The Contract

Chapter 139

Corvus felt completely overwhelmed, tears he could not hold back rolling down his cheeks. Oh, she was so beautiful, and her voice…oh, it was so lovely to hear something different than the usual memories he had re-watched over and over again. Memorised that he could recite them – and actually did – as he watched the pensive memory.

Corvus' right hand rose up again, hovering over the painting as if desiring nothing more than to touch her. Yet refraining from doing so, because he didn't wish to touch paint, instead of his actual wife. "I am so sorry," Corvus murmured, "I failed in keeping my promise to you." He sought out his handkerchief in his pocket, and wiped away the tears, which were promptly just replaced.

He thought his sons being released from Azkaban would be the greatest of feelings he'd experience. For he had been sure nothing could possibly replace it. Perhaps the birth of his first grandchild, but, oh, what a fool he'd been. For nothing could surpass this. His beautiful treasure returned to him. How often had he wished for this moment? How often had he despaired over the fact they'd waited to create portraits? So, so foolish, and his sons had been deprived of knowing their mother as a result.

He'd never be able to repay Harry for this. For it was priceless. All his fortune, his estate paled in comparison.

"What on Circe's green earth are you apologising for?" Rosamund asked, yes, she'd watched over her family, but that did not make her privy to their every thought. Yes, her husband spoke often in front of her still portrait – which would likely be making a swift exit – but she wasn't always there for it and it didn't happen every day.

"I swore to protect our sons," Corvus trembled in front of her, the shock of being able to talk to her almost too much for his body to bear. He touched the portrait, the pads of his fingers brushing reverentially over her features. She was perfect, even the small mole at the side of her nose was remembered. "I failed most abhorrently." The confession lay thick on his tongue, making him feel sick.

"Oh, Corvus, still taking on the burdens of the world onto your own shoulders," Rosamund sighed, shaking her head, "Desist with the dramatics! Our sons were adults and they acted impulsively." Giving them a look watching them blanch at her.

"Mother is right, we're responsible for our own actions," Rodolphus replied, he knew nothing would stop his father feeling guilty for what happened to them. You could see it in his eyes, and it made him wish they hadn't done it, well, gotten caught really, but same difference.

"It's time to move on, let the past be the past, if Harry can forgive and forget, you can too." Rabastan pointed out, "We've lost out on too much of our lives to become overwrought." Maybe their father should have joined then in getting help from a mind healer. Not that he didn't sometimes dwell, it's impossible not to, they just didn't want it to keep overwhelming him.

"Oh, Corvus, my love, there's nothing to forgive, you raised them so well, if anything I should be apologising, I'm so sorry I left you to do it alone." She herself had watched over them feeling wretched at her inability to help. Her inability to help her husband, help her sons. It had not been easy watching them wither away in Azkaban prison.

"I have missed you most ardently," Corvus told her, his face soft in a way that even his own sons had never seen. A look that only his treasure ever got to cross his features. "There is so much I want to say, I scarcely know where to begin." They had over two decades of catching up to do.

Rabastan and Rodolphus shared a wide-eyed look. They'd never seen their father look at anyone like that before. It made them want to 'Ew' and rush out of the room. Fortunately, they knew it was only a portrait – and their mother to boot – so merely watched, and became a little mesmerised as they did so.

His mother had died before he could really remember her, so Rabastan was finding it fascinating. He'd never seen his father so besotted before. Well, enamoured may be the correct word. His father had never taken on a new wife, never even looked at another witch with anything other than vague entertainment when they attempted to gain his attention with their wiles. He found their attempts amusing.

"Me too," she proclaimed, "It's so good to be heard, to be seen." Her words were blunt and to the point.

"Just how much have you seen?" Rodolphus asked, shifting uncomfortably, his mind horrifyingly thinking of possibility of her seeing him having sex with his husband, or the number of times he'd had sex while at Hogwarts.

Rabastan blanched, his own mind ending up in the gutter as well. Throwing his brother, a glare for his words, he did not wish to think on that thank you very much. Never mind actually hear an answer!

Corvus chuckled, "Boys," he said, shaking his head in amusement, as he compelled his magic to bring a seat closer to him so he may rest. He wasn't as young as he used to be after all. He'd need to find the perfect place for his wife to be situated, in his office somewhere. Perhaps replace the still portrait of her?

Despite his amusement, his gaze did drift back to his wife in curiosity. He found himself desiring to know as well, not for the same reasons naturally.

"Spoilers," his wife teased, sounding utterly shameless.

Corvus' lips turned into a smile that had his cheeks hurting. Oh, he'd forgotten she used to be such a relentless tease. Not even their sons had been safe from her good-natured goading.

Rodolphus opened his mouth to protest, but Rabastan smacked his brother over the head, "Don't. Want. To. Know." He declared; he'd never be able to have an intimate relationship with his fiancé if he knew that answer. It would be a constant cock blocker, who wanted to think of possible relatives watching over them in such a moment?

Rodolphus' eyes twinkled in mischief, and too late Rabastan realized what he was up to before his brother bit him. "Ouch! Dolphus! That hurt!" shoving him like he used to when they were younger. Eyeing the bite, grateful to see he hadn't bitten through skin, just gross. "You're spending way too much time with Sirius." He declared with a pointed look.

"Shouldn't have hit me then," Rodolphus grinned, it was a roughish grin that was more frequently on Sirius admittedly.

Rabastan huffed, before his attention was easily diverted to his mother again.

Rosamund was watching them with a wistful air.

"So, how much do you know?" Corvus enquired, as he magicked over two additional chairs for his sons. A look of avid attention on his face, not even the Opera could elicit such a look. "What's the last thing you recall?"

"Harry has necromancer blood running through his veins, he didn't need the ritual to aid him in his attempt to bring me over the veil. I could feel myself being tugged before the ritual started. I let him know I accepted what he was doing. So, I recall everything, my portrait was created ten minutes ago if that." Rosamund explained fondly, it seemed her husband's desire to know everything had not waned in her absence.

Rabastan couldn't help but sit straighter, a smug sense of satisfaction consuming him. This was his fiancé they were talking about, the blood that was soon going to be in a child of theirs, making them potential necromancers. It was the ultimate family gift that any house would desire above all else.

"He has always been incredibly extraordinary," Corvus murmured, a look of pride on his own face. They owed Dorea so much; he was grateful for their friendship and decision to create a betrothal contract between the house of Lestrange and Potter. Even if he had complained that she bested him at the time, with quite a few of the clauses in the contract. Up to and including the names combining, Potter-Lestrange had been out of the picture, instead it had been Lestrange-Potter. "The ritual will not work if permission isn't given?" naturally paying close attention to realize what his wife was saying, and what it implied.

"Soul magic has to be fully willing from all participants, you know this, even if the ritual is new, the magic is old." Rosamund chided her husband, shaking her head in amusement.

Corvus hummed his agreement, he couldn't say he was an expert in soul magic. He knew to avoid it, for most of it was…for the lack of better words not good. Albeit there were a few good uses, but most soul magic was black magic and forbidden for good reason. Not that the Ministry had a right to use a few rituals to tar every other type of magic with the same sticks.

Magic was after all, about intent.

"Hard to believe though," Rodolphus said, a new respect for Harry. He wasn't sure how he could have any more respect for the youth who had been surprising him for years now. "He could have tested on his parents."

Corvus shook his head sombrely, they all knew that Harry didn't much care for his parents. It's not out of malice, he grew up thinking the worst of them. Knowing they weren't what he thought of them didn't change things automatically. He was intelligent enough to know that nothing would bring them back as well.

"They likely didn't even cross his mind," Rabastan answered seriously, "All his magical ambitions are to help others, or to save himself under extreme duress." A thoughtful frown on his face.

"Do you think he will now?" Rodolphus posited. Or would Sirius need to ask Harry to do it before the younger wizard would do so? Sirius definitely wouldn't hold out for long; he knew his husband well.

"Who knows?" Corvus mused thoughtfully, he couldn't see wild horses keeping them away from their child. They had died for him, died so that he could live. He knew he would – just as his wife had done – take up the offer in a nanosecond.

They would be so proud of the young wizard their son had become. Although, the Potters might not approve of them – the Lestrange's – but having seen what his life was like before surely, they'd never comprehend insisting Harry sever ties with them. It wasn't beyond the realm of possibility; they had been young when they died. He had no idea if spirits or those that have passed on became more intelligent, continued to age or mature.

Corvus couldn't help but think even his own wife wouldn't allow him to be privy of such. Recalling her earlier teasing of 'spoilers' and pondered on whether the spirits could actually say anything or if it was something one must find out on their own.


"Where are you going?" Sirius queried, utterly baffled as to why Harry was attempting to leave the property. Well, not attempting, actually doing so. He like in all things, followed Harry, understanding when he slid on his wellington boots. Now Harry only used those when he was walking the estate (and simultaneously feeding everything in sanctuary) to take care of the estate animals. "I'll take that one." Grasping a hold of one of the buckets filled with a disgusting variety of dead (or stunned) animals for all the critters under their care.

Harry continued to walk, utterly silent.

Sirius didn't do well with silence, "I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry, I'm not sure what I did…but I'm sorry!" his tone heartfelt and genuine, he wanted to fix it but he wasn't sure what he'd done to make Harry mad at him.

"I don't make copies of my projects," Harry said blankly, as he continued to move towards the gates of sanctuary. "I worked on that particular one for two years. The past six months has been a mass of intense calculations that are just gone…just like that." Clicking his fingers, boom, as if it would explain everything.

"How intense?" Sirius asked, wincing, knowing just how focused Harry could get on his projects. His heart sinking, feeling bad that the project was ruined, none of it had been on purpose though, it was an accident. It's not like he'd meant for it to happen.

"I needed Arithmancy calculations, Mastery level," Harry stated sharply, but there was no rage or anger in his voice. "It would take me four or five months to get the calculations again. I would need to work day and night to get all those calculations determined. I was this close to completing it." Showcasing how close with his thumb and forefinger. There was a tiny opening between his digits.

"You know I wasn't laughing at you or your lost project, right?" Sirius said quietly, watching Harry walk into the enclosure for the Bowtruckles that were brought in two weeks ago. Shuddering a little as he watched Harry magically throw insects to the shy creatures hidden in their trees.

They'd been brought in after a house fire that had spread into their forest home. They'd all been burnt to various degrees, the poor things. The Lestrange's had actually had to seek the knowledge of a veterinarian familiar with them so they didn't accidentally kill them.

"Isn't Scamander meant to be coming for them?" Sirius asked, as Harry backed out, ensuring that none of the Bowtruckles were in the way. They were tiny, and he had to be extremely careful.

"He's been delayed a few weeks," Harry said, shrugging his shoulders, "Something about being called to deal with a life-threatening thunderbird situation again."

"Hey," Sirius said catching up with his godson effortlessly, wrapping his arm around his neck and shoulder, "I am sorry, kiddo. I'll try and make sure something like that doesn't happen again…and I'll help you re-write your project, alright?"

Harry grumbled, unable to stay mad at his godfather, "Did you even take Arithmancy?"

"For three years, I didn't take it during NEWT years." Sirius said, beaming in happiness, sensing that his godson was forgiving him for what happened. Well, he was hopeful, he'd make it up to him.

"You'll be able to help with a few equations," Harry conceded, leaning against his godfather as they moved towards the next enclosure. "If you even have a minute free." Suddenly grinning, recalling that his godfather now had two children to look after, and considering the mess they'd come home to it wasn't going to be easy.

"Things are going to be different now, we'll get wards put on all the doors, make sure something like that doesn't happen again…hopefully." Sirius said ruefully, it was a miracle that the paint has come off the kids and their hair! "My brother got into my aunts paints once…and you should have heard my mother's shrieks, it was hilarious!" he truly detested his mother.

"Did you guys get in trouble?" Harry asked, peering up at Sirius, he was getting taller so it was no strain to do so.

"No, it was one of the days our father was there, he actually took a few pictures. You might find some somewhere, the bank or Grimmauld Place maybe." His father's portrait would be able to tell them for sure.

"Where is your aunt?" Harry questioned, amending his question when he saw the look on his face. "What happened to her?" dropping off the critters at the next ones. This would likely be the last feed he'd be giving the young Acromantula, it would be sent to Borneo, its native lands.

Lestrange Sanctuary helped heal magical creatures all ailments. They were only 'put down' if there was no other alternative and it was a mercy. Which didn't happen all that often usually if it's that bad it's seen in the field and the animals are humanly destroyed. Their main focus, their goal was to see them return to their native land and habitant. If they were too injured with permanent injury that would lead to their deaths, then they were kept in a sanctuary with their own kind for their safety. The Acromantula would be just fine returning to its nest. Cannibalistic little buggers, so they were but nonetheless they were a protected magical species. Mostly due to its silk being highly profitable.

"Aunt Lucretia…was funny, sweet and amazing," Sirius confessed, "She had such a mischievous soul, she loved children, but couldn't have any herself. She passed away before I was released from Azkaban. I'll never know if she thought I was guilty or not." His tone grim, as Sirius spoke of her. he was very appreciative that Azkaban had changed since his incarceration. He wished it had happened before, so that he could have had visitors, so people could have come to see him, to get the truth themselves, or just visit believing him innocent. It would have meant everything. Regretfully it wasn't meant to be.

"Did your parents approve of the match?" Harry questioned him, as Sirius waded in throwing fish out to the merman in the pond that had been specially made for it. They'd successfully regrown its silver tail, they just needed strengthening before they let it join Hogwarts merman population under the lake. It would fit in, with its grey skin, and purple hair, although they say the green hair is more prominent in the great lake. They already had permission from Headmaster Slytherin and the chief merman in charge of the merman colony.

"Aunt Lucretia had a respectable match with Ignatius Prewitt, and they were a very respectful family and my grandparents approved the match wholeheartedly." Sirius answered, glancing sidelong at Harry in curiosity, he didn't normally ask about his family often. "Same couldn't be said for Cedrella." Although she wasn't disinherited or forbidden from contacting the family. Cedrella was still welcome at family functions with the kids, with the veiled understanding her husband wasn't to be there. If they wanted the money they just had to grin and bear it."

"The Weasley's didn't have anything back then?" Harry queried, as he put the hay into the Pegasus stall, Sirius following suit and making sure the Abraxan who's side had been injured – they didn't know how – and was recovering here. The overpowering scent of alcohol had Harry coughing a little, as his eyes watered. Merlin, those creatures were bound to be pissed all the time. "It's little wonder they got hurt if that's what they drink."

Sirius laughed ruefully, as he patted the beautiful creature. He had no clue how they succeeded in keeping their manes so white. It was a stunning creature, worth a lot of money too. He suspected a spell had been used to do that. "Ah, they're used to it, they'd need to drink a lot more to do themselves damage." He wouldn't admit it but he'd been nearly in tears listening to its distressed cry.

His mind mulling over the Weasleys truth was the Weasley family had too many children, more than they could afford. Thus, the Weasley fortune was spread out amongst them. They hadn't done the smart thing and made their fortune work for them generation to generation. Within a few generations of having a large family, and becoming blood traitors – according to the wizarding world not him – and no self-respecting wizarding family wanting anything to do with them, they didn't stand a chance. Cedrella only had three children for that reason, and had left a reasonable amount for all three, which had ended up Arthurs, his brothers hadn't the chance to have kids, neither did Molly's brothers, whether that money had gone was a mystery. Likely Molly using it to spoil Ronald – poor boy, he was really young – and Ginevra Dumbledore. Luckily, they were all making their own fortune, and were no longer looked down upon or referred to as blood traitors.

The distressed cries had been heart-breaking, but he would never confess that he'd come down and stayed with it the first two nights as Padfoot. Although his husband likely had an idea of where he'd been. Unfortunately, he couldn't do that now, he had to be well rested, the twins were fast, and so, so intelligent. He sorts of wished Marius had the ability to make a portrait, so he could watch them grow up.

"Has there been something set up for her?" Sirius asked, he didn't have much to do with the sanctuary, this was Corvus and Harry's baby. Although, he did help out if needed or if he was particularly bored. Boredom didn't sit well on him, not after sitting and standing in the same cell for over a decade.

"Yes, the Headmistress of Beauxbatons is taking her, they use them to pull carriages at the school. We want to make sure she recovers though, and would easily be able to do the duties that would be required of her. If not, she'll be adopted by Lord Diggory, he takes on retired Abraxan's the estate they say is positively teeming with them. I'd love to see them, but he doesn't open it to the public."

"I know the Diggory's a little," Sirius said thoughtfully, "Want me to see if I can get you in?"

"You know Lord Bernard Diggory?" Harry asked, peering at his godfather in surprise. "They say he hasn't left his estate in two decades." The poor wizard suffered severely from Agoraphobia. Not doubting his godfather but feeling dubious all the same. It made him wonder why he hadn't turned the Lordship down to his only son and heir. Especially since it had the Wizengamot seat just languishing when it could provide support for whatever cause or law someone wishes to bring up.

"Actually, no, I do know Amos though, but you'd have more luck with Cedric Diggory though." Sirius said sheepishly, "Amos is intolerable on the best of days. Spends hours regaling everyone of everything his son does as if he was the only one exists. It was cute the first time but ugh." Sirius made a face, so glad the Diggory's weren't exactly high up on the acquaintance list for the Lestrange family. It may have something to do with Bernard never accepting any invitations.

Closing the stables, they moved on, heading towards the snakes' enclosures. Sirius' dramatic groan caused Harry to grin.

"Really? Do you need to keep finding snakes?" grumbling in complaint, he was not fond of them, and never would be.

"They aren't always just found," Harry pointed out, "Their skin and venom bring in a lot of funding for this place." Corvus wouldn't still be doing this if it was haemorrhaging funds. Not even when Rabastan and Rodolphus were in prison and it looked like the Lestrange name would end with him. As long as it broke even, he was quite fine with it, he'd allow the occasional lapse over but no further.

Sirius grimaced, "Still," giving an overly dramatic shudder.

"I'll go alone," Harry said sniggering.

"You bet you are," Sirius said, only an emergency would get him in those damn enclosures.

Sirius moved to sit down when Harry disappeared into the enclosure. The sound of hissing meeting his ears before the door closed quietly behind Harry. Sighing softly, truly grateful that it had gone as easy as it had, perhaps there was something in all that communication spiel his healer had given him. He'd never been one for talking it out, so to speak. At least until he exploded, then everything came blurting out, even stuff from years ago.

Around twenty minutes later Harry emerged, and with jars propped under his arms. Those must be the venom and snake skin he was talking about, but the other… "Are those frozen Ashwinder eggs?" his voice getting high with sheer incredulity. He was surely mistaken; it couldn't be possible. Where on earth would they come from?

"Does it surprise you? The estate has constant magical fires in and surrounding it." Harry said wryly, giving his godfather an amused look. "There are Runes set up that were created by Corvus himself that catch any fire snakes and puts them in there, and automatically freezes them when they're at their most potent, amazing huh?" gesturing towards the cave that had been created near the snake enclosures. None of the animals got hurt, and it helped keep costs down.

Sirius nodded dumbly, now he knew that Ashwinder eggs were very, very expensive. He also knows hunters are hurt and or killed trying to procure Ashwinder eggs. He never understood that, why risk your life instead of just getting a job where you weren't risking life and limb on the off chance of getting those frozen eggs.

"Only a few more now," Harry said, his own pail was nearly empty (having been magically expanded for everything it had held). "Then we can head back."

"Harry?" Sirius asked making no attempt to stand up.

"What is it?" Harry asked, approaching his godfather perplexed, "Are you okay?" wondering if he'd hurt himself sitting down. He knew that Sirius would have a lifetime of aches and pains, from his time in Azkaban. Just like he, Harry, would have aches and pains due to the Dursley's.

"You forgive me, right?" Sirius asked, he did not wish for any misunderstandings. He was all too hopeful for that.

Harry joined Sirius in the sitting area, it had been there before he came along. Likely somewhere Corvus used to sit down to recover for a bit before continuing on with his rounds. He was taking far better care of himself now though. "What makes you think I haven't?" he asked, wrinkling his brow in confusion, sometimes adults confused the hell out of him still. Although it was a far different confusion than the one that enveloped him as a child.

"Oh, I don't think you haven't, I just want to make sure you're really alright. You know I'd never deliberately hurt you, kiddo. You know, you were the closest thing I have…er…had to a son. You're just now not the only one, and I love you so much." Sirius said, his passion running deeply, as his emotions usually did. Harry had been hurt, by his laughter, by the destruction of his project.

Harry leaned against Sirius, a small smile on his face, "I love you too." Who would have thought it though? Considering their very, very shaky start? He'd wanted to hate Sirius for the simple reason as not wishing to leave his family. Whether the world liked it or not the Lestrange's were his family. They had saved his life; without them he would have likely died by the time he was thirteen.

"Do you think Rodolphus and I should move out with the twins?" Sirius questioned thoughtfully, it would be a good way to ensure no destruction, either that or they'd all need to be careful.

"Do you want to?" Harry asked, stiffening just so, as he stared, waiting on an answer.

"No, not really, living here…there's always someone around, and I desperately needed that. Being on my own…after a decade in Azkaban really messed with my head. I should have been glad I was free, instead I had a lot of unsavoury thoughts when I was on my own." Sirius explained, simple and direct, just as Harry preferred it. He wasn't a child anymore; he never really had the chance to be one. "It was the best day of my life when I moved here." And he wasn't quite ready to leave it quite yet.

"Same. However, the estate belongs to Rodolphus and you anyway, not Rabastan and I." Harry pointed out, something easing in him at the fact Sirius didn't want to leave. He didn't want Sirius to leave either, it looked like they were both suffering from some sort of co-dependency it seems. The firstborn got the majority of the estate.

"Perhaps," Sirius murmured, the thing was Corvus did not treat his sons differently. They got exactly the same from him, love, money, anything they could possibly desire. It was an eye opener; he and his brother had been treated differently and he'd assumed it was always the same. It's not like he had any friends that could tell him otherwise. All his friends had been only children. "It's not for us to say, really, Corvus might have other plans." He definitely would have especially since he had, had no intentions of having any children.

It would be a natural assumption for Corvus to gift everything to Rabastan and Harry who likely are going to have a family. It's all Harry wants, and they had spoken about it after all during the engagement contract. They intended to continue the family name. Something Corvus was desperate to see come to fruition.

"Come on, kiddo, lets hurry this up and head back." Sirius stood, offering his hand to Harry who let him pull him up. Pulling him close, he hugged him, keeping his arm around him, he flicked his wand and the pails were levitating behind them.

"It is starting to get nippy," Harry agreed, it was a good job they knew the estate like the palms of their hands though. His stomach grumbled; he was getting hungry too. The quicker they got everyone fed and settled for the night the better.

Maybe he'd have the house-elves do it in the morning for a change.

"Thanks," Harry murmured, as Sirius cast a warming charm on both of them.

They spent the rest of their time in silence, working together to get it done sooner. Sirius wanting to get back to his husband. He knew, he knew it was going to be very emotional for Rodolphus. He missed his mother, like a sore that never healed. Sirius couldn't understand it himself, personally but come on, his mother had been Walburga for Merlin's sake, nobody missed her.

Just as they were wiping their feet and kicking out of their boots having completed their tasks did Sirius ask the question on his mind. "Why didn't you use James or Lily?"

"Neither of them would come through for me," Harry whispered quietly, before slipping away, leaving a shellshocked and gaping Sirius behind.

"Llrune?" Harry called out, continuing to move despite calling out for the House-elf. "Where's Rabastan?" he enquired the moment she appeared, turning to hear her response.

"Young Master Rabastan is in his bedroom, Master Harry."

"Thank you, Llrune!" Harry said, before moving off to find Rabastan, the last thing he expected was to find him crying on his bed.

Harry swallowed, licking his lips, wondering what had gone on. Was he upset? Or was it a cathartic cry? Padding over to the bed, he climbed up and onto the bed before joining Rabastan. Acting as the big spoon, wrapping his arms around his neck, splayed out against his back hugging him tightly. Giving him the comfort, he clearly needed. Rabastan just clutched him right back, holding on for dear life.

A/n – Yeah not much of the conversation between the reunited Lestrange family is known, I'd like to keep it that way for now. Someone wisely said If I thought of something later then I could use it but if it's written out I can't and believe me it would be my luck! I'm really good at having good ideas after the fact ;) ha-ha

An update on my birthday is my gift to you all ;) well, technically it's not my birthday anymore :D it's past midnight lol so what do you think about Harry's last statement to Sirius? What will it mean for the future? I was tempted to stop it at that point but I thought I'd end it with our lovebirds together R&R please! Thank you all for your patience with the wait between updates these days even with a easy one like this takes a while more! Take care everyone.