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Initiate by MarauderLover7
Chapter 1 : Family And Friends
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 11


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“With the Animagus thing, how will I know when I’ve got the right incantation?”

Sirius, who was dozing in an armchair in the library, snorted and pushed himself upright, trying to pretend he’d been awake the whole time. He yawned massively, and was rewarded by a snigger, and then an impatient shuffle of papers.

“You’ll change,” he muttered, and forced his eyes open. A bookcase was the only thing in his immediate line of sight, but warm, pinkish light was flooding in from the window; the sun was rising.

“That’s not very helpful,” Harry said from the floor, where he was curled up with his worn piece of parchment – Sirius thought he ought to rewrite the parts he was keeping – and several large books, including the storage book Dora’d bought him for Christmas.

“What?” Sirius asked, rubbing his face. Harry sniggered again, and Sirius got a whiff of ink, probably from the inkwell on the carpet with Harry, and also the strong, mouth-watering scent of bacon; breakfast obviously wasn’t far away. “Ah, sorry. What’ve you got?”

Harry got up and came to perch on the arm of the chair for all of three seconds; then he slid down the side, until he was wedged between Sirius and the arm. Sirius moved over as much as he could, but Harry was still half sitting on him, so he just rearranged his arms into the most comfortable position he could, and looked over the parchment Harry had given him.

My fur is as dark as the night but (something about the moon?). I like belong to my pack and we’re have the same moods happy and sad at the same time together. I am the wolf born of stag and doe.

Sirius hadn’t seen it for quite some time, and was impressed with Harry’s progress. He read it a few more times, gathering ideas – mainly he thought about the sort of things that had worked for himself, James and Peter when they created their incantations. The moon was something very appropriate to mention in an spell involving a wolf, and Sirius spent a moment wondering whether Harry’d come up with that on his own, or whether Remus had suggested it; he was leaning more toward the former.

“I don’t know what to do about the moon part,” Sirius said slowly, thinking. He tickled Harry’s ear with the quill, and Harry squirmed and almost threw himself off the armchair in an attempt to get away. Sirius subsided, though, before he had to resort to such extreme measures. Harry eyed the quill warily but then resettled himself. “I like the pack part, but it could be reworded... maybe something about it being an adoptive family... I mean, we’re family-” Of that, Sirius had no doubt, and he didn’t think Harry did either. “-but we’re only distantly related by blood, and you and Moony aren’t really related at all-”

“My pack adopted me?” Harry suggested.

“We all sort of adopted each other,” Sirius said, smiling to himself, as he became very aware of the dogtags hanging around his neck. “Maybe ‘my pack is chosen and they are mine and I am theirs’?”

“My pack is chosen carefully,” Harry amended, thoughtfully. “Otherwise – if he’d had his way - Mr Malfoy would be part of it, and so would every other ‘well-meaning’ person in Britain.” He shuddered and Sirius sniggered, but forced himself to focus.

“And happy and sad works nicely,” he said, “but there’s got to be a better way to word that... something more canine.”

He and Harry lapsed into concentrated silence; Sirius was thinking about Padfoot, and what he did when he was happy, and Harry was probably using him as a reference too, since Harry’d never seen Remus as Moony.

“Wagging tails,” they said in unison, and then, “Oi!”

Harry jumped off the armchair and started to scribble that down, just as Remus wandered into the library – obviously breakfast wasn’t ready yet - and burst out laughing.

“Moony,” Harry said, waving in Remus’ general direction, but his eyes never actually left his parchment.

“Harry,” Remus said, in an odd tone; it was mild, like usual, but there was an amused sort of reprimand in his voice too. It was a tone Sirius had heard him use a lot, but only once or twice had he ever heard it directed at Harry. Sirius glanced at Harry; his thin shoulders were trembling with laughter, and he refused to look at either of them.

“What’ve you done?” Sirius asked, feeling a bit left out. Harry just looked at him and smiled a smile that got wider with each passing second. Remus sighed. “Accio Sirius Black’s mirror,” he said, flicking his wand. A moment later, Sirius’ mirror shot into the room and Remus caught it and passed it over. Sirius glanced into it and chuckled; Harry – no doubt while Sirius had been dozing – had joined Sirius’ eyebrows, given him a lightning bolt scar, cat whiskers and a very curly moustache.

Sirius set the mirror down and leaned back in his chair, contented.

“I look fantastic,” Sirius said; both Harry and Remus seemed surprised he’d left it on.

“I thought it was an improvement,” Remus said, smirking.

“Why not take it off?” Harry asked.

“I could...” Sirius said, “but I’d much rather show Kreacher what you did to his poor, tired Mast-”

Saponum!” Harry said, looking panicked. Sirius ducked, and a jet of soapy bubbles shot over his head and splattered on the wall behind him. “Sit, Padfoot!”

“Assaulting an Auror is a legal offense,” Sirius cackled, ducking another cleaning spell. “And again!” He clicked his tongue. “What would your mother say-”

“Probably a spell to help her son,” Remus said helpfully; he was staying well out of the way. Harry tried a water spell next, and it would have hit Sirius square in the face if he hadn’t tripped on a stack of books; it got the back of his head instead.

“Kreacher!” Sirius shouted, running to the door. “Kreacher, look what Harry did to me!”

“Ignore him!” Harry bellowed, chasing after Sirius. “Kreacher, stay where you are!” Sirius could only imagine the dilemma Kreacher was under in the kitchen, arguing with himself over whether to stay or come. “Pedis Offensio,” Harry said, and Sirius was relieved that he’d waited until the pair of them reached the landing; it could have been dangerous at the top of the stairs.

Sirius went over with a yelp, and Harry promptly sat on him and started to clean his face with water spells. Sirius spluttered and changed into Padfoot – Harry should have anticipated that, but didn’t – and so Padfoot was able to throw him off – gently – and get a grip on the hood of his school jumper.

Harry, of course, tried to wriggle out, and had managed to extract one arm, and lose his head in the folds of the blue wool, when Kreacher appeared at the bottom of the stairs with his hands on his skinny hips. Padfoot still immediately, and attempted to smile at Kreacher – it must have looked silly, given that he was a dog, and had a mouthful of wool. Harry stopped struggling too, though Sirius wasn’t sure if he’d given up, or sensed Kreacher’s presence.

Kreacher eyed Padfoot, who was dripping inky water all over the carpet, and Harry, who was dangling from Padfoot’s mouth by his jumper, and peeking out through the neckhole, glasses askew.

Kreacher’s eyes narrowed and Padfoot opened his mouth. Harry dropped to the floor with a grunt, and his head popped out of his jumper. Padfoot wagged his tail and gave Harry an enormous lick on the side of the face – which was met by a playfully disgusted sound and a tug on his ear – and then changed back into himself.

Both he and Harry watched Kreacher, probably looking rather guilty. Kreacher just sighed, as if he hadn’t really expected anything else – Sirius supposed he probably shouldn’t have, because he’d been living with the pair of them for over two years now.

“Breakfast is ready,” he said. After that, it was the usual morning rush; Remus helped Harry with a bit of last minute preparation for a spelling test he had that day at school – Sirius wondered briefly if Harry should have been working on that instead of his Animagus incantation and then decided that being able to turn into a wolf would probably help him more in the long term than knowing how to spell ‘scintillating’ – and Sirius Summoned his mirror and scrubbed the rest of the ink off his face over the kitchen sink – as much as it amused him, he didn’t think it’d be well received at work - and Kreacher got underfoot, trying to get them all to eat.

Dora Flooed in, looking tired – she’d had an overnight training session – and she accepted a egg and bacon roll from Kreacher which she devoured in the time it took Harry to run upstairs and fetch his rucksack, and then Apparate back upstairs to find shoes. Ted and Andy would both be at work, and Dora couldn’t cook to save her life, so she was a regular at Grimmauld or Remus’ in the mornings if she wanted anything other than toast or cereal for breakfast.

“Ready,” Harry said, hopping on the spot to try to get his trainers on; he hadn’t bothered to untie the laces. While he was still – or sort of still – Sirius tapped him on the head to change his appearance slightly. While they weren’t on the run anymore, Sirius wasn’t entirely sure what muggles knew about Harry Potter, other than that he’d been kidnapped two and a bit years ago. Harry’s hair lightened to a sandy brown, sat a bit flatter, and his eyes lightened to blue. Sirius repeated the same charms on himself.

“Got everything?” Sirius asked. Harry nodded, hoisting his bag over his shoulder, and headed for the stairs. “Coming?” he asked Dora; Ted and Andy’s house wasn’t only a few streets past Harry’s school.

“I think I might Apparate,” she said through a yawn. “Straight into bed, I might add.” She yawned again, kissed Remus and then and stumbled after Harry, her hair a sleepy blue. “Thanks for breakfast, Kreacher.” Kreacher bowed and continued to clear the table.

“Good luck,” Sirius told Remus, who grinned, wiped his palms on his robes and headed over to the fireplace.

He vanished into the fire with a nervous, “Hogwarts!” Sirius started upstairs after the other two, and then shook his head.

“Wand, Harry,” he said; the item in question was protruding from the pocket of Harry’s school shorts.

“Oops,” Harry said, spinning around. “Sorry.” He squeezed past Dora and then Sirius, dropped his wand on the kitchen table. His lunchbox, which he’d forgotten, was pressed into his hands by Kreacher. “Thanks! Bye, Kreacher,” he called, letting Sirius usher him upstairs, down the hallway, and out the door. Sirius took a moment longer, to retrieve his bike from the indoor shed he and Harry had replaced his father’s old office with, back in early January, and wheeled it out into the warm, June sun.

Dora yawned and bid them both goodbye before she promptly vanished, and Sirius carefully manoeuvred his bike down the front steps to where Harry was waiting impatiently, spelling out words under his breath.

*                   *                      *

It was a nice morning for a walk, Remus thought, as he walked along the road between Hogsmeade and the school. The sun was already out, but not too hot yet, and everything was very green. Hagrid was waiting for him at the gates; Dumbledore had probably sent him.

“Mornin’,” he said, beaming at Remus through his thick beard, as he unlocked the gates.

“Good morning, Hagrid,” Remus said, with a smile. “I hope I didn’t disrupt your breakfast-”

“Ate early,” Hagrid said, waving a large hand. He stepped back to let Remus inside, and then patted him on the shoulder. Remus braced himself, but still staggered a bit under the force. “Got things ter do today, what with Fluffy moving to a new home an’ all.”

Remus smiled politely; he wasn’t entirely sure who or what Fluffy was, but was certain that Fluffy probably wasn’t as friendly and gentle as the name suggested, and was even more certain that, despite his interest in magical creatures, that he probably didn’t want to meet this one. Hagrid pulled a pocket watch the size of a normal wall clock out of his coat, and baulked.

“I’d best get going... Good luck!”

“Thanks, Hagrid,” Remus said, and wished for the millionth time that everyone would stop wishing him luck; he appreciated the sentiment, but it was making him very nervous. Hagrid headed off toward the forest, whistling for Fang as he went; Fang, who’d been sitting on the front steps of Hagrid’s hut, trotted over and fell into step beside him.

Remus continued up to the castle. Most of the school was still at breakfast; he could see them through the large windows that looked out into the grounds, though he suspected quite a few of the seventh years were still in their common rooms, or in the library, cramming for their N.E.W.T.s. A few students were out and about; a group of small children – probably first or second years – were throwing rocks at the Whomping Willow, two older students were sitting very close together, over by the lake, and another pair – younger students, again, were watching the Whomping Willow from a safe distance.

“Reckon they’ll find the knot?” a voice asked. It was nigglingly familiar, and Remus slowed to get a closer look at the speaker. She was sitting, so it was hard to guess her height, with very blond hair, and a very straight posture. She was eating a piece of bacon and talking to a younger, skinnier male companion, with brown hair. Both were wearing Hufflepuff robes.

Remus actually recognised the boy first; it was Silverear, from the werewolf camp. The girl had noticed him looking, and the scowl she wore triggered his memory, and given that Silverear was beside her, Remus knew it could only be Greentooth. He’d known they were starting Hogwarts – Dumbledore had actually consulted him on the matter – but he hadn’t really thought about it since.

“Lupin,” she said flatly. Her voice, which had been lighter and gentler when she was speaking to Silverear, had reclaimed its usual growling edge. Remus also couldn’t get over how clean she looked; at the camps, her hair had been matted, and brown from dirt, she’d had long, ragged fingernails and torn clothes. Here, she had freshly laundered robes, and had washed, brushed hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. She was almost unrecognisable. Silverear’s hair was a few shades lighter, but that was the only difference; he’d always managed to maintain a reasonable standard of hygiene. “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve come to see the Headmaster,” he said, approaching slowly. “And you two... almost at the end of first year, I suppose?” Silverear glanced at Greentooth, who’d folded her arms and put her nose in the air. Silverear nodded. “Enjoying it?” Silverear nodded again, instantly, and Remus couldn’t help but smile.

“I suppose,” Greentooth said after a pause. “Obviously learning from Father and the others would have been preferable-” Her eyes went dull for a brief moment, and then sparked with anger. “-but after last year that wasn’t an option.” She sniffed, and Silverear looked grim, but not sad.

Interesting, Remus thought, watching the pair of them. “Well,” he said aloud, “I’ll leave you to it. Good luck with exams.”

“Thanks,” Silverear said quietly. Greentooth silenced him with a look, and then turned one of her most threatening glowers on Remus, who turned away from them and continued on toward the castle.

Remus wasn’t sure whether Dumbledore’d spotted him through the window in the Great Hall, or if he’d just known in that uncanny way of his, but he was waiting in the Entrance Hall, when Remus walked through the front doors. They walked companionably up to Dumbledore’s office, exchanging pleasantries – Dumbledore asked about Sirius and Harry, and about the last full moon, and Remus in turn, asked about the school and about Greentooth and Silverear, though Dumbledore knew them both as Sarah and Ethan.

“Now, may I hope that your presence here today indicates a positive response to the proposal I made in my letter?” Dumbledore asked once they were settled in his office.

“Third time’s the charm,” Remus replied, amused. Dumbledore beamed. “If you’re willing to have me, of course.”

“Of course,” Dumbledore said warmly. “Arrangements can easily be made for when you’re ill – Sarah and Ethan are currently occupying the Shrieking Shack, so you could always join-”

“No, thank you,” Remus said. “I’ll either leave the grounds altogether, or I’ll take the Wolfsbane potion and spend the night in my office.” Dumbledore inclined his head.

“I’ll leave you to choose the method that best suits you,” he said. “We will be able to facilitate either, I’m sure. All I ask is that you keep me informed, should that method change at any time. People – parents and students both – may be uneasy, given your admission at Sirius’ trial, but I should be able to placate them, as long as I know exactly where you’ll be.” Dumbledore sighed. “I apologise for the intrusion, because I know you’ve never truly been comfortable talking about your condition-”

“Don’t apologise,” Remus said. “It’s not an unreasonable request, by any means.”

“Thank you.”

“I’ve got to ask, though, sir: why me? Why sign up for all this trouble when you could just have Bean or Rattler, or just keep Davey in the positi-?”

“Neither Sturgis or Thomas were willing to step down from their jobs for a year,” Dumbledore said. “My other candidate was Quirinus, but when I spoke with him this morning, he seemed distracted. He said he had some sort of research project on the go, and that he’d be occupied with that for quite some time.” Dumbledore smiled in a fond sort of way. “He said that teaching was important, but that he had to prioritise. And Davey’s eyesight is deteriorating; while he can still teach theory, he’s struggling to write notes, and struggling with his aim and coordination in practical demonstrations.”

“And that leaves me,” Remus said wryly.

“You are hardly a last resort, Remus,” Dumbledore said patiently. “As you said earlier, this is not the first time I’ve approached you.”

“No,” Remus agreed.

“So you’ll take the job?” Dumbledore asked. Remus hesitated, and oddly, found himself thinking of James.

The risk’s what makes it fun, he thought, mustering a smile. “Sure,” he said. “Where do I sign?”

*                   *                    *

“Oh, this is so exciting!” Dora said, bouncing along beside Remus; she was wearing the Balance Boots she’d been given for Christmas, otherwise Remus didn’t think she’d dare bounce, for fear of falling over. She and Remus dodged a pair of trainees and Auror Dawlish and continued through the corridor. “Have you told Sirius yet?”

“I haven’t seen him. Or Harry,” he added with a grin, forestalling her next question. He caught her hand, and she gave his a squeeze and smiled up at him. “I thought we could stop by Sirius’ cubicle, though, and see if he wanted to join us for lunch.”

“No,” Dora said. Remus glanced at her, surprised.

“Why not?” he asked.

“He’s not here.”

“He said he’d be in all day, though,” Remus said, frowning. “Did something come up? Is Harry-”

“He went to get coffee with McKinnon, about half an hour ago,” Dora said, shrugging. Remus arched an eyebrow.

“Did he now?” he asked, smirking. “What prompted that?” Dora shrugged again.

“They do it all the time,” she said, not seeming fazed. Remus stopped walking, and Dora glanced back at him, her hair a puzzled sort of orange.

“He’s never said anything to me about that,” he said.

Now it was Dora’s turn to smirk: “Well he wouldn’t, would he?”

“He always liked to brag about dates, though,” Remus said, frowning.

“I don’t think it’s a date,” Dora said, rolling her eyes, but she didn’t smell convinced. Remus just gave her a look. “I think they’re just friends.”

“They’ve always been ‘just friends’,” Remus said, amused. He kissed Dora’s temple, and she smiled up at him. “Even when they were practically living together, and we all thought Sirius was going to propose, they weren’t dating.” She laughed, and then looked thoughtful. Remus stepped forward – but kept hold of her hand – while he pressed the button for the lift. “Any preference for lunch?”

“No,” she said. “I just need to be back by one, or Mad-Eye’ll... er...”

“Be unimpressed?”

“I was going to say hex me, or feed me to his rubbish bins, but unimpressed works too,” she said, grinning.

*                    *                     *

“Blaise,” Mrs Phelps said, “you’re needed at the front office. Everyone else, off to lunch.”

Harry tried to catch Blaise’s eye, but Blaise wasn’t looking his way; he looked puzzled, and was frowning at his feet. Harry glanced at Hermione, instead; she shrugged and pulled an apple out of her schoolbag. Harry grabbed his own lunch – two slices of freshly baked bread (it was still warm, and he grinned and reminded himself to thank Kreacher) – a small, mixed selection of fruit, and a slice of treacle tart.

“Hats on,” Mrs Phelps called after them. “If the teacher on duty sees you without it, you’ll be sent inside!”

Harry jammed his hat onto his head, and Hermione did the same. Blaise hadn’t even taken his. The pair of them made their way out of the classroom with the rest of the students, and out into the sunny schoolyard. Harry’s eyes followed Blaise; Blaise was too well behaved to be in trouble, and his father – Mr Benson – would venture out of the principal’s office to talk to him, rather than call him in.

“What do you reckon’s going on?” Harry asked Hermione.

“I don’t know,” Hermione said, not seeming bothered by the whole thing. “Mr Benson probably just wants to talk to him.” She pulled a juicebox out of the pocket of her shorts – orange, just like always. She unwrapped the straw. “How’d you go in the spelling test? Did you get number seven?” Harry’d known her too long to be surprised when class work came up, but he still had to swallow a groan. He looked around for any other topic of conversation, and his eyes fell on Blaise again.

“Who’s that?” he asked; Blaise and Mr Benson were standing outside the front office, but they weren’t alone; a tall woman stood near them, dressed in a dark shirt and blouse, tall heels, and Harry could see her red lipstick from across the playground. She had Blaise’s dark skin and hair.

“I don’t know,” Hermione said, sipping at her orange juice. She seemed completely unconcerned.

“Look at Blaise!” Blaise was watching the woman from behind his father, and his hand was curled around Mr Benson’s arm. He seemed scared, or wary, something Harry never would have expected from his confident, charismatic friend.

“Odd,” Hermione agreed, sounding a bit more curious now. She eyed Harry. “You can’t be thinking of going over there?!”

“No,” Harry said, and then relented. “Why not?”

“Because that’s called spying!” Hermione said, looking scandalised. “Blaise is our friend, and-”

“And what if he needs us?” Harry said.

“Mr Benson will look after him,” Hermione said, with confidence. Harry couldn’t doubt that; Mr Benson was about as committed to Blaise as Padfoot was to Harry.

“It’s not spying,” Harry said. “It’s just keeping an eye on-” He could tell from Hermione’s face that she wasn’t convinced, so he dropped that line of argument, and tried another one: “You’re not even a bit curious?”

“No,” Hermione said, after a moment’s hesitation.

“Liar,” Harry said, grinning. He tucked what was left of his lunch into his pocket, and hopped off of the bench.

“I’m not- Harry! You’ll lose house points if you’re caught!” Hermione sprang to her feet and hurried after him, hissing reprimands. Blaise, Mr Benson and the woman were heading inside, probably to Mr Benson’s office.

“House points?” Harry asked. “What do you care? You’re not in my house.”

“You’ll get in trouble!” she said, tugging on his shirt.

“Only if you’re not quiet,” he whispered.

“I’ll get in trouble!” she moaned. “I’ve never had a time out, and I don’t want one just before school finis-”

“I’m not forcing you to come,” Harry pointed out. He crept around the outside of the administration building – technically, they were out of bounds, so he kept an eye out for teachers – and was a little surprised to hear Hermione’s overly slow, quiet footsteps behind him.

*                          *                           *

“So was it Gina?” Blaise asked.

“Giovanna,” Giovanna replied. She sat down in Emmanuel’s chair. He seemed a little annoyed by that, but he was a muggle – even if he was the father of her son – and she was a witch, and she’d like to see him try to stop her. He remained standing, his hand on Blaise’s shoulder. He’d always been very mild-mannered. A nice man – other than the fact that he was a muggle – and not her usual type; he wasn’t exceedingly handsome, or exceedingly wealthy. Or wealthy at all; she eyed his suit and was sure the entire thing cost less than her lipstick.

That was probably what had saved his life... that, and when Blaise came along, she needed somewhere to leave the boy because she certainly hadn’t wanted to deal with dirty nappies, and baby food, and crying, and toilet training... but who better to leave her child with, than a teacher? Teachers liked children.

Giovanna looked at her son. There was no doubt he was hers; he looked very much like her older brother had at the same age.

“Giovanna,” Blaise said, tasting the name.

“Giovanna Zabini,” Giovanna said; she’d never had much patience for children, and their need to repeat everything. “Your mother.”

“Yeah,” he said. “You mentioned that.” He glanced at his father and then back at her. “So what do you want?”

“To give you this,” she said, pulling a heavy parchment envelope from her pocket. She’d had it since April, when he turned eleven – it would have been sent out that day – probably with Minerva McGonagall - except she’d had a word with Dumbledore and he’d given it to her so that she could take it to her son. She’d been rather busy since then, with work, but she’d finally managed to find time to visit.

She passed the letter to Blaise, who glanced at Emmanuel again. Giovanna rolled her eyes; the boy wouldn’t last five minutes in any house but Hufflepuff if he was so hinged on reassurance. Giovanna wondered if she should have come earlier.

“Open it,” she sighed. For a moment, she thought he might refuse – he certainly would have if Emmanuel hadn’t been there, nodding warily – but then he broke the wax and opened the letter. His dark eyes flicked back and forward as he read the letter, and his face paled a bit.

“Blaise?” Emmanuel asked. Blaise handed him the letter, and while he was reading, Blaise looked at Giovanna. There was something in his eyes that reminded her of herself, and for the first time today, she thought the boy might actually amount to something.

“Is this a joke?” he asked.

Or perhaps not, she thought, sighing. He’s just as dense as every other muggle I’ve ever met.  “No,” she said. “It’s quite real.”

“Magic?” he asked. “I think I’d know if I had magic.” There was a squeak from over near the open window, and Giovanna frowned, pulled out her wand, and closed it. She added a Silencing charm for good measure. Blaise and Emmanuel both stared.

“Haven’t you ever been scared or excited and made something strange happen?” she asked impatiently.

“Er... no,” Blaise said, rolling his eyes. Giovanna felt as if she’d been hit.

“Never?” she asked, staring between her son and his father.

“Never?” Blaise said. Emmanuel nodded.

“But-” She shook her head. Her son could not be a Squib. “But he’s on the list! He has a letter. He has to be magical!”

“Well, I’m not,” Blaise said. “Like I said, I think I’d know.”

“Did he ever do anything strange as a child? Summon toys, turn on lights?” Emmanuel shook his head, and frowned down at the letter. Giovanna pulled out her wand again, and the other two flinched. “Take it,” she said.

“I don’t want to,” Blaise said.

“Now, Blaise!” she snapped.

“No,” he said. “You can’t just show up here after eleven years and tell me what to do.”

“All right,” she said coolly. She flicked her wand, securing Blaise to his chair. Emmanuel stepped forward, but Giovanna was already on her feet, wand pressed to his throat. Emmanuel swallowed nervously. “Take it now, or Daddy gets hurt.”

“You’re insane!” Blaise said, and then started to shout at the office door: “Mrs Felser! Mrs Felser, call the-” Giovanna Silenced him. Blaise’s eyes were enormous, and his mouth was moving rapidly, but no sound was escaping. Emmanuel tried to step away, but Giovanna just prodded him with her wand.

“Three,” Giovanna said, “two, o-” Her wand flew out of her hand and landed by the office door. She smiled at her son, who looked scared. “See,” she said. “Magic.” Emmanuel was quite still, so she collected her wand and released Blaise. “Now,” she said, “that we’ve established that, certain steps need to be taken. Firstly, Blaise is coming with me, until Hogwarts starts in September.”

“Now wait just one-” Emmanuel began.

“But I still have school-”

“Muggle school,” Giovanna said dismissively. “Hogwarts, and preparing for Hogwarts, is more important. No son of mine is going to show up behaving like a mudblood in front of the likes of the Malfoys, Greengrasses or Parkinsons.”

“I’m not your son,” Blaise muttered.

“Your blood says differently,” Giovanna told him dismissively.

“You can’t just show up and take my son-”

“I showed up and left him eleven years ago, and you didn’t complain,” Giovanna said. She checked her watch. “You’ll see him at Christmas, don’t worry.”

“No,” Blaise said. “No, I’m staying with Dad-”

“Good bye, Emmanuel,” Giovanna said, taking hold of Blaise’s arm. He tried to shrug her off, but he wasn’t quick enough; she pulled them both into Apparition.


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