Title: Back in Black
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Fix-It, Rule 63 (Harry Potter)
Relationships: pre-Hari Potter/Bill Weasley
Content Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Character Bashing(Molly Weasley, Ron Weasley)
Author’s Notes: I am irritated with my current long WIPs so I’m taking some time to write short things to hopefully burn off the dross. Three or four days, depending on my schedule. No plotting, just writing. I’m pretty pleased with this first one. Not sure how many of these there will be—how many of these it will take to get me back on track—but we will see!
Beta: PN Ztivokreb
Word Count: 10,117
Summary: Bill had access to all the tools he needed to protect his soulmate and he was going to use them…but things don’t turn out quite how he expected.
“This man, Sirius Black,” Dieter, Bill’s best friend of nearly a decade, said as he turned to him, “says here he’s a Death Eater.”
“Yes,” Bill answered shortly.
“Says he was Volde-twat’s right-hand man.”
“Yes,” Bill said again, more sharply.
“Says he betrayed the Potters.”
Bill stared at his so-called best friend, utterly at a loss for what to say.
“That like your soulmate?” Dieter asked, holding his gaze with a challenge of his own. “She’s one of those Potters, right?”
“Do you know my least favorite thing about you?” Bill offered conversationally.
“No, but I can guess.” Dieter grinned. “It’s my accent, isn’t it? Not as smooth in English as Rose’s. I imagine—”
“My least favorite thing about you is when you act like you didn’t complete your Mastery in History before you graduated from Durmstrang,” Bill interrupted.
Dieter’s soulmate Rose laughed and threw herself against her mate. “Here I thought you were going to mention the book he wrote comparing Volde-twat and Grindelwald. He gave thorough histories of both of their movements there.”
Dieter scoffed. “None of my research indicated Sirius Black was anything other than an auror for the Ministry and the best friend of James Potter before and during the war. Nothing,” Dieter repeated, taking his turn to interrupt Bill. “Until the war was over. And even then? No trials. No witnesses. No evidence. Just unsubstantiated rumors in a newspaper that spread like fiendfyre.”
That brought Bill up short. “No trial?”
“I’ve been trying to get the records released to me for over five years,” Dieter said. “My requests keep getting lost, apparently.”
“Five years is a long time,” Rose frowned. “Have you tried the ICW?”
Dieter scoffed. “They referred me back to the local ministry.”
“It says here that the last words heard from him by his guards was something about ‘get to her’.” Rose frowned and looked at Bill. “Clearly, he’s a threat. The logical female for a Death Eater to fixate on is Hari Potter.
“Your soulmate,” Rose emphasized.
“My soulmate,” Bill agreed.
“What are you going to do about it?” Dieter asked. “What are we going to do about it?”
“We?” Bill asked.
“We,” Rose confirmed. “What kind of best friend would he be if he didn’t help you? And if you think I’m letting my half-blood soulmate get lost in Magical Britain without me to watch his back, you are mad.”
Bill blew out a breath. “There is something I could do,” he admitted slowly. “But it could backfire.”
“In what way?”
“It could kill me?” Bill offered.
He watched Rose and Dieter both absorb that.
“How could whatever this is protect your soulmate?” Rose asked.
“I would be ritually assuming control of the House of Black,” Bill explained. “My power over all members of the House of Black would be extreme. I could order Sirius Black not to hurt or menace my soulmate. The second he disobeyed—knowingly or not—the Black family magic would strike his dead.”
“Effective,” Rose admitted but she was still hesitant.
“Say it backfired on you,” Dieter pushed, “say it works. What’s the worst-case scenario?”
Bill considered that. “As a new lord, I would have to solidify my control of my House. I would have to demand loyalty oaths from all members to the family in general and me in particular. Anyone that refused to take these oaths would have to be formally stripped of their family magic. Such an act would cut their magical potential anywhere from a third to half, and possibly kill former family members.”
Bill scrubbed his hands over his own face trying to rid himself of the truth before he had to say it.
It didn’t work.
“I don’t think my mother would take the oaths,” he admitted. “She has a grudge against the House of Black.”
“Why?” Dieter asked.
“Her mother—Lucretia Prewett nee Black—insisted that my mother marry her soulmate right out of Hogwarts because it is a House of Black tradition. My mum loves my dad but she had dreams. She wanted to travel and study. She wanted to be a famous inventor and researcher. Once she married my dad—and they had me super quick—she didn’t have the time or the means for it.”
“That sucks,” Rose said emphatically.
“Yes, it does.” Bill’s heart sank as he thought about it.
He had never wanted to do that to his soul mate, to force her to marry and give up her dreams. If she wanted to travel, they would travel. If she wanted to learn, she would learn—whatever she wanted from whoever she wanted. He had always intended to give her everything he had to make it happen.
He had sworn it to himself before he had ever learned his soulmate’s name and he had to stick to it even more, now that he knew her identity.
“Mum would be furious if she knew Charlie and I had gone to the Book of Souls, ” he admitted. “I know I did it on a dare with you and Charlie…he’s been dating his soulmate since they were third years. He just wanted confirmation, but he already knew.” Bill shook his head bitterly. “Mum keeps telling Ron he’s Hari’s soulmate. He believes her so much that he doesn’t even want to see the Book. If only they knew.”
“Wait, your mother is trying to give your soulmate to your brother,” Rose asked, tone just short of scathing.
“I hadn’t thought about it like that,” Bill admitted. “They couldn’t bond. She can only bond with me. I honestly don’t see what my mother could do to make her lies stick—they will be exposed eventually.”
“There are curses to fake it,” Rose reminded him. “You and Dieter find mention of them every day,” she waved toward the dig site in emphasis.
“Seems to me you can protect your mother who is actively trying to betray you—is, in fact, betraying you—or you can protect your soulmate and the brother that is being led astray,” Dieter concluded. “You have to make a choice.”
“Yeah,” Bill nodded, frustrated but determined. Rose and Dieter were right. “Yeah, I do.”
“It was my understanding that you had decided against pursuing your possible inheritance in the House of Black,” Master Kragnar said as he reviewed the petition Bill had laid before him.
Bill rather desperately wanted to lay his thinking out for the Black Account Manager. The goblin was high-ranking, well-placed in the Horde and well respected by humans outside of it, but this was the beginning of their new relationship as Account Manager and Account Holder. If Bill was reckless in what he said now, their relationship would never grow into one of mutual respect.
“My circumstances have changed,” was what he finally settled on.
The goblin regarded him silently for several moment.
“Very well,” Master Kragnar finally agreed. “As the first child of the first child of the last lord’s first child and the eldest male of your generation, the Horde finds that you, William Arthur Weasley, have the right to petition the Black Family Magic for control of the Black title, properties, and accounts. Should Magic grant your petition, you will be gain extensive legal and magical rights over all magical persons that carry blood within three degrees of the House of Black.
“Are you prepared to petition the Black Family Magic at this time?”
“I am,” Bill admitted.
“Very good,” the goblin left his chair and moved to the door behind his desk. “Follow me.”
Master Kragnar led him down a short hallway with a surprising number of doors into a stone ritual chamber. The only thing in the room was a ritual circle inscribed in the floor. In the middle of the ritual circle was a small altar and on the alter was a large, ornate platinum box. It looked more like a trophy, made of platinum and covered in black diamonds.
Bill had seen such relics before. The chalice in the bottom would contain the ancestral stone for the House of Black—the anchor for their family magic that prevented the destruction of the family magic in the event of catastrophic loss of life among the family.
The relic itself amplified and channeled the family magic from the stone.
It would guarantee that no member of the family would ever be able to hide from him. He might have to work to find them depending on what magical feats they had accomplished but as long as they had a place in the House of Black, they would answer to him eventually.
One of the chalice-like boxes on the relic would contain the ring it the family magic would grant him—an easily understood mark that made clear exactly who and what he was.
Another chalice-box would hold the ring that his soulmate would wear and a third held a ring for their heir.
Bill removed the athame he had sheathed on his belt. It had chosen him while he was on a dig down in South America. After a through exploration of the magic in it and on it, he had chosen it in return making it the most powerful magical tool he could claim.
The athame was a single, solid piece of obsidian. Long and thin, it was sharp but deceptively strong with several rings carved into the handle.
He slit the palm of his right hand and let the blood pool as he stood before the relic of House Black.
“I, William Arthur Weasley, petition the House of Black—give me the strength to defend the greatest gift Magic can grant a mortal being.” Bill dribbled his collected blood on the relic, then pressed his hand to it. It hissed in a way he hadn’t expected. As if the relic was hot despite what it felt like under his hand. “Taste my blood—blood of my grandmother, make me worthy. Taste my resolve—House of Black will stand together as Magic intended. Taste my knowledge—know you will be safe and cherished in my care.”
Everything went white.
When his eyes cleared, Bill was in a well-appointed sitting room. One he had never seen before in Hogwarts, based off the color of the stone walls and the forest he could see through the window.
There was a woman seated with her back to her desk, watching him. She was beautiful and young despite the white streak in the hair above her left eye—the exact place he had always had a blond streak in his own hair.
The streak his mother had forced him to hide since he was quite young.
“Bill,” she greeted warmly, “I’m glad you made it.”
…Bill had no idea who the woman was, or why she was expecting him.
“I did,” he confirmed. “May I ask who you are?”
She gave him a smile that while small was full to the brim with mischief and secrets. “My name is Rowena Ravenclaw. You may have heard of me.”
“We’ve set aside the office you asked,” Master Kragnar advised Bill as he led him down the hallway from the back of Master Kragnar’s office. “It is heavily warded. No human will be able to draw their wand in it other than you. Also, while you are seated at your desk, no being on this planet whether human or creature can hurt you physically or magically.”
“Unfortunately, we cannot truly ward against verbal cruelty,” Bill said in agreement.
“Unfortunately, we cannot, Your Grace,” the goblin confirmed. “There are privacy seals on the door. One to prevent the entry of unwelcome guests and one to prevent those that enter or exit from speaking out of turn.
“Do you know how long you will need the office?”
“I do not,” Bill sighed. “I intend to accomplish as much as I can over the next two days but the House of Black is notoriously stubborn.”
The goblin snorted. “Indeed.” The goblin opened a door and allowed Bill to lead him through. “The family members you call to you while in this room will be forced to apparate into the room next door. Griphook will be standing by within the arrival chamber to brief them on why they were called and escort them to you once they have demonstrated their understanding.”
The goblin left and Bill sat the attaché case he had found in the Ravenclaw Vault on his desk. He had spent the last week going through the Ravenclaw and Black Vaults, reading the books Rowena had instructed him to and ritually preparing for what he was about to do.
His mother had assumed—at quite some volume in his presence—that there was an emergency at the Bank he was attending. She hadn’t been entirely wrong so Bill hadn’t bothered to correct her.
He laid his hand on the Black Family Relic and spoke the names of those he sought first.
They were names of minimal value to him so that he would have the opportunity to fix things if Rowena’s instruction failed him. “Narcissa Polaris Malfoy. Draco Lucius Malfoy.”
Narcissa Malfoy was clearly excited when she all-but dragged her son into his office.
“My Lord?” she greeted him breathlessly.
“Lady Narcissa,” he greeted her in return and gestured for the two of them to sit. “I am the Lord of House Black, yes. I claimed it ritually nearly a week ago.
“I understand you have a Mastery in Law?”
“Civil and Criminal,” she confirmed, “accredited by the ICW. I have not been allowed to practice since my son was born but I have maintained the ICW’s continuing education requirements.”
“Fantastic,” Bill gave her a tight smile. “Is your husband your soulmate?”
Narcissa flushed—in fury or shame, Bill couldn’t tell. “No, my lord. Lucius is a No-Match. His father knew the Black reputation for only marrying soulmates and blackmailed my parents to arrange our marriage in order to hide Lucius’s status as it would have ruined him socially at the time. My sisters had already seen the book and accepted their soulmates, so I was forbidden to look to remain available to my parents’ needs.”
He released the magic in the back of the room. There was only one Book of Souls. It was ardently guarded but the ICW in Athens.
There were seven subordinate books, however, that could be used to access The Book remotely—all enchanted by Rowena Ravenclaw. Three were kept by Gringotts. The goblins had allowed him, as Rowena’s own heir, exclusive use of one for as long as he needed it to set his family to rights.
Narcissa was out of her chair before he had to say anything further. She laid her wand hand on the book. “Narcissa Polaris Malfoy nee Black!”
The book opened immediately, pages whirling in a fashion Bill had found overly dramatic himself but had apparently amused Rowena beyond words. The book stopped, laid itself open, and bathed Narcissa in golden light.
Narcissa herself stared at the page for several long moments. Then she burst into tears. Golden magic swirled up her wand arm and implanted a name on her wrist.
If Rowena had been right, it was a very important name.
“Do you have a soulmate?” Bill asked Draco. He honestly didn’t know. There were rumors that No-Matches only produced No-Match children but no one had ever done the research to confirm it. Research into soul mates was highly regulated on an international level.
“I do,” Draco cleared his throat and looked away from everyone else in the room. “The bonus of matching with a Veela, he recognized me before we even sorted.”
“Check the book,” Bill instructed regardless.
Draco obeyed, clearly curious for himself. Narcissa had removed herself from the podium to get herself together so Draco laid his want hand on the book. “Draco Lucius Malfoy!”
The book opened again and Draco read his entry with a nod.
“Mum told me she insisted on making me in a ritual,” the younger man said as he returned to Bills desk. “I think she hoped it would overcome Father’s No-Match state.”
“And it did,” Bill confirmed warmly. “If you were a ritual child, why don’t you have siblings?”
“The Dark Lord damaged Lucius too much for him to perform ritual magic not long after Draco was conceived,” Narcissa explained as she finally rejoined them. “I refused to naturally bear a No-Match, but the point became moot because Lucius sterilized himself when he decided he no longer had to be faithful to our marriage.”
“Violating your marriage contract in at least two ways.” Bill unrolled the parchment in question and pressed his Lord’s ring to the Black Family Seal at the bottom. “Exeat Votum.”
Family Magic swept over the contract and the text turned red. Bill double checked the consequences listed just above the seal.
“My condolences, Lady Narcissa, it seems your husband has passed.”
“My thanks, my lord,” she said coldly. “I have been saved the embarrassment of requesting a divorce. You have my gratitude.”
Bill permanently copied the violated contract and handed it to Narcissa. “You will want to take that to the DMLE first thing, to end their investigation into Lucius Malfoy’s murder before it can begin and to have them search out his body. There is no telling where he was or what he was doing when Magic judged him and found him wanting.”
“Of course, my lord,” she agreed, took the copy and slid it into her bag.
“Now, there is the issue of your family name,” Bill told them both. “I would prefer you both take the Black surname.
“I know your marriage contract specifies that Draco will swear himself to the House of Black as a vassal when he comes of age,” he told Narcissa, “but you were born a Black and he has a soulmate. There is no reason for your son to make such an oath to gain the blessing of our familial legacy.”
“I agree, my lord.” Narcissa turned to her son. “Draco Orion Black?”
Draco frowned. “Father—”
“His legacy is nothing to cling to,” Narcissa cut off her son. “Neither is his name. You are worth more than a Family that is neither Ancient nor Noble.”
“The crimes of Lucius Malfoy and Abraxas before him are extensive,” Bill seconded. “That they did not receive the full punishments they earned in this life is no endorsement.”
Draco was quiet for some time before he nodded. “Draco Orion Black.”
“Very good.” Bill pulled out two of the stack of parchments he had ritually prepared for this sort of moment. The parchments were general attestations of the being named upon its placement within the House of Black, empowered with family magic through a number of rituals.
The name of the person the contract added to his family magic this way had to be written in their blood. Bill had been given blood samples for every living House of Black candidate through their Family Affairs Office. They had had to. His claiming of the title gave him extensive ritual and legal rights over his blood family that no one had the legal right to interfere with.
Narcissa’s was on the top of the stack, her name as a Black was already filled in because Bill had planned from the beginning to force a divorce if Narcissa wanted to rejoin the House of Black. His father’s line had been financially disowned from the Ancient House of Weasley because of Lucius Malfoy and his father’s feud with Bill’s paternal grandfather. Bill could not personally to have the vicious, hateful man share his family magic.
“Your oath?” Bill prompted.
While Narcissa led her son in swearing their loyalty to the House of Black, Bill activated the dish holding enchanted black blood-wax. He signed the parchment using a Blood Quill, dropped a spot of wax on the paper and pressed his personal seal into the wax.
Narcissa shivered as the Black Family Magic once again claimed her as part of its domain. The Malfoy silver-white fell out of her hair, returning it to solid black. Her eye color remained the same.
Lady Narcissa sniffed and wiped her eye. She seemed to glow with magic before the family magic settled in her core and she dimmed. “I hadn’t allowed myself to think about how much my marriage had diminished me,” Narcissa swallowed hard. “Marrying a man with hardly any familial legacy was a burden. I finally feel like myself again.”
“Welcome back to the family,” Bill said as he prepared Draco’s parchment.
“Thank you, my lord.”
Bill filled in Draco’s new name using the boy’s blood he had been provided and pressed his seal into the parchment.
Unlike his mother, Draco did not shiver. He fainted. Family magic swept over him and changed his physical appearance drastically. His hair turned black, even the bones on his face shifted.
“I’ll have the goblins attend him,” Bill told Narcissa as she clutched at her son to keep him from sliding to the floor. He activated the rune to call Griphook to him.
“The Family Affairs Office will have to re-take his blood sample now that he’s a Black,” Narcissa reminded him. “I have faith they will see him prepared for his new station in life.”
Bill did not disagree but he had trusted the goblins with his own magic for nearly a decade at this point and he knew his was not the common opinion on the Horde.
“How would you like to be the legal representative for the House of Black, Narcissa?” Bill asked, moving on.
Her mouth dropped open in a perfect ‘o’. “I would be honored, my lord.”
“Lovely. I should also tell you that I claimed the duchy of Ravenclaw as well as the Earldom of Black.”
Narcissa’s eyes nearly bugged out of her head but otherwise, she maintained a good front.
“As Lord Ravenclaw, I have written to the House of Ostberg, the Royal House of Magical Scandinavia. Helga Hufflepuff’s bloodline died out in Britain, but her blood lives on in the House of Ostberg. I have informed them of the disgrace Helga’s legacy has fallen into here and challenged them to help me fix Hogwarts.” Bill told her. “They responded that they will be sending their second heir, Prince Wischard, to work with my representative to fix the school.”
Narcissa turned over her right wrist allowing him to read the beautiful, rolling script there. Wischard Andreas Ostberg.
“At least I can have faith that the two of you will work well together,” he told her. “As my representative and with Prince Wischard’s support, you will have the ability to fire the Board of Governors and Albus Dumbledore. I want you to. I want the entire school audited and improved. You will need help from the IMEA to staff Hogwarts and expand the course catalog to meet the international standard before the beginning of this new school year.
“I am particularly interested in starting Ritual Magic classes. At Beauxbatons, it is an elective that begins in Third Year and requires both Ancient Runes and Arithmancy to be taken as well.”
“Is that…can you teach such things to Third Years?” Narcissa frowned.
“For the first two years, the class is effectively advanced magical theory and preparation to join a formal ritual circle. Oaths, bloodletting, or nudity don’t begin until Fifth Year.”
Narcissa relaxed. “That is entirely appropriate.
“When will the prince be here?”
Bill checked his watch. “Two hours.”
“Enough time to settle my son with goblin healers,” Narcissa offered as the door opened and Griphook came through followed by two healers and a floating gurney.
Bill was shamelessly avoiding his immediate family. He knew the issues he would face with them and he wanted to be certain Rowena’s processes would work.
So, he was experimenting.
He had experimented with the Malfoys. He had ensured his ritually enhance parchments would work to bring members in to the family.
Now he was experimenting again. With blood relatives he was almost certain he would be removing from the family.
“Bartemius Orlando Crouch.”
Barty Crouch was the son of Charis Crouch nee Black. He had two sisters—one older, one younger—but they had married into good, noble families. They and their children lived under the domain of other family magics and Bill had neither the right nor the grounds to interfere.
Crouch himself was a widower with no living children of middling importance to the British Ministry for Magic. He was a safe bet for the sort of experimentation Bill was dabbling in.
He waited the proscribed period for the forced apparition and Griphook briefing the new arrival.
Then he waited that period again in the event that Crouch was arguing with Griphook. Bill felt such behavior would be beyond the pale but wizards were foolish and Ministry-employed wizards were worse than the average.
Crouch’s own travel was a testament of the House of Black’s domain over him. There was nothing, truly, for Crouch to argue with Griphook about.
The third time the proscribed period came and went, Bill was annoyed.
He stood and started to go to the door when it opened. Master Kragnar slipped into Bill’s temporary office but not before Bill caught a glimpse of the hall outside. It was packed—very nearly standing room only with persons wearing the signature purple dragonhide coats of the ICW’s law enforcement squad.
“What is going on?” Bill asked.
“Your Grace called for one man, correct?”
“Correct,” Bill drawled, confused.
“Two arrived,” Master Kragnar explained, “followed immediately by a house elf in extreme distress that proceeded to try and hide the younger man.”
Bill blinked at the implications. “Barty Crouch, Jr did not die in Azkaban.”
“It would appear not,” Master Kragnar agreed, offering him yet another vial of blood, “based on Junior’s raving, I would say his father has been holding him prisoner for some time.”
“I did not specify junior or senior when I called for Crouch so Black Family Magic brought both,” Bill realized. A very good reason to avoid naming a child after yourself, to Bill’s mind.
But this was good, actually. Accidentally summoning both men meant the Black Family Magic—that his Family Magic—was powerful and eager to do his bidding. It meant good things long term for his control of the family, something he had worried about but never truly acknowledged.
Bill pulled the parchment he had prepared for the removal of Senior from the House of Black and a spare blank from his desk. Bill gave them a quick edit to indicate the two different men with the appropriate blood and signed the parchments.
Then, he tore them from top to bottom, negating their House placement before it could settle.
Master Kragnar reviewed both parchments and nodded. He cast a quick spell on them and the both glowed blue.
“Junior will not survive,” the Black Account Manager warned Bill. “Azkaban ruined him too well.
“Senior, I would give even odds on his survival.” Master Kragnar squinted and corrected himself, “Seventy-thirty in favor of his death.”
That…did not bother Bill at all, actually. “Either way, Azkaban clearly needs to be investigated. This is two escapees discovered in less than a month.”
“Agreed. I will ensure the ICW representative to the Bank agrees as well.” Master Kragnar left the chamber immediately.
Bill checked the time. It was hardly past noon. There was no avoiding dealing with his family…but he could go have lunch with them one last time before he his new family magic pressed him to ruin everything.
He cast a quick glamor on himself to hide the changes his acceptance of the Black Legacy had wrought and apparated directly out of his office.
He didn’t want to waste a single one of the minutes he had left.
“Margaret Anthea Weasley nee Prewett. Charles Septimus Weasley. Percival Ignatius Weasley. Frederick Gideon Weasley. George Fabian Weasley. Ronald Billius Weasley. Ginevra Molly Weasley. ”
None of his siblings had been inducted into any of the family magics their parents had rights to. He knew that because he hadn’t been—it was why he had been magically available to claim the Black Family Magic.
This availability meant he could claim his siblings for the House of Black—as long as they consented, of course.
Consent, the blood of Lucretia Prewett nee Black, and an entry on the Book of Souls were all he needed to change his siblings’ circumstances drastically for the better.
The door to his office was thrown open and his mother marched in, her head practically smoking in fury.
“William Arthur Weasley!” she shouted when she saw him. “How DARE you!”
Bill held up a hand and wordlessly cast a silencing charm. “William Arcturus Black, actually. Lord of House Black, of which you are a daughter, Margaret Anthea Weasley.
“You have a choice, you may accept the House of Black’s domain over you and speak the oaths of loyalty to House Black and to me, or you may be ritually excised from our family magic.”
His mother frowned at him.
He did not lift the charm, instead he explained their situation to his siblings. “I have brought you all here to offer you the chance to formally join the House of Black. This opportunity offers you extensive financial means and the possibility of an increase in magical power but to take it, you must accept my domain over you.”
He lifted the charm on his mother.
She scoffed. “I will never join the House of Black.”
“Very well.” Bill wished he could say he was surprised. “You may leave.”
“Come along, children,” she ordered, standing.
“You, not them,” he told her sternly. He did note that of his siblings, only Ron had even pretended to follow her.
“They are children!” his mother argued. “I am their parent and I have decided—”
“They are Blacks, potentially, and they have every magical and legal right to make this choice for themselves,” Bill disagreed. “But you may wait out in the hall for them.”
His mother looked like she wanted to strike him but her wand stayed firmly out of her hand. She didn’t even try to fight the ward to take it up and curse him.
“You may go,” he repeated.
Bill and his siblings all watched as their mother flounced her way out of the room.
Quickly, Bill signed the parchment detailing his mother’s place in the family, signed it and tore it, removing her from the place before it could settle. His siblings all glanced at the door when they heard the thump of their mother fainting beyond it
“What the bloody hell, Bill!” Ron demanded.
Bill ignored him. “To accept your place within the House of Black, you must have a soulmate.” Bill revealed the book as he had for the former Malfoys. “Charlie?”
“I already checked the book. Years ago,” Charlie said for the benefit of their younger siblings. They unlaced the gauntlet they wore on their left wrist and revealed the name to Bill and Bill alone. He was not surprised by what he saw there.
Bill’s next sibling nodded.
His brother was ambitious. Bill didn’t think anything could prevent Percy from taking his place as a Black as long as he was eligible for it. The Black name would do more by far to aid his political goals than the name Weasley.
“Percival Ignatius Weasley.”
The book opened but Percy stared at his entry in confusion.
“Are their supposed to be two?” he finally asked.
“Who cares about supposed to be?” Charlie scoffed.
Bill hid a smile at Charlie’s ire. “It happens. The most popular theory I’ve heard is that when a soul rejects its partner for a justified reason in the afterlife, Magic may grant them leave to join a different soul mating. All three have to choose each other, but it happens.”
Percy stared at the book for another long moment. “Which one of us was the accepted third?”
“There is no telling but it doesn’t matter,” Bill said in an attempt to comfort. “Magic has granted all three of you the solace of the other two. This is a gift. All you have to do is accept.”
Percy nodded quickly. “I accept,” he told the book in a loud clear tone. Such wasn’t necessary but it amused Bill, so he didn’t say anything.
Soul magic swept up from the book and imprinted one name on each of Percy’s wrists.
The twins did not wait for his instruction. As soon as Percy stepped away, Fred placed his wand hand on the book.
“Frederick Gideon Weasley,” and Fred looked pleased to be educated about his soul mate.
“George Fabian Weasley.”
The twins high fived when George stepped back with a name on his wrist. Something relaxed in Bill to see so many of his siblings eligible to join him in the House of Black.
“Mom says the book is evil,” Ron objected before Bill called his name.
“Do you know why?” Bill asked.
“Because it ruined her dreams,” Ron answered immediately.
“No, our mother ruined herself,” Bill corrected. “She was caught at Hogwarts attempting to create a potion to subvert a soul bond. She didn’t want our father, you see, because he was poor.
“She was caught trying to potion one of her own cousins into marriage. Dumbledore interfered to keep it quiet, keep her out of jail. However, the man’s family complained so much that the International Potions Guild banned mum for life. It was the only official punishment she received for an attempted Crime against Magic herself.”
“Does Dad know?” Charlie demanded.
“Not that I’m aware of. Gran Lucretia forced mum to marry dad at Yule that year and allowed mum to use that to hide the true end of her ambitions, but the record of her ban and why were thoroughly documented.”
George huffed in disgust.
“Check the damn book or get out, Ron,” Fred ordered.
Ron checked the damn book. “Ronald Billius Weasley.”
The book did not open.
Ron laid his other hand on the book. “Ronald Billius Weasley.” The book still did not open. “The book’s broken.”
Even Percy scoffed at that assumption.
“I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” Bill said quietly.
“Bill!” Ron objected.
“I’ll settle a trust fund on you to pay for your education,” Bill promised. “But that is all I can do and I can only do that in the hope that your soulmate hasn’t been born yet.”
“But Hari Potter is my soulmate!”
“Clearly not,” Ginny retorted snidely.
“But Mum said!”
“You need to leave, Ron. But know that if you abuse Hari Potter in any way over this situation, you will become the Enemy of the House of Black. So mote it be.”
Ron paled and swallowed hard but finally left.
“You know he’s going to abuse her over this situation,” Ginny said once the door was closed.
“Mum ruined him,” George said darkly.
Bill sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face. “I cannot declare my biological brother my enemy without cause. I won’t have cause until he does something.”
Ginny frowned but nodded. She took Ron’s place and said, “Ginevra Molly Weasley.”
To Bill’s relief the book opened for her and Ginny accepted the name.
Bill conjured and additional three guest chairs and sat at his desk. His five remaining siblings joined him almost eagerly.
“We will have to change your names to join the House of Black,” Bill warned his siblings. “Everyone with any sort of memory will remember you were basically adopted into the family—which, of course means most of Magical Britain will not recall—” Charlie and Percy both burst out laughing. The younger three just grinned. Bill doubted they were aware enough to truly realize he was right “—but meeting the Black Family naming standard will minimize that awareness.”
“You want us to take star names,” Percy guessed. “You’re William Arcturus now.”
“Middle names, certainly. And the Black surname,” Bill agreed.
“Can we get some examples?” Ginny asked.
“Sirius, Arcturus, Cygus, Alphard, and Orion have been used multiple times in the history of the House of Black.”
“But those are not our only option?” Charlie checked.
“Of course not,” Bill agreed.
“Charlie Ophiuchus Black,” his first sibling offered.
“Charlie, not Charles?” Percy questioned.
“Our sibling is agender,” Bill explained to Percy, “just like their soulmate is genderfluid. They both like to keep thinks neutral.”
“While I’m coming out of the closet, I’m gray-ace as well,” Charlie said with some amusement.
Bill frowned an apology at his sibling but Charlie waved him off. Bill filled out his sibling’s name of choice then he set it aside.
“I’m going to wait to sign these until you are all under the care of the goblin healers,” he explained to his siblings. “The last young man I inducted into the family magic fainted. He’s having to go through re-training to regain the magical control his first two years at Hogwarts gave him.”
“Makes sense,” Charlie agreed for them all and sat back to wait.
“Percival Alphard Black,” Percy offered when Bill looked his way.
Bill filled out his new name without discussion.
Percy turned to the twins. “The Gemini constellation symbolizes magical twins, Castor and Pollux.”
“Pollux?” Fred objected with a scrunched nose.
George laughed at him. “I can take that one, if you’re too good for it.”
Fred huffed. “Frederick Castor Black.”
“George Pollux Black,” George said cheerfully.
Bill filled in both names.
Ginny hesitated. “I can’t make oaths to the Black Family.”
“What?” Bill demanded, a little hurt, “why?”
“Hari Potter saved my life. A life debt settled between us,” Ginny told them all. “Her first Oathsworn, Hermione Granger, laid out her research on the matter and I swore myself to Hari’s service to prevent the possibility of burdening Hari further with my mistakes.
“Hari Potter will always have my first loyalty.”
Bill considered that. His sister serving his soulmate was…not a bad thing.
“That happened at the end of the school year?”
Ginny nodded. “Being separated from her is hard,” Ginny admitted. “I’m looking forward to her coming over this summer but I’m not looking forward to school. I think being separated by our classes but in the same building might be worse than what I’m currently experiencing.”
“I mentioned that when I adopted others, they required re-training,” he said in offer to his sister.
“Yes?” she asked, clearly confused.
“We can use those same techniques to catch you up with Hari and Hermione. Since you were sorted together, that would put you all in the same classes.”
“That would be great,” Ginny admitted. “But can I access that without giving away Hari’s status as my Lady? She deserves as much privacy as she can get and I don’t, technically, have her permission to spread this information around.”
“We’ll keep your secret,” George swore.
Bill didn’t argue with him because the privacy protocols on the door certainly would keep that promise.
“To keep that secret, we would need another reason for you to enter the healing hall. We would never be able to hide your lack of adoption from them,” Bill explained. “House Prewett is matriarchal but mum lost her place as heir for her crimes against soulmates and her grandmother died while I was at Hogwarts so the legacy is languishing without leadership. You should be able to ritually claim that magic thanks to the blood of our maternal grandfather.”
“Will that make me a higher rank than Hari? Because I can’t do that, either.”
Bill snorted. As right as Rowena had proven to be, he had no doubt left that Hari was the Heir of Salazar Slytherin and no one outranked the heirs of the Founders in magical Britain.
The laws the last regency had passed before they dissipated guaranteed that.
“No, you won’t outrank her. Once we verify your eligibility, the Prewett Account Manager will be bound to bring Hari and Hermione to the Bank. I have reasons to believe Hari at the least has an extensive magical legacy to claim. Once she does, you can get her permission and claim the Prewett legacy. Magic, money, property, and all. You’ll probably gain ritual and legal powers over at least one uncle to add to Hari’s cause.”
Ginny grinned. “Cool.”
“I can still settle an educational trust on you like I will for Ron,” Bill promised. “And I would advise you to consider—truly consider—the electives you take this coming school year. They are adding at least two new ones that would serve you very well.”
“I look forward to it.”
Bill nodded and stood. “Shall we?” He led his siblings out of his office, down the hall to the healing room they had set up for his accepted family.
Those that needed healing after he rejected them were in a room farther away and much less secured.
Draco was stretched out on a cot going through magical retraining, mind healing, and courses on human biology that factually decimated pro-pure blood propaganda the like of which his father had force fed him from the cradle. None of Bill’s siblings glanced at the boy twice and he had to wonder if any of them had even recognized him.
“Your Grace?” the healer in charge of the room, Bartok, greeted him.
“My siblings will require your services, Healer Bartok. I thought it would be better to have them laying down and possibly sedated before I accepted them into the family magic.” Bill shot the shorter male a wry grin. “There has been much too much fainting going on today.”
“For your accepted family, I agree,” the goblin nodded. “What’s a little cranial trauma for those that force you to reject them.”
Bill rolled his eyes and got a toothy grin for his trouble.
“Where would you like them?”
Bartok gestured and a row of five cots appeared. “Oldest to youngest. Are there any special needs?”
“For the males, no. Standard re-mastery of the magic they already know. I would like to discuss my sister’s needs after my brothers are settled.”
“Very good,” the healer nodded and then focused his fussing on Charlie. All four of the brothers he had left were laid out and sedated quickly.
“And for Miss Weasley?” Bartok asked, standing beside the bed Gin was sitting on.
“She was exposed to and controlled by a dark object this year at Hogwarts,” Bill explained. “She needs mind healing and probably magical cleansing to deal with the burden that experience left on her.”
Bartok’s lips pursed together in displeasure. “I’m going to write the IMEA a scathing letter. That school needs to be fixed or closed.”
“I working on it,” Bill promised. “The Board and Dumbledore have been fired. The IMEA is sending people to evaluate the current staff starting tomorrow and they are gathering new staff for us to hire—for the new subjects and the old.”
“I’m still writing my letter,” the healer swore.
“That’s fair,” Bill agreed.
“What about the magical oath I can see in her magic?” Healer Bartok asked. “It is quite robust and must be a burden for her.”
“My sister made a vassal oath to Hari Potter to settle the Life Debt between them after Miss Potter saved Ginny from the grip of that dark object I mentioned. We need you to prepare Ginny to start her third year this year with Miss Potter and to claim the Prewett Legacy.”
The healer grunted. “Ragnok will be pleased. Two dormant accounts returned to an active state in the same week? He’ll be very pleased.”
“We have to verify her candidacy and ensure she is mentally sound enough to please the legacy before the account can go active,” Bill reminded the other male.
They both turned to Ginny.
She was looking pale but determined when she asked, “What do you need from me?”
“Lay back, Miss Weasley. We will not verify your claim until after you are healed, so no blood or other fluids will be taken while you sleep. Relax, if you can.”
Ginny laid out on her back and closed her eyes.
The healer waved his hands over her supine body and his sister quickly relaxed into sleep.
Nothing left for him to do, Bill left the room.
He had parchments to sign.
“Andromeda Charis Tonks nee Black. Nymphadora Beatrice Tonks,” Bill called.
When they two women entered his office, Andromeda looked confused but Nymphadora only looked interested.
“Lord Black?” Andromeda addressed him, more or less polite.
“Yes, that’s me,” Bill confirmed. “As you must be aware, while your parents socially disowned you because your soulmate was a muggleborn, they never magically disowned you.”
Andromeda narrowed her eyes at him.
Bill raised an eyebrow in return. “You must know this, otherwise you would have never been able to pass a gift from the Black Legacy to your daughter.” He focused on Tonks, “It is my understanding that you are a metamorphamagus?”
“I am,” she confirmed and quickly shifted her face to match her mother’s—and her aunt Bellatrix’s.
Bill focused on her mother. “As a daughter born to the House of Black already married to your soulmate, all you have to do to take back up your place as a Black is to swear your first loyalty to myself and the House of Black.”
“What about Dumbledore?” she asked.
“Albus Dumbledore is not and never has been a member of the House of Black.”
“Then, no. My first loyalty is and always will be to Albus Dumbledore.”
“Then the trust fund provided to you at your birth will be returned to you, greater the payment you should have received for bearing a daughter for the House of Black but your access to the Familial Legacy will be removed. Your husband will not be welcome to join the House of Black at all.”
“He never was,” Andromeda said scathingly and she left.
Bill turned to Tonks.
Wordlessly, she showed him the name on her wrist. Charlie Ophiuchus Black
“I’ll take the oath because my soulmate did,” she told him. “We stand together in all things, as Magic intended. Will this affect our marriage?”
“It is the House of Black policy to marry after both soulmates have achieved their first Masteries. Is that not what you had planned?”
“I hadn’t planned to take a Mastery,” Tonks admitted. “But I think I will have to, now. It would be too dangerous for me to remain part of the DMLE as a biological female and a Black.
“I also know my mentor will reject me when I take the Black name,” Tonks bit their bottom lip. “I would rather leave him before he leaves me.”
“Smart,” Bill agreed. “You will have extensive financial support from the House of Black, so I encourage you to take your time figuring out what you truly want to do.
“You’ll need to be evaluated by the healer I’ve placed in charge of my family and you will remain in his care while the Black Legacy settles upon you. Every single person I’ve taken on had received a significant boost to their magic and required retraining.”
“And that will start now?”
“Unless you have a very good reason for it not to.”
“I’d like to notify my mentor, Moody, and the DMLE of my separation from them. And I want to remove my mum from the wards on my flat. I am concerned about what she might do when she gets notified of what we’re doing. She inherited the Black temper, you see.”
“We’ll have the goblins recast your wards entirely,” Bill decided. “Once this process is complete, we can discuss either buying your flat or moving you to an existing Black property.”
“Can I review the Black Property catalog?” Tonks asked.
“Of course,” Bill agreed. They didn’t have anything in Romania where Charlie was working toward a Master in Care of Magical Creatures, but they were sure to gain at least one home there between Charlie and Tonks. “Now, the issue of your name.”
“Can I take Tonks Nymphadora Black?” she asked. “I’ve been answering to Tonks since I was a child and I respect my parents—I love my father, even if I won’t be able to claim him anymore.”
“You will be emotionally satisfied with this name?”
“I will,” she nodded, “my lord.”
“The Black Family Magic does not object,” he told her and filled out the parchment accordingly. “Let’s get you to the healer before I make this official.”
Master Kragnar was waiting for Bill when he exited the healing chamber after settling Tonks into a cot next to Charlie.
“Is there a problem?” he asked his Account Manager.
“Yes,” the goblin answered gravely but waited until they were in Bill’s office to continue. “Per your instructions, I have teams going through the Black property catalog to prepare your homes for habitation. They started with the property at Grimmauld Place—Orion and Walburga Black’s personal home, the place Sirius Black and his brother were raised—as I judged it to be the most likely place for you to stay with your siblings until September first at the least. And, of course, to deny use of this well-hidden property to the fugitive.
“The townhouse also has one of the many permanent portals directly into the mansion on Black Island for a spot of holiday should you choose to take it.”
“And?” Bill prompted.
“The house is a total loss. Its curse damage is extensive and the number of dark objects on the property is extreme. Worst of all the objects, there was a horcrux located in the kitchen.”
Bill hissed. Horcruxes were some of the worst magic imaginable and the last person to live in that house, Walburga Black, had left it in a location central to any home.
“Walburga Black’s house elf was guarding the item and attacked the curse breaking team both magically and physically in its defense.” Master Kragnar frowned ferociously. “I regret to inform you that the elf was quite mad and had to be executed for the safety of all.”
“Compensation?” Bill had to ask. Because his Account Manager would not mention it so early if the bank had not determined that he was due compensation.
“The bank will pay for two house elves to bond to your House,” the goblin said. “It will be up to you to convince one of the queens to trust you with the care and bonding of her children.”
Bill figured that was fair. “I’ve heard rumors the British Queen had a royal daughter.” It was something elf queens only did at the end of their lifespan—bear up to three queens to continue their line.
“That is true,” Master Kragnar agreed. “Queens only bond with witches. You don’t have many of those to offer her within your House.”
“I was thinking about my soulmate, to be honest with you.”
Hari Potter certainly had the magic and moral fiber to support a young queen and in turn her colony. Supporting a young queen would put every single one of that queen’s subordinate elves not specifically sworn to someone else unofficially in Hari’s service, which Bill felt was only a good thing.
Master Kragnar raised a curious eyebrow but did not ask.
“I should probably get an elf for each member of the family,” Bill said to himself. “Was there anything else?”
“Permission to destroy the dark objects? Several of them have been on the Horde’s destroy on sight list for decades.”
“Can you destroy the horcrux?”
“Of course,” Master Kragnar agreed. “Master Karguff is concerned the originator of the horcrux might have made many but High Chieftain Ragnok’s stance has not changed. It is our magical duty to find and destroy every horcrux and all knowledge of them we can find.”
“And the townhouse?” Master Kragnar asked.
“Can the portal to Black Island be moved?”
The goblin shook his head. “The portal magic is a Black Family Secret. You would have to share it with the Bank—” Meaning allow the bank to copy and profit off of it. “—or cancel the magic and recast it in a new location before we can safely destroy the townhouse in a ritual.”
“You deal with the horcrux, I’ll deal with the portal.”
“Very good, Your Grace.”
Bill reviewed the Black Family Tree one last time before he signed and tore the parchment for Bellatrix Druella Lestrange nee Black.
The Family Affairs Office would let him know when she passed. She would likely take her husband and brother in-law with her. Bill honestly didn’t see how the three of them could have survived over a decade in Azkaban without the Black Legacy bolstering them magically. He had no doubt they would die quickly with it gone.
All the Lestrange assets would come to the House of Black per the terms of Bellatrix’s marriage contract.
The penalty was steep for either member of the marriage dying without common issue between the two of married persons, but it was fairly standard for a Black marriage contract. At least, a Black Marriage contract for a daughter marrying a man the Lord did not trust. Clearly, Lord Arcturus had been right not to trust Rodolphus Lestrange—not that Bellatrix had been worthy of his trust either.
Bill stretched. The day had been exhausting but he had everyone as settled as he could get them.
Tomorrow, he would deal with Sirius Black.
Tomorrow, he would end the threat his family held for his soulmate.
Tomorrow, when he was fresh—with an entire strike force of goblin warriors at his back.
“Sirius Orion Black,” Bill called out.
He heard the clanking even before Sirius Black ever reached the door to his office and it was opened. Between the layers of magical chains and the number of goblin warriors decked out in magically-imbued metal armor, the noise was immense.
When the prisoner was seated before him, Bill began, “My name is William Arcturus Black, Duke of Ravenclaw, Earl of Black. You may call me Your Grace.”
That drew a bark of laughter from the prisoner. He was ragged and dirty. Magically exhausted as well, but under that Bill could see the traces of a very attractive man. He wondered, briefly, how many hearts he had broken with his betrayal, over and above the Potters’.
“You are here because you are a threat to my soulmate—”
The man’s focused so sharply that Bill could feel it on his skin. “Peter Pettigrew is your soulmate?”
“No,” Bill drawled, taken aback. “Hari Potter is my soulmate.”
Sirius looked offended. “I am not and never shall be a threat to Hari Belladonna Potter.”
Bill felt his mouth drop open in surprise.
It took him a moment but he gathered himself. “Verum dico,” he hit his family member with the strongest truth compulsion his family magic gave him access to. “Are you a threat to Hari Belladonna Potter in any way—physically, magically, or emotionally?”
“No,” Sirius Black answered without hesitation. “She is my goddaughter and heir. Her safety and happiness are my oathbound duty.”
Bill frowned. “Were you the Potter’s secret keeper?”
“No, but we all pretended that I was to give the real secret keeper an extra layer of security.”
“Who was the Potter’s secret keeper?”
“Peter Andrew Pettigrew.”
Bill was confused. “What happened the night the Potter’s died?”
“I was at a pub, bragging and drawing focus to myself. It seemed to be working, there were several people I knew to be Death Eaters in the crowd including my cousin Bellatrix.
“I passed out when I felt the wards fall on the Potter’s hiding place. The pain I felt when my brother in Magic, James Potter died was immense. When I came to, I immediately apparated to their home. James was dead. Lily was dead. Hari was frightfully quiet, staring at her mother like she knew exactly what had happened. There were some black robes on the floor. I kicked the boots aside and took Hari from the room.
“Hagrid arrived and insisted on taking Hari to Dumbledore. I figured Hogwarts was the safest place she could be so I gave him my bike for the trip—I had lent it to James in case he had to flee with Hari and Lily because the Fidelis does not allow for portkeys or a floo connection.
“Once Hari was safely gone, I started hunting Peter. He was hiding in the muggle world so I had to be careful about it but I did find him.”
Sirius Black stilled, staring into the distance in confusion.
“And then?” Bill prompted.
“Peter was there. He was yelling accusations at me and then the street blew up behind him. I thought he was dead until I saw him in the Prophet.”
“Until, what?” Bill demanded.
“I saw him in the Prophet,” Black repeated. “He was there on the front-page, Minister Fudge showed me. With the Weasley Family in Egypt.”
Bill remembered that picture. He was in that picture but the only non-blood part of the family in the picture had been Scabbers…who was missing a digit on his front left paw.
Established history claimed that all that had been left of Pettigrew after Black had been done with him was his left ring finger.
“Pettigrew is an animagus,” Bill guessed. “His form is a rat?”
“Yes, since our fifth year at Hogwarts,” Sirius admitted. “We all were.”
“And he’s living with Hari Potter’s best friend,” Bill continued.
Black actually growled, his lips pulled back to bare his teeth. “I’m going to kill him! I’m going to destroy him! Before he gets to her!”
Well, Bill clearly was not removing Sirius Orion from the Family Legacy. He was clearly the only Black of his generation worth a damn.
“What about your trial?” Bill asked, leaning with all he had magically into the honesty compulsion.
Sirius’s face showed the strain for Bill’s force. “No trial. No questions. Only Azkaban.”
“We will fix that,” Bill promised. Then he signed the ritually enhanced parchment before his family member could ask questions. Because of Arcturus Black’s retreat from society toward the end of his life, not even his own grandson was as entrenched in the family magic as he should have been and Sirius Black fainted.
Master Kragnar stepped out from under the disillusionment charm that had hidden the additional twenty warriors that had sworn themselves to Bill’s safety for this event. “Your orders?” the goblin asked.
“Show the memory of this conversation to your Chieftain,” Bill answered. “This is proof that the Black Family Accounts were allowed to go defunct for no valid reason.”
“Do you aim to start another Rebellion?” Master Kragnar asked, tone viciously amused.
“If that’s what it takes,” Bill admitted. “The House of Black will stand with you, of course.
“Sirius Orion was the Heir to the House of Black when he was thrown into Azkaban. He was ruined socially and magically without a trial and without proof. That speaks to me of a great deal of corruption within the Ministry at the time. Corruption that, quite frankly, must still exist right now.”
Master Kragnar nodded. “The first thing they should have done when he escaped was review his case file for information on possible accomplices and personal means to leverage them for Mr. Black’s capture. Upon learning there was no case file, the DMLE should have escalated the issue to the ICW.”
“Instead, they released Dementors from Azkaban to hunt him down and Kiss him on site.” Bill frowned. “Someone is trying to cover their own arse.”
“Several someones, I would wager,” Master Kragnar agreed.
The door opened and Master Bartok entered with a team of medi-wizards. “Well, this is interesting.”
“He is innocent of the crimes of which he was accused,” Master Kragnar informed him colleague before Bill could. “Uncle will take a vested interest in ruining entire family lines over this.”
“Do encourage him to destroy Azkaban,” the healer said. “Healing him from that place will take extensive work. Months, if not years.
“We will likely need to perform several rituals, so be prepare for that, Your Grace, as you will need to participate so your family magic will bolster him. Else, he might not survive.”
“I will be available,” Bill promised.
“It might be time to introduce Men to the Time Dilation Chamber,” the healer told his account manager matter of factly.