The Contract

Chapter 138

"I shall come and see Corvus and everyone else tomorrow, go on now, head home, this is a family situation." Aurelius informed Harry, standing up, encouraging the young wizards to do the same. Rookwood was already crying out in excitement at their success. Proclaiming the desire to see if it would work without Harry's blood. He didn't want to wait, he wanted to do it right now, but he couldn't, he'd poured more magic than he usually used in a week into that ritual. If he wanted to do it tomorrow with the others then he needed to recuperate.

"But you are family," Harry pointed out, and it wasn't a manipulation, he said it with all the sincerity in his heart. He'd desired nothing more than family while he grew up abused and belittled. In the past few years, he had gained so much. Corvus, Aurelius, Rodolphus, Sirius, Bill even, and most importantly Rabastan. He didn't have a specific title for them, but he loved them vehemently and would do anything for them. They were his family and nothing would convince him otherwise.

Aurelius' gaze didn't so much as twitch, his control was for the most part, always impeccable. You wouldn't know that his heart was pounding erratically and his emotions were going haywire. "Nevertheless, they won't want company for this, it will be an emotional reunion, and I do know they wouldn't want me to observe their weakness."

Harry wanted to argue, to refute his words, but regretfully he knew it was true. Emotion wasn't a weakness when you were with family, and Aurelius was family. However, he knew he wouldn't be able to change his mind.

"Plus, I do have a meeting I cannot reschedule again in five minutes," Aurelius informed him. "Head on through the Floo." Gesturing towards the fireplace, giving Rookwood a single glance expecting his orders to be followed.

Rookwood flicked his hand and a barely decipherable ding was heard, and the clock on the mantle glowed blue. "You can go now." He said, his voice quiet and respectful, watching with hooded eyes, watchful and cautious with a smidge of curiosity. He'd been warned like the others that Harry Potter was to ne left alone. That if anyone put a hand on him, they would be tortured and killed. That wasn't exactly the Dark Lord's words of course, he made it abundantly clear exactly what he'd do to them including flaying them while they were alive. A very good incentive to leave the boy alone. As if they'd had any desire to hunt him down, not after he'd gotten them all legally freed from Azkaban.

He barely stopped himself making a bleating sound when Harry hugged the Dark Lord, and almost staggered when he noticed such action was returned. If anyone, anyone else attempted to do that with the Dark Lord there would be curses thrown. Likely Cruciatus Curse and if the person was even more unlucky, the Killing Curse.

"I'll see you soon," Harry said, after moving towards the fireplace as if he hadn't just hugged the most powerful wizard in the world. "Thank you for your hospitality, Heir Rookwood, and have a good day, I bid you farewell." Inclining his head respectfully at Rookwood from the fireplace, but facing him while he spoke, to not do so would be incredibly rude, which he had been taught not be. Rudeness wasn't tolerated by anyone in the upper echelon of society.

Aurelius turned unconsciously, keeping both Rookwood and Harry within his line of sight. A habit he hadn't broken, and refused to break. He watched the young wizard Floo out after shrinking down the portrait so it was hidden in his pocket. This, this was all he'd ever wanted, as a child. Family, to be claimed, but the only family he had…were utterly disgusted by his very existence and it hurt. Between the Gaunts and Riddles they'd shredded him to pieces, those childish hopes and dreams. He'd refused to think on it, and the Horcruxes he'd made helped that. Got rid of those Merlin-awful emotions he loathed so much.

Aurelius almost scowled, if he didn't know the dire consequences of creating them, at that moment, he would have been tempted to make more. The emptiness was far better than these feeling consuming him, Merlin, help him, it was awful. He blinked a little rapidly to prevent himself from leaking. He would not do so in front of Rookwood. "Teenagers," he grumbled out, somehow sounding entirely unbothered.

He could never let anyone become aware of how fond he'd grown of Harry. It was one weakness more than he could allow himself. It was difficult enough to allow William to be in his public life with the possibility of being harmed. Out of both, William would be the most unlikely to survive when it came to his enemies. William was amazing, powerful, knew a lot of spells that weren't well known or ancient…but Harry? Harry was a whole other kettle of fish.

One day he would, Aurelius suspected, surpass him if he continued his education. They were equals in terms of power and intelligence yes, but Harry…he pushed himself in a way he hadn't done for decades. Content with what he had, and he desired only certain aspects of magic. Harry desired a well, rounded education, wanted to know everything about every subject possible. Added to the fact his bloodline gave him an affinity for both dark and light magic.

"My Lord?" Rookwood his tone puzzled, as he waited patiently for what the Dark Lord to make a move.

"Let me know if the outcome is positive," Aurelius informed him, it was time for him to return to his own estate. He needed to let off some steam, he hated being emotional, he'd accepted he couldn't get rid of them. However, it didn't make it easy trying to deal with it at all.

Rookwood inclined his head, "My Lord," he murmured, agreeing that he would indeed.

With confirmation, Aurelius used the Floo network himself to return home. Despite himself, his thoughts lingered on Harry for the most of the day and his declaration. Some Dark Lord he turned out to be, he felt like some besotted fool. Family, who needed one? He'd gone his entire life without one.

He failed in even convincing himself.

Harry stepped through the fireplace, which had granted him access to Lestrange Manor by means of the foyer fireplace. It had been erected after the explosion had rendered the dining room fireplace inoperable, and Corvus did not want the family traipsing in and out of his office at all times of the day. Corvus actually liked its new location, and had already stated its permanence.

The place was silent, not a single giggle, laugh, thump or anyone speaking.

"Llrune?" Harry called out, sighing softly, now that the initial excitement had faded, he just wanted to rest his eyes for a bit. Coming back was reminding him how angry he was at Sirius and Rodolphus as well as himself. Part of him was also still worried about Corvus' reaction to the mess. It had been his paints after all. As soon as she appeared Harry asked, "Where is everyone?"

"They're in the main sitting room, young Master," Llrune informed him without a second's hesitation.

"Not exactly the youngest anymore, you'll need a new title," he teased her, falling into habits born from cooking, baking and boiling food and drink for Rodolphus and Rabastan while they were inhabitants of Azkaban prison. "Thank you, Llrune, you may return to what you were doing before I called."

Inhaling sharply, he straightened his spine, wincing a little, being vividly reminded of his rather…humiliating display of accidental magic. He prayed he didn't do anything like that again, ever. Merlin, he was sixteen-years-old he was way too old for that, according to the records the oldest accidental magic record was twelve, a half-blood by the name of Emelie White, during a holiday of what had been her first year at Hogwarts. She'd returned home, and caused a scene of accidental magic in front of her entire family. Extended family that had no idea of the girls' abilities. That the Ministry knew about more specifically, Harry knew it likely wasn't anywhere near accurate. Since the wards kept the Ministry from detecting magical outbursts.

He'd positively kill Rabastan if he told his brother! Given how close they were, he actually honestly thought it more than likely.

Harry opened the door to the main sitting room, the only one that was actually used. If there were any interviews or meetings, they were held in Corvus' office. They had another four, if Harry recalled correctly, but they were so rarely used that they were sealed. There was no point to heating or cleaning rooms that weren't being used. Instead, everything was covered up, windows closed etc.

"You're back!" Sirius' proclamation was filled with relief, from where he sat leaning against his husband, seeing the look of bewilderment on Harry's face he explained further, "I thought you were still angry enough not to come back home."

"We were about to search Gallifrey Hall." Rodolphus elaborated.

"I wasn't there, I was working on another project, with Aurelius and Heir Rookwood." Harry explained, shaking his head.

"Rookwood?" Corvus questioned, straightening up, slightly alarmed, he couldn't quite recall Harry having anything to do with either Rookwood. He spoke to him very infrequently at the Wizengamot meeting but that was all. He knew what Rookwood's job was, and quite frankly he wasn't sure whether to be alarmed or curious. "What sort of project are you working on?"

"I worked for years on this project, I didn't think I'd ever succeed, but I got close, really close. I'm not sure how long it would have taken me if Aurelius and Heir Rookwood hadn't helped." Harry positively gushed, excitement thrumming through him and his eyes were sparkling brightly.

This wasn't the first time they'd seen him so excited and happy to be completing a project he was working on. He had worked on a couple of dozens, and completed at least twelve, more if you include his Wizengamot works, a lot more as a matter of fact. They just smiled, indulging him, not in a way that was demeaning and they thought he wasn't successful. They knew he would be successful in whatever he did, it was more like they were indulging his enthusiasm.

"Which project? The Egyptian one?" Rodolphus asked, all of them knew most of Harry's projects. He knew Harry was still working to decode all his Egyptian books he'd found whilst on holiday. It wasn't easy, especially given all his other responsibilities. So, more often than not, it was put on backburner and when he had free time, he would put his best efforts into it.

Corvus stared inquisitively, his desire to know more genuine.

Harry shook his head, no, it wasn't that particular project.

Rabastan followed Harry's lead in shaking his head, he knew whatever it was, it wasn't to do with the Egyptian project. He had kept it a secret, he didn't even know what books he'd been reading from. He did know it was likely something society wouldn't approve off, and likely dark magic too since it was from the Black library. He was glad to see Harry had succeeded, he seemed very tense and agitated that he wasn't able to complete whatever it is.

"I worked on this for Corvus, but also Rabastan too," Harry confessed, "Well, all of you, but I want to give it as part of Rabastan's betrothal gifts."

Sirius laughed, "There's no need for that, Harry, you're both engaged, that part of your relationship is already done."

"It's never a bad thing to let your partner know you still care," Harry said with a small fond smile, "Plus, all my gifts while appropriate for our situation…weren't personalized the way this is."

"I'm getting schooled by a sixteen-year-old kid," Sirius muttered under his breathe, but it wasn't petulant it was amused.

Rodolphus just snorted and laughed himself, Harry was right though. Bringing your signification other something just because keeps things from becoming boring and predictable. Kept the fondness and love alive in a relationship. At least according to his father, he had brought a lot of trinkets for his mother, things she'd love and they weren't even remotely expensive. His mother didn't care for that sort of showmanship. This had all been when he was a young idealizing wizard, before he'd been betrothed to a mad but powerful woman.

"So," Corvus prompted, leaning forward in his seat, "What is this project you've worked so diligently on?" observing Harry relaxing further while they spoke. Which was rather odd, had Harry been worried for some reason? Perhaps they need to talk? He'd speak to him while they tended to the animals within Lestrange sanctuary tomorrow, there were a few new snakes that he knew Harry would love. He didn't want Harry to be so worried about something he could ease him, especially with these last years at Hogwarts. He was going to be so busy, between NEWT's and not to mention his Wizengamot and Lordly duties. Despite Lord Abbott taking over again however briefly, he still did the majority of the work despite not attending the meeting.

Green eyes met the dark eyes of Corvus, naught but curiosity and fondness within their depths. Anxiety burning in his stomach, twisting it unpleasantly, he'd never felt this way in such a long time that it was jarring. His hands were sweating, he couldn't help but rub them down his trousers. "I just wanted to thank you, for everything you've done." He added, and it was true, Corvus had been his strength and stay while he recovered and become the wizard he was today. Without him, Harry knew he wouldn't be alive, never mind anything else.

Corvus' brow furrowed, wondering at Harry's anxious state, and why he felt the need to explain to them why he'd done it. Normally he was blabbing everything he'd done, the entire process of the project.

"What's wrong? If you think we're going to judge you for the type of magic you used, you're wrong in that regard." Rabastan stood, wrapping his arm around Harry, reassuring him. "There is no need to be so concerned."

Sirius straightened, "What do you mean what type of magic?" concerned himself now, grey eyes filled with worry. He knew some types of magic could be addictive, and it wasn't something he wished to see Harry go through. Especially since he had Black blood, and the family was filled with addictive personalities and a madness that seemed drawn to the darkest of arts. "Harry?" seeking out answers from his godson.

Harry removed the tiny portrait from his pocket, "I was looking through the Black family for any type of soul magic. It helped a little, we were able to come up with a ritual using my blood, the Peverell blood, to bring a soul back to the mortal plane, and used a spell to bind the spirits essence to the portrait, before the soul moved on. Like if they were doing it while they were alive." Harry continued to explain, almost babbling out his words.

"Are you trying to tell me you performed Necromancer rituals?" Sirius bleated, astounded by what he was hearing. He had been raised in a pureblood household; he knew exactly what the Peverell blood was known for. They were still revered and feared in equal measures by society.

Harry returned the frame to its normal size, without even twitching a finger. He stared down at the portrait eyes twinkling brightly before bringing his gaze up to them. His family. They were all staring at him in curiosity, unaware of what he was about to show them.

With his right hand, he twirled the frame around for them to see.

More importantly for Rosamund to see her family, and to be seen.

Rodolphus blinked a dozen times in ten seconds, "Mother?" his voice breathless, he was sure the portrait blinked, but it wasn't possible…was it? "S-she just blinked…" he was going mad, surely that was the only possibility, Harry couldn't have created some sort of magic that allowed his mother to become a portrait decades after her death?

"I saw it too," Rabastan agreed, staggering to his knees, to see his mother's portrait more closely.

"My beautiful boys…" came a voice Rodolphus had remembered in his dreams, but would have likely forgotten in time, if not for his father sharing his own memories with him and his brother. However, nothing, absolutely nothing could compare to actually hear her speaking directly to him. To them. Rodolphus felt breathless.

"Mum?" Rabastan croaked, tears simmering in his eyes, before falling. He couldn't believe it; he wasn't sure how it was possible but it was. His mother was a portrait, it wasn't the same as holding her but it was more than he'd ever had.

Corvus was rendered mute, truly speechless for the first time since he had learned to talk as a child. Pale, shaken and mesmerized. His hand held aloft, as he stared at the portrait, was it truly possible? Had his beloved treasure returned to him? It all seemed like a wonderful dream, it wouldn't be the first time he'd dreamed of being reunited with his beloved wife. His treasure. The only thing that stopped him joining her was duty, his sons.

There was also the shame, shame that he could have somehow disappointed her. He'd screwed up while raising them, they'd ended up in Azkaban prison. They'd languish there until they died, the thought horrified him. He'd truly be the end of the Lestrange line. Merlin, his awestruck demeanor sank when he realized he'd need to tell her everything.

Their sons were everything.

Harry stared at Corvus, seeing his dread, his frozen state, "Did…did I do the wrong thing?"

"Oh, no, Harry, you didn't, my husband has never been easily startled but when he is…well, he does go that way. You should have seen the expression on his face when I told him I was pregnant with our first son, oh it was a delight. I never let him live it down."

Corvus choked, tears building up in his eyes, and he couldn't even think to stop them. The vulnerability he was displaying, it hurt as much as seeing his wife again. However, this was just family, there was nothing wrong with letting them see this. This was really his wife, the way she teased him, the way she spoke, it was everything he'd been dreaming off for years.

His beloved treasure was in front of him again, he could talk to her, oh, it was so…there was no word in any language he knew that could convey the depth of his gratitude.

Harry giggled for a few seconds before he slapped his hand over his mouth. It then turned into a laugh before loud guffaws. The knowledge that Corvus wasn't unhappy with him, added with the knowledge he'd actually done it, the anxiety he had felt tapered off leaving him with euphoric happiness that just made the laughter all the more authentic. "Oh my gosh! You look like a fish out of water!" before peels of laughter left breathless, then he caught the sight of Rabastan's face and his amusement faded, like a deflating balloon.

Harry set the frame against the wall, chair preventing it from toppling over. He moved over to Rabastan, who was still sitting stunned beyond all measure. His gaze vacant, tears drying against his handsome features. Harry's hand cupped Rabastan's face, his thumb wiping away the tears, a tender look on his young face.

"Through the betrothal, we've found we've been blessed with recent good health that allows us to appreciate and enjoy our lives together." Harry said, speaking formally, he hadn't been able to do this part of the ceremony whilst young and well, Rabastan had been in Azkaban. It was about survival, neither had been looking for true love but found it nonetheless. Staring down at his kneeling fiancé, "We also had very similar tragedies that didn't allow us to know all our families, and I wanted that for you. To have a conversation with your mother." He knew this because Rabastan had confided in him that he'd love nothing more than a conversation with her. He'd give up his fortune for it, just to know she loved him and wasn't ashamed.

Rabastan choked out a husky half sob-half laugh, before inhaling sharply, and straightening his spine, "Your betrothal gifts have been both humbling and life-saving, I give my sincerest thanks for your incomparable gifts, Lord Potter." Using the official words to actually truly finish the betrothal even if they were engaged now and long passed their betrothal stage. He couldn't even hope to repay him for his kindness, for Rabastan couldn't think of a greater gift.

Harry leaned over and kissed Rabastan's cheek. Believe him, it wasn't where he wanted to kiss his fiancé. However, he would never, ever bring shame upon his family, not for anything. "I love you so much," he whispered, so low that nobody except Rabastan could have possibly heard.

Rabastan was blinking away tears for another reason entirely after that. So, overwhelmed with emotion with the likes he hadn't felt since the first couple of months after being released from Azkaban. He so badly wanted to repeat the words to Harry, for he truly felt them. Yet he couldn't get his mouth to move, or his tongue to form the words. The lump in his throat prevented any verbal communication. Then Harry was leaving, clearly not expecting anything in turn, and that…that made Rabastan love Harry all the more. There was nobody less assuming than his fiancé. He hadn't even told anyone yet that a date had been set.

"We need to talk," Harry told Sirius, it wasn't even an attempt to have the family be on their own. He and Sirius truly did need to talk, and sort things out. Harry wasn't one for letting anything fester, at least he tried not to anyway.

"Yes," Sirius agreed, patting Rodolphus on the thigh before he stood up, with that he followed his godson out of the room.

The door closed with a snick leaving the family of four to reunite after decades long parting.

The twins slumbering after a rather adventurous first day at their new home unaware of the turmoil but that was always how it should be.

I tried to make it as emotional as possible but not sure whether it worked or not :D

A/n – OH MY GOSH I swear this chapter was impossible to write! You'd think it would be the easiest ever, right? Apparently not…not sure if it's because the muses are crying out for my Teen Wolf crossovers or what lol but I managed to get it done thank Merlin! That and I've deleted like fourteen thousand words this week, no joke like seriously I was so unhappy with it three times. All the reactions just felt off, not sure if this one is any better but I really like it 😊

Soooo questions do you want to see the conversation or just a summary of it? If you want to see it happen, what kind of questions can you think a spouse separated for decades would want to ask? A son that never knew his mother? Another son that could only vaguely remember her? Really would love some suggestions here guys, if not then I will need to skip it and just have it mentioned throughout the entire story 😊 bear in mind she knows a lot about them not everything I made it so that she knew everything just like Lily and James did when they appeared before Harry in the tournament and the stone unless it was a matter of spirits hosting no emotions which I sort of lean towards, if my godchild asked if it hurt to die and was going to his death I would have told him to bloody bolt and not just said quicker and easier falling asleep! Surely, they would have wanted him to live. Ah well thanks for reading guys as always R&R please and take care xx