A/N Thanks to Robst - A Kiss Can Save The World. I first read about helping others with their magic in this wonderful fic. Thanks to HinaGuy749 for his wonderful help being the beta for this work.
And thanks to JK for letting us play with her wizards before putting them back in the box.
The healer gasped. Oh! Unconsciously, she crossed herself, though she had not followed the religion of her birth since she was eight and had been hit with a ruler by someone who worked there. It hadn't hurt, but just felt evil. This revelation was something else entirely. It was rumored that some death-eaters were members of this group. That they worshipped demons and did all sorts of unholy and dark magics.
She had to get her and Harry out of there!
"Some of the men that fought side by side with my husband survived the disastrous end of the war and became some of the first death-eaters. That Avery character, forget his first name, went to school with Tom Riddle. Yes, we can say Voldemort but we also know what his real name was, is, will be. He's coming back."
Inga turned to Harry. "And will be coming to try to kill you again, little one. Which is why we brought you here. To grow up, to thrive. And learn skills that will not only keep you and your family alive, but save us all from Voldemort when he returns. But the real Knights, they are not evil. They do not support evil. But they want to keep you safe from death-eaters, from Dumbledore and his pureblood philosophies, and help you."
"But why Harry?" Christine was confused.
"Because until this little man here is dead, Voldemort won't rest." Inga looked ill. "We have a spy in the ranks. The headmaster has protected a monster, the monster that shared a false prophesy with his master. The woman was clearly desperate for a job, and wound up creating a prophesy that has come true."
Inga took a breath and stopped. She related the story of Trelawney's prophesy. "And why were they in Abe Dumbledore's goat-pen of a pub? Shouldn't job interviews be conducted at the school? Sounds like a set-up to me as Abe hates his brother, so would be predictable as to how he would act. The whole prophesy boils down to Harry has to kill him or he kills Harry."
Harry looked at Chrissy. He started to cry.
"Bad man. Green light. Mummy. Mummy. Want Mummy!"
"Of course you do, my darling, of course you do."
Christine couldn't help but notice that Inga had taken pen and parchment to record what Harry said.
"I'm so sorry. I forget how smart he is." The witch directed her to the bathroom to get Harry cleaned up for the day.
He settled down quickly, and had fun taking a bubble bath. The woman had found a baby bath insert for her tub, and with runes it was quick work to fill and wash the child.
"I am not in trouble at work yet. I wonder if our kidnappers will allow a note out. Probably not if they want us to just disappear. One of the many such disappearances. Well, I don't think that they mean us harm. I know that you are a powerful wizard, yes you are, yes you are. But I am not a powerful witch, even if I had my wand." She talked to the baby in quiet tones, trying to think.
She thought about it, and looked at the boy.
"Harry. Is Inga good?"
Harry thought a moment, and nodded.
"Is Chrissy good? What am I saying? I am your role model now for talking. Am I good?"
Harry nodded, and pointed to his heart. "Freak" he pointed to her. "Chrissy. Chrissy good."
"Your name is Harry. I love you." She cuddled the boy. Hans had scared her last night, no doubt. But she was a foreigner that rubbed him the wrong way. How many people had she annoyed in the past, never on purpose, but still? Despite trying, she still annoyed people.
"Harry. Harry is a good boy. You are a good boy."
She toweled him dry, then buzzed his tummy. He laughed, and looked around.
"Soon little one. If all goes well, your Padfoot will be here soon." Christine assured him.
After she got him dressed, she counted his fingers and sang to him. Inga came in and watched them for a time.
"You've a mother's heart, my girl."
"Thank you. My mother was a very young eighteen when she had me. My sister is quite a bit younger than me. I've tried to connect with her as best as I could. My sister isn't magical. That always made me wonder if my daddy is my father." Christine looked at her feet. She looked just like her mother, while her sister was a clone, with the chromosome switch, of their father.
"Best to leave those questions unasked, in my opinion." Inga looked glum. Right. Death-eaters, spies, mercenaries. Her life couldn't have been all candy floss and butterbeer either.
"Are they going to hurt Harry? Or me, Inga?" Christine asked in a small voice. Her vows would prevent her from fighting. Since Harry was her responsibility, they should cover him, at least until he could defend himself. The Covenant should protect her mundane family, and thankfully the ministry had gotten around to putting up the wards at home. She had complained about delays. Only in pointing out that if death-eaters attacked her family that they would face the wrath of the oath did they finally act. Bigots.
"No. I know that you have no reason to believe me. But no. I'm sorry you've been brought here against your will. You'll have to give an oath to promise not to escape if you want to go to Geneva tomorrow. A magical oath. I'm sorry to scare you. I know that this isn't easy for you. It isn't easy for me either. I know them, I work with them."
"Isn't Hans your husband?" Christine looked at her in amazement.
"That oaf! Of course not! No, Ivan is on a mission right now. If he were here, he could tell you more, and you would believe because he is truly a good, good man."
Christine smiled. That actually made her feel better.
"My family. Any chance to get a note to them. Let them know that I am alright? My work will miss me too. I'm supposed to be there day after tomorrow at 7 am for a twenty four hour shift."
"Oh, I'm sorry. No, I don't have an owl or any way to communicate with outsiders. Maybe Hans will let you send a letter international floo tomorrow. Probably not though."
Christine sighed. At least she knew a bit more of what was happening.
"I don't know where my bag is or if there are any ingredients here. But I would be willing to help the local people. Brew healing or other potions. I can't sing or play music but I can cook. Cooking and potions. I like to putter in my mother's garden." She didn't mention that she secretly grew potion ingredients at home. Many muggle plants were very, very useful.
"We'll see. For now, we start lunch for the men. Lots of food to prepare. If you give me magical oath that you use it only for food, and Harry, and not try to leave, I can give you use of your wand while we are cooking."
The lack of her wand was an itch she needed to scratch. Promising on her magic not to try to escape with or without the baby, promising not to harm anyone (which she was already under heavy oath not to do), promising to help with the chores and care for the baby, she swore away any chance that she might have to get away. Besides, if she left here, Dumbledore would have her tracked down in a minute. He knew that she was one of the two lawful guardians of the boy. He would not be so kind to her as these people were being, she was sure. And she would not be allowed to keep the boy that her heart and magic had drawn her to.
The witch relaxed after all that, and the women got to work.
"Now, you have not talked at all about your man. Tell me about him." Inga asked. And the two witches, watching Harry at his conjured high-chair playing with some soft blocks, went to work to feed the small army that lived nearby.
Christine smiled and went to work, happily engaging in the time-honored pastime of women before her engaged in similar activities.
"Nice dog. Now, who do we have here, and what ward is he going to?" The guard at the little hut at the dock's landing was bored, cold and more than a bit peeved at being assigned here. It wasn't his fault that the Lord caught up in his little prostitution sting was also arrested and spent the night in a cell. If he hadn't been at that house, clearly with two polyjuiced 'ladies', then he would not have been caught. No, it wasn't the Lord who got fined, but him. It wasn't the Lord sent to Azkaban, but him. At least he wasn't inside a cell. Well, sort-of.
The whole ministry was rotten to the core.
The tall man with blondish hair handed over his paperwork. The man he was escorting was a drug-lord that was the worse of the worse. The fact that he was a squib, and selling to anyone with coin of any type wasn't why he was here. He was just a convenient tool.
"Selling drugs to children. Nice." The guard looked as though he did not know if he should throw up or deck the perp. "He'll be made welcome here. Good job auror." The man may be sour on the ministry, but would not spread his vitriol to the wizard in uniform before him.
"While I am here. I know that it's wrong to ask, so feel free to say no. But I want to visit Sirius Black. He killed my cousin."
The guard saw the anguish in the man's eyes and showed him where the cell was. "Meet me at the gate soon, the dementors are coming out in twenty minutes. You don't want to be here then. Leave the key on the peg outside the cell. Give him a kick or two from me."
The visitor nodded, and went to the cell that was shown him. Sirius Black really had killed the man's cousin. The fact that his cousin was a mad-dog homicidal maniac justifying his actions by pureblood dogma just meant that Sirius Black had done the world a favor. And he had been on the clock at the time, so it was in the line of duty. Nothing personal about it.
The man went to the door and looked through the bars.
"Black. Black." The man inside stirred. "I need your help."
"I'm sorry. I am currently on vacation. You'll have to floo my secretary and make an appointment." The man sneered. He knew the type. The visiting aurors that came in to sneer at the man in the cell. Never listening to the truth. He just returned sneer for sneer.
"I need your help, Black. The Knights of Walpurgis have your girl. Thought you should know."
The thin man sat up at that. "Christine? No, she's innocent, she's sweet. No. They are the worst of the worst." He closed his eyes trying to hold back the tears that he wanted to shed in anger, in fear, in frustration. "No!"
"Is it true that you are a dog animagus?" The man asked quietly and quickly.
"Switch now, or stay here forever. You haven't been charged with a crime, so technically it is not illegal to leave. If that matters to you."
A large black dog was now next to the cell door. The man looked at his little dachshund with regret and love.
"You've been a great dog Heinrich, and I will miss you." Petting the dog, he cast the spell that made him look like Black, and vice versa. "Come along now, quickly."
They made their way back to the dock, unmolested. The dog was quaking in fear, or so it appeared.
"Smart dog you've got there. Time to go, alright. Need any men for your squad? I don't recognize the uniform." The guard asked.
"We always need good men. Here's headquarters floo address. Thank you." The blonde man handed over a rather plain business card that was accepted with a dark look.
He left on the little boat, and the guard looked at the card. Maybe he should think about moving. If you weren't a noble, and had no family money, a man was no one here in Britain.
It would be days before Sirius Black was noticed, and that is because his corpse started to smell very, very bad. The little brave dog that had replaced him was dying when put in that cell and seemed to understand his master's request to replace the auror. Heinrich was a cop's dog, to the end.
It took nearly three hours before it was safe to change back. If the man hadn't been whispering to the dog the entire time, then Sirius would have blown the entire episode.
"Sorry about that. You were obviously in a mood. I've seen it in prisoners that have been beaten one too many times. Your magic may have healed the physical wounds, but you thought I was there to do the same and beat you more. No."
The man sighed. They were sitting inside a dirty pub outside a large city. It was the place that only men would go, and only certain men. It was not a civilized place at all. In low tones under a privacy spell, the man explained the history of Knights. How they were a splinter group fighting death-eaters, dark lords, drug-lords, or whoever else was the current blister on the world's buttocks.
"I am Sir Siegfried. We have no last names to protect our families." The knight explained.
"So what you said is true, but Christine is safe? She's alright?"
"She is with my mother Inga. There is no witch scarier than her when angry, and all of the Knights have been around her for years. They know not to put one toe out of line. Even without the Oath."
Sirius sighed. He had been so panicked about his fiancée that he completely forgot the other half of his nightmares.
"I need to find out what Hagrid did with Harry. Harry Potter, my godson." That terrible night swept through his mind, and the auror in front of him saw the horror of it. They both shuddered.
"No need. You'll be seeing them both tomorrow. He's safe, too. At the same house together. This place isn't much, but there are the definition of discrete. I've got healing for you and robes as well. You, my lord, are getting your trial and we need to get you ready for it."
"I'm no lord – wiped off the family tapestry with a blast of my mother's wand."
"Not to hear Christine. You are your mother's pride and joy. I'm sorry about the timing, I really am. Your mother was killed last week. It was supposedly a freak accident with a muggle lorry. But the company was owned by former death-eaters. That kind of thing needs to stop. Using our families, innocent women and children to hurt us."
Sirius looked at the man and blinked. Right. Like James, this man loved his mother. Well, Sirius loved James' mother as well, and had been practically adopted by Dorea since he was a child. They were two of a kind in the Black family. White sheep. He hadn't lived at home in ages, and couldn't remember the last fight. He never had conversations with his mother, only fights.
"Yes, I will miss my mother very much." He raised his glass in a toast to Dorea Black Potter, the woman that he considered his mother of his heart, and let a tear or two leak out.
"The goblins will know that you are not dead, but there will be a scramble to get your money. I would not have bet for you to have a long life in prison with your mother out of the way."
Sirius growled at that. Alright, his birth mother was a piece of work, her picture was in the dictionary when you looked up bigot, and could out-shrew anyone. But to kill her for money?
"Malfoy. It has to be him or his agents. He must not realize that Harry is my heir."
Bellatrix had managed to anger their grandfather to the point where she got her dowry vault and that was it. No further money or ties to the Black clan. He almost dissolved her marriage. Sirius thought it was because she was caught cheating on her husband with the Dark Lord, but the old man said nothing. He was just very, very angry.
There were certain rules that young ladies were not supposed to break, and she broke one.
Andi did too, marrying that muggle-born wizard. Never mind that he was more powerful than anyone else in the family. And worse, Ted was a solicitor!
"Well, while that is terrible news, it means I have money for a solicitor now. Not that I didn't before, but now I have the gold for a good one. And I need a good one."
The man in front of him shook his head. "You may have to bring in a certain cousin back into the family fold, but it's all arranged, except for the formalities. You might be fined for being an illegal animagus, but that is it. The judges have the 'evidence' of your crimes. Dumbledore's career here will be finished after this."
"Don't count on it. I've seen that wizard fight. He is a great man, and very tricky fighter in and out of the dueling ring." Sirius started to defend him automatically, and Siegfried cursed himself.
"Right. You were raised with him as leader of the light. Look at your godson's bank account records. Ask Christine about the emergency bag that Lily had. And most of all, watch him tomorrow. You can know a tree by its fruit. If it is a good tree, it will produce good fruit."
Sirius smiled. No one was fruitier than Albus many-names Dumbledore. But that did not make him evil. He was good. Look at Fawkes, an eternal companion. He would show this man who was clearly acting as a friend.
"The schedule for the day is simple. Trial at ICW headquarters. If all goes well and I don't see foresee any problems, your control over Harry Potter will be confirmed. I know that you don't want to be rushed into anything. But think man. If you were married to the other named guardian of the boy, your claim would be stronger. It is still strong."
"Wedding? You mean a quick civil ceremony. We both wanted just a few friends. If Christine doesn't object, I don't. I certainly don't want to lose Harry again over this. But what if she's changed her mind…"
Siegfried interrupted. "A man made the mistake of trying to kiss your girl. It would have been a bad idea. He doesn't speak English, but nearly had a betrothal ring shoved in his eye, she was very clear that she was taken." He chuckled at the memory.
"I can give her a better ring now. That one isn't fit for a house-elf, but was the best I could do on an auror salary."
"It was the only thing she kept, you know. She sold all her other family jewelry to raise money to get you free and find Harry. That girl is very loyal to you both."
"I used to be such a cad, 'flavor of the day' club as Lily called it. Then I got really, really hurt in battle. I thought I would die, and I couldn't see. I was blinded for weeks. This healer-helper would come in and read to me, talk to me. She argued with one of the healers on the treatment of my eyes. Long story, but she saved my sight. Her magic was different too than any other witch I ever met. Quiet, calm, loving. It wrapped around me in my despair of blindness and kept me going.
"After I got out of the hospital, I started to go back to my old ways, but it felt wrong. I couldn't just kiss a girl and more then send her away without feeling ill. I kept thinking about this girl. Me, Sirius Black, self-declared eternal bachelor had fallen in love. By all objective comparisons, the girl is plain compared to the beauties that I used to be with." He hung his head in shame. "But to me she is perfect."
"The magic of love." Siegfried nodded. Good. One last question.
"How do you feel about the boy?"
The knights had all taken turns playing with the toddler during meals. He was bright and clever and clearly a powerful wizard. More than once, he had heard a loud man's voice scare him, and he would be clutching the healer's breast and crying. There was a man that was going to be facing justice as some point. But the knights would not and could not deal with muggles, at least not yet. The knights were seeing what real seers saw, would this man? Or would Lothario Black show up, and run away from his responsibilities.
"Christine and I were going to wait five years before starting a family. I suspect that will change, or else Harry won't know his siblings well. I have loved my godson since the moment he was placed in my hands, minutes old. Too bad that Christine was not there. She didn't meet him until later, but she loves him, I know. Maybe more than me, or almost as much as me."
Right answer there, Lord Black. Good. A substitute father would not be needed, not that Harry wouldn't have an interesting extended family if this worked out.
"Lord Black, after your trial tomorrow, you and your family are going to be given a choice. Go back to Britain to wait for the return of Voldemort, or stay with us. Learn with us. You are a hit-wizard, we can make you better. He's coming back. We know why, or rather how. Your son, Harry Potter could be raised and trained with us here. You know that Voldemort is after the boy, not James, certainly not his mother. Ask yourself how did the dark one find him?"
Sirius looked at him. His family, blood and chosen, had been on the run ever since Harry was born. First Sirius had lost his adoptive parents, Charlus and Dorea Potter. Now Lily and James. Where was Remus? Sirius knew that somehow gentle Peter had gone over to the enemy. Why? How?
He remembered his will that desperately needed updating. Unsure as to which friend was a spy, he had left a hundred thousand to each friend if he inherited the main vaults, the rest to Harry, and one-fifth to each James, Lily, Peter, Remus and Harry if he still only had his trust vault.
Peter wouldn't kill his mother and him for a measly one hundred thousand galleons, would he? What about Dumbledore's bequest if he had his main vault? Two hundred and fifty thousand for Hogwarts for a muggle-born scholarship fund. He wouldn't steal from that, he wouldn't kill to manage that. Dumbledore was a great man. He wouldn't, right?
But living away from the fighting. Living away from the attacks. Sirius had gone straight from fighting in a war to fighting for his sanity. Living in peace, away from everyone that wanted Harry for their own purposes, away from death-eaters. It was a tempting idea. He needed to talk to Christine. He couldn't and wouldn't make that choice for her despite being head of the family.
He like his bits the way they were, thank you.
The tall blonde directed Sirius to a back room. There were two rough twin beds, toiletries, and wonder of wonders, a private bath.
"Take your shower, then we go buy you a new wand. Don't worry, no one knows that you escaped, you look like everyone else here. No one will bother you. We will come back and you take these potions, and you sleep twelve hours. So be prepared, on your bed ready to sleep before you take them. And not until we get back." That warning came when the recent prisoner was eyeing the bed too long.
Sirius nodded, and went to have his first shower in more than two months. He desperately wanted a bath, but wouldn't trust it in a place like this if the room had one. Feeling much better, wearing new clothes, the men went to Gringott's and then shopping. The goblins made money being discrete, news of his being abroad would not come from them. And he would need funds.
And what about that comment regarding Harry's trust? Only he or Christine should have had access to that money.
Shaking his head, knowing that at worst, only fifty thousand could be missing as everything else was locked down tight, they made their way to Ithaca Crossroad, the Diagon Alley of Geneva.
Sirius Black had gold, account statements and a new appreciation of goblins after their short visit. They somehow knew he was coming, and were ready. The hit-wizard started noticing their escort but said nothing. The rest of their trip was uneventful.
Sirius couldn't deal with it all. He had gone from cocky hit-wizard to prisoner to sick escapee and was soon to be free if he could trust the man he was with. And watching the experienced warrior, Sirius wanted to trust him.
When got back to their room, Sirius washed up quickly, ate the travel food the man offered and sucked down potion while half laying on the bed. He was grateful for the advice as the magical power of gravity overcame all and pulled him to the sheets that were surprisingly clean.
The knight pulled up his blankets as he had done for his younger brothers, and brushed the hair out of the man's face. So much was riding on tomorrow and this man's decisions. How could they have missed the fact that the girl was a full matron, and protected under the Covenant? They were lucky. That is what they were. If any of them had tried to hurt her, they would have be dead.
Dinner was over, and Christine was singing to Harry, making Inga laugh as they cleaned up the kitchen. The reason that everyone was laughing was that the healer couldn't sing well at all. But she did have spirit, and knew the words, well, most of them. Harry clapped, and they wound up dancing in the kitchen to their impromptu music.
Their moment of fun was interrupted when a half dozen men threw open the front door allowing the cold wind of the mountain to sweep in with the bundled up warriors.
"Stephen is hurt, bad, very bad. We come to get emergency portkey."
Christine was at the man's side in a second, putting Harry into Inga's arms without thinking. She had her wand but had promised to only do household spells.
"Release me from my oath, and bring me my bag. This man doesn't have time to go anywhere, and I can try to save him now if you allow it."
Inga nodded, and quickly said the words. Christine was tired, but this was her normal work. Chanting and magic began. The long gash that went across the man's midsection was slowly closing as his intestines were cleaned and retracted back inside where they belonged. His liver and kidneys stopped looking like last week's butcher's leavings and started to perform their normal functions within. Inga, handing Harry off to one of the men, handed the healer her bag. She didn't have a lot of potions in there, but had a least one of the right kind. No two, even better.
"Banish those to his stomach. Do you know how?" She asked. The woman shook her head no, so Christine took a few moments to do so before going back to her chanting.
"I could use some help here. Anyone can do it, or better everyone can help a little. Please. I'm almost nearly exhausted, and he is still very hurt."
"What do you need us to do?" Inga asked.
"Focus on this stone, and say this phrase. I'll then refocus the magical energy."
"I've never seen anything like this." The knight said.
"Lily Potter's idea, James, Sirius and Remus' ward and rune work. I helped a little. Peter came and ate."
She laid out a pattern of rune stones on the man.
"Repeat 'melior bellator'. Chant it three times. Wait. Chant it again."
Inga translated the directions, and the warriors did as she told them. The witches and wizards of the clan were hardened warriors and were fascinated with the reversal of their normal work.
The healer didn't pay attention to the words, they weren't important, the magic and focus was. The relief on the healer's face was visible. Her power grew and grew until she had more than she started with in the morning, but she was using it quickly too. Old scars, new scars, old bone breaks, everything was mending as she focused on each limb, such was the power she was directing. He was soon completely healed.
Inga signaled them to stop. Christine looked at them all with gratitude. One couldn't share magic like that without feeling something of the donor. These were good, honorable men and women, good people. Not perfect, they had their faults, but they were definitely good.
The knight on the stretcher woke. He felt at his stomach with ichor-covered hands.
"My stomach, I was holding my…You saved me." He looked at her in awe.
"Not just me, I couldn't have done this alone. Your friends helped."
He got up carefully. The man was not young, and he was obviously looking for something or someone.
"Where is she? I saw her. My mother."
Inga looked at him with sadness in her eyes. "Greta was a wonderful friend, and I miss her still, but she has not walked this room in twenty years." She covered her mouth and looked at Christine.
His mother had come to guide him home. She would have to wait for a time more.
Apologizing to the unseen spirit aloud, she gave the knight after-care instructions.
"Just because magic has put you back together doesn't mean that you need to just go gallivanting about. You need to rest for at least a week. If I was in a hospital, I would be putting a ward up around your room. I know your type. Denying you're in pain. Your arm on the floor is a flesh wound, and your guts on the wall is nothing. Warriors! All the same. Right. But you are my patient now, and unless you want a cold-water enema to start your day tomorrow, you will follow my instructions. Sir Knight."
They actually had no graces among them, and did not call each other by any titles, but it did seem to get the man's attention.
Christine looked at her now virtually depleted potions. "When we are in Geneva tomorrow, can we go to the apothecary? Please? Oh, and the bank, I need gold. You've paid for my food, and I haven't contributed at all."
The men chuckled at that. Unsure where it started, a small bag was quickly passed around before being handed to the first man.
"Thank you. If we had gone to Geneva, we would have spent more, and likely had to pay for a burial as well. Thank you." He pulled her into a rough hug, and shoved the bag in her hand.
As this was said by the warrior who had been healed, Christine could only nod. She peeked into the bag.
"There has to be at least a couple hundred galleons in here!" She exclaimed.
Inga huffed. "Now I know that no one expected to be spending money today but really! She is a full matron, and clearly talented. If you had gotten to the hospital in time, and gotten a full healer in time, they would have charged you five thousand or more. I expect that you will sweeten that purse, and soon."
The men nodded, agreed with the witch, and started to shuffle out of the house, taking the stretcher and all with them.
"You don't have to – I don't have to be paid…" Her words sounded in her own ears but nowhere else.
"What men get for free they tend to take for granted, as some kind of right. You are not their mother, sweetheart or daughter. You owe these men nothing. They have held you prisoner, and yet you would offer your gifts, your talents for free? No!" This was whispered frantically in her ear. She nodded understanding, and started looking for Harry. "I will get a price parchment from the hospital. You want to offer a discount, fine, but you will be paid for your healing that you do here."
Christine looked at the bag. As healer-helper, she had made two hundred galleons a month, had a few meals for free and a place to rest when she was not needed. As a full healer, she now made five hundred galleons a month, the other perks the same. How much then did the hospital get for her services? They would have other expenses, the potions and other medicines, the beds, the cleaning of everything. This would not be cheap. But if a single patient earned them five thousand galleons or more. They were making money from her. No, this major type of healing wasn't done every day, certainly not multiple times a day. She focused on what was important.
Harry was very tired.
"You chanted too, didn't you little one"
"Sanus bellator" he repeated in his sweet tired toddler voice.
Oh dear. That was what the men had chanted, Inga mistranslated. Healthy warrior. And Harry had helped.
"You are going to be a mighty wizard-warrior young one. Let's get you your night-time drink, and send you off to sleep."
Someone had brought her a rocking chair to feed Harry in, so she sat and contemplated magic, and children, and love. It had been an amazing day, and for the first time in her life she felt something new. Something wonderful.
She felt like she belonged.
The International Confederation of Wizards met in a historic building. The circular room was based in principal of the Knights of the Round Table. There would be no one group or person who was more important than another. When in full conclave, they would meet to discuss issues that affected neighbors, address problems that a member nation was facing or many other issues.
When needed, they were a neutral ground that wizards and witches could come to if the need was great.
In the case of Harry Potter's godfather going to prison without trial, hearing, advocate or anything, this clearly fell into that remit.
Since Supreme Mugwump Dumbledore had been a part of the plan to deny Auror and Hit-Wizard Black a trial, he was not summoned to the meeting as a judge and participant but has a spectator. The white whiskered wizard sat in supreme ease, at least on the outside. Inside he fumed. But, he had a plan and resources. He would modify it has circumstances demanded.
Or so he thought.
He had wanted to get the girl in Azkaban too, but every plot he made his magic warned him. That stupid Covenant! Didn't magic understand that this went beyond individuals? The wizard knew that she was searching for the boy, and was getting close. And now this! The boy had disappeared. It appeared that she had found him. Not that Petunia remembered anything. She must have had help.
He scowled to himself, then remembered the glamour to make his eyes twinkle. He calmed himself. Yes, he would get the boy back. He would have to make sure that the girl met with an unfortunate acci…no, that wouldn't work. He rubbed his arm where he had been zapped again. The pains were getting worse. He tried to focus on the people coming in and getting his mind off the subject, for now.
The trial was covered by journalists from everywhere. Of course. Voldemort's evil would not have stayed in Great Britain had it continued. Now, the man, Sirius Black was brought in.
There was a good deal of shouting how he could overcome Veritaserum. The man stood next to his advocate, Fitzgerald Mortimer Leach, a highly recommended solicitor friend of Ted Tonks whose price was not cheap. Ted would be there himself, but real-estate law did not prepare him for this sort of trial.
"My lords, my ladies – good wizards and witches of the council. If you well allow. This man has not yet been accused of any crime, but is willing to submit to any question of this tribunal. He can swear a magical oath, take the improved truth serum, whatever you wish. But he has nothing to hide." The jackal in the nice robes smiled. But he was Sirius' jackal, so no one from the family minded.
The delegate from France stood, and administered an oath from the hit-wizard that would kill him if he would lie or leave unsaid any truth that would convict him of a crime. M. Delacour then led the auror through many questions about that horrible Halloween day, and Lord Black's actions.
It took almost ten minutes for the panel to decide that not only had he committed no crimes but one had been perpetrated against him!
Sirius then did what the jackal, um, solicitor recommended, and asked if Christine was in the audience. She was in the first row of visitors to the spectacle, and was escorted below. In what was considered by some to be the most romantic gesture ever, Sirius got down on one knee, declared his love for her publically, and confirmed his vow that he wanted to marry her.
Silenced and bound by four aurors around him, Albus Dumbledore was suddenly unable to protest.
In a public ceremony that lacked flowers, groomsmen, bridesmaids, music or even the obligatory lovey-dovey solo, the couple was sealed and bonded in magical matrimony. Their kiss was photographed and published worldwide, finally removing Sirius Black from Witch Weekly's most eligible bachelor list.
Then the journalists really got what they wanted. Little Harry Potter was brought forth. This was Christine's turn to face the tribunal, not as prisoner, but as witness.
"I have made copies of the parchment that you should all have on the status of the child three days ago. Severe dehydration and malnutrition. His left arm had been broken, and while magic had healed it, I had to fix that healing to make it straight. Severe diaper rash. This has been known to kill even wizarding children if left untreated. Two months of abuse. I had last seen the child three days before Halloween. You have the reports from his regular healer. At that time I was a family friend, and no more, but it is my duty to report abuse if seen. He was the epitome of health then. Had he gone much longer in those circumstances, either magic would have had to intervene, or the boy would have perished."
Glares were now being sent to the wizard in purple robes with flaming comets circling about.
This was bad. He had taken the boy to the Dursley's. He couldn't deny that. How had she gotten a hold of a copy of the Potter will as well? Yes, his advocate would claim it was a forgery, but still. The panel was looking at it right now!
"Wasn't it your responsibility to see to his well-being? How do you have your magic?" The opposing advocate went for the woman's throat.
"I swear on my magic that I did all I could to get him back. I wrote letters every day to Dumbledore, and others looking for Harry. I looked for Harry. I told everyone that I knew that he was supposed to be with Sirius and me. He was taken from his home and hidden by a powerful wizard. I have a letter that proves this."
She presented the letter that was left with the baby. His solicitor tried a quick wandless accio, but it did not work. The letter made it to the panel, two wizards cursing as it did.
Sirius was right beside her. "You can clearly see that Dumbledore took Harry away from me, from us when I was at the time on duty as a hit-wizard. Christine is a healer. If he objected to us as parents, then didn't we have the right to face that accusation in public, and have a right to defend ourselves?"
Harry looked around. He was in Sirius' arms at the moment, but seemed to be looking for something that no one else could see. He was baby burbling quietly and excitedly, but no one was really paying attention to that.
"Indeed, good auror, you did. We have your oaths as a couple made here in public. I see no reason to not now confirm you and your lady wife as parents to Harry Potter. If you choose to adopt him, then I ask you to allow him to continue his family line as he will inherit his titles at eleven, his seats on the Wizengamot at nineteen, and his inheritance at seventeen."
Somehow, Dumbledore managed to overcome the charm silencing him. "NO! I forbid this! Fawkes, to me now!"
A flaming red and gold bird appeared. Sirius put Harry in Christine's arms, and drew his wand. She had her arms around the child protectively even as Sirius put himself between them and danger. It was a powerful image of a husband protecting his family and the journalists did not waste a moment. Dumbledore commanded the bird in undertones, but it sat on his arm, and shook its head. Dumbledore pointed, and the bird squawked. He said something, and the bird flamed up and away towards the high ceiling. He dived suddenly. There, standing in purple robes with gold comets circling was Albus Dumbledore. The photographer from Witch Weekly got the shot perfectly as it happened, but doubted that phoenix poo was ever going to make it as a fashion accessory.
It did however earn the witch a lot of gold as the picture was printed and reprinted the world over as well.
The solicitor for the Black family was not done yet. Mr. Leach was definitely not done yet.
"Honorable Delegates, there is one more matter concerning this wizard." He said, pointing to the man surrounded now by even more aurors. One witch had sympathy on the old man and had cleaned off most of the effects of the bird attack. She left some in his hair and beard, not that she did it completely accidentally if truth serum was administered.
He handed over copies enough for everyone on the panel. It showed the withdrawal of all but fifty galleons of Harry's trust vault just minutes after Dumbledore was declared his legal guardian in Britain.
"Dumbledore attempted to remove two million, but settled for the paltry fifty thousand he could take, how noble." The jackal was circling. Sirius was glad he was on their side. He knew a predator when he saw one. "Tell me, Mr. Dumbledore. How many galleons does it take to not feed a child? How many does it take to not provide clean diapers or banishing pants? How much does it take to make sure that a baby's arm is broken and left untreated?"
Dumbledore's twinkle was gone. The panel was all looking at him. "I had to provide Harry a safe home. We didn't know who had been imperioused, who was acting on their own. I needed to get him away from death eaters and allow his mother's blood sacrifice to ward him for the rest of his childhood.
"You would use blood magic?" The witch from America was on her feet. She didn't mind blood magic, but had heard time and again from the snobbish Brits how dark it was.
There was another furor of pictures taken showing the wizard's face at the accusation of being dark.
"Enough!" Delegate Delacour discussed the matter quickly with the panel.
"Mr. Dumbledore. You have three days to return all of the money withdrawn. If you do not comply within that time, a fine of five thousand galleons will be added per day until you do. If it is still not repaid within a week you will face further fines and possible imprisonment for wrongful use of funds that you had no legal right to in the first place.
"Furthermore, you are to stay away from the child Harry Potter. If you see him in public, walk away. You are not to attempt to contact him or do anything to him. If you violate this mandate, we will be seeing you back here for justice."
The council oversaw the oaths that Sirius and Christine Black now took as guardians of Harry Potter. Magic glowed and swirled around them, and there was much cheering in the council chambers.
"Pa'foo, Pa'foo, Chrissy, Harry!" The boy could feel it. Magic brought them together as a family.
"I failed you once pup, I should have fought Hagrid to keep you instead of giving him my bike."
"Bike! Bike! Vroom! Vroom! Fly!" Harry clapped. Christine did a face palm. Not that death-machine!
The knights had been dressed in plain dress robes, and had stayed out of the limelight. After Sirius shook hands with his solicitor, being careful not to wipe it off while the man could see it, the new family was quietly escorted out of the building. They then had a bit of magical business and shopping to in Geneva before returning.
They were not the only ones escorted out of the building. After being forced to empty his office, the now former Supreme Mugwump blinked in the winter daylight.
Nothing had gone right. He hadn't gotten the boy back. He hadn't gotten the trouble making couple to Azkaban, drat that hurt, and he had not be able to plead his case at all. He lost everything, including access to all that gold.
Dumbledore paled. He needed that money. Voldemort wasn't gone, and with James' will being sealed, Albus couldn't claim his small bequeath now at all. He would have to pay the money back promptly, or the war chest would be emptied completely.
He scowled at the thought of all that had gone wrong that day. Fawkes wouldn't even return to flame him to Gringott's! He would have to take a port-key like any common wizard. That really hurt.
He ignored the giggles in the lobby of the bank, ignored the pointing, and repaid the debt.
Albus didn't realize that the goblin and wizarding kind of Geneva didn't think that bird poo made a fashion statement any more than the witch photographer did.
Harry liked the snowy owl, so they bought the beautiful bird to be their local post owl. This way, Christine would have access to potion supplies or potions made by others and not have to try to go to town all of the time. Not that she was going to be allowed out much.
They returned to Inga's home. Hans, leader of the group of knights that had brought them there, was sitting with Sirius and explaining everything. Sirius was holding Harry who was playing with his new Pegasus that really flew and was making burbling noises now and them around them.
"What was that? Did you feel that?" Hans felt around, then went back to talking.
Christine had heard much of the history and all before, and was helping in the kitchens. She noticed that dinner was coming together much faster than normal. Then she felt it again. Christine had not tripped on nothing. There was a something there!
Feeling around, she caught hold of an ear. She felt it, it was pointy, and definitely connected to a head.
"Darla!" Christine shouted, reaching down to hug the elf that was now visible
"Darla is sorry for being sneaky elf. Darla is wanting to help Master Harrys' new mum, but not sure if Darla being welcomed. We had heard you say our names, and we is going to Geneva big city when we felt Master Harry there. We is tagging you, and following here. Please, please do not give Darla clothes, Darla is good elf."
"Inga, meet Darla, my friend, and an elf sworn to House Potter. Inga, how would like some real help in the kitchen?"
The witch nodded, and they got to watch in amazement as dinner was sped along quite nicely. Bread was sliced evenly with just the right level of warming charms. Everything was perfect.
"I is not knowing how, but Zeb, he is being beast master when we was having animals. He can make cows give milk and I can make butter, and cheese, and we is being helpful elves. All of us."
Inga raised her eyes at that. "I don't know. If my boys don't have their chores of feeding and milking and all, they will get lazy. That isn't good for warrior men to have too much time on their hands. Houses get destroyed that way."
Darla nodded. She liked being busy best too, and related to these witches. Christine loved to cook. Her mother had been bedridden for months when she was pregnant with her little sister a dozen years before. Christine had always helped in the kitchen before that, but really became the family chef during that time, and after the baby was born.
The knights had asked them to stay with them. Since her picture had been published world-wide, secrecy was no longer the issue. She was able to send a resignation letter to the hospital, and a note to her family that she had eloped, sorry to scare them, and she would be in irregular contact.
She knew in her heart that covenant or no, her family was safer with her in the wizarding world, and them in the mundane, and least until Voldemort was truly dead, dead.
A small group of men burst in the doors, and loud shouting was taking place. Like always, Harry appeared in her arms, trying to hide in her less-than-amble chest. Though she thought her figure much improved since starting nursing the boy back to complete health.
They held the dead body of a white owl. Sirius was up and shouting.
"Don't you let Harry see that! He picked out that bird. What happened?"
"Very powerful tracking charms. It will show the animal as going down over the mountains. We will place it far, far from here." The man strode to the healer.
"You bought this package?" he demanded in a loud and angry tone shoving a shrunken box in her face.
"Yes, I owl-ordered several ingredients that the apothecary was out of…"
Before she could finish, the man had backhanded her hard, sending her to the ground.
"Foolish woman! You want to get us all killed? We have agents posing as you in the Caribbean and you do this? Don't you care about safety? Security?"
Sirius was being held back by three men. He was raging. How dare any man to strike his wife?
"I don't know who you think you are." Christine started as she got back to her feet. "But never hit me again. I am a healer. You will pay for the hurt you caused me, and it won't be pleasant. You are in for a rough night. If you have a problem with me, then talk. Use words. I am not stupid, just ignorant. I did not understand that I couldn't use an owl here. I would not have bought one. I thought that I wouldn't be allowed to leave much." She rubbed her face that was already bruising. She could heal it, but not while this man was in front of her. "I bought it so I could make you people healing potions."
The man looked down at his boots. He had always had a problem with his temper, and now he had struck a woman. No worse. He struck a healer. He was in trouble with his wife, his mother, and magic.
He left one person off his list. The men had let the newcomer go. Bad mistake. The hit-wizard knew several varieties of fighting, and knew how to cast a protection charm on his fist too, wandless and silently.
Sirius Black stood over the wizard that was now on the floor.
"Never, ever strike my wife again, or you will face me in a wizard's duel." He stared at the man then turned to his bride. "Are you alright?"
She nodded. She had never had anyone stand up for her before. She had been bullied in school, never by the marauders, they focused more on the baby death-eaters. While Flitwick had been kind, and Professor Slughorn always had a smile for her but never an invitation to his parties, she had been on the outside so much.
Sirius put his arm around her. She snuggled in, feeling loved and protected.
"We don't have to stay here. I have a private island, the Potters have homes around the world that we could use now. We could go anywhere."
Inga's eyes widened at that. The knight getting up was getting an earful from three witches, four wizards, all in their native tongue. It sounded awful to Christine.
"He made a mistake. Tonight, when he least expects it, he will be hit ten times with a blow that felt like what he gave me. But magic will wait until he falls asleep to deliver it. He can't prepare for it. It will be a nightmarish time for him. But I guarantee that neither he nor anyone of his friends will ever hit a healer again."
"But what about me? I want to take you to bed. What if I hurt you?" Sirius didn't want to hurt her, in fact he wanted to do the opposite of that. Repeatedly. But he didn't want retribution on his bits either. That sounded extremely painful.
"You won't, and even if you did, pain is about intent. I picked up some specialized potions. But I was hoping that we would have a chance to talk in private, you know, be together before we rushed things. I've missed you so much, and other than when we were shopping today, we haven't had a chance to be together."
"I'm ready to take you and Harry and a port-key to Japan or the moon or something."
She laughed at that. Wizards did believe the moon was made from cheese and that cheese delivery happened with that celestial body as a first stop. That there were wizards there harvesting different kinds. She would never tell him the truth.
Inga was talking in low tones to Hans who cleared the little house of most people. The dining room stayed enlarged, and the big man invited the Black family to the table. Inga then took Harry to the kitchen. Dinner was going to be delayed.
"My man should not have hit you. Stephen knew you had bought bird. Also knew about your order. We have no owls here. We never being tracked here before. You have elves. They do shopping for you, yes? They can do? Then that safer. Send letters from international office too. In secret."
Sirius spoke up. "When we bought the owl, we didn't know about the elves tracking us here. You understand that? But we have to talk to them. Technically they belong to House Potter."
"We not perfect people. Stephen is going to go and remind him what you do yesterday." Occasionally a wizard, or a witch too had to be reminded that hitting a spouse was not acceptable in their clan. They were honorable men and women, but there was a lot of pressure in their work. No excuse to abuse family.
"Stephen should be in bed." The healer sighed. At least he had been listening to her, and had bought a few books for leisure reading when they went to the bookstore. She had bought parenting books, a marriage guide that she didn't already have, and several children's books. It was never too young to read to children. The Children's Guide to Runes would have to wait a few years before she could use it, but it wasn't too soon to buy it and read it now.
Which all reminded her that people weren't perfect. The man had been frightened of having his family attacked. It made sense. He was hungry, tired, and had a strange owl approaching when the locals didn't use them.
"Please do not go because of the mistake of one man."
Sirius looked doubtful. He hadn't been there the last few days, or gotten to see them.
Christine stood. "The men are hungry. Sirius and I need to talk. I don't think we are making any rash judgements. Let us live here for a time, and get to know you before making any choices, please. For my part, I will help heal and make potions."
Inga came in, carrying food. "For a reasonable fee." She had given the healer the promised parchment, but Christine had had no time to look at it.
Sirius looked at her bruising face. "We'll stay for now. No one has to be perfect, it doesn't have to be perfect for us to stay. People are people. I have a friend who is a werewolf. You want to talk cranky? Three days before the full moon you are ready to kick his butt. I get angry too. We will stay for now."
With that, the elves had the table in the dining room spotless, and dinner on temporary table out with plates ready to serve the hungry people waiting. Hans shook hands with Sirius, and gently kissed Christine knuckles instead of shaking hers.
"Thank you for being patient. Understanding."
The healer nodded. The world could do with a bit of forgiveness. She told magic that the man had acted out of fear and begged that his punishment be suspended. If he did it again, then let him suffer. Magic listened, and he only received five of the blows, not ten. But it was still a tortured night for the knight.
After dinner, Christine fed his final drink of the day to a very tired little boy. Harry was ever the sweet one though. He had looked at his godfather with love, patted the other side that Harry was not using. "Pa'foo. Pa'foo."
Such a gentlemen, belly up to the bar, lad, plenty for everyone.
Sirius had bent down to kiss the boy's forehead for the sweet offer, and kiss his wife's lips. He then cheekily did give a quick kiss at the offered tap earning a small smirk for doing so.
Harry was fighting it, but it was time for him to go to sleep.
As for Sirius and Christine, Inga took Harry to her room, put up silencing charms on Christine's room, and bid them goodnight.
The couple talked for long hours before lying down together. Christine remembered their vows in what seemed like days before but was actually that morning.
The charming Sirius Black held his bride close. "I love you so much. I will wait until you are ready."
"Make me yours, Sirius. I love you."
The hit-wizard knew a command when he heard one, and that was no command. He did however intend to comply with her wishes to the fullest extent that his body could.
A/N – Hedwig will be appearing and wearing the world's best armor. She will never be hurt in any of my stories. I wanted to make sure that she wasn't. Her white friend was only pretending to be dead so as not to get hurt any more Post Owls hurt as well, and will be fine after Christine fixes him up.
Patience please – Harry will be eleven in just another chapter or two.
A/N Thanks to HinaGuy749 for his beta work. Thanks to Robst for being a great guy. He won't be the warrior king who defeated Grindlewald in this story. But I highly recommend any and all of his stories.