3-Will Reading

The will reading was scheduled three weeks after the funeral. Gringotts invited everybody mentioned in the will, including two Muggle women and their children, after finding that they were all aware of the magical world. Ginny was surprised to also see Draco Malfoy among the ones invited, but didn't feel like she could comment on that. As it turned out, some of the people at the funeral party were reporters, who had everything Harry had said recorded and published, causing quite a stir among the British magical population. It took the Ministry more than a week to steer the public attention to other matters, less hurtful for the controlling elite.

Once everybody was assembled in the large meeting room allotted for the occasion, a sombre Goblin came in and sat at the head of the table. "This is the reading of the last testament of Harry James Potter. Only people who got invitations should be present here. Everybody else is requested to leave at once."

Molly protested. "He was like a son to me. You surely can't ask me to leave!"

The goblin raised a brow. "A son? Did you dope your son with love potions, the way you did to Mr. Potter? Maybe we should inform the Auror force of that, but still, you were not invited, so you must leave. Would you prefer to be escorted out at spear point?"

Everybody became suddenly aware of the goblin guards positioned around the room. Molly huffed and rose, trying to drag Arthur with her.

"Mr. Arthur Weasley is on the list of invitations," the goblin noted. Molly let him drop back into his seat as she walked out, trying to do it with as much dignity as she could.

The goblin took another look around the room and nodded in approval before standing up to talk. "Good day to you all. My name is Sharpclaw and as the Potter account manager, I'm also responsible for the execution of Mr. Potter's will. Let's start now."

He started reading the will, not skipping anything. It took more than ten minutes to read the preamble before arriving at the will proper. He then recited basically what Harry had read at the funeral. Ginny got practically nothing, while her children's education, at least, was assured. Hermione got free access to the Black library and her children had their education assured. Hermione could barely keep from weeping openly, her handkerchief constantly dabbing her eyes. Luna and Neville also got what was promised to them. It then became more interesting.

"Miss Elizabeth Montgomery, you were my anchor when life threw me on its waves until I almost lost it. I leave you the house I've bought for you along with a bank account into which I've deposited one million Galleons, which turned into more than five million pounds. I left with the bank manager some notes, recommending how to invest most of it to assure you and your son David have enough income to last your lifetime and beyond. David, you're too young to be sure, but I highly suspect you are a wizard. If so, I recommend you both move to France, where you can attend Beauxbatons, or maybe to the states, where several schools are available for your choice and you don't need to learn another language. I also command you become the Black heir and then the head of the house when you reach maturity.

"Miss Naomi Burton, you lighted some of my darkest days, despite your dark skin. Our daughter, Bathsheba, has been the joy of my life since she was born. As you came from French-speaking origins, I bought a house in France for you, not too far from Beauxbatons and had an account opened for you with the initial sum of six million Euros in it. I know your father can help you invest it wisely. When Bathsheba reaches adulthood, she's going to inherit the Slytherin line with all it may mean. I count on you to teach her well and redeem that name, which had been dragged in the mud for too long a time."

A few more children were named, ones born soon after the war to women who had slept with the hero. Each got at least his or her education assured and a recommendation to leave Britain.

"Ron, you've been nothing but a pain almost since we met. Your jealousy kept me from making other friends, your ignorance held me back and your spite almost cost me the life of the girl, later the woman, whom I find dearer than life for me. You abandoned me, us, when I most needed you. You betrayed our trust and doped us with potions. You destroyed the life of the woman I love by forcing her into a loveless, penniless life due to your greed, your jealousy and your stupidity. Luckily for me, those attributes I despise, soon made us grow apart. Here's a deal for you: If you divorce Hermione within sixty days and let her keep the children, relinquishing any claim on her or her children, I'll give you ten thousand Galleons – ten times as much as the Triwizard prize money – after all the procedures are finished and verified by Gringotts. If you fail to comply, you inherit nothing.

"George, you were always a source of laughs and you've never betrayed me. I leave you my shares of the WWW chain. Gringotts considers them worth more than a million Galleons by now. I'd say I did very good business investing in you at the time. Do well and prosper. And, oh, if Ron lets Hermione go, try to take him as an employee. He doesn't seem to be able to keep a job anywhere else.

"Last but not least, Arthur Weasley. You accepted me into your house and into your heart when I was no more than a frightened child. You never plotted against me, like your wife, and I'm sure you were utterly surprised when you found out. I was also surprised when I found out that I own the house where my mother grew up. It is a Muggle house, of course, full of all the gadgets you like so much, and I made sure to update it to the latest technology. I also left there a series of books that explain as much as possible how everything works. They are intended for Muggle children, but I'm sure you'll find them fascinating and helpful. The house is yours to use and to live in, if you like, to the end of your days, but it remains a Potter property and both Molly and Ginny are banned from entry, as well as Ron. There are wards to force that."

Sharpclaw continued reading the postamble of the will to its end. He then looked at the people around him, as if urging them to ask any question. Draco was the one to ask, "Why was I even invited? I wasn't mentioned in there."

The goblin smiled, exposing his fangs. "Oh, Mr. Potter was very specific about inviting you, so you could see where the Black fortunes are going, just to make sure you can have no access to any of the Black money or possessions."

Draco held his temper. He knew he was beaten, but there was no reason to make a scene of it.

Sharpclaw spoke again. "You can get your inheritances at the front desk. Just identify yourselves and say you're mentioned in Potter's will. Mrs. Hermione Weasley, please come to my office. Mrs. Luna Longbottom, come with me too. This concludes the reading of the testament of Harry James Potter."

"I'll wait for you at the lobby," Neville told his wife and his friend as they all left the meeting.

Luna and Hermione followed Sharpclaw to his office. He waved them to two padded chairs while he moved back to his desk. "As you both got access to libraries but not the ownership of the containing building, it is my duty to give you the keys to those places. I must also inform you that you may read whatever you want there and you can also use other rooms, as you may need, especially the kitchen, the restrooms and an occasional bedroom, however, you may not take any book out of the library. There are wards in place to assure that. In addition, you may bring any guest you like, except Molly, Ginny and Ron Weasley, conforming to the rules. The books in Potter library may be copied and the copies can be taken out. Unfortunately, most of the books in the Black library are copy-protected. The few that aren't are not worth the bother."

He handed them a key each. "You may also use the key as a portkey by tapping it with your wand and saying 'library' or 'back' to take you there and back to where you came from. Any questions?"

Luna just smiled. Hermione couldn't, as she was still wiping errant tears.

"Well, Mrs Longbottom, I have no more for you," Sharpclaw dismissed Luna.

Once she left, he turned to Hermione, his expression turning softer. "Mrs. Weasley, I know this is a very painful experience. Losing a friend is always hard, and under the circumstances..."

She just nodded, unable to respond.

"There's a secret part of the will that Mr. Potter insisted we only let you know of." He took another parchment from his desk.

"Here it is: Hermione, the love of my life, you should have never married Ron, that's very clear now. It is only due to love potions and compulsion potions that you married him and I married Ginny. The public part of my will gave Ron the incentive to let you go. I hope it was enough for him to act as I want him to. If so, you'll be Miss Granger again within a few weeks. I've put aside something for you, to help us both in that case. Once the Goblins approve your divorce, you'll get full ownership of Grimmauld Place and be recognized as the Black regent, giving you full access to all the family assets until my heir comes of age. By that time, everything will be much clearer and, hopefully, much happier. Be strong for the trials that are awaiting you. Everything should end well in a short while. Just keep telling yourself that I really love you. Yours, Harry."

Hermione burst with tears again. Sharpclaw conjured a handkerchief and gave her, as her own was already soaked. It took her a few minutes to calm back down. "I'll try to urge Ron to do his part," she finally said. "He may need some pushing even for that kind of money. Lately, his only motivation seems to be food, as can be seen on his figure."

Even the Goblin couldn't hide his revulsion at Ron's figure. The once tall, lanky boy had turned into a rotund man, almost as wide as he was tall. He'd always been lazy, but once he lost his position in a Quidditch team, he barely moved, and he was eating even more. The outcome was unavoidable.

"Just make sure to come here as soon as your divorce is finalized. I'll handle the rest, as Mr. Potter requested. He considered you next of kin," Sharpclaw told her, making a new wave of tears come out.

Eventually, she left the office. Luna and Neville were waiting for her in the lobby. "Ron left as soon as we arrived here. Said he was hungry." Neville couldn't hide his opinion about Ron, not that he tried.

Hermione wasn't surprised. Ron's priorities were well known: food, food, food, Quidditch. Long ago there was also sex in that short list, but since she got pregnant with Hugo, he lost even that interest, not that she was complaining.

"Why don't you come with us? I'll accompany you home in another hour or so," Neville offered. He knew how Hermione loathed living at the Burrow, but they couldn't afford to buy or rent another apartment and Hermione had forbidden her parents from giving her money, knowing that it would all be wasted on Ron.

She considered his invitation. "Alright. By then, maybe he would have thought of Harry's offer."