Sitting in the park that was a part of the college Riley attended, she laughed with her friends as Leo told a joke he had heard last week. Kathryn passed Riley a drink and spilled it all over her as a big brown barn owl swooped down and landed in the middle of their circle. “Kathryn, really, as long as you’ve known me and you still get freaked out by owls?” Riley chuckled at her friend as the owl held out its right leg. “Stay here and you can send it back. Nevermind, it’s from London. Have some water,” she held out a small bowl of juice that Rick had handed her. The owl gratefully drank up as Riley read her letter.
Dear Ms. Riley Morgan Madison:
I am very sorry to be the one that has been given the duty to tell you that Sirius Black of 12 Grimmauld Place, London, England, has passed away.
This took place two days ago during a brawl in the ministry in which You-Know-Who returned. Mr. Black has left you a considerable amount of gold of which I took the liberty to place into your Gringotts account, located in Diagon Alley. He also left his property in Grimmauld Place that you are to share with one, Harry James Potter, of Surrey.
There are also a listed of items bequeathed to you. I will need you to send me a letter straight away that tells me where you want these items sent.
Again, I’m sorry for your loss.
Yours In Sincerity,
Douglas J. Saffron
There was another piece of paper with a list of items on it. Riley tucked it into the book she had been reading and took a sip of water from Leo. “What’s wrong,” Leo asked, moving closer to her. “Who was the letter from?”
“Douglas J. Saffron, Magical-Attorney-At-Law,” Riley replied stiffly. “I will kill Albus Dumbledore for not telling me first. What a way to find out that he, that he. . .” Riley started crying. Rick picked up the letter and read it out loud. When he finished, he scooted over and gave Riley a hug, too, as did Kathryn. Riley stopped in mid-sob. “I have to go now,” she said, “I have to go help. He needs . . .” Her friends did not try to stop her. Kathryn held her upright as Leo and Rick cleaned up their little picnic.
They went to Kathryn’s dorm, because it was closest. “Listen, the semester is over,” Riley said, “I’m going to need you guys to be there, if you could be. Do you want to come along?” The three of them agreed. Riley quickly made arrangements to come back and get them in a couple of days. “I’ll make sure there is some place safe for you to stay. I’ll come get you in a couple of days.” She hugged them all quickly; Leo’s hug being the longest. She winked at them as she disappeared, leaving nothing but a big sound.
Her friends stared at the spot where Riley had been. “We’ll never get use to this magic stuff, you know,” Rick said. Kathryn and Leo nodded. “Let’s go get ready, shall we?”
Riley quickly looked around for any signs of a trap. Number 12 Grimmauld Place was indeed empty, for the time being. Shaking her head, she looked at the transformation. She had been in and out of this place many times in the last sixteen years. In the last three, however, were the real significant changes. The house was actually livable, maybe, probably. She wished someone were there. She was well aware that this was the Headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix, of which she was a member. Running a hand through her curly, unruly hair, she walked around quietly waiting for someone to show up. She wished Molly or Arthur Weasley was there, or even Remus Lupin. Anyone with any information would be helpful at the moment.
“Master’s filthy friend is here,” Riley heard a disgusted, quiet voice. “She is no doubt looking for master, but doesn’t know Master is not coming back.”
“Kreacher, you disgusting House-Elf! You should be ashamed of yourself. I know perfectly well what happen to Sirius. Go rot in your hole!”
“That’s the spirit,” a quiet, male voice sounded from behind her. “Let it all out, my dear.” Riley turned to see Albus Dumbledore standing there, his half-moon spectacles half way down his rather long nose. Taking a breath, she walked quickly over to Albus and gave him a hug. She finally, completely broke down and didn’t stop for almost an hour. Albus stood there very patiently, waiting until she was ready to talk. “My dear, I dare say that it would be inappropriate to talk to you about this tonight. Molly will be here shortly. I will ask her to take care of you, let you sleep here, and I will be back in the morning. Is this okay with you?”
Riley nodded, still unsure. Albus sat her down in the kitchen and conjured up two huge mugs of tea, complete with cream, sugar, and sugar substitute. She nursed her tea, quietly, staring at Albus for long periods of time until finally Molly Weasley showed up. “Molly! Just the person we were looking for. Do you mind if we have a private chat in the other room, for just a moment.” Albus looked at Molly and than pointedly at Riley before looking at Molly again, with an attempted smile.
“Sure, Albus, whatever you wish,” Molly said, looking at the disgruntled Riley Morgan Madison. Molly quickly followed Albus out of the room. “Albus, what in the world is going on here? Does she know? Have you told her? Has. .”
“Molly, my dear, listen to me. That wonderfully dense lawyer of our departed Sirius has sent Riley a letter stating that she know owns half of this estate and has come into possession of a long list of items. As I am sure she will not want to discuss this quite yet, I will mention that I could take care of it for her. I know that Harry will not be ready for this either,” Albus said, pacing in front of the fireplace. “He is too young to own anything like this quite yet,” he continued, “but that is another matter all together. My dear, Molly, could you just watch over her for the night and I will be back in the morning?”
“Of course, Albus,” Molly said, “I’d be happy to.” After a few more whispered instructions, Albus and Molly went back into the kitchen, to find Riley asleep, her head resting on top of her folded arms.
Albus picked her up easily and took her upstairs, Molly following the whole way. After finding a suitable room, Riley was placed in a bed and covered up. Molly tidied up the room while Albus conjured up several photos he believed would comfort her and placed those on the wall. With everything they could think of done, the two went downstairs to think about Harry.
“Someone will have to tell him soon,” Molly said. “Did Sirius tell you. . .”
“Yes, Molly,” Albus said, gravely, “Sirius told me of his wish that you and Arthur would take him in if anything happened to him, as you are related. It’s almost as if he. . .well, enough of that. I should be off, Molly. Expect me in the morning.” He smiled at her, turned on his heels, and strode out the front door.
Molly smiled. “That man is brilliant. Weird, but brilliant all the same.” She busied herself in the living room until her family showed up. Arthur and Bill made dinner while Molly talked to Ron and Ginny about what was going on.