HK04 of 25 files

Part the Fourth—
Beauty is Nature’s brag, and must be shown in courts, at feasts, and high solemnities, where most may wonder at the workmanship.
—Milton, “Comus”

Harry stared at the book, his eyes glittering with unshed tears.

Horcruxes.  Voldemort had split up his soul into what Dumbledore would believe were seven pieces.  He looked down at the list of possible artifacts.

The first was the diary, the second a ring that had already been destroyed somehow, the third the locket.

Harry stared at the fake locket in his hand.  An R.A.B. had taken it, now he just had to find R.A.B.

He sighed.  He was the Lord Black, and according to Octavian this would open all doors, whether in high society or in the wizarding underworld, to him.  He’d find this R.A.B. somehow.

The rest were a mystery that he’d have to solve, though Dumbledore had guessed that there were seven horcruxes in all and that he had an affinity for heirlooms that once belonged to the Founders.

He snorted, glancing down the list before his eyes went wide.

In the corner of one page, was a note with a question mark, a possible Horcrux, and his blood went cold.  He slammed the book shut and threw it harshly into the fire.  He didn’t care.  It didn’t matter.

He wasn’t going to die, even if it meant saving the world from Voldemort.


There had to be another way, Harry thought, as he bit his lip in worry.  He walked along the hallway and smiled gently as he saw all the work Octavian had put into it over the past few weeks.  Octavian had decided to decorate the hallways in dusty blues and gold, bringing the house alive. 

He’d even begun, with the help of Winky, fixing up the attic where Buckbeak still lived, although he’d arranged for Buckbeak to go to magical wildlife preserve in Wales.  Octavian had taken a liking to the magnificent Hippogriff and, using the creature as inspiration, had begun decorating the nursery with miniatures of hippogriffs, dragons, and unicorns.  Several tomes had been ordered from Flourish and Blotts on childcare, magical infants, pregnancy, and even how to look out for the earliest signs of accidental magic.

Harry had laughed at one of the larger, more antiquated books that was written in Shakespearean English, but Octavian assured him that it was an English classic and that all pureblood families worth anything used it.  Apparently, it was also a tradition to not keep a traditional Baby Book as Muggles did, but a small leather book where all of a child’s magic would be recorded proudly. 

Octavian had even shown Harry the copy his mother had kept when he was an infant, though from the lack of emotion in the writing, Harry suspected she did it more out of form than out of any true love of her infant son, who had at only the age of two cast his first weak Lumos spell when he didn’t want to go to bed.

Harry could just see his husband being that stubborn, even as a toddler.

He and Octavian had gone to Diagon Alley and had discreetly chosen their own ‘Magic Tracker,’ as Harry was now calling it.  After much discussion, they finally agreed on a small book with a pale blue cover and gold leaf embroidered edges.  Depictions of the solar system were carefully sketched with silver ink on the border of every page, giving it a sophisticated look. 

“The name, Lord Black?” the saleswitch asked quietly in the small store that specialized in Magic Trackers. 

Harry glanced with confusion at Octavian, who lowered his eyes. 

Maman ne pouvait pas se permettre une gravure de mon nom.  C’est une tradition.”

He nodded solemnly and squeezed Octavian’s hand gently.  “Romola Lux,” he stated proudly.  “R-O-M-O-L-A L-U-X,” he spelled out, wanting this small piece of tradition to be perfect for both Octavian and Romola.

The saleswitch nodded, making a note of it with her quill.  “Of the House of Black?” she inquired.

Oui, Madame,” Octavian answered this time, his black eyes alight with happiness.

A soft smile played on her professionally polite face, breaking through.  “Congratulations, Lord Black, Mr. Black.  This will be owled within the week and I assure you that The Small Magician values its clients’ privacy.”

Harry relaxed immediately.  “Thank you.”

“Would you care, given the circumstances, to be put on our mailing list?  You will receive a full catalogue so that you don’t have to come to our premises, especially once Miss Black is born.”

Oui,” Octavian answered eagerly. 

Harry quickly handed over the payment for the book and with his arm around Octavian’s waist, they exited to complete the rest of their shopping.

“Octavian,” Harry began over lunch at the White Witch.  He couldn’t believe that he had never been aware of the highly exclusive restaurant and, even more than that, that he was now not only welcome there but had been ushered before a long line of waiting patrons to be given the only available table during their busy lunch hour as soon as the maitre d’ had spotted him and Octavian.  “Your mother.”

Octavian was glancing over the menu, his pink lips mouthing the words in his native tongue, soft sighs escaping him occasionally as he happily looked over the fare.

Harry, like when they were at The Empress together in Little Whinging, had no idea what any of it meant.  He’d quietly set his menu aside and, when he had noticed Octavian eyeing him, knew his husband would choose something suitable for him.

Maman?”

“Yes.”  Harry cleared her throat.  “Would you like—considering—and I—er—“  He had no idea how to say this—at all.  He could feel his pulse fluttering wildly and knew that he sounded ridiculous.

Octavian looked up and smiled at him encouragingly. 

“Well, given everything I know about your childhood, I know that—well—would you be more comfortable if we invited Madame Prince to come live at our home?”

Octavian blinked at him several times, his wide black eyes just staring at Harry incredulously.

“We have more than enough room, and I know Winky would love more—er—people to take care of and, er, the house is being fixed up so she will soon be living in the manner in which she was once accustomed.  There would be no conflict of interest as it would be the Black and Potter fortunes that were—er—supporting her and, if you’d rather not, I understand, but I know she’s important to you—she’s your mother after all—and I doubt she likes living among Muggles.”

Harry was now glancing nervously at his hands, which were playing with the napkin in his lap, showing clearly his lack of breeding and pureblood grace, but he didn’t care at that moment.  This was important, and he was dressed like a pureblood lord—a king of society—so he wouldn’t be embarrassing Octavian that much if at all.

Considering the heat, Octavian had suggested they wear lightweight robes instead of the wizard coats they usually favored, and Harry had been glad as they walked through the bustling streets of Diagon Alley.  Octavian looked resplendent in his robes of pale yellow and silver, while Harry had chosen dark blue robes that Octavian said, with a gentle kiss, made his startling green eyes even more beautiful.

Harry had blushed at the gentle compliment.

A soft finger pressed against his lips and Harry looked up to see Octavian smiling lovingly at him.  “Merci, mon Henri Jacques,” he murmured before gently kissing him.  “Je ne te mérite pas.”

“I think it’s the other way around,” Harry said through a smile, kissing Octavian one last time before they drew away.

Octavian picked up his menu again and then eyed him.  “I think you will enjoy les cailles.”

Harry swallowed.  “What’s that?”

Octavian shrugged, showing that he wasn’t quite certain what the translation was in English.  It was rather funny that sometimes Octavian was uncertain of how food names translated between the languages.  Harry smiled.  He would just have to trust his husband and hope for the best.

“So is that a ‘yes’ on your mother?” Harry asked again when Octavian set down his menu and took a sip from his water.

Oui.  She will enjoy it and—well—I want Maman near me given ze new developments,” he admitted.

“Of course.  Family is important and children should have as much family as possible.”

The waiter bustled over with a signal from Octavian, who quickly ordered for them.  Harry didn’t understand a word.

“And for wine?”

Octavian glanced at Harry.  “Would you like wine, Henri Jacques?”

He shook his head.  “No, thank you.”  He glanced at the clock, trying to feign nonchalance.  “It’s a bit early.”  Harry didn’t actually drink, but now that Octavian was expecting and couldn’t have a glass of wine even if he wanted, he refused to indulge.

The waiter bowed.  “Of course, Lord Black.”

“I’ll have Butterbeer, though, if you have it?”

“We shall send out for some immediately, your lordship,” and before Harry could protest the preferential treatment, the waiter had bowed and disappeared.

A comfortable silence spread between them as Harry stared openly at his husband, marveling at just how handsome he was and still unbelieving that within eight months—less than that—they would have a beautiful little girl.

Octavian stared steadily back at him, amusement in his eyes.  “I shall write to Maman tonight,” he said.  “Perhaps sometime next week you can meet ‘er in London and inform ‘er where we live?”

“That would be perfect.  The Leaky Cauldron perhaps, they have a Floo.”

Just the week before Octavian had come into their shared bedroom and, after kissing Harry had simply whispered “The Firefly Jar” in his ear, his eyes glancing at all the jars of fireflies Winky had collected for the house.

The name of their home had been promptly changed the next day.  Winky had even been able to magically reset the Floo without having to go through the Ministry.  Now no one—not even the Order of the Phoenix—intellectually knew where they lived.

“We can even give Lucrece her own floor if she desires,” he mused.  He and Octavian were on the second floor as well as the nursery, guest bedrooms lined the third floor and the fourth and fifth floors were untouched, but several had bedrooms.  The attic was, of course, currently Buckbeak’s domain.

“She will like zat,” Octavian approved.  His brow crinkled in confusion as he glanced over Harry’s shoulder.  “Henri Jacques, is zat not zat ‘orrible witch?  Tonks?  Et, mes dieux, elle ressemble à Tante Bella.”

Harry, startled, looked over and saw Tonks was indeed standing in front of the maitre d’ in her official Auror robes, having a hushed and urgent looking conversation with the disgruntled wizard.  Behind her stood, in resplendent robes, a woman that looked almost exactly like Bellatrix Lestrange, except that her hair was a mass of dark brown instead of black and her eyes didn’t glint menacingly.

Qui est-elle?”

“I would guess that’s Andromeda Tonks, Tonks’s mother and your Aunts Bellatrix and Narcissa’s sister.”

Octavian looked at him in confusion.

Harry sighed.  “There were three sisters, Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa.  Bellatrix married Rodolphus Lestrange, Andromeda was disowned for marrying a Muggle-born, and Narcissa married ton Papa.”

Octavian nodded hesitantly.  “She should not be allowed in if she married a Muggle-born,” he said quietly.  “It is not done at Ze White Witch.”

“Tonks is an Auror,” Harry responded, ignoring the small scene.  He could see several heads turned toward the door, looking at the commotion in interest.  “It could be official business.”  He gulped.  He hoped he wasn’t the official business.  He’d be seventeen in a week though—

“Pardon, Lord Black, Mr. Black,” the maitre d’ said from his right and Harry closed his eyes in aggravation before turning to the calm-looking man.  Tonks and Andromeda were standing just behind them.

“Thank you,” he said before turning back to their ‘guests.’  “Some chairs would be appreciated, I think.”

“Of course.”  With a flick of the maitre d’s wand, two chairs had been conjured and Andromeda sat down gracefully.  Tonks nearly tripped.

“This couldn’t wait?” he said coldly to Tonks who was eyeing Octavian again before she turned once again to Harry.  “I’m assuming you’ll be at the wedding.”

She had the sense to at least blush.  “Yes, but no it couldn’t.”

Two salads were placed in front of Harry and Octavian and Harry began to eat it casually.  He sighed in happiness.  It was a fruit salad poached. it seemed, in some sort of brandy.  It was absolutely divine.  He smiled at Octavian to show his approval.

“Harry, you didn’t return to your relatives,” Tonks began.

Andromeda, Harry noticed, was silent and simply observing him and Octavian.  They were, after all, the head of the Black family now.

“I’m married,” he responded and took a long drink from his chilled Butterbeer, which had also appeared with his salad.  “I’ll also be of age next week.”

“Yes, but it’s for your protection.”

“I’m perfectly safe.”

“You’re out in the open,” she countered, crossing her arms.

Harry glanced at her.  She was even paler than she had been at the end of his sixth year, circles under her eyes, and her mousy brown hair duller than usual.

“I could not—and would not—take Octavian back to Privet Drive,” he stated coldly.

Andromeda took a deep breath.  “From what I understand,” she said quietly, “they are your family.  They would have accepted your husband—even for part of a summer.”

Octavian dropped his fork.  “Zey are les Moldus,” he stated harshly and loudly enough for a few of the surrounding tables to hear.  “Zey think zat la magie is unnatural, Madame, zat marriage between two men is wrong.  Ce serait un désastre.  And ‘oo are you?  You ‘ave not introduced yourself.”

“Andromeda Tonks,” she stated quietly, “formerly of the House of Black.”

Traitre à son sang,” Octavian whispered, barely loud enough for anyone to hear.

Andromeda opened her mouth as if to chastise him.

“Right,” Harry broke in, setting down his own silverware.  “You have no authority over me as my ‘guardians’ are more than happy not to have me at Privet Drive.”  Harry thought they’d been more than clear on that subject over the past few summers.  “I also know you’re not here in your capacity as an Auror, Tonks, so you entered these premises under false pretenses.”

Tonks blanched.

“I thought so.  Now, if you’ll excuse us, I’m having a relaxing lunch with my husband.”

“You weren’t at Ginny’s funeral,” Tonks whispered dejectedly as Andromeda was standing.  “Why?”

Harry locked eyes with Octavian, knowing that he handled all invitations.  He remembered seeing something about it, but hadn’t thought anything of it.  “I was otherwise detained and,” he looked firmly at Octavian, trying to read his body language, “they did not see fit to include my husband in the invitation.”

Octavian’s black eyes glittered before he looked down at his plate again.  Harry had guessed correctly.

“Goodbye, Tonks,” he said firmly and signaled to the maitre d’. 

With one last look at Harry, Tonks and her mother were gone.


Winky was overjoyed when Octavian casually informed her to ready a room on the fourth floor for his mother who was coming to live with them.  Harry and Octavian had sent out an invitation, telling her that their home was her home as long as she wanted it.  Over the next few days, they could hear the little house elf humming as she scrubbed the largest room on the floor until it was completely clean, and then Octavian came through with his color samples, creating a beautiful room with lavender and white walls and curtains, a large four poster bed with sheets to match.  Octavian had stolen several pieces of furniture from other rooms for what he thought would best suit Madame Prince, and Harry thought the end result was very sophisticated and beautiful. 

It was the day before Harry’s birthday when he entered the Leaky Cauldron and saw the elegant form of Lucrece sitting at the bar, a small glass of sherry in her hand.  Her black hair was swept up elegantly on her head, her black eyes shining with intelligence and perhaps a small spark of happiness.  Her robes were worn but had been neatly mended over the years and although Harry, after being tutored by Octavian in wizarding fashion and listening to Astoria on the subject, knew that they were twenty years out of fashion, she nonetheless wore them well.  Her face was angular with strong lines and although one could never quite call her beautiful, she was striking and many heads turned toward her unabashedly.  She was unlike any woman Harry had ever seen and he could understand how she drew the attention of Mr. Weasley whenever she made an appearance in wizarding England.

A small stack of trunks was beside her, all equally as threadbare, and Harry tried to repress a grimace when he realized just how little this stunning woman could call her own. 

He and Octavian were going to change all of that now.

“Madame Prince,” he greeted as he took the seat beside her and quickly ordered a Butterbeer from Tom in case she wanted to linger after her international Floo connection. 

She turned to him, a half-smile on her features.  “Lord Black.”

“I thought I told you to call me ‘Harry,’” he commented.  “We are family, after all.”

“Harry, then.”  She looked behind him.  “Where’s Octavian?”

“Putting the finishing touches on your room,” he answered.  “The house is still being renovated.  It was empty for about ten years and the house elf let it fall into disrepair and then was barely cleaned before I inherited it.”

“An old Black property?”

“Yes.”

They fell into silence and Harry quietly drank his Butterbeer.

“It’s under Fidelius so we’ll take a Muggle cab, if that’s alright.”

“That seems a bit—extreme, then again you are world famous, Harry.”  Her voice was cultured, refined, and completely without feeling.  Harry couldn’t decide if she were stating a fact or teasing him.

“It was already under the charm when I inherited and I had the secret passed to me when I married Octavian.  I didn’t want—unwanted guests who previously knew of the house when my godfather owned it.”

“Very wise,” she commented.  “It is extremely thoughtful for you and Octavian to invite me into your home, especially as you are newly weds and still have a few years left at Hogwarts.”

“Beauxbatons,” he corrected.

She looked over at him curiously.

“Dumbledore, before he died, refused Octavian access to me when I was hit with a Bludger in the head.  We had filed charges against him and submitted our application to Beauxbatons as Octavian was still treated—“

She grimaced.  “I understand.”

“Anyway, we have a new house-elf, Winky, who loves doting on a family and I think she’ll be bereaved once we leave, and you’re Octavian’s mother—and, well, the grandmother of any future children.”  He turned back to his Butterbeer.

There was a moment of silence.

“I think I understand,” she said quietly and he noticed that she was now fully smiling.  “May I congratulate you?”

“Thank you,” Harry whispered.

She flicked her wand and Harry recognized a silencing bubble.  “May I ask how far along my son is?  Male pregnancies can be very difficult.”

“Less than two months.”

Lucrece’s eyes softened.  “Did you—“

Harry shook his head.  “I knew there was a potion, of course, I just didn’t know that Octavian would request it.”

“He is like that,” she said, almost in fondness.  Her black eyes, though, remained hollow.

She shifted on her stool and Harry could make out the sight of a sophisticated wizard looking at her avidly, his eyes never leaving her.  Harry thought he almost recognized him, but let it pass.

“Have you chosen a name yet?  Is the gender even known?”

“Romola.  Romola Lux.”  He glanced at her worriedly, wondering if she would instantly make the connection between his daughter’s middle name and Octavian’s father.

She hesitated and then nodded solemnly.  “Very suitable.  He takes pre-natal vitamins and potions?”

Harry laughed.  “Winky sees to it.  They’ve already decorated the nursery together.”

“A granddaughter,” she murmured.  “May I—may I tell my father when the child is born?  I think he would like to know, even if he does not respond.”

Harry looked at her, startled.  “Your father?  I didn’t know—“

“Yes,” she responded, taking another delicate sip of her sherry, finishing it.  Harry was just about to order another for her when Tom placed a glass of champagne in front of her.  She looked up at him, startled, and quickly removed the privacy bubble.  “I didn’t order champagne.”

“From the gentlemen in the dark purple robes,” he only said and Lucrece and Harry both glanced over the wizard who was pointed out to them.

Harry noticed that it was the same man who had been staring avidly at Lucrece before.

“The joys of being an elegant witch,” she murmured and lifted the glass to her suitor before taking a sip and turning back to Harry.  “Do you know who he is?”

“No, but he looks almost as if I should know him or some relation.”  He shrugged.  “I honestly don’t know.”

She laughed quietly.  “My father is Troy Hektoris Prince, and is very much alive.  I haven’t seen him since the night Octavian was—I received several letters from him the first few years of Octavian’s life, but I couldn’t bear for him to know what had happened to me and eventually they stopped.  I don’t even know if he knows that Octavian is his grandson.”

“Well,” Harry said, glancing at the wizard who had sent the champagne; he looked undecided as to whether or not to approach them.  “I’ll send him a belated announcement of our marriage, if both of you would like it.”

She nodded once and turned back to her champagne.

“I should warn you,” Harry began hesitantly and paused when Lucrece turned her black eyes on to him, “the day after tomorrow Octavian and I will be attending a wedding and will be gone for most of the day.  I’m sorry we’ll be leaving you so soon—“

“Not at all,” she responded graciously, emotion not reaching her eyes.  “Whose wedding?”

“Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley.  Octavian’s in the wedding party.”

She nodded.

“Also, Octavian has been fully accepted by various members of the House of Black.”

Lucrece paused and then looked over at him.  “Such as?”

“His two pureblood ‘aunts’ and Draco Malfoy.  Draco is extremely protective of Octavian.”  His mind flickered back to when they were at the top of the Astronomy Tower together, and how Draco wanted Octavian to be safe as well as Harry, his brother-in-law.  “Of me too, strangely enough.”

“You know,” she stated.

Their eyes met, bright green and black.  “Yes,” was the only answer Harry could give.

Tom came up to them again and handed Lucrece a small business card.  “From the gentleman.”

Lucrece glanced down at it and frowned slightly.  “Davies.”

Harry’s eyes widened and he looked over her shoulder.  The business card was expensive and looked to have been penned by hand in gold ink, declaring the name “Edgar Davies.” 

“He must be related to Roger Davies,” he murmured, glancing back at the wizard who, now that he thought about it, bore a distinct resemblance to the Ravenclaw who had graduated the year before.  An older brother perhaps?  Or a cousin?

“How intriguing,” she said, slipping the card up her sleeve.

Harry looked over at her questioningly. 

“I keep business cards such as this for a lark,” she admitted. 

“Er-of course,” Harry agreed.  “I can’t do magic until tomorrow,” he admitted and, with a click of her tongue, Lucrece levitated her trunks. 

“I find the new regulations ridiculous.  When I was at Hogwarts, I was able to use magic and even though I never graduated, I could still use it as I had completed a sufficient amount of O.W.L.s.”

“You never—“

“Harry, I was sixteen,” she said quietly and Harry swallowed uncomfortably.  “Lead the way, Harry,” she said and with one final look at Davies, they left the pub together, an uneasy silence falling between them.

French to English.

Maman ne pouvait pas se permettre une gravure de mon nomC’est une tradition.  Mother could not have my name engraved.  It’s tradition.

Je ne te mérite pas.  I do not deserve you.

Et, mes dieux, elle ressemble à Tante Bella. And, my gods, she looks like Aunt Bella.

Qui est-elle? Who is she?

Les Moldus. The Muggles.

Traitre à son sang.  Blood traitor.

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