Moving Right Along
Moving Right Along
Two years later
Things had moved on in the wizarding world. Lucius Malfoy had been convicted of multiple counts of murder, no longer having the bought and paid for votes of certain Wizengamot members. He had been sentenced to the Dementor's Kiss. The sentence had been carried out in front of his wife, shortly before her trial on multiple counts of bribery and corruption. Narcissa had been sentenced to 47 years in Azkaban, she lasted two before going completely insane and committing suicide by tearing a strip of her robe off and hanging herself with it.
Rastaban and Rudolphus Lestrange had received life sentences; but since they had no remorse for their deeds, the Dementors did not really affect them too badly. Bellatrix had also been given a life sentence but since she was insane before entering prison, the Dementors did not affect her at all. She quickly struck up a sort of friendship with some of them and could be found on certain nights playing exploding snap with the feared Azkaban guards. It had even been rumored that she had attempted a reverse Dementor's Kiss in an attempt to take a soul from a Dementor who had lost a particularly vicious game of Snap. Thankfully this was only a rumor, she had actually been demonstrating a French kiss for the clueless creature.
Peter Pettigrew had settled into daily life with the Weasley family. He would occasionally slip out of the house, transform and apparate to different places to break up the monotony of his life. He always went disguised. He often went to the Malfoy manor house, keeping his stash of purloined money and goods in the hidden space in the drawing room. The manor house was the only thing left to the Malfoy fortune; it was entailed so that the Ministry was unable to seize it for reparations. The house would be kept in pristine shape until either Draco or one of his descendents claimed it for their own. Should there be no more direct Malfoy heirs, the house and contents would be sold with the proceeds going to charity.
None of this affected little Draco, he was being raised in a loving home by his cousin. He was kept away from most of the old pureblood families who had ties to the Death Eaters. He did spend a lot of time at the Longbottom home playing with Harry and Neville. The three grew up more as brothers than friends, exploring life as magical children, playing pranks and generally getting into the normal trouble that three years olds from time immemorial had caused.
Sirius had resigned his position as an Auror to manage the vast Black estate, taking both magical and muggle college courses in estate management. Following the recent death of Narcissa, he made Draco his heir. Sirius had also continued his relationship with the lovely Dr. Sarah Nalett, the only person who really understood Sirius' canine personality. Another old friend, Remus Lupin, had returned to Britain following the deaths of the Potters and had, after abject apologies from Sirius, become a big part of the lives of both Harry and Draco. Lupin became somewhat of an unofficial godfather for Draco; the real godfather, Severus Snape not being allowed around the lad. Lucius' will had actually given custody of Draco to Severus, however being a condemned criminal, the will had been declared invalid. Lupin became a middle man, bringing news of Draco to Severus since Sirius and Snape could never get past their schoolboy hatred of each other, even for Draco's sake.
Lupin had become gainfully employed in a position that straddled both worlds. Officially he worked for Dr. Nalett as a veterinary technician. His actual work was helping her with her newly acquired contracts with the Ministry, Hogwarts and other institutions and families providing care for magical creatures. He was paid in Muggle currency and had his bank accounts in a muggle bank. There were enough prejudices in the magical world against werewolves that it behooved him to keep a low profile. He lived comfortably, but not extravagantly. He did, however, not have to dress in worn and patched clothes. Once a month Remus and Sirius would take a couple of days and run together in the Forbidden Forest during the full moon. During those days, Draco would spend the nights at the Longbottom home with his playmates. This was one of those nights. Sirius and Remus had dropped Draco off and apparated to Hogsmeade carrying their brooms. They would then fly to the edge of the forest and leave their brooms with Hagrid.
The three lads had played, eaten dinner, then dropped off to sleep. Draco awakened about 2:00 am and shook Harry and Neville until they also awoke. The boys crawled out of bed, and after a bit of discussion, crept downstairs and raided the icebox for the remains of dessert. Not bothering to clean up after themselves, after all, they were just three and a half years old, they got the idea to take Harry and Neville's toy brooms outside and do some flying. Unfortunately, there were three boys and only two brooms. This was solved by sneaking into the closet and swiping Frank's Nimbus 1000. All three boys could fit on it and they would take turns controlling the broom. This promised to be a great adventure, a real broom and no adults to set boundaries. They slipped out of the front door, climbed aboard with Neville in control, and kicked off. They flew around the property for a bit, then decided to explore the small lake located just past the edge of the wards. Since they were all three keyed into the wards, it did not raise any alarms, at least with the human inhabitants of the manor.
Remus was not the only werewolf in Britain enjoying this crisp, clear night. One of Voldemort's old allies, Fenir Greyback, had returned to Britain recently. He had been living in the woods not too far from the Longbottom home. He had, on many occasions, attempted to bypass the wards, however was constantly rebuffed. Greyback was the kind of werewolf that liked to bite young, magical children, as he had done to Remus at age six. This evening, he spotted the children flying on the broom and watched to see if they would foolishly venture out past the wards. When they headed toward the lake, he began to run to intercept them. As small as they were, he could eat two and still turn one.
The house-elf, Missy, awoke with a start. Something was wrong in her secure little world. She popped into the kitchen and saw the mess left by the three children. Popping up to their room, she discovered that they had not returned to their beds. She stretched out her senses, those which allow a house-elf to locate their family members wherever in the world they may be, and felt the boys outside the wards. Not stopping to raise an alarm, she popped out to the area to see the boys landing Frank's broom by the lakeshore. She popped over to them in time to see the werewolf running full tilt toward her charges. Placing herself between them, she turned with a fury that only an enraged house-elf could muster.
"Bad Doggy!!!" Popping her fingers, she picked up the charging werewolf and slammed him into a boulder, then dropped him into the lake. Turning toward the boys, she ordered, "Fly to home, little masters! The bad doggy will hurt you!" As the boys jumped on the broom, she levitated Greyback out of the water, conjured a rolled up copy of the Daily Prophet, and proceeded to whack him firmly on the nose. Seeing that this did not really have the desired effect, she banished the newspaper, conjured a Quiddich beater bat, and began to give the werewolf what she considered to be proper punishment for threatening her children. She continued this until she sensed that the boys were back to the house. Not knowing that this werewolf was a killer who enjoyed his curse, thinking it might have been an innocent victim who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, she conjured a sturdy cage and locked Greyback into it. She would leave him in there and let the Master sort it out in the morning. If he was an innocent, he would probably be invited to run in the Forbidden Forest with Misters Sirius and Remus on the full moons. Having done her good deed, she popped back to the house to find the boys in their beds, feigning sleep. She took the Master's broom, put it back in the closet, and put a locking charm on the closet. She would let the Mistress deal with the little masters in the morning.
The next morning, while Remus was recovering in Hagrid's hut, Sirius flew back to Hogsmeade, then apparated to the Longbottom house. He found Alice at home with the three boys, and none of the four looked very happy. The three boys were sitting in little chairs in the drawing room, each in his own corner. When Alice and Frank had awakened that morning, Missy told them of the children's early morning adventure. Frank went out to check on the werewolf while Alice gave each of the naughty lads a swat on the butt and sat them in a corner. Sirius brought the boys out of the corner, gave them a stern lecture, then hugged each one, thanking the deities for good house-elves. He then asked about the werewolf in question.
"It was Fenir Greyback. Frank put him in restraints and took him in when he went to work. I doubt that he will even get a trial, he has been under a death sentence for a long time for turning children," Alice said.
"Yeah," said Sirius bitterly. "They consider the children victims long enough to put down the biter, then cast the children out of society. I swear, if Draco or Harry had been bitten, I would leave this screwed up society with them and move to the Canadian Territories with Remus to help. At least there, innocent werewolves are not persecuted."
"Yes, but what can we do here? When Bagnold retired and Fudge was elected, he pushed through all of those laws against 'dark creatures'."
"I'll tell you what I can do. I have money to set up a foundation to help werewolves, and I have a seat on the Wizengamot that I have never claimed. Right now I may just be one voice, but maybe I can do some good on the inside to change some attitudes. If you can watch Draco for a couple more days, I am going to Gringotts and get my family ring out of the vault and claim my seat."
"Good thinking, stop by and see Frank on your way, I know that he will sponsor you. With a light family head in your corner, you should have no problem. Also, as Draco's guardian, you can use the Malfoy vote by proxy."
Sirius grinned. "Wouldn't that just frost Lucius' arse if he was alive to see that. I should have Frank tutor me in the forms, since Regulus was the heir apparent, I never learned the ins and outs of the political arena."
"I'm sure he would be delighted. Even better than Frank would be his mum, she knows the true meaning of diplomacy." At Sirius' quizzical look, Alice explained. "Diplomacy is the art of being able to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip."
Ministry of Magic
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
After stopping by Gringotts and retrieving his family ring, Sirius dropped in on his old office to find an ashen faced Frank Longbottom. Fenir Greyback had been 'dealt with'. Werewolves could not really be given the Dementor's Kiss since the disease was in the body; the soulless body would still make the change and the wolf would still emerge. The only two approved methods of execution were either the Veil of Execution in the Department of Mysteries, or beheading by axe at Azkaban Prison. Greyback had insisted on the axe, hoping that his executioner would somehow become infected by his blood. Frank had just returned from taking Greyback to his fate. He had thrown up several times on the ferry back to the mainland.
"I swear, Sirius, I have seen executions of all sorts, and I still can't stomach man's inhumanity to man. Beheading has to be the worst, even worse than the Kiss. Promise me, if anything ever happens to Remus to put him under suspicion, grab him, even if you have to break him out, and take him far, far away. I couldn't stand to see a friend go through the torture and humiliation that is given to dark creatures here. I did my duty, Greyback deserved everything he got, but still…."
"I know. Remus will be alright, he is careful on those nights. I plan on doing something about the conditions for werewolves in Britain." He explained his plan to enter the Wizengamot and set up a foundation to assist the werewolves.
"Go ahead and enter the Wizengamot, but you should hold off on the foundation until the whole thing with Greyback settles down. It will be all over the papers tomorrow. He hurt a lot of people over the years. Most of whom are still hurting. The others are dead. There won't be a whole lot of sympathy for the cause in the near future."
"Yeah, anyway, let's get off that subject for now. The boys sure stuck together on this whole thing. They are going to be junior Marauders someday, and they have a head start. The loyalty that those three have for each other is amazing."
"No surprise there. Ever since they were old enough for story reading, Alice has been drilling into them the importance of being loyal to your friends. She figured that there is no way that she would ever raise a Peter Pettigrew. What do you expect from a Hufflepuff?" he said with a grin.
"Speaking of the traitor, has there been any news on that front?"
"Not a peep. He seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. Don't worry, he will slip up someday and we'll have him. He is the most wanted man in Britain. Anyway, go grab your dress robes and get back here in a couple of hours. The Wizengamot will be going into session at 2:00 pm. I'll floo Alice and have Missy bring mine and we will get you seated today."
"What, so soon?"
"No time like the present. I'll call the doorkeeper and have it put on the agenda. Will you be announcing your intention to proxy vote the Malfoy seat?"
"Might as well. I can do that after I claim my seat, right?"
"Sure enough. Hurry back and we can go over what you need to do."
Ministry of Magic
"Oyez, oyez! This regular session of the Wizengamot is now in session! Grand Warlock Albus Dumbledore presiding! All having business with this august body may now bring your petitions forward!"
Albus Dumbledore, looking ever the kindly grandfather, looked over the agenda placed in front of him. Various spending bills, recognition to be given to long term Ministry employees for years of service, the odd appointment or so, and a special item of business requested by Frank Longbottom. Hmm… that was unusual, Longbottom came to very few regular meetings unless asked. Maybe he was going to make some announcement regarding his department. But no, Madam Bones was here for that. Since the debacle over Harry Potter's guardianship, relations with the Longbottoms had been decidedly frosty. Albus had eaten a lot of humble pie on that one, but in the long run could not really object with the way Harry was treated. He would still keep an eye on the whole situation, ready to step in if he deemed it necessary.
Dumbledore was not really paying much attention to the audience gallery, there was the occasional field trip from Hogwarts seventh years studying Wizarding Government, a few bored reporters, and some curious citizens looking to kill a couple of hours by watching politicians doing their best to make fools of themselves. It was because of this that he missed the fact that Sirius Black and his lady friend, both dressed in formal robes, were in the gallery.
Over the next hour and a half, they ran through the agenda smoothly. Albus preferred this laid back way of doing the people's business, much better than during the war, when saying anything in opposition to Voldemort's corruption could get a member murdered after leaving the building. That very fate had befallen several good people during those dark days. It was only the belief that Voldemort would return that kept Albus from retiring and letting someone else take over. He stayed because he knew that when the darkness returned, he would need to hold power to rally an effective opposition. He never really thought about the fact that his beloved Order of the Phoenix never really did anything effective during the first war, it took a mother's love and ancient magic laid on a fifteen month old child to end the war.
"The next item on the agenda has been requested by Lord Frank Longbottom. Lord Longbottom, you may now make your petition," the Secretary announced.
"Thank you, Madam Secretary. My petition is in regards to Lord Sirius Black, heir to the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. Lord Black was confirmed today by Gringotts as rightful Heir to his House. He is here to claim his seat in this august body."
Albus looked over his glasses at Sirius Black, now standing on the chamber's floor. This was an opportunity to possibly warm the relationship between himself and the other two heads of house by supporting Black in being seated.
"Well spoken, Lord Longbottom. Is there any person here with valid reasons why Lord Black should not claim his seat in this body? Seeing none, Lord Black, please raise your wand. Lord Sirius Black, do you swear to support this August Body, serving faithfully, and defending Magical Britain from all enemies, foreign and domestic?"
"I, Sirius Black, do so swear."
"So mote it be." At this, all of the seated members raised their wands. Gold threads of power branched off each upraised wand in the chambers, forming a golden dome, signifying the validity of the oath and the welcoming of the members to their new comrade.
"Grand Warlock," Sirius spoke. "I thank you and the other members for your welcome. I would like to announce my intention to cast proxy votes for my ward, Draco Malfoy, heir of the House of Malfoy until he reaches his majority." Sirius purposely did not call Draco's house "most noble" since he thought there was absolutely nothing noble about any Malfoy prior to Draco. He would have dropped the "most noble" out of the description of his own house, but was overruled by Frank. It would be up to him to make the House of Black "most noble". He had made a start on that. He sent Kreacher to Dumbledore, gifting him to Hogwarts to keep him away from Draco. Dumbledore promptly gave him to Snape as an assistant for a couple of reasons. The first reason was that their personalities were so similar, the second was to keep the elf from poisoning the Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs.
Sirius had planned to tear down or sell the old house on Grimmauld Place, but Sarah had begged him not to. She had spent much of her spare time remodeling and refurbishing the old house to bring it up to its former glory. After she removed the wall in the entrance area that held Mrs. Black's portrait and sent all of the other portraits to the family vault, she brought a crew in to remove all of the dark objects from the house, sending the books to the restricted section at Hogwarts and the other dark items to the Ministry for disposal. She then stripped out all of the dark paneling and, using wallpaper and paint, made the house light and cheerful. When Sirius found out that he owned the entire neighborhood, he began a bout of urban renewal, bringing the area up to modern standards and bringing in new tenants to get rid of the blight of the old neighbourhood.
Once the meeting was completed, Sirius made his way back to the gallery and found Sarah. Putting his arm around her, he asked, "Do you have any idea just how much I love you?"
Placing a kiss on his cheek, she said, "You may have mentioned it once or twice… a day… every day. And rest assured, Lord Black " she snickered, "I love you every bit as much. Now that you have waded through the sewer of politics, let's go get some ice cream so you can get the nasty taste out of your mouth."
"Chocolate fudge cherry ripple!"
A/N: Sorry about the long update time. I do have a curiosity question for you readers though. Since it had been quite some time since my last update on the story, I was surprised to see so many people recently marking this as a favorite story and requesting story alerts. I was curious how you came across the story. Was it in a C2 or one of the forums? Please PM me and let me know. As always, I appreciate each and every one of you and love reading the reviews. There was one reviewer that I plan to have some fun with though in the next chapter… can anyone guess which one it is?