwarded to the Ministry. I will work diligently to sort through what I can. I shall be unavailable Sunday at it is my sons 15th Birthday, and I shall meet you here Monday morning for the trial. As soon as the trial concludes, my presence is required at Hogwarts for a week to prepare for the new term. I must also feel out certain persons loyalties before Harry returns to school so that his continued safety may be ensured. And at some point I must go over his inheritances with him. I have several sources searching for my daughter. In the meantime Lady Malfoy has generously donated $100,000 galleons towards finding her God-daughter. She suggested offering rewards for fruitful information in the case, and I concur. She also thought it wise to expand our case to the muggles. I trust you have experience in that area, so I will leave that to you. If you need a story, fabricate a doctor or hospital. Tell the muggles our daughter was declared stillborn and whisked away before we could see her, and being very much alive, was sold to a private party. I don't care about costs, just get it done. I have transferred an additional $100,000 galleons to your accounts. Let me know if that will not suffice."
"Consider it done, Lord Prince. We will stop at nothing to find your daughter."
With that, Severus departed for home. It was still going to be a very long evening.