(DM03) Part the Third

He drowns in his dreams / An exquisite extreme I know / He’s as damned as he seems / More heaven than a heart can hold

“Beautiful Disaster,” Kelly Clarkson

They said that Sirius Black had broken out of prison.  Uncle Lucius had stormed home and interrupted Lycoris and Draco’s lessons.

“Lycoris,” he said, once they were in his study, “you must know that I need to strengthen the wards.  Black was heard muttering in his sleep ‘He’s at Hogwarts,’ and I need to keep you safe.”

“But he’s my father.”

“Yes,” Lucius agreed solemnly.  “When I spoke to him, he was obsessed by the very idea of you.  I don’t want him taking you on the run with him.  It wouldn’t be fair to you.  You have a solid life here, with us, and you know that you are loved as much as Draco.”

“Yes,” Lycoris quietly agreed.  “Would you give him sanctuary?”

Lucius sighed and looked into his tumbler.  “I’m not certain.  It hasn’t come to that yet.  You know that I would never do anything to actively hurt you.”

“No, of course not.”  Uncle Lucius had always been the father that Lycoris had always wanted.  He was authoritative yet kind, and encouraged his studies, not caring that Lycoris gained all the top marks above Draco, his own flesh and blood.

Lucius and Narcissa sat Draco and Lycoris down one Sunday before school began and had a serious conversation with them.

“This year you choose your electives, and that can influence your future career goals,” Narcissa said carefully.  “You’re heirs to two of the four houses but it’s not unheard of for heirs to pursue a particular career and then give it up once they assume their Lordship.  Have you thought any about what you’d like to be when you grow up?”

Lycoris and Draco glanced at each other.

“I was hoping to hold our seat on the Wizengamot,” Draco rushed.  “I know Father holds it, but he has so many more interests—“

Narcissa and Lucius smiled at each other.  “No,” Lucius said, “that would be perfect.  It would help train you for the Lordship and give you responsibility.  I wouldn’t take Divination, if I were you, but the other three options are open to you.”

“I rather like creatures,” Draco added in, “because of my name.”

“Then would you like to choose Arithmancy or Ancient Runes?”

“Ancient Runes,” Lycoris added in for him.  “He’s brilliant at languages.”

“Very well,” Narcissa said.  “Lycoris?”

“I—it seems silly in comparison.”  He blushed and his eyes flashed purple, showing that he was nervous.

“You can tell us anything,” Lucius assured him.  “Let us help you.”

“Well,” he said.  “I want to be a Healer.  I know it’s not prestigious and you have long hours and have to deal with Muggleborns,” he sighed at this, “but I love Potions and I want to figure out diseases.  I want to see how they grow and mutate and see if I can stop them.”

“Research then,” Narcissa mused.  “You might want to go in as a Magical Medical Researcher.  You’d deal specifically with diseases that have resisted magical treatment.  You’ll need all your subjects, that includes Herbology even though I know you hate it, and you’ll need Arithmancy and—do you think Ancient Runes or Magical Creatures?”  She turned to Lucius.

“We’ll get him an exemption so he can take both,” Lucius decided.  “It shouldn’t be hard given the fact that he has held the top marks, beating out that upstart of a Mudblood, for the past two years.  I’ll write to Headmaster Dumbledore this afternoon.”

Lycoris did end up being allowed to take the extra elective, when both Flitwick and Severus had spoken so strongly for him.  He was weighed down, however, by the constant ‘threat’ of Sirius Black.

When Sirius broke into the Gryffindor Common Room on Halloween, Lycoris was confused.  Didn’t his father know where to find him?  As he lay in a sleeping in the Great Hall near Draco, he couldn’t turn his mind off.  His father had been here, and yet he hadn’t seen the man.  It was so frustrating!

He was brought into Deputy Headmistress McGonagall’s office the following day.  “Mr. Black, take a seat.”  She tapped a teapot.  “Tea?”

“Thank you,” he said, ever polite.

“I wished to speak to you about your father.  He hasn’t made any contact with you, has he?”

Lycoris looked at her distrustingly.  “No, Professor.”  He sipped his tea.  “The most communication I’ve had with my father is when I received my Heir Ring.”

“Ah, yes, of course.  A very important rite of passage in a young wizard’s life,” she declared.

He could only nod.

“If he should contact you, you should inform your Head of House immediately.  Sirius Black is running from the law, after all, and needs to be captured.”

“I don’t really see what all the bother’s about,” Lycoris admitted.  “It was wrong to kill another wizard but the Muggles were all collateral damage.”

“They were human life, Mr. Black.  That is sacred.  If you must know, he was also the Secret Keeper to James and Lily Potter and gave away their location to You-Know-Who.”

That certainly got Lycoris’s attention.  Perhaps his father knew then?  That didn’t explain why the Dark Lord had tried to kill him.  Sirius wouldn’t have wanted that.

It was all rather perplexing.

He did, however, get the chance to meet Sirius face to face.

“What on earth have you done to Weasley’s leg?” he demanded when he rushed into the Shrieking Shack with Draco on his heels.  “This is ridiculous!”

“The rat—it’s Peter Pettigrew.”

“Isn’t that the wizard you killed along with all of those dreadful Muggles?” Draco drawled, leaning up against the doorframe.

“Well, nothing for it then,” Lycoris said, taking the rat from Ron.  “Transform, idiot!” he prodded the rat.  Nothing happened.

Sirius looked at him with crazed eyes and whispered, “Animagus Revealo.”  Well, that certainly showed a lot.

Draco swung his wand around and whispered “Avada Kedavra” at the man when he was begging Weasley.

“Self defense,” he said.  “The man was coming right at me and threatening to kill me.—And there you have all the evidence you’ll need.  The Corpsier will be able to tell ‘time of death.’”

“Did you perform—is that—?” Weasley babbled, but Lycoris just looked at him and whispered, “Obliviate.” 

“Now, the Minister likes us,” Lycoris said, motioning between himself and Draco.  “I’m sure if we could just call him here.”

“I’ll get Father,” Draco said, rolling his emergency portkey in his hands.  “Where are we, anyway?”  He looked at Sirius Black.

“Shrieking Shack.”


Within ten minutes they were all ensconced at Malfoy Manor.  Sirius was sitting with a blanket across his shoulders and Lycoris and Draco were whispering to each other.  Pettigrew was dead on the floor.  Weasley they’d healed up and sent on his merry way.

“Remarkable!”  The Minister said.  “Full pardon, don’t you agree, Madam Bones?”

She looked between Pettigrew and Sirius Black.  “Your arm,” she demanded.

He lifted up his sleeve.  It was free of the Dark Mark.  “You know me, Amelia,” he said. 

“It doesn’t matter.  Professor Dumbledore swore you were the secret keeper to Lily and James.”

“That was Pettigrew.”

“He’s dead and can’t say anything in his defense.”

“Actually, he did confess,” Lycoris put in, lying through his teeth.  “He wouldn’t stop going on about how he didn’t want to hurt them.  It was all really pathetic, wasn’t it, Draco?”

“That’s when he turned on me,” Draco claimed.  “He was apologizing one minute and attacking the next.  I’m only lucky I was able to defend myself.  That nasty business with the hippogriff taught me to be armed and ready at all times.”

“Yes,” Amelia said carefully.  “I agree, full pardon.  He needs a bath, though, Lady Malfoy.”

“Our house elf is already running it,” she answered.  “It will be ready for whenever this interview is done.”

Amelia swirled her wand and the body of Pettigrew disappeared, and she and the Minister showed themselves out.  That left only the Blacks and the Malfoys.

“Lycoris,” Sirius rasped.  “I’ve waited so long to see you.”  He stood, holding the blanket around him, and came up to Lycoris, tracing one of his cheeks with his grimy finger.  “I’m sorry, I’m all dirty.  Perhaps I better have that bath and then we can talk?”

“You’re getting a good supper into you, too, Cousin,” Narcissa stated imperiously.  “I don’t even want to know when your last meal was or what it was.”  She led him away.  He looked back and his gray eyes met Lycoris’s.

What seemed like hours later, Lycoris was admitted to one of the guest rooms.  Sirius was sitting in robes that were far too big for him, his face shaved, and his hair curling down to his shoulders.

Lycoris had shortened his hair to about his chin earlier that year, when Uncle Lucius had explained that only the Lord of a house had hair down to his shoulders.  He still missed the added length, however.

“You’ve grown, since the picture I have of you,” Sirius said by way of greetings.  “Did you enjoy the Firebolt I sent you?”

“That was you?” Lycoris asked in disbelief.  “I thought one of the Rosiers was feeling a little over-generous this year.”

“No, only me.  I saw you fly one of your games and wanted you to have the best.  I understand that your cousin Draco is also a Seeker?”

“Yes, it’s fun to play against him.  We’re always keeping score over who wins and loses.”  He smiled slightly.  “He’s the brother I never had.”

“I’m glad you have that,” Sirius said sincerely, “and I don’t want to take that away from you.”

Lycoris looked up.  “Aren’t I going to come and live with you now?”

“Yes,” Sirius agreed, “but I’ve already spoken with Narcissa.  You’ll continue your lessons here—all your lessons, even the ones in the Dark Arts, although I disagree with it—and you’ll spend all day Sunday here every week, flooing in Saturday night.  You’ll even keep your own bedroom.”

He smiled at his father.  “They say my mother was Isabelle Rosier.  Do you remember her?”

“She was this pretty little thing in Slytherin.  I suppose I could have married her during the war.  Life was so difficult then that we had to keep things secret, and some of the brighter memories are almost gone because of the Dementors.  I couldn’t be prouder of you, though, Lycoris.  I know Isabelle would have been, too.”  He took Lycoris’s hand and squeezed it.  “I need you to stay here for awhile, though, while I see about the house.  Can you do that for me, Coris?”

“Coris,” he murmured.  “Yes, yes, I can.”

“Good.  We’ll fatten me up a bit and see what we can do about the house, and then we’ll take it from there.  Agreed?”

“Agreed,” Lycoris said, smiling.

He wasn’t allowed near Grimmauld Place for three weeks.  According to Narcissa, who went over every day, they were detoxing it from harmful dark magic.  Also, she said with a bit of a laugh, Sirius had rather put his stamp on the heir’s room and they were trying to tame it for Lycoris.

When he finally did move in with his three trunks, a house elf launched itself at his knees.  “Master be bringing little master home!” it wailed.  “Mistress would be so pleased!”

“Off of him, Kreacher,” Sirius demanded, and he helped Lycoris out of the fireplace.  “Bring up the trunks to his room and set about to unpacking them.”

Samhain, who was in Lycoris’s arms, jumped out of them to explore the house.

Kreacher, it seemed, would prove to be a friend and ally over the years, along with the portrait of Walburga Black, who loved her grandson immensely.

The first thing that Lycoris found was the family tapestry.  It was rather odd.  It showed all the generations of the Blacks.  However, it didn’t show Lycoris’s mother.  Instead, it showed a thin black line directly from his father’s scorched face to Lycoris himself, as if he were legitimate but no marriage had taken place.  There was a similar line from his Uncle Regulus’s place on the tapestry, except the line ended with no name listed, only the title “Lady of the House of Black.”  It was rather odd.

“Why are you even here?” Sirius asked angrily, sitting behind his desk.  “Lycoris is coming this evening, as arranged.”  He was wearing a corduroy suit with waistcoat and tie, his black hair twirling to his shoulders.  He had gained back a bit of weight and was more than a ghost of the handsome wizard that he once was.

“We wanted to tell you about Lycoris,” Narcissa said carefully.  “You deserve to know what name he was forced to live under.”

“What name?  What does it matter?”

Lucius and Narcissa shared a look.  Then, Lucius threw an old copy of The Daily Prophet on the desk, telling of Harry Potter’s murder and his Muggle relatives’ abuse of him.  “We had to cover our tracks,” he explained.  “For Lycoris, you must understand.  We couldn’t let him live in fear of the fact that he might be discovered as the wizarding world’s Savior one day.”

Sirius looked at him with wide gray eyes and picked up the paper.  “Who’s the kid that was drowned?”

“We found him in a morgue,” Lucius elaborated.  “He was the right build, right height, we just had to charm the scar onto his forehead and make his eyes appear green.  He wasn’t missed.”

“Well, at least you didn’t kill a Muggle to get the job done.”  He sighed.  “Did they really lock him in a cupboard and starve him while making him cook for them?”  His eyes scanned the article quickly.

“Yes.  When he came to us, he had shrunk his stomach so he wouldn’t be hungry.  He was extremely malnourished.  We had to bribe someone at Mungo’s for the more powerful counter-malnourishments until Severus agreed to brew them for us.  It’s why he hates Muggles so much,” Narcissa explained.

“That and these beasts refused to allow any mention of the word magic, even though he was performing metamorphmagical skills and other early signs of magic from the age of six.  He also didn’t appreciate that they lied about his name.”

“But I can’t believe it—not Lily and James.  They wouldn’t steal a child.”

“The evidence is all before you,” Lucius countered.  “Lycoris likes to keep his scar hidden, as you can imagine.  I would wait until he’s comfortable enough around you to ask to see it.  He’s rather ashamed of it.”

“Why?  It shows that he survived the greatest Dark Lord our century has ever known!” Sirius countered.

“It shows that he was stolen and put in harm’s way.  It’s evidence that the Dursleys used against him for being unnatural.  It links him to his kidnappers, Sirius.  Surely you can see this.”  Narcissa looked at him imploringly.

“Lily and James.  What did they have against Isabelle?”  The name fell flat between the three of them, a shared secret not spoken of.  “I hardly know anything about her apart from the fact that we were supposedly married.—I signed that affidavit you wanted.”  He opened up a drawer and pulled out a document.  “Full proof that I was married to Isabelle Rosier in February of 1979 and that we conceived one child, which we believed she had lost.  This child we had named Lycoris and was found again by Heir Draco Malfoy in Diagon Alley.”

He handed it over. 

“She’s already been listed on the family tapestry and the Rosiers have been kind enough to give photographs of her to Coris.  He has a shrine to her.”

“He is following the Old Ways,” Narcissa said.  “And thank you.  We all want what’s best for Lycoris.”

Sirius looked at them.  “I guess I better stop regaling him with stories of my Hogwarts days.  James is in every one of those stories.”  Again, it fell flat.  They all knew it wasn’t true. 

Sirius crossed his arms and sighed.  “I think I’ll get him an Arithmancy study buddy.  I know you don’t have tutors for that.  Someone who isn’t a part of the Old Pureblood club.”

“Do you really think that’s wise, Black?” Lucius asked.  “It’s only been three years.  That’s not enough time to heal from such wounds.”

Narcissa put down a card.  “He’s been coming to our house once a week during the holidays.  For Lycoris.  He’s sworn to secrecy.”

“My son does not need a mind healer.”

“Your son,” Lucius pushed out the words, “is a stolen child.  Of course he needs a chance to better understand his feelings.  In a perfect world, he would have grown up here, with you, and he could have been as Muggle-loving as you wanted.  But that’s not what happened.  He grew up hating Muggles before he even knew what they were.  He embraced pureblood culture because it gave him back his identity.  You should respect that.”

“Well, Malfoy, thank you for that,” Sirius said snidely, “and you’ll see Lycoris later this evening.  I have a letter to write.”

Narcissa and Lucius glanced at each other before seeing themselves out.  Sirius was left with the card, looking at it pensively.  He put it away in a drawer.

Sirius Apparated them to a quiet little neighborhood.  The houses were all perfectly ordinary and there was a calm about the place that Lycoris couldn’t quite place.  “Why are we here?” he asked again.

“To meet with your Arithmancy partner,” Sirius declared.

“But this is a Muggle area.”  Lycoris spat out the word as if it were the most disgusting thing he could ever speak.

“Yes, well, we find great minds in every setting.  Come along, they’re expecting us.”

Lycoris was dressed in his black work robes, having had Potions that morning.  His eyes were gray and his hair its usual lush black.  It was usually fuller than his father’s, like his mother’s he supposed, but it was a small way to pay homage to her, that and the fact that it curled more.

He was ushered into one of the houses and was surprised to see two Muggles standing at the door, a timid Granger behind them.  “Granger?” he asked in surprise, looking at his father.  “Is this because she’s in Gryffindor?”

“She’s second in her class, after you, and I don’t want you falling behind in Arithmancy.  I know how you tend to get caught up in your other studies.”  They shared a look.  Sirius obviously meant the Dark Arts.

“Yes, but she’s not,” he leaned into his father’s ear.  “A pureblood.”

“No,” Sirius agreed.  “But we need to broaden your horizons a bit, Lycoris.”

“Would Mother approve?  She was in Slytherin!  Her brother was a Death Eater!”

“So was mine.  Now, no son of a Marauder is allowed to carry around that prejudice for long.—Now, these are Drs. Granger.  They’re dentists.”

Lycoris, of course, knew what that was, abstractly.  He’d never been taken to one by the Dursleys and had been finally escorted to a tooth healer by Narcissa Malfoy his first summer with them.

“You, of course, know Hermione.”

She pushed forward.  “Black, we have ever so much to discuss.  I’ve simply been dying to compare Number Eleven with someone of intelligence.”

“How’s Weasley?” he asked, referring to the youngest of the brood.  She had a nasty run in with a magical artifact the year before and had ended up in St. Mungo’s, all her magic drained.

“Oh, as good as can be expected.”  Granger bit her lower lip.  “You’ve met my parents, but have you met my sister Elissa?”

She pointed to a pretty girl with corkscrew curls and large brown eyes.  “She’d be going into our year if she were at Hogwarts, but, well, she’s not.”

Great, another Muggle.  “Is there a study or something?” he asked warily.

“My bedroom has a desk.  I brought in an extra chair.  Lord Black explained about pureblood regulations, so one of my parents will be in the room to chaperone, and the door will be open,” she rushed on.  “Come along, I’ll show you.”

The door slammed behind them.  “She rather fancies you, I think,” Sirius teased as they left the house two hours later.

“What kind of torture was that?  Muggles?  They’re hateful creatures.”

“Not all of them are,” Sirius argued.  “Drs. Granger embrace Hermione’s differences and her sister seems to be harmless.  I want you to see the good in people, Lycoris, not just the bad.”

“The good.  Right.”  He was thinking the most unpleasant things he could do to the Grangers once night fell, if only he could Apparate back.  Uncle Lucius had paid a hefty sum to get the trace taken off of his wand once he’d gotten it the beginning of first year.  “I think I’d rather take dinner in my room tonight.  Kreacher will have it sorted.  He’s besotted with me.”

“Don’t sulk.  Talk to me, Lycoris.  I’m only trying to do what’s best for you.”

“Are you?” he asked in surprise.  “Shoving my face in such filth?  Making me interact with a girl who is so far beneath me, I won’t even bother calling her a witch!”

Sirius slapped him.  “That is no way to speak of our hosts.  And you’re going back next week.  I don’t care if I have to drag you back myself.”

A plan was already forming in Lycoris’s mind.  He wouldn’t let that Granger upstart be prefect.  They had an entire year to plan.  No, he would choose the next best candidate and tutor her himself, along with Draco, probably.

He and Draco poured over a list of names.  “You’ve got Patil, her sister’s in Ravenclaw,” Draco offered.  “I wouldn’t count on Lavender Brown.  She’s a half-blood.”

“Then there’s Rosa Vane,” Lycoris added.  “She’s smart.  She always has the correct answer in Arithmancy.  And, remember, she beat out Granger over that particular problem in Ancient Runes?””

“The easy one?” Draco asked.  “How could I forget?  It was wonderful seeing Granger humiliated like that.  It took all my breeding not to show my glee outwardly.”  They sniggered with each other, though Lycoris, to be fair, chuckled more than sniggered.

“Perhaps she’s our best bet.  From an old family, though one of the Middle Houses, excellent parentage.”

“There is that problem with her half-blood brother,” Draco reminded.  “Roland Vane.  I can’t believe Vane let him take his surname.”

“There’s more to the story,” Lycoris guessed.  “Let’s ask Aunt Narcissa; she would know.”

Narcissa was wearing pale blue robes that day and was helping Iolanthe with some basic potions instructions.  “It’s important that you remember to turn clockwise and counterclockwise,” she reminded her daughter.  “That could change the whole nature of the potion.”

“Yes,” Iolanthe said.  “I can see that.  I just can never remember which is which.”

“Well, you’re a young lady of nine,” Narcissa pointed out.  “Perhaps it’s time you had your own magical watch that gives you the time and tells you where all of your family members are.  We’ll have Lycoris put on it for you, shan’t we, dear?  But you must remember how precious these pieces are.  We can’t have them lost or fall into the wrong hands.”

Io nodded emphatically.

Narcissa kissed the top of her honey curls.  “We’ll speak to your father about it.”  She turned to the two boys.  “I wasn’t expecting you in the school room, young men.  I thought you didn’t have lessons this morning.”

“No,” Lycoris put in.  “We wanted to ask you something.”

She looked at them appraisingly.  “Something is afoot, if I’m not mistaken.  Well, ask, then.”

“It’s about Miss Rosa Vane and her brother.  The half-blood one.  Why does he have the name Vane and why is there no heir?”

“An interesting question,” she mused, motioning to some free desk chairs.  “Mr. Vane married Vanessa Harper about fifteen years ago now.  She was widowed and had made a very imprudent marriage just out of Hogwarts, with a Muggle-born.  She was anathema in society, as I’m sure you can imagine, but Vane would have her and it’s said he loved her dearly, so dearly he adopted her son by her first marriage.  Has he graduated yet?”

“I don’t think so,” Draco put in.  “I think he’s in Gryffindor.”

“When Miss Rosa was born she was doted on, but she wasn’t the male heir that was needed.  Mrs. Vane died in childbirth so Mr. Vane married again, a Clearwater, who stood to inherit everything.  They had one daughter and this Mrs. Vane died shortly afterward.  It was all rather tragic.  The daughter now stands to inherit millions as an heiress to the House of Clearwater.”

“Why hasn’t Miss Rosa been named heiress to her father’s estate?” Lycoris asked in confusion.

“Apparently he’s overly fond of his stepson.  There are also rumors every few years that he means to marry again.  Nothing has been decided definitely.  Why?”

Lycoris and Draco looked at each other.  “We want to make sure that Granger, the Mudblood, doesn’t become Gryffindor prefect.  We’re trying to decide who to tutor.”

Narcissa looked at her son.  “I wouldn’t underestimate a Vane.  They may be Gryffindors, but they have a reputation for thinking outside the box.  She may just pull it off, with the right help.  Would you like me to invite her to tea?”

“Please,” Lycoris said.  “We can put thse proposition to her then.”

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